Review by mystik3eb

"Whoever hasn't played this game hasn't experienced the true Strategy-RPG"

By far one of the most extra-ordinary games ever, Shining Force II was a huge blow against SNES RPGs and made FFTactics look like a piece of crap. This game shares everything from large, vast, environmental backgrounds to wonderful battle scenes that show every detail of the huge turn-based system, to even some character development to some of the more important characters. With bright, colorful graphics and rich, catchy music, it's visuals and sound are eye and ear candy from start to finish. It has a story-line that stays strong throughout the game and a plot that thickens even with so much information given in the beginning. This definitely is an improvement over the first Shining Force.

Graphics: 9
Even in pixels, the characters are well defined and I was impressed with the more cartoony look of the faces that hung over the dialog windows as major characters spoke. The backgrounds push the Genesis to the limits and can even catch you off guard. Way better than the original

Sound: 9
Music that sticks in your mind and makes you want to hum to it. At least, it did for me. Several different battle themes and some awesome boss themes, especially near the end. Often, the music changes with the situation and can hold you in suspense.

Characters: 9
With a large cast of characters (approximately 30), it would seem kind of overwhelming and confusing on which characters to pick for different battles and the like. Well, honestly, it kind of is. However, with different items that can change classes to something different than if promoting normally, a good variety in amount of classes was allowed. And a lot of the characters have their own part in the story, and the most major ones (Sir Astral, Peter, Lemon, and even Zync for a while) will follow you around and personally get involved in conversations that take place throughout the game. Honestly, playing battles was never this kind of fun.

Gameplay: 9
Being able to search things and talk to people with a push of a different button instead of going through those annoying menus made a big improvement over the first game. Problem though, was only being able to carry 4 items total. However, being able to pass down items to different characters if the hero's inventory was full was also a nice improvement over the first. All in all, the battle and menus are the same: intriguing and simple. Wonderful gameplay.

Story: 10
First thing I must say...''WHOA''!!! many times I was taken by surprise as the story of Shining Force II unfolded. In the demo of the game, it shows how Slade, the rat thief, steals the two jewels of light and dark, which, apparently, causes to major stuff to happen at the ancient tower up at Granseal castle. The king is hurt as a demon (Gesph) comes and knocks him out. The games starts off with the Hero going to school with his closest friends (Sarah, Chester, and...the other dwarf guy), when Sir Astral is called to the castle. The kids sneak in and Sir Astral has them go with him into the tower to see what was going on. They encounter some ghostly creatures as the first battle plays out. One of the ''smokes'' escapes and Sir Astral reveals it is a posessing demon! They rush back to save the king from being posessed and Sir Astral gets exhausted afterward. The party goes to see a man named Hawel who can tell them about the ancient tower. They meet one of his disciples on the way (Kazin), and find him killed by Galam soldiers (Galam was the kingdom to the north). The party is captured and imprisoned in Galam. They meet with the rat thief Slade and find out he's the cause of all the trouble. He apologizes and joins you, helping you escape as well. When you go through the castle, you see King Galam leading his army towards...Granseal! But they're allies!? You follow them back and see your town ransacked and many soldiers killed. Your families are alright though. You go into the castle and you follow Sir Astral towards the ancient tower, which is where King Galam headed. When you reach the bottom of the tower, you see King Granseal, his minister, and Sir Astral pleading with King Galam to release the princess. It appears Galam has been posessed! You fight off his demons and he and Sir Astral have a tite one-on-one fight. However, Galam gets a hold of the princess and rises into the air where a hole in the wall has opened, when the Hero is thrown up toward them. You realize that the Hero had the jewel of light that they found in Galam and the Hero removes the jewel of dark from Galam. The Hero falls to the ground as the two high above fall into the hole. The tower shakes and you all barely escape with your lives. However, the whole town is shaking! Aparently the whole town has gathered unto a large boat to escape to the large continent to the East (Parmecia). You all get on and leave just as a huge crater swallows up all of Granseal and the Tower is the only thing left standing. If this hasn't already caught your interest, play the game. It gets better. Much better. And it will surprise you. It may even force you to drop a tear near the end. Truly a masterpiece.

Overall: 9
What a terrific game. Though not my favorite, this one is way up there. I like this game better than most Final Fantasys, and it's nice to be able to pull out the old system and relive the good ol' days with this wonderful classic. If you haven't played it...well, PLAY IT!!!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/04/02, Updated 02/04/02


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