Wherein I invite gushing over Shining Force

@“exodus”#p122270 @“IrishNinja”#p122267 Here’s my hot take: Sega getting their shit together and making sure that Game Arts simships Lunar: Eternal Blue (22 December 1994) on the Mega CD and on the then brand new Saturn (22 November 1994), instead of letting the game become a belated exclusive for a laser-pointing deathbed, would have been ^Twilight ^Princess ~Breath ~of ~the ~Wild before ^Twilight ^Princess ~Breath ~of ~the ~Wild and may have considerably changed the fate of the Sega Saturn as the de facto console for Japanese RPG developers before Sony got a chance to secure Squaresoft’s support.

Same goes for the hilariously poor US launch of the Saturn (Lunar: Eternal Blue came out on September 15, 1995 in the US). Instead, the game finally came out on the Saturn in Summer 1998…

@“◉◉maru”#p122287 it sure wouldn‘t have hurt! working designs did establish some neat titles there, without much help from sega at all apparently. shining the holy ark is still an all-time great dungeon crawler, i think, but the shining series sadly weren’t huge sellers, and god knows shitcanning the magnum opus trilogy after its first chapter didn't do that any favors…

i dunno, like way more RPGs should've seen saturn ports, but after the FF VII megaton announcement/shots going around, i feel like sega's only real shot is if sony hadn't come in or they'dve taken the proposal to combine efforts.
it should be said as a classic sega-head though: there are absolutely weirdos about who entirely blame sony for sega leaving the hardware game, and sometimes argue that a timeline without sony would've been better etc. which is categorically insane; the PSX's dev kits/C+ over assembly (i could be getting stuff wrong here!) alone absolutely put development in a better place, and i still find gems in the PSX library as a result of that oh damn sorry this is ballooning the topic more than it needs anyway shining force is great folks, yeah we all missed yogurt the first time around he's tricky like that

Too busy to pull up sample images, but putting it here so I don’t forget. Something I mentioned to Mindleftbody last week is how all these games use the :coffee: as a symbol for quicksave. A coffee break. I was thinking about starting a thread for all the games that use coffee as the symbol for breaking from the game.

@“treefroggy”#p122460 that's a really cool trend to notice, and an interesting alternative to, say, iwata or itoi wanting the game to more directly ask you to take breaks

@“IrishNinja”#p122482 lol Nintendo is pretty bad with that stuff, I’d say it was charming in precisely only earthbound, where it was awesome. In newer games if feels more like a liability thing, but in earthbound, I see it as the creator reminding you to go out there and have your own adventures :wink:

@“treefroggy”#p122500 agreed…the notion that “your life is the real mother 4 adventure” gets me choked up everytime :sob:

(reading the replies now) yeah no yeah I was just referring to the big defining RPGs that were playable on SEGA hardware. What provides the sensation of playing a true blue, fully fledged 16bit RPG with a three button controller in your hands.

because there's comparatively fewer rpgs for SEGA, I'll take what I can get, and prefer to play them on SEGA hardware.

Glad I played Shining Force, a cartridge game, before moving on to CD though.

we should do a genesis RPG thread! after all these years, i still need to run through:

light crusader
pier solar
beggar prince
some of the phantasy star text adventures, if those count

@“IrishNinja”#p122528 I‘m not sure beggar prince is super worth getting through, it’s reeeeal old. You got all those Sega CD ones? and crusader of centy? and beyond oasis?

@“exodus”#p122534 if not on disc, i do via mega everdrive pro! never did vay, dark wizard, or most sega-cd stuff that wasn't lunar 1&2 if you have any recommendations! and yeah, did & enjoyed both oasis & centy!

speaking of, you know which one i was all about as a kid but would have to revisit before co-signing? i remember thinking defender of oasis was pretty cool for its setting/etc on game gear back then, but i'd be willing to bet it's really tedious nowadays

@“IrishNinja”#p122540 well, realistically the lunars are probably the good ones, but silky lip is kinda cool, cosmic fantasy is tedious but sort of interesting as a pc engine crossover, revengers of vengeance is really bad but interesting to think about, and I‘ve wanted to try 3x3 eyes for a while… Oh and dungeon explorer if that counts, though it’s too tough for me.

OH and the smt game of course


@“IrishNinja”#p122540 speaking of, you know which one i was all about as a kid but would have to revisit before co-signing? i remember thinking defender of oasis was pretty cool for its setting/etc on game gear back then, but i’d be willing to bet it’s really tedious nowadays

It's not an especially novel game but it's extremely streamlined: navigation's never an issue, it auto-saves before every battle so there's virtually no penalty for being wiped out, IIRC it auto-revives fallen party members after a battle, etc. Looking back, it's surprising there weren't more super-forgiving handheld RPGs at the time, and that the standard-bearer for handheld RPGs was friggin' SaGa.

Maybe the most novel part is the Japanese manual, which has a little postscript from the devs at the end, talking about how miserable they all were while making the game.

wow I didn't expect to have the last boss of Shining & The Darkness spoiled by a random youtube short. I guess there is some sci fi elements lol.


TBH I didn't understand Shining Force when I first played it as a part of Sega Smash Pack Vol. 3. At that point I was a big enough JRPG fan to have played and loved Phantasy Star II in Vol. 1, but a strategy grid was beyond me. Having my character rise up on an elevated tile to smash an enemy was really cool; I felt bad because I died a lot. When I upgraded my first character and found them ineffective, I balked. “An upgrade should make your character more powerful,” I thought.

I came back a decade later with another collection. By then I had Fire Emblem, Growlanser, and several other venerable strategy game series under my belt. I realized I was too hard on old Shining Force, which had merely been a taste I hadn't acquired yet.

Anyway, this run went much better. I like the mixture of fantasy and sci-fi elements, the sometimes goofy characters, the simple but devastating magic, and the rather forgiving game loop. (You lose? Keep your XP and try again. Triangle Strategy got that one right.) It's a fun game to run through.

I have Shining Force CD sitting on my Mega Drive Mini 2. I'm hoping to get to it soon, maybe when I finish Lunar 2.


@“TaliesinMerlin”#p127221 Growlanser

We might have to take this to a separate thread, but Growlanser is near the top of my list of things I really want to like, so I might ask for some guidance there.

I first played the two MD Shining Forces via emulator and loved them, and later played the first game on iPhone - not the app that’s currently available but an older one that didn’t have ads or use cloud saves or anything, just autosaved your progress when you switched out of the app. It’s a great game to play in fifteen minute bursts during coffee breaks at work. I’ve since gotten the games on actual carts, though I last played II on the PS3 MD collection because my original hardware was playing up at the time. It’s a while since I played them but I think I like SF 1 better than 2, can’t remember why.

I played Shining in the Darkness on emulator around the same time I played the first two games but burned out on it. I wasn’t making maps, not sure if I’d been looking them up online. A few years ago I played it again, and this time:


I played on a Nomad, holding the console and moving around with my left hand and drawing maps in a notepad on my lap with my right hand. Absolutely loved it when playing this way. One thing with the Shining series is you can tell it was made by people who cared about it - there’s just a lot of charming stuff. Various little animations and things. At one point I had a ||giant foot descend like the Monty Python intro|| and kill an enemy party for me, which was a cool surprise.

Despite loving the mapping in SitD, I wasn’t about to do it myself in Shining the Holy Ark when the game does it for me. I had some screenshots and animated gifs I made when I played it, but I can’t find them now. It’s got some really great animations for attacks, from the way your party rush in to strike enemies through to the more detailed and complicated summons, but I remember it making a bad first impression visually with the opening cutscene’s scaling of pre-rendered sprites. Maybe they looked better on CRT.

@“Yim”#p127391 this map is great, and knowing shining the holy ark has auto mapping makes me more interested in putting that game in the console for for first time in 25 years

@“Yim”#p127391 shining the holy ark is indeed better on CRT, but i also think its the best first person dungeon crawler i've played

also that map making is top notch work! wish i could draw em like that

I found one of my StHA gifs:


It’s a good looking game, even if the opening cutscene looks like this:


The great Tamaki Yoshitaka, illustrator for Shining Force, Landstalker, Feda and Alundra among other classics, has sadly passed away from lung cancer last July.