Shining Force Retro/iPhone review!

Time for a little cheeky re-post of an old retro game review; Shining Force, of Mega Drive fame. Now that this game is available on the iPhone, it seems worth retelling the world how much I love it. Hence:


There have been worse names for an army, but one does wonder what’s so great about the ‘Shining Force’. The Killy Force would be better, surely? However, in an archetypal fantasy world torn apart by the battle between good and evil, it’s either Shining or Dark, me laddo, none of this middle-ground, determine your own morality shit. Oh, except you can’t join the Dark, because it’s 16 bit and frankly there was barely enough space for the good guys to have a story. So, grab your sword and shield, young adventurer, and face a torrent of violence that would drive any man insane, if it wasn’t filtered into lovely squares.


That’s right- in the topsy turvy world of Shining Force (subtitle: The Legacy of Great Intention), everything fits on a neat square board. Your doods are square, your houses are square and your prowess in battle is measured by how many squares you can subjugate. Don’t let this put you off though- we’re talking about some high-end square graphics here, and ‘in battle’ as it were, we see some nifty animations done all proper like.

Samurai vs cerberus = win

You play as Max, or whatever you choose to name him (we opted for Daddy), who lives in Guardiana; a shitty backwater kingdom in the land of Rune. Guardiana is attacked by the armies of Runefaust, led by the evil Dark Sol. Apart from having better names, these guys are solid evil muthas and want to resurrect the ancient Dark Dragon, which would be bad for everyone smaller than a dragon. It’s up to Max, who is sent on a suicide mission with the other village youths (seriously, sending a handful of kids to do this?!), to stop the invaders. Along the way, they get pally with a variety of cool folks, from the standard fantasy fare (mages, centaurs, dwarves, elves), to the more outlandish (wolfmen, dragons, and a squid thingy).

But so much fun...

So what makes this retro game worth downloading for free shelling out £1.50 for? It’s a classic RPG for starters, and for fans of the genre it will expose the missing link between figety DOS fantasy and the 3D wonderland we have today. It has a funky soundtrack, as all old games do, and has a bundle of sequels to play with. The second game is in fact, in my eyes, better than the first. If you like your combat to be arranged into squares, you’ll like Shining Force.

by Bret

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