Sonic's Shining set of games were popular on the Mega-Drive when that system was still in vogue some 3-4 years ago. The original game was Shining in the Darkness which started the 3/4 overhead perspective for battles and featured real-time slashes and defense animations during encounters. Shining Force came next with it's improved graphics, animation and battle mechanisms. It handily solidified Sonic's position as a force to be reckoned with when it came to role playing/strategy games. Saturn owners now have Shining in the Holy Ark to enjoy which continues the addictive gameplay of the Shining series in grand style with improved graphics and animation.
All of the characters and scenery are now composed of polygons and the world is rendered in 3-D space. You assume the persona of Arthur, an adventurer who spans the world in search of treasure, adventure and better armor. Like the previous Shining games, you can add up to three comrades to your party so that they can lend you a hand when the battles get a bit more intense than a young lad should be expected to take on. During bloody battles, four heads are much better than one. The battle system is set in traditional RPG format but with the familiar rendered action sequences where you watch the characters fight in real time with each stroke and slash shown.
When you meet a boss character, and there are quite a few of them, you will get to view a computer generated animation that sets the interaction sequence up for you. Fights with boss characters usually last a lot longer than the average encounter with an everyday hobgoblin so make sure your health and magical points are at their maximum levels before you engage in the battle. Having some magical items on hand would also be a good idea before attempting to take on a boss. The animation quality in the dungeon scenes is very good so the entire game simply oozes of quality and has a solid feel to it. Highly recommended for strategy/rpg fans.
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