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Video Game / Shining Force

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Shining Force 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).


The game had a remake published in 2004 which featured enhanced graphics and sound and an extended story the 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.


Shining Force provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Aerith and Bob: Every now and then a character will have a mundane name (Max, Arthur, Ken).
  • 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' 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 Shining Force I manual.
  • Annoying Arrows: Archers can easily be replaced by mages (who do 'Glass Cannon' better) or birdmen (who do 'Fragile Speedster' better).
    • Also, Lyle the Strike Knight, even though you get him nearly halfway through the game. Centaur movement range on flat ground, 2-3 square archer range, high damage, and decent defense. You have to grind him up some so he has buffed stats before you promote him to Assault Knight, but when you do it is glorious. He ties with wolf warrior Zylo in terms of damage output with the added bonus of long range sniping ability.
    • In Shining Force, you only get two true archers. The first one, Hans, is probably the worst non-joke character in the whole game, and you're forced to carry him for the first two chapters. Most of his level ups increase his Speed and nothing else, meaning he quickly falls behind everyone else in terms of damage, and he remains a one-hit kill for most enemies. By the time you get the second archer, Diane, at the beginning of Chapter 3, Hans has turned most players off of archers permanently. Generally, Chapter 3 is the point where the party has more than 12 characters for the first time, meaning that the player has to choose which 12 are active, so a lot of players will boot Hans and ignore Diane entirely. The joke is, Diane isn't that bad; she's not as strong as Lyle, who has built-in advantages, but she can handle herself much better than Hans.
  • 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 1 EXP. Healing gives XP only if there was actual damage healed, but a minimum of 10 exp. 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 1 XP for it.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only have 12 characters in each battle (this is counting 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 beware because of their low physical defense. Downplayed with Arthur, who gets spells, having lived in a city of mages, but they're not great.
  • Artificial Stupidity: A few examples but 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.
  • 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 a far higher attack than even mithril weapons, they carry negative drawbacks that make them undesirable. These include ebbing away at the wielder's hit points, nerfing the wielder's strongest stats (Defense for Warriors, Movement for Knights; etc.), and even paralyzing them during an attack. Worse yet, they cannot be removed without the aid of a costly purification from a priest or a high-level detox spell. Their effects are so debilitating that, when combined with their high stats and the fact that enemies never suffer for having them, they may as well be considered Unusable Enemy Equipment. That said, a few of them (such as the Black and Evil Rings) can be used in combat to replicate spell effects without triggering the curse, which still makes them moderately useful.
    • The Sword Of Darkness deserves a special mention, as it qualifies on two counts: In addition to being a cursed weapon, its spell effect when used is Desoul.
    • Certain characters, such as Adam and Hanzou, who appear later in the game. They need a little 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.
  • 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 Magician Girls. He's also the first optional character to join the team in the series.
  • Battle Couple: The birdwoman Amon and her husband, Balbaroy.
  • 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. Some players tend to give knights both, switching between them depending on how close they can get their knights 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). Averted in the GBA remake.
  • 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 - 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.
    • Kane turned out to be this, brainwashed by Darksol into becoming his weapon, after you defeat him in Dragonia.
    • (Almost) all of Runefaust have been under the evil influence of Darksol. Defeating them in battle can appear like a Mercy Kill to some players.
  • 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.
  • But Thou Must!: This is used to force the player to forgive bosses after they're defeated, no matter how much of a Dirty Coward they are, or how much your newest recruit really wanted them dead before they were Demoted to Extra.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: It never lets you. And when the hero dies, it's a game over. But because of this, it leads to the hero typically being many times stronger than the other characters. See One-Man Party below.
  • 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. Oh, and he breathes lightning bolts.
  • Circus of Fear: In Rindo, one of the boys from the town gets lost inside a circus, 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 actually 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: In Sonic the Comic, see above.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Yes, it's a turn-based game, but the turns seem to be given at random, and it's not uncommon for an enemy to get two turns to kill your character in peril before that character gets one turn to move away or heal themselves. And in boss battles, the boss can get as many as three turns before you even get one, just enough to kill a character who before was at full health.
    • Semi-random, the Speed stat plays a big factor. That doesn't mean the bosses don't have ungodly high Speed stats, though.
    • The AI totally knows when it's going to be able to attack twice against one of your characters though, and will prey on whoever it can kill in one turn.
    • Ever noticed how often the enemies are left with just 1 HP, thereby allowing them to get in one last attack before they die? Yeah.
    • This is to say absolutely nothing about enemies (like Chimeras) and bosses (like Mishaela) who have a nasty tendency to avoid nearly every non-magical attack thrown at them, despite having similar stats to characters in your party (who are nearly always hit).
    • Most of it was averted in the GBA remake (you can see the order of turns now, and AI cannot "read" double attacks anymore), which, considering relative simplicity of the game and predictability of AI squads in the first place, makes it way too easy compared to the original for some fans.
  • 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. Defeating them will kill lead to an instant victory.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Kane.
  • 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, where Max is sunk under the water with the Chaos Breaker while a majority of the remaining of the force is Egressed out scot-free, it is rather convincing until you watch the cut scene after the credits, showing 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: Sometimes you encounter bosses and Non Player Characters that either screw you over (looking at you, king of Alterone) or give you a really hard time in battle (looking at you, Elliot and Kane), but no matter what they did, you are given no choice but to forgive them because they have some sympathetic motive for angering you [the player] and it's the only way to move the plot forward. (See But Thou Must!).
  • Energy Weapon: Later enemies such as the Torch Eyes and Laser Eyes have the ability to fire a laser at you and your party members, taking away a good chunk of your HP if you're not properly leveled up.
  • Enhanced Remake: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon introduces three playable characters, Narsha, Zuika, and Mawlock, adds a couple battles with them, fixes balance issues (although several of the added stuff, including Supernova as well as the three new playable characters can be game breakers if used right) and expands the story, even adding a few new twists to it.
  • Escape Battle Technique: The "Egress" skill, usually only given to the main character. 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 later in the game.
  • 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: Or rather, Blaze, Freeze and Bolt/Spark.
  • Flunky Boss: Pretty much every boss is this.
  • Flynning: Max does this once promoted.
  • Framing Device: Simone in the first game speaks directly to Max. It's implied that he talks to her in his dreams.
  • 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 EXP, you can wait several turns and allow it to decimate the enemy forces for you.
  • Genre Shift: An unexpected example. 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 occasionally certain centaurs.
  • 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!: Recruiting the more obscure characters can get silly sometimes.
    • The ninja Hanzou is hiding in one of the game's towns 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 edition, he looks like every other bush in the game, none of which have anything to gain by examining them.
    • Promotion, itself, can be this. You can promote any character once they reach level 10, but you can keep leveling them up to level 20. Since the characters keep many of their stats once promoted, the disparity between a character promoted at level 10 vs 20 can be severe.
    • 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 Lye.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Every single Knight-class character in the first two games is a centaur. There are also Wolf Men, birdmen, half-giants, dragonmen. Guntz seems to be half armadillo. In Power Armor. Just because.
  • Headless Horseman: Dullahans are headless centaur knights that you start to encounter from the march to Dragonia onwards.
  • 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 later 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 plays, 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: You are given a hero character who acts as the leader of the force. If they die, 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 Chaos Breaker. Highest attack and unlimited casts of Freeze 3.
  • In the Hood: Tao, Anri, and Alef, since they're Mages. They retain their hoods after being promoted to Wizards. Averted in the remake as they, along with everyone else, get their own unique sprites.
  • 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 could only hold four items, one of which was their weapon. This would cause 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 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.
  • Joke Character: Jogurt can only inflict Scratch Damage, and if by some twist of fate he happens to kill someone, he receives an item that can have any other player character turn into him. He can't even level up.
  • Kill It with Fire: Zombies are resistant to physical attacks, but weak against Blaze spells.
  • Kill Sat: In the remake, this powers a line of "Supernova" spells exclusive to Max.
  • 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!: We have humans, and we have beastfolk like Zylo (werewolf), Alef (foxgirl), Balbaroy and Amon (birdpeople), and Guntz (armadillo man).
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: About thirty in this game, some of whom are Optional Party Members, and are permanently missable if you're not prudent. You're also left with a choice of who to use since you can only have 12 characters at a time attending a battle.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: Pretty much everything from Our Monsters Are Different.
  • 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 also.
  • 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.
    • And its remake expanded upon that, 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.
  • Magic 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 giving 48 experience points per go, essentially making it hilariously easy for Max to level grind.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Several characters, including Bleu, the baby dragon, and Arthur, a Centaur, both require a significant amount of grinding and patience, which can cause them to be discarded by more impatient players.
    • Arguably, Domingo is this as well - a low level mage that turns 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: Almost every boss you will ever fight in the first game is actually innocent and under the control of Darksol. You aren't allowed to hold grudges against any of them no matter how angry you are after they've destroyed most of your force and you've had so much trouble defeating them. Most tellingly, Runefaust and Kane being evil is because Darksol corrupted/brainwashed them.
  • Mind over Matter: After being promoted to Wizards, Tao, Anri, and Alef can attack by using telekinesis to whack enemies with their staffs.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: This is the only reason General Eliot fights you in the first game.
  • Mystical White Hair: The princess gone ice mage, Anri from the original.
  • Name of Cain: Kane in the first game.
  • Never Say "Die": When a character dies, they're "exhausted." Interesting how exhaustion requires the soul to be returned to the body when seeing the priest.
  • Nominal Importance: Subverted. You meet a recurring adventurer 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 NPCs 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 realize this was all just an act and that the people are actually a highly advanced civilization.
  • Old Soldier: A few characters qualify.
  • One-Hit Kill: Try not to let a final boss use Desoul, by far the cheapest magic attack possible as it can suddenly kill anyone even at full health, including the leader.
    • The Doom Blade that Hanzou carries has a chance of inflicting this.
  • One-Man Party: The flipside to Anti-Grinding — your heaviest hitters are going to hit the level plateau really quickly, and your support characters... aren't. In later games healers are an exception, as they gain a fair chunk of EXP when they heal someone, though this is still a slower process than with your offensively-based characters. As a result of this, most players tend to ditch Khris once the Arbitrary Headcount Limit is reached. 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: For the most part, they tend to be knights.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Though beards are apparently optional; in the first game, Gort has one but Luke/Lug does not.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: If by "different", you mean "Zylo will kill practically everything he comes across".
  • Permanently Missable Content: A few characters, and often items you miss.
  • Powered Armor: Guntz's suit of steam armor and Kokichi's flying machine.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Kane, though the latter is partially a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Respawning Enemies:
    • Played straight, 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, who qualify as Goddamned Bats by this point. 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 coexisting 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 rest 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 in the first game. 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.
    • 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.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Lug is often mistranslated as "Luke", when the actual word is the former.
    • Kane in Shining Force. Or, wait, Cain according to the battle screen when you fight him.
  • Spiritual Successor: Golden Sun
  • 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 later half of the game. No, really.
    • 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's status as this bears repeating. He eventually gets one of the best HP and defense in the game. And the best evasion. So 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.
  • 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. Jogurt and Domingo come to mind, and save for one (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: Shower of Cure can become this, as well as level 4 magic attacks (you want to save your MP so you can keep attacking of course).
  • Took a Level in Badass: Most characters will once promoted. The most triumphant example is Bleu who goes from a cowardly hiding dragon to the most overpowered character in the game after Zylo.
    • 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.
  • 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 could be used in battle for magical effects. If abused too much, the item would crack, necessitating taking it to a shop for repair; if you tried to use it again, it broke entirely and vanished from your inventory.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Status-infliction spells like Muddle, due to their unreliable accuracy.
    • Averted in the remake; though. Status-infliction spells aren't very useful... but this isn't the case with Narsha's status buffs.
    • Desoul is perhaps the most traditional example. Essentially, the equivalent of Final Fantasy's Death spell, it almost never works. That is unless an enemy uses it on you. Generally speaking, unless you're using Blaze, Freeze, Bolt, Heal, Detox or Boost, most other magic falls into this category. Making matters worse many enemies such as demons and undead are always immune and there is no indication that is the case.
  • The Vicar: What healers turn into 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.
  • We Buy Anything: 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. This is quite odd, in that it's the case in every battle, even when he has no apparent importance whatsoever. Because Destiny Says So indeed. 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, a female healer. 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.
  • 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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