Shining the Holy Ark


Sonic Software Planning





TV System: 

Europe / PAL





This is the next in the all-famous Shining series belonging to Sega. These have all been generally 2D games, but this time Sega opted for a more 3D approach. Or to be more exact, 3D worlds with 2D sprites for characters. This actually works quite well, and this time the magical attacks are quite impressive, as are the monsters. The game provides a massive task, and I haven't even completed it.

The graphics here are excellent. The 3D polygon models are painted over with some lovely texture-mapping, and the 2D sprites are pre-rendered and very impressive, although due to them being so lovely, the animation is not at it's finest. There is some slowdown, but only when the Saturn has to think really hard, not usually when you have 4 or 5 enemies to face. All this adds to the effect and is pretty good.

STHA features not really levels but it is all in one world, and you have to travel around the map, then 'jump' to different sections in there. You have to defeat some places in order to get to others, and retrieve items from places to use them in other places. It is all a big investigation really, and requires some hard thinking and patience to find things and use them.

2-Player Mode
Aah. Well there isn't one. So not much point here really is there?

Well the sound is suitably rubbish for an RPG, and you get quite annoyed having to hear the same old boring music every time you fight. I mean, they could have at least featured some decent music in the fight scenes! The rest of it is quite soft and delicate, and although it does fit in with the atmosphere, it isn't very good. But it doesn't really spoil the game, and some of it is alright.

There can't be many options you can have in a role playing game, so all this features is things like changing the colours of the speech bubble's background, and how fast the messages come out.











This game is actually pretty good. The best RPG on the Saturn at the time of writing, that's for sure. Nothing compared to the likes of Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation, but it is quite good. It takes ages to complete but keeps you fixed, so it is very playable. It features some nicely rendered graphics which add more to the concept of the game. Very good, and if you like RPGs, get this because not only is it good, but it's practically all you've got for now. Until Shining Force 3, Panzer Dragoon Saga and Grandia come out, that is.

Review By: Joel Stanier

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