Shining The Holy Ark
by Sonic Team
The latest in the series of "Shining" games-which encompasses games like Shining Wisdom and Shining Force-is coming here soon from the Sonic team. Shining the Holy Ark bears a close resemblance to the Genesis title Shining in the Darkness due to the first-person view used in exploration and battles, but is not related story wise. Some of the features are multiple-member parties and full polygon characters/enemies that animate during story sequences and zoom in and out depending on the situation. The battle sequences are highly animated and allow you to see your party members attack the enemy (your character gets a close-up of the creature when attacking). This is where you can check out the impressive magic effects as well as the creative enemy attack methods. The Sonic team fans who were a bit disappointed with Shining Wisdom will be relieved to find a more story-heavy adventure as well as something that is graphically pleasing. Where's Shining Force for the Saturn?!
It's wayback-machine time for fans of Sega's long-running Shining series of RPGs, which began with Shining in the Darkness for the Genesis and continued through numerous installments for all of Sega's systems. The latest addition, Shining the Holy Ark, offers the same turn-based, first-person gameplay as Shining in the Darkness. Why, it even uses the same icon-based menus of the 16-Bit originator.
But story-wise, Shining the Holy Ark is no more a direct sequel than any other title in the Shining saga. You play Arthur, a mercenary whose pursuit of a Renegade ninja named Rodi runs into a snag when the pair are buried in a cave-in. Fortunately, their broken bodies are saved by benevolent spirits, who merge with the adventurers in exchange for their help in restoring peace to the world. But not all spirits are good-especially the one who has possessed the king. So Arthur and his party spend the rest of the game, which has as many plot twists as any Final Fantasy title, trying to restore peace to the world.
All of Shining the Holy Ark takes place in a first-person perspective, with you moving in steps rather than in the continuous, go-anywhere motion of most Doom clones. Your adventure will take you through forests, dungeons, sewers, towns, castles, shrines and other typical RPG locales (and the handy automap keeps you from getting lost). Combat occurs at random, and the battles are turn-based, making the game more traditional than most of the action-oriented RPGs that have come out lately. Your party can contain no more than four warriors, but you can hold additional adventurers in reserve and call them in when things get dicey.
Although its story line will keep you hooked, most of Shining the Holy Ark's charm comes from its graphics. Every enemy in the game is prerendered, colorful and well-animated (and we could swear that some of the enemies are actually dancing to the music!). The monsters in this game don't just do a little hop when they attack; most rear back and spring their entire bodies into a fearsome strike, or they cut loose with screen-filling, pyrotechnic spells. The members of your party, too, are prerendered bitmaps, as are the folks you'll encounter in towns. When you converse with other characters, they react with facial expressions and body language.
But although Shining the Holy Ark boasts these visual perks (as well as some kick-butt pixie com-panions-see sidebar), it does lack the digitized voice and cinemas that grace many other modern RPGs. No big deal. It's still a solid game that's a worthy addition to the Shining series.
Scattered through the game's world are dozens of pixies who join your party when you find them. There are five types in all--the pixie, fairy, succubus, incubus and leprechaun--and each helps your party in combat.
The key is to note from which direction enemies appear on the screen, then unleash the right pixie for the job. Leprechauns, for instance, attack enemies that tunnel up from underground, while fairies go after monsters that fall from above. If you pick the right pixie (and you have to be quick, since you only get about three seconds to send one off at the beginning of a battle), the tiny warrior will weaken your enemies and increase the amount of gold you can nab from them.
Some pixies are given as rewards for good deeds, but you'll find most in the dead ends of dungeons and in other out-of-the-way places. Just use the search command often, and soon you'll have an army of little helpers.
MANUFACTURER - Sega
THEME - Rpg
NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
There's no question that this game packs some of the best animation ever seen in an RPG. The prerendered monsters strut around and practically leap off the screen when they attack. But here's the rub: The animation often gets in the way of the adventure, slowing it to a crawl. When you battle bats, for instance, their screeching, ultrasonic strikes take way too long to hit every member of your party. Sure, the attack sequences look cool the first few times you see 'em. but by the 10th time, you'll wanna yell. "Just hit me already! I don't care what your attacks look like anymore." That gripe aside, She is a solid RPG that plays much like the original Shining in the Darkness for the Genesis. It's a traditional, turn-based game. 90 percent of which is set in maze-like dungeons, castles and forests (don't worry about getting lost-you get an automap). The first-person perspective (which moves in steps, like the dungeon sequences in the original Phantasy Star) is a refreshing change from all the recent top-down, action-oriented RPGs-especially since StHA's scenery looks so dam good. But what's really cool is the tiny army of fairies you can amass and send into battle. Using these little guys takes quick reflexes, but they're essential in this combat-heavy adventure.
Although Shining the Holy Ark was a decent RPG. I just couldn't get into it. Probably because the game played so darned slow. It seemed like the first enemy types were a cinch, but then they got hard way too fast The graphics, though colorful, appeared blocky at times. It's a good one to play through, but check the price tag first. Maybe for $35 or $40...
This is the best Saturn RPG I have played yet. I love the 3-D perspective, as opposed to the top-down view of traditional RPGs. The story line is long and involved, but it tends to drag on sometimes. I wish I could fix a few minor details (especially with the interface--it really needed an equipment pool) The graphics and music are excellent Highly recommended.
This game is a little King's Field mixed with stock RPG battles and a great story line. The entire game is 3-D. with excellent rendered characters as friends or foes. The one feature that impressed me the most was the seamless tie-in of cinemas and actual gameplay. Only the command interface hurts, as you wade through tons of screens to heal yourself.
2016-09-16 Shining The Holy Ark game added.