About Shining Force 2...
Many years ago, when I was but a child, we had this awesome thing for the Sega Genesis called the Sega Channel. For the ignorant and unfortunate who don't know, the Sega Channel was a subscription service by a cable company in which a monthly fee brought you over 50 titles to play. It brought you those titles via a slow, slow download. But you know what? It was sweet. The titles were mixed up every month, but some managed to stick around for repeat appearances. And games with save files were wonky; the manual read as though the save files would disappear if you loaded up another game (locking you to finishing those long, long RPGs lest your data disappear). But I had experiences where the save files remained intact despite loading another game. Maybe it meant you couldn't take the Sega Channel cart out of the Genesis. Not that we ever did.
Anyhow, early in our experiences with the glorious Sega Channel was Shining Force 2. At the time, the local cable company was having an issue where some dude named Mike managed to get his save file locked in the entire Sega Channel system (we knew his name was Mike because he named the main character that). And the game wouldn't save any progress whatsoever. It'd pick up right from where Mike left off, that bastard. But it was a taste of the game. When that whole debacle was cleared up, my brother and I pushed through the game. Though on my end, I cheated. Because I was terrible at strategy games and that's pretty much followed me up to today.
Shining Force 2 follows the story of Bowie (default main character name; you could name him Mike if you REALLY wanted to), a young lad in the kingdom of Granseal. A childish ploy to enter the castle walls eventually spirals into Bowie gathering and leading an army against the forces of Zeon, one of the ancient Devil Kings sealed away in ages past.
Like the first, the game is a strategy RPG and contains many of the same elements, slightly improved. Although you gain many characters throughout the game, you can only bring 12 (including the main character) out to battle. These followers are a varying bunch - some are straight-forward warriors, others can fly, some are mages and healers, some archers, etc. Like the first game, the promotion system is in play but requires level 20 instead of level 10 and also doesn't bring the stat penalty that part one had. Part two is more colorful (literally, I remember the palette of the previous game being more... bland) and a bit more upbeat and expressive in story and characters. The scope of the game also seems a bit bigger and sinister.
To be fair to part one, it received a remake for the Gameboy Advance that did a lot to improve its story telling. Also prior to both games was Shining in the Darkness, which was a dungeon crawling RPG and was otherwise a traditional RPG in its combat aspects.
Fuckin' Shining Force, How Does It Work?!
I guess I should've explained this long ago and am now editing it into the post. If you need to understand the game mechanics precisely, read the below stuffs (not actually a spoiler). Frankly, I thought the gist of the gameplay was clear but Rent being Rent had to ask for this.
First I'll go over character stats. LV
, and MP
should be fairly obvious. If not, go play a fucking video game. EXP
works differently in this game. Every time you attain 100 EXP you gain a level up, which will grant a random number toward your stats within a certain range (all characters of all classes average 1 stat gain toward all stats, and some characters / classes will gain 2 toward a class-specific stat; this changes at promotion
). EXP gains scale, so the higher your level compared to an enemy you earn less experience for attacking or killing it. As I just mentioned, the game has a promotion
system, where you can advance your characters to a new class. In the above, a MAGE can promote to WZRD (Wizard), or to a SORC (Sorcerer) with a special item. What promotion does is change the character's sprite, and enhances the random-range for stat gains (going from 1 to 2, to like 2 to 4). Some promotions for specific characters will allow for spells to be learned. In the specific case above, Adus would gain a lot more MP per level up, and have some more HP, maybe some AGI and DEF. MOV can never go up with levels, but can increase for specific characters upon promotion.
- This is the character's physical attack. 8 means the character will do 8 damage, with a chance to strike for a couple points less.
- This is the character's resistance to physical attacks. It's point for point, so 7 DEF reduces damage taken by 7.
- This affects how fast the character will act in battle, which means how soon their turn will come up in a fight. Every character and enemy will move and act once per "turn" before the cycle repeats. I think it also affects chance to avoid attacks and getting a second attack.
- This is how many spaces at a time a character can move. This is before penalties. 5 means a character can move 5 spaces on the tile grid, on flat terrain. Forests, deserts, mountains, and other terrains can penalize a character's movement, reducing the range by 1 or 2 points. It's dynamic, so diverse terrains will have odd movement range patterns. MOV is somewhat further complicated by characters and enemies having not-explicitly identified movement types. There's walking, centaur, hovering, swimming, flying, and other movement types, all affected by different terrain types in their own way when it comes to moving across them.
- At most, a character will learn 4 spells. Spells have their own associated levels, the highest being 4. Not all spells have multiple levels. Characters learn spells and their new ranks at set levels, it isn't randomized like stats.
- All characters can carry four items at a time. This includes holding their equipped weapon, knocking it down to 3 extra item slots for many characters. There is no armor to equip in the game. There are rings that can be equipped for varying effects, but rings are rare and found in specific places in the game (as in, not everyone gets a ring; not even most people get a ring).
- The game keeps track of how many enemies the character has killed and how many times the character has been defeated. This has no game effect.
- You buy stuff with it, duh. But I'll use this time to note that if you lose a battle (the main character dies) you will lose half your gold. You gain gold by killing enemies.
The above screenshot shows a spell being selected for use, but also doubles as a diagram for what movement looks like. What you see above is a spell (Heal 3) with a range of 3; this means it can reach any tile within 3 spaces of the user. If the above were a movement situation, the character's movement range would be 3 (nobody has a MOV stat this low; but in a desert, where movement penalty applies, some characters have a MOV range of 3 and many have 2).
Some spells have an area of effect, working on the same grid. This AoE can spread out to the spaces immediately next to the central target, and some AoE spells can affect an area almost as big as the one you see in the shaded area. Whenever you're targeting someone or something to hit or use a spell on, it is targeted on that screenshot with a white blinking broken-border (lanes on the road). AoE spell ranges are identified this way.
Spells are purely friend-affecting or purely enemy-affecting. If an ally is standing in a place where Blaze 2 would hit, the ally is not damaged.
In the game, doing an action will end your turn. If you stand in the same place as you started and perform an action, you don't get to move after. When you select an action to perform, an animation will play showing some HOT EXTREME ACTION. Hope you like sprite recolors.
Although I explained this in an update already, I'll state it again: Land Effect is a bonus to the character's defense while standing on that tile. Typically, terrain types that are harder to move on will provide the bonuses. There's 0, 15, and 30 percent land bonuses. Flying characters gain no bonus no matter where the are.
There are two ways to win a battle: the most common is to kill all enemies. Some battles have leaders though, sometimes not obvious, and killing the leader will end the battle on the spot.
The Shining Force
Okay, so here's how this is going down - I love getting the community involved and I'm doing it twofold here. The first way is that I'm using the code that allows you to rename all playable characters. So to jazz things up a bit, all the characters will be named after forumers! The folks involved in my (unfortunately) failed Etrian Odyssey 2 LP are given a role here, to make up for that. And if I didn't pick you for one of the 30 characters, it wasn't a matter of leaving you out on purpose or anything like that. Some characters I did give very precise thought toward in naming though.
The other community involvement is character use voting. Each time I get a new character (after the initial 12 characters have joined), I'm gonna give some info on their given class / stat situation and let you guys vote on whether or not to use 'em. I don't care much for what criteria you use to cast your votes. But I learned my lesson from EO2 - the counter balance to you guys trying to screw me over, even by accident, is that I get to choose who the newcomers replace in the current lineup. I also reserve the right to veto any votes.
By the way, I'm cheating you guys out of a game with an excellent soundtrack. I'll leave it to readers to post whatever YouTubes may exist for it. It'd be more thrilling if it happened as songs would normally come up!
Starting with part 28, and retrofitted into every update, is a link to a YouTube video for any given track from the game that fits the entry best or that I have otherwise not presented. The link can be found via the Shining Force 2 logo atop every update.
Starting with part 37 I've decided to ditch the voting process as it was slow and since the hiatus and update pacing has dropped dramatically. So all decisions on party members will be made by me.
Special thanks to Shining Force Central for many images I'll end up using (but not on their bandwidth!)
Special thanks to hedgehogclan of YouTube for having the music of the game available!
(those chosen to fight!)
Part 0 - The Intro
Part 1 - The Kingdom of Granseal
Part 2 - The Quest is Bestowed
Part 3 - Yeel is Boring
Part 4 - Galam's Villainy Emerges
Part 5 - The Escape from Galam Prison
Part 6 - Hurry to Granseal!
Part 7 - Into the Ancient Tower
Part 8 - Catastrophe! Piracy! Literacy!
Part 9 - Should've Tried Smallpox
Part 10 - Birds Are Weird
Part 11 - Diplomacy at Work
Part 12 - Double feature battles!
Part 13 - Thanks for Watching!
Part 14 - Putting the Plot into Focus
Part 15 - How to Get a Raft
Part 16 - Playing Pirates Again!
Part 17 - Death and the Desert
Part 18 - Spelunking Force
Part 19 - How to Get a Caravan
Part 20 - Dwarves, Fairies, Elves, and Orcs
Part 21 - Oddler Hears a Who
Part 22 - It's Always Something!
Part 23 - What're the Rules for Chess?
Part 24 - Honey I Shrunk the Shining Force
Part 25 - Holy Shit, it's the Villain!
Part 26 - Granseal is Still Standing
Part 27 - Pimp My Shining Force
Part 28 - How the Devil Army Conquers
Part 29 - Select the Pistol, and then, Select Your Shining Force
Part 30 - How to Set a Trap
Part 31 - Mitula and the Lack of a Good Title
Part 32 - Hope You Like Plot Advancement
Part 33 - The Liberation of Horse Nation!
Part 34 - Didn't We See This Battlefield Before?
Part 35 - Battle of the Moun
Part 36 - Futurama's Hiatus Comeback, Eat Your Heart Out
Part 37 - How to Crash an Ancient Artifact
Part 38 - Geshp Runs Away Again
Part 39 - Everyone Can Join the Shining Force!
Part 40 - Wicked Garden
Part 41 - Magic Minotaurs Are Cooler in M:TG
Character Vote Results:
ACTUAL SPOILERS BELOW (on the order of characters). As characters show up in the LP, I'll move them out of the spoiler tag and reveal their forumer name. I'll keep track of the vote counts. If any numbers are beside the character, it means their voting is over.
Henroid (the hero always stays)
Sollah (AUTO IN - NO VOTE)
Rent (AUTO IN - NO VOTE) (replaced by Kaseius)
UDScots (Undead Scottsman) (AUTO IN - NO VOTE)
Adus (AUTO IN - NO VOTE)
EvlBdmn (EvilBadman) (AUTO IN - NO VOTE)
Pikapuf (AUTO IN) (replaced by LewieP)
Pata (AUTO IN - NO VOTE)
Pony (AUTO IN - NO VOTE)
RaijinQ (Raijin Quickfoot) (AUTO IN - NO VOTE)
JJ (AUTO IN - NO VOTE) (replaced by Koolegl)
Reynlds (Reynolds) (AUTO IN - NO VOTE)
LewieP ( 9
Kaseius ( 8
in favor ) (wins the creed vote)
Frostey ( 4
in favor )
Khavall ( 2
in favor )
Olivaw ( 5
in favor )
Willeth ( 4
Mordrak ( VOTE VOIDED, NO IN )
Mighty ( 3
Pancake ( 0
Koolegl (TheKoolEagle) ( 2
) (results veto'd)
Xenobor (Xenogears of Bore) ( 2
JAEF ( 2
USporky (Uncle Sporky) ( voting canceled; not in )
Campion ( takes Evlbdmn's spot )
C.Tube (Cardboard Tube) ( will be in, duh )
Drez (doesn't get in)
Chaz (doesn't get in)
Klyka (definitely in)
ONE WEEK LATER
We are gathered here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. But it should be noted that this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. Also, we got Mythril. Lots and lots of Mythril. Can't forget that.
God damn it woman will you sto-Anyways, He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings.
Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human.
~RIP RENT 2008-2010~
...okay, maybe I was a little too excited.