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RPG Review #52: Shining WisdomNuMetalManiak Wait I thought I was gonna do Shining Soul! Well I found out that another game came before it so I decided to try it out first. Anyways, the Shining series. Very much predominant on the Sega consoles. I'm actually not playing these in order apparently. The thing with the Shining games is that there are three distinct genres. There's the first-person dungeon crawler in which the very first Shining game was, the strategy RPG that the famous Shining Force is on, and then there's the action RPG, which is what this game, Shining Wisdom, was. It's a little more like action-adventure like the similar Zelda games are, but whatever. I haven't been consistent on the more action-y games anyways. This is also the first time I play a game for the Sega Saturn.
Gameplay: For this is an action game, battles are done on the field. This game incorporates diagonal movement and standard health bars and such. This game's sword is hard to use properly, as its reach is rather low. There's several other tools and items this game provides, like different kinds of boots for sliding, stomping, or jumping around, a helmet which allows flight in certain areas, and then there's a monkey suit which literally turns your character into a monkey. There's also magic orbs collected throughout the game that can act as magic enhancements (so equipping the boxing gloves and charging up allows for a magic attack). Speed is an important factor for the character, but it's implemented in a way to make my hands hurt. You have to button mash B, X, Y, or Z to pick up speed, then hold it. It's useful for charge-up attacks. But switching item and taking damage causes speed could be lost. It sucks moving slow.
And you know what else sucks? The actual combat. It's quite annoying. Regular monsters on the field have various ways of hurting you, some worse than others. At least they all die in 1-2 hits with a sword or ranged attack. Although there are other methods (sliding or bouncing on enemies), these tend to hurt the player at the same time. As I said before about gaining speed, you lose it when taking damage, but strangely enough, other enemies may end up getting hurt as well. But what makes the monsters annoying are that they respawn Ninja Gaiden-style when you leave the place you killed them at, meaning that the next time you return to a previously-cleared-out area the enemies you killed are still there. And this is for a game that does not feature map-section-scrolling or whatever the 2D Zelda games had. Interestingly enough though, the bosses of this game are rather easy if you are like me and figure out a strategy, or if your reckless even. In truth, I didn't find Shining Wisdom's gameplay all that fun. It was annoying, but not the absolute worst I've been through. Grade: C-
Characters: The main character is a redhead knight named Mars who joins the royal guard. He is yet another silent protagonist while most every other NPC in the game will run their mouths at times. Several people are important enough to warrant pictures, mainly the main villain and his four henchman, the royal family characters, and the ilk. That's about all there's to it. The game pulls us into a cliched royal knight sort of deal in which Mars is literally the only person in the game doing anything important. Grade: C-
Plot: And the plot is just as typical. Chronologically speaking, this game takes place after Shining Force II, again I have not played any other games in the series, so I don't know much about them. Mars is the descendant of a great warrior named Jiles, living with his grandparents and accepted as a squire into the Odegan knights. On assigned duty he witnesses intruders, and the royal princess, Satera, gets kidnapped. Guess what that is? Also guess to see who she wants to love at the end?
But before that, we see a glimpse of the main villain Pazort. He's, sort of a textbook villain, and he has a textbook group of four loyal henchman who are elites in comparison to the other underlings. Actually according to Wikipedia, Pazort is a former follower of a character named Zeon who I assume is from a previous Shining game. Anyways Mars arrives too late and one of the henchmen, Karry, takes on the form of princess Satera while the real one is turned into a swan. Calamity at Odegan castle does not happen soonafter however, as the villains mostly just play a waiting game of sorts. Meanwhile Mars rescues the real princess and gets her back to human form, before we get a "who's the real one?" ordeal which I'm sure everyone has seen at some point. When Karry is ousted she reveals Pazort's plan to release "The Dark Titan", which would endanger all of Odegan.
But of course, Mars steps in and gets the elemental orbs that are needed, from each of the labyrinths. He also gets the Shining Sword from the Light Labyrinth, following the footsteps that his father did. Then the king opens up the secret labyrinth behind his throne, apparently Pazort is hiding in there for some reason. After defeating four elemental Djinns, the big guy is vulnerable. Pazort does try to take Mars with him. A minor character in this game, Parn, who is from another Shining game, is credited for defeating Pazort but feels remorse since Mars didn't make it back out alive. However, the fairy that you see when you get the game rolling is the one to resurrect Mars and then the game pretty much ends there. Very typical plot this game had, royal king and princess, royal knight, villain with four henchmen, four elements. Yeah, not really all that exciting. There does exist some funny NPC humor though. Grade: C
Music: Didn't really hear much music to be honest. That's because I had to tone down on emulator settings since the louder it got the more rougher it sounded. Won't grade on this since I could barely hear anything.
Overall Grade: C-
I don't know when I will get to the GBA game Shining Soul. I may just play another game in the Shining series instead. But I wasn't a fan of this easily cliched action game. Not the absolute worst I've played, but it really wasn't all that fun and more annoying than anything.