Chapter 3 - Secret Weapon of Runefaust
Battle 13 - Pao Bridge
Welcome to our most difficult battle yet. It's a pretty big battlefield, it's littered with enemies, and you need to negotiate with a very narrow passage under the constant threat of the Laser Eye. This is one particular aspect about this battle that makes it incredibly more tedious than in the Genesis version.
The objective here is to take out the Silver Knight, who lies at the far right of the battlefield. Where in the Genesis version these opponents wield mere Bronze Lances, this one comes equipped with a Power Lance in Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, which makes him a considerable opponent, as our leader Max finds out in Part Three. As if this weren't enough, he's flanked by a small contingent of Lizardmen and Pegasus Knights, who hit just as hard.
To get to the enemy commander, you need to cross the Pao Bridge: a long and narrow path. More Lizardmen and Pegasus Knights block the path and slow down your progress. It's easy for them to surround you, since half of your opponents can fly. They need only weaken you a bit to cause serious damage, for the Laser Eye can clean up what's left with ease. This unique opponent cannot move, but can attack the five rows of the battlefield that lie directly to its left. Incidentally, this means the weapon can fire over most of the Bridge, which makes your Shining Force vulnerable. Luckily, it fires only once every six turns, counting down from 10 on other turns. Its attack hits friend and foe alike and deals a fixed 12-14 points of damage to all in its target area. There is an area halfway through the Bridge that is safe from the Laser Eye, but its subject to the attacks from a trio of Dark Elves that lie on a ridge overlooking the Bridge. About halfway through Part Two, we can see Anri reaching for the single tie that lies beyond the reach of both the Laser Eye and the enemy archers. This is important, as she doesn't have enough hit points to withstand a single Laser Eye sweep even when unwounded.
After attempting this battle a few times, I found myself losing a few Force members in the turns that followed the Laser Eye's first sweep. My three healers could not provide enough coverage, despite the awesome range of Heal 2. In the end, I decided to return to Bustoke, off screen, to purchase a Medical Herb for everyone. It turned out far better this way and I may end up buying four of these for each character in upcoming battles, for some easy experience.
Of course, if Amon and Balbaroy are tough enough, you could probably send them on their own, straight at the Silver Knight. They have the luxury of being able to avoid most opponents. However, doing so costs you a lot of experience from battling the enemies that guard the Bridge and both the Laser Eye and Silver Knight cards. These cards are the reason I'm bringing my two mages equipped with Doll Haters to this battle. Either of them can win you the cards by slaying these opponents.
Winning this battle effectively requires some careful planning if you haven't been power-leveling your Shining Force. As I mentioned prior to the battle, I selected my battle party in a particular order so that Anri could occupy the safe spot on the bridge in exactly five turns. Tao's not so fortunate, but she can take the Laser Eye's onslaught. The Laser Eye doesn't have magic resistance, but its defense is considerable in the context of our mages and it has plenty of hit points. This is why having Doll Haters and using the Power Ring are judicious for this battle.
Your other Force members should clear the way for Anri and Tao. Anri, especially, must not be delayed, as lagging behind by even a single tile means she falls to the Laser Eye. Zylo and the knights have the mobility to run ahead and tackle the Lizardmen before your mages get there, but their defenses are weak (especially for Arthur and Zylo), so be very careful in how you advance. Sometimes, it's better not to attack right away if you can stay a bit behind and provide some cover for your other characters. This is most fortunate as it also leaves your front lines closer to your healers. As mentioned earlier, make sure to give everyone a Medical Herb so that they can autonomously recover from the Laser Eye while maintaining your advance. The last thing you want it to get caught in your own bottle neck in the second half of the Bridge on account of waiting for your healers to arrive. After the secret weapon fires, press forward and create a sheltered path to the Eye for Tao and Anri. Remember that either of them can deliver the finishing blow to win the cards.
- Defeat the Silver Knight
Clear Bonus: win in 16 turns to gain a Duelist
- (2) Dark Priest L9
- (3) Dark Elf L10
- (6) Lizardman L10
- (6) Pegasus Knight L12
- (1) Silver Knight L12
- (1) Laser Eye L20
- Laser Eye (Tao or Anri defeats the Laser Eye)
- Silver Knight (Tao or Anri defeats the Silver Knight)