Shining Wisdom is the eighth title in the Shining Series and the first title in the franchise to appear on the Sega Saturn, released in 1995. Originally planned for release on the Sega Mega Drive the game was quickly ported to the Saturn to boost the number of titles available close to the surprise launch of that system. Unlike previous titles in the series the game was not a first-person-dungeon-crawler or a Turn-Based Strategy game, and was instead the first title to be a third-person adventure game. The gameplay is similar to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
In Japan and Europe the title was published by Sega but in North America it was published by Working Designs. Working Designs were not allowed to use some of the original Japanese names (Sega holding the copyright and refusing to allow their use) and also changed some elements of the story and characters' personalities. The European translations, while having some grammatical errors, are more faithful to the original Japanese version.
In game the player takes control of Mars, a young guardsman, on his first day of working for the King. Mars is the son of a great knight that died in a battle against a dragon, saving the kingdom. Meanwhile a dark elf wizard, Pazort, is attempting to destroy the world by summoning the Giant, Seeega/The Dark Titan. Naturally it's up to Mars to save the world.
Shining Wisdom contains examples of the following tropes:
- Cool Crown: Satera's tiara prevents any physical harm from being done to her (and presumably prevents people from just taking it off). Sadly it doesn't stop magical spells.
- Curtain Call: All the good characters get to give a bow at the end of the credits, save Mars himself who gets to wander around the ending screen.
- Damsel in Distress: Satera owns this trope; she gets kidnapped and needs to be saved, then she gets turned into a swan and needs to be transforms and then escorted back to the castle and after that she just spends all her time hiding in her bedroom.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Mars' father died while fighting a dragon, his mother is never mentioned.
- Frictionless Ice: In the water dungeon and whenever you transform lakes into ice.
- Good Morning, Crono: Mars had overslept at the start of the game and was going to be late to become a guardsman.
- Healing Spring: The Hobbit village has a healing well at the back, no explanation is given.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Mars doesn't have to be called Mars.
- Heroic Mime: Like pretty much every protagonist in the franchise Mars can only say Yes and No. Meaning you can never actually explain what is going on to the King and other NPCs.
- Hobbits: Although seem to bare nothing in common with Tolkien's hobbits, they're normal sized, magical and can travel underground.
- Interface Screw: The Mirror labyrinth which, true to it's name, reverses left and right.
- Kill It with Ice: The only way to defeat Gueid is to freeze the hot rocks he throws at you and then throw them back while theyre frozen.
- Mercury's Wings: The Pegasus helmet that allows you to fly in the Wind Labyrinth.
- Money Spider: The only enemy that drops bags of coin (rather than one) is an actual spider found in the millennium tree.
- Mummy: Common enemies in the early parts of the game.
- NPC Roadblock: The first obstacle in the game no less, used to train the player in the use of the sprint power.
- Raised by Grandparents: After Mars' father died it was up to his grandparents to train him.
- Respawning Enemies: Almost every time you move a screen out of view, makes it more prudent to just avoid fighting.
- Pamphlet Shelf: As with every other title in the series.
- Save the Princess: Pretty much the plot for the first half of the game.
- Sequel Hook: The game ends with the Valley Fairy using her powers to revive the protagonist, which is against the rules, so she's banished to a labyrinth for eternity. After the credits roll Princess Satera says that Mars went on a new adventure to save the fairy. Said adventure was never made.
- Shining Goodness: The title, obviously, but also the Shining Sword.
- Shout-Out: Toydona
- Sleeping Single: Your grandparents. Also seems that they sleep in the kitchen so Mars can get the whole upstairs as his bedroom.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Once you gain the Whisper Conch you can talk to the animals...and some trees.
- Spell My Name with an "S": All because Sega had the license to use the names but the game was licensed by Working Designs, who had to rename everything that appeared in another game; for instance, Parmecia became Palacia.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: 3D models on a 2D background.
- Super Drowning Skills: Mars. Probably justified as he is always in armour but what makes it annoying is that the player is required to wade through knee-high water throughout the course of the game; the only way to tell is that the water is a slightly lighter hue of blue and enemies can easily knock you into deeper water.
- 24-Hour Armor: Averted at the start, as Mars is seen in a lovely nightgown. Played straight then for the rest of the game where Mars sleeps several times in his armour.
- Wise Tree: The Trents that are found throughout the game. They give you clues on what to do next and help flesh out the story.
- Your Mom: "Your mama's so ugly she looks out the window and gets arrested for moonin'!" The joke only occurs in the Working Designs translation.