. I agree, I didn't like Shining CD as much as Shining Force II specificly. Maybe I just loved the story of SFII. But Shining CD is nice to have if you're been through all the other games, its a LONG game if you complete every book.
if i recall, they couldnt manage to put traditional towns into the game gear games, and since shining force CD is just slightly enhanced game gear games, they couldnt really put different towns in without throwing off the game a good amount. I personally love every shining force Ive ever played, though most i have only played through the first battle or so on =(
Yes, they are linked, but not there are fairly long lengths of time between most of them, and it is by no means necessary to have played all previous versions (especially since there is still a GG game that AFAIK isnt fully translated) to enjoy them. Playing them in order might add a little to the enjoyment, but I dont think its that important
The soundtrack on SFCD makes it worth it. It's one of my favorites soundtracks for any game, overall, but that's just me.
If you play them in order, the story is much more cohesive. And, it's easier to recognize certain characters and their roles in the story. But, at as Grom said, it's not necessary. Although, I don't see any connection between the Saturn version(s) and the Genesis/GG/SCD versions.
Shining Force III is only linked to "Shining - The Holy Ark". Both games were made by Camelot and Sonic Software Planning and SFIII have no connection whatsoever with the old SF games because althought the game is supposed to be happening on the same world, SFIII happens officially a "long long time" later (sic).