Shining Wisdom

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Shining Wisdom
North American Saturn cover art
Developer(s) Sonic! Software Planning
Composer(s) Motoaki Takenouchi
Series Shining
Platform(s) Saturn
Release date(s)
  • JP 11 August 1995
  • EU 7 April 1996
Genre(s) Action-adventure game
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution CD-ROM

Shining Wisdom (シャイニング・ウィズダム Shainingu Wizudamu?) is an action-adventure game released for the Sega Saturn video game console. It is the last of Sega's Shining series of video games to be scored by Motoaki Takenouchi, the series's longest-running composer.


Shining Wisdom differs from its predecessors in the Shining series in that it was the first to employ an action-adventure style of gameplay. Players control one character whose attacks rely on speed and skill, rather than controlling a group of characters who engage in turn-based combat sequences and increase their stats as the game progresses. The gameplay of Shining Wisdom has often been likened to that of The Legend of Zelda series. Shining Wisdom's originality comes from the unique system of attacks based on a combination of acquired items and "orbs." The graphics employ CGI-rendered sprites, and a classic top-down camera angle.


In the land of Odegan, orphaned squire Mars is employed at Odegan Castle on the strength of his father's great reputation. A series of lies and deceptions on his part unexpectedly places him as the foremost obstacle to the schemes of the dark elf wizard, Pazort. Pazort and his followers intend to destroy the world by summoning the Giant, Seeega (referred to as "the Dark Titan" in Working Designs' translation), and to do so they first must use Princess Satera to get at an orb held by King Odegan. It is up to Mars to redeem his lies and failures by thwarting the mighty wizard's plans.[3]

Shining Wisdom takes place on the continent of Parmecia just a few years after Shining Force II, and is a sequel of sorts to that game. Sarah and Kazin, who were playable characters in Shining Force II, are roaming the continent in a hunt for Zeon's remaining henchmen. Pazort, the main villain of Shining Wisdom, is a former follower of Zeon, and Sarah and Kazin aid in the fight against him. There are also several references to the hero of Shining Force II, Bowie, though he does not actually appear anywhere in the game. A book even refers to the setting of Shining in the Darkness, Stormsong(referred to in English versions as "Thornwood").[4] Due to the various name changes and omissions of the Working Designs' translation, none of the above connections to the Shining series are apparent in the USA version of the game and they can only be seen in the Japanese and European versions.


Shining Wisdom was originally designed for the Mega Drive, and adapted for the Sega Saturn at the last minute, presumably in order to bolster the new system's library of games.[5] Because of this, the game's graphics are exceptionally bland and lacking in detail compared to other early Saturn games.


Working Designs' North American version of the game is met with some criticism by gamers, as numerous creative liberties were taken with the story. Kazin, Sarah, Bowie, and Zeon are respectively referred to as "Parn", "Salah," "Puck", and "Zhaion", while the land of Parmecia is referred to as "Palacia." Sega Japan owned the copyrights to the original names and would not release them. Working Designs also made considerable changes to the characters' personalities and how they relate to each other. For example, the original script made explicit that Sarah does not return the romantic feelings of her companion, Kazin Working Designs not only deleted these parts of the script, but added in numerous comments from Sarah and other NPCs indicating that she and Kazin are romantically involved.[3]

The European release of Shining Wisdom was translated by Sega Europe. This translation contains some grammatical errors and typos, but none of the contemporary pop-culture jokes and distorted characterizations of the Working Designs translation. It also keeps intact the storyline connections between Shining Wisdom and the other games of the Shining series.



  1. ^ Publisher info,
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b Complete scripts for the USA and European translations of Shining Wisdom, Shining Force Central.
  4. ^ Shining Force Chronology and Connections, Shining Force Central.
  5. ^ Day, S (2008). "The History of Shining Force", Retro Gamer (58): 66-73.

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