Monday, May 20, 2013

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete - Game Arts (Video Game)

It was probably 2001, maybe 2000, when I got a phone call from my buddy Joe. He was calling to let me know that "The Game Peddler", the used video game store his older brother worked at, had a copy of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete for just $35. I had been on the prowl for this PlayStation traditional RPG for a long time, and Joe knew it. I had been to every game store I knew of and all over eBay with no luck. I'm pretty sure I asked my mom to give me a ride to the mall ASAP, and I bought it, in effect becoming bankrupt of money and wealthy in soul. This was a remake of the Sega CD classic, Lunar: Silver Star Story. The remake was done by the original company, Game Arts, and was true in every way to the original.

Fully animated anime-style cut scenes, rich voice-acting sequences, and bright new sprites now punctuated the excellent story, creating what was, at that time in my life, a transcendent gaming experience. With the iOS version now available for seven bucks, I've started playing the game again. I am delighted to report the beauty and simplicity I saw in the game as a youth was not simply a lack of understanding what "quality" meant. (I mean, have you actually watched an episode of Tiny Toons in the last five years?) For RPG fans, this is a "classic" in the highest sense. The story is basically what you'd expect, yet somehow told so artfully as to never be dull.

From the iOS version, which is a direct port of the PS version.
In our present landscape of multi-path storytelling in games, it can be nice to return to a time when a game only had one masterful story to tell, a story which saw no need to be "adult" in order to be interesting. The soundtrack, the characterization, the battles and story--all of these harken back to a different time, now passed. I don't mind that video games have evolved. I finished the Mass Effect series recently and was enthralled by it, but Lunar holds a very special place in my heart. It is a tale of youth, triumph, danger, and excitement. Yes, it can be cheesy at times, but that's kind of the point. It always kind of bothered me that everybody knew about the Final Fantasy series but not Lunar. I recommend it whole-heatedly to the gamers of the world as a way to remember our roots, and in appreciation of its artistry. If you grew up without Lunar in your gaming life, I still recommend it. Pretend you are thirteen again and feel the power! The power--of LUNAR!

Now, if only they would do the same with Lunar 2.

-MA 5.20.13

Note: It is nice that this is available on iOS, but unfortunately the company that originally did the excellent translation work, Working Designs, is now defunct. Not having access to the rights to WD material, some other company redid the voice-acting and retranslated the game. I'm grateful that someone did it, but the work isn't nearly as good. But I guess you can't win 'em all!

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