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 Lunar: the Silver Star Story (Complete) Was Awful
(Henceforth refered to simply as "Lunar")

Warning! This article contains SPOILERS about Lunar: TSSC. That means if you care about playing it and have the intelligence of a doorknob (or even a bag of doorknobs), then it won't make any difference because that game is so predictable you'll figure it all out any ways. Otherwise I would be careful reading this. We warned you.

This summer I flew down to Oklahoma to visit WrexSoul and possibly get murdered by him or Backward Z. Anyway, my parents gave me a credit card and told me to just get out money whenever I needed it. One of the first things Wrex and me did was go and purchase two PlayStation games, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Lunar. Wrex had endorsed Castlevania. I simply decided to get Lunar because it looked enjoyable.

Oh, what a fool this Evk be!

Wrex: (I'm glad I got him to buy off that pre-order I laid. Now I feel like I didn't waste $10)

There are many, many problems with this game. So many that they suck the fun and playability out of this game and send it down to the awfulness range usually reserved for, say, a Corey Betz basic program.
Downloadable here!

The first problem is the voice acting. It's nothing short of awful, and Shatneresque at some points ("Not... GHALEON, Dear Quark! ........................MAGIC EMPEROR GHALEON!!") and the singing parts are physically painful. You'd think if they're going to have singing, they'd at least hire a voice actress who can SING. Or at least not have frankly god-awful lyrics.

The dialogue is bad too. The main character (Alex's) dialogue is either him saying nine dots (... ... ...) and then someone's name (... ... ... Luna...) or him screaming someone's name (LUNA!!!!!!!). Other people's dialogue is worse. Kyle is always referring to how he likes to get drunk and hit on women; Nall's dialogue is either him cheering you up with syrupy clichés or telling you how much he likes fish. This stupid cat really, really likes fish, and he will tell you over and over and over again until you are ready to beat your PlayStation with a sack of doorknobs.

The graphics are also very disappointing. Considering this is a remake, you'd expect the graphics to look better than Sega-CD graphics. They don't. Your characters are tiny little sprites. I mean tiny: They're about an inch big. You'd think with that much space on the screen you could have a lot of party members at once, right? Wrong. You can have... five. This leaves a huge amount of empty space on the battlefield that's badly filled by cheesy, fake-looking backgrounds.

Wrex: Really, what all the "improvements" were mostly, are they added trippy moving layers with animations over the otherwise 16-bit looking dungeons. It's like giving a 5-year old Photoshop: it looks better by comparison, but still is very obviously a 5-year old (16-bit) drawing.

Another big kick in the ass is equipment. See, Alex is trying to become the Dragonmaster, which is this big ass-kicking good guy. So, about a quarter of the way though the game you get the Dragonmaster Helmet. Now, it wouldn't make much sense if a helmet you could buy was better than the Dragonmaster Helmet. What's Lunar's solution to this? People just stop selling you helmets. The same with the Dragonmaster Shield and armor. This means you can just expect to stop buying half your characters any equipment halfway though the game.

Wrex: The money you save on armor doesn't justify sucking halfway through the game. After all, they couldn't overpower you TOO bad when you get it. That and having to wear any helmet that stupid-looking is torture in itself.

The spells are pretty stupid too. Every time you cast a spell your character shouts something. Unfortunately it's always the SAME thing. This ensures that EVERY SINGLE TIME Nash casts Thunder Bomb (he'll be casting it a LOT - like, every turn of every battle he's in) you get to hear: "Check this out!". It can be worse - Nash at least sounds like he's excited; When Mia says "Summon elemental power", she sounds as if she's suffering from recent ingestion of animal tranquilizers. (Fortunately, Alex and Kyle don't say anything when they cast spells: They just grunt.) Also, you get a spell about halfway though the game called Dragon Grief. This spell is basically X-Zone: it automatically kills all the enemies present. What's the challenge of the last half of the game when you can just cast this EVERY BATTLE?

Wrex: And magic healing items are common/cheap enough you can put five on the most useless person to use on Alex when he runs out of MP. Especially since you don't have to spend money equipping Alex.

The characters are one of the lowest points. There's the silent, dorky main character; The overbearing, criminally cute supporting pet; The annoying, bitchy, permanently PMS-suffering girlfriend; The effeminate, big-haired dork (If you listen closely, you can hear him yell "My hair is getting mussed!" when your airship crashes); The drunken, womanizing boor (interestingly, the only non-white person), and the shy, annoying, unassertive flat bore.

Wrex: Which doesn't go to mention the bitchy girlfriend (the OTHER one), the self-righteous preening jerk who shows up for one dungeon, and the preening jerk's sidekick who doesn't say/do much.

One of the other bad things is just how awful kiddy the game is. Wherever you go you're heaped with sappy, heart attack-inducing sentiment; The end of the game should not be played if you're a diabetic. In fact, there's even a part where you go inside everyone's head and argue with them about how you should continue and how the human spirit will always triumph over evil. Pleh. I expected more from this game than Mystic Quest with slightly better graphics. Sadly, this game manages to make it a risk for children due to some of the adult jokes. And a book in the library that reads "Jane leaned forward as John pressed his manhood into Jane's supple bosom... John reached down to part the petals of Jane's sweet rose as..." And the Bromides, which are almost pornographic. Not pornographic enough for me, but let's not get into that.

One game-ruining factor is the boss battles. How strong the bosses are is based off of what level Alex is. This means you can spend hours building up before a boss battle and it won't do you a single lick of good. This defeats, for me, the entire POINT of gaining levels; Why even do it if everything is just going to be as tough (or tougher) as before? This might have been forgivable, but the bosses are also EXTRAORDINARILY long battles. They won't die. My boss battles ran about forty minutes. Apiece. And it doesn't help that every time a boss attacks they have a sound file they play. For instance, Ghaleon, who you fight THREE TIMES, says "Time to.... DIE." Every time he attacks. Let's do some math:
3 battles x 40 minutes per battle = 120 minutes of battle.
120 x 2 attacks per minute = 240 sound samples.
Now ask yourself this: Are you willing to hear someone say "Time to... DIE." 240 times?

The bosses later on have some of the most delightful commentary. Ultros's "Seafood soup!" pales in comparison to the witty and charming phrases that you'll hear OVER and OVER again as you fight some of the near-end bosses. Sayings like "I saved this JUST for you." will haunt your nightmares.

This game is also very, very, very predictable. How predictable? For god's sake, there's a freaking fake king plot. "Lemia Ausa is acting very strange!" Then you see someone who looks exactly like Lemia Ausa in the prison. Hmm. That's sure hard to figure out! WrexSoul and I managed to correctly call every major plot twist - Nall IS a dragon; Laike IS dyne; Luna IS Althena. This was before Ghaleon <sarcasm>shockingly</sarcasm> announced that he was Evil Emperor Ghaleon. Anybody who can't figure these out before the game reveals them to you is probably suffering from a host of degenerative mental disorders.

This game is also full of tiny other disappointments (There are only a handful of towns; You don't get to fly your own airship; The music is annoying; The out takes and the end of the game are just god-awful) and some big ones not listed (You use the same party almost the entire game; The menu system is awful; Your characters can only carry five items into battle on them, instead of being able to use items from the unlimited space bag.)

WrexSoul: What I find disappointing is the fact that this is what they spent so much time, money, effort, and many welcomed delays on. If I had a Sega-Suckmaster system and knew this game was so mediocre beforehand I would yell at them "Hello!? Stupid?! Why not remake a game that doesn't SUCK?!" They did an excellent job and delivered more than promised- but in the end what good did it do? It's pretty, yes, and the bonus CDs and instruction book and map are wonderful. The box is beautiful, as is the instruction book art. But the main pull- the game itself- bad. Just bad. I can think of plenty of games that could stand the kind of job they did on Lunar- (ahem) games that really NEED better graphics, and a reworked script/translation- Like say FFIV (cough). But of course not. That would be too good.

The real kick in the teeth for me though, is that long before this game was "beefed up", several "I'm so left out and I'm the ONLY one who owns a Sega system" people were telling me about this game that was one of the great RPGs that most SNES followers would never see because it was one of the shining few on a otherwise devoid system. How it had such good plot and was overall pleasing- it's hard for me to think that this was the game they were talking about. It seems the Sega platform really DID suffer.

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Written by Evk and WrexSoul and posted on 8-8-99.
This article is ©2000 Nick Hammer and Zach Francks.
Evk@salamando.net WrexSoul@salamando.net

Salamando's Stove is all a big ol' ©1999-2000 Zach Francks and Nick Hammer.