Shining in the Darkness review - Sega Megadrive

Read Original Review PDF for Shining in the Darkness

Shining in the Darkness box artOh lordy! The evil Dark Sol has kidnapped the Princess Jessa, and your dad, Mortdred, into the bargain! Unless Dark Sol receives the keys to the kingdom of Thornwood, those hostage-types will never be seen again.

This might sound a bit nasty, but it's actually quite a stroke of luck for you, who, being a brave knight, can charge your own price for the Princess' safe return. So pausing only to get tooled up at the village and track down a couple of pals to help, you set out towards Dark Sol's labyrinth to seek revenge and, hopefully, mega-spondoolicks.

What entails from here is a first-person perspective role-playing game, utilising a simple point-and-click menu system to issue commands. Combat is a matter of choosing whether to cast spells (if you can) or attack with a weapon, and hoping you don't get hit in return! Can you rescue the Princess before Dark Sol is crowned king of Thornwood?

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" Okay, so I might not be the biggest role-playing fan in the World, but if one comes into the office that's a particularly good example of the genre or has enough interesing features, I'll most certainly play it. I thought that this fitted both the above catergories when I first played it - the graphics are stunning, the menu system and presentation is the best I've seen in a console RPG. However, there are a couple of flaws which marred my enjoyment. Firstly, the passive combat is too random - I'd prefer to have the chance to use my own skills to win a battle, rather than have the computer do it for me. And secondly, there's not enough variety or excitement. Fans of pure role-playing games might enjoy the action, but considering the game is £50.00, I'd strongly recommend you take a good look beforehand. "

" The moment you slap Shining in the Darkness into your Megadrive, you're in for a visual treat. The front-end of the game is more than impressive, with large and detailed sprites conversing with or attacking you. The sound isn't bad either, with a variety of tunes playing according to the situations (dramatic in combat, classical when in the Kings' court and so on), although the sound effects are pretty sparse. However, this quality doesn't quite extend to the gameplay. The exploration part is quite fun, but the combat system, however pretty the monsters, makes the going slow and detracts a lot of excitement from the game. Role-playing fans may enjoy this, but it still pales in comparison to the likes of Sword of Vermillion. "


Overall Score69%

Retrospective comments


I still vividly recall the pre-release hype that surrounded this game. I was a massive fan of Dungeon Master on the Atari ST, and if I remember rightly the Japanese news correspondent in Sega Pro magazine hailed this as something of a Dungeon Master-beater. Unfortunately, this was wildly inaccurate. The only thing the two games had in common was the first-person viewpoint. Whereas Dungeon Master was real-time, Shining simply took the turned based, random combat of traditional Japanese RPGs and forced you to view it through the character's eyes. Although there will be many Sega fanboys out there who disagree with the harsh score, I personally believe that the MM team were bang on the money yet again. Shining is ultimately a frustrating and rather dull experience that will have you wishing you were playing something else - namely the game that Sega Pro said this would better!

maz1nger - 17 Sep 2008, 01:23 GMT

69% for this game?, Which was one of the first RPGs in the history of Sega, the advance of Shining Force and probably generated the idea of later games like Diablo. We must give less than 90%. Excellent game.

sven86 - 03 Mar 2009, 04:49 GMT

69%, you guys suck, especially you Damo

Tanuki75 - 16 Aug 2009, 19:50 GMT

I discovered this for the first time on a PS3 compilation and became engrossed. Its impressive, charming and a fun challenge. As retro rpgs go this one's damn fine.

JoeBro ~ - 09 Aug 2011, 23:58 GMT

69%? What a joke. Whoever rated this is a pure fucking retard. Probably didn't even beat the game, pathetic.

Tachi - 23 Apr 2014, 12:41 GMT

What can I say? As a man nearing 40 and loving nothing more than a good RPG this game always left me cold.
A real chore to play with generic, boring dungeons it offered nothing worthwhile and would rather play M&M:Gateway to Another World than this.

Mean Machines Issue 14 - November 1991
Role Playing Sega Megadrive
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Shining in the Darkness

Shining in the Darkness

Shining in the Darkness

Shining in the Darkness

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