RPG Classics Capsule Reviews - Lunar: Silver Star Story
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Capsule Review - Lunar: Silver Star Story

Title Lunar: Silver Star Story
Developer Game Arts
Year 1998
Platform Saturn/PSX
Capsule Rating
 
Capsule Review: Lunar is a lovingly assembled Working Designs remake of an old Sega CD game, and that company's first real large success [ed. Though translated by WD, it was acutally remade by Kadodawa Shoten, a Japanese comapny that does, well, everything. Agreeably, though, it was WD's first commercial success]. Unlike, say, the Final Fantasy Anthology ports, Lunar underwent some drastic changes, not just in the form of new FMVs, but even in its plot. The result was a deliberately goofy nostalgia trip to the 16-bit glory days, and a damn good one at that. Obviously, one can't expect too much from the graphics and sound. The anime scenes scattered throughout the game will be loved by anyone who loves anime, and met with a shrug of the shoulders by most everyone else. The soundtrack is decidedly unspectacular, but you do get it separately on CD with the game (in addition to "the full-color cloth map," which is even more laughable than one might think). Oh, how nice.

The same goes for the plot. It's another one of those "boy from sleepy town grows up to save the world and learn valuable lessons" deals - however, it is given spirit by the lively script. The leading characters, Alex and Luna, are certainly very likeable, and their romance far more sweet and believable than the obligatory love in most RPGs. The supporting cast is, well, certainly memorable, for lack of a better word. In what would become a tradition, Working Designs infused the script with countless goofy jokes, some of which are actually hilariously funny, but most of which fall as flat as one would guess. While it's amusing to see lecherous/perverted/retarded townspeople a couple of times, it begins to grate on the nerves later in the game. (To say nothing of the, um, tastefulness of the Bromides/bath houses...)

And yet, for all of this, Lunar is remarkably enjoyable. It's colorful, it's light-hearted, and it's ridden through and through with cliches, but these cliches aren't crutches simply because the game is only twenty hours long. The short length keeps an amusing, pleasant game from becoming annoying, and the cliches are so deliberately over-the-top that one can easily see that the game definitely does not take itself seriously. (As a result, it actually does succeed in its attempts to be funny.) What's surprising in the midst of all of this is that the player might actually get to care for Alex and Luna by the end. And the gameplay provides a refreshing bit of challenge, without much frustration. Thus, while it's not even near the level of some other RPGs, Lunar is highly recommended.

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