You will probably also need SFEdit.
Readme contained in the following spoiler.
Changes: Freshly made IPS file. Hopefully, no more issues with patchings not working.
Implemented the stat changes detailed in the latest post.
Shining Force 2: Milestone Edition is a dual purpose rom that a) allows you to choose any characters you like from the very start and b) allows you to play solo runs. There are a large number of changes to the game.
? All characters start in the Force, at Level 1, in their Unpromoted classes.
? All characters start with:
1. A starting weapon (Unless unarmed fighters)
2. A medical herb
3. A promotion item (If in an eligible class)
New starting weapon, Worn Arrow has been created for Archers. It replaces the Cotton Balloon. This was done over editing the Wooden Arrow because the Wooden Arrow is used by enemies, and is already balanced as such. Warriors and Slade have been given proficiency with the Wooden Sword.
Instead of the usual 5 promotion items, the force now possess a total of 20. As such, the cost of each has been slashed to 1/4 its normal price. This is so the Gold obtained through selling is mostly the same as it would be in a normal game, give or take 1 or 2 here and there.
? All characters that did not previously have certain promotion states now have them, and all have relevant map and battle sprites.
? Bowie can be left in the caravan, and can also die without causing battle to be lost. (This is to make it fair: teams without Bowie have to be entirely wiped out to lose. This makes Bowie-using teams fair.)
? Various characters have been given tweaks to stats (based on adjustment formulae that had not been followed previously in the original). For example, Chester now gains - rather than loses - 5 DEF upon becoming a Pegasus Knight.
? Some characters have had map sprites changed to more closely match their corresponding battle sprite palettes. (Some monsters have too - the Black Monk is finally black and not bright red.)
? Some battles have had NPCs removed to reduce the chance of cursor confusion that can occur if late-game characters are in the game early.
? MOST cutscenes before and after battle have been removed.
? Taros is no longer immune to all damage except the Achilles Sword
? Bosses now only get one turn each to make them soloable.
? Added the Mithril weapons to the Endgame Galam Weapons Shop, and Healing Water and Fairy Tear to the Endgame Galam Item shop.
? Added Call Shop menus Prior to battle 35 (After defeating Cameela.[/color]
? Jaro Fix Installed, Tested and Confirmed to work.
? The ATTACK Spell (and by extension the Power Ring) can now be cast on the wearer to allow an easier time of it on solo games (trust me, you'll need it)
? The Iron Rod has been added to Stores preceding the Battle in Polca Village.
? The Wooden Arrow was erroneously left in shops 1 and 2. This has been replaced with the Worn Arrow to prevent Archer uberness too early on.
? Kiwi starts off with seriously crap attack for an unarmed hitter. To compensate, his attack has been raised 2 points, making it 9, equal to Bowie and Sarah. He should hopefully no longer require complete baby sitting to be viable.
? Added various items that were missing from the Assembly hack, including: the two medical herbs, angel wing and antidote prior to battle 1, White Ring, Sword of Darkness, a missing healing water, fairy tear and bright honey.
? Zynk and Claude can now equip the Life Ring without issue.
? Changed the minimum xp value per critter killed to 3. This varies between 2 and 4 xp per kill of monsters sorely below level. Casters gain this for each critter hit by aoe spells.
? Fixed the Cheerful Taya bug. Taya now learns Apollo 1 as she should, instead of the Cheerful Bread spell.
? Fixed a graphical bug with Tyrin's SORC map sprite changing colour depending on direction.
? Implemented increases to monster levels to smooth leveling, and increase level to aid in solo play. The level breakdown is roughly as follows:
? Grans Monsters: Normal level
? Monsters up to and including hobgoblin cave: +1 level
? Monsters up to and including Hassan Desert: +2 level
? Monsters up to and including Creed's mansion: +3 level
? Monsters up to and including Higins rescue: +4 level (anticipated promotion point)
? Monsters up to and including Pacalon Battle: +2 level
? Monsters up to and including Jaro Battle: +3 level
? Monsters up to and including Return to Grans: +4 level
? Monsters up to and including Red Baron: +5 level
? Monsters after Red Baron: +6 to +10 level
These level adjustments should ensure smoother leveling throughout the playthrough, without making you so over-levelled that the game becomes too easy.
The biggest change to the rom, is the addition of a variant form of BNC's Survival Hack. This hack removes the town exploration portion of the game, and focuses on the battles. How this works will be covered in the 'How to Play' segment below.
How to Play
First and Foremost, remember to BACK UP YOUR ORIGINAL SF2 ROM before continuing with the following steps.
To start off, you need an emulator. I personally recommend Gens Plus. When you have an emulator setup, you need to place your files in the emulator's folders. The ips patch needs to be applied to Shining Force II (U)!.bin, and this needs to be an unchanged rom (not caravan-expanded for example). To do this, google a program called IPSWin. It can quickly apply IPS patches for you. Once you've applied the patch, and gotten your Milestone rom, place it wherever you keep your roms. The save file needs to go into the RAM folder of your emulator.
Once your files are in place, load the rom into your emulator, and go through the startup screens as normal. Once the witch waves you off, instead of Bowie in his room, you are instead greeted to a series of Menus. Prior to every battle, you will be given the chance to do all of the things you would in a town, one after the other, as the menus are called automatically. Below is the menu call order:
? Weapon Shop (If one would be available at the time)
? Item Shop (If one would be available at the time)
? Standard Menu (You know, the one you press C to bring up)
Quitting one menu will call the next in the sequence. Once you quit the last menu, you will recieve a message asking "Are you Ready?". Choosing YES will start the battle. Choosing NO will start the menu sequence from the beginning: useful if you accidentally frameskipped past one of the menus you wanted.
When you start, make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that you use the caravan to JOIN a member. If you don't your default empty party will crash the game.
Once you choose yes, you should be back in familiar territory as the battle starts. If you die, or egress, or use an angel wing, you will recall the menus prior to the current battle, and the battle will repeat (Unless you do so on battle 4; this battle is set to automatically move on even in the original if you die. Probably due to the lack of priest in Hawel's house to raise fallen allies.) Victory obviously calls the menus to prepare for the next battle, and so on and so forth until you complete the game.
Because everyone starts the game at level 1, you could be choosing anyone, and because the first battles only have a small number of force placeholders, characters who you add as you progress through the first few battles will be behind. I haven't tested how far this extends, but i would imagine at least up to battle 7. You can get around it by using SFEdit to add the required number of Brave Apples to your party to compensate.
That should cover everything. If anything pops up that I haven't mentioned here, drop me a line in a PM or email me, and I'll update the readme.
Thanks go to (in no particular order):
Space King - SF2 Edit, statistics extrapolations.
BNC - The Caravan, and his many many many hacks - great and small - and his continued assistance in implementing them.
Obob - Standalone 3 Digits hack,
Almighty G - For birthing the idea to attempt the SF2 solo hack
Rusty - Inspiration from the SF1 solo hack
Avaj - SFEdit
And anyone else who has posted suggestions to improve the rom and move the project forward.