This game reminds me of Shining in the Darkness. It has
a better 3D engine, of course, but it also has some flaws
that Genesis' RPG also had. The small map is its main
problem. The game has some huge dungeons to explore, but
there aren't many interesting places, like towns or villages.
Most of the time, you'll be exploring dungeons and fighting
enemies. This becomes boring after some time.
As you can see, the gameplay isn't brilliant. In fact, the
strong points of this game are the graphics and the musics,
not the story. The game has good graphics, supported by a
decent 3D engine. The characters are more or less detailed,
being the only problem the excessive pixelization shown
sometimes (in closer plans). They're decent, colourful graphics,
but could be better. Either way, Saturn hasn't shown many
things better (mainly by fault of its programmers). Switching
to music, we also keep a good level. The songs are good,
giving the necessary environment to the game. You won't end
up singing them in the shower, though.
The playability is reasonable. The control method is simple
and quite similar to the remaining Shining games. If you're
used to it, there won't be any problems. If not, then don't
worry... it's not that hard getting into it.
Finally, the story. In the game you're Arthur, the mercenary.
You're teaming up with Melody and Forte, a well-known team.
Your first mission will be to capture Rodi, the Ninja... but
something goes wrong. In the middle of the fight, there's a
cave-in. From here on, you'll have a spirit living inside you.
And this is where the game really starts. The story isn't
bad... It can be predictable sometimes, but it's reasonable.
You'll be fighting to prevent the rebirth of the 1000 years
Kingdom and the consequent rise of the Vandals. But you'll
get help from one of them... You'll be able to control eight
different characters, which enhances a bit the story.
Should you buy this game? If you're interested in a superb
story, there are better games out there. If you don't mind
the small map and you want a game with good graphics and
musics, then this is your game. Better than Shining Force 3?
If you only have the chance to buy Shining Force's first
part, then I advise you to go for this game instead. But if
you can buy all three chapters in Shining Force 3 or if you
prefer the Shining Force style of play, then forget this game.
Of course, if Shining in the Darkness was your favourite game
you have no excuse to miss this RPG.