Game Zero[News][Games][Comics][Articles][Reviews][Links][Codes][Videos][Bios] 
 The Final Word game review

Shining Wisdom -- Working Design/Sonic Software

As the son of a hero you have large shoes to fill in your first day on the job as a castle guard. But you rise to the challenge when the Dark Elf steals away the Princess and threatens the peace. Save the Princes, recover the elemental orbs and save the world from an ancient evil that's about to be released. Everything you've come to expect in an RPG is here for the taking in Working Design's Shining Wisdom for the Sega Saturn.

Finally, a nice lengthy RPG for the Saturn. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot of originality here. The graphics are decent, along the line of Zelda: A Link To The Past and Lagoon. There are some cool cinemas included as well. The music and sound effects were fairly standard. The game control was easy to get used to. The gameplay style is an overhead hack and slash type game; you know like Zelda, Secret Of Mana, Lagoon, Willow, and many more. One thing I disliked about the game control is, when you are using any of the special shoes, why can't you carry your sword around? It is very annoying to jump across a gap, equip your sword to fight off a swarm of enemies, equip the stone shoes so you can break a hole in the ground, once you land equip you sword again, and so on. With eight buttons one could have been weapon and the other special item, right? That's all right now we are to the most important part of any RPG, the story. Shining Wisdom has an ok storyline, you know, it's enough to keep you playing; the only problem is it's composed of the storylines from almost every RPG known to man. We've got a princess to rescue, a king who tells you where to go next, the chancellor who has no faith in you, the dastardly elf who has united the forces of darkness, a merchant man in a hidden room who will sell you three items, a quest to restore the orbs of various elemental powers, don't forget the four elementals you must face, and on top of that, you have a very linear storyline. But, there are some original things like lighting braziers to open a secret passage... Oops, my mistake, that has been done before. Seriously, the spells and their effects are pretty cool. Probably the most original thing in the game is the ability to find a race car and drive it around a track for the fastest lap. Sonic Team, you had a great reputation for fun original games -- what happened? All of the other RPGs should be honored since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The game will take you around 25-30 hours to complete. Overall, I was not impressed at all. If you haven't played many RPGs and have a Saturn you may like this game. Other than that, I only recommend it to those folks who want to see the fine line this game walks -- you know, copyright infringement. I hope any future RPGs from Sonic Team are a tad more original and interesting, or maybe stay out of RPGs altogether.

I have a dream... I see this Saturn programmer showing up for work one morning... eh? Actually with a programmer, it was probably afternoon. So, this programmer comes into the office one day and tells the other staff "Hey, check this out, I just wrote a Zelda engine... Let's do something with it!" ...and an odyssey begins. Where does it end? Let's just say that I'm not surprised Sega didn't release this in the U.S. themselves. It boarders so close to the edge of copyright infringement, that... well, let's put it this way; about 20 plus hours into the game someone asked me about the story, and I told them. In the process, I unthinkingly said that head bad guy was named Gannon... "Gannon? That's the same name as the guy in Zelda isn't it," came the response. I thought for a minute and realized what I had just done. Ouch. Also, when I was playing through the first hours of play, I just could not shake the feeling that I was actually playing a Zelda game and so I tried to follow Zelda logic... Doh again. All this did was totally screw me up and send me to dead ends. The graphics were what you would expect for the Saturn, and the music was ok. The saving grace here that barely kept me playing was the story (which was totally predictable and unoriginal but many times funny) and general text (which held quite a few chuckles). A hearty handshake to Working Designs for their classic humor. Play control was ok, but I had one serious problem. Why, oh why, didn't someone include a quick shift key for weapon changes or... damn it... allow for you to equip two items at the same time??? There were so many times where I spent more time flipping back and forth to my equipment menu than I did in actually performing the task at hand (ie: freezing a bomb with one item, then switching to another item so that I can pick it up and run with it, then drop it, switch back to the first item... repeat two more times just so I can use the bomb as a weight for a switch). The item equipping system sucked. I did like the hidden racetrack, that was almost reward enough for playing the game. All in all, I can only recommend this title to hard core RPG players who must play every RPG there is, or for first time RPG players who only own a Saturn and have never played any other RPGs.

>>>>> 28.0/50 <<<<< ???? R.I.P.
Graphics 3.5 3.5
Sound 3.0 3.5
Gameplay/Control 2.5 2.0
Longevity/Playability 3.0 3.5
Overall 1.5 2.0
Total 13.5 14.5