Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Lunar: Silver Star Story and Eternal Blue

I can't believe I didn't think of writing about this sooner! Ok, there's a reason for that, the fact that I played the PSX version of these games, but since they were such big Saturn titles in Japan I think they deserve a mention here. I'm talking about the Lunar series of RPGs, more specifically the two main titles (there's also a bunch of spin-offs), which have quite a story. They were first released for the ill-fated Sega CD (aka Mega CD) add-on for the Mega Drive (aka Genesis) but later remade for our beloved console in two versions, a first one in 1996, and a 2nd, even better one, entitled Silver Star Story Complete in 1997. Now, I have to be honest, I don't exactly know the differences between the original and the first Saturn game, but the 2nd, which was later ported to the PSX (the version I played), improves on the original in every possible way. The graphics are way better, the characters have been redrawn, it features excellent anime-style cut-scenes and even the gameplay is better than in the original, with enemies present on screen instead of random encounters. Unfortunately for some reason they decided to change some bits of the story too, usually for worse, but it's still a very enjoyable game.


It's basically an RPG like many others, were you control a boy and his group of friends in a quest to save the world, but if you look past this cliché theme (which was probably more original back then) you'll find an interesting story, engaging characters and a universe worth exploring. It's a great RPG all and all, and it deserves a look by every fan of the genre, although it won't convert any RPG-haters. But wait, there's got to be a reason why I chose to play the PSX version instead of the Saturn one. An why is that? Try to guess... yup, it was never released here. Damn...it's times like this I get really pissed... At least the PSX version was released in the west, but by "west" I mean the US. Yup, no European version...


Anywho...Lunar 2 is even better, specially when it comes to gameplay where it shows some pretty inspired features, like a character in your party whom you cannot control or the final boss battle that is just epic, specially for its time. The cut-scenes are also improved, with CGI effects along with the traditional anime style, and my only complaint about it is the soundtrack which in my opinion is not as good as in the first game, and I'm saying this because the music is a big part of these games, specially the first one, where one of the main characters is a singer. Just listen to it:



Once again, this post is somewhat redundant since I doubt any of you will play the Saturn versions, but if you like the genre and have a PSX at hand (or a good emulator, I personally recommend pSX for the ease of use but if you're looking for graphic improvements you may want ePSXe) I definitely recommend you give these games a try, while pretending you're actually playing on a Saturn :)

5 comments:

Caleb said...

I got Eternal Blue in the massive BOX for the PS at a garage sale for $10.

You can blame Bernie Stolar for pissing off Working Designs not allowing Japanese RPGs to be translated for North American release because "Americans don't like Japanese RPGs" (Bear in mind this was right before Final Fantasy 7 came around and put JRPGs in the limelight and proved a wide audience in American would play them.)

In any case it's totally OK for such and article to be written here. Some games released only in Japan are getting translated by fans (like Shining forces episodes 2-3) So maybe one day we will be able to play these games on the Saturn in English.

PLUS THIS:

I got a whole carton of Japanese games from a yard sale. 3 of them were Saturn games. One was Albert Odyssey. The other two I have NO IDEA. I think one is Soul Hackers. I will be posting about them soon.

EXTRA:

I got a "copy" of Crows for the Saturn...

...Seriously this could break Final Fight away from my number one slot in 2D beatemups.

elend said...

I don't like RPGs too much. I just can't stand those turn based battles. Everything with action battles is ok to me, though. :D The Lunar series look really great, I would love to see that MPEG Intro with a VCD Card one day. Need to buy a japanese one finally.

Greg said...

You've inspired me to start playing the Saturn copy of Lunar that's been on my shelf for like a year and a half. Actually, the first game also shows enemies onscreen, and you can avoid them. I've only gone thru the first dungeon so far, but at one point you have to use the onscreen enemies to solve a puzzle.

I hadn't started playing this game because I also don't really like turn-based RPGs, but little did I know that you can just let the computer fight for you by selecting "AI"! What the hell's the point, I ask? Still, it's a welcome advent.

fatherkrishna said...

Yes Caleb you are so right. If Bernie Stolar was on fire I wouldn't piss on him.

It's a great post Nebacha! let's have more of them! We need to revitalise the Saturn Junkyard!

I'm gonna make a statement now and I really mean it. During September I'm only playing the Saturn... That's right! During June, I only played the Dreamcast. I stuck to it and it made me focus on the DC even though I'm of course an owner of the Wii and the 360...

Now is the Autumn equinox, and in 2008 the Saturn reaches it's own Krishna equinox!

I'm Saturn only from 01.09.11... The whole next gen has disappeared!

On another completely different thread I played Sega Rally 3 in an arcade today...

Hmmm! That needs a whole post on it's own...

NebachadnezzaR said...

Indeed Bernie Stolar was a fucking cunt, but unfortunately we can't go back in time and break his leg when he was on his way to the job interview...

Elend, these games really look great. Unfortunately the turn-based battles really get boring, which is a shame because the story is just fantastic and should be enjoyed by everyone.

Greg, it's always great to know when you inspire someone :D When I said original I wasn't talking about Lunar 1 on the Saturn but on the Sega CD, the very first game in the series which, if my memory serves me correctly, had random encounters.

The point of the AI controlled battles is to minimize the bore for people not accustomed to these games, I think...

Father, I'm trying to come up with more stuff, let's see what I can get :)

Saturn-only September looks like a lovely idea. I would join you, if it wasn't for Brother in Arms coming out that month...