Hands-onShining Soul

We have hands-on impressions of Sega's action RPG for the Game Boy Advance.

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Sega showcased its action RPG Shining Soul for the Game Boy Advance at the recent Next Generation World Hobby Fair, which was held in Japan over the weekend. The game enables a four-player simultaneous play using the link cable, though each player will need the cartridge to play. Players start out by selecting from one of four classes: human warrior, human magician, elf archer, and a dragon berserker. A color scheme and name can then be chosen for the characters.

The game starts off in a town, and players are told to rid it of beasts. Once players leave the town, a world map appears and lets them select which area to visit next. Each area is a multilevel dungeon where the player's party of characters must fight off monsters and progress deeper into the dungeon, where a boss fight eventually occurs. Players use the A button to attack (or cast a spell for magicians) and the B button to use items. The L button is used to switch between weapons, while the R button is used to switch between items.

Shining Soul is played in a top-down perspective, and numbers appear upon damage or healing. When leveling up, players earn attribute points, which they can divide between character stats like strength, agility, defense, and magic. Players can also earn skill points for their weapons, and when weapons reach a certain level, players can hold down the A button and perform charged attacks that cause more damage than normal attacks.

One concern we had during the multiplayer game was that it's difficult to tell where other party members are if they are not in close proximity. Fortunately, the dungeons aren't incredibly big, so it shouldn't pose much of a problem.

Judging from what we've played, Shining Soul closely resembles the Diablo series on the PC, and while the single-player mode might feel a little plain, the real charm lies in the game's multiplayer mode. Shining Soul for the Game Boy Advance is scheduled for a release on March 28 in Japan.

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