Shining in the Darkness

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ShiningInTheDarkness title.png
Shining in the Darkness
Publisher: Sega
System(s): Sega Mega Drive, Virtual Console, Steam
ROM size: 1MB
Genre: RPG

Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive JP 1991-03-29 ¥8,700 G-5506
Sega Mega Drive US 1991 $79.95 1310
Sega Mega Drive EU 1991-10 £49.99 1310
Sega Mega Drive BR 1997-09 R$? 041260

Virtual Console JP 700 points ?
Virtual Console US 800 points ?
Virtual Console EU 800 points ?

Steam US $2.99 ?
Steam EU £1.99 €? ?

Shining in the Darkness, called Shining and the Darkness (シャイニング&ザ・ダクネス) in Japan, is a 1991 game by Sega and Climax Entertainment for the Sega Mega Drive. It is the first game in Sega's Shining series — but unlike most of the rest of the franchise, this one is a 3D dungeon-crawler RPG.


Shining in the Darkness was a joint venture developed by Sega's Consumer Development Studio #4 division (renamed Sonic Co. before this game's release) and a team at Climax Entertainment, headded by Hiroyuki Takahashi, a rising stars in the world of RPG development (Takahashi had previously been involved in Enix's popular Dragon Quest series, so were seen as a good fit for the project). However, corporate reasoning gave Shining and the Darkness a minimal development budget, and a small four-man team, meaning Climax were responsible for the bulk of the game's development.

Nevertheless Shining in the Darkness was a success for the company, and led to other entries in the Shining franchise, most notably the next game, Shining Force.


You are the son of Mortred, a warrior who was last seen near a dungeon known as the Labyrinth in the kingdom of Thornwood with the Princess Jessa. King Drake summons you to go find her, but just as that is about to happen, the evil Dark Sol appears and offers a ransom — Mortred and the Princess for the kingdom. It is now up to you to save the two and defeat Dark Sol before he destroys King Drake instead...


The game takes place in three areas — the castle (where you talk to the King and his servants), the town (where you can buy weapons, armor, and items, save your game and heal in the church, and talk to townsfolk), and the Labyrinth (the actual dungeon). In the castle, towns, and buildings, use Left and Right to navigate and A to interact.

The Labyrinth is (appropriately) a 3D maze. Up moves forward, Left and Right turn, and Down moves backward. A and C open a menu at the bottom of the screen where you can do mundane things to the members of your party. Enemy encounters happen randomly throughout the Labyrinth — the same menu is used to attack. Should you die in battle, you will be taken back to the church in the town, losing half your collected gold in the process.

Production Credits

Written and Produced by: Hiroyuki Takahashi
Special Effects: Yasuhiro Taguchi
Assistant Director: Yoshinori Tagawa, Bob Timbello
Artwork and Design: Hidehiro Yoshida
Outline and Storyboards: Yoshitaka Tamaki
Music: Masahiko Yoshimura
Visual Support: Ryutaro Ishimatsu
Technical Support: Haruki Kodera
Director: Kan Naitoh
Special Thanks: Media Mixture, Mad Cap
Executive Producer: Sega Enterprises
Created by Climax


Digital manuals

Physical Scans

Sega Mega Drive 84 Sega Retro Average 
Based on 17 reviews
Publication Score Source
Consoles + 68 №3, p92/93
Weekly Famitsu 78
Games-X 91 №12
Games-X 80 №27
Joystick 91 №22, p121
Mega Drive Advanced Gaming 78 №5, p63
Mega Drive Advanced Gaming 72 №5, p94
Mega 89 №18, p71
MegaTech 72 №1, p80Media:Megatech UK 01.pdf
Mean Machines 69 №14, p112/113Media:MeanMachines UK 14.pdf
Player One 89 №15, p58/59
Sega Power 100 №23, p54
Sega Power 92 №28, p38/39
Sega Pro 93 №1, p58/59/60Media:Segapro UK 01.pdf
Sega Pro 90 №6, p28Media:Segapro UK 06.pdf
Sega Pro 88 №18, p67
Sega Force (UK) 90 №1, p52/53Media:SegaForce01UK.pdf
Mega Drive, US
SitD MD US Box.jpg
SitD md us cart.jpg
Mega Drive, EU
SitD MD EU Box.jpg
SitD MD EU Cart.jpg
SitD MD EU Manual.jpg
Mega Drive, JP
SitD MD JP Box.jpg
SaTD MD JP CartTop.jpg
SitD MD JP Cart.jpg
Shiningdarkness md jp manual.pdf
Mega Drive, BR
SitD MD BR Box.jpg
SitD MD BR Cart.jpg

External Links

Shining series of games
Sega Mega Drive Shining in the Darkness (1991) | Shining Force (1992) | Shining Force II (1993)
Sega Game Gear Shining Force Gaiden: Ensei Jashin no Kuni e (1992) | Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya (1993) | Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict (1995)
Sega Mega-CD Shining Force CD (1994)
Sega Saturn Shining Wisdom (1995) | Shining the Holy Ark (1996) | Shining Force III (Scenario 2, 3, Premium Disc) (1997-1998)
Nintendo Game Boy Advance Shining Soul (2002) | Shining Soul II (2003) | Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon (2004)
Sony PlayStation 2 Shining Tears (2004) | Shining Force Neo (2005) | Shining Force EXA (2007) | Shining Wind (2007)
Mobile Phones Shining Road to the Force (2005) | Shining Force Chronicle I (2005) | Shining Force Chronicle II (2005) | Shining Force Chronicle III (2006) | Shining Road II (2006) | Shining Wind X (2008)
PC Shining Tears Material Collection (2006) | Shining Wind Fan Fest (2009)
Nintendo DS Shining Force Feather (2009)
Arcade Shining Force Cross (2009) | Shining Force Cross Raid (2010) | Shining Force Cross Elysion (2012) | Shining Force Cross Exlesia (2013) | Shining Force Cross Exlesia Zenith (2014) | Blade Arcus from Shining (2014)
Sony PlayStation Portable Shining Hearts (2010) | Shining Blade (2012) | Shining Ark (2013)
PlayStation 3 Shining Resonance (2014)
Shining related media
Albums Sound Story of Shining and the Darkness (1991) | Shining Force Special Sound CD (1992) | Symphonic Suite Shining Force II (1993) | Symphonic Suite the Another Story of Shining Force (1994) | Shining Wisdom (1995) | Shining the Holy Ark Original Soundtrack (1996) | Shining Force III Original Soundtrack (1998) | Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon Original Sound Tracks (2004) | Shining Tears (2004) | Shining Force Neo Music Collection (2005) | Shining Theme Music Shiro SAGISU Collection (2005) | Shining Tears Music Collection (2005) | Shining Force EXA Music Collection (2007) | Shining Wind Music Collection (2007) | Shining Force Feather Soundtrack (2009) | Shining Hearts Kaizoku Hihou Fan Disc (2010) |Shining Force Cross Raid Original Sound Track (2011) | Shining Hearts Original Soundtrack (2011) | Shining Blade Haru no Shin Seikatsu Ouen Fan Disc (2012) | Shining Blade Character Song Album (2012) | Shining Ark Tenshi no Fandisc (2013) | Shining Force Cross Original Sound Track (2014)
Audiobooks Shining Tears Drama CD Vol. 1 Dark Side: Memories and departure (2006) | Shining Tears Drama CD Vol. 2 Light Side: Yuusha Teihanjouki (2006) | Shining Wind Drama CD Vol. 1 (2007) | Shining Wind Drama CD Vol. 2 (2008) | Shining Force EXA Drama CD (2008) | Shining Wind Drama CD Vol. 3 (2008) | Shining Wind Drama CD Vol. 4 (2009) | Drama CD Shining Force Feather (2009) | Drama CD Shining Hearts (2011)
Books Shining and the Darkness Koushiki Guide Book (1991) | Shining Force Battle Guide (1993) | Shining Force CD Koushiki Guide Book (1994) | Shining Wisdom Koushiki Guide Book (1995) | Shining the Holy Ark Koushiki Guide Book (1996) | Shining Soul Kanzen Kouryaku Guide (2002) | Shining Force: Kuroki Ryuu no Fukkatsu Final Complete Guide (2004) | Shining Tears Final Complete Guide (2004) | Shining Tears Official Strategy Guide (2005) | Shining Force Neo Final Complete Guide (2005) | Shining Force Neo Official Strategy Guide (2005) | Shining Force EXA: The Master Guide‎ (2007) | Shining Force EXA Official Strategy Guide (2007) | Shining Force EXA Final Complete Guide (2007) | Shining Wind Final Complete Guide (2007) | Shining Force Feather: The Master Guide‎ (2009) | Shining Force Feather Complete Guide (2009) | Shining Hearts Complete Guide (2011) | Shining Blade Complete Guide (2012)

Unsorted: Shining and the Darkness Kouryakuhon (xxxx) | | Shining Force: Kamigami no Isan Hisshou Kouryaku-hou (xxxx) | Shining Force Kouryaku no Tebiki (xxxx) | Shining Force II: Inishie no Fuuin Game Guide Book (1993) | Shining Force II Inishie no Fuuin Hisshou Kouryaku-hou (xxxx) | Shining Force II Inishie no Fuuin Kouryaku no Tebiki (xxxx) | Shining Force III Koushiki Settei Shiryoushuu (xxxx) | Shining Force III Scenario 1: Outo no Kyoshin Perfect Navi (xxxx) |Shining Force Cross Raid Guide Book 1st (xxxx) | Shining Force Cross Raid Guide Book 2nd (xxxx) | Shining Force Gaiden Final Conflict Hisshou Kouryaku-hou (xxxx) | Shining Force Gaiden & Gaiden II Hisshou Kouryaku-hou (xxxx) | Shining Force Neo Force Master Ikusei Guide (xxxx) | Shining Force EXA Visual Settei Shiryoushuu (xxxx) | Shining Force Feather Visual Settei Shiryoushuu (xxxx) | Shining Hearts Visual Settei Shiryoushuu (xxxx) | Tony's Artworks from Shining Worlds (xxxx)

Anime Shining Tears X Wind (2007) | Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan (2010)
Characters | Equipment (Items, Accessories, Weapons) | Magic | Geography | Timelines