Retro Game of the Day! Shining in the Darkness
Shining in the Darkness by Sega and Climax Entertainment (Japanese developer, not the similarly-named UK house) released for the Sega Genesis in 1991.
Those who know me are aware that I was never big into RPG gaming; still when an EGM offshoot magazine called Mega Play published early screens of a game called "Shining Darkness," it was hard to ignore. The screens looked impressive, the game was 8 Megabits (impressive for a cartridge memory size at the time) and there really was nothing else that looked like it on the market at the time. The wave of SNES RPGs was a ways off still, and there hadn't been much at all on the Genesis either.
The game looked (and played) much like a souped-up next generation version of Sega's well-known 8-bit hit Phantasy Star. Two important differences - this was a newer generation software, and where PS was definitely a traditional mange style, SITD had a very unusual art style (particularly for a Japanese RPG) - it felt like a mix of light-manga with a bit of a European-inspired style perhaps, and it looked very out-of-place on the Genesis for that reason, although not to it's detriment.
The game itself was as you'd expect, and in modern consideration it looks and plays out quite primitive; but at the time, it was very fresh. The game was slow, a crawling grind, with very limited options (as many RPGs of the day were) yet it was still quite engrossing with it's charming-yet-dark world and fairly well-written character dialogue. Ultimately, Shining in the Darkness was a title I never got terribly far through, but for me it will always be memorable as an early landmark title on the system and a worthy follow-up to it's source material.
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