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Shining Force (subtitled The Legacy of Great Intention on the title screen) is the first title in a series of turn-based strategy role-playing games, and is part of a larger franchise known simply as the Shining Series, and is considered Sega's answer to Fire Emblem by many.note 

Shining Force begins in the kingdom of Guardiana, where the main character, Max, is put in charge of the titular Shining Force and charged with stopping an invasion from the rival Runefaust army. The army is controlled by Darksol, a mysterious cloaked man with aspirations to revive the monstrous Dark Dragon and use it to Take Over the World. It's a prequel to the first-person Genesis RPG Shining in the Darkness, which featured Darksol's son Dark Sol (or, in Japan, Mephisto).

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The game had a Game Boy Advance remake, now subtitled Resurrection of the Dark Dragon. published in 2004. It features enhanced graphics and sound and an extended story that involves new subplots and characters as well as tweaks to the mechanics to provide more balanced gameplay.

Its sequel, Shining Force II, was released in 1993 in Japan and 1994 elsewhere, but the story of the first Shining Force game is continued in the Shining Force Gaiden Games for the Sega Game Gear.


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Shining Force provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Characters tend to alternate between having fantasy-sounding names (Tao, Gort, Balbaroy) and standard English names (Max, Arthur, Ken). One character even has both, due to a mistranslation rendering Lug as Luke.
  • After the End: The British comic adaptation only, which had Granseal as an island in the distant future of our world, after a nuclear war led to mutations which produced analogues to the usual fantasy races.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Max is envied and resented by the other knights of Guardiana because Lord Varios, a skilled and esteemed knight captain, is teaching him instead of them. Said knights also see Max as an upstart kid who's wasting Varios's time.
  • All Swords Are the Same: Giving a character a different weapon swaps the weapon you see in their battle sprite, but otherwise, the animations are exactly the same. The only exception is the Chaos Breaker, which has fancy fire effects.
  • All There in the Manual: You won't know the backstories of all the members of the Shining Force until you read the game's manual.
  • Annoying Arrows: Arrow equipment upgrades tend to be very strong compared to other classes' weapons, but in exchange most archers don't have great attack growths for most of the game to compensate for their range. This means that Hans and Diane tend to spike and dip in attack power between their upgrades, getting extremely strong as soon as they obtain one and dealing Scratch Damage a few battles later. Lyle, the final archer, avoids this by being a complete Glass Cannon.
  • Anti-Grinding: The experience you get from killing enemies varies depending on your level; power up high enough and it's hard to find anything that'll give more than one point. Healing gives experience only if there was actual damage healed, but always gives a minimum of 10 points per heal, making it very easy for them to grind once they have enough MP to spam Heal and Aura. You have won the moment you can use it 10 times per fight. Characters with low attack stats that only do Scratch Damage per attack will only get minimal experience for it.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only have 12 characters in each battle, including your mandatory leader character. This can sometimes lead to having to make painful decisions over who gets bumped from the team when a strong new character comes along.
  • Armor and Magic Don't Mix: Mages might be the best at defeating heavily armored enemies, but their low physical defense requires them to be guarded by other units. Downplayed with Arthur, who gets first-tier elemental spells, having lived in a city of mages.
  • Artifact Mook: A single Evil Puppet appears in Balbazak's army in Chapter 4, despite that enemy type being last seen in Chapter 2 (around seven battles earlier) and being created by Mishaela, who doesn't reappear until Chapter 6.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The enemies you will face are... not so shining. A few examples to note:
    • Enemy healers get the worst of it, as they will often attack for low damage or do nothing during their turns instead of healing. Even when they do decide to heal someone, they always use the strongest healing spell they have available, even if the target is only slightly injured.
    • Enemies that have high-damage, defense-ignoring spells and unique moves, especially bosses, can randomly decide to use their weaker attacks. For example, Darksol can use a much weaker regular attack instead of his more powerful Demon Breath.
    • Enemies with great support abilities often use them at the wrong times.
  • Automatic Crossbows: When archers are promoted to bowmasters, they swap their bows for giant crossbows that can fire barrages of arrows or explosive shells.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Cursed weapons. Despite sporting far higher attack than anything that can be bought in stores, they carry negative drawbacks that make them undesirable. Cursed weapons can take away the user's HP with attacks, and cursed rings grant attack buffs but can randomly stop the user from attacking; they may also affect their stats negatively. They cannot be removed without the aid of a costly purification from a priest or a high-level detox spell. They do have their uses, though; the damage drawback of weapons can be rendered moot by giving them to the right units (the tankiest knights can wield the Devil Lance without needing to worry about the chip damage chance), and the rings can be used in combat to replicate spell effects without triggering the curse.
    • The Sword of Darkness qualifies on two counts: in addition to being a cursed weapon, its spell effect when used is Desoul. Even if it were useful, it's only available for a single battle, after which it gets replaced by the Chaos Breaker, which has the same attack stat but isn't cursed.
    • Certain Magikarp Power characters, primarily Adam, who appear later in the game. They need Level Grinding to make them effective party members, whereas you're probably using Zylo, Pelle (or Arthur), Musashi and others who you've had plenty of time to build up or were strong right out of the game. Hanzou could be this if you leveled up a lot, but if you haven't this is averted as he can still deal good damage.
  • Awesome, but Temporary: Both the Sword of Light and the Sword of Darkness. The Sword of Light sports a very high attack and can cast Bolt 2 unlimited times. The Sword of Darkness, while cursed, is tied with the strongest weapon in the game at 40 attack and can also be equipped by the flying Birdmen. However, both swords are required to be discarded to unlock the ultimate Sword of Plot Advancement in the game, the Chaos Breaker. The Sword of Light is only available for three battles as a result, and the Sword of Darkness only for one.
  • Badass Boast: In the remake, everyone in the current party gives their own when facing Dark Dragon.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Gong, whose combination of Healing Hands and decent combat capability means he usually levels much quicker than the standard Squishy Wizard-type White Mages at first, only falling off once weapon boosts outpace his growth. He's also the first optional character to join the team in the series.
  • Battle Couple: The birdwoman Amon and her husband, Balbaroy. Both of them join at the same time and are effectively the same unit apart from slightly different growths, making them most effective when paired together.
  • Blade on a Stick: Two versions appear for knights/paladins; spears and lances. Spears are thrown weapons, sacrificing damage for range. Lances are shorter range, but do more damage. Giving them both enable switching between them depending on how close the knights can get to the enemy.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Even worse than most JRPGs of its time; the game's English translation left out major plot points, such as the player character suffering from amnesia, or the reveal that he and Kane are brothers. In addition, the names of a few objects were romanized to English rather than being translated, resulting in Gratuitous Japanese such as "Sugoi Mizugi" (amazing bikini) "Kitui Huku" (revealing dress). The GBA remake has a more accurate translation
  • Bootstrapped Leitmotif: The "Circus Battle" theme. It actually plays for several major bosses, but the Marionette left such a strong impression on players that the theme is associated exclusively with its battle. In the GBA remake, the Marionette—along with Mishaela, who fights similarly—are the only two bosses where this theme plays.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • The Muddle spell can do this to your fighters. Though it says your characters are "confused" or "in a daze", the spell basically lets the AI hijack your characters and make them waste their MP or go after whoever they can kill. Some mages also get this spell and can confuse enemies in turn.
    • Kane turned out to be this, brainwashed by Darksol into becoming his weapon, after you defeat him in Dragonia. The same applies to King Ramladu, and possibly most of Runefaust's forces as a whole.
  • Breakable Weapons: Some weapons, such as the Halberd and the Atlas Axe, can be used to cast spells with a random chance of them showing wear. Using them again will destroy them, unless they're taken to a shop for repairs. Rings have this effect as well, but this trope doesn't apply, since they're not weapons. Averted with the Sword of Light, Sword of Darkness, and Chaos Breaker. The former two are needed to create the latter, and the latter is required to defeat Dark Dragon; as a result, they will never break when used to cast spells.
  • But Thou Must!: The player is forced to spare Balbazak after he begs for mercy, despite him being otherwise irredeemable. It doesn't amount to much, since Darksol promptly obliterates him. Earlier on, the player also needs to forgive the King of Alterone in order to continue on, after having gotten into the last battle due to him ratting out Max to Runefaust after surrendering to them.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Max, the Hero Unit, can never be removed from the active Shining Force, and him dying automatically ends the battle. This means that he often needs to be protected by other units, but often leads to him typically being many times stronger than the other characters if he gets levels.
  • Chain Lightning: The Bolt/Spark spell has a wider Area of Effect than Blaze or Freeze, and is one of the most useful spells because of this.
  • Character Development: Bleu starts off as a young cowardly dragon who is babied by the children of Rudo and dislikes fighting. However, when Karin is threatened by one of Kain's soldiers, the dragon Grew a Spine and saved the girl by roasting the enemy to ash. If you choose to keep Bleu in your party, level him up, and promote him, he'll turn into a powerful and mighty adult dragon who inflicts as much damage as Zylo and uses lightning breath.
  • Circus of Fear: In Rindo, one of the boys from the town gets lost inside a circus trap set by Mishaela, and so Max and the gang have to defeat an army of Monster Clowns to rescue him.
  • Class Change Level Reset: Once characters reach a certain level, they can be promoted. Doing so upgrades their class—for example, a Knight becomes a Paladin, and a Warrior becomes a Gladiator—at the cost of sending them back to level 1. However, some of their stats are preserved, and the level cap that affects unpromoted characters is removed.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: A subtle example: the mage Anri specializes in the Freeze line of spells, Alef specializes in the Bolt spells, while Tao has all of the Blaze spells. Anri wears a blue (and later, black) robe, Alef wears a yellow (later green) robe, and Tao wears a purple robe.
  • Combat Medic:
    • Khris, who despite being a straight White Magician Girl on paper, out-damages the actual Combat Medic Gong at higher levels.
    • Many healers can do a lot of damage when equipped with the proper staff (most of them can critically hurt particular enemies—i.e, the GBA version's Voodoo Charm can one-shot undead enemies), and since a mage's attack spells often do fixed amounts of damage, it's better to let them attack as well until their spells reach level three or higher.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Shining Force had a loose comic adaptation in Sonic the Comic, running for a single series.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: To compensate for their poor AI in other areas, enemy units often have foresight benefits and stat advantages that aren't available for the player, such as high speed that can grants them unexpected extra turns, extremely high dodge rates, being able to sense when they can get a double-attack, and surviving attacks with a sliver of health. Most of it was averted in the GBA remake, where you can see the order of turns now, and the AI cannot "read" double attacks anymore.
  • Cool Sword: Some weapons can be used to cast spells. This ability makes the Sword of Light able to cast Bolt 2 on a wide area as many times as you like to hit multiple enemies at once for good experience gain, making it easy for Max to level grind until he loses it.
  • The Corrupter: Darksol was the one responsible for turning the kingdom of Runefaust, formerly named "Protectora", into an evil force that antagonizes the player characters by the start of the game, all for a plan to resurrect an evil dragon.
  • Crutch Character: Zuika in the remake. Narsha is a little too unprepared for what the game throws at her, and Zuika meanwhile is able to solo the entire maps. However, he manages to remain quite useful if the player chooses to use him.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Anyone going into the GBA remake for the first time may want to use some old favorites, not realizing that the way post-promotion stats work in the remake means several top-tier characters from the original have toppled down the ranks.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Usually not the case; "Dark" or "Evil" items are generally cursed and damage their user in exchange for their awesome power, but when part of a Yin-Yang Bomb, the Sword of Darkness isn't evil (the words "dark" and "evil" are practically interchangeable most of the time, perhaps due to translation issues).
  • Decapitated Army: If the Force's leader dies, you automatically lose the battle no matter what, and have to start over. This applies to some enemies as well. Sometimes, a boss or powerful new enemy will be in charge, and defeating them will kill lead to an instant victory.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Kane, one of Darksol's top commanders and the one who kickstarts most of the initial plot, is fought midway through Chapter 6. Despite his high difficulty and significance, his defeat only marks the two-thirds point of the game.
  • Doomed Hometown: The core members of Max's party live in Guardiana. After their first battle with Runefaust forces, they return to find their hometown in ruins and several people either wounded or dead.
  • Downer Ending: Subverted. After the final battle, Max is sunk under the water with the Chaos Breaker while a majority of the remaining of the force is Egressed out scot-free. However, the cutscene after the credits shows Max and Adam and alive and well.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In Chapter 1, both the local priest and a little girl in Guardiana mention having nightmares about an impending invasion. Right after your first battle, revisiting Guardiana shows that forces of Runefaust attacked and left the town in ruins.
  • Easily Forgiven: There are a few times in the story where characters will oppose or otherwise inconvenience the heroes, such as the king of Alterone selling out Max in Chapter 1, but are quickly forgiven by the Shining Force due to having been coerced into these actions by Runefaust.
  • Energy Weapon: Later enemies such as the Torch Eyes and Laser Eyes have the ability to fire a laser, taking away a decent amount of HP while ignoring defense like magic.
  • Escape Battle Technique: The "Egress" skill, only available to Max, instantly warps the Shining Force out of battle and to the nearest priest. Since you usually cannot replay battles after finishing them, using Egress is one of the keys to Level Grinding.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Musashi, a secret character in Chapter 7, is a samurai for hire who joins the Shining Force after they find his note. He comes with a powerful katana and high stats right out of the gate, and is considered pre-promoted.
  • Fantasy Character Classes: Early game characters cover most of the bases, being archers, mages, warriors, and the like. Later on, some characters have more unique classes, such as Adam (Robot/Cyborg) or Zylo (Werewolf/Wolfbaron).
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The three damaging elemental spells are, in order of power, Blaze, Freeze, and Bolt/Spark. Certain enemies may carry a weakness to one of the elements.
  • Flunky Boss: Most boss battles consist of fighting the boss themselves alongside their Mooks who attempt to block you from reaching them.
  • Flynning: Max incorporates swishing strikes into his attack animation after promoting to the Hero class.
  • Framing Device: Simone, the game's "host", reads the game's backstory during startup, and then asks the player their name to start the adventure.
  • Friendly Fireproof: The Laser Eye provides an amusing aversion in the player's favor. The land bridge it's aimed towards is stocked full of enemies, and every time it fires, it will hit every single one of them as collateral damage. If you're not concerned about the loss of experience, you can wait several turns and allow it to decimate the enemy forces for you.
  • Genre Shift: Shining in the Darkness was a dungeon crawling RPG, but Shining Force is a tactical RPG. The dungeon crawling genre wouldn't be revisited until Shining the Holy Ark.
  • Geo Effects: Terrain plays a role in giving a defense bonus, as well as a movement penalty.
  • Glass Cannon: Mages/wizards, archers, and certain centaurs can deal ridiculous damage, but are vulnerable to getting killed in one or two hits if not protected by tanky units.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: The flying magical creature you can recruit is named Domingo, Spanish for the day Sunday. It's not even an isolated incident; another magical creature in the Shining Force Gaiden Games is named Amigo.
  • Guide Dang It!: Because the game is done in chapters and you can't backtrack, there is a chance you will permanently miss out on recruiting the more obscure characters or items.
    • The ninja Hanzou is hiding in the final town of the game disguised as a bush, and will join if you inspect his leafy disguise. In the US version, there's a piece of paper on the bush to make it stand out. In the Japanese version, he looks like every other bush in the game, none of which have anything to gain by examining them.
    • The rules of promotion aren't explained well in-game, which can be an issue since it's a major part of keeping characters viable later on in the game. It's sometimes hard to tell whether a character should be promoted early or delayed as long as possible, as even characters from the same class can benefit differently from each.
    • The GBA remake added a bunch of character cards hidden around the overworld. Some of them are fairly intuitive, and some of them are... not. Many are found by checking seemingly innocent objects scattered around the overworld (special mention goes to one card being behind the nameplate of a single church in one of the towns) while others are obtained by speaking to various NPCs wandering around the game world (including random people who have little to no relation to that character and a pig wandering around in the corner of Pao on your second visit). And you're not even done when you find and memorize them all, since every boss (and some recurring enemies, but only specific ones) also has a card, requiring the boss or enemy to be finished by a specific character.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Some of Max's party members are blonde, such as Khris, Arthur, Mae, and Lyle.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Every single Knight-class character, plus Lyle the assault/strike knight, is a centaur. There are also Wolf Men, birdmen, half-giants, dragonmen, and even an armadillo-man.
  • Headless Horseman: Dullahans are headless centaur knights that you start to encounter from the march to Dragonia onwards.
  • Healer Signs On Early: Lowe, a priest, is one of the first characters to join Max before your first battle. You get Gong, a monk, and Khris, another priest, within the first chapter.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Pelle joins the Force after nearly being killed by the forces of Runefaust. After you defeat Kane, he breaks free of Darksol's brainwashing and realizes what he has done, prompting him to atone for his horrible actions. He performs a Heroic Sacrifice in a later chapter.
  • Heroic Mime: Max, though he does say a couple lines after the final boss battle. Played with in the remake, in which Max actually talks and has his own personality, but loses his voice at a certain point, regaining it at the very end when he first spoke in the original. This prevents him from casting Egress.
  • Hero Must Survive: Max (or whichever name he's given) is a Hero Unit who acts as the leader of the force. If he dies, you lose and are sent back to the last priest.
  • Hitodama Light: Whenever a playable character is seen while dead, they have a large flame as their sprite until they're revived.
  • Hobbits: Halflings are a common race, typified by Lowe (human/dwarf) and Gong (human/giant).
  • Infinity -1 Sword:
    • The Sword of Light, obtained at the end of Chapter 6 after defeating Mishaela. It can freely cast Bolt 2, which can attack a 13-square range of enemies. It is one of the weapons needed to get the Chaos Breaker.
    • The Sword of Darkness, Kane's sword which is given to Max after his Heroic Sacrifice in Chapter 7. It has unlimited casts of Desoul for a chance to one-hit kill. Although cursed, it shares the same attack as the Chaos Breaker. It is one of the weapons needed to get the Chaos Breaker.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Chaos Breaker, obtained six battles before the end of the game. It's the strongest sword in the game and has unlimited casts of Freeze 3. It isn't cursed unlike the Sword of Darkness.
  • Interspecies Romance: It's implied Mae has a thing for Max in the first game, although the latter is never shown to reciprocate; not even in the remake, where he's no longer a Heroic Mime.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Characters can only hold four items, including their weapon and any rings. This causes a lot of juggling of item slots during town visits.
  • It's Up to You: The battle is lost the instant Max gets knocked out, even if there's one minor opponent left.
  • Joined Your Party: Whenever a new member joins the Shining Force, it will display a message of their joining with a happy fanfare playing. However, if their join time is less than pleasant, it plays a sorrowful fanfare instead. None of the party members recruited after Chapter 6 get this, either joining behind the scenes or being found from secrets.
  • Kill It with Fire: Zombies are resistant to physical attacks, but weak against Blaze spells.
  • Kill Sat: In the remake, a magical satellite powers a line of "Supernova" spells exclusive to Max.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: If Max is at full health and the opposing attack would have normally defeat him, he will be left with 1 HP, to lower his chances of dying and failing a battle.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: This works as a way to keep slower characters at the same level as your faster ones. Enemies will usually be in two or more clusters at different ends of the battlefield, so by splitting your team up, everyone gets equal experience.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The setting has humans as well as beastfolk like Zylo (werewolf), Alef (foxgirl), Balbaroy and Amon (birdpeople), and Guntz (armadillo man).
  • Loads and Loads of Races: The Shining Force encompasses a ton of fantasy races of all kinds, to the point where there are only two human members (Max and Anri).
  • Lost Technology: The Ancients left behind some very advanced technology for a fantasy setting. The entire third chapter is dedicated to the Runefaust army recovering the Laser Eye, a giant laser cannon that hits everything in its line of sight. Robots start showing up in the last couple of chapters as well.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Max is the brother of Kane, one of Runefaust's top generals. This rather important reveal was left out of the English script, though it was present in the remake Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, which featured a far more accurate translation.
  • Magic from Technology: In The Legacy of Great Intention, there are several examples of ancient technology in the form of robots. Its remake expands upon this, by explaining how magic comes from a satellite orbiting the planet. A satellite that the main character can use to fire a freaking laser over an enemy.
  • Magic Knight: Arthur is a knight who picked up magical skills from living among wizards. Domingo qualifies in a more esoteric fashion, being a powerful monster with magical abilities.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Several characters, including Bleu, the baby dragon, and Arthur, a centaur, require a significant amount of grinding and patience, which can cause them to be discarded by more impatient players, but are some of the strongest units in the game by the ending. Adam is an unfortunate example, being one of the last members of the Shining Force to join yet starting at level 10 unpromoted, leaving him no time to reach the point where his stats spike.
    • Domingo is recruited as a level 1 mage, but gets promoted stat grows that turn him into a Stone Wall at higher levels, despite being otherwise portrayed as the typical Squishy Wizard.
    • Narsha in the remake zig-zags this. She gets a few maps specifically so that she, Zukia, and Mawlock will be able to catch up with the rest of the party and when they do join, have a lot of extra time to catch up if they wound up underleveled. However, Narsha requires some babying in order for her to survive the first map, as it's very easy for her to become overwhelmed.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The heads of the Runefaust army, Kane and King Ramladu, are actually innocent and under the control of Darksol.
  • Mind over Matter: After being promoted to wizards, Tao, Anri, and Alef can attack by using telekinesis to whack enemies with their staves.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: General Elliot is loyal to Runefaust to a fault, and despite being an famed and honorable commander, he still fights for the evil kingdom until his death.
  • Mystical White Hair: Anri, the princess ice mage, has long white hair.
  • Name of Cain: The evil knight Kane is one of Runefaust's strongest enforcers. Fittingly, he's also the brother of the protagonist.
  • Never Say "Die": When a character dies, they're "exhausted", yet still need to be taken to a priest to have their spirit revived.
  • Nightmare Sequence: In the very first chapter, you can talk to a little girl in town and she'll explain she had a nightmare where Guardiana was on fire, including the house where she and her family lived. Unfortunately, it ends up coming true, and by the time you get back, you find that the girl and her mother had been sent away by the father to safety when Runefaust attacked.
  • Nominal Importance: Subverted. You meet a Recurring Traveler named Boken who has a unique set of sprites but no dialogue portrait, and he is utterly inconsequential to the story until one point in Prompt where he lets you out of jail, a role that could have gone to almost anybody else.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Lampshaded by the elf girl Simone in the introduction; she thinks Dark Dragon is currently on the rise and wants to tell someone, but as she puts it, "who would listen to a kid like me?"
  • NPC Roadblock: Various paths are blocked off by Non Player Characters until you complete certain missions. It can also happen randomly when an NPC wanders through a doorway, blocking your path until they change direction.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The kingdom of Prompt is known for being home to the descendants of the gods, but when the Shining Force arrive, all the people are like country bumpkins. They later drop the act and reveal that they're actually a highly advanced civilization.
  • Old Soldier: A few characters qualify.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The spell Desoul can kill anyone even at full health, including Max. It's available for the party's mages as well as bosses, but has a low success rate.
    • The Doom Blade that Hanzou carries has a chance of inflicting this.
  • One-Man Party: The flipside to Anti-Grinding— our heaviest hitters are going to hit the level plateau really quickly, and your support characters... aren't. Healers are an exception, as they gain a fair chunk of experience when they heal someone, though this is still a slower process than with your offensively-based characters until the late-game Aura spell is obtained. Also, back-row characters can be leveled up by farming injured enemies.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. The name "Max" applies both to the protagonist of Shining Force and the protagonist of Shining Force Neo; the name "Arthur" can be either a centaur knight in this or a human knight in Shining the Holy Ark; and so on.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Centaurs are a recurring race on both the heroic and villainous side, with a total of seven (six knights and one specialized archer) joining the force. Standard horses seem to be completely absent.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Gort resembles a traditional fantasy dwarf with his long beard, short stature, and preference for axes. Lug/Luke is similar, but doesn't have a beard and looks younger (despite being fairly old himself)
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Zylo is a wolfman who is usually kind but gruff, but was turned feral by Runefaust and will only join the Shining Force after being cured. He attacks with jumping claw strikes when unpromoted, then switches to a Razor Wind of wolf-head projections after promotion.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The towns and overworlds of each chapter are left behind for good after the chapter ends, which can lead to optional characters and items being lost.
  • Powered Armor: Guntz's suit of steam armor gives him very high defense at the cost of speed and movement, and Kokichi's flying machine lets him fly like the birdmen units while still being able to use heavy lances.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Kane performs a Heroic Sacrifice shortly after he regains his senses to repent for his past misdeeds.
  • Respawning Enemies:
    • If you escape or lose a battle; all the progress made up until that point is reset, and all the enemies are respawned. In a few key battles, the hero's Egress spell can be a means for power-leveling.
    • During the Final Boss battle against Dark Dragon, there are two spawn points for Armed Skeletons, manageable but still threatening enemies. The player can prevent them from respawning by placing party members over the spawn points, but that means that the player has two less members who can actually attack Dark Dragon.
  • Schizo Tech: Swords, axes and arrows coexist in a world with lasers and robots.
  • Sequence Breaking: By carefully pushing a wandering NPC into the way of the guards stopping your exit, it's possible to exit the first town without recruiting the first few members of the Shining Force.
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed: In Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, promoting Zuika to the Terminator class gives him a chitinous armor. When his health drops below 30%, the armor breaks, dramatically increasing his movement speed and replacing his normal attack with a Flash Step strike that has increased range and deals double damage.
  • Shining Goodness: The "Shining Force" is the one force of good that opposes Darksol and the entirety of Runefaust.
  • Shoot the Medic First:
    • A good policy for both sides, however, this is taken to an extreme by the enemies. Starting from the beginning, they will aim directly for your magician Tao, and once she dies (which will be often), they will aim for all your other magicians and healers. Notably, since he counts as both a mage and a flying unit (another priority target type), Domingo is very frequently attacked, despite being a Stone Wall who can tank most physical attacks in the midgame.
    • The healers and magicians have lower defense and are often easier to kill, and the AI loves preying on anyone it can kill quickly and in one turn. It goes for the other Shining Force games as well. They usually won't exclusively go after Master Monks in the second game because they can take hits and defend themselves.
  • The Something Force: The Shining Force refers the band of heroes commanded by Max to fight Runefaust.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Lug is often mistranslated as "Luke", when the actual word is the former.
    • Kane's name is rendered as Cain on the battle screen when you fight him.
  • Spiteful A.I.: Even when death seems imminent, the enemies seem to at least die happy when they know they used their last move to kill one of your weaker characters rather than focusing on the main character (who might have survived the hit) like they had been, which can frustrate to no end.
  • Squishy Wizard:
    • It can depend on the character and how leveled up they are, but it's generally not a good idea to put your wizards or healers on the frontlines. If they run out of MP they might as well be a Stone Wall since their physical attacks rarely do much (again, depending on the character). A notable exception is the hidden character Domingo, who has a ridiculously high Defense stat despite being otherwise entirely an offensive spellcaster. Indeed, due to the enemy tendency to attack him over other targets, he winds up being a very effective tank for the latter half of the game.
    • Invoked in the remake, in which Anri reveals that she specifically became a mage because she was useless when it comes to physical stuff.
  • Standard Evil Empire Hierarchy:
    • The Emperor: Ramladu, the king of Runefaust whose forces cause destruction and death wherever they go. Subverted, as Darksol corrupted Ramladu and his kingdom into evil.
    • The Right Hand: Kane, who ranks just below Ramladu, but was responsible for Guardiana's destruction. [[Subverted, he was brainwashed by Darksol into becoming evil]].
    • The General: Elliot, a sympathetic Anti-Villain who serves Runefaust even though the kingdom is evil.
    • The Guard: Balbazak, who guards Urbantol for the sole purpose of keeping the Shining Force out of the harbor, but proves himself a Dirty Coward when he is defeated and begs the Shining Force to spare him. Darksol was not pleased.
    • The Oddball: Mishaela, who is also the Dark Chick with her use of dark magic.
    • The Man Behind the Man: Darksol, the evil sorcerer who fuels the main story with his goal of reviving Dark Dragon and corrupted the kingdom of Protectora into Runefaust, and brainwashed Kane to further his own goals.
  • Steampunk: Guntz wears steam-Powered Armor and Kokichi rides a flying steam-powered engine.
  • Stone Wall: Domingo eventually gets one of the best HP and defense in the game, plus great evasion. If a character can hit him, they generally only do Scratch Damage, and he has enough HP to weather it all. He's also one of the highest priority targets to the computer, above most healers and other magicians, and below Max, The Hero. This means that if you put Domingo and almost any other character on either side of an opponent, they'll always go for him, allowing the other to hit them repeatedly from behind. Unfortunately, he isn't as resistant to magic attacks, which become more common during the final maps and can lead to him being one-shot if he places himself poorly.
  • Storybook Opening: In Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, Simone reads about the story of the Shining Force with somebody unknown while she waits for her grandfather to return.
  • The Strategist: Nova, who gives you advice if you talk to him at the base.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Max was a Heroic Mime in the original, but is given a voice and personality in the remake.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Chaos Breaker is required to complete the game, as it functions as a key to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Tap on the Head: The game begins when Max wakes up from a concussion caused by his teacher Varios hitting him during training. He's fine afterwards.
  • Team Pet: A few of the party members are animals, including Jogurt the helmet-wearing hamster, Domingo the squid-like magic creature, and Bleu the young dragon. Save for Bleu, who is plot-mandatory, they are easy to miss.
  • Tempting Fate: Max's mentor Varios congratulates his growing skill as a warrior and mentions that he'll be tested soon enough. Immediately after, Varios is summoned by the king of Guardiana, leading to Max and his party intercepting nearby Runefaust forces. The rest is history.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • Showers of Cure heal the entire team for around 40 HP when used, but can't be bought from stores and only around three or four can be found in chests across the game. They're saved for particularly dire situations as a result.
    • The Turbo Pepper can buff movement by up to 2 spaces, while not taking up an inventory space like the Mobility Ring (and both can be stacked). Only a single one is available, right after the first battle of Chapter 7, and most players are likely to have several party members who would benefit heavily from it, making it a tough decision.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Most characters will once promoted. The most triumphant example is Bleu, who gets a special portrait change and goes from a cowardly hiding dragon to the strongest, bulkiest flying unit in the game.
    • Certain character personalities undergo this in the remake. Hans in particular looked and acted pretty wussy and cowardly in the original, even constantly reminding you not to put him in the front lines as he hates getting hit. In the remake, his redesign made him look less cartoonish and more bishounen. Gone is his cowardice and he even gives Dark Dragon a Badass Boast in the final battle.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • In a game where most non-boss enemies appear in multiple battles, the Mannequins and Dire Clowns only appear in the circus tent battle of Chapter 2, and only a single Evil Puppet appears outside of it (in Balbazak's forces at the end of Chapter 4).
    • The Laser Eye is only fought in the finale of Chapter 3, and despite its unique design and gimmick, it's not considered a boss. Due to the battle's end being triggered by killing a nearby Silver Knight, it doesn't need to be defeated at all.
  • Updated Re-release: Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon on the Game Boy Advance redid all the graphics and added a subplot about Narsha and her bodyguards defecting from Darksol's forces.
  • Use Item: A few weapons and rings can be used in battle for magical effects. If abused too much, the item will crack, necessitating taking it to a shop for repair; if it's used again beforehand, it breaks entirely and vanishes from your inventory.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Status-infliction and instant-death spells like Muddle and Desoul, due to their unreliable accuracy (unless an enemy uses it on you), being resisted by certain types of enemies, and because magic that doesn't directly attack or heal gives minimal experience points. However, status buffs like Quick, Boost, and Shield are comparatively very useful, but are also more expensive and only learned at high levels.
  • The Vicar: Healer units turn into Vicars when promoted, with the exception of Gong, who turns into a Master Monk.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In the beginning of the game, you can push a rolling cart at an NPC while you're in Guardiana. You can also do it again in Alterone, in order to get to an otherwise inaccessible treasure chest. The game (and the NPCs) can call you out if you do it.
  • Video Game Remake: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon introduces three playable characters, Narsha, Zuika, and Mawlock, adds a couple battles with them, fixes balance issues, and expands the story, even adding a few new twists to it.
  • We Buy Anything: Item shopkeepers will still buy weapons and vice versa, though a line of dialogue makes it a justified example:
    Shopkeeper: Thanks, I don't sell this type of item, but I know someone who does.
  • We Can Not Go On Without You: Losing Max at any point forces you to restart from the last save point, no matter what state the rest of the Force is in. Can be justified by fact that Max always acts as the leader of the Force, and without him there is nobody who can give proper commands to the Force.
  • White Magician Girl: Khris, the game's only female healer and an early recruit to the Shining Force. However, she can out-damage other healers like Gong if properly leveled up.
  • With My Dying Breath I Summon You: The game revolves around the story of Darksol, an evil sorcerer, trying to revive Dark Dragon to take over the world. The heroes fight him in Dark Dragon's lair, and as he's about to die, Darksol shouts the trope name and Dark Dragon is brought to life as the Final Boss.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In Rindo, the young grandson of the town's mayor wanders off out of excitement to see the upcoming circus, only to get kidnapped by Mishaela and her minions, who plan to feed the boy to a dragon. Rescuing him in one piece is the only way you can receive the mayor's permission to use his boat to travel to Prompt.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The Chaos Breaker, an Infinity+1 Sword of Plot Advancement which is created from the Swords of Light and Darkness.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • In Bustoke, the Runefaust army have forcibly dragged away the men to unearth the Laser Eye, a secret weapon built by the Ancients, to put an end to the Shining Force. When it is found, the evil Master Mage in charge of the operation gives the order to kill them all, having had no further use for them. Fortunately, Max and the Shining Force arrives just in time to save the men.
    • In Urbantol, Darksol eliminates Balbazak for begging the Shining Force to spare him in return for giving them a ship to use. In the remake, Ernest wasn’t about to spare Balbazak, so he tries to sweeten the deal by offering to tell them some info on Darksol, who then appears and kills him before he could say anything.

Alternative Title(s): Shining Force Resurrection Of The Dark Dragon

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