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Shining Force is a name prominently used to describe a group of warriors representing the forces of light in the battle against darkness. However, it is used for other meanings in some Shining Force games.
The first incarnation of the Shining Force appeared in the first game of the Shining Force sub-series. They were formed to defeat the forces of Runefaust which were being controlled by Darksol in order to revive Dark Dragon. Their leaders were Max, later a member of the fourth Shining Force, and Anri, later queen of Guardiana. Anri's role as co-leader is not mentioned in game.
The following incarnation of the Shining Force appeared in Shining Force Gaiden. They were formed to defeat Woldol, though for differing reasons; some to free Cypress from his despotic control, some to break a spell cast on Queen Anri. The Force was lead by Nick, later a member of the third Shining Force.
The fourth incarnation of the Shining Force appeared in Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict. This incarnation was created to hunt down Mishaela, who reappeared in Parmecia. The force was initially lead by Max, but Ian eventually replaces him as the leader.
In Shining Force EXA, Shining Force is the name of a mythical and powerful sword.