Not exactly gushing ahead! Mostly anecdotes, and I don’t have a lot to gush about with the first shining force, but the fact I completed the game is the greatest compliment I could give anything.:
I had Golden Sun on GBA as a kid when it was new. I spent hours and days playing it, but not getting very far. This put it in my favorite category of game: stuff I have supreme nostalgia for, but still haven’t seen more than 25% of the game’s content. That makes is really enjoyable to play through all the way these days. So I finally did that a couple years ago.
Everyone here should know Golden sun is part of the long lineage of the unbroken DNA strand by the team that made shining force.
Equally long ago, my first girlfriend, in middle school, had shining force 1 and 2, and those were her favorite games. I saw her play a little bit, and thought it was cool, and decided I’d get around to playing it someday.
Well, last year was that day. I’ve played all the “best rpgs of all time” for various consoles from Sony & Nintendo, but have barely played through any SEGA RPGs, so I have a big backlog of SEGA RPGs, and began with shining force.
Because I started it, and hit a huge wall in the end of Chapter 7. I was so close to the ending, but I basically was so under leveled due to hitting the reset button each time I failed a mission, rather than egress and maintain my earned EXP. So I had just slid by most battles, which I gotta admit was extremely enjoyable when I wasn’t replaying battles 10 times.
By the end of chapter 7 I had played myself into a corner and it was unwinnable. I also hadn’t realize until quite late there was a Class Progression system, so my newly progressed characters were all level 1-3. Everyone was doing only 1 damage or missing each hit, and gaining only 1 EXP, while my hero was one-shotting everybody. I had some other overpowered characters, but their mobility was nerfed by the forest in the battle I was stuck on.
So I set down the game for like 10 months or something. Then when I started hanging with @mindleftbody , and he had begun the game, I was motivated to try and seal the deal.
My first thought was save editing, but that wasn’t possible with the .sram format my flash cart used. So I used cheats to level my characters to a reasonable stage and finally beat the game.
My experience and thoughts? I’m glad I carried through.
There’s a lot of stuff that was carried along all the way to golden sun. Obviously the menu graphics and sound effects, battle graphics juxtaposition, similar sound effects… And then there’s some less noticeable stuff like scenarios, like the fact you sail across the sea in the exact middle point of the game.
The game didn’t exactly speak to my soul like my favorites do. I’m not a huge Disney fan, so the art style they went for feels kind of weird at times. But I do love the polish, and the way it feels to finally play an RPG on a SEGA Mega Drive Model 1 with a three-button controller.
The FM Sound is great, and the game does have great audio… But of course there’s a couple things that don’t go down so smooth, like how the music resets so often, and the at times generic compositions… But there’s some really great tunes there if you let it play through all the way, and besides the disney influence, the tunes can be nice and John Williams-y. Star Wars music turned out to be very appropriate, since the hero basically wields a green lightsaber, and there’s plenty of Star Wars fantasy/sci-fi elements happening…
Overall, the game didn’t make me question my life choices, or feel like I was wasting my time with a meaningless experience. That’s a great compliment I can give to a game.
I’m definitely going to play Shining Force II. Why would I deny myself that when I played through the entire first game? Shining Force II, I believe, will go so above and beyond after the success of the first game, that it may really hit for me!
Though, because I’ve been playing so much Etrian Odyssey this month, I’m very drawn to Shining & the Darkness, their first game, which is a first person dungeon crawler. The graphics and audio are about the same as Shining Force, but I’m more drawn into this first-person world setting… Maybe playing that first would have made me appreciate SF more, but I know the majority of fellas who played Shining Force didn’t play S&D first…..
I noticed that the villain of S&D is also named Dark Soul, so SF is more like his return. It also makes me wonder if S&D is more of a purely-fantasy world, or if it has less sci-fi tech stuff than SF had going on….
As I continue my SEGA RPG journey, well, so far I have low expectations. Golden Sun and Shining Force are both extremely solid, but a bit middling, and don’t deliver as deep or meaningful or interesting a narrative as my favorite RPGs do. But everything else like the mechanics are just as addicting as a top tier RPG :o)
Other stuff on my list:
Skies of Arcadia
Basically everything by the shining team: (Landstalker, Ladystalker lol, Alundra, Shining Force III, Dark Savior)
I want to default to the SEGA version of many cross-platform RPGs, like SMT and Ys, though sadly they don’t always have fan translations.