Shining The Holy Ark
was the ninth installment of the Shining Series
but the gameplay shares more in common with the original Shining in the Darkness
than any other title in the franchise. It was a first person Dungeon Crawler rather than a strategy game. Itís also an indirect prequel to Shining Force III
; several characters reappear in that game, and the continuing conflict between Spirits and Vandals is central to its plot.
In game three mercenaries Arthur, Melody and Forte are tasked with hunting down a ninja called Rodi who has holed up in an abandoned mine. When the group finally catch up to the ninja, a space-ship smashes through the roof mortally wounding everybody involved. In order to save their lives the Spirits inside the ship possess Arthur, Melody and Rodi. While still retaining their free will they gain additional skills. During this however Forte gets possessed by an evil spirit and goes missing.
Arthur, Melody and Rodi decide to temporally combine forces in order to escape the deadly mine, find Forte and find out just what is going on with these mysterious Spirits. Along the way they uncover an evil plot to revive a powerful Vandal that would doom the world to an age of darkness.
To help them out they meet up with female paladin Lisa, dragonman Basso, female ninja Akane and the half-wolf ninja Doyle.
Shining of the Holy Ark Contains the following tropes:
- Absurdly-Spacious Sewer
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit
- Awesome but Impractical: The Soul Steal spell. Granted it can instantly kill monsters, its success rate is quite low (meaning it's faster to just kill them conventionally) and doesn't work on bosses.
- Cardboard Prison
- Chest Monster: Quite a nasty one too; the Chest Ghost has Soul Steal and has a habit of killing Basso in an area where you really need him.
- Chokepoint Geography
- Climax Boss: The fight against Rilix, complete with unique music.
- Color-Coded Stones: One dungeon has the player collecting different coloured gem stones to use in a Soup Cans puzzle. The only way to figure out what gem went where was were was if you knew what the stock colours of the gems where.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Galm, while we may not know his reasons he seems pretty neutral.
- Defeat Means Playable: For all the characters, bar maybe Akane, but especially Rodi, as you do actually fight him directly.
- Degraded Boss: The Evil Spirits make cameos throughout the game, and you finally fight them at the game's midpoint climax. They then appear in the final dungeon as regular mooks.
- With some slight changes to their spells, the Wraith reappears as the Reaper and the Time Warrior reappears as the Taros.
- Demonic Possession: Forte and the King.
- Dual Boss: The two Evil Spirits you fight near the climax of the game; it quickly gets a lot tougher.
- Dug Too Deep: The Temple hidden in the mines.
- Evil Chancellor: Rilix
- Evil-Detecting Dog
- Fairy Sexy
- Faux First-Person 3D
- First-Person Ghost
- Frictionless Ice: While traveling through the mountain pass. Thanks to all the holes that would lead drop you into the previous areas this was pretty tedious.
- The Good Chancellor: Sabato.
- Glass Cannon: Forte, playing the classic Squishy Wizard. He has the most powerful area-attack spells in the game (bar Inferno), but has pitiful HP and melee defense.
- Guide Dang It: To find Doyle you have to revisit the first village and search a "suspicious looking tree", but only after a set point. Also the infamous stone puzzle.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Basso and Panzer.
- Haunted House
- Heroic Host: Arthur, Melody and Rodi with the three spirits.
- Hit Points
- Infant Immortality: Julian. But averted with stories of Elise eating children and one scene where she actually does it in front of you.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence
- Kick the Dog: The first time you meet Elise, you witness her knock a dog unconscious after it barks at her.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: You can steal 1 gold from under a bed and then get told off by a NPC.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Rodi.
- Last Chance Hit Point: An odd one. Only the three characters that are possessed with spirits will automatically revive after being "killed" in battle, with a measly 1 HP. All the other characters required a trip to a church, items or spells.
- The Lost Woods
- The Maze: Every. Single. Level.
- Medieval European Fantasy
- Never Say "Die": The party members and the monsters you fight never die, they are just 'exhausted'. Averted at the very end, as Rilix does explicitly die, confirmed by Elise in the dialogue, while it's pretty obvious that Panzer dies too, although the only implication of this is him collapsing to the floor at the conclusion of the final boss, and then Akane kneeling in front of his grave during the credits.
- Nominal Importance: A big clue as to the importance of characters early in the plot is if they have portraits or not. For example, in Desire Village, the only three with portraits are Basso, Lisa and the Halfling (later revealed to be Doyle) who all join your party later on at different times.
- Only Smart People May Pass: Who knew that algebra could be useful in solving the stone puzzle!
- Optional Party Member: Doyle.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Basso
- Our Fairies Are Different
- Our Spirits Are Different
- Overrated And Underleveled: Rodi.
- Palette Swap
- Random Encounters
- Red Right Hand: Rilix.
- Respawning Enemies
- Scratch Damage
- Sealed Evil in a Can: the Vandal that the bad guys are trying to release. In fact Vandals in general, only the weakest ones weren't sealed away with Galm being the exception.
- Shifting Sand Land: The South Shrine and Mirage Village outside the Tower of Illusion.
- Shining Goodness: Well of course!
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World
- Squishy Wizard: Forte.
- Tank Controls
- Temple of Doom: The three Shrines and the Tower of Illusion.
- Trauma Inn
- The Unfought: Elise, maybe even Galm depending on how you felt about him.
- Wall Master
- When Trees Attack
- Units Not to Scale: When Arthur is on the world map.
- Wutai: Far East Village.