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Lunar: The Silver Star (Sega CD) artwork

Lunar: The Silver Star (Sega CD) review

"I remember the good old days. Days where arcades were more popular than home systems. Days where cartridges dominated most systems and days where Working Designs actually published good games. Hell, great games. And I remember every single one. Especially Lunar: The Silver Star. It was the first and perhaps even the best. "

I remember the good old days. Days where arcades were more popular than home systems. Days where cartridges dominated most systems and days where Working Designs actually published good games. Hell, great games. And I remember every single one. Especially Lunar: The Silver Star. It was the first and perhaps even the best.

Lunar was a grandiose epic with story telling that could rival any Final Fantasy. The main character Alex followed a destiny and a dream that were intertwined. Seeking to be like his idol, Dyne, Alex sets out on a quest to become a Dragon Master—a hero with unbridled powers and a duty to protect the goddess Althena. Although Alex has green eyes—the sign of the new Dragon Master—he’s just a kid. So he sets sail from his tiny village of Burg with Ramus, his childhood friend and Luna, the girl he grew up with. As the story unfolded, I found myself attached to Alex. Though he was driven by his desire to follow in the footsteps of great heroes, you can’t help but notice his down to earth nature as well as a steel resolve to do what is right, all within a quiet, humble character typical of any RPG of its time.

Soon enough, the story latches onto you and won’t let go. You find yourself thrown into a mix of adventure and desperation, traipsing through Dragon Caves and meeting legendary heroes. Love develops between Alex and Luna, so all seems well. But Alex’s fun adventure becomes a countdown to doom after the Magic Emperor surfaces, bent on destroying the world and only one person has enough power to stop him: The Dragon Master. And so it begins, a wonderful epic that spans every inch of the world, be it on foot or in a hot air balloon. An adventure that has you conversing with dragons, protecting maidens and fighting plagues. An adventure that you will probably never, ever forget. The most influential and captivating thing about Lunar is its ability to draw on sincere, genuine emotions.

And what would an adventure be without friends to share it with? I loved every single character Lunar had as they provided a different kind of entertainment that played extremely well off of the quiet, loyal Alex. There was the boozing, chick chaser Kyle smitten by the stone-skinned, independent healer Jess. Nash was good for a laugh most of the time, mainly for being an arrogant jackass and Mia was the quiet, structured one that kept everyone—especially Nash—grounded. Then there was Nall, a cute little flying cat who was more opinioned than everyone put together, but he could also provide you with some monster info. You get to know them quite well and that’s what I loved about the game. It actually felt like a team. I wasn’t battling with people I didn’t care about just because they had amazing stats; each one of them has a background and a reason for taking the long trek with you. Bonds develop over time and each member is just as important as the other.

Lunar uses brilliant cut-scenes and gorgeous graphics to tell that story. The environments are nothing short of spectacular, as well as the design of the characters. Granted when they are on the world map and in battle, they have the “big head, tiny body” syndrome that has plagued so many RPGs of that time, but where Lunar really excels is in the cut-scenes. The artwork is simply amazing, not to mention pretty abundant. I don’t really recall a whole lot of games before Lunar that had cut-scenes like that, but now they’re everywhere. Hmm. Think about that one.

And speaking of legendary things, I might want to mention Lunar’s sound. Yes, the game has awesome music whether you’re on the world map, in battle or Luna is singing one of her beautiful tunes. Yes, the character’s have cool little one liners when they use magic or land a critical hit but you could remove all that and Lunar’s sound would still blow anything from its day (and even some things today) right out of the water. Why? Two words, baby: John Truitt. If you don’t know who he is, look it up. He’s a god as far as I’m concerned. He has the most haunting, unforgettable voice I’ve ever heard. He can play calm, maniacal and everything in-between. Ghaleon just wouldn’t have been Ghaleon without him.

The best way to describe the battle system is random-encounter strategy. The battles will arise from out of nowhere, typical of an RPG, but once you find yourself in a fight you kind of have to think. You and your team stand on one side of the screen and the enemy stands on the other. Some of your stronger guys may be able to close the gap in one turn, others may not and you just might waste a turn “walking”. You can even designate where each character stands on the field, allowing you to tuck your healers and magicians in the back row while your brawlers take the hits. It’s not the most intricate of systems, but it sure does make turn-based combat that much easier to stomach.

Characters have a mass of cool looking magic like Alex’s Dragon Quake and some of them have wicked techniques like Kyle’s “Slayride.” The battles never become irritating because you’re running into so many enemies and Lunar has its share of kick-ass boss fights. The one problem, all the bosses seemed to be the same size. It would have been cool to see at least one, gigantic drooling monster that fills the screen. Pity.

I have very few complaints about Lunar, if any. It was the first game published by Working Designs that I ever played and one of those games I will never forget. Yes, Working Designs has closed its doors, probably for good. Though, above all else, they can say they provided us with at least one epic legend before their demise and no matter what; Lunar will always be one of the greatest RPGs…ever.

True's avatar
Community review by True (March 28, 2006)

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