When the Sega CD came out, itself an add-on of sorts for the MegaDrive, it brought with it a whole host of new games. Amongst these was a little RPG known as Lunar: The Silver Star. Boasting a very long gameplay time and a huge amount of RPG goodness, it seemed like an absolute and sure fire hit.
However, as the decades have passed, and we look upon it without the rose-tinted glasses, how does Lunar stand up? Is it still a Silver Star, or has its once bright light now dulled? Let’s find out, shall we?
The plot of Lunar is actually a very unique one, especially considering it was released at a time where the likes of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were both dominating and guiding the RPG genre. Whilst you do start out as a young boy longing for a more exciting life, the story takes so many twists and turns along the way that it really stands apart from the rest.
The characters are more than memorable, especially the (pretty much) titular character of Luna. And who can forget Nall, one of the coolest dragons you’ll ever meet in a game! The dialogue (both written and voiced) was full of charm, with each character feeling like they had their own personality.
These personalities also shone through their actions in the story; something that a lot of games don’t even try to do. The high fantasy elements of the game and its setting never feel out of place or shoehorned in. Instead, every aspect of the storyline just seems to mesh together in near perfect harmony.
In fact, despite the many remakes of the game, the original still holds up really well in terms of immersion. This is one story you will find yourself getting pulled back into again and again!
Now, as mentioned, Lunar has been remade numerous times, including for the PlayStation and the PSP. The problem with doing that, however, is that it makes the original version look somewhat dated in comparison.
That said, coming from the 16-bit era, Lunar does manage to hold on to its charm all these years later. The graphics, whilst definitely showing their age, remain quaint and inviting.
The 16-bit pixel art that makes up the world is actually really detailed, and the characters never look out of place. The different areas you visit all feel different from one another, rather just a palette swap of the same sprites.
The overall art direction is exquisite, and the animations of the characters are really well done (both in and out of battle). The menu and UI design is easy on the eye and the world looks and feels very fleshed out.
Oh, and the inclusion of animated cutscenes, including the incredibly energetic and mood-lifting opening theme song, make for a definite stand out title in terms of immersive, graphical story telling. So, whilst it won’t win any beauty contests, Lunar still looks beautiful for a game of its age and definitely doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of an absolute classic.
Now, as with the storyline, this is where Lunar really shines, especially in battle. You see, whilst it is a turn-based battle system (as a lot of RPGs were back then), they managed to make the whole thing feel very different! How?
Well, your characters will move around the battlefield to carry out their attacks, causing their formation and positioning to change every turn. This makes the battles feel more chaotic and exciting, rather than having each character and enemy just perform an attack animation from where they are.
In terms of the rest of the game, the controls are really simple to get a hold of, as you would expect from a game that came out on the Sega CD. On top of this, each of mapped areas of the game are tailored in a way that you’ll eventually find the way out even If you’re lost.
Difficulty-wise, it manages to stride that very hard to find middle ground. It’s not an easy game, by any standard, but it also isn’t so difficult that you want to rage quit and throw your controller across the room. Instead, the game is very well balanced for the most part, which just adds to the overall enjoyment of playing it.
And That’s All Folks
Overall, Lunar: The Silver Star is a great game that is starting to show its age. You definitely don’t want to miss out on the amazing storyline and gameplay. This is, to this day, one of most unique and exciting RPG games you’ll get to play, and one that really makes use of the high fantasy trope in a brilliant way.
You won’t regret giving this game a try, be it the original or any of the remakes. Both it and its sequel, Eternal Blue, are masterpieces in the RPG genre and definitely worthy of your time!