Of all the lost opportunities on Sega’s part, the one that strikes a blow to the heart is that the western world only received the first instalment of the epic three-game experience that was Shining Force III. That it hasn’t seen remastering and release onto a modern mobile platform speaks volumes of the split between Camelot and Sega over this decision.
Essentially a remastering of the unreleased ‘Shining Force: Gaiden’ and the Game Gear exclusive ‘Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya’, Shining Force CD manages to bring two relatively light experiences together into a more meaty package.
Sadly after the release of ‘Sword of Hajya’, Sega decided not to translate any more mobile offerings from the Shining Force series onto the Game Gear, leaving it with just 1 out of 3 titles available. In over 20 years since its release it’s become painfully obvious that they have no intention of modifying this. Luckily Shining Force Central has a dedicated group of fans who have.
The Game Gear didn’t have a lot of RPGs in its catalogue, but those that it did produce were some of the best hand held experiences at the time, especially in the field of Tactical RPGs. The best of these are, of course, extensions of Sega’s classic Shining Force series.
Credited for launching Sega’s successful Shining Force series but usually ignored and representing a play-style that although great would be cast aside for the series until ‘Shining the Holy Ark’ appeared some time later on the Saturn. Shining in the Darkness is an intense first person dungeon-crawling experience on the Megadrive that rivals the D&D classic ‘Eye of the Beholder’ and genuinely deserves more love than is usually receives from series fans.
The sequel to Sega’s dungeon crawler ‘Shining in the Darkness’ took a radical departure from the foundations set down by the first game in the series, throwing a lot away and keeping the setting. What they produced in Shining Force was a game that aimed to further the relatively new Tactical RPG genre in a way that hadn’t been done before.
Shining Force II is the third game in Sega’s ‘Shining’ series that started with dungeon crawler Shining in the Darkness on the Megadrive and continued into Tactical RPG territory in Shining Force. Logic would dictate that the first game I reviewed would be one of these two titles, however Shining Force II has a special place in my heart and I felt it was only fitting that it be the first game reviewed on this new site.