- Kane/Cain's death. He was shown to be a ruthless overlord most of the game only to turn out to have been controlled by a mask and turning out to be a good guy all along.
- The ending. Max uses the Egress spell to save the whole time but is left behind as the palace of Dark Dragon falls. The whole team believes Max had died to stop Dark Dragon. It's especially painful to see Mae's reaction in the first game as she states she refuses to believe Max is dead and calls out his name in anguish. The Remake does this further as everyone can have a chance to do this while reflecting on the time they fought alongside Max if he had used them in every battle.
- In addition, it becomes apparent after the credits that Max is still alive, but he is exhibits elements of PTSD and is so rocked from the traumatizing battles that he doesn't even care about going back home, and is totally fine with letting the Shining Force think he died in the final battle. All he wants is to simply settle down in a peaceful community be it a random farm village far away from home.
- The deaths of Max's mentor, Varios, and the King Of Guardiana. It's even accompanied by appropriate music titled, "Look To The King."
- Some of the Shining Force members' backstories can be really sad:
- Arthur was a soldier who happened to possess amazing fighting ability, which quickly got him promoted to Knight Captain. His lack of training and experience led to a series of mistakes on Arthur's part, and many soldiers who served under him died. Guilty and disillusioned with war, Arthur left the battlefield and retired to Manarina where he became a simple laundryman.
- Khris (at least in the GBA remake, Resurrection of the Dark Dragon) was an orphan, and the orphanage she lived at was beset by a terrible sickness that killed off most of the children there. Khris, who survived the illness, swore to become a healer so she wouldn't experience such tragedies ever again.
- The destruction of Guardiana deserves mention, too. When you leave for your first mission, the town's a thriving mini-kingdom. After Kane gets through with it, though, you're hard-pressed to find a completely intact building or a soldier who can still stand.
- If you talk to the knights in Guardiana in Chapter 1 (before you go off to fight Runefaust), almost everyone has nothing but spiteful things to say about Max, who they see as a young upstart who's wasting Lord Varios' time, all because Lord Varios decided to teach Max and not them.
- In the original game, only Mae has faith that the training Max received from her father will pay off. The remake has her join in on her fellow knights' resentment. Sucks to be Max, doesn't it?
Tearjerker / Shining Force