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Nothing New on the Silver Star
A few years after the Lunar games were ported to the Sony Playstation, Game Arts announced the unexpected—yet another port of the original Lunar, entitled Lunar Legend, this time for Nintendo’s RPG-laden Gameboy Advance. The Playstation version of the original Lunar did have its flaws, so this provided the perfect opportunity for improvement. Unfortunately, what gamers instead got was a bastardized version that, despite having some strong points, is nonetheless average in the end.
Firstly, Lunar Legend reverts to random encounters, with rigid turn-based battles, sans all the movement around the field. Essentially, you input all your characters’ commands and let them and the enemies beat the crap out of one another. The typical flaws you would find in a turn-based battle system, such as slowness, enemies beating you to healing, and the run option not always working, are all there. If that weren’t enough, characters now have limit breaks, which can make fights a little easier.
One of the strongest points of Lunar Legend is interaction, with the ability to save anywhere, most of all, and Statues of Althena that recover your HP and MP, rendering inns obsolete. Additionally, the menu system, while a bit troublesome at first, definitely works out in the end.
Creatively, Lunar Legend is weakest. The battle system introduces nothing new, with limit breaks having been ripped off from the Final Fantasies, and none of the other aspects are particularly unique, such as the recycled storyline, which, while with minor tooling, is essentially the same as it was in the game’s previous two incarnations.
Blah, blah, blah, Alex wants to be a Dragonmaster, yak, yak, yak, he must stop the Magic Emperor from taking over the world. At heart, it’s the same storyline with some minor alteration, but the characters were still interesting and occasionally humorous.
Musically, Lunar Legend is also weak, recycling Silver Star Story’s soundtrack, which is unfortunately butchered heavily by the Gameboy Advance’s audio, with many a blip and a blop wherever you are. Sounds, though, were more acceptable, and Luna’s singing, surprisingly, managed to escape the audio butchering.
Graphically, Lunar Legend is much better, with decent colors, environments, sprites (they got Ramus’ hair color right this time around), battle visuals, and even some excellent anime stills. Most interesting about the visuals were the many close-ups during certain dialogues. Still, sprites in and out of battle were highly disproportionate, being two heads tall.
Finally, Lunar Legend is moderately easy, having only a few hard moments, but nothing you can’t handle. Clearing this game, furthermore, will take you from twenty to twenty-five hours.
Overall, Lunar Legend is an average incarnation of the Game Arts series, bound to disappoint the franchise’s long-time fans. While newbies to the series may want to give this game a look, if you’ve played the Sega CD or Playstation versions, you aren’t really missing anything.
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