Wednesday, September 6, 2000

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete | 9.0

Lunar Silver Star Story first debuted on the Sega CD. While the Sega CD system didn't last very long, Lunar did manage to get quite a following. Unfortunately, because the Sega CD user base wasn't large, Lunar was overlooked by several gamers. The game had a release on the very short lived Sega Saturn, but again, never reached audiences. In 1999 Lunar finally reached a large audience. The Playstation. With several changes and updates from the original Sega CD version to make the story more complete and satisfying.

Lunar Silver Star Story Complete concerns itself with Alex. He one day dreams of being a Dragonmaster. Just like his hero, Dyne. He figures he'll just have to keep dreaming, though. Until his friend Ramus has a plan to go into the White Dragon cave and get a hold of the White Dragon Diamond. Finally, a chance for Alex to go on an adventure. But it ends up becoming much bigger than he ever dreamed.

For the most part, Lunar Silver Star Story has a cliched overly done storyline. Despite that, however, it is one of the best in the genre because it has a fantastic cast of characters who are all well developed, a good sense of humor, one of the best villains in video game history as well as a very emotional story. All these things make you forget the cliched storyline and make it something enjoyable and memorable. The story also has a few really great looking anime cinematics and some incredibly good voice acting to help flesh out the humor and wit. It also helps that the dialog is extremely well written. Put simply, the story is presented very well.

The gameplay is dated, but that's to be expected for a game originally released in 1992. Lunar has a straightforward combat system. It's the simple turn based fare you've seen in dozens of RPGs. You'll select an action for every character to do and then watch the battle play out as your enemies and you take turns. Every character can either attack, use special techniques unique to only them use items and run away, etc. Battles are contact based. That doesn't mean enemies will simply let you waltz by. Many enemies upon seeing you will give chase.

Lunar is by no means a complicated game. Every character gains magic through levels (save for Alex who will get a few spells from meeting certain objectives in the story) and has their own unique magic. For example, Nash is the only character who can cast Thunder Magic. There are a few tidbits to the battle system that help flesh it out and keep it from being overly repetitive. For one, characters who use staves can use them to cast spells that they otherwise might not be able to cast. There's also a huge emphasis on strategy here. Lunar is not an easy game by any stretch of the imagination. Especially up against the bosses. You'll find you have to move your characters all over the field and heal every turn to keep yourself a float. To make matters even more difficult, you only have a limited number of items you can carry and on top of that, items at the market are quite expensive and monsters don't drop a lot of money. So even though battles are contact based, it's probably best to fight as many as you can. The only major problem with Lunar's battle system is that battles aren't quick. Even normal battles can last for several minutes because of having to heal yourself constantly. For the most part, though, the trip through the game is very rewarding.

Visually, Lunar is a very colorful, artistic looking, smooth running game. It doesn't push the Playstation to its limits, but it does manage to be a good game nonetheless. The artistic design is incredibly well done, though. So are the character portraits and animated cutscenes. It's actually a very beautiful looking game, but it looks like a smooth over sixteen bit game too. Luckily, this won't bother most gamers.

It sounds pretty good. As mentioned before, the voice acting is some of the best in the industry. Many of the tunes are quite catchy (particularly the world map and battle themes). They're short tracks, though, so they loop real soon, which makes much of the music quite repetitive. In the long run, though, you're getting quite a bit.

Lunar Silver Star Story Complete originally came with a lot of extras. A soundtrack CD filled with the best tracks, a cloth map, a making of CD and a hardcover instruction booklet that even included a sample of the strategy guide made by Working Designs themselves. It's quite the collector's item to have.

Lunar Silver Star Story Complete is a fantastic RPG that despite being released on the Playstation, was still fairly overlooked. It does, however, retain a strong audience. A fine game where the effort of the creators really shows through fantastic writing, a well crafted story and some of the most well developed characters to grace the genre.

No comments:

Post a Comment