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Shining in the Darkness is the first game in Sega's long-running Shining series. A prequel to Shining Force and Shining Force II on the Genesis, this game had little in common with its successors. It was originally released on the Sega Genesis in 1991 and has since been released as a Virtual Console title on the Wii and Steam.
The protagonist of Shining in the Darkness, knight of the realm and son of Mortred, presents himself to the King where he offers to search for the missing Princess Jessa in the local labyrinth. The silent protagonist knight hopes to find his also missing father in his quest for Princess Jessa.
Before setting out, Dark Sol invades Thornwood's castle and confronts its King. Dark Sol reveals that he has kidnapped Princess Jessa, and demands rulership of the Realm of Thornwood.
The protagonist begins his search alone, but is soon joined by the healer Milo Brax and the magician Pyra Myst.
Shining in the Darkness is a dungeon-crawler played from a first-person point of view. The player's character must navigate through mazes in order to progress further in to the game. Battles are set as random encounters and take place in a manner similar to the format seen in the Dragon Quest series where the player views the enemy while the game's group of heroes remains behind camera.