Monthly Archives: April 2024

SRPG Game 91 – Shining Force III Scenario 2 (Final)

If you didn’t see my last post, there was a problem with a cache plugin that made the previous couple of weeks unviewable to anyone not logged into the admin account (i.e. everyone but me, which made me not see the problem), so you may need to go back further to catch up.

In the first battle we’re still protecting King Dominate. He takes a somewhat unpredictable path and most of the enemies don’t move until you get near them; even so I never found that Dominate himself was in much danger. This is similar to the battle in scenario 1 with the Queen Worm.

Next up is this stage where you have to navigate these platforms that rise and sink every few turns. It slows down the battle a lot. The only plus is that Dominate won’t really move beyond the first area, and so the only enemy that will go after him is one harpy thing that can be easily dealt with by his entourage.

After this we reach the last town and can finally use the blacksmith to make some nice weapons. I didn’t have much money at this point but that soon changes.

The next stage is rough. You have a bunch of initial enemies to deal with that are made somewhat annoying by having to go down a narrow stairway. But the big problem is the boss. These enemies will not move until you’re in their range, and then they all come at you and cast damaging spells. Resist would help but Hera wasn’t high enough level to use it — honestly I’m not entirely sure how I did it in the end; I kept getting screwed but then one time I guess my positioning was just lucky and most of my characters survived long enough to use Aura and take out the spellcasters. Once it’s down to just Deathhelen it’s not very hard.

After this stage, the ancient ruins open up which are pretty much the same as in the first game although I didn’t find it quite as easy to level. I got my main party up to the 13-15 range, which also earned enough money to get a bunch of blacksmith weapons. There are only two more stages left after this.

This second to last stage is annoying. You are forced to split your team into your main squad, and then your leftover characters who will be headed by David. Your main force holds off endless reinforcements on a different map while David’s squad deals with enemies inside the tank, ending with a 330 hp boss than regenerates 20 hp a round. Your normal David squad will only be a few characters, so what you have to do is either level them up to a ridiculous point, or use a character called Puppets that you get from the town bar, who can capture monsters in the bonus dungeon.

Personally I consider this bad game design. I don’t mind the team split, but they should let you split the team however you want, rather than forcing you to use this tiny squad that you have to supplement by grinding the bonus dungeon. In general I’m not a big fan of games that let you freely choose your characters for 95% of the game but then have one stage where it’s suddenly “surprise, you have to use the characters you didn’t level at all!”

In any case, once I went back to the bonus dungeon and recruited a Queen Worm, two Hydras, a skeleton knight, and a Wyvern, the stage wasn’t too bad.

The final stage is considerably easier than this, as long as you don’t send Medion out ahead to get killed. You first have to fight Symbios’ side characters from the first game, who for me were all very weak and could mostly be taken out in a hit (although I did get Medion killed from full HP by a lucky critical move, which is why I am glad to use save states on successive battles where you can’t save). Once that team is gone, you just have the two final bosses with two weak grunts — Yasha can cast level 3 spark but Aura was able to deal with that pretty easily.

So that’s SF3 part 2. To be honest I did not enjoy it as much as scenario 1. I thought that a fair number of the creative battles they tried (like the ship cannon one, or the split party one I mentioned above) were not well designed, and especially since you still can’t skip battle animations the turns seem to go pretty slowly.

We’ll finish up Shining Force III later in 1998 with scenario 3.

Tech issue fixed

For some reason the last three posts did not show up unless I was logged into the admin account — I only noticed this today. It seems to have been caused by an issue with a cache plugin for wordpress. So you should be able to see the last few weeks of posts now.

Too bad it’s just my slow crawl through Shining Force III but I’m on the last stage so we’ll be moving on soon!

SRPG Game 91 – Shining Force III Scenario 2 (Part 3)

Still not quite done, but this post will go to the end of chapter 5.

Chapter 4 starts with a “save the NPC” mission — what’s nice about SF3 is that you can control the NPCs so you don’t feel like you are having to fight against stupid AI. Another weird thing is that there is a thief among the refugees, and if you want all the bonus items you have to intentionally get the thief killed by moving him into the enemies. I lost one villager but decided not to retry. Mainly I just moved the villagers towards my troops and used the monk to hold off one of the enemies.

The next stage is pretty annoying. There are these lightning towers that can damage both you and the enemy, but where they shoot is hard to tell and predict, so I just took damage as I moved forward. There’s also a ruins with an optional robot character you can get, but it’s frustrating as well.

You have to use Zero to reach two switches (which don’t even look like switches on the map) that open doors for the rest to go through. If you don’t have Zero ready, or do the switches in the wrong order, you may run out of time to reach the thieves and the robot character.

The next stage has King Dominate’s “Rainbloods” fighting against the enemies; you can mostly ignore them but you do have to be careful because the enemies will still attack you if they can. You also have to freeze an area of water to cross over, but the person that actually does the freezing can’t cross before it melts so you lose that character.

This next stage sucks. You have to use ship cannons to attack the cannons of the other ship; the rest of your guys can’t do anything except fight a couple of bird enemies that will visit, and just sit and get hit. What was especially dumb about the stage was that after the first person I had in front of the cannon died, the NPC Donhote moved into that spot to attack an enemy. He would not move at all after that, or use the cannon, so I lost the use of that cannon for the rest of the battle which made it impossible to destroy all the enemy cannons.

Fortunately you do not have to destroy them all to move on to the next stage, it’s just some bonus XP. Chapter 4 ends with a battle on the ship itself — some of the grunt enemies on the stage are quite difficult but the boss himself isn’t too bad and a lot of the enemies won’t move even if you are in their range.

Next you have to break out your guys from prison using only 3 characters. First off it’s hard to find the secret door to get to the prison — you have to remember a scene from the beginning of chapter 1, and given how complicated the town map is for this I had to use a video walkthrough to find it, and even then it was difficult (see my Grandia posts for my hopelessness navigating 3D maps).

Once in the prison, you have to steal a key from the enemy, then one by one open up the jail cells. The freed people have to first go to a table to get their stuff. There are reinforcements that come out of two doors; they are fairly limited, but I still found it easier not to free everyone, just to free enough people to go towards the boss. (There’s a bug you can exploit in this stage also; if you use Return in this battle any items you used will be back in the inventory. You can use this to get lots of stat ups or tons of money)

The next stage has multiple maps; first you have to kill all the outside enemies then go into the big mansion and beat the enemies there. Once again the enemy AI is a bit weird and they won’t always go for you when they can, and King Dominate is there with some soldiers to draw some of the enemy attacks.

Now for the next 4 or 5 stages, you have King Dominate with you, and if he dies it’s game over. For the most part this isn’t too problematic since he tends to move slowly and not jump into dumb places. What it does is slow down the game a lot — the game is already slower than it should be with the unskippable animations but having all these NPCs makes it crawl more.

This next stage starts the appearance of these tank-like shooters (you also get one on your team).

The last chapter 5 stage is in a cave against some bosses — this is probably the most dangerous stage for King Dominate but as long as you don’t rush all your guys forward immediately it’s not too hard to protect him.

David is completely useless at this point; I can’t even level him up enough to make him useful so he’s benched. Hevda dies in one hit to everything but she can still cast some useful spells so she’s fine.

I’m partway through chapter 6 so I should almost certainly be done with this game by next weekend; it’s taking me much longer than I wanted it to.

SRPG Game 91 – Shining Force III Scenario 2 (Part 2)

The rest of chapter 2 is not too bad. Chapter 3 takes place mostly in this wooded area that has a very annoying map to traverse, especially when you retreat and have to make your way back to the battle.

New people join here. First up is David, who is not very good (apparently you should wait to promote him until level 14 and he gets a bit better). We’re going after his lover Hevda; this is apparently a reference to David and Hevda, an Israeli singing duo from the 1970s who were quite popular in Japan.

The next battle is probably the toughest of the game so far. Hevda is controlled by the enemy and if you want her to join your team you can’t kill her, so you have to leave her to use Freeze on your guys. There are also a bunch of spellcasting units clustered at the end that can lay waste to your force. The boss moved ahead to cast a spell on Medion, and thanks to that I was able to sacrifice the majority of my force to keep Medion alive long enough to kill the boss (ignoring the other enemies) to end the battle.

Hevda is not very good either (at least for now), her HP and defense are so low that she often dies to one hit of anything, which makes it hard to keep her alive long enough to actually do anything useful.

This NPC “Don Hote” (I guess a reference to Don Quixote) accompanies us for a while as we head down to the shores to cross at low tide. The final chapter boss is a big kraken. Julian joins here as well, and can come with items you left him with in chapter 1.

For the most part I’ve thought SF3’s graphics are decent given the other examples of this kind of polygon graphics of the period, but that Kraken monster is pathetic — it’s at RONDE levels of garbage.

It has the most HP yet and Zero has to use an orb on him to remove a barrier. Only one character can move close enough to do a range 1 attack, but with a combination of spells and ranged attacks he wasn’t too tough (he had some AoE attacks that could have been quite damaging but he tended to aim single hit attacks at Medion instead).

So this is only about half the game; I’m hoping to finish the game by next weekend but we’ll see.

Grandia (end)

I played a bit more Grandia but I think I am going to abandon it; if I were more than 1/3 through it I might tough it out to the end, but I just don’t like dealing with the 3D maps. In addition to that I find the battle system often feels sluggish, having to wait for all these spell and move animations to finish before you can keep playing.

So it’s back to Shining Force, then I rolled more random games. The first one I had already played so that will be the next old game (Seiken Psycho Calibur), the second one was a game called Jade Cocoon for the PS1, which I guess did come out in English.

SRPG Game 91 – Shining Force III Scenario 2 (Part 1)

Shining Force III Scenario 2 (シャイニング・フォースIII), released 4/29/1998, developed by Camelot, published by Sega

This is part two of Shining Force III; in system, graphics, etc it’s exactly the same as Scenario 1. The story here is focusing on Prince Medion and takes place at the same time as Scenario 1. In both that game and this one I found the plot a little hard to follow because of the parallel stories.

The game starts out very similarly to the first scenario; I thought the first few chapters were mildly challenging, at least in Shining Force terms. As usual the game is generally low difficulty because you can always retreat and try again, and even if your main character is killed and you get a game over, you keep all the XP you earned.

We start with the usual Shining Force group — the main prince character, a centaur lance user, a mage, and a cleric.

You can carry over your save file from Scenario 1; it will keep some flags that change what characters you can get, as well as making it so that some of the treasures are no longer available (because Symbios’ party already took them in part 1).

After the first 2 scenarios there’s (I guess optional?) centaur archer and fighter; it took me a while to find them because they are in a basement that looks like the HQ. I was also supposed to be able to get an additional character in the next town from doing something in scenario 1 but I guess I didn’t do it — I have a vague memory now that I was not able to save one of the characters because it was too difficult.

Battle 3 has the first ruins map; these are the same as in Scenario 1. You have to first acquire the map to the ruins and then once you enter it, a thief will appear. Some of the chests in the ruins can be opened, others you have to let the thief take the treasure first, then attack the thief to get it for yourself. If you use Return to escape the battle or get a game over, you don’t get a second chance (I’m not sure what happens if you use Return before you even open the ruins).

The next few stages are pretty easy; Battle 5 has Valiant as a boss but he didn’t really put up that much of a fight for me despite his spells.

Next up is this annoying port town where you have to maneuver around boxes and in and out of houses to go anywhere. The battle itself has a cannon shooting at you; it doesn’t hurt you but it knocks out parts of the walkways so that you have to go back and head a different way. It takes a while but only a few enemies are there at a time so it’s not so bad. You can save Stella (which isn’t hard since she won’t come towards you to attack) and I guess that will affect things in Scenario 3.

Since they took the ship we needed, now we have to go through this hidden cave. Hazuki the ninja joins up here.

That’s as far as I got this week. I’m going back to Grandia this coming week, and hopefully with Easter and the NCAA basketball tournament (nearly) over I’ll have more time to play.