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YMMV / Shining Force

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  • Anti-Climax Boss: Darksol. Despite being the Big Bad behind reviving Dark Dragon and the boss of the penultimate battle of the game, his physical attack is incredibly weak, and his only special only does minor damage. To compensate, he's got stupidly high hit points and getting to him requires either taking care of torch eyes up the centre where your party can be easily boxed in or going around the long way.
  • Breather Boss:
    • The Ghoul from Chapter 2, who follows up the game's Wake-Up Call Boss, the Marionette. By comparison, it's simply a stronger, faster zombie that lacks the magic or healing capabilities of the Marionette.
    • Balbazak is essentially a stronger variation of the previous boss, Elliot, but actually comes across as easier due to his underwhelming army and inability to move (as he's keeping the Force from entering the ship). The boss after Balbazak, Kane, has twice the attack.
  • Character Tiers: To list the examples would take ages. Teel;deer version: There's a buttload of differences per each game. Even worse is when there's Tiers within the own classes. (This is due to Loads and Loads of Characters, of course.)
  • Cliché Storm: A whole stew of heroic fantasy tropes. Slightly averted, as it helped pioneer several of them in gaming.
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  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: 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 easier compared to the original.
  • Demonic Spiders: Chimaeras. High defense, high HP, high speed (roughly 1 in 12 physical attacks from any party member will hit), flight (which allows them to ignore all terrain except walls), and powerful attacks.
  • Ear Worm: Shining Force I is full of short, catchy looping tunes. The battle theme alone will be with you until the day you die.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Many examples but Zylo is the prime example due to his badassery.
  • Game-Breaker: Domingo (Incredible HP and Defense stats on top of a decent spell set, with the unique "float" move type that that allows him to benefit from defensive high Land Effect terrain while otherwise being a normal flying character). His only downside is he becomes useless without MP.
    • Zylo. Even before you promote him, his attack is powerful. After promoting him, he will tear through entire armies of enemies.
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    • The Sword Of Light and the Chaos Breaker. Not only are they ridiculously powerful swords, but using them can cast spells as well, giving Max an effective ranged attack. Unlike other items that cast spells, they cannot break as they're plot relevant, basically turning Max into a Magic Knight with infinite MP. The Sword Of Darkness subverts this by being cursed and its effect being a Useless Useful Spell.
    • The Game Boy Advance remake gives you access to Narsha. Her status buffs avert the Useless Useful Spell trope fully - one very useful one is one that buffs movement.
    • The above is even more game-breaking if the player is using Mawlock, along with a couple of Knight cards. Buffing him up and then using the cards to attack the map's boss from across the map will win most battles after you get him, provided the force can survive whatever vanguard the enemy has set up.
    • Musashi. He has very high attack and HP stats. To compensate, he's slow as shit, but this can be compensated for by giving him the speed ring and feeding him a turbo pepper.
    • The Evil Ring. It casts Bolt 3, a power that's otherwise only available to Alef after some grinding. Its uses are limited by its chance of breaking, but that often is more reliable than Alef, especially if given to a knight or any other character with good mobility. Just don't equip it.
  • Goddamned Bats: Bat creatures, almost exclusively appearing in the earlier stages of the games, can avoid all obstacles and barriers, and have a good chance of putting a character to sleep with any attack. There is no way to cure Sleep, aside from waiting several rounds for it to randomly wear off.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Evasion rates. As you progress through the games, enemies become more and more agile to the point you can spend over ten turns waiting for that lucky flush that will finally wound a gargoyle!
    • Characters who join already promoted, which means the game did so at the lowest possible level, thus giving you no way to tweak their stats and making them inferior to your established party.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Shining Force was released at a time when Role Playing Games (particularly tactical RPGs) were just gaining steam. Some of the twists in the story are eye-rollingly cliche now.
    • The first game also has plenty of balance issues, too. The remake also received some criticisms for many tropes it helped create alongside Fire Emblem.
    • Also, after playing Shining Force CD and Shining Force II, it can be hard to go back to playing the first one again.
  • Tear Jerker: Kane's death in the first Shining Force game.
  • That One Boss: Many examples.
    • Marionette in particular, who is also an Early-Bird Boss - she has infinite MP and can cast Freeze Lv. 3 in a huge radius (which is basically an One-Hit Kill for one to five of your units on this point of the game), and her health is always regenerating, all of which makes her insanely hard to defeat even for a skilled Tactical-RPG player.
    • Kane, by virtue of having very high HP coupled with high defence and is armed with the Sword Of Darkness which can One-Hit Kill party members easily.
    • Mishaela, for essentially being a beefed-up Marionette. Her Bolt spell is more powerful and targets a large enough area that she could theoretically perform a Total Party Kill by herself, which coupled with a ludicrously high evasion rate and regenerating health, makes her damn near impossible to kill. For insult to injury, she's also a "Get Back Here!" Boss, so she spends most of the battle running away from the force, only to turn around and obliterate them while everyone whiffs their attacks. The only hard counter for this is the Despell spell, which fails 90% of the time and only a few members of the force can cast (and who will get annihilated should they fail). If it works, though, she goes from this to just a tediously long but easy boss fight, since she will never bother with a melee attack, even when her only other option is disabled.


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