Review by Drake
"Truly one of the best games of all-time."
This game is one of the only reasons I still have a Sega Genesis system lying around. It took me several (and I do mean SEVERAL) hours to beat entirely, including finding all the hidden items and secret characters.
This quest is much more massive than the first one by far. To give you an example, your characters must now reach level 20 before they are able to be promoted to the next class, unlike in Shining Force I where you only had to hit level 10. There are many more characters to be found, and much more variety among them than in the original. Anything from werewolves, summoners, golems, birdmen, phoenixes, and barons are at your beck and call.
The basic plot to this game is that a thief breaks into a shrine with two of his buddies, stealing two gems in an attempt to get rich quickly, I guess. Unfortunately, these gems are the gems of light and darkness, both of which were sealing an ancient, evil devil by the name of Zeon in a deep slumber. Zeon awakens, and summons his demonic forces to plague the land.
You and your group are accidently sucked into this big scheme when problems are noticed in the kingdom above where Zeon is sealed arise. Your teacher, an ancient and powerful mage, is called to check it out, and you follow along behind him, even when told explicitly not to do so. Upon reaching the castle, you find a small host of monsters inside one of the towers, and kill them accordingly. After, you run into a demon which was sent to possess the king for reasons unknown. Afterwards, a huge earthquake hits the kindgdom, and you are forced to flee to a foreign land with the survivors of the disaster.
After establishing your new town on the new continent, you are approached by a phoenix named Peter. Peter eventually takes you back to his home in Bedoe, where the phoenix god, Volcannon, slaps you around for letting the demon loose, and he charges you to destroy it, mentioning that you need a holy sword to get rid of him once and for all.
Of course, there are a lot of twists and turns to the plot, but that's the story in a nutshell.
An interesting feature of Shining Force II is that when your characters are eligible for a promotion, you can find items to promote them to a better class than normal. For example, Mages normally go to Wizard class on a promotion, but by finding an item called the secret book, you can promote the mage to a summoner.
Now for the ratings...
These are actually very impressive considering how old the game is, especially since the Sega Genesis has such a limited palette to work with. Rich, colorful backgrounds are abundant, be it the battlefields or the towns. The character models and portraits are well done also, with great animation in the cinematic and battle scenes.
The music is crisp and clear, but the tunes can get overly repetitive and annoying sometimes. The music as a whole is suitable epic and fresh, for the most part. The sound FX seem to be all in the right place, no gripes whatsoever with that.
Not really all that much to say here. Nothing ends up where you don't want it to and the interface is simple and very easy to pick up.
Replay Value: 7/10
As a tactical game, this game has a good amount of replay value. It has many secret characters and hidden items to find. The only real detraction here is that the adventure is totally linear, but all Shining Force games are like this, except for maybe SF3.
On a whole, this game really shines...one of the best games ever made for the Genesis, as well as one of my all-time favorite strategy games. I paid $50 for it right when it came out, and am thoroughly happy with my purchase. I strongly recommend this title to anyone, particularly if you've played and of the other titles in the series.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/01, Updated 11/01/01
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