Shining Force 2, Challenge Mode Hack
obob912 at gmail dot com
Version 1.01 (6/30/2008): Enhanced the difficulty of the Zeon battle. Made Zeon's AI
Version 1.0 (5/27/2008): Initial release.
Apply the IPS patch to a .BIN version of the Shining Force 2 ROM. A common name for
this ROM, and one that definitely works, is Shining Force 2 (U) [!].BIN. You can
apply the IPS patch using a program such as IPSWin or Lunar IPS patcher. Then play
the ROM on an emulator. I used Gens in all my playtesting.
ABOUT THE HACK:
This hack makes the game substantially harder than the regular game. However, it does
serve as more of a middle ground between Super difficulty of the regular game and
BigNailCow's Hardtype Hack. Towards the end of the game, the regular monsters in this
hack are generally much easier than those in the Hardtype Hack. Boss monsters,
however, are generally much more difficult, although sometimes their defense scores
are substantially lower. There is also no level building at any point: Bowie does
not know egress, and angel wings are not buyable.
I have strived for balance in this hack, to make it so that your entire party remains
useful throughout the entire game. Peter was the only character that was nerfed, and
only slightly at that (aside from nerfs that came from nerfing certain spells). The
vast majority of the weaker characters have been improved. Chances are that only a
few of the characters that you normally use were improved. I tried to improve all
characters to the point that nobody is dead weight. Randolf and Eric are sufficiently
improved that they are very good choices from Creed's. This should encourage much
more diverse parties.
It was also important to me to make it so that instant death abilities, while still
good, are not the primary means of completing battles. This is accomplished by
increasing regular monster HP only by a factor of two, so that for Kazin damaging
spells are usually more MP-effective than desoul. Whereas in the Hardtype hack Kazin
was undeniably better as a Wizard than as a Soreceror, in this hack the choice is much
For the sake of balance, it is strongly intended that you PLAY THIS HACK ON OUCH, and
PROMOTE ALL YOUR CHARACTERS AT 20, OR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. You can buy all promotion
items from the item store in Hassan, should you need them before you would get to them
normally. The battles leading up to Creed's mansion, while doable, are difficult and
tedious without promotion weapons. The later battles in the game are slightly
trivialized by late promotion, and late promotion makes all the prepromoted characters
relatively less useful. Also don't do silly things like abuse the Fairy Village
special stage, etc.
I have no reason to believe that the hack would be impossible on Super, especially if
you do not promote at 20. But the hack was really not created with Super in mind,
and you won't have very much fun playing it on super. Some of the later bosses are
already as strong or stronger than their super equivalents in the original game, and
adding another 25% to their attack would make things crazy. Boost is also less
powerful now, which makes it even harder to cope with the huge attack values of Super.
At any rate, here is the list of changes in this hack:
Most monsters have double HP.
Monsters that don't use weapons have had their attack increased about 10%.
Monsters that use weapons have had their base attack increased by 15-20%. This
generally yields a total attack increase of about 10%.
Most monsters have had their defense increased by 10%. Some have slightly higher
defense increases, but then lower HP. In the last few battles (Geshp and onwards),
defense is typically increased by 20% to better compensate for mithril weapons and the
stagnant defense values in the original game.
Dedicated casters typically have double MP. Melee monsters that incidentally have
some spells have the same amount of MP.
Many healers have better heal spells, especially healers that used low level aura
spells towards the end of the game.
Bosses are now MUCH more difficult. Most have roughly triple HP, greatly increased
attack, increased defense, increased MP when applicable, and some gain new spells or
have their old spells improved. The all boss battle at the end will be VERY hard.
Let me know if you beat it.
Bowie does not know Egress.
Chester now gets 5 extra defense as a pegasus knight instead of losing 5 defense.
This is to make up for the land effect penalty. He should now be a decent candidate
for a pegasus wing.
All centaurs get attack increases after promotion. Their attack is now 6 points
higher than it was by the end of the game. This makes Eric a good choice at Creed's,
and makes the others do damage closer to that of a gladiator than an archer.
Kazin learns Freeze instead of Muddle. He does so slowly though. Freeze 1 helps to
cope with increased monster HP in the first third or so of the game. Freeze 3, which
he gets at level 18 promoted, gives him a range 3 attack as a Wizard. He won't easily
learn Freeze 4; he learns it at 32 promoted.
Kiwi has been greatly improved. He will gain on average 6 more attack before
promotion compared to before. He will gain on average 14 more defense after promotion
compared to before, giving him the best defense in the game by 2 points. He starts
the game knowing Dispel, and having enough MP to cast it a couple of times. After
promo, he learns 4 levels of his Breath spell. First level is exactly the same as his
critical hit, and costs 8 MP. Incidentally, if he attacks and crits, using his
breath, it will cost him 8 MP. If he has less than 8 MP when this happens, his MP
becomes 0 but the attack still works. Breath 2 deals the same damage as Breath 1/his
critical to 5 enemies at a range of 1 (really 4 enemies since he's always in the area
of effect), for 12 MP; he learns it at level 10 promoted. Breath 3 deals slightly
more damage to 5 enemies at a range of 1 for 16 MP; he learns it at level 16. Breath
4 deals Freeze 4-caliber damage to one enemy at a range of 2 for 16 MP; he'll learn it
at level 22. His HP is still terrible, as before. Note that the icon for Breath is
garbled and the spell will not show up on his character screen, only on the magic
Peter's stats have been nerfed a little bit. He is still the strongest attacker in
the game, and is a little more fragile. He is still debatably the best character on
the force. If you can cast the Attack spell, this is less debatable.
Luke and Skreech have both had slight boosts to their stats, and now learn 4 levels of
Blast after promotion. They still aren't great, but might make a good 10th-12th party
member or so. Luke gets a little more MP than Skreech; Skreech gets a little more
attack than Luke.
All four archers have had slight boosts to their attack power to cope with improved
monster defense. Elric and Janet have had larger boosts to their attack power,
keeping them more competitive with May and Rhode. May still has the strongest attack
power, but is no longer clearly the best archer. Provided you promote everyone
immediately as intended, Janet's 4 extra prepromo levels may make her the best archer
of them all.
Randolf's stats have been boosted, so that he is actually slightly better than Jaha
instead of strictly worse. He learns the Attack spell immediately after promotion
(keep in mind Attack cannot be cast on the caster). He is now a very viable pick from
All Barons gain some defense; the defense penalty of 10 for promoting to Baron vs
Gladiator was too harsh. The penalty is now closer to 5.
Taya's spell progression has been radically altered, to her benefit. She gains Atlas
earlier than anybody else. She will gain Atlas 1 (which is improved to have range 3)
at 14, and Atlas 2 at 26. She is the only character who can easily gain Atlas 2.
She gets Neptune far too late to be of any real use, to compensate. Her defense,
while still the worst in the game, is a little better than it was.
Gyan learns Boost 1 and 2, and gains a very small amount of MP to cast them with.
With the nerf to Boost (see below), this should give him some extra tactical
usefulness without being too terribly abusable for experience. His stats are also
boosted very slightly.
Sheela's defense has been boosted slightly. Her spell progression is also slightly
Zynk has a laser attack as a spell. It does about 28 damage to 5 enemies at a range
of 3, and costs 12 MP. He will start with enough MP to cast it once, eventually gain
enough to cast it twice, and may get enough to cast it three times if you get his
level around 30 or give him a Bright Honey. Unlike Kiwi's breath critical, Zynk's
laser critical does not cost MP: in fact it is not even a spell at all, and just does
extra physical damage. Note that the icon for Laser is garbled and the spell will not
show up on his character screen, only on the magic screen.
Claude now joins the party at level 16 instead of 14.
Chaz learns Freeze 4 earlier, at 23. This makes him better in a no-egress game, which
this essentially is.
Lemon's stats are boosted slightly.
Resistance changes: Mages, Wizards and Sorcerers are now weakly resistant to
Lightning, Ice, and Fire. Birdmen and promoted Peter are now weak to Wind. Brass
Gunners and Zynk are now weak to Lightning. Claude is now weak to fire (instead of
heavily resistant!), heavily resistant to ice, and weakly resistant to Bolt. Kiwi,
once promoted, is weakly resistant to fire and weak to ice. All of these changes are
motivated by enemy resistances: mages are usually resistant to the element they cast,
all feather winged fliers other than pegasi are weak to wind, mechanical archers are
weak to bolt, and golems are all weak to fire, heavily resistant to ice, and weakly
resistant to bolt. Fire breathing enemies are always strong vs fire and weak vs ice.
First of all keep in mind that adjustments to spells affect both you and the enemies.
So if a spell is now better than it used to be and you don't take advantage of that
fact, it is only helping the enemies.
Heal and Aura spells have been rebalanced as follows:
Spell Effect Range Radius MP
Heal 1 15 1 1 3
Heal 2 25 2 1 5
Heal 3 35 3 1 7
Heal 4 255 3 1 15
Aura 1 15 3 2 7
Aura 2 25 3 3 11
Aura 3 35 3 3 15
Aura 4 255 0 All 31
In particular, Heal 2, 3, and 4 have all been improved. This helps to deal with the
longer battles in this hack, and makes healers who don't have aura substantially
better than healing items. Heal 4 is now range 3, instead of a pathetic 1 compared
to Aura 4's infinite range. The Aura spells all cost 2x+1 MP, where x is the cost of
the corresponding Heal spell, and heal the same amount as the corresponding heal
spell. Aura 4 is now much more of a panic button than an extremely efficient healing
spell. All healing amounts increase by 25% after promotion, as always.
All the Detox spells have had their MP costs drastically lowered. It may now be more
efficient to cure poison in long battles.
Most of the status effect spells have been improved. Dispel has range 3 and radius 3.
Muddle 1 has range 2, and Muddle 2 has range 3. Sleep has range 3 and radius 2.
Slow 1 has range 2; Slow 2 has range 3.
All summon spells have had their MP costs slightly reduced (by 2 or 3 points for all
spells), to compensate for longer battles.
Atlas 1 is now range 3, which gives Sorcerers a range 3 attack at an attainable level.
Boost 1 now has range 2 and affects 1 ally, Boost 2 has Range 3 and affects 5 allies.
The damage of Katon 1 has been lowered slightly, to make Katon 2 more useful.
The casting cost of Desoul 2 has been increased to 15 MP.
Certain enemy-only attack spells have been improved.
Angel wings are no longer buyable. There are thus 4 angel wings in the game (in
Granseal castle, New Grans during the Peter sequence, the passage to Creed's, and
Moun). You can use them as you see fit, if you need any extra levels along the way.
Of course, if Bowie dies, you can gain more experience by exiting from the battle
that way. Provided you promote everyone at 20, gaining extra experience from Bowie
deaths should not seriously imbalance the game. The game should be beatable though
without any Bowie deaths and using only 1 angel wing in the Zeon battle to resurrect
after the Galam battle. Although technically, that shouldn't even be necessary. For
the All Boss battle, it might be necessary to use any excess angel wings to level
Chaz now starts with a Light of Hope (restores full MP to all characters). If you
plan on tackling the All Boss battle, it would be wise to save both the Light of Hope
and any Healing Rains. It will not be an easy fight.
Promotion items are now available for sale from the item shop in Hassan. This should
allow you to promote everyone as soon as they reach level 20, unless perhaps if you
power leveled Sarah to extreme levels. It's up to you to decide if you want to use
multiple copies of each promotion item. Doing so won't unbalance the game much, as
the special promotions aren't that much better than the regular ones.
The Quick Ring and Chirrup Sandals both give +1 MOV, in addition to their other
Cameela's Iron Ball no longer casts Blaze 3. Have fun finding out what it does cast!
Mystery Staves cannot be equipped by Vicars anymore. This was extremely abusable on
Frayja and/or Karna, and made the obscene casting cost of Aura 4 less of an issue.
I'm not sure if it is possible to create a Mystery Staff by creating a mithril weapon
for a Vicar, so be aware that you might get a weapon a Vicar can't equip if you make
a mithril weapon for them. Wizards and Sorcerers can still use Mystery staves, since
the ability is substantially less abusable on them.
All sword users can now equip the Levanter, giving birdmen a better final equip and
barons another option.
A modified version of BNC's 3 numbers hack has been included in this hack, to avoid
seeing ??'s everywhere in the second half of the game. That hack appeared to
introduce a bug with the caravan, in its attempt to fix the Caravan repair bug. I
removed the introduced bug, but the Caravan repair bug still exists in this version.
Incidentally, as you will find out, the hack still displays three question marks when
monsters get into quadruple digit stats...
Here is a short list of things I would like to add to the hack, but don't have the
knowledge to implement:
Enforce promotion at level 20. Make experience growth stop after level 20, as it
does when an unpromoted character reaches level 40.
Fix the icons for Kiwi's breath spells and Zynk's Laser spell. Also make these
spells show up in the character description pages for Kiwi and Zynk. It is possible
that a future version of the Caravan editor by BNC will allow this.
Essentially 90+% of the credit for this hack should actually go to Bryan Murphree,
for his amazing SF2 Editor program. Credit also goes out to BNC for the 3 numbers
hack, and for inspiring me to make my own hack. Also props to my friend Dogbert for
helping to playtest the hack and make balance changes.