Old RPG Review #7: Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

NuMetalManiak Working Designs published a game in North America called Lunar: The Silver Star. It was for the Sega CD originally, and featured voice-acting and full motion video sequences that go along with the plot of the game. Lunar: The Silver Star had several remakes; arguably the most well-received remake is one on the PSX, Lunar Silver Star Story Complete.

Gameplay: A
This plays like a traditional turn-based RPG. In battle, characters are on the right while enemies are on the left. In this game, I found out that combatants must move to their target for a direct attack command, which means that if an enemy is too far away I end up wasting a turn. Like any sensible RPG it contains magic, status ailments, and items, all of which can make a battle more decisive. All of my party members each have separate inventories, where they have their equipped items and up to six slots for items. Nall is able to hold much more but cannot help the party members out in battle, so if I needed a healing item, one of my characters has to have it. As for the enemies, it seems that the remake has the enemies onscreen, so that if you want to initiate battle, you can just walk into them. Or you can just avoid them if you want. I like that the battles here are not actually random. For that matter, the actual overworld does not have any random encounters, so that makes things a bit more limiting in terms of where to get experience. There are also two different types of offensive magic, physical attack magic (think of just special techniques done with blade weapons) done by Alex and Kyle, and elemental magic for the more adept mages. Magic users here don't have good attack, but I found out if you equip one with a cane, and then use that cane as an item, you can trigger an elemental attack without the use of MP. Overall, I found that after some good level building that most encounters in the game are not too hard and the game is much easier than many of the other RPGs that I've played.

I should talk about bosses in this game because this is important. The amount of HP that each and every boss has in this game is proportional to what Alex's level is. Like if a boss has 80 HP and Alex is at 10, he has a total of 800 HP. This is quite unique and it made every boss quite a challenge. This probably meant that I did not have to level up my characters too much, but then again, their attack and defense would be much better if I leveled them up further. Now, each boss, as well as several enemies in the game, can have several attacks, and in this game, each one has some kind of indicator. I used the walkthrough on RPGClassics.com, as it was detailed enough to give a rundown of what attacks to expect from the bosses. It was also the one to get 100% on everything as well.

As for getting 100%, this is something I try to do with most games, and this one had so many optional stuff. There were items that help out so much but were not necessary, and the game hides them in many different places. Chests are one thing, but unlockable red chests require a different item before unlocking them. There were also collectable bromides which don't enhance the plot but are, should I say, fun to look at. The requirements for getting these were quite strict. There were a few equippable items available just before the end of the game which REALLY help out with things such as MP amount and number of attacks. With all these circumstances for getting 100%, it certainly was very challenging to get them all. The guide on RPGClassics.com was the most accurate one I found, as the ones on GameFAQs did not help much. By the end of the game my characters were around Level 55, so I leveled up quite intensively as well.
Characters: A+
The many characters in the game all have very unique personalities that, for all intensive purposes, make them very likeable.

Alex: Dreams of being like his idol, Dragonmaster Dyne. He has very good attack power, and physical attack magic which he uses with sword-like weapons. Although Sword Dance is available right from the beginning of the game, this attack spell winds up being the strongest possible move at his disposal, and a must have for bosses. After meeting each of the dragons he ends up with different kinds of dragon spells, which use up a lot of MP to do different things. He eventually has his dream come true gaining much better armor and a stat boost. Overall, the strongest character in the party.
Nall: Not really a playable character, a talking cat like thing who likes fish and can hold a lot of items. I don't really know if he does anything in a battle besides flutter around in the background though.
Nash: The brash student from Vane and one of two elemental magic users. He specializes in status changing spells (which don't really work much at all) and lightning spells. Not too good in attack though, just like any stereotypical magic-using character. I found his repetitive saying "Check this out" so annoying though, even though that's more or less all I could do with him. Later I could equip him with crossbows.
Jessica: Has the typical white-mage look, so she's obviously a good healer, and that's what she's good for. Jess however also has good attack power, because for some reason her weapon of choice is a mace. I like her personality too, she's always so serious.
Mia: Next in line for leader of the city of Vane and the other elemental magic user, utilizing both fire and ice spells. Her speed sucks, so I gave her a speed boost item to equip, mainly due to the fact that many of her spells are high-damaging. Shy personality, but I just can't get over the fact that she's in her pajamas for most of the game. Mia has good feelings for Nash, but Nash is afraid to show her how he feels.
Kyle: What a character. I love his outlandish personality and overinflated ego. This thief has great attack power, at the expense of speed unfortunately, so I also gave him a speed boost item. Great damage and HP output make him a frontline character, who also has a bit of physical attack magic going for him. It's hard to believe that he and Jess were a couple at one point.

For most of the game, the main party has Alex, Nash, Mia, Kyle, and Jess. There are a few temporary characters though.

Luna: Alex's love interest. Her magic is actually song, and it is more supportive than offensive. Not around in the party for too long, but I found her best with long range weapons. Storywise, she cares so much for Alex that it's heartbreaking.
Ramus: This nerd is Alex's childhood friend and the son of the hometown mayor. Ramus a typical fighter type that does not have magic. He doesn't have good stat gain though. The good thing is by the time he starts sucking he actually will leave the party.
Tempest: Near the middle part of the game he helps you out with the Black Dragon area, but he sucks overall since you can't give or take items from him and he overall has no good attack or magic.
Laike: A wanderer who indirectly helps out. He is at Level 99 with excellent attack but no magic. Everything is a piece of cake with him, but he's not around the party a lot. It's very odd that he knows everything though, a fact only proven at the end of the game.
Ghaleon: Also at Level 99 for the very short time period you have him, he is exceptional at magic spells, which effectively are enough to kill all enemies. Later on though, he is much more evil in the truest sense of the word.
Plot: A+

The full-motion video scenes look more or less like anime sequences, but they help liven up the game quite considerably. So I do like them somewhat, even though I generally don't like anime myself.

Lots of spoilers here in this plot summary.
The plot of Lunar: The Silver Star Story is the shining moment of the game. We start off with Alex at Dyne's grave dreaming of being the next Dragonmaster, but also having to take responsibility of Luna, not to forget that Ramus wanted an adventure as well. And then there's the winged cat creature Nall. Perhaps shockingly enough, Alex actually has two parents instead of a single parent, and Luna lives with them as well. Luna forcibly helps Alex as he and Ramus set off for the White Dragon Cave, and they fulfill the dragon's trial as well as a dragon diamond. The diamond is what sets Ramus afoot on selling it for lots of money (his goal is to get "filthy stinking rich"), and the party finds themselves in big city Meribia after finding Nash. Ramus helps the party through some sewers to find a corrupt shopkeeper, and then Ramus takes the shop for his own (meaning he stays behind for the rest of the game, not that he would be more useful). Nash then invites Alex to the floating magic town Vane where Ghaleon resides.

After a little errand, things start to spiral out of control back at the floating city, where Alex and Luna are separated. Mia helps Alex out, and Nash also helps, and this is when Xenobia, Royce, and Phacia are revealed as evildoers. Ghaleon apparently saves Luna from what they were trying to do with her and then things calm down a bit. But it turns out, that Ghaleon wants to see the White Dragon, in order to combat the vile sisters. But it turns out, he did this to capture the dragon as well as Luna, and things REALLY went out of control there. Now cities are being attacked, and Alex gets help from Jess, Mia, Nash, and later Kyle (totally disguised in drag should I add) to help get Luna back. They journey throughout the landscape to each of the dragon caves, gaining pieces of the dragonmaster armor, but every time Ghaleon is always a step ahead of them, taking all of the dragons power.

Seeing Alex become the Dragonmaster after a purity comes within his heart was one of the more epic moments, even if it came about a time of grief, since he sees Luna under Ghaleon's control, not to forget the final dragon turned against him. Alex is still determined to get Luna back no matter what the cost, and so travels to the frontier with his friends, but not after Nash becomes a total bitch and betrays everyone. At the frontier, Phacia has a change of heart and helps Alex's party a bit, and Nash is later regained after getting bitchslapped by Mia (he deserved it too). However, the Grindery becomes operational and would be a terrorizing threat, so the party stops it and enters. Ghaleon however ultimately defeats them, while showing that Luna is a goddess designed to stay at her shrine. Laike reveals to a weary party that he is actually a powerless Dyne, and did not regret turning the goddess into a human being, not until Ghaleon became the so-called "Magic Emperor". Alex takes the sword from Dyne's Monument to become a Dragonmaster, and Nall apparently becomes a dragon taking the main party to Althena's Fortress, the last dungeon of the game, where after some rather difficult fights with Royce and Xenobia, Ghaleon is fought once and for all. He is really tough, but after fighting him, not all is won, yet. Alex still has to save Luna. ***SPOILER*** play his ocarina, or you will have to redo the rigorous boss battle again. A very heartwarming ending.

I like the plot of this game, but the sub-plots of this game are honestly just as good. Talking to random characters in the game, some of your party members and even Nall will also talk too. The romantic relationships between other party members is cool, and also funny at times. Although Mia is shy, she enjoys Nash's company, but Nash himself is too shy to admit his feelings towards her, despite being a brash teen to others. It was revealed that Jess and Kyle were a couple, but the two bicker quite a lot, usually because Kyle won't shut up or something. The more funnier love story of the two I guess. Still, Alex has the most notable relationship with Luna. As a character he fulfills his dreams, rescues his love, and shows his true strength, and that's what makes him, and his plot, so great.
Music: A+
Just like the plot and the characters, the music is top notch. Very serene and ambient tunes for the serene and ambient places, and upbeat tunes for the more upbeat and lively places like Meribia. If that weren't enough, the title music is a sung song, and there's another one not long into the game as well. Music also plays its way into the game as Luna's magic is spells, stuff that helps Alex and co. out in battle, but it's much better everywhere else.
Overall grade: A

This really is a game worth checking out although it is technically a remake. It offers a lot out of traditional RPG and has brilliant story and characters. The gameplay is quite easy too. Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete showed a lot of scenes of emotion, like despair, happiness, anguish, and love, and I enjoyed every minute of the story. The bosses were very unique, in that they all are challenging regardless of how you level up characters, and each one has an attack which requires a defensive strategy. Definitely recommended for the PSX RPG fan.