Shining Force CD
|"Join the Shining Force in their valiant struggle to defeat the power-mad King Iom and his invading army. Play up to 12 characters from over 20 unique classes as they grow in strength and ability. This CD combines the best of the Shining Force series into four complete adventures with over fifty battles!"|
|The spine card image for Shining Force CD was kindly supplied by Richard Spiers|
Sega's wonderful Shining Force
series makes it onto the Mega-CD in a truly vast RPG. The game
is comprised of three adventures, and you can jump in to either of
the first two (through the second follows on from the first) from
the outset, but both must be completed to open up the third.
Naturally the adventures play much like the cart games - tactical
turn-based battles with bits of storytelling in the middle.
Whilst this gets rid of the sometimes annoying random battle element
found in the likes of Phantasy Star and Final Fantasy, it does mean
you're led by the nose through the story and locations more than you
might expect. The battles themselves are wonderfully crafted,
with a simple interface that hides the underlying complexity and
makes it easy to execute your plan. Both your team and the
assorted enemies have different move and attack ranges along with
the usual ratings for speed, strength defence etc., all of which
depend on the class they are in and increase as you level up.
Four difficulty levels cater for everyone from novices to hardened
veterans, and while your characters quickly begin to grow if you use
them in battle, it is easy to forget to use one or two characters
often enough and suddenly find them too weak to have any real impact
and so falling further behind. Combined with the absence of an
easy levelling treadmill, this means that you not only have to be
careful how you fight, but which characters you use and when.
Having said that, it's entirely possible to play through the game
without ever visiting the stat screens and have incredible fun
whilst doing so - all it takes is a bit of common sense to realise
that you shouldn't put your Monk and Mage in the front line as
they're not as tough as your Knights and Swordsman.
Like most RPGs the graphics aren't earth shattering but they are crisp, clear and well animated, and it's easy to differentiate each member of your team and all the enemy types on the overhead view. Sound effects are also spot on, somehow never becoming annoying given the number of times you hear them, and CD audio music is present and correct.
Reading back what I've just written above I worry that I've made the game sound incredibly complex and hardcore - it isn't. Don't let the thick manual put you off giving this a try. It was one of the Shining Force cartridge games that started me on RPGs and they still stand up today. One piece of advice though - if you want to keep more than one save play on an emulator or hunt down one of the super rare RAM cartridges.
Much like Sonic CD and Snatcher, demand for Shining Force CD keeps prices above what would normally be expected for a reasonably common game - expect to pay at least £30 for the privilege - but every penny is well spent.
|Another CD that won't scan right. If you look closely you can just about make out the male warrior on the left and the female on the right. Even with the real disc you have to tilt it just right to see all the detail, after 10 attempts at scanning it I gave up!|