“We NeEd MoRe ShINiNg FoRcE GaMeS!!11” is a refrain often chanted by an unfortunately nostalgia-addled segment of the Shining fanbase. As if SF1, SF2, SFG1, SFG2, SFG3, SFCD, and all three discs of SF3 weren’t already enough. As if an entire genre of similar games doesn’t already exist. As if Camelot and Sega would magically reconcile their differences. As if Camelot would decide to shoot themselves in the foot by abandoning the tremendous cashcow that is Mario Sports, in favor of resurrecting a 20-year-dead franchise which has been passed around to countless third party devs like a bong at Woodstock. No, never mind how unrealistic and ungrateful this wishful thinking is – WE NEED IT NOW!
It just goes to show that, even with great games, there will always be an immature and irrational portion of players who, like Veruca Salt, make the ride that much less enjoyable for all the Charlie Buckets among us. Thankfully, while these weirdos are busy complaining on twitter in a manner reminiscent of Grandpa Simpson and obsessively playing Shining Force 2 for the 74th time, the rest of us are moving forward with our lives and scouring the landscape for other promising SRPGs. And that brings us to…
(Do note how it’s Feda, not Feta. Emphasis on the voiced linguolabial plosive as opposed to a voiceless linguolabial plosive – it’s the only thing preventing the game from being the cheesiest SRPG in existence.)
Feda was developed by Max Entertainment, an offshoot of Climax. The most notable person to head over to Max Entertainment after Shining Force 1 was artist Yoshitaka Tamaki. This goes a long way towards explaining why the art styles of Shining Force 1, Landstalker, and Feda are so similar. Take a quick gander at the character portraits in Feda and you’ll see what I mean. The two main characters are straight-up copies of Max and Zylo from Shining Force 1. Their names aren’t Max and Zylo though; they’re Brian and Ain (pronounced like Ayn Rand’s first name, although I’m not sure to what degree Ain would believe in the value of rational self interest).
There also exists a second Feda game, “Feda 2: White Surge the Platoon,” but nobody has translated it yet, and I generally don’t cover games that aren’t in English. Being able to read the text is such a huge part of SRPGs, unfortunately.
I consider Feda to essentially be a Shining Force game, not only because of the overlap in staff, but because it basically plays like a Shining Force game. The battle scenes are identical, the chapter format is similar enough, and even the four-square menu system sort of makes its return here. There do exist notable differences between Shining Force and Feda though.
In addition to new special attacks, the turn order is a lot different. The Shining Force games calculate turn order based off of every unit’s speed stat. With Feda, the player moves a units, then the enemy moves two units, rinse and repeat until every unit on the battlefield has taken a turn. I’ve not yet seen this system in any other SRPG. I have to say – it’s a neat idea. Another new addition would be the capture system. If any one of your units is defeated, they will be captured. You can then go on a rescue mission to get them back into your team. This was also a neat idea, but its execution was sorely lacking; there’s only one rescue map in the game and its enemies never scale. This means that rescues in chapter 1 of the game will look the exact same as rescues in the very final chapter. Given this reality, I have to question why this system was even included in the game. It doesn’t make the game any more challenging – just more tedious.
Like Shining Forces 1 and 3, Feda has some exploration, but it’s limited. Each chapter gives you an overworld map. Once you complete a chapter, you’ll go to a new overworld map and will be unable to return to the previous ones. Within each overworld, you’ll have several different locales, such as enemy headquarters or friendly towns. Like in Shining Force, you can explore these towns, talk to villagers (who mostly say pointless stuff, similarly to Error from Zelda), and buy equipment.
The centerpiece of Feda’s gameplay would have to be the alignment system, which can dramatically alter how you play the game. Many battles will have multiple win conditions. The first will always be kill everything. The second can be something like reach this point on the map or kill the boss. If you opt for the second condition, then the game will reward you for sticking to your objective and not killing unnecessary enemy troops. The reasoning is that war sucks, the enemy soldiers are just fighting because they were forced into it, and so in a way, they’re collateral that you don’t want to kill. I can get behind this reasoning. War is truly hell, if there’s anything that Grave of the Fireflies can teach us. Anyway, if you stick to these objectives and minimize unnecessary deaths, then your alignment score will trend towards lawful. If you decide to kill everything indiscriminately, then your alignment will trend towards chaos. Depending on your current alignment score, some characters may or may not join your party; some will even leave if they find your alignment to be disagreeable. There are a total of nine different emblems and the titular “Fedayeen” emblem is the hardest to get. Ending the game with this emblem is typically seen as the ultimate accomplishment of the game.
As you might imagine though, I ended things with the Genocide emblem.
Compared to Shining Force 1, which had somewhere around 30 battles, Feda has in excess of 80. Thus, while it is enjoyable, it’s a very long journey. Arguably too long. Nonetheless, I believe Feda to be an essential game for all dedicated Shining Force fans.
The time has come for the rose-tinted glasses crowd to move on from their childhoods. To realize that a game doesn’t have to have the word “Shining” on it in order to be worth praising. And to grant themselves the pleasure of experiencing other classics. Classics such as Feda.
Console: Super Famicom
Developers: Max Entertainment
RPG Classics has a great collection of resources for Feda, so I don’t see the need to make any walkthroughs on this site
Translation patch/script if applicable: https://www.romhacking.net/translations/349/