Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 05/28/99 | Genre: RPG
Back in the sixteen bit days, there was the SNES and the Genesis leading the way in gaming excellence. While the Super Nintendo Entertainment System had most of the best RPGs, Sega had a few gems up its sleeves with the Genesis and the Sega CD. While Nintendo fans stayed busy playing the latest Square Soft masterpieces, Sega fans were content to play titles from Working Designs. One such title was Lunar: Silver Star Story. While the Sega CD was limited in terms of animation quality, the title did make use of state-of-the-art animation, for its time, in a CD based game. The game enjoyed success, but never the same as Square did with its Final Fantasy series... Now, after many years, Working Designs has translated Lunar once more. This time, the game is played on the Sony Playstation, in the US, instead of the Saturn. (Game Arts also has a Saturn version available in Japan) Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is the long delayed and much hyped title from Working Designs. After waiting years for it to be released, all I can say is that it was well worth the wait.
One thing Lunar has over any other RPG that has been released this year is classic gameplay. It seems that in the Role Playing Games of today, it is all about the graphics and not about the gameplay. RPG fans have always known that our favorite genre is about gameplay and story--not graphics. While it is true that an argument can be made for saying graphics make a game look more appealing and, therefore, draw you into the gameplay more, the true RPG fans of old that didn't jump on the "Final Fantasy 7 bandwagon" will tell you that gameplay must come first. Working Designs realized this as they took their time translating the re-release of Lunar. The gameplay exactly mirrors the old Sega CD version of Lunar...only this time, the animation is 150 percent better and the graphics are improved slightly. But Lunar is no Final Fantasy 8. You will not find any CG movie sequences or any polygonal battle engines. No, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete offers classic, old RPG gameplay that is unlike anything on the market today. This gives Lunar a unique and fun flavor that probably won't be seen again until Working Designs re-releases Lunar 2 on the Playstation later this year or sometime this year.
Working Designs went to great lengths to make Lunar: SSSC have some of the best controlling methods on the Playstation. Some extra features they added include: Analog support, 2 player support, one button save features, multiple rumble-controller features, and access to thirty saves at once. Analog support in Lunar is a gift from God. At first, I was a bit skeptical about using the analog stick in an "old-school" RPG. But after using it for five minutes, I wonder how I ever made it using the normal directional pad. It is necessary, however, to use the directional pad to navigate the menu screens better. Another great feature, two player support, is another great addition to the title. Now I no longer have to be greedy and keep Lunar to myself when friends are over--they can now join in the fun with you! The second controller will work just like the first player one--only the first one will be able to make selections if both controllers are used at once. Still another feature, the one button save, is something all RPG's should have. A simple tap of the circle button will bring up the save menu... Such a simple idea, it is a wonder that nobody has used it before. One of my personal favorite features in Lunar, the rumble functions, draw you into the game quite well. When walking around the game world, if the screen shakes, monsters appear, or you are in combat and use magic, the Playstation Dual Analog Shock controller will vibrate. Even during certain Anime cinemas the game will rumble too! Finally, the player is given the ability to access up to thirty saves at once! Of course, this would mean that two Sony brand PSX memory cards are being used and are filled up with Lunar saves... To sum it up, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete uses top of the line controlling methods to bring out the best in the title.
Never content to just deliver a good game, Working Designs always has tried to present their titles in special packaging. With the release of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, they have outdone themselves... This time around the folks at WD have included a special fold out box with gold writing on it, two game CD's, one music CD with all the music from Lunar to play in your normal CD players, one making of Lunar CD, a cloth map, and a hard leather-bound 100 page manual complete with a mini strategy guide and special interviews. While packaging does not make a good game, Working Designs took the extra time to make the best packaging ever in a console game for the US and also delivered a great game. If heaven were game packaging, Lunar would be it.
To sum it all up, Lunar: SSSC is a Role Playing fan's dream come true. While the graphics are a bit dated, the sound and music pretty average, and the game runs a little on the short side--it is a very fun and enjoyable ride while it lasts. Any fan that enjoys classic gameplay over the current "graphics first, gameplay later" Role Playing Games will be thrilled by Lunar. Working Designs has set a new standard for RPGs once again. The extras included in the box, the multiple features in the game, and the GREAT translation once again prove they are one of the best at what they do... That is, translate awesome games and add a ton of new features to make them even better. Way to go Working Designs, you deserve our highest praise.