Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
"You ninny-ninny, dumb-dumb poopy-head!"
Developer: Game Arts/Studio Alex Publisher: Working Designs Genre: RPG Players: 1 Memory Blocks: 1 Discs: 2 Analog: Yes Dual Shock: Yes ESRB: Teen Difficulty: Intermediate
Practically since I knew what an RPG was, I'd heard wonderful things about the Sega CD game Lunar: The Silver Star. Naturally, I ws extremely hyped-up about the game's Playstation remake, and I must say, it does not disappoint.
Gameplay--Lunar is very fun for the most part. The Dual Shock is used well (especially in dungeons, where it vibrates when an enemy is near), the majority of the puzzles are challenging but clever and fun, and it's a pure joy to just walk around towns talking to everyone twice to see what they have to say. This is certainly where Working Designs' famous translation abilities shine through. My only gripe, really, is the battles--fighting enemies is a chore and no fun at all. The final boss, especially, is a real booger. (What? Maybe some of us like our last bosses easy...personally, when I'm that far into a game I'm just ready for it to be over...)
Graphics--In the normal overworld and battle scenes, the graphics are colorful, but nothing to write home about. This is probably where the game's Sega CD roots can be most clearly seen. The characters' and NPCs' sprites are fairly detailed, but extremely small. Enemies and bosses are larger, but less detailed. In the FMVs, however... Well, they're cel animation just like your favorite anime/Saturday morning cartoon/Disney video! Of course they're drop-dead gorgeous! I wouldn't be surprised if half the people who own this game bought it because of these movies.
Music--The music of Lunar is, mostly...an acquired taste. Most of the tunes are catchy, if not really likable (the battle song comes to mind), and the two vocal songs are not only beautiful, but singable, which is a rare thing when translating songs from Japanese. More Working Designs miracles there. The best musical track is probably Althena's Theme, the wordless song Luna sings by the Burg springs at the beginning of the game. As for sound effects, well, outside of the FMVs they're nothing too spectacular. The battle sounds remind me a lot of Breath of Fire 3-- everything's bland except the characters' voices as they shout during their attacks. At least I can understand what Lunar's cast is saying, though... ^^ During the FMV sequences, the sound is very good. The voice actors are believable (though Ghaleon sounds awfully whiny sometimes), and the dubbing is the best I've ever seen anywhere, counting anime. If only Xenogears had had Working Designs' sound guys...
Storyline--Although some people have been bashing SSSC's storyline as too cliched, I...uh...well, I have to agree with them. It is a bit cliched. But that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. I mean, in what other games do you have an obese best friend who (spoiler) or a tiny, flying white cat who (spoiler) or three sets of couples who (spoiler) or a heroic sorcerer who (spoiler) or a goddess and a (spoiler) who (spoiler)? Alex's quest to become the legendary Dragonmaster has lots of unexpected twists and turns. I certainly enjoyed it a lot, and found myself feeling for the characters-- thanks again to WD's translation, they all have a lot of personality and seem very real and human.
Fun Factor--This is one of the most fun games I've ever played. As stated earlier, you can have craploads of fun just walking around talking to people. There are quite a few secret items in the game (the bromides, to give an example), which gives it some replay value...but personally, when I feel like replaying the game, I load up my earliest save file, walk around Meribia, and enjoy Nall and Luna's banter. =0)
Overall Satisfaction--If you don't mind the tedious battles, Lunar is a wonderful game with a hilarious script, enjoyable if not innovative storyline, and lovable, realistic characters. If you're an RPG lover, I'd definitely recommend this game for your next purchase--if not, at least give it a rent!