Time for a blast from the past! Over the past several weeks, maybe even months, I did a playthrough of Lunar: Silver Star Story. As with my previous reviews, here is a piece of music for you to enjoy while you read. The actual soundtrack wasn’t available on Spotify, so I found a great fan-made tribute instead!
There is a lot to unpack with Lunar before we jump into the actual review! For starters, this is a pretty old game. It was originally released in 1992 on Sega CD as Lunar: The Silver Star in Japan and then released a year later in North America. To say that it was popular would be an understatement! It was released a few times over, and spun several sequels!
I played through Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete – which is the edition that was released on the Playstation (the first one!) in 1999. I’ve had this copy since then, and when they say “Complete” – they really did an amazing job on the re-release!
A bit of a worn box for the complete version of Lunar: Silver Star Story.
After 22 years… I lost the map.
Who even makes a manual like this anymore?!
Seriously. With full color images.
Back when games stretched multiple discs and came with a PHYSICAL soundtrack.
Lunar: Silver Star Story was an incredibly well received game – and in North America it became the third highest-selling role-playing game of 1999. A lot of its charm is due in part to the incredible translation – the jokes are stellar. Seriously. The references are incredible, and topical to the time period in which it was released, and the weapon descriptions are hilarious.
Lunar: Silver Star Story is my favorite style of game! It is the older style turn-based role-playing game! You’ll be playing the game as Alex, and you’ll have a party that will change out periodically. You’ll start the game in Alex’s hometown, and you’ll have some quests to complete. You are able to explore the down, talk to villagers, open chests and find items as you see fit, but you are limited in where you can go initially.
You’ll start pretty much at level 1 – but you’ll level up quickly. It’s a pretty standard ‘kill things – gain exp – level up – repeat’ in order to get stronger process. What actually made this process difficult, however, is that you do not heal up between battles, and it’s actually very easy to run out of MP! There are so few items that can restore your MP, which would in turn limit your ability to heal yourself – so it often meant leaving a dungeon to return to town to restore HP and MP before setting back out.
There are statues of the Goddess Althena in towns that will provide a full restore, so you can easily trek back and restore yourself, you just have to have the patience to actually DO this. And of course, all of the enemies in the dungeon will respawn when you leave, so you’ll have to kill them again!
Each character that joins the party has a vastly different skill set, so it was important to figure out how they operated, and also to figure out where to place them on the battlefield, as you are able to change the formation. For example, I found it was better to place my melee fighters in the front row, and my ranged fighters and healers in the back.
This is also a game where buffs and debuffs are serious business. I’ve played a lot of games like this where I more-or-less ignore them, as they do so little damage – but NOT in this game. In fact, having my party become ‘Confused’ was one of the times that sent me to a ‘Game Over’ as Kyle and Alex promptly killed everyone. That was just sad.
Lunar has a great, if not fairly simple and straightforward, story. You’ll assume the role of Alex, a boy who wants to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Dragonmaster Dyne.
Additional story, with spoilers, behind here.
Alex’s friend Ramus encourages him to visit the nearby cave which is rumored to be the cave of the White Dragon. Ramus wants the fabled dragon gem, but also to encourage Alex in his dream of becoming the Dragonmaster. Alex’s cat-like friend Nall is kind of in on it, but then there is also Alex’s love interest, Luna.
Luna is a pretty young girl who sings beautifully (which the game will remind you of, constantly). The group all go to the cave, and surprise, there is in fact, a White Dragon in the cave, and you learn his name is Quark. He thinks Alex has potential and tells him to go on a mission to become the Dragonmaster.
Now the game actually kind of sets forth for a few things – Nall wants to learn what he is (I don’t know why this is not obvious. Look at Quark. Look at Nall. Seriously.) Ramus wants to sell the gem for money. Alex wants to be the Dragonmaster. Luna just… goes? So off they go!
To the Weird Woods. Where Luna sings a song to make the fog go away, and then you meet a fellow named Laike (whos name I never did figure out how to pronounce) who saves you from some monsters. He kind of finds your quest funny, then you part way, and you keep going to the next town to find a boat, so you can get to Meribia, and then on to Vane.
When you get to Vane, you meet with Ghaleon, who is one of the Four Heroes who fought along side Dragonmaster Dyne, and he wants to meet with Quark and help you on your mission. So you take him to the dragon. Where he promptly reveals himself to be the bad guy, steals your girl, AND the dragon. It’s a bit all down hill from here.
You spend the rest of the game racing to the remaining dragons, and chasing after Ghaleon and Luna, trying to become the Dragonmaster, and save the world.
Oh and bonus content, here is a playlist of my play-through!
Overall, I give this game 8 out of 10 …. dragons? I’m docking it 2 points because of obnoxious errors.
For example, Ramus leaves the party early on, so he has a level cap – somewhere around 11 or 12. Once he reaches this cap, his stats stop improving entirely. He continues to gain levels – I think mine was around level 20 or so, but he no longer gains any stats whatsoever. What is the point of gaining additional levels here?
Another very frustrating one is in the Myght Tower. There is a puzzle you are meant to solve with a clue that is supposed to be on the wall. There is no clue on the wall. I had to look this up and found that it is literally accidentally left out of the game.
Then, the ‘point of no return’. Apparently, it is when you enter the Grindery – but the game did not tell me this. There was a point at which Laike told me that when I’m ready to go and talk to me, and I thought THIS was that point, but it wasn’t. I had already passed it, and I could not and finish things I had wanted to finish.
Finally, there is an obnoxious amount of scenes in which the “bad” women are scantily clad. Why?! So the good girls are prudes and the bad ones are sluts? What is this…?