The Shining Force Gaiden games were released on the Sega Game Gear (the first one never made it out of Japan), but were later repackaged and enhanced for the Sega CD as Shining Force CD, today an exceedingly rare title. The story is a direct continuation of the first Shining Force game. Of those, the first one stars Prince Nick of Cypress, who has to help Anri (part of the original Guardiana Shining Force who ascended to become Queen) find a cure for her poisoning at the hands of a rogue wizard named Woldol. At first, the people of Guardiana are suspicious of him, but eventually he turns out to be a trustworthy and effective leader, thus gaining their respect.
The second Gaiden game (subtitle: The Sword of Hajya) stars Deanna of Cypress, a swordsman who is placed in charge of the Cypress branch of the Force while the Prince leads an invasion into Iom. However, with the Prince's right hand turned to stone, he is practically defenseless against the superior Iom forces, and can no longer use the Sword of Hajya that he used to defeat Woldol in the previous game, so he gets captured so he can be sacrificed to Iom. In that regard, Deanna and his team have to recover the Prince's lost sword, save the Prince, and help him bring down the Iom army once and for all.
The third Gaiden game, also never released outside of Japan, is entitled Final Conflict and ties the stories of the first two Genesis games together, as well as serving as a prequel to Shining Force II by showing how remnants of Max's team and the survivors of Dark Dragon's army came to Parmecia after his disappearance.
- All Just a Dream: Book 4 in Shining Force CD is revealed to be this once the battle is over.
- Back from the Dead: Woldol, the Big Bad of Shining Force Gaiden, returns as an end-game boss in Sword of Hajya. If you've only played the Game Gear port, his appearance won't make much sense to you.
- Battle Couple: Deanna and Natasha become a couple by the end of The Sword of Hajya, with Ship teasing throughout the game.
- Big Damn Heroes: Luke/Lug suddenly appears at the climax of Shining Force Gaiden, to give the Sword of Hajya to Prince Nick to fight Woldol.
- Boss Rush: Book 4 of Shining Force CD is just one battle, between your 12 units and every boss throughout the entire game.
- Cat Folk: Gyan, a playable character in the first two Gaiden games, is a cat beastman who serves as Prince Nick's bodyguard. As a Beast/Berserker, he takes the place of the Wolfman/Wolf Baron class from the mainline Shining Force games, being a unarmed frontline attacker whose movement is unaffected by terrain.
- Character Select Forcing: Book 4 of Shining Force CD restricts the player to using 12 characters across both Gaiden and Sword of Hajya.
- Crutch Character: Monks/Master Monks join early in all the games and have an immense early-game advantage due to good damage output, decent defenses, and being able to heal. They run into problems later on when they have worse MP and spells than Priests/Vicars and worse attack and defense than frontliners, alongside having worse weapons than other classes, often leading to them becoming backup fighters at best with a few support capabilities.
- Enhanced Remake: Shining Force CD, with updated music and graphics similar in style to Shining Force II.
- Extended Gameplay: The unlockable books in Shining Force CD. Book 3 is a set of six unique battles which allow you to use almost every character across the first two books (the exceptions being Gyan, Mayfair, and Lug), while Book 4 is a Boss Rush using a preset party.
- Fake King: In The Sword of Hajya, a king gets sacrificed to Iom, and one of Iom's minions takes the king's place.
- Gaiden Game: The three games serve as side stories taking place in the interim between the first two Shining Force games; Gaiden and The Sword of Hajya are a duology focusing on Guardiana decades after its war against Runefaust, while Final Conflict is a more distant sequel which wraps up loose ends from the first Shining Force and connects it to Shining Force II.
- Happy Ending Override: Despite Max being shown to be alive and well in The Stinger of Shining Force, the Gaiden games reveal that he and Adam were separated from the rest of their Force in another continent, possibly far off in the future, with the others unaware of their whereabouts.
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: In the third book of Shining Force CD, after you get past the second battle Prince Nick and Gyan encounter a harem of sorts, who's members encourage them to rest by saying "Why don't you relax? You can even try THAT with us."Gyan: Th...THAT??!!Kisaragi: Yes, T...H...A...T!Mayfair: That's disgusting!
- Let's Split Up, Gang!: The Shining Force gets separated for a while in The Sword of Hajya and you must work through a few battles with only six characters.
- Mission-Pack Sequel: All three of the Game Gear titles are nearly identical in framework to each other, and mostly differ in unit availability and maps.
- Mirror Match: The second-to-last battle in Book 3 of Shining Force CD is a match against copies of every character in the active lineup. Naturally, the difficulty varies wildly depending on which characters are brought in and how they are equipped.
- The Mole: Throughout Sword of Hajya, Warderer suspects that there's a traitor among his generals. The mole isn't revealed until near the end of the game, and it turns out to be Hindel, the only one of the generals you don't fight.
- Never Say "Die": Averted, unlike most Shining Force games. The priests in Book 2 of Shining Force CD are quite blunt about it, saying something along the lines of "(Character name) was killed! It will cost $100."
- No-Gear Level: Subverted in the second battle in Gaiden, which has the Force lose the weapons they initially began with... but then Lowe advises them to search around them for objects to use as makeshift weapons. Sure enough, all but Sig are able to find a wooden weapon to ward off the nearby enemy forces with.
- Opening Narration: Shining Force CD has a voice-over explaining what had happened between the first Shining Force game and it.
- Respawning Enemies: They appear in later missions; if you're extremely patient, you can simply have each of your party members keep killing them until everyone's leveled up far beyond what they were meant to at that point in the game. Of course, this might be why they don't show up often in other Shining Force games.
- Rocket-Tag Gameplay: The first battle of Gaiden. To compensate for the player's powerful weaponry, the enemies that attack are very powerful at that point in the game, and won't reappear until the end of the first chapter.
- Save the Princess: A rare Gender Flip occurs in The Sword of Hajya, where you must rescue the prince.
- Stone Wall:
- A Taste of Power: In Shining Force Gaiden the Force actually starts out with some pretty good equipment and should have little trouble in their first battle. However their ship is wrecked and all their weapons are lost, and during the next battle itself they have to search the wreckage for whatever pointy sticks they can find instead.
- Wave-Motion Gun: The approach to the Iom inner sanctum in Sword of Hajya is guarded by a Statue of Iom. Similarly to the Laser Eye at the end of Chapter 3 in Shining Force, it can only attack every fourth or fifth turn, and it attacks with a massive laser cannon that causes considerable damage to every unit in its path, friend or foe.