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Shining Force II: Ancient Sealing

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Shining Force II: Ancient Sealing
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Information
Developer(s) Sonic Co.
Publisher(s) Sega
Genre Strategy
Platform(s) Mega Drive/Genesis
Release Date(s)
1993

Shining Force II: The Ancient Seal (シャイニング・フォースII 古えの封印, Shainingu Fōsu Tsu: Inishie no Fūin; also known as Shining Force II: Ancient Sealing or just as Shining Force II) is a tactical role-playing game for the Mega Drive/Genesis console developed by Sonic! Software Planning in 1994. The storyline is not directly connected to Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention, although a Japanese Game Gear title Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict does draw the two games together.

The game is much longer than the first, and is more free-roaming. There is no chapter system like in the original, so the player can return to most parts of the world that he/she had been to before. There is also a larger number of playable characters giving the option of multiple ways to build the Force.

This game was released on the Wii Virtual Console in Europe on October 3, 2008 and in North America on October 6, 2008. This game was cited as one of the best games ever made, ranking 48th out 100 in IGN's 2007 top games list.[1]

GameplayEdit

Shining Force II gameplay is a tactical role-playing game. There are two forms of gameplay: exploration and battles. When exploring, the player assumes the role of the Shining Force leader. The player can walk around, interact with people, and set the members and equipment of the army. It is also possible to find a headquarters in some towns where the player can inspect and talk with allies. While roaming through town or moving throughout the world, one can find both visible and hidden treasures and interact with certain objects.

Each ally unit is represented by a character with a background and personality. Some of these characters are also hidden, requiring specific events to occur before they will join the allies. Not all the characters can be used during a single battle so the player must mix and match their forward team. The main character, Bowie, must be in every battle.

Each ally unit also has a class, which defines the abilities for that unit. These abilities range from what type of weapons they can use to what kind of spells they can learn. Units can become stronger by fighting enemies and performing various actions which gives them experience points (EXP), which allow them to gain levels. Once a unit reaches level 20, that character has the ability to advance to more powerful version of their class through promotion. A unit can be promoted at any level between 20 or 40; the longer the player waits to promote a unit, the stronger it will be after promotion. Some characters do not have promotions. These units tend to be significantly weaker than those promoted at level 40. Some characters also have two options of promotion; one of the options is only accessible only through the unit holding a special item that must be found.

BattlesEdit

Battles take place on a square grid, and each unit occupies a single square. Units can belong to one of two sides: allies and enemies. Allies are normally controlled by the player while the enemies are usually controlled by the computer's artificial intelligence).

The gameplay during battle is turn-based where during a character's turn, they can move and perform one action: attacking, casting a spell, using an item, or standing by. Some minor commands such as equipping or dropping an item during the turn does not count as an action. The order in which units take their turn is determined by the unit's agility score. Units can use offensive actions like attacking or spells only on units belonging to other side, and they can use support actions such as retreating or using healing magic only on units belonging to the same side. There are some attacks that damage units regardless of which side the unit is on.

Battle objectives are either kill all enemies, or kill the enemies' leader, if one is present. Killing the leader of the opposing army will herald the defeat of the entire opposition. Likewise, the enemy side wins if they kill Bowie. Even if the party escapes or the leader is killed, however, the player can recover the allies and fight the same enemy again. In fact, it is possible through retreating from the battle before obtaining the main goal to fight the same battle again and again. However, the amount of money and EXP that is obtained from damaging and killing an enemy is reduced as a unit increased in level. Anything gained or lost during battle is not changed even in the event of an ally being defeated. This included even if the entire battle is lost when Bowie is defeated. This makes the game easier since there is no Game Over result.

PlotEdit

Shining Force II opens with a thief, Slade, stealing two jewels in an ancient shrine, thus setting in motion strange events leading to the resurrection of Zeon, the Devil King. When the king of Granseal, protector of the Ancient Tower, falls ill, Sir Astral and his students investigate the opened tower.

An evil Gizmo escapes and possesses the king of a neighboring kingdom, Galam, Granseal's princess is kidnapped, and the door to Arc Valley (where Zeon is sealed away) is opened. Arc Valley and the evil that resides there begins consuming Grans Island, forcing the Granseal population to evacuate.

When the true danger of the opened door is realized, Bowie and friends have to fight against the invading armies of Zeon to find the Holy Sword and the stolen jewels so they may once again reseal the Devil King in Arc Valley.

LocationsEdit

Grans IslandEdit

Grans Island is an island to the west of the mainland. The game begins and ends on Grans Island. Natural locations and non-settlements on Grans Island include Arc Valley, the Valley of the Prism Flowers and the Nazca Ship Crash Site. Settlements and other points of interest on Grans Island include:

ParmeciaEdit

Parmecia is a vast continent to the east of Grans Island. There is a narrow section in the middle of Parmecia featuring mountains and other natural obstacles, with large landmasses to the north and south, and as such Parmecia is sometimes divided into North Parmecia and South Parmecia. Natural locations and non-settlements include North Cliff, Ribble Ruins, the Cavern of Darkness, Mount Volcano, Petro's Grandfather's Shrine, the Taros Shrine, the Dwarven Mine, the Harpy Pool, Pangoat Valley, and Mount Tristan. In the extreme north-west of the continent lies the mysterious desert plains of Nazca, uninhabited for eons, where mysterious and ancient technology awaits discovery beneath the surface. To the extreme south-west of Parmecia lies the equally mysterious area known as Devil's Tail due to its geological shape, surrounded by mountains, forests and lakes. Parmecian settlements appearing in Shining Force II include:

CharactersEdit

Shining ForceEdit

Main storyline;

Optional;

Allies of the ForceEdit

BossesEdit

Greater DevilsEdit

StrategiesEdit

FrontlineEdit

Knights/Paladins/Pegasus KnightsEdit

Knights: Unlike the previous game, its sequel relies less on the "knight" classes. They hindered by rough terrain, suffer from weaker stats then the Warrior/Gladiator/Baron/Blood Baron class. They fight with spears or lances and are designed to act as interceptors, they are able to gain ground over any foe with less of a movement range and can be moved quickly into position where needed.

  • Chester; low-mid tier knight.
  • Rick; mid tier knight
  • Eric; a mid-top tier knight

Paladin: The normal promotion class of the Knight is stronger then the Knight and able to handle tougher weapons.

  • Higgins; mid-top tier Paladin

Pegasus Knight: The player will naturally recruit Jaro a Pegasus knight, and have the option of transforming one of the 3 Knights into a second Pegasus knight. Pegasus Knights end up overall slightly weaker then the Paladins but can back up, and even replace, the Birdmen class.

  • Jaro; mid-top tier Pagasus knight

Warrior/Gladiator/Baron/Blood BaronEdit

Warrior: Like the previous game, they work best as a main dealer or tanking role, acting as a slowly moving barrier to back up the knights. They are best suited for boss fights and are able to deal a great amount of damage.

  • Jaha; low-mid tier Warrior
  • Randol; mid tier warrior

Gladiator: Promoting a Warrior to "Gladiator" allows them to continue to level up in the style they have down throughout the game, with little change to how their stats work.

  • Gyan; mid-top tier Gladiator

Barons/Blood Baron: Is an alternative class for Jaha and Randol to promote to. They are slightly weaker then "Gladiators", but can equipt swords as well as axes and have a bigger movement range. Lemon's "Blood Baron" class is the same as a normal Baron, except when he dies he does not need gold to be resurrected.

  • Lemon; top tier Blood Baron

BirdmenEdit

Birdmen: return as the Forces primary focus of the air fighters. They bare much resemblance to the previous games Birdmen and have changed little in fighting style. They are, however, much more useful in terrain battles and are able to maintain their grounds in far more battles. They begin to wane, however, once the player gains access to Pegasus knights and renders them more optional as fighters then even the previous game.

  • Luke
  • Skeetch

Misc.Edit

  • Bowie; Bowie acts as a main fighter, risky to place in battle early game and with some spells.
  • Peter; Alternative to the Birdmen and potentially one of the strong top tier fighters in the Force. He easily gains much strength after promotion and does not need resurrection if he falls in battle.
  • Claud; Claud is an alternative to the Warrior/Gladiator/Baron/Blood Baron class and is a "tank" based class able to take a beating. He is relatively strong at giving back what he takes.
  • Zync; Zync is like Claud, a alternative to the Warrior/Gladiator/Baron/Blood Baron class.
  • Slade; Slade is a optional character who can replace any of the centaurs.
  • Kiwi; Kiwi is one of the most extreme defensive character and a alternative to the Warrior/Gladiator/Baron/Blood Baron. He laters promotes to a monster, which can cross almost all terrains, making him almost as good as the "flyers".
  • Gerhalt; acts as a replacement for any of the centaurs.

SupportEdit

Archer/Sniper/Brass GunnerEdit

Archers: are largely unchanged from the previous game. Since many of the battlefields are larger then in the previous game, their bonus range makes them more useful. They do more damage against the flying foes in the game, but do not have as much damage potential as other fighters.

  • Elric, joins as a archer, low tier.
  • Janet, joins as an archer low-mid tier.

Sniper: Continues the traits the character had as a Archer.

Brass Gunner: A more powerful version of the Archer, but with less movement range.

  • Rhode, joins as a Brass Guner, mid-top tier.

Mage/Wizard/SorcererEdit

Mage: Returning to the game is the spell caster class. Unlike the previous game, all spellcasters can use lvl.4 of each spell they learn. Spells like "Blaze" will deal more damage against undead.

  • Kazin; low tier mage
  • Tyrin; mid-top tier mage

Wizard: Promoting to "Wizard" allows the player to continue to build the character as they did when they were a "mage".

  • Chaz; top tier Wizard

Sorcerer: Sorcerers gain new spells and loose all their old spells.

  • Taya; top tier Sorcerer

Priest/Vicar/MastermonkEdit

Priest The only characters with healing abilities, these serve to keep members of the shining force alive, avoid the need to pay to resurrect them post-battle.

  • Sarah; a low tier starter Healer.
  • Karna; a mid-top tier healer

Vicars: maintain a strictly supportive role, but end up with a large mana pool.

  • Fayja; a top tier Vicar

Mastermonks are able to become mid-tier fighters, competing with the top tier fighters of the Force.

  • Sheela; a mid-top tier Mastermonk.

Due to a coding error in the English version, it is possible to find two Vigor Balls instead of one, thus both Sarah and Karna can be promoted to Mastermonk.

Misc.Edit

  • May; a ranger, who is an alternative to any of the 3 archer characters.

The Class "balance"Edit

Unlike the previous Shining Force game, the developers attempted to balance out the classes more. The main bulk of the forces characters are therefore more uniformed and rather then random classes added as alternatives, players are given the option to alternatively promote characters to other classes.

The main frontline of the Force is less Lance/spear based, and each class has potentially 3-4 characters. Mixed tactics are therefore possible, with more options given to the player. there are no Easter Eggs like Yogurt and all characters have their uses within the Force. Also, due to the ability to promote certain characters to alternative classes, the low tier characters are still able to hold their ground late game. Alternatively, speed run play through can use alternative promotions to quickly run through the game by promoting the mid-tier characters instead.

The player also has access to a handful of characters that, despite able to die in battle, do not require money to resurrect such as Peter and Lemon. Most of the spellcasters, be it mage or priest, can learn all levels of the spells they possess, making the traditional tiers between each caster less noticeable. While there are still differences between class members, there are no extreme differences such as seen with Pelle and Arthur in the previous game.

In addition, unlike the previous game, players can opt to not include the full roaster of possible characters they take into battle.

Packaging ArtworkEdit


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