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Video Game / Shining in the Darkness

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A princess has been kidnapped, and hidden away in a labyrinth filled with monsters. Fortunately, you are a brave knight, who can handle the task. Plus your father disappeared into that labyrinth, so you have both personal reasons and your duty to take on that place.

This dungeon crawler for the Sega Genesis is actually the first of the Shining Series. Even though it's of a different genre than the more famous games in the series, there was a follow-up game in the same genre: Shining the Holy Ark for the Sega Saturn.

The action is also first person in pseudo 3D, much like the dungeons games like Arcana and the first Phantasy Star.


  • Abusive Parents: Later on in the game Pyra's mother and father will visit in the Tavern and meet with Pyra. Pyra's mother will scold Pyra and spank her bottom until the player tells the truth.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: The attack animations of enemies is to flip the sprite a few times, especially the asymmetric ones.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Xern, an old wizard you meet halfway through the game, explains that his apprentice, Melvyl, ended up falling to the darkness and became Dark Sol. He eventually had to be sealed away within the upper floors of the labyrinth.
  • Anti-Hero: Pyra has no problem using her spells for petty reasons such as getting back at someone who was rude to her. The main reason she joins you is that the player character is one of her close friends.
  • Black Magician Girl: Pyra is the game's main offensive magic user, having access to several debuff and damaging spells.
  • Blob Monster: Slimes are often the very first encounter in the game and the weakest of the bunch. Their Palette Swaps fair a bit better, but also aren't exactly the worst things to fight, either.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Mortred, courtesy of the Darkblade.
  • Character Portrait: The character portraits in the menu only show the silhouettes of the characters, though.
  • Chest Monster: Chestbeaks start crawling out of treasure chests and beating the living hell out of you starting from the Cave of Strength. They get replaced by Ghosts in the Cave of Truth which are even worse due to their use of DeSoul.
  • Combination Attack: Some monster groups such as Ostricks can attack all at once, which seems to inflict fixed damage per creature, bypassing defensive damage reduction.
  • Cool Crown: Recovering Jessa's tiara is required to go further into the game, and Pyra can equip it once she joins the party.
  • Comedic Spanking: Pyra's mother does this to her for running off to help the hero without telling her about it first. She stops when the player confirms that he does need her help.
  • Cursed Item: Items made with Dark Ore are likely to have some nasty side-affects. Like one set of armor having high defence, but with the chance of paralyzing the user.
  • Cursed with Awesome: At least one of the cursed weapons is so powerful that it's actually worth using despite its drawbacks- Pyra's Hexwhip, which has a phenomenal +60 attack strength to go with its ability to hit an entire group with one attack, in exchange for having a 40% chance of entangling Pyra for several turns after she attacks. That one attack she's guaranteed to get off first is so powerful that it may be the only attack you need to clinch a battle, and during boss encounters you can completely avoid its drawbacks by simply not having her use her basic attack and stick to using spells instead.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: All party members getting downed will revives the party in town at the cost of half of the gold. Individual deaths can be recovered at the shrine, getting restored to full after the donation.
  • Decoy Damsel: The decoy guards a key item, and needs to be defeated. Said decoy attacks once you open the door and approach, and grows to a strong muscular giant.
  • Defend Command: Only available to the additional party members. The first acting character instead has the run command to flee from battle. Also of note is that opponents may sometimes attempt to defend as well.
  • Degraded Boss: The KaiserKrab returns as a randomly-appearing enemy as soon as you pass through the bronze door leading to the Cave of Strength, only a short time after you fought the first one as a boss, although by now you have your full party, making them much easier to deal with. Oddly, they still appear with the same special animation as when the first one attacked you by scuttling out of a corridor on your left, meaning it can only randomly attack you when you approach left-leading passages.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After literally running into Gila and getting scolded for it, Pyra responds by casting Slow on him as he heads off to the dungeon...
  • Disneyesque: The official artwork on the box seems to be very much influenced by Disney's renaissance era in the 90s, with a touch of Don Bluth thrown in for good measure. In-game it's a bit of mix between Disney and early 90s anime designs. (Most notably, Pyra wouldn't look that out of place in Slayers in certain sprites.)
  • Dual Wielding: There are 2 unique weapons that can only be purchased from the Armorer (the Main Gauche and the Madu) which are actually equipped in the shield slot instead of the weapon slot and give a bonus to both attack and armor factor. The Madu actually gives better defensive stats than any actual shield the armorer sells for quite a long time, although it is correspondingly expensive for that stage of the game. Only the Hero and Milo can equip them, unfortunately.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The villain in this game was called Mephisto in Japan. In English, it was changed to Dark Sol - causing confusion with Darksol, the villain of Shining Force.
  • Dungeon Crawling: The entire game primarily takes place in the labyrinth. Although you do go to different caves, they are offshoots of the labyrinth itself.
  • Dying as Yourself: After being defeated, Mortred regains his sanity long enough to thank the party and reassure his son before passing on.
  • Early-Bird Boss: The reason the KaiserKrab is so difficult is all down to this; not technically a terribly fearsome opponent, except that it's the strongest enemy you have to face before Pyra and Milo join you, limiting your strategic options to "hit it while it's hitting you and hope it dies before you run out of healing items".
  • Early Game Hell: You don't get access to your additional party members until after the first boss, and the The Hero doesn't learn magic, so your only source of healing is through healing herbs. Additionally, money is very limited early on, so getting good equipment will take some grinding. After you unlock the Pyra and Milo, it becomes much easier to crowd control enemies.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: For the Shining Series. The series is largely known for being Sega's Alternate Company Equivalent to Nintendo's Fire Emblem series. The first game, however, isn't a strategy RPG. Rather, it's a first-person dungeon crawling RPG, a genre that wouldn't be revisited until Shining the Holy Ark.
  • Escape Rope: Pyra has the Egress spell (which costs 9 mana), and escape wings can be used if out of mana. Both place the player outside the labyrinth.
  • Evil Weapon: Certain weapons and armors are Cursed with various negative effects.
  • Excuse Plot: The princess has been kidnapped, and your father, the best knight in the kingdom, has disappeared! Go dungeon crawling to rescue them! And unwittingly off your old man in the process!
  • Faux First Person 3D: All the major areas of the game are seen through the player characters' eyes. The labyrinth is the only one where the character can actually move forward and back in.
  • Fiery Redhead: Pyra; her hair is normally dark pink, but in certain scenes and artwork she has red hair. Regardless of its changing color, she always has the personality to match this trope.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The KaiserKrab is a giant crab that serves as the games first boss. After beating it, it shows up as a normal enemy in certain areas.
  • Golem: Various golems are found throughout the Labyrinth as enemies. The most notably one is disguised as a captured girl and upon being rescued attacks the group of heroes.
  • Good-Guy Bar: The tavern in town is where all the aspiring knights gather and prepare for their labyrinth expeditions. While many of the patrons are rather seedy, they're all united to rescue the princess and stop Mephisto's reign of terror.
  • The Goomba: Green slimes are the very first enemy you're likely to encounter in the game, and give out the lowest EXP and Gold rewards of any monster, being worth one EXP and two Gold each.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Certain characters can temporarily join your party as an uncontrollable fourth member.
  • Guide Dangit:
    • Although the game tries to have setpieces to make navigating the Laybrith easier, expect to be looking up maps a lot if you don't want to spend most of the game wandering around lost.
    • The game expects you to return to the castle after reaching the third floor, dispite there being no real reason to do so. After talking to the Court Mage that has appeared he'll give you a coin that will allow fast travel to set locations making the trek through the five floors of the dungeon a lot more doable.
  • Improvised Training: The trials in the labyrinth serve two purposes; one, to keep the Sealed Evil in a Can sealed away, but two, also train up a hero to face and defeat said evil in a can one day.
  • Level-Map Display: The Wisdom Seed (or view spell) shows a local map, but it only shows floors that the player stepped upon rather than potential unexplored areas.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: In addition to humans, the world is also populated by a bunch of anthropomorphic animals.
  • Living Structure Monster: Grimwalls appear to be normal walls but once you have the Orb of Truth you can reveal their truth form. After being revealed they'll attack the player, once defeated a new path is avaliable.
  • Magically Inept Fighter: The Hero doesn't learn any magic what so ever. However, they more than make up for it by having the highest physical attack and HP total of the party.
  • Mana Burn: Each time they're stepped on (including rotations), dungeon tiles containing green grass will drain 1 MP from Milo and Pyro.
  • Metal Slime: Just before the final boss Crystal Slimes have the chance to appear, they give 30,000 experience points and 5000 gold per creature. The catch? They have insane evasion making them vunerable only to spells, they have insane spell resistance meaning spells will only cause 1hp damage and they're likely to run away. Thankfully they only have 2-3HP.
  • One-Winged Angel: After defeating the final boss he calls out to The Darkness transforming into a three-headed monster with more powerful spells.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Gnomes do appear as enemies, but they're fairly mundane by the standards of this trope, looking and acting like typical dwarves.
  • Palette Swap: All over the place; you'll start running into palette swaps of the starter enemies before you even reach the first boss, a consequence of the game having practically No Budget.
  • Pit Trap: First seen in the Cave of Strength. These pits simply drop the player to the area below.
  • Pretty Princess Powerhouse: Princess Jessa may be a beautiful damsel who needs to be rescued, but can deliver bone-shattering kicks while in your party.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Although most NPCs hold the player in high regard, the same cannot be said for Pyra and Milo, who NPCs have no problem telling you aren't the most heroic of sorts.
  • Random Encounters: Given the limitations of the era, most encounters in the labyrinth happen at random. At least within the first floor, the monster encounter strength does vary based on position within the floor.
  • Randomly Drops: The monster's item drop rate is rather low, although you can also get them to give you their items with the Muddle (confusion) spell.
  • Random Encounters: Random encounters also seem to be based off regions on the floor. Additionally, there's a few enemies that can only be found when the requirements are met (e.g. Kaizerkrab appears when approaching a passsage from the left, or Killwave when approaching a pool).
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: Finding the princess's tiara is proof she was taken into the labyrinth.
  • Saintly Church: It is the Shrine within the town where you can save your game, and recover from poison for a low price.
  • Save the Princess: The princess has been kidnapped and as the son of the most highly regarded knight who has gone missing, it's your duty to save her!
  • Scratch Damage: Averted! If your defense is high enough, enemies won't be able to damage you at all.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The reason the Labyrinth was constructed in the first place. Its main purpose is twofold, to both keep Dark Sol sealed within the upper levels and to train a hero to one day slay him.
  • Shout-Out: The weapons vendor bears a striking resemblance to Gilius Thunderhead, and even has an axe posed prominently nearby.
  • Squishy Wizard: Pyra has the highest base defense, for some reason, but the lowest health. This trope can be avoided for a good portion of the game (up to the first two trials) if you keep the Royal Tiara and don't give it to the Minister.
  • Status Effects:
  • Swiss-Army Tears: The only way to summon the fairy that will give the player character enough power to defeat the final boss is to sprinkle the tear's of the Princess on a rainbow fountion.
  • Trauma Inn: The tavern restores HP and MP, and costs 10 gold per living character, making it slightly cheaper to rest at the inn, then revive characters.
  • True Blue Femininity: The elegant Princess Jessa is wearing a pale blue Disney-like dress.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Strongly averted by Pyra's Sleep and Slow spells- Sleep has a high success rate against most enemies and is the cheapest and easiest form of crowd control when you're heavily outnumbered by large groups, and Slow reduces the enemy's defence as well as their speed, making it essential against bosses.
  • Warp Whistle: After having to retraverse through the opening section of the dungeon for 70% of the game you'll finally gain the ablily to return to set locations (magic gold-colored fountains) deeper into the maze-like dungeon. However the game doesn't make it easy, you have to physically move the gold-coin between the magic fountains meaning if you die or need to warp out, while getting to your next warp-point, you'll have to go through the whole maze again.
  • We Can Rule Together: Proposed by Dark Sol shortly after The Reveal that he's none other than Melvyl the mystic. Naturally, The Hero declines without even giving the player the option to select yes.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Old Vik the innkeeper gives your hero flak after learning you were forced to slay your own brainwashed father. The others present are more sympathetic, and Mrs. Vik even calls her husband on it.
  • When Trees Attack: Ents, Trents, Mandragorans and many other differently named but familar looking trees are found throughout the Labyrinth.