Dank Zines are in!
Dank Zines have all been shipped and are arriving to mailboxes across the globe! This months issue features streamer Chuboh with all of his delightful point-clickery, an in-depth interview with Omnigamer on his side of the “Dragster” high score fiasco, an article about the unreleased arcade game “Chimera Beast” by LordBBH himself and a 10 Questions with Neo-Antwon. There’s also a bunch of awesome Dank Art by not only myself, but from contributing artists CyRaptor, Dasyati and MakotTruth. All backers of the Patreon also got a free sticker sheet that features a few of Chuboh’s sub icons so if you still want to get your issue make sure you snap up a copy soon before they sell out of my new Dank Shop.
I’m starting to follow so many streamers on Twitch that every week I have piles of stuff that I am constantly working on. I’m not posting up all of the Dank Art now (as there is a lot now) but now I am focusing of showing off the best ones. Check them out and watch for them to go up for sale in my new shop soon or if you’re lucky you might score some freebies when I have giveaways on my streams.
Right now I am trying to stream a bit more to take some time to focus not only on playing games I want to play, but to take a few hours out of my day to just relax and enjoy it. Sundays I am always going to follow my “Wake, Paint & Play” format, but if you want to catch my late night stuff I try to stream on Tuesdays, Wednesday’s and maybe Fridays if I don’t have something I need to do. I am currently obsessed with two games that I will go into a bit more detail here on my blog. One of them is a cute little Penguin game but before I get into that FRKINSEALLND thing, Le t’s talk Sega and Shining Force.
Growing up I was a Sega girl and most of that is thanks to my father who felt that Sega was the far more superior system on the market at the time. For me, Sega was all about arcade imports, Sonic games, and a library of strange 2D platformers. My knowledge and experience with RPG’s didn’t start until I my friends started to play Earthbound on their SNES. After I discovered that what I called “Computer adventure games” could be played on a gaming system, I set off to find RPGs for the Sega systems I owned. This proved to be a bit of a problem.
I would blame that because of where I live as my home town was a lot smaller than it is now. Because of the size of my community, the shops would only get the top-selling games for the systems and everything that was “strange” and “different” would either come in limited quantities or not at all. The shelves were always stocked with the latest and greatest hockey and sports titles, then followed by any and all cartoony platformers. I was very lucky that in my home town there was one video rental place that had not just a section for Gamegear rentals, but they also had Sega CD and Saturn rentals for a few years. That’s where I first got my hands on the Gamegear version of Shining Force II.
Shining Force Gaiden: Ensei – Jashin no Kuni he (シャイニング・フォース外伝 ～遠征・邪神の国へ～) was released for Gamegear in 1992 following up with Shining Force Gaiden II: Jashin no Mezame (シャイニング・フォース外伝 II ～邪神の覚醒～) in 1993 as the first portable Shining tactical role-playing game in the games series. Sega re-released The Shining Force Gaiden games later on for the Sega CD on what is called “Shining Force CD”, along with the secret games that you can unlock playing both games and meet certain conditions. The Gaiden series takes place 20 years in the future from the original Shining Force JRPG series that was featured on the Sega Genesis. Some of the characters come back or are the direct descendants of characters from the original series or as secret characters that you can discover in the game. For some strange reason, only Shining Force Gaiden II made an English release in North America where the first game has only been available in English via the Sega CD release. I’m unsure if that is the reason the Sega CD price is listed for around $150-75 complete, but it is one of the more desired games for the system and one of the only ways you can play the first game in English.
There’s a few differences between the Gamegear and Sega CD remake. The first thing you’ll notice is a huge overhaul of the graphics and the sprite animations. The Gamegear has its charm, but with the larger colour pallet on the Sega CD the designers could do a bit more and really pay attention to detail from gradients to small details such as Eric’s red nose pixel on his overworld character sprite. Levels have a bit more depth and in battle animations have more movement and casting healing spells now have cuter anime styled sprites as fairies over the smaller ones featured in the Gamegear games. The girl reading you the books at the start of the game has also changed drastically in appearance and is no longer a young maiden, but now much younger in age and appearance.
The biggest reason you need to get the Sega CD release is because of the soundtrack. They went full orchestra for the remake to capitalize on the CD sound playback of the Sega CD. It’s an amazing soundtrack and worth downloading on its own for your own enjoyment. Doing mundane things like catching the bus or grocery shopping have more importance when listening to the overworld battle themes. The Gamegear soundtrack is good on its own, but there’s no question that the arrangement on the Sega CD version is the better of the two.
One of the drawbacks of having the Sega CD release is there are not enough save spots on the system to meet the conditions to unlock the extra two games included on the CD. The work around for that is using the Sega CD Backup RAM cart. This cart looks just like a regular Genesis game cart and connects right into the Sega Genesis. It was around $60 when it first came out, which was almost the same price as a full game.
If you are looking to play Shining Force CD and want to play on the original Sega CD you will NEED the CD Back Up cart. It should go for $25, but most places will demand that you fork over $40-60 for it. You can find 3rd party knock-offs that will work just as good. Do check that the battery in the cart us still good, if not you can always replace it. For some reason, my cart gives me a lot of issues and I can’t access my saved files half the time and almost always when I move my Sega CD system from room to room it somehow reformat the entire cart. Maybe I just have a bad back up cart. Because of this, I might recommend that you emulate the game first to see if it’s worth hunting down as with the backup cart you will be forking out around $200 to play. If you happen to be like me and get a bad backup cart this could be game-save devastation as part of the fun is unlocking all the games using your saves with the CD Back Up Cart.
Shining Force Gaiden is a bare-bones early Tactical RPG and often when I stream it I have a lot of people who join in for the first time saying “This feels very Fire Emblem-y”. However, where in most Tactical RPGS they feature “permanent death” where if one of your characters dies in battle no amount of phoenix down or revive is going to bring them back. You are simply stuck loading from a save and re-doing the entire battle again losing all the experience you have gained. Shining Force Gaiden doesn’t have that and instead has a “buy back” feature where you can spend gold to get your characters back. Also if any of your characters die they still keep their levels and items that they have gained in that battle. This is helpful when you are trying to level up weaker characters. However, if your main character dies, not only will you need to restart the entire battle, but your money is reduced by half making raising the dead a horrible game of “Sophie’s Choice” if your funds are getting low. If you’re looking for a cosy Tactical RPG to get into I highly suggest picking up this collection of games. It’s rich with fantastic character personalities, a well thought out story, creative fantasy characters from Centaurs, Bird Men, Cat Mages and Zombies. It’s a must for your Sega collection and just overall one of my favourite game series out there.
//As a side note, I am leaving out the Saturn Shining Force Gaiden game for another review//