RPG Review #44: Lunar: Walking School

NuMetalManiak
This Game Gear game is known as Lunar: Samposuru Gakuen and is a side-story sort of game to the Lunar series. The overall continuity of the series is skewed after Eternal Blue, which is the direct sequel to The Silver Star. Lunar: Walking School, being a gaiden game, takes place well before The Silver Star, about 200 or so years. That's nothing compared to Dragon Song, so far the last game in the Lunar series, which is about 500 or so years before the first game. Anyways, this is yet another game that does not have an official English translation, so I sought for a fan-made one. This game also had a remake for the Sega Saturn called Magic School Lunar. Unfortunately, that version never had a fan translation, so I decided to try the Game Gear version, which is what is right here, right now. That being said, Walking School is kind of a dumb translated name.

Gameplay: Yep, very typical turn-based RPG here. I should mention that the Lunar games on the Sega CD as well as this one employed the use of random encounters, while the remakes did away with them altogether. The encounter rate tends to be pretty high too, but this game is incredibly easy. Enemies in this game have no tricks, there's not even status ailments in this RPG. To make it even easier, characters MP is regained when not in battle, although slowly. This means that I could just stand in place for a few minutes and then my MP would be refilled.

This game centers around a magic school called Iyen where magic is taught to students (this isn't Vane from the other Lunar games, by the way). Spells are nice, but the only way to gain new ones involves talking to the various teachers on campus. I believe this is tied with character levels, so being underleveled could be a problem. As the students learn magic, it is the main way to win the random battles in the game, as characters have rather pathetic physical strength. But magic can rip right through enemies easily, and with the regenerating MP, this game was a cinch. I guess I could take an easy RPG at any day. Grade: C+

Characters: Ellie: Main character, she and Lena are new students at Iyen, and basically the center of attention for everyone there throughout. Basically being main characters, Ellie and Lena basically do everything and everyone else is useless. Ellie is physically the strongest and has the best fire spells.
Lena: Ellie's best friend, very talkative character, always by Ellie's side. She specializes most in healing spells, but gains a few wind spells too.
Senia: For a few chapters in the game, she's a main character. Specializes in lightning magic.
Winn: The one guy in the party who joins Ellie and Lena late in the game. Specializes in strong ice magic, but is somehow the weakest physically. Also has a crush on Lena.

Those four will be the main characters most of the time, although the full party size is three. Other characters include the boy group Ant, Kule, and Rick, and the prankster girl Layla. The teachers in the game include Emma, Steele (principal), Dadis, Iason, Terena, Ralph, and I think a couple of others, while the bad guys are basically Vile Tribe members, all...two of them. At least this Lunar game did not do terrible with the characters. This cast is not as memorable as the other Lunar games though. Grade: B-

Plot: This game is divided into 12 chapters of the two main characters and their adventures in Iyen. I like the chapter separation, too bad most of the chapters in the game end up being mostly filler chapters that would have been filler anime episodes or something.
Chapter 1: Ellie and Lena are at home when they receive notice that an old man will invite them to Iyen. They decide to go, Lena specifically for free food. No gameplay in this chapter at all.
Chapter 2: So Iyen is a floating island similar to Vane from the other Lunar games. All the freshmen are here, but find the school pretty much deserted. They all gather at the school though, and the boys compete with the girls for food. It gets violent at some points though, sort of like the whole plot of the novel Lord of the Flies. There is one particular battle in the game in which Ant joins. Afterwards, they all find out that they were on a miniature model of Iyen set up by the faculty as a test.
Chapter 3: Ellie and Lena now search for a professor to learn under. After unsuccessfully trying to enroll under several teachers, they settle on Dadis, a professor on cosmetics, and someone who forgets who they are easily.
Chapter 4: The students in Dadis' class are tasked with finding facial lotion ingredients in a nearby cave. Senia joins Ellie and Lena, and they retrieve the ingredients. An earthquake happens and Senia is blamed by Lena for causing it, even after Senia claims it wasn't her.

Chapter 5: Word has spread in the dormitories that Ellie, Lena, and Senia are apparently the freshman bombers from the last chapter. The prankster girl Layla pulls one and then later tells them about the secret of the dorms. Turns out the architect/custodian/whatever Richter disappeared after finding a strange butterfly, and he is saved by the trio from it.
Chapter 6: Another island, Shell, the Island of the Arts, is the newest destination. The art theme is monsters, and one of the upper students, Elenora, gets kidnapped by a sculpture, and the trio have to find her since no once else really can do this kind of thing apparently. This sculpture was made by an eccentric artist named Henner, who uses Ellie as a model for his next sculpture.
Chapter 7: Senia gets word that her boyfriend Azu is around. Meanwhile, the bad guy finally comes into play after half of the game went by. His name is Memphis and he attempts to abduct the student council leader, Brown, but Elenora is taken instead. Also Azu is taken shortly after. Memphis is a member of the Vile Tribe, and the trio track him down and rescue who he kidnapped. Senia then leaves the party for good as she goes off to marry Azu.
Chapter 8: We first see Winn in this chapter, who is promptly brainwashed by another Vile Tribe member, Barua, into destroying Iyen. Ellie and Lena end up fighting him, but with the old man's help. The old man, named Glen, is a guest party member for this chapter only, and they defeat Barua and Winn at Dark Castle D, snapping Winn out from his trances.

Chapter 9: Now Ellie and Lena, and Winn apparently, have all been granted scholarships! Word goes out quick. They fetch an ingredient for Dadis (and Elenora gets kidnapped AGAIN). Winn faints afterwards. Turns out Dadis already had the ingredients too. Ant and co. want them to slay a monster called Zigan, which then knocks Winn out. He seems to be romantically dreaming about Lena by the way. Meanwhile, principal Steele is out of the school for now, so they do things like entering the MAN'S dungeon (which Iason advertises), which is to prove mostly to Winn his manliness, since other boys see him as a wuss.
Chapter 10: Henner's statue of Ellie is completed, but people are getting the wrong impression in that Ellie may be a reincarnation of the goddess Althena (the staple goddess of the Lunar series for those who don't know). Rumor spreads quick, as usual, but even the Vile Tribe has spies and attempts to abduct her (and Winn gets one from Barua as well). They manage to escape with Glen and Steele's help, and it turns out Ellie isn't Althena after all.
Chapter 11: Yep, another big rumor spreads, the Blue Dragon, the only one in this game. Of course, things go wrong as it crashes, and only Ellie's party investigates. At Star Tower, the party fights Barua again, and then Memphis later on. He tries absorbing the Blue Dragon's power, but it fails miserably and he is easily weakened and dies. Winn is gifted the Blue Dragon Ring as a new Guardian of Time, and it seems that Glen and Steele were Guardians of Time along with Winn.Chapter 12: War approaches in this final chapter. Steele attempts to come up with a strategy against Barua and the Vile Tribe. Of course, only Ellie, Lena, and Winn are really capable of doing anything really heroic. And by that I mean go straight to the enemy. Barua is the last boss of the game, and the demon castle D, which is a sentient being altogether, apparently thanks them for the trouble. Afterwards, Ellie and Lena graduate from Iyen, and are given acceptance letters to Vane. That pretty much sums up this game.

So yeah, this seems like a kiddie plot mostly, plenty of filler before the bad guys show up, and when they do, they are not as competent or as menacing as other RPG villains. But then again, given the Game Gear limitations, it would be pretty hard to make them into really effective villains. The same can be said for the main heroes, as all of them are just students learning magic and such. The plot had it's fun moments though. Grade: C+

Music: For a Game Gear game, it's not that bad. The chiptune-sounding tracks work well enough in their respective settings, and the dungeon themes own all. The main battle theme is pretty decent too. Not bad at all. Grade: B

Overall Grade: C+

Not sure if I should give it a C+ or B-, but this is a generally average RPG. Not enough to raise a whole eyebrow's worth on anything exclusively interesting, but die-hard fans of the short-lived Lunar series might look at it. With that said though, I might not try Dragon Song, the sole DS game and the one that takes place before this one chronologically. I have heard a lot of things about it, most of it negative. Like enemies with attacks that can break equipment or the fact that running depletes HP. I'm probably gonna take a break from RPG reviewing and go check out some visual novels.

Comments

Good review. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

Good review. - Skullkid755

Hey if you guys like this, check out the other reviews from my 44 or so. My favorites so far are Valkyrie Profile and Chrono Trigger. - NuMetalManiak

Got it. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

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