Here's yet another RPG from the creators of the Shining Force series. I was actually sort of mad that it's not a "true" Shining Force game, but I got over that very quickly...
In ages past, the kingdom of Enrich was a prosperous realm, blessed with the mines of the Desire mountain range, rich in precious ore. But this once-happy kingdom is now known only as a cursed land. The wealth and success of Enrich sowed the very seeds of its downfall, attracting shadowy visitors from neighbouring lands and unleashing strange magic from the depths of the earth.
Some days ago Arthur, a masterless warrior, received an urgent summons to appear before the king in the capital city of Enrich. Banding together with the renowned conjurer Forte, and Melody, his apprentice, Arthur set off to do the royal bidding - capture a renegade ninja by the name of Rodi. The king's men have tracked their quarry to Desire Mountain, and cornered him in an abandoned mine.
That is three days past, and Arthur's party has arrived after a hard journey at the mouth of the mine. They have girded themselves for a hard fight, but what could prepare them for the tricks of capricious destiny? And who could fathom the portent of the recent unforecast eclipse of the sun? Dire prophecies echo throughout the kingdom; a climate of dread and foreboding prevails. Perhaps the Fates are spinning unkind threads on their loom....
Throughout the game, you go through dungeons in a first person perspective, until a battle happens. It then switches to a normal Turn Based RPG battle, ala Final Fantasy/Lunar. The view is within the party, so you see your comrades jump out in front of you when it's their turn to attack.
Characters are sometimes able to execute special Power Attacks during hand-to-hand fights. Some Power Attacks do extra damage, others help regenerate Hit Points or stun an opponent. But there is no way of knowing when they will be deployed.
The magic spells are definitely a site to behold. They're exquisitely done. Other than the spells, the graphics are fairly nice. The "Shining" team opted to go with polygonal monsters and such this time around and it's done very well. The music on the otherhand is really just above average. It's not really as catchy as the battle themes from some of the other Shining Force games.
There's a possibility, as there was in Shining Force, to upgrade your character when they reach a certain level. This makes gaining levels a little more satisfying.
Overall Shining the Holy Ark is a very long, and very good RPG. It's one of the best there is on the Saturn (Grandia takes the #1 spot there), and with recent price drops of Saturn games at most stores, you could possibly find it for under $20. Well worth it.
Review By: Unknown