The Let's Play Archive

Lunar: The Silver Star

by Camel Pimp

Part 8: Entrance Exams are Tough

Last time, we dealt with a scamming jeweler and then decided to go to Vane and study magic because... why not? Oh and Ramus left.

: You can find it to the far south of Meribia nestled at the foot of a mountain range.

While that doesn't sound like much a trek, you have to understand something about this area.

Lunar is broken up into five different "zones." The one we started out in was Caldor Isle (or Honmel Isle, home of some fantastic chili... oh, wait, that's an "n"). Meribia is in the Katarina Zone, which is the one of the largest zones in the whole game, and definitely one of the more sprawling ones. Fortunately, those roads you see there are actually quite helpful, and for the most part you won't be getting lost as long as you stay on the roads.

We could head to the Fountain of Transfer right away, but let's first head east.

Of course, being a new region, there are new enemies on the world map. Unlike the enemies in the sewer, these guys are quite vulnerable to physical attacks. (As a matter of fact, the Wyburn has fairly high anti-magic.) They're pretty easy, all told. Which of course, is to lure you into a false sense of security.

Yes, seriously, these fucking bushes are assholes- wait, "Ambush?" Really? Oh god...

Now these guys are slow and pretty susceptible to magic (although Flame will not necessarily one-hit kill them), but what makes them so nasty is that they hit you for a ton of damage, and they attack twice. With Nash and his Thunder Wave in tow I make short work of them, but it'd be hell if I had Ramus.

Fortunately, the Shrine of Althena isn't too far from town.

This is the big Shrine to Althena. You can tell because there's more than one person in it. Although if you recall, Mel's daughter Jessica came here for training.

"I wish she wasn't so irresponsible! She should apply herself more..."

Well, that's not surprising.

There's really to do here except talk and get healed up. It's actually never required to go to the big Shrine at all, but trust me when I say you'll want to come here at least once.

In the later versions you have to visit the shrine so you can get permission to use the Fountain. In order to enter Vane you need... the Shrine's permission? Uh, okay. Also, new remake-only character!

Her name is Phacia. She's the head priestess and she's all sweet and shit. Anyway, she gives you the go-ahead. Really... fucking necessary, there.

But here in the original we don't need any stinkin' permission, so there's actually no plot reason to be here. Well, except for some free healing and to hear people sing the praises of the Goddess.

"The goddess Althena bathes our world in a light of beauty and love..."

"But, her singing voice is said to surpass it!"

I'm starting to see why her worship might be so popular. And, hey, doesn't she actually live nearby?

"The tower sits on a mountain so steep that no man can climb it."

Ah, there's the rub. Yeah, I guess it'd be unreasonable to expect to be able to crash at the almighty goddess's place and raid her fridge.

Nonetheless, we can catch a glimpse of it before we continue with the plot. In order to reach it, you just get back on the road, head west until the road branches down, and then just head down until you see-

Uh, that.

Well, there's the tower to the left, but now I'm more curious about the floating island. The remake actually does tell you what that island is, but the original keeps you in the dark a little longer. If you were playing attention, though, I think you've already guessed what it is.

Anyway, all we really need to do to reach the Fountain at this point is just keep heading south.

And here we are.

: These guys are with me. This is Alex. He's going to Vane to study magic.
"Okay, okay... I didn't ask for your life story..."

Oh, there was something that I forgot to mention.

: Don't worry. I'm sure you'll do fine! I'll be waiting for you at the exit. Good luck!

Or, rather, Nash forgot to mention it. That's, uh, something you don't spring on people.

Oh, and of course Nash isn't going to be helping us with that. He just teleports off on his own. It's going to Alex vs the world here. Wee.

"I really wanna know!"
: That's not me, you idiot! It's a dumb owl that does that!

Oh, when will you ever learn that you can defeat monsters without bashing your head into them? Look what it did to your poor brain...

“This cave will determine if you have enough magic power to enter Vane. When you’ve defeated enough monster and exited the other side, the trial is over.”

This is also where the game takes off the kiddie gloves. It's three floors, just like the White Dragon Cave, but these floors are actually pretty sizable and labyrinthine. Moreover, just like the sewers, enemies can only be damaged by magic. In the remake you can hurt the enemies with weapons, so instead your restriction is no items. Ouch. At least in the remake you still have Luna.

Honestly, if you want to make this dungeon as painless as possible, I'd recommend grinding to level 14, preferably before Nash leaves. But I'm currently at level 13, so eh, I'll reach that level shortly.

I immediately regret that decision.

While most enemies here can be one-shotted by Flame, just like in the sewers, these guys cannot. And there are three of them.

That's actually Nall healing me, and by that point I had cast Little Litany twice. It got down to the wire.

Now the man at the entrance does heal you, and for an unlimited number of times (not true in the remake!), so you could grind at the beginning. Honestly, if you're at a much lower level, it's pert near required.

This kind of confuses me. The blue thing is apparently a "leeper" but if you'll recall we've seen it before:

You may say it's just a palette swap, but it's the same damn color. Actually, that brings up a funny thing about this game; I don't honestly know if there's a palette swap in it. There is an instance of a boss becoming a regular enemy (not the Water Dragon! As funny as that would be) but I think it's still the same enemy, so it's strictly not a palette swap. I'm pretty sure they are the same enemy as they both do the same things (and the guidebook calls them Gurglers for both dungeons.) God damn you Nall, you've failed me!

Neither one of these guys are anything special, although the turtle has a... disturbing attack animation.

That can't be comfortable.

"This can't be the way out of here... let's look for another."

Yeah, I'd kind of doubt that we'd see the exit so early on.

At least, some alleviation of difficulty comes right before we exit the first floor. You see, Alex hit level 14.

And learns this unfortunately named spell. It's just the normal Flame spell, but hits all enemies.

It makes this dungeon so much easier you wouldn't believe. When you first arrive in Meribia, you can grind right outside Althena's Shrine, if you're willing to put up with the occasional bushes. Having this spell makes the sewers completely trivial (you don't even have to stock up beforehand, since whatever you find in the sewers will be enough). Obviously doesn't help with the boss, but that boss isn't anything special anyway.

Apt words. The second floor is bit larger, but as long as you keep heading south and east, you'll hit the way to the exit eventually. It's not too bad, but it's a step up from what we've seen so far.

"All you have to do is ask me how..."
: Alex, if he’s just a genius, why is he still down here? I don’t trust him…

We also start to see other test takers. Apparently Vane doesn't enforce any real standard of honesty for test-takers. Or any sort of proctoring, really.

Some of the test takers a little more desperate, though.

The remake actually does address the... draconian nature of this test. Furthermore, the sequel has an analogue to this, and the sequel takes great pains to point out that this sort of test is cruel and wrong.

But no one will address that in this version. The original was hardcore like that.

At the end of the second floor, we come across this wide open space, and suddenly I get a sense of foreboding.

If you don't remember, those are upgraded version of Starlights. Yeap... I think the foreboding might be justified.

Well, what do you know? Also, either Nall cannot count or he has terrible vision problems.

This mid-boss encounter doesn't exist at all in the remake. (Well, technically, it exists, but the Bronze Dogs are moved to a much later part and are a very different encounter.) How do we take down four mid-bosses at once?!

Fire, mostly. Two castings of Flamer brings them all down.

They get off one hit on me before they fall like a bag of lead. Honestly, I think this "boss" only exists to make sure you're at a decent enough level. I've never tried to beat them without Flamer, actually, but I imagine it would be really painful.

I have to wonder; what do they do once someone actually takes one of the monsters down? Clearly they replicate for the next taker, but does it take a while? Do you just stall people until your ready to go again with some more Bronze Dogs? Can less scrupulous contestants just follow skilled magicians?


After the mid-boss fight they give you a really nice item.... that's completely useless to me at the moment. The Holy Flute restores a lot of HP to the whole party. Not sure why they're giving it to me now.

If, for whatever reason, you're using this as a guide, there is absolutely one thing you cannot forget to do. When you reach the third floor, immediately go north until you hit this treasure chest:

This is a huge upgrade to our current armor. It wouldn't be such a huge upgrade had I actually bought any armor in Meribia (I still had the Leather Armor from the lighthouse) but I intentionally abstained because this is better and, more importantly, free.

Once you get the armor, go back down and right until you reach a chest with a calm herb. From there go north and then it's a pretty linear path to the end. It's not so bad once you're on said path, but you can get yourself turned around here.

“This cave test is really a pain in the butt, eh? But, I know I’ll pass! I’ve had harder tests… Like the time I fought Galam!"

...guys, help me out. What in the hell is he referencing there?

EDIT: Apparently, it's Shining Force 2. I think he's referring to the final boss?

“I’ve been living in this cave ever since I started my trail 5 years ago. I haven’t found my way out, but I’ve grown quite comfortable here. I really don’t care if I ever pass the trail.”

What's sadder is that this guy is actually pretty close to the end. Just... go south dude. If you can survive in here for five years, I think you can pass the test.

Seriously, how does someone survive down here for years? Does he eat the monsters and suck the moisture out of the walls? That's, uh... impressive?

I dunno, maybe the test at the end is that bad. Let's go see.

Gee I wonder if there's a boss fight coming up.

Nall doesn't tell you his name, but he is the Trouble Truffler and he is a bastard. He's not fun in the remake, but keep in mind that there you do have Luna still. It's not a one on one battle.

So what makes him such a bastard? Well, when he attacks you:

Like so, he hits you for twenty damage. Three times. If you don't have the Chain mail, it pretty much takes off half your health. Now you can heal more than 60 with Little Litany, but it's a bitch to try and keep up with that damage and hurt him at the same time. So what do you do?

You flee. The Trouble Truffler is really slow, and if you manage to get a good distance away you can cast Flame two or three before he catches up. Now this sounds like a neat gimmick, but there's one problem.

You can't control where Alex flees to. Apparently Alex decided to flee from the monster by walking right up to it. This happens a lot when Alex is backed into a corner, and I've had so many attempts where Alex just kept fleeing into the path of the boss over and over. There's a way (or at least it seems to be) to keep him from taking damage if you know when exactly is the best time to flee, but it's kind of a bitch to get it right and sometimes it feels like the game doesn't want to cooperate with you.

You can make this much easier on yourself if you grind to level 20 to get a new attack spell, but that's a lot of grinding and I'm trying to remain at a reasonable level.

Fuck you Trouble Truffler.

"Now you can begin your magic studies in Vane... ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"

I'm not sure why that required ominous laughter, buddy.

Yes, they give you event experience after a boss. I have no clue.

Well, whatever, we made it through the first (real) dungeon in the game and passed the test.

Welcome to Vane, guys.