The Powerful Tale of a Boy, His Flying Cat and His Evil Villian
Jan 24, 2002
Pros: Wonderful, absorbing story and characters
Cons: Primitive graphics and sounds. I defy you to find it anywhere other than ebay!
The Bottom Line: We will we will rock you we will we will rock you...
Thank God I found this game! I was just beginning to become a little disillusioned with the selection of rpgs available for the PlayStation-of the considerable selection, I seem to have been playing all the bad one lately: Final Fantasy 8 was marred by the horrible gameplay and hollow characters, Legend of Dragoon was overrated and Breath of Fire 4 just plain sucked. Who would have thought that I would actually find a copy of this out-of-print game without scouring ebay and half the used game stores in the city? Lucky me.
Alright, it's a reissue of an old Sega CD game from like 1992, I'll grant you that. But I never owned a Sega CD, so I've never had the pleasure of playing the original Lunar: Silver Star Story (or any other great Sega CD rpg titles, for that matter). So, being the uneducated moron that I am, here's what I know about Lunar: Silver Star Story-it's a classic rpg that's supposed to be really, really good. But I never imagined, in all my wildest dreams, that it would be this good. We're not just talking good good here. We're talking up-there-with-Final Fantasy 4-and-Chrono Trigger good. And, according to the making of disc that comes packaged with it, the programmers added more to it than just a few subtle touches.
The world of Lunar is a magical one, filled with all sorts of mythical wonders like dragons, a floating city, and a "Frontier", a lifeless place where all the evil of the world was banished to by Althena, the supreme goddess of the world. In fact, the very story of Lunar revolves around the dragons, the goddess and the Frontier. It revolves around a young kid named Alex, who drems of one day becoming the highest of all warriors, a Dragonmaster, like his hero, the legendary Dragonmaster Dyne. One day, Alex's greedy friend Ramus decides he wants to look for treasure in the cave south of their hometown. In the cave, they run into the white dragon Quark, who tells Alex that he thinks Alex has what it takes to become the next Dragonmaster. So Alex goes off to find the other dragons and earn the power of the Dragonmaster. And he's going to need those powers, too-long story short, the baddies on the Frontier are gaining power again, with the intent of using it to destroy all humans.
Of course, what kind of adventurer would Alex be if he didn't have a crew of hangers-on going with him? Lunar has the greatest group of characters ever in an rpg, save for maybe a couple of the Final Fantasy games. Leaving with him are Ramus and Luna (who becomes one of the most pivotal plot points in the game) and his pet, a flying catlike creature named Nall. His eventual party consists of an overconfident magician's apprentice, a thief, the powerful sorceress daughter of one of Dyne's friends, and a preistess-in-training who talks tough, hits hard and skips most of her classes at the shrine, with assorted other occaisionally joining alomg the way. All these characters let their personalities show in a way that other rpg characters don't: When you enter a town and talk to people, you don't just get a single dialog box with a couple of comments. Often, you get several, with one or two of your characters throwing in a comment of their own at the end. You also have to talk to most people two or three times before they say everything they have to say. They don't just talk, they converse.
Of course, you won't be able to converse much if you don't fight the occaisional battle. Lunar's battle system really isn't anything new: You have the standard options for attacking, defending, using items or magic, and running away. But we are given a few different, and rather pleasant, twists. Before deciding what you want each individual party member to do, you first decide if you want them to do something as a group. For example, if you want everyone to attack, go to the tactics icon, select attack, and everyone will attack for the next turn. If you want to command each individual, and most likely you do, select command. There is also an extra option for those characters that you just can't figure out what to do with-AI, which makes the selection for you (do not ever, under any circumstances, use this option). And this is the only non-strategic rpg I've ever played in which range has to be considered for your battle plan. Each character has a limited distance in which he can move. If he can't get far enough to make the attack on the bad guy you wanted him to attack, he stands there, in the middle of everything, a sitting duck for your foes to prey on.
The graphics in Lunar are 16-bit sprites, but they are very nice 16-bit sprites. Each character is finely detailed, and the scenery is full of vibrant color, as are the magic spells. what else do you expect from a reissue of a 16-bit game? But since it's on a 32-bit system, the programmers couldn't help but to make an upgrade, this upgrade being in the form of animated cutscenes. The animation isn't Disney level, but it's good and there's little slowdown. The short shots of the Dragon Armor are in CG, though, as is a wonderful scene on a ship where Luna sings, where the animated Luna is set against a CG backdrop. The one thing that bothers me about the graphics-and this seems to have been a trend in 16-bit rpgs-is that the characters' legs are constantly making a walking motion, as if they're on a treadmill. Why?
The sound boys didn't seem very interested in making their music stand out. You have a wonderful main theme in the opening animation, and a wonderful song performed by Luna while on the ship to Meribia, but beyond that... Nothing worth talking about. While some of the music in the 16-bit cartridgeFinal Fantasy games has the power to move you, you'll barely remember any of the fitting, but mostly lifeless, drab in this game. The voice acting is good, and there's a lot of it, and the magic spells have very appropriate sound effects, and they will ultimately be the only sounds you remember. But if you want music that moves or inspires you, you're better off cranking up the latest U2 cd in your stereo.
Controls are responsive, which is good, because you can see the enemies onscreen and only have to fight if one of them runs into you-it's the same system used in Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, in other words. But if you want to avoid combat, you better move fast and memorize the layouts of the dungeons, because the bad guys don't like it when nosy adventurers invade their territory, and they move fast. In a fight, you don't have to worry too much, because combat is turn-based.
Lunar: Silver Star Story is a fantastic rpg with a great story, memorable characters, and lots of surprises and twists. You're not likely to get bored with it at all. Since the PlayStation version is a collector's edition, it comes with a few goodies-a soundtrack cd, a making of cd, and I can now brag about being rich enough to afford my video games with leatherbound hardcover hundred-page-long manuals (with a strategy guide for the first part of the game and several interviews with the programmers) and maps of the overhead worlds printd on cloth (useless, but nice). Since it's out of print these days, I suggest you pick up the first copy you see.
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Nicholas Croston (BaronSamedi3)
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial. Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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Return to the world of LUNAR, in the completely reworked 32-bit version of the SEGA CD classic. Join Alex, the young adventurer as he begins a quest with his friends to save their land from the crushing advance of the Magic Emperor.