Bowie is the character you play as and leader of the Shining Force. “Bowie” is just his default name; you can name him what you like. Since he's the leader, you lose if he gets defeated! So be careful with him. But yet, it's still important to actively use him, or else he doesn't grow strong. It's a delicate balance between gaining his levels but keeping him safely away from enemies. When Bowie is promoted, he gains MP and learns lightning spells!
Sarah is one of Bowie's school friends from the town of Granseal. She's a Priest and therefore uses healing spells, with one exception: the “Blast” spell (an attack magic wind spell). Her staffs are not strong for melee attacks, which can lead to her becoming weak.
However, Sarah can be promoted into a Master Monk with the Vigor Ball! It makes her like some kind of kung fu fighter, yet still, retain her healing spells. The Vigor Ball is found in two locations: Elven Town and the Dojo . Note that Elven Town is hidden. When you first obtain the Caravan, it's located at the end of the river in a lighter square of forest .
Chester is one of Bowie's school friends from the town of Granseal. He's a centaur and cannot use any Magic. Compared to other centaurs in the game, he's pretty good with strength and defense. He's useful for the beginning of the game. However, there reaches a point where you need to make a big decision. Chester can be promoted into a Pegasus Knight with the Pegasus wing item. This means he can fly!
The problem is that the Pegasus Wing is found farther into the game. To give you some perspective, you start promoting your characters around battles 15-18. The Pegasus Wing is located in Pacalon - after battle 26! So that's around 10 battles you need to keep lugging around an unpromoted and under-powered Chester. It's a labor of love just to gain a valuable character. If you don't feel like doing this, then Chester is one of those characters to let go of for someone else.
Jaha is one of Bowie's school friends from the town of Granseal. He's strong! And his defense is good, too. He becomes even better when promoted with the Warrior Pride to Baron. His only drawback is his small movement span. As a Baron, he can use swords as well as axes, making him more versatile. He will also gain a +1 to his movement span. There's no reason to promote him without Warrior Pride. You can find it in New Granseal . If this doesn't interest you, then Jaha is another character you should swap for someone else.
Kazin! When you first go to Yeel, Kazin the Mage takes you to see his master, Hawel. On arrival at his house, the Force finds Hawel near death, muttering to himself about the Tower. When his master dies, Kazin decides to join the Force to avenge Hawel's death.
Kazin is an awesome character. For the first half of the game, he's your primary attack magic mage with his mean Blaze spells. Later in the game, you have the opportunity to choose how you want him to kick butt. You can follow the standard path and promote him into a Wizard. Or with the Secret Book item, you can promote him into a Sorcerer. Sorcerer spells are visually stunning attacks that summon demi-gods(?) to wreak havoc on enemies. The drawback with Sorcerer spells is that remain within the small 5-square span (like with Blaze level 2).
If you let Kazin promote to Wizard, he eventually learns Blaze level 3 (has a large damage span) and Blaze level 4 (a devastating, single-target attack). In my opinion, I think you're better off with Kazin as a Sorcerer. You get more use out of stronger magic versus magic with a larger damage radius. The Secret Book item is found in Elven Town . Note that Elven Town is hidden. When you first obtain the Caravan, it's located at the end of the river in a lighter square of forest .
Slade the Thief is the rat who started all the problems with which Rune is now faced. We learn that he always steals from the rich to give to the poor, in the style of Robin Hood. When he found the Jewels of Light and Evil, he took them with good intent, unaware of the trouble he'd cause. He helps you to escape from Galam Jail after you've been captured and then decides to join to make ammends.
Slade is an okay character. He travels well through forests. When promoted to Ninja, he can equip swords and he learns a few attack magic spells. That's a unique ability - Slade and Bowie are the only non-mages who learn magic. What makes Slade a challenge to use is his terrible defense. He will always die after like 2 hits, even towards the end of the game.
Kiwi can be found in Old Granseal when the animals have been released from the pet shop. He's all alone and hungry in a little house when you find him. Comfort him and give him a name, and he'll join you! His default name is Kiwi.
Thanks to his tough shell, Kiwi has very high defense. Attacks often barely damage him. However, Kiwi also has low HP. If you're not careful, enemy attack magic could easily defeat him in one blow. When Kiwi is promoted, he becomes one of your most valuable characters! Land effect no longer affects him; he can freely move around as if he was a flying character. Even better, at random Kiwi will breathe fire and inflict 15-20 HP of damage (cutting through defense like attack magic). This is an extremely useful ability given how strong most of the enemies in the game are.
Peter is a Phoenix who visits the town of New Granseal, only to be mocked by the inhabitants. After speaking with the King he tags along with the Force and is computer-controlled until you have traveled to Bedoe and spoken with the God Volcanon.
Without question, Peter is the strongest character in the game - plus he flies! And since he's a Phoenix, he revives after a battle if he is defeated. Since he first joins you, Peter is always your strongest character who you can keep at the front of your army. He grows so well that towards the end of the game he even surpasses 100 HP (HP over 100 turns green in the HP bar).
After you've landed on Parmecia and fought the battle at North Cliff, you will be sent out to make allies and trading partners. You'll find yourself in the Town of Ribble, and once the people there realize you're not going to hurt them, they'll all come out of hiding and you'll be free to go around the town. Just south of the church you'll find May the Ranger who is willing to join the Force. She's the first archer to join the force so her abilities are useful for a while. She's not a strong character so I recommend swapping her any chance you get.
If you loved Zylo in Shining Force 1, Shining Force 2's wolfman is Gerhalt. Gerhalt is from Polca Village. He joins at the start of a battle in his hometown after realizing that the townspeople had been deceived.
Although his attacks aren't as cool as Zylo's, you can count on Gerhalt to become one of your strongest characters. His movement range (5) is what limits his progress, so I recommend giving him the Running Pimento item to increase it. After promotion, Gerhalt becomes a real werewolf with sharp nails and all.
You'll meet Luke for the first time when you go to speak with King Bedoe and Volcanon. He's a friend of Peter's. When you return to Polca and get the raft, Luke will leave the town with you then ask to join. Keep Luke only if you really want another flying character (aside from Peter and Kiwi). His strength is okay, but like most birdmen, his defense is terrible. He always dies with 2 hits, sometimes even with just 1 hit.
When you've fought the Taros and found the Caravan, return to Hassan and you'll meet this unlikely-looking soldier. He rushes at you and asks to join with great enthusiasm. Rick is an average centaur. I don't think he's worth keeping around. He arrives at a point in the game when there are already better characters available. He can be promoted to a Pegasus Knight with the Pegasus Wing if you really want to. Chester is a better candidate for that, though.
On your way to Creed's Mansion, you'll stop by Elven Town. Here you'll hear that a young elf, Elric is missing. When you reach the passage to Creed's Mansion, Oddler will say he hears someone crying for help, you follow him into a small area where there is a pool. In this pool, you'll find Elric. Saving him isn't as easy as you might think. The pool belongs to the Harpy, and she's not gonna let her meal go without a fight! Once you've defeated the monsters Elric will join you in gratitude.
Elric is an okay character. He can have a special promotion with the Silver Tank item. If you love archers you might like using him. I never bother using him, though.
Dr. Rohde is a historian, living in the town of Hassan, and only he can help you get the caravan. But what does a boy like Bowie have that would interest a historian? The Achilles Sword! When you have the Achilles Sword, take it to Rohde and he'll tag along with the Force. Without him, you can't progress and fight Taros. He'll join up as a member of the Force when you clear the rocks at North Cliff. He'll use the Cannon as a weapon and become a Brass Gunner. He's one of the stronger long-distance attackers in the game.
Karna is one of the four characters you can choose from at Creed's Mansion. You can only choose one of these four. If you don't choose her, you can return when you have the Sky Orb to get her and the others you turned down.
I highly recommend that you pick Karna. She has an excellent arsenal of spells! Her Boost spell (boots defense & agility) will save you time after time later in the game when everyone seems to have terrible defense. Using the Boost spell on 4 or more characters gives Karna 49 experience points! So that'll make it easy for you to eventually make her the character with the strongest defense and most HP. She also learns the incredibly valuable Aura spell (up to level 4, too!). Aura heals multiple targets at the same time. Given the game's challenge, you almost have no choice but to select Karna.
Karna can be promoted to a Master Monk with the Vigor Ball, if you'd like. The Vigor Ball is found in two locations: Elven Town and the Dojo . Note that Elven Town is hidden. When you first obtain the Caravan, it's located at the end of the river in a lighter square of forest .
Tyrin is one of the four characters you can choose from at Creed's Mansion. You can only choose one of these four. If you don't choose him, you can return when you have the Sky Orb to get him and the others you turned down.
If you want a well-rounded attack magic-user, choose Tyrin. He can even be promoted to a Sorcerer. Haha, and it's kind of funny to think that Tyrin, an angry bearded old man, would be wearing the flamboyant dress the Sorcerers wear. The game uses the same Sorcerer sprite for both males and females. Kazin can pass since he can be androgynous. But yet, with Tryin it's funny .
Anyway, Tyrin is good to recruit if you want another mage. Towards the end of the game, his magic isn't too helpful with the high HP of enemies. He's better as a Sorcerer, but it's better to have Kazin as a Sorcerer. The Secret Book item (to promote a Mage to a Sorcerer) is found in Elven Town . Note that Elven Town is hidden. When you first obtain the Caravan, it's located at the end of the river in a lighter square of forest .
Randolf is one of the four characters you can choose from at Creed's Mansion. You can only choose one of these four. If you don't choose him, you can return when you have the Sky Orb to get him and the others you turned down.
Randolf is not worth it. You don't need another slow-moving warrior. You should Karna, the healer.
This handsome centaur is Eric, one of the four characters you can choose from at Creed's Mansion. You can only choose one of these four. If you don't choose him, you can return when you have the Sky Orb to get him and the others you turned down.
Eric is another character who's not worth it. At this point in the game, you have enough well-rounded melee characters. You should Karna, the healer.
When you return to Granseal to get the Dynamite to unblock the tunnel to the north, Janet will see you as you leave. She'll tell you that she knows her love, Elric, is with the Force. Astral at first thinks that she wants to take Elric away, but she asks to join so that she can be with him again and makes a useful addition to the Force.
Janet is an average archer. I don't think she's worth using.
Higins is a Paladin from Pacalon, who left to find help for his city. He ran into trouble with the Greater Devil Geshp and was almost possessed by another gizmo, just like King Granseal and King Galam were. You'll see him when you leave the town of Ketto, shortly after you arrive in North Parmecia. He'll be knocked unconscious. When you complete battle 26, he'll join out of gratitude for your saving his life.
Higins is pretty good. If you want another well-rounded melee character, he would be useful.
You'll first meet Skreech at Bedoe, when he is just a chick, and it seems you make quite an impression on him there. Once you've spoken with King Bedoe and God Volcanon, make sure you speak to the chick on the ledge outside the 3rd floor. Then, when you are about to leave, wander around the bushes on the left of the screen, stand in-between two of them and a small bird will fall on you. That's Skreech. His mother will thank you and he'll join later in the game, at the town of Tristan, when you've spoken with Mitula, and go to leave the town. Remember, he will only join if you saved his life back at Bedoe.
Skreech is okay. If you want another flying character, he would be good to use. You just need to deal with his low defense, which is to be expected from a birdman.
Taya the Sorceress is at Mitula's Shrine. When you've beaten Zalbard and spoken with Goddess Mitula, go through the doorway on the right and you should see a statue. Search it and Taya will be restored to her normal form and will tell you that Mitula wants her to go with you.
Taya is powerful! The more Sorcerers you have, the better. Although you need to endure her low defense. She's often defeated after just one hit.
Frayja the Vicar is in Pacalon Castle the first time you meet him. He's feeling terribly guilty about something he's done. It turns out that a small town on the north-west coast of Parmecia is the only thing blocking the Devil Army from invading the mainland, and Frayja was the one who had to choose to lock its gate, and its people inside to prevent a massive loss of life. It was the lesser of two evils, but evil none-the-less and all he can do is feel sorry for his sin. When you return to Pacalon after having been to see Mitula, he'll go with you to Moun, to see if there are any survivors. Once he has opened the gate and you go inside the town he insists on joining the Force and fighting the battle in the town.
If you didn't recruit Karna at Kreed's Mansion, then I recommend recruiting Frayja. You need a healer who learns Aura (heals multiple characters at once)! It's funny that Frayja could be promoted to a Master Monk with the Vigor Ball. The game uses the same Master Monk sprite for everyone. So just like promoting Tyrin to a Sorcerer, you get to see Frayja, a fat old man, wearing a skimpy female outfit that shows his booty.
The Vigor Ball is found in two locations: Elven Town and the Dojo . Note that Elven Town is hidden. When you first obtain the Caravan, it's located at the end of the river in a lighter square of forest .
Jaro, the Pegasus Knight, will join you half-way through battle 32 when you're fighting your way to reach the village of Moun. When you first meet him he is fighting against you on the side of the devils. But he decides he no longer wishes to work for them and starts fighting alongside your warriors (although he is controlled by the computer for the duration of this battle).
He's an alright character. If you already have Chester promoted into a Pegasus Knight, you shouldn't bother using Jaro.
You'll meet Gyan the Gladiator in Moun after Frayja has helped you get in and you have fought off the monsters. When you tell him that the tunnel has been cleared and he can return home he decides that his family can wait and that your cause is more important.
Gyan's strong! Use him if you don't mind adding another melee character with a small movement span.
Sheela is the third Master Monk in the game (or first if you never used the two Vigor Balls). She can be found near the Monastery/Dojo on Grans. The Monastery is South-west of where the Nazca Ship crash-lands. On the left side of the Monastery are a lot of trees. Find your way through these trees, heading upwards and you'll come to a waterfall, where you'll see him swimming and diving. It turns out that she's one of Sir Astral's old pupils and is training to be a fighting machine rather than becoming a priest because the Evil Red Baron murdered her fiancé. She agrees to join the force, in the hope that she might be able to avenge the death of her love. She's a great addition to the Force if you want a melee character who's also a healer.
Zynk is a Robot from the past, one of the inventions of the Ancients. You meet him in Moun, protecting the townspeople. He joins the Force once you leave Moun. Zynk potentially becomes a strong character. However, his movement span is 4! Freakin 4!! Moun does a Running Pimento item you could use on Zynk to increase his movement span to 6. I'm sure they placed it there on purpose for Zynk.
Claude is one of the special characters. You need the Arm of Golem item from Moun to convince him to join. South of Roft there is a small path along the coast, which can be followed. It leads to a series of bridges linking several small islands. On one of these there is a cave, go in it, and inside of it, you'll meet Claude. If you don't have his arm he'll just complain and won't join. In this cave, you'll also find a way back to Parmecia. At the bottom you'll see some dark panels on the floor, one on the left opens up a path that leads back to the Magic Tunnel below Ribble.
I think Claude is stronger than Zynk, but his movement span is also 4! How annoying. Don't forget to grab the Running Pimento in Moun . You could increase Claude's movement span to 6.
When you return to Yeel you'll find the town is deserted... or is it? Play the piano in the tavern and a doorway will open up inside the church. Much as the Priest tries to force you to go away, you succeed in the end and find the townsfolk living in tunnels under Yeel. You'll find Chaz here. He'll offer to join the Force.
Chaz is a strong Wizard! Since he joins when you're close to the end of the game, he learns his strongest spells relatively quickly. He learns Blaze, Bolt, and Freeze up to level 4!
When you defeat Red Baron on the battlefield, Lemon snaps out of his trance and realizes all the evil things he's done. He tries to take his own life to atone for what he has done. However, Astral will tell you that Lemon is now an immortal vampire and cannot die that easily. You'll find traces of his attempted suicide jumps all over the towns in the south of Grans. You'll eventually find him in Yeel. If you talk to him he'll offer to join. If you ignore him, he'll join you automatically when you arrive at the Devil's Head Statue near the tower. When he joins you'll get the Dark Sword, which, while cursed, has a useful Desoul spell.
Lemon is one of the stronger characters in the game. Using him is recommended!