Lunar: The Silver Star
Box Shot
Lunar: The Silver Star
Platform: Sega CD
Publisher: Working Designs
Designer: Game Arts/Studio Alex
Genre: RPG
Players: 1
Published Date 1993
Reviewed by: 8-Bit Star

Lunar, the game that pretty much Working Designs on the map (at least to Sega CD fans...their Turbografx games didn't get a whole lot of attention.) They translated it actually, they didn't actually DESIGN it, but it's immensly popular game among RPG fans, and was the reason I bought a Sega CD. Unfortunately, it's a little disappointing.

You are Alex... who bears a vague resemblance to me, a small shy kid (God, The Shining Force kid, Jeff from Earthbound... DO ALL RPGS HAVE A CHARACTER THAT IN SOME WAY BEARS A RESEMBLANCE TO ME?!) and your hero is Dragonmaster Dyne who died heroically years ago. You go to his memorial every day, hoping one day YOU can become a Dragonmaster (geez, wasn't it hard enough becoming the Avatar in Ultima 4?) Well, your friend FatFreak..... errr, Ramus, wants to explore a nearby cave because he hears there's a big ol' diamond there. Your cute girlfriend Luna even accompanies you. Well, you go there, and meet a big White Dragon who mentions something about being a hero. After you heard off your little island to sell your diamond, you get caught up in a plot involving the Goddess Althena and evil emperors and all sorts of stuff like that. Unfortunately, most of the plot elements are pretty damned obvious. I'm not going to give them all away, but let's just say that the intro spoils more of the game than it should.

The ads for Lunar call it "A boundless love story" Well, a more accurate description would be "Sappy Disney-Style Love Story" because that's what it is. I mean, after Luna gets kidnapped (come on, you KNEW this was gonna happen!) pretty much all her lines are made up of "Alex, save me!" in typical helpless female fashion. I mean, she kicked ass (sorta) at the beginning of the game, why the hell is she so damned weak now? Speaking of which, there's another problem: There is almost no character development, all their personalities are pretty one-dimensional. Jessica is a feminist female wizard (stereotypical healing spells are her speciality) while Kyle is her male chauvenistic foil (though cool with a sword.) Nash is a girl-crazy nut, and Mia is the object of his affection, a meek yet powerful wizard. Nall just ends up being nasty and sarcastic (but funny) and serves minimal purposes in battle. While it deserves credit for giving characters definable personalities, you really never see more than one-side of them. Seeing as this is an older RPG, this is forgivable but a bit disappointing still. Alex himself barely ever talks, and both times he DOES talk is with voice acting (he has a girly voice.) Since this is Working Designs, the voice acting is pretty good, not your typical crap.

The graphics are nothing special really, the in-game looks like every other 16-Bit RPG. The spells effects in battle and "special" sword techniques really don't look that great either. And the cinemas, the main attraction of a Sega CD game? Well, they're more still frame with a tiny bit of animation (like mouths moving), but they're more than acceptable..... heheh, it's ANIME!!!!!

The sounds are an excelling point of the game. I rather liked most of the battle music, which actually FIT the situation. There's also a wide variety of CD tunes, plus it has a theme song in the opening, a theme song so great that it almost even beats out Sonic Boom! (OK, it's a bit corny and campy, but it's still fun.)

Working Designs did more than just translate, they also added western slang, and made the game more western overall. I mean, there are country hicks in the game, for crying out loud! It's great, and funny too!

My main problem with the game, however, is that it's pretty Final Fantasy-ish, a bit too much so. The battle system is almost the same, except you can run around the screen like a scared bitch and range is a factor (though you can't directly tell your character where to go.) Even then, it still eventually continually narrows down to picking fight constantly and never The bosses eventually force Alex to cast his most powerful magic (enemies have no specific weakness in this game) until his MP gets low, and constantly then attacking.

Also almost NOTHING is original in this game, even Final Fantasy has never gone without at least a SMALL innovation! The whole plot of this game was done before, the whole point of becoming a Dragonmaster in specific was/is a trend in anime (not to mention it was done in Ultima 4.) The game is almost too short, and can be beaten in like two days, probably even one day if you play nonstop.

Don't get me wrong, my point is that Lunar is not a bad game, it just has problems that need working out. Since this is Game Arts first RPG then these problems are somewhat forgiveable. It is basically a Final Fantasy wannabe with cutscenes and CD stuff, but it still can be fun. I guess if your an RPG fan, you should try it out. Go ahead and buy it if you even have a slight interest though, because you can't rent Sega CD games anymore. I have hope for the Playstation version though, that it will correct these various problems to make a great game!