Give The Sega CD Some Sweet Sweet Lovin’
And here it is people. #1 with a bullet. This probably shouldn’t surprise you knowing how much Bebito and I love this series. Our first ever-real feature at 411 was my history of Shining Force that spanned my living in two different continents.
The problem is figuring out what to say that I haven’t already. After all, I’ve talked about this game in great detail twice before. In fact, the best place to read about it is right here.
But let’s actually take a third look at the games on this disc. Back to a time when Camelot was still known as Sonic Software Planning. A time when 16-bit gaming was hip and cool, and when the Phillies nearly won the world series.
Shining Force CD was an incredible buy for your money. There were two known games on the disc, and two hidden ones as well. Yes. TWO HIDDEN GAMES. Can you imagine that today? 2 full length RPG’s and two mini ones all on the same disc for 50$, all new? All innovative? It wouldn’t happen! But SSP and Sega pulled it off to help sell the system. And I know I ran out and bought it. Remember you’re talking to a guy who chose Shining Force 1 and beating it three times in a row over his then girlfriend when he was 15. Yes, HBK himself chose a video game over tang. That’s how great this series is.
And unlike the true Shining Force 2, Shining Force CD is a direct sequel to the first Shining Force where Max took on Dark Sol and Dark Dragon. In this game, the original team is older, Anri is Queen and there is a new enemy to the land of Guardiana. And of course, it’s up to your team of various races, classes, and powers to take out Demons of all shapes and sizes.
What’s really nice about this game is that it is streamlined. It’s ALL about the Tactics style gameplay. No need to run around to towns or random battles. After each Tactics session, there is a cut scene and you get a chance to heal up and buy new items before kicking it in combat again. SF CD is set up in a way that a lot of tactics games since have emulated: Be all about the battles and allow the story to tell itself instead of forcing the player to run around hoping certain items to characters they speak to allow you to move on in your quest. Because unlike most turn based RPG’s, battles here take thought and strategy and thus they are actually fun. You’re ROLE PLAYING. You’re not picking an action off a drop down menu or dealing with 3 minute long summoning spells that you can’t fast forward. You’re getting true combat. Flanking, Sneak attacks, the ability to run and double or triple team an opponent. This is true gaming goodness right here.
The important thing about the SF CD is that it links all the games together continuity wise. It’s before SF1 and Final Conflict. It foreshadows SF 2 and 3. And as Final Conflict was never translated into English, this is your only chance to wax nostalgically about those original SF characters. You even get to play as a few!
Graphically, it’s typical Shining Force. Some incredible portraits of each character in the game. Graphics that change both after your promote a character to a new class. There’s also an inordinate amount of detail shown to the background. The little hills. The thatched roofs of houses. The stream having ripples and crests in the water. Sonic Software Planning (Camelot) put a lot of work into what many people find to be the crown jewel of the Sega CD, much like the first two SF games were on the Genesis.
Shining Force CD was an effort of love the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time in the VG industry. Sure people release old games on comps nowadays. But these were four new and complete games that had never seen the light of day before. For those that bought the Sega CD new and labored under the expensive add-on price, this game more than made up for loss of cash. Any role-playing fan worth their salt needs to try this game. Needs to play all four games through to the end. There is 80 hours plus of tactics style role-playing on this CD. The fact you can buy it on Ebay complete with manual for half it’s original cost just adds to the must have value of this game. Find this game. Devour it. Love it. Every Shining Force game that has come out managed to redefine Role Playing games. Let this be your chance to see why. Especially if you’ve never played a Shining Force game before.