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Lunar: The Silver Star

by Camel Pimp

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Original Thread: One more time. Let's Play Lunar: The Silver Star!



(You can read the old thread here if you want! It requires archives, most of the images are dead, and it wasn't any good to begin with, but if you want to know.)

A long time ago, a certain someone tried to let's play the Sega CD game Lunar: The Silver Star. It... didn't go well, to say the least. But today, I'm going to right that wrong. Come with me on this magical journey of nostalgia, won't you?

Lunar: The Silver Star was a 1992 RPG developed by Game Arts and translated by Working Designs. It's notable for largely two things. One, it has voiced anime-style animated cutscenes. In 1992, the era of the FMV craze, this was a big deal. Cutscenes, voiced ones no less, simply weren't viable on most consoles. Also, keep in mind that in the early 90's, anime really hadn't made it's way into popular American culture. A game so pervasively defined by an anime aesthetic was fairly unique at the time.

The second thing that made Lunar stand out was its translation, done by sometimes loved, sometimes hated Working Designs. They were known for their lively, humor-filled but not terribly... faithful translations. Of course, this was in the era of "you spoony bard." Horrible, awkward translations in video games were just the norm at the time. To see a translation not only largely free of spelling errors (but not grammar/formatting errors...), but also written in natural English was a real delight at the time. This translation, coupled with the game's sense of charm and likable characters, are what make this game a lot of fun. It's simple, kitschy, and wonderful.

However, the reason many of you are not familiar with this game (or least this version) is because of the aforementioned cutscenes. Most consoles at the time couldn't have voiced cutscenes, except for CD-based consoles like the Sega-CD. And if you know much about the Sega-CD, you may know that it sold somewhere in-between fuck and all. Probably because, counting the two Lunar games, there are a grand total of 5 worthwhile games on the system.

Lunar was by no means a failure (it got a sequel, after all) but it wasn't a widely known game, especially in America, and that can pretty much be attributed to the poor choice of platform. But the story doesn't end here, as not too long after it got a remake. This time, Game Arts decided to release this game on a far more successful platform, the Sega Saturn-


Anyway, this remake eventually got ported to the Playstation, and Working Designs finally released the English version in 1999. A bit overdue, but it was worth it. It's a pretty damn good remake. The battle system is more in the style of Lunar 2, the graphics, while still 2-d sprite based, are more colorful and better animated, and the story had sweeping re-writes and is overall a little better paced. On the other hand, the difficulty curve was a bit lopsided and the re-writes introduced some plot holes, but on the whole it was a success.

In 2002, a Gameboy Advance version of it was released as Lunar: Legend. As it was on the GBA, the cutscenes had to be dialed back a bit, but otherwise as I understand it Lunar Legend is pretty similar to the PSX version. The main difference is that the English version was actually released by Ubisoft, as at the time Working Designs was... it wasn't dead yet, but it wasn't too healthy, either. I haven't actually played it, but from what I've heard it's... not very good.

But then we got another remake, this time for the PSP in 2010. This version is called Lunar: Silver Star Harmony, translated by XSEED. I've actually heard it's pretty good, but sadly I haven't had the opportunity to play this version yet.

If you're thinking that four different version of the same game sounds like we're veering into Square-Enix territories, it's worse than you think. In-between the release of Lunar Legend and Silver Star Harmony, there was only one Lunar game released. It was called Lunar Dragon Song, and to this day I try to convince myself it doesn't exist. Before that game's 2005 release, the last non-remake Lunar game was Lunar Walking School for the Game Gear in 1995. (Or, if you're only counting English-language releases, Lunar 2 on the same year)

It's a damn shame this series never went anywhere substantive. But let's not dwell on what could have been, but instead focus on the fun games that already exist. We're going to right to the very beginning and look the original Sega-CD game that started it: Lunar: The Silver Story. I hope you enjoy this Let's Play!

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