Adieu, Game Boy Advance: SHINING FORCE: RESURRECTION OF THE DARK DRAGON

Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon
Developer: Amusement Vision
Publisher: Atlus
Genre: Tactical RPG
Release Date: 06/07/04

This game is a remake of the original classic by Camelot, Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention. The GBA version is about 85% the same, but with some new battles, characters, and some added plot that was originally written for Shining Force: Final Conflict for the Sega Game Gear. It’s not as good as the original Genesis version, but when I reviewed it for IP back on May 18th, 2004, it still maaged to get a whopping 9.0 from me.

Yes, that’s right. May, 2004. See, this game was actually released in Europe first on April 30th of 2004, and I managed to have the game in my hands in less than a week of it’s Euro release. I have to say that THQ, the publisher and localizer for Europe, did a better job translating than Atlus did, although you can reverse that comment in regards to the Shining SOUL localization. I was also the first person on the entire internet to review this game, as can be seen on sites like Gamerankings.com.

Shining Force and I have a long wonderful relationship. This has always been one of my favorite series of all time, and I have so many great memories wrapped up in the Genesis, Sega CD, and Game gear games. Sadly, when Sammy bought Sega they ruined the franchise with shit Shining title after shit Shining title, like Shining Force Neo and Shining Tears. Oh god, the horror. Good job Sega, you killed off one of your most popular franchises ever.

SF: RotDD won two awards from us in 2004. It took home Best Tactical RPG as well as best GBA game. It also came in third for GOTY, behind GTA: San Andreas and eventual winner Katamari Damacy. That’s pretty impressive for a remake. But that’s how strong the staff love is for this game, as well as the original.

It’s hard to sum up what’s so great about this game in such a little amount of space. Reading my review will give you a more in-depth look, but for now, let’s just say that Shining Force does nothing wrong and everything right. It has an amazingly deep and well designed plot. It features stunning graphics and wonderful music. It gives you tactical combat with 12 characters on your side at once; something no other SRPG has ever done. This is a GENESIS title people, and we still have yet to have tactical battles at this level of depth or with this many characters on the screen at once. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

Two things they did add to the game that are kind of near are the following:

1) Each character in the Force now has a pretty comprehensive back story that you can unlock by using them repeatedly in your force. The stories range from flat out awful to surprisingly good. Of course, the best ones are generally linked with the worst playable characters. Boo.

2) There are collectible cards of every major character in the game (both good and bad) that can be used in conjunction with one of the new “Mary Sue” characters for some pretty powerful effects.

Finally, I should throw in a bit about the plot to you new to the series

The story of Shining Force is honestly one of the best ever made. It’s the tale of two warring countries: Runefaust and Guardiana. It’s a tale of two brothers. It’s a tale of love between characters that is never truly spoken (But not by the good guys) and it is most of all a tale of a band of warriors united to stop the coming of the Dark Dragon, the god of destruction and darkness. It’s a simple tale, but 11 years ago it was ground breaking and has been taken by practically every RPG out there in some way and modified.

Darksol takes control of Ramladu, king of Runefaust and uses their mighty army to lay siege to the world in is quest to resurrect Dark Dragon. His general Kane slays the King of Guardiana and Varios, the head of the Guardiana Knights. Max, along with some young friends end up taking the battle all the way to Guardiana, being led by the King’s Advisor Nova.

Although I’m not a fan of any of the changes they made, ranging from the new characters being crazy powerful and overshadowing the originals, to changes to who gets what spells and when, RotDD is one of the best games ever released for the Game Boy Advance. It may not be as perfect as the original, but it’s still better than 95% of the games that have come out in the past 6 years, and that’s impressive in its own right. If you have never played the Genesis version, you need to hunt this down and get it as soon as possible. Thank you Atlus for bringing it stateside when Sega of America was being too retarded to do it themselves.