Top 100 PS1 Review: #27 – Lunar: Silver Story Complete (1998)

Some of the Best Dialogue Ever.

Seriously! You have to pay attention because you are never quite sure what might be said next!

Ape’s Ranking: #27/100
My Rating: StarStarStar

I was very suspect of this game. I don’t trust anything with anime vibes for art direction when it is NOT an anime. Sure, I’m a distant fan of the genre, but I don’t want it crossing over with my video games. Something about it makes everything so cheesy. 

Well guess what? Lunar Silver Story for the PS1 is a cheesy, campy, anime adventure…and I really liked it! Its defining feature is the dialogue. With most RPGs, you smash that X button as people drone about with the typical small talk: greetings, weather, professional interests and responsibilities. Jesus, it’s like being stuck at a work conference!

With this game, you have to pay attention to what’s said. At times it will be pretty naughty while other times philosophical and deep. Nall, your JRPG requisite anthropomorphic furry, captures the ethos of the game with his irreverent and sarcastic quips. He’s really the one you have to watch out for as his character was given free reign to be a loveable jackass. 

The reason the dialogue is so important? The rest of the game is pretty standard fare. The turn-based battle system has a few unique components, but is mostly a fast forward and ignore affair. The story is your typical good vs. evil hero’s tale with very little twists or turns. This makes the character interactions that much more important, particularly this little guy. 

What does it say about me that I usually like the furry in every JRPG (RedXIII, Khimari, Umaro, and Nall)?

[OVERVIEW]

Lunar is a franchise that has laid dormant outside of re-releasing the same couple of games on multiple platforms. This game has had many, many lives starting on the Sega Saturn and ending on the iOS with plenty of additions, subtractions, upgrades, and retoolings in between. The reason for the word “complete” in the title on the ps1 is that the developers were able to add more features to that iteration over the Sega release and thus making it “complete.”

The story follows Alex, young boy from a small town, who wants to grow up to be a Dragon Master like his hero Dyne. Luna, his childhood sweetheart with a beautiful singing voice, accompanies him on his journey along with Nall, Alex’s pet cat/bat creature who no one really knows where he came from.

Of course, they go on to save the world.

The anime aesthetic did grow on me.

[ANALYSIS]

Let’s get the best out of the way first.

Can We Talk For A Second?

Even with INVENTORY there are some good lines. Okay, making a sexual joke about a long sword is low hanging fruit, but what about the follow up quips about kinky leather jackets or ritual suicide? For our entire lives we have been sleep-walking through shop descriptions of their products. Lunar fixes that!

One side of Nall is that he some pent up sexual frustration. He hints at what he would want to do with the opposite sex if given the opportunity and gawks at the attractive women. Then you get to this little interaction — a classic bait and switch. Are they really going to go there? Is this game going to cross a line? Nope. It pulls back just in time to avoid catastrophe. This game is constantly toying with you through the dialogue.

Teach Me Senpai!

As the game went on, I started to appreciate more of the anime cutscenes. It reminded me of Toonami, Cartoon Network’s after school anime block that consisted of Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and Ronin Warriors.

The reason I was more open to it was because the game actually had a decent art direction outside of just the anime cutscenes.

PRETTY!

Let’s Fight!

The fight system offers some variation on the classic turn-based system, but as they always end up becoming, it turns into just rote command entry as you care less and less. While there are seemingly some choices for you to make, they don’t really end up being too important.

First, you can see the enemies and there are no random encounters. You get to decide when to engage and not which is seemingly a good choice. However, you literally need to battle every enemy you see to keep your level where you need it, so you don’t exactly have much of a choice.

Second, the battle itself is on an open field with your party to the right and the enemies to the left.

What are Wisps in every RPG ever? What did they ever do to us?

It’s open because your commands will move your party members as they execute their actions. Attacking with a sword requires being next to the enemy. Attack from too far away and you might waste your entire turn just traveling. Some magical commands affect a certain amount of surface area. Using them on a cluster of enemies means more bang for your buck. As the battle progresses, you will go from neat lines of party and enemies to being intermingled on the battlefield.

Nash’s lighting can hit multiple people at once if used appropriately.

This makes it seem like a tactical RPG. Let me be clear: it is not.

With tactical RPGs, you are usually given immense choice and opportunity to attempt a specific sequence of commands for a desired output. Here, there are very few permutations to understand. After a few battles in a new dungeon you will have learned that appropriate sequence to do things and the stuff that seems so important on a “dynamic” battlefield never really comes up.

For instance, enemies also have attacks that can deal more damage to your group if your are clustered together. However, there is never a situation where you decide to forgo attacking to get in a safer position; taking a little bit more damage doesn’t offset doing the powerful attacks needed to beat bosses. Also, you don’t really have a command to just “move” a character — it is always tied up as the byproduct of another option.

So, the game ends up being kind of mindless when it comes to battles.

Naughty or Nice.

The game also has some racier content for those so inclined.

Hidden as special treasures, there are these items called bromides which are really PG centerfolds of characters. When opened, the POV goes up and down a poster length image of one of the main characters.

Finding the item soap allows you to get into the hot saunas with your party members separated by sex. Nash, a personal favorite of mine for his complete egotism, is shown in all of his pampered glory. Also, who could ignore Nall with a towel on his head.

[CONCLUSION]

The battle is a bit repetitive and story not too important, however the rest of it is a blast. This game has a lot of heart.

Other People’s Takes:

  • Variable Mag: “Rounding out the list is Alex Noa and Luna—a couple that can put a lot of real-life couples to shame. For one, it helps that Alex and Luna are childhood sweethearts. This allows the story to build on that, which it does masterfully.”
  • Super Gradio: “Nall is the sassy pet\team mascot who has almost no filter (anime trope #2).”
  • Retro Dragon: “But actually it’s those wonderful and cheesy details that make Lunar so much fun to play. For the psx, fully voiced cutscenes were pretty impressive, and really helped in fully fleshing out each character. Nash is annoying, Mia is a goodie goodie, Kyle is a drunk, and Jessica is a tomboy.”

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