The Let's Play Archive

Shining in the Darkness

by vilkacis

Part 1: Part 01

Shining in the Darkness has no fancy title screen. Instead, we have a bearded old man in a rocking chair.

Video: Intro - Nothing really interesting here, but you may want to listen to the music.

Later on, we'll be able to load, copy and delete save data here as well, but for now, we only have one option.

Do you mind if I ask your name?

Oh. Yes. We need a name.

We have five spaces, so we better make the most of them!

...close enough. That's us.

A boy named Sue.

Something that I fear could plunge our world into eternal darkness.
With your help, SUE, this can be prevented.
It's all up to you.
From this point on, SUE...
you are the son of Mortred...
and a Knight in the Kingdom of Thornwood.

But we have more important things to do than hang around here all day.

We're going to meet the king!

Video: Intro part 2 - I recommend watching this to see how characters talk.

KING: Ah! Mortred's son and one of my finest knights!

The Mega Drive doesn't really do spoken dialogue, and fortunately we're spared any attempts at proving otherwise. Instead, all characters sort of "mumble" when they speak, indicating the tone of their voice.

MINISTER: Majesty, this lad wishes to join in the search for the Princess.

and he's been missing along with her.
SUE feels that finding the Princess will lead him to his father.
Thus, he came to me and offered his services.

Well, if we hadn't volunteered for this mission, we'd most likely have been volunteered for it. Sworn duty to serve the kingdom and all that.

Of all my knights, this lad is the youngest.
But he is second only to his father when it comes to swordplay.

KING: I see.

SUE! Bring back my daughter!
I'm sure she is somewhere in the realm waiting to be rescued!

MINISTER: Take this gold, SUE. Equip yourself and then return here.

Sweet! I'm going to buy the biggest, sharpest sword I can get my hands on and-



This is going to be the worst rescue operation ever.

MINISTER: We'll talk when you return. You may take your leave now.

And with that we're booted out of the castle.

There are three major locations in the game, and we'll see a lot of one of them, quite a bit of the second and not so much of the third.

The village is the "quite a bit" location. No points for guessing which ones the others are.

The village is presented in first person view. You can walk left or right, and...

...enter any of the named locations you encounter on the way.

Each icon has a nice little animation when you're hovering over it.

This guy looks quite familiar. I don't see a golden axe around, so I'm not sure what he's doing here when he should be out questing for it.

We're here to shop.

Shining in the Darkness is an oldschool RPG where the second finest knight in the realm has been given just enough money to buy a short sword in preparation for his mission.

Fortunately, that will be sufficient for our most immediate needs.

...I don't think so. You've already taken all Sue's money.

Thanks for dropping by. Come again!

Before we do anything else, we should remember to equip our new sword.

The Item command...

...opens up a sub-menu...

where we can equip our party. The game makes no secret of the fact that we'll have three people eventually, but for now there's just Sue.

The short sword ups our WPN FACTOR by five points over the knife, for a total of 10. It's enough to let us one-shot anything we'll encounter in the nearest future, and will last us a pretty good while.

A knight in armour? Preposterous! Take this old sack with some holes cut in it and go slay the villain, what, there's a good chap.

Worst rescue mission ever.

Since we don't start with a shield or helm, some may think it more important to fill one of those slots as soon as possible. Personally, I prefer the sword. Enemies early on will usually cause 1-2 points of damage with our current getup. Exchanging the sword for a gauntlet (the cheapest thing that goes in the shield slot, and the only one we can afford) may reduce that, but forces us to hit them twice in order to kill them. The end result is much the same, but the current gear makes it happen faster.

The tavern in town doubles as traditional RPG inn and NPC information central. We can rest here to fully recover health and magic for a low price, and get some hints from the motley crew that hangs out here. Another nice touch is that the music in town grows louder the closer you get to this place, and louder still when you actually enter.

Video record - Nothing special happens here, but it's all nice and animated and you get to hear more "talking".

Just a sec.

Old Vik is talking to one of his customers, but he turns to greet us when we walk in.

The Princess should've been safe with your father protecting her.
In fact, there's some who blame him for what happened!

Talk to him again:

OLD VIK: Lately, there's a lot of strangers around in search of the Princess.
I assume you're looking for her too. Well, the best of luck to you.

I don't need luck. I need XP. Tons and tons of XP.

Sorry to hear about your father, I hope he's alright.
There are some who speak ill of your father, but don't let it bother you.
Just keep in mind that we're behind you all the way!
Should you need lodgings, just ring the bell on the counter.

She's such a nice lady.

The bell will become important later, but for now, we're here for the conversation.

Kinda young to be huntin' for the Princess, aren't ya?

Lupo is a great guy. If we come in here carrying certain items, he'll tell us a bit about them.

Whatcha lookin' at! C'mere and I'll show ya who's boss 'round here!
Mrs. VIK: Don't mind him. I've never heard a pleasant word pass his lips.

There's not much to say about Gatt. He's just... there. And grumpy. That's about the extent of it.

I'm not sure what Tack is supposed to be. Or the guy next to him, for that matter. There are plenty of strange creatures in the Shining universe.

It was ugly! I saw it the other night, on the hill outside the village.

Talk to him again:

GNORN: Hey, buddy! How's 'bout buyin' me a drink?
TACK: Ignore him. He doesn't need another drink!
I apologize for Gnorn's condition. He's really a nice guy, y'know.

My lord is a gentle man, but he's not been himself lately.

(Not pictured: Vyrun being a gentle man.)

...sorry, you were saying something? I was distracted by those eyebrows.

But it seems like he has no appetite today.

The people in here will have new things to tell us as the story progresses.

There are also a few other places to visit in the village, but I'm going to leave that for later. Right now, we have an important appointment with the king, so let's head back to the castle.

It seems we are expected.

I'm sorry, I had some trouble spending all that money you gave me.

Video: Dark Sol appears - May want to watch this too.

MINISTER: Yes, Majesty. Listen well to my words, SUE.
First things first, you must find the whereabouts of the Princess.
It is said, she was last seen in the vicinity of the Labyrinth.
But we haven't a clue as to whether she is in the Labyrinth or not.

Suddenly, a flash!

KING Who...who are you?!

Let's se. Cape, horned hat, glowing red eyes... yes, I think it's safe to say we're in the presence of a villain.

And a polite one at that!

DARK SOL: And I've come to rule your realm.

...on second thought, not that polite.

(If you watch the video, pay attention to Dark Sol's ridiculously deep "voice".)

Well worry no more, because I've got her safely tucked away.
TRISTAN: Fiend of fiends!
DARK SOL: Whoa, Lord Tristan! Another like that could be your last.

Dark Sol is a smug fuck, but it's not as if there's anyone around who's bad enough to shut him up. There won't be one for a long, long time.

VYRUN: You must be joking.
DARK SOL: Speak when you're spoken to, Vyrun!
All I ask for is this kingdom. In return, you can have Jessa back.
Now excuse me. I'll be back when you're ready to leave.

He disappears in another flash of light.

By the time we can see again, the king and his collection of useless old guys have dusted themselves off and re-taken their usual places.

And now we have the entire story of the game laid out in front of us! Slay villain, rescue princess. Possibly marry her and get half the kingdom.

Dark Sol draws his power from the Darkness. His enemy is Light.
He, who wields the power of Light, may triumph over Darkness.

However, before we head out on our lovely new suicide mission, we can talk to the king's posse.

I pray that no harm has come to either the Princess or your father.

We're an RPG protagonist, so I think we all know there's little chance of that.

The knights of the realm are a joke. Our dad was the only competent person in the kingdom and he's missing. I half expect to find out that he just had enough and left.

VYRUN: We're fools to place our trust in this...this... boy!
MINISTER: Baron Vyrun! Is that any way to address a guest of His Majesty?!
VYRUN: My apologies, I'm afraid I've been edgy since the Princess disappeared.
It's frustrating that my best men haven't even found a clue!
SUE, I wish you every success in your search.

We're an RPG protagonist, so I think we all know that's virtually guaranteed.

The Minister has little to say,

and the king just repeats himself,

so we'll take our leave.

And here's our third location.

I hope you like green stone walls. We'll be seeing them a lot.

Now. We could just keep going as Sue, but naming the protagonist is one of the few really interactive things in this game, so feel free to suggest something better. (Any changes will take effect in update four of five, when we go into the Trials.)

Note that our father is a noble knight who loves us very much. What I mean by this is that I reserve the right to ignore any suggestions that would make me wince too hard while playing the game, but keep in mind I already named the poor bastard Sue, so feel free to go nuts.