Shining Force CD is a compilation/remake of the first two Shining Force games released for the Game Gear, a pair of "gaidens" that take place in between Shining Force and Shining Force 2 and star a bunch of the Senior Breakfast versions of characters from the first game plus their various kids.

Big fans of the first game will likely be pleased to see the story of these characters extended, but also might feel the game is just a little too much Samey Force if they've already spent significant time with other games in the series. Presumably due to memory limitations of the original Game Gear versions, these games are stripped down to the bare bones of battle sequences and non-interactive cutscenes in between. No towns, overworld, bonus battles and levels, and suchforth. Saving, healing and weapons buying is handled in between fights in a very simplistic little camp that basically boils down to a glorified menu screen. You can Egress from most fights endlessly back to these camps in order to level up and save money, but very little of this is actually necessary as this game is by and large easier than the Genesis games (which weren't themselves all that difficult to begin with.)

The games have been given a graphical upgrade from that of the Game Gear versions, but what it really consists of seems to be just plugging in old sprites and tiles from the two Genesis games. There's also a Redbook Audio soundtrack, which is decent and features high-quality synths and music by the same composer of the previous games, but the tunes rarely exceed 1:30 in length and loop quite frequently. The character types, enemy types, spells, attacks, terrain, etc. are all the same as that found in the Genesis games; you really feel like you're just playing out the same games again with a different story and some different character names swapped in. No real new mechanics of note, just the same old gameplay engine but with even less trimmings than before.

Between the less-than-inspiring "grade up" work done here, and the fact that Sega never really clearly labeled this game as a re-release of the Game Gear games, I have to give this one a mediocre rating at best. Only really hardcore fans of the series will get into it, and they'll probably have a decent time with it, but everyone else is just better served by playing one of the "main" (better) Shining Force games or just another, more superior SRPG entirely. One last minor point of note is that after the two Game Gear games are completed, a bonus third chapter of original content is unlocked, plus there's a massive boss battle unlockable after that which is also unique to this re-release. So at least it isn't a total rip as far as new content goes. Still should have labeled the game as a re-release though, you sneaky Sega bastards.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video

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