|Developers||Camelot Software Planning
Infogrames Entertainment, SA
|Year of inception||1991|
|First release||Shining in the Darkness
Shining (シャイニング Shainingu?) is a series of fantasy console games developed by Sega. The series can be thought of as Sega's main venture into the RPG genre, along with the sci-fi RPG series, Phantasy Star. The first game, Shining in the Darkness, was a first-person dungeon crawler with randomly encountered, turn-based battles (comparable to Wizardry and Might and Magic). The next game released in the series was Shining Force, which were turn-based strategy style tactical role-playing games with battle scenes acted out with sprites (comparable to the Kure Software Koubou games and Fire Emblem). Other spin-offs include Shining Soul, a dungeon crawl action role-playing game with roguelike elements.
It can be argued that the Shining series started as an attempt by Sega to cover all of its bases on their consoles as far as the usual gameplay genres, because it emulated styles that Nintendo and other developers pioneered. Over time though, the series has found a following and has carved its own niche, as there are newer releases not found on Sega consoles.
Dungeon crawler titles
In the dungeon crawler titles of the series (Shining in the Darkness and Shining the Holy Ark), the player takes control of an adventuring party. Battles work very similarly to those of Dragon Quest, Mother, and the fellow Sega RPG series Phantasy Star, in that they are first person and the player is placed in a position where the hero and team mates would be. Shining in the Darkness is the first game in the Shining series, and is a very simple labyrinth exploration game, with a simplified non explorable town and world map, where choices are made through a cursor system. Shining the Holy Ark was released immediately prior to Shining Force III, and while it is also a dungeon crawler, it features a far more expanded gameplay world over the first title.
For the strategy games of the series (Shining Force, Shining Force Gaiden, Shining Force Gaiden 2, Shining Force II, Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict, Shining Force CD, Shining Force III and Shining Force Feather), the player takes charge of a party in large-scale, strategic battles. The games generally limit the number of characters who can enter any one battle at a time to about a dozen. The player is only in control of unique troops; there are no generic footmen, archers, or cavalry.
Action RPG titles
The third broad category of Shining games is the "action RPG" set of titles. This incorporates: Shining Wisdom, Shining Soul, Shining Soul II, Shining Force Neo, Shining Tears, Shining Force EXA and Shining Wind. This category is essentially a dumping ground for any Shining game which does not use turn-based combat; the games it incorporates do not necessarily have any noticeable similarity in gameplay. For instance, while Shining Tears uses similar mechanics to Shining Soul II, it has less in common with Shining Wisdom than it does with any of the strategy RPG titles of the series.
In December 3, 2009, Shining Force Cross was released as an arcade game for Sega's RingEdge system board. It is a multiplayer role-playing game with support for up to eight players, both online and offline. Within one month, nearly 2,400 Shining Force Cross machines had been sold to arcade operators by December 31, 2009. A sequel has been released for the RingEdge arcade system in 2012, Shining Force Cross Illusion.
Connections between games
Most installments of the series prior to Shining Soul I are related in some ways. Often they reference each other (frequently during discussion about the Greater Devils), or characters are carried over. Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict and Shining Force II are arguably two of the most related games, having both characters and locations in common, such as the character Hawel, a playable mage in Final Conflict and Kazin's mentor in Shining Force II. Final Conflict is also strongly related to Shining Force I, both sharing the character Max. There are also notable connections between Shining Wisdom and Shining Force II and between Shining the Holy Ark and Shining Force III. In Shining Wisdom, the elf-cleric Sarah and elf-mage Kazin make an important appearance and connect the story with Shining Force II. In Shining the Holy Ark, the father of Julian, one of the main characters of Shining Force III, disappears in Galm's Mansion. Julian blames Galm for his father's death and this serves as his motivation for becoming a mercenary, leaving Enrich, and joining the main group in Shining Force III Scenario 1, which through a series of events leads to him being a focal character in Scenario 3.
From Shining Soul I onward, installments of the series tend to have less significant connections. For instance, in Shining Tears a character mentions the Klantol Kingdom (the setting for Shining Soul II) and tells its geographic location, but there is no interaction with any of the characters or plot events of Shining Soul II. However, Shining Wind and Shining Tears are some of the most closely connected pair of games in the series, since the former is a direct sequel to the latter and features return appearances by nearly all of the major characters.
This is a full list of Shining games:
|Shining in the Darkness||28 March 1991||Sega Mega Drive|
|Shining Force||19 March 1992||Sega Mega Drive|
|Shining Force Gaiden||25 December 1992||Sega Game Gear||Never released outside Japan. Remade as part of Shining Force CD.|
|Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya||25 June 1993||Sega Game Gear||Released in Japan as Shining Force Gaiden II. Remade as part of Shining Force CD.|
|Shining Force II||1 October 1993||Sega Mega Drive|
|Shining Force CD||21 July 1994||Sega Mega-CD||Contains remakes of Shining Force Gaiden I and II and a new scenario.|
|Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict||30 June 1995||Sega Game Gear||Never officially released in English; however, fan translations are available.|
|Shining Wisdom||10 August 1995||Sega Saturn|
|Shining the Holy Ark||20 December 1996||Sega Saturn|
|Shining Force III Scenario 1||11 December 1997||Sega Saturn||Released in the US and Europe as Shining Force III.|
|Shining Force III Scenario 2||29 April 1998||Sega Saturn||Never officially released in English; however, fan translations are available.|
|Shining Force III Scenario 3||23 September 1998||Sega Saturn||Never officially released in English; however, fan translations are available.|
|Shining Force III Premium Disk||3 December 1998||Sega Saturn||Never officially released in English; however, fan translations are available.|
|Shining Soul||28 March 2002||Game Boy Advance||This was the first game developed by Grasshopper Manufacture (all previous ones were developed by Camelot Software); all games from this point onward are not part of the same continuity as the pre-Soul games.|
|Shining Soul II||24 July 2003||Game Boy Advance|
|Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon||30 April 2004||Game Boy Advance||An enhanced remake of the original Shining Force, with a revised story, new battles, and new characters.|
|Shining Tears||3 November 2004||PlayStation 2|
|Shining Force Neo||24 March 2005||PlayStation 2|
|Shining Road to the Force||14 April 2005||Japanese mobile phones||The first non-remake strategy Shining game in over seven years.|
|Shining Force Chronicle I||26 April 2005||Japanese mobile phones||Remake of Shining Force Gaiden.|
|Shining Force Chronicle II||3 October 2005||Japanese mobile phones||Remake of Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya.|
|Shining Road Priestess of the Dark Dragon||27 January 2006||Japanese mobile phones|
|Shining Force Chronicle III||27 June 2006||Japanese mobile phones||Remake of Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict.|
|Shining Force EXA||18 January 2007||PlayStation 2|
|Shining Wind||17 May 2007||PlayStation 2||Follow-up to Shining Tears.|
|Shining Force EXA Mobile||10 July 2007||Japanese mobile phones|
|Shining Wind X||1 December 2008||Japanese mobile phones|
|Shining Force Feather||19 February 2009||Nintendo DS|
|Shining Force Cross||3 December 2009||Arcade|
|Shining Hearts||16 December 2010||PlayStation Portable||Characters designed by Tony Taka.|
|Shining Blade||15 March 2012||PlayStation Portable||Characters designed by Tony Taka.|
|Shining Ark||28 February 2013||PlayStation Portable||Characters designed by Tony Taka.|
|Blade Arcus from Shining||5 November 2014||Arcade|
|Shining Resonance||11 December 2014||PlayStation 3|
|Blade Arcus from Shining EX||26 November 2015||PlayStation 3
Wii Virtual Console
- 12/06/2007 - Shining in the Darkness
- 10/07/2007 - Shining Force
- 11/07/2008 - Shining Force II
- 08/08/2010 - Shining Force
- 26/01/2011 - Shining in the Darkness
- 26/01/2011 - Shining Force
- 26/01/2011 - Shining Force II
- 24/10/2011 - Shining Force Chronicles
- 08/12/2011 - Shining Force Chronicles II
- 24/05/2012 - Shining Force Chronicles III
3DS Virtual Console
- 02/10/2013 - Shining Force Gaiden (Japan only)
- 06/11/2013 - Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya
- 15/01/2014 - Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict (Japan only)
- Gantayat, Anoop (2012-02-13). "Sega shows new rhythm game, updated Shining and Border Break, and Fantasy Zone Medal at AOU". AndriaSang. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Appendix of Consolidated Financial Statements 9 Months Ended December 31, 2009" (PDF). Sega Sammy Holdings. February 5, 2010. p. 3. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
- "Shining Force Feather 公式サイト". Shining-force.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "SEGA[シャイニング・ハーツ]公式サイト". Shining-world.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "SEGA[シャイニング・ブレイド]公式サイト". Shining-world.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "SEGA[シャイニング・アーク]公式サイト". Shining-world.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-24.