[GAME MASTER]Shining Tears

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[GAME MASTER]Shining Tears

If you are a game freak ― oops, fan ― you probably have heard of Sega, the developer of games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Virtual Fighter and Initial D.
Although Sega games were relatively less available in Korea in the days of PlayStation 1, more are being released here on the PlayStation 2 platform.
Shining Tears is the latest in Sega’s “Shining Force” series of fantasy role-playing games.
It involves the basic elements of all fantasy games ― elves, dwarves, humans, and of course, a ring, which is something fantasy stories cannot live without. Using the power of the ring, one must save the world.
The game begins in a story-telling style, about a young man (or boy) named Xion who has lost his memory, but has become involved in a war because he possesses two rings.
Of course, he doesn’t know why he is the rings’ owner or what role he has to play, but he soon discovers that his powers ― or rather, the rings’ powers ― are stronger than he thought, when he begins his adventures with a cute female elf named Elwyn.
While the story itself is not terribly original, Shining Tears engages a “partner system” in which game-playing fun is enhanced by playing with another (cyber) character. Of course, many games have multiplayer-friendly elements, but in Shining Tears, the two playing characters have different characteristics ― light and dark, yin and yang ― which offer a new aspect of partner-playing.
The partner system basically involves Xion and another character. When Xion goes on a quest, he can take another character with him. If that character is good, then Xion will be evil, and vice versa. (It is also a nice opportunity to discover your own dual personalities.)
Depending on whether Xion is yin or yang, the personality and combat characteristics of the character vary as well, and change how the scenario develops, according to 24-year-old Kim Boo-yong, who played through the game more than 10 times. (I only played through once, due to article deadline constraints.)
Another nice role-playing aspect of the game is the character interaction, which can become quite amorous if you choose to let Xion flirt with the female characters. This extensive text interaction, however, is not recommended for gamers intent on “getting to the point.”
The bad thing about Shining Tears, however, is that scenes take too long to load. For instance, before you go into combat, enter a store or move to another location, you must wait a while until the scene loads. This tends to take the excitement out of the game.
Another drawback is that you can only save the game in one slot, and therefore you can’t go back to a certain point if you’ve already saved the game.
Besides the content of the game itself, the release of Shining Tears here in Korea was somewhat significant because YBM Sisa, the local distributor of Sega games, recently withdrew from the market. Gamers were worried that Sega titles would be harder to find in Korea, but Sega Korea decided to become its own distributor, which came as good news to fans of console role-playing games.
The verdict: No whomping in bed like Sim City, but plenty of romance along with traditional role-playing goodies.

by Wohn Dong-hee
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