Written in 2000
Different approaches in enemy aggression
There is a difference between the Shining Force games as how the enemies approach players. Noticeably, Shining Force 1 behaves differently than the other games in the series.
In Shining Force 2 and 3, enemies move freely and try to attack the Shining Force directly. They can move around the whole battlefield, which can be pretty stressful as there is sometimes only little time to react properly. It's also wise to keep weaker characters in the second row at all times in Shining Force 2 and 3, as the enemy movement is so agressive and pushing at times. And even at those times, a swift action by an opposing mage can directly hit characters that try to hide.
So it's generally wise to keep that in mind when playing one of the later games.
The original Shining Force, as well as Resurrection of the Dark Dragon on the Gameboy Advance, enemies have reaction zones (yellow boxes in the graphic next to this paragraph). They usually won't start attacking unless a player controlled character enters their proximity - usually two or three blocks from their position. Sometimes, as soon as they're able to reach a character, they start to move.
Some bosses in Shining Force (Mishaela) even remain static and only attack when player characters enter the range of their magic attack (red box)
In order to determine the exact reaction zones of enemies, it's wise to send a decoy out to find out when enemies begin to move. Domingo is a good character for such an errand, as it has a strong defense and high maneuverability due to its flying status.
How to level up most efficiently
- The most important aspect in Shining Force is that your characters should all have the same levels all the time. This is not as hard as it sounds at first, since you just have to let the characters with the higher levels fall back until the weaker characters gained the necessary levels. Remembering this tip, you're going to have an homogenous party with almost no weaknesses. (This is harder in Shining Force 1 since the healers aren't constantly supported with adequate weapons)
- If you dislike a character so that you don't really feel much joy when he or she levels up, you have three options: Accept that unsympathetic bastard and just pull him alongside with you (Mawlock), deal with him since he's the leader or exchange him. The best option is the third, of course. If you've got a character who is really strong but you still don't like him, then rather exchange him and enjoy a party full of characters you like plus a bigger challenge.
- Be aware that you don't like someone too much. Even if you really love that cute magician chick or this brawny fighter guy, don't let yourself get carried away and leave her behind if he's/she's one or even two levels above average.
- This is all included in rule #1 already, but It's important: Don't let priests fall behind, level-wise.
- If you feel you're underleveld, make good use of "Egress" / "Return".
Promotion in Shining Force 1 (Original) and 2 is risky. All your beloved stats will go down a bit right after the promotion, so the first battles after you promoted your charas will be a tad more difficult than the others before. Remember that before promoting - maybe it's wise to wait some time until you promote your chars, but don't let your party level diversify too much.
In Shining Force 2, don't promote Sarah as soon as you can. Wait until you reach the elven village and promote her using the Vigor Ball. You'll get a healer who can beat the enemies down in an instant as a reward. And if you're a patient lad (or lass), wait until you get Karna and promote her with the Vigor Ball. If she's leveled up enough, she is so powerful that it is almost cheating.
In Shining Force 1 (Remake) and 3, promote as soon as you have the ability to do so. If you did what I recommended you in the first advice, you should be able to promote all your charas in one single battle (that's heavily recommended, by the way)
Use of the card system (Shining Force 1 Remake)
- The card system in Shining Force 1 can be nifty. During your first play (if you don't play with a guide) you won't notice its usefulness right away (at least that's what I'm assuming), but as soon as you've got cards like the Colossus card, you're going to love this system.
- The "imitate" function may be useful at the beginning of the game, but soon you'll notice that the imitates aren't quite strong enough to be of use anymore.
- The most important card in the first few re-plays is the Colossus card. It boosts the defense of all your party members by 15. So if you combine that with a high-level "Attack"-spell cast by Narscha, you're already on the winning road.
How to handle computer controlled Peter (Shining Force 2)
After the first story climax of the game, Peter joins the Shining Force temporarily. He is a strong and capable phoenix (or rather "phoenik"?), but will be AI controlled for several battles.
If you try to sensibly level up your party, then he can be a real nuisance. Peter acts just like an enemy, but he's on your side. Still, he attacks whatever enemy is in reach. If you weakened a foe to level up certain characters, then it can be really annoying if he interferes with your plans and kills said enemy, getting all the EXP.
My suggestion: leave him alone, outpace and block him on every occassion. Peter will be fast enough and strong enough to attack enough enemies and interfere with your troop advances anyway to stay at a decent level until he will eventually join, so usually I just try to leave him behind.
When there's no enemy around, he usually just moves 1 - 2 blocks, so it's easy to move ahead of Peter. Try to block enemies with your own characters quickly so that he doens't have any room to approach them.
When he fully joins the Shining Force, you can treat him like any other member. And you should keep him in your force since he's pretty good!
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