Review of Shining Force: Final Conflict


Shining Force: Final Conflict is the third segment of the Shining Force Game Gear series (part 1 is Shining Force Gaiden and part 2 is Shining Force: Sword of Hajya). Final Conflict was released in 1995 in Japan and has since stayed as a Japan-only game. Although it was released after Shining Force 2 on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, it's set between Shining Force 1 and Shining Force 2. The fan service is generous in this game with its cross-overs in the characters and the plot.

Some people get confused thinking Final Conflict was a part of Shining Force CD for the Sega CD/Mega CD. Unfortunately, it was not. Shining Force CD is a 16-bit remake of the first two Shining Force games on Game Gear. Final Conflict was released a year after Shining Force CD, so it's not a part of it. But it definitely would've been cool to see Final Conflict in 16-bit!

The English Fan Translation

Sometime during the year 2000, someone released a full English script translation of Final Conflict. Fan translators attempted to inject the English script into the game time and time again, but to no avail, for the game's dialogue utilized a complex form of compression that no one was able to crack. The #1 Shining Force site, Shining Force Central, strived and persisted to crack the compression. Eventually, they accomplished it! In August of 2005, they released the translation as a patch that could be applied to the game to make it English. Thanks to their efforts we've been able to play Final Conflict in full English!

Box Art

Japanese box, front

Japanese box, front

Japanese box, back

Japanese box, back

Japanese cart

Japanese cart

A battle encounter A battle encounter


The gameplay is exactly what you would expect from a Shining Force game. Your goal is to navigate an army across a battlefield to defeat the enemy army. Battle encounters take place in a cool animated sequence. Your army consists of swordsmen, axemen, archers, thieves, ninjas, wizards, priests, and more. Characters consist of different races such as humans, human-deer half breeds, centaurs, dwarves, birdmen, and dragons. To successfully win battles, take advantage of your characters' strengths and be careful with their weaknesses.

Unlike the Genesis Shining Force games, the Game Gear games don't offer a world or towns to explore. Instead, between battles, you're taken to a generic town interface. In this screen, you can talk to a priest to cure or resurrect characters or talk to a shop keeper to buy new weapons and items.

A part of the beginning story A part of the beginning


The events of the game take place in a time period between the first and the second mainstream Shining Force games. After Max, the leader of the first Shining Force, defeated the Dark Dragon, peace was restored to the world. However, the sorceress Mishaela took control over the forces of evil. Pursuing her, Max' comrades got injured and were forced to quit. Upon returning back to their hometown, they found out Mishaela has already taken the Elder hostage. Lead by the young warrior Ian, the Force has to find Max and to defeat Mishaela. In your quest, you venture across familiar battlefields from Shining Force 1 and 2. And expect familiar enemies to be hunting you!

My Thoughts

The fan service is the best part of this game. The character cross-overs are exciting! The plot is consistently interesting; they present you with a few surprises. There's a certain charm with “demakes”; to see 16-bit areas from Shining Force 2 downgraded to 8-bit quality. Look at the comparison screenshots of the temple ruins to see what I mean.

A screenshot from Shining Force II The temple ruins in Shining Force 2 The same location in Shining Force: Final Conflict The same location in Final Conflict

What's interesting about the game's difficulty is that it's rather sporadic. For the most part, it's as easy as any other Shining Force game is. Then at random moments the difficulty will spike up and bite you, resulting in sudden deaths of 2-4 characters! Hence, don't be too relaxed when playing this game.

Overall, I think Final Conflict is excellent. It's refreshing to play a new Game Gear Shining Force title since I've beaten Sword of Hajya a gazillion times. If you've never played Sword of Hajya or any other Game Gear game, I'm not sure if I'd recommend Final Conflict to you. The lower quality of graphics and music on Game Gear is closer to the NES. At least, I would say Final Conflict's graphics are better than most Game Gear games. If you're ok with 8-bit graphics and you're a devote Shining Force fan, I highly recommend Final Conflict!


Out of every RPG fan translation ever released, I would give Final Conflict's English translation the crown of being the biggest tease! As I mentioned in History, Final Conflict's English script was made available years before the patch was released. At the time, we didn't know if a patch would ever be made. So Shining Force fans were stuck with a tricky dilemma, asking themselves “How badly do I want to play Final Conflict? Do I want to be playing a Japanese game while manually switching back and forth between an English script in a Word doc?” And quite a few people actually did that! It was a labor of love for a fan to play a game this way.

With Final Conflict's English translation patch released in 2005, it was a welcomed complement to the already plentiful library of excellent fan translated SNES RPGs. It was nice for Game Gear to get attention for once. Yes, the Game Gear has received lots of fan translations, but Final Conflict stands out as the most significant translation since it belongs to such a prominent RPG series.

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