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   Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete - Reader Retroview  

Oldie but Goodie
by Knighttrain

PLATFORM
PS1
BATTLE SYSTEM
4
INTERACTION
3
ORIGINALITY
5
STORY
5
MUSIC & SOUND
5
VISUALS
4
CHALLENGE
Fairly Easy
COMPLETION TIME
20 - 25 hours
OVERALL
4.5/5
Click here for scoring definitions 

   In the small suburb of Burg, a young boy named Alex yearns to go on an epic adventure much like his idol, the late Dragonmaster Dyne. However, when his life-long buddy suggests exploring the local dragon cave in search of fame and fortune, the soft-spoken, green-eyed, ambitiously noble, ocarina tootin' youth will get much more than he bargained for when one little excursion to meet a dragon will set him forth on the journey of his dreams to become the next Dragonmaster and save the world of Lunar from the greatest threat it has ever known. Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is a remake of a Sega CD game. The game underwent a major overhaul as the graphics, music, and story were all revamped to bring one of the most beloved games back to life.

   The battle system is turn based. The player inputs a command for each character, then the turn is carried out. The character with the most speed performs first; the player with the least performs last. Seems pretty simple, and it is. Yet what makes this battle system different from your average turn based game is the inclusion of a RANGE stat. If the character has a low range, then he/she won't be able to move very far on the battlefield, thus not being able to reach the enemy to do any damage if it's too far away. This can be remedied if the player is equipped with a long-range weapon. The battles can be fun at times, but it can get really repetitive after a while. The player will probably find that (especially during boss battles) every turn is spent inputting the same commands over and over again. Alex and Kyle perform there signature sword move, Mia and Nash cast a spell, and Jessica heals somebody. The only amount of actual strategy involved is when the player might want to spread the party out on the battlefield so the boss's ranged attack isn't as devastating. This strategy is almost never needed in a normal battle, though. Other than that the battles are carried out in a light and quick pace, and definitely do not take away from the rest of the game.

"We can do this all night if we must"

   The interaction is largely void of faults, but there are a few issues that do stand out. Walking through the game is pretty much a no-brainer, as it is very easy to figure out where to go next. However, in one area of the game, there is a sort of maze that the player must figure out by going through certain doors in a particular order. The vital clue to solve this maze was accidentally left out by the development team, forcing the player to look online for the solution. In fact the now defunct Working Designs website used to provide the solution themselves. The menu system is easy to understand and navigate, but since each character can only hold about 6 items it can get tedious and annoying moving items around trying to get the characters to hold what you want them to hold. The items the characters are carrying are the only ones accessible during battles. Nall, Alex's small flying companion, will (somehow) store items that the others can't carry for you.

   The soundtrack was done by Noriyuki Iwadare, and what an excellent job he did at bringing the world of Lunar to life. Music plays a very important role in this game and it definitely shows. Great care was put into making sure that caves felt dark and mysterious, the towns cheerful and bustling, and the whole world adventurous and bountiful. There are plenty of songs throughout the game that are a pleasure to have stuck in the head. Probably the greatest accomplishment with the music is that it invokes a kind of nostalgia that keeps bringing the player back time and time again to play this game and listen to its wonderful music. The voice work is none too shabby either. The voice actors and actresses do a nice job adding to the personalities of the characters. A few lines might seem a little scripted, but nothing that makes the ears bleed. Overall, the inclusion of spoken voice makes the game much more fun to play.

   The story is probably the game's best feature along with the music. On the surface, it is a classic save-the-world-get-the-girl kind of story. Yet this story is so well-told that it throws any thought of it being to cliche right out the window and brings to the player captivating story of love and sacrifice that is just as entertaining the second . . . heck, even the fifth time through. The dialogue is also full of witty one-liners and pop culture references. The humor is intelligent and very well placed, providing a good deal of laughs throughout the game. The best part of the story aspect of the game goes to the characterization. Each character is very unique. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses. By the end of the game, each character learns to come to grips with there faults, making the victory at the end not just the main character's, but everyone's. In the end, it is a very fresh and original story. No game since has been quite like it.

Best. Excuse. Ever. Best. Excuse. Ever.

   Though it probably doesn't use the full extent of the PS1's graphical capabilities, the visuals are pleasing to the eye none the less. The colorful backdrops of the towns, forests, and mountain paths help give the game a light-hearted feel. There is also a fair amount of anime cut scenes scattered through the game, a few of which can be a little hilarious, others which can be quite breathtaking. The character design is also very well done, and fits perfectly with each character's personality. One very strange oddity, however, is that the hair color between sprite design and regular anime design differs for a few characters. (Maybe there is a graphical reason for this, I'm not sure.)

   As far as challenge goes, the player shouldn't have too much trouble getting through it. Some of the bosses can be quite a chore, but it's nothing that good old fashioned level grinding can't fix. However, since the player can see the enemies on the screen before entering battle with it, and enemies don't respawn unless you leave the area, the player will most likely have enough experience to beat every boss with no trouble if he or she makes it a habit to never avoid a fight and clear every monster out of an area before leaving. On the subject of save spots, well, you can save absolutely anywhere you want. This takes away any risk of getting in over your head in a particular area. However, one major downside to this is that there are no save spots to remind you to save before a boss battle. Therefore, you could go through the entire dungeon, attempt to beat the boss, die horribly, and lose all your experience and time. The game is pretty short, taking no more than thirty hours to complete. Even that's probably an over-estimate. There are only a few side quests to be found, but nothing to slow the player down any.

   Overall, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is an excellent game with very few marks against it. It is very beautifully presented and contains some extremely outstanding music. And the story is one that is a major asset to the genre, having some of the best developed characters in any RPG. Anyone who is a fan of the genre will most likely be far from disappointed in this game as it is definitely a classic. Though it is an old game now, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is nothing short of timeless.

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