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Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Uh, wow, it's even got the same names on screen lol. That picture is there throughout the entire credits! What a coincidence lol

Started up Final Conflict and played through the first two battles. The music is 8-bit Shining Force II remixes so far, and it's like catnip to me. This is going to be a delight. And the story plays off the tiny hints from II as to what happened to Max - even starting in Hassan, where you first hear those rumors! And one of your party members is Hawel (not yet a Sir, apparently, a title which he earns presumably in this game), who taught Kazin in II!
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
They throw the freaking Kraken at you in like the fourth battle! Hahaha it ruled. I hated that fight in Shining Force II - it's one of the few I strongly dislike in that game - but I liked it here. It's this neat setpiece battle where your team has to cross a bridge, and the giant monster tears it up as you go across (you're not at risk of falling into the water, it just messes up your plans as the ground ahead of you falls away). It spawns new arms occasionally and there's bats flying around, too, and at this point you have no flying members, so it was pretty exciting, I think. I even had a character die on me there! Beat it first try as it's not TOO difficult, but Final Conflict seems to assume some experience with the Shining series, unlike Sword of Hajya which has the gentleist of gentle difficulty curves leading up to those infernal Freeze 3 slingers.

It's extremely Shining Force II-heavy - I'm going all over the eastern continent at the moment - and the story seems to be more of a focus, which I like. There's all these neat little touches hinting at the history of the areas in Shining Force II - the town where you meet and recruit May in that game is a small camp at whatever point in time this game takes place in, for example (they even call it "Ribble camp" in game, though maybe that was the fantranslators as I have no idea if that was explicitly stated in the original Japanese. If it wasn't, it should've been, the fans were right in this case imo).

What a great weekend I've had, playing old Shining Force games. I wish Sega would port the third game somewhere - anywhere! - and officially translate the last two scenarios. I'd love to play them on Switch or something, especially with a speed up option like in some of the Final Fantasy rereleases.
 

Paul le Fou

ShrimpCerealTopangaHusbandIsAMeTooMilkshakeDuck
(He)
Man, I remember renting this game over and over from Blockbuster. Sometimes my save would still be there, sometimes not. I remember one other save had a name for the main character that I thought was perfect and started using it for myself, but I have no idea what that name was - it was fantasy hero-ish, and I think it started with an A, maybe had an N and/or M in there... three syllables, I think... anyway.

Everywhere we went that sold video games, I looked for Shining Force but could never find it. It was nowhere. I had given up hope, but I still remember being in the driveway when my mom came out the front door and said she had something for me, and she'd found a copy somewhere. I played the hell out of some Shining Force back in the day, I tell you what.

Damn, now I want to revisit them. I never played the GG entries or III on the Saturn, either.

Also apparently there was a Shining Force game released on the DS in 2009? But it... doesn't look...... right.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Hell, there was a Shining Force game released on Switch in 2018.

With the first couple of games, are they the kind where you should hold off on promoting your units like Fire Emblem, or should you just upgrade them as soon as possible?
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
That's... a complicated question, actually. But on balance, waiting until level 20 is the way to go. The game isn't hard enough to worry that much about it, though. This guide covers a lot of that debate - check Section VII for details.

One of the reasons I've always preferred Shining Force was the lack of permadeath. I know some folks like the tension that it gives in FE, but in practice it sucks the joy out of the game whenever I get critical-ed and lose a character at the end of a long battle.

@Octopus Prime: Yeah, that was Shining Resonance: Refrain. I just recently got it for PS4. Haven't put much time into it other than testing, but on all accounts it's a decent action-RPG. Certainly far removed from the grand strategy days.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I'd describe Refrain as being a Tales game with much more fun combat, and much less interesting characters and plot
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
The handheld ones + 1 you def want to wait as long as you can before promoting; promoting will bring you up to the promotion's minimum values, but you also keep most of any stat gains over that minimum. For 2 you want to get as close to 40 as you can (the promote minimum's 20 there) for similar reasons.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Shining Force II is totally doable promoting as soon as you can, because I did it as a kid and still beat the game. Though, yes, leveling beyond the minimum will give you much better stats. I wouldn't worry about it unless you're playing a difficulty higher than Normal, though.

Stat ups in the first game always seemed more random than the second to me, so gaining a couple extra levels there is probably a good idea.

Sword of Hajya, mages aside, was super easy and I just leveled to 12 instead of 10 before promoting, so I wouldn't even worry about it there. No idea if the CD version is balanced differently than on Game Gear, though.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
I've played and beaten SFII, a, uh, couple dozen times between when I got it as a not-quite-teen and college-age. I think most of my clears after the first few were on Hard or higher.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I should play SFII on Nightmare one of these days, I've never done it. Beaten it so many times on Normal, it'd be interesting.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Anyone ever finish the big museum battle in Shining Force CD? I never could clear it - it's downright brutal. I also didn't power level my team, so that also makes it rough.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I never beat that one (probably because I never unlocked it - don't you have to beat the first three books to be able to access that fight?), but I did beat the secret battle in Shining Force II (on Normal lol).

If you haven't played Final Conflict, I strongly recommend it - I am having an absolute blast playing it. The fights have all been fairly interesting at minimum so far. What looked like a straightforward battle quiclky became exciting because unlike nearly every other battle in these games, every single enemy on the map rushes you right from the go - it was chaotic and hilarious fun. It didn't look like it was going to go that way at the start, but as the enemies kept moving towards me as far as they could on each turn I realized "uh oh, I'm going to have to really think my way through this" haha. There was a treasure chest in that battle, too, and you bet I got it, though it was only because I sent my flying unit over that way - I barely moved anyone else in that battle. It ruled.

It's better balanced so far than Sword of Hajya, too - I wouldn't describe anything as "cheap" so far, as there has yet to be something that can wipe like seven people at once like those Freeze 3 jerks in Hajya. That could change though. So far the toughest spell I've seen is Blaze 2.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Yeah, you have to finish it all off to get access.

I definitely want to get back into Final Conflict. I've started it up a few times, but I always get distracted by something else. I should make it a priority this year - what I've played of it does seem fantastic. Plus, the fact that it wraps up everything from SFCD makes it appealing.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Seems like it wraps up a lot of stuff from SF1 and 2, too, though I haven't finished it yet to make sure. It's a fun game, either way.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
Huh, you know, I'm between games right now and I never did check out how absurdly powerful you could make characters in 2 back in the day. Wonder if that old level-on-using-medical-herb game genie code will work on modern emulators...
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Huh, you know, I'm between games right now and I never did check out how absurdly powerful you could make characters in 2 back in the day. Wonder if that old level-on-using-medical-herb game genie code will work on modern emulators...
If you haven't already played Final Conflict, I'd play that, though replaying Shining Force II is always fun too lol
 

muteKi

Women want fish fear meme
I always would do 2 things:

- Go to town on those respawning smoke enemies in fairy woods once I started running out of other enemies I could level up on (less of an issue for the mages
- Boost spam. Given just how like every two-plus-a-bit uses of it is a level up, grinding Karna to level 99 is really easy. There are probably people out there who don't use both vigor balls in the English version, and those people are either damned fools or intentionally challenging themselves


That said, I did take a look and it seems like the two big differences in Shining Force Gaiden II vs Shining Force CD Book II in terms of mechanics:
- Magic in SFG2 was more powerful at level 3 (I think the fire spells had increased range, possibly more power?)
- Enemies in SFCD2 have a lot more health.
Ultimately what this means is that magic users are a lot less powerful, which definitely makes the bits where a certain potential spoilery thing happens probably more challenging.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I always would do 2 things:

- Go to town on those respawning smoke enemies in fairy woods once I started running out of other enemies I could level up on (less of an issue for the mages
- Boost spam. Given just how like every two-plus-a-bit uses of it is a level up, grinding Karna to level 99 is really easy. There are probably people out there who don't use both vigor balls in the English version, and those people are either damned fools or intentionally challenging themselves

Boost spam always works in these games, and it rules. Any healer that gets Boost always stays on my team because they're so easy to level, plus I don't have to sacrifice exp I could be giving to my damage dealers for them.


That said, I did take a look and it seems like the two big differences in Shining Force Gaiden II vs Shining Force CD Book II in terms of mechanics:
- Magic in SFG2 was more powerful at level 3 (I think the fire spells had increased range, possibly more power?)
- Enemies in SFCD2 have a lot more health.
Ultimately what this means is that magic users are a lot less powerful, which definitely makes the bits where a certain potential spoilery thing happens probably more challenging.

SFG2 on Game Gear definitely has broken level 3 magic spells - both Freeze 3 and Blaze 3 do 40+ damage, which is more HP than most characters have unless you powerlevel. And their range is huge, too - rather than a + shape hitting five characters maximum, it can hit up to 13 - which is more people than you can even have on your team! It sucks and I'm sure I'd prefer the SFCD version for that balance fix alone (even though I really enjoyed playing Sword of Hajya).

Final Conflict doesn't have broken level 3 magic spells. They're still dangerous, but only hit 5 people max and usually do about 20 damage rather than frickin' forty. And yet Final Conflict still has challenge - it's a much better game.

I'm still plugging away at it, too, and don't have much to add than I've already said - the battles remain interesting and fun, and only a few battles are straightforward. They clearly had fun making Final Conflict and I'm quite enjoying playing it.
 

muteKi

Women want fish fear meme
Yeah, the balance of Book II is clearly much better, and it's definitely not a cakewalk. Like if anything I think some of the Book I HP values are overly low, making magic wind up feeling overpowered (and the final boss an almost obnoxious spike in difficulty).

Final Conflict is definitely really good though, and while I'm a little disappointed that no enhanced version of it exists like the SFCD stuff, it's definitely a great one to play.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
I have been keeping a spreadsheet of stat values if anyone wants to see it when I'm done with the run, anyway. Just used the old game genie code to turn herbs into brave apples, essentially.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I'll take a look at it, for sure - what are you playing it on, btw? Does the game genie code work on modern consoles or are you emulating?
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
I'm using the Genesis Plus DX core in Retroarch (I have the Classics collection on Steam, but don't like all the greeble in the wrapper), and I just put the GG code into the core's cheat menu and it works just fine.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I bet that'd work on my hacked 3DS, too... Might need to give it a shot haha. Though I should probably attempt Nightmare mode first lol
 
Thanks for reminding me of Shining Force on game gear. Absolutely adored that game as a kid, especially after my copy of Shining Force 2 on genesis went missing. Yeah it’s not the best but it’s breezy and fun and now I’ll be firing this up on my 3ds tonight I think! Man do I miss this series...
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Enjoy! If you haven't already, play Final Conflict, it's insanely good. Meanwhile I will probably play through Shining Force CD after I'm done with Final Conflict because of this thread lol. I miss the series too.
 

muteKi

Women want fish fear meme
Oh and the GDQ guys just put up a 5 hour run of book 1 of CD. Good times. Would recommend if you have some time to kill. Toss your protect rings at the end of the first battle after you reach like level 7 if you want a nice easy time with the game
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I've hit a fucking wall in Final Conflict. The final wall, I guess. The penultimate and final batte have to be fought consecutively, which is fine, I guess, but any characters that die in the penultimate battle obviously don't respawn for the final battle. And the penultimate battle is a giant pain! The entire stairway is covered by Evil Statues that shoot beams nearly every turn they take for about 15 damage to everyone IN A LINE and there's enemies along the way, most of whom have magic and so you can try to run up the stairs, but some characters will be picked off, usually before you can even get halfway up. Then, when you get up there, you have to kill Mishaela, who likes to tuck herself up in the back until she comes down and shoots a Bolt 3 at you. She has over 100 HP, and the best I've done so far is get to the last battle with six characters.

The last battle has three enemies, all with over 100 HP, and all with multi-target magic attacks. As best I can tell, you have to take out his hands first, then focus down the head. This would probably doable if I had a healer, or my full team, or something, but I can't make that happen.


It really sucks because the game has been so well balanced so far, then this unfair fight comes along and I'm furious. I don't even think I can level past it, because I would need a TON of HP to be able to survive all that... I mean, I'm sure that's what you're supposed to do, but I wish I didn't have to.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Wow, that looks awful, looking at an LP. That being said... do you have anyone with Aura? Apparently there's a version (Level 4?) that heals your entire team.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
As always, complaining about it on TT works and I beat it on my next go lol.

Wow, that looks awful, looking at an LP. That being said... do you have anyone with Aura? Apparently there's a version (Level 4?) that heals your entire team.

Yeah, I leveled Cynthia up, and she learned Aura 4, but I ended up using items to mitigate as much damage as I could, while I tried to keep both her and Knuckles alive to have two healers going into the final boss, which... worked. Somehow. I had six characters for the final boss, and with spamming the Power Ring I luckily had and basically going in, attacking, taking a hit with one character, retreating, healing, rinse and repeat all that, I was able to take down the final boss with three characters left alive at the end.

In retrospect, though yes, that last set of battles is tuned a bit too difficult, I have to give the Shining Force team credit, as Final Conflict kept me on my toes the whole game, and other than feeling like a wall there at the end, I thought it through and was able to pull it off (with some luck, mind. My strategy easily could have failed had I suffered one too many critical hits, or if some enemies chose to use magic rather than attack, etc.).

Despite the above post, I still strongly recommend Final Conflict to anyone who hasn't played it - it has excellent battle design, possibly the best in from the early 90s if I'm honest. I prefer Shining Force II just because it's a bit more fleshed out storywise and has some good battles overall, with more choices in party composition, etc. It's also sliiightly fairer and doesn't have a wall like the end of Final Conflict lol (and also, you know, nostalgia).

Which isn't to say I didn't enjoy the story - it's fairly minimalistic, but what's there does tie together the entire Shining series at that time (yes, even that one. It's pretty neat). It really leans heavily on Shining Force II elements, which I enjoyed as a big II fan, but I still have some questions as to how certain things could be... (spoilers for pretty much the whole series follows) is the Hawel that the Shining Force sees die in II the same Hawel as in Final Conflict, or a descendent or something? I'm guessing a descendent, as even though Hawel is known as a wise researcher in II, he's not implied to be a former member of the Shining Force or anything, even if he was teaching Kazin magic. Also, there doesn't appear to be a Granseal in Final Conflict, so I assume some of the characters in Final Conflict found it? Does Nosshu really end up being the King from Shining Force II, or his ancestor? It's super weird lol. I guess it could be him because he doesn't know much about the ancient legends, considering he wasn't with the Shining Force the whole time in Final Conflict, though that's a bit flimsy. It's probably just that a bunch of time passes between Final Conflict and II, you have to assume things like "Hawel" are just nice references to other games in the series. And I guess since the Game Gear games reused all kinds of names from I and II for some reason, even if there's not a connection there.

Loved seeing a young Odd Eye, even being able to control him. He wasn't the most useful character - his defense was noticably lower than the rest of my team - but it was awesome to see him again.


In any case... the Shining Game Gear games are extremely good. Play them! Probably on Sega CD, but don't pass on Final Conflict, which is probably my second favorite Shining game behind II at this point. I loved it, frankly, even if I was super frustrated in my last post about the last couple fights lol.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Congrats on getting through it! It always feels good busting through walls that seem entirely impossible. And even if there was some luck involved... well, it wouldn't surprise me if they figured on that. :p
 
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