Game Reviews
Shining Force III Premium Disc
Score: 5/5
Gameplay
The Premium Disc consists of 6 areas:
  1. Polygon Characters
    In this section you are able to view all the characters (playable and non-playable) in their 3D battle poses. You are able to select their class and weapon type, before viewing their attack, evade and special attack motions in 3D. The 3D models can be zoomed into and rotated of course. Great fun!

  2. Illustrations
    Here you can view some original concept sketches for all the main characters, as well as some ideas that weren't included in the game. The pictures can be zoomed.

  3. Special Battles
    This is the main part of the disc. I could go into the full gameplay details, but if you're reading about the Premium Disc, I'd assume you've at least played the other parts of Shining Force III, or read their reviews. If not, I recommend you do so! The battle mode basically uses the Shining Force III battle system, but allows you to select any of the characters you recruited while playing the three Scenarios. You can use a save file from any of the Scenarios, but you'll only be able to select characters who have joined so far. The battles pit you against great opponents from Shining history, including Iom, Darksol, Zeon and Bulzome, amongst many others. There are 9 battles in total, and by taking a mixture of characters from your three teams, you're able to build up friendships between characters who wouldn't normally fight together. Talk about incentive to play, you could make every single charactere soulmates with each other if you had the time!

  4. Save Game Creator
    This one is useful for those of you who are missing Scenarios 1 or 2 - you can simulate the events of those two by answering a selection of questions, and these are then used to generate a save file, ready for use with Scenario 3.

  5. Movie Clips
    This section is also quite enjoyable - you can view the intro movies for the three Scenarios, Shining Force III TV commercials, an interview about the making of the game, an extra movie of the Valkyrie and finally the videos from the end of Scenario 3. The two Scenario 3 endings are only available if you've got a completed Scenario 3 save.

  6. Sound Test
    This allows you to listen to all the music and sound effects (including character voices) from all three Scenarios.
Score: 0/5
Storyline
The Premium Disc was a bonus disc given to owners of all 3 Scenarios. There is no storyline at all, just bonus Shining Force III materials.
Score: 5/5
Longevity
Though the battles don't take too long to get through, the fun of the Premium Disc is being able to mix and match your Force so much! You could take such a variety of troops in that I can't see it ever getting dull. Try it with only knights, or only magic users... the possibilities are endless.

...and then, of course, there's the temptation of getting each and every character soulmated!

Score: 3/5
Difficulty
With a savegame from anything other than Scenario 3, you may find the battles to be overly difficult, but that will depend on how much you levelled up your Force. With a Scenario 3 save, all your characters should be high enough level-wise to take on all the battles, and not have any difficulty until the last one or two.
Score: 4/5
Graphics
It's difficult to rate the Premium Disc on graphics, as it's not really a game as such. What is there is lovely though, even the interface is pretty. The battles available are all nicely put together, and the additional artwork is great.
Score: 5/5
Sound
Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous! The works of Motoi Sakuraba once again complement perfectly the moods of the battles. No wonder the soundtrack for Shining Force III was so well received, and even released in Europe, which was a first for any game in the series!

With the Premium Disc Sound Test, you have all the great music from all three Scenarios, and you can listen to any piece you want, on demand! Great stuff!

Pros
  • It's got lots of features, especially for a freebie!
  • Great to see some old enemies in 3D
  • Soulmate characters from different Scenarios
  • View all the 3D models
  • Listen to the music on demand
  • Watch the intros time and again!
  • Lots of artwork to admire
  • It's a highly collectable item now
  • Cons
  • Only available in Japanese
  • Not officially available anymore, and so most people have to resort to Ebay to play this masterpiece. It's not cheap there either (but less than the $800 it used to sell for...)
  • Overall Score: 5/5
    Summary
    Though the financial value of the disc has varied a lot, the gameplay value will always be great. If you can pick this up cheaply, I'd highly recommend it, there's so much to see, and the battles are very enjoyable.
    Review by: Moogie