Cable (trade cards)
to relative obscurity on the Sega CD, the Lunar series has
seen a surge in popularity thanks largely to the efforts of Working
Designs on the PSone and the blossoming RPG genre in general. Once
place this genre has particularly blossomed has been in the handheld
arena, where the GBA has emerged as one of the strongest RPG systems
ever. Thus it's no surprise that a port of a Lunar game has
finally found it's way to the system in the form of Lunar Legend.
Based on the
original Lunar: The Silver Star Story, Lunar Legend
features a light-hearted storyline (although it does have its darker
moments) that's perfectly suited for the GBA's generally younger
audience. Alex has always dreamed of being a Dragonmaster just like
his hero Dragonmaster Dyne, when one day his sleepy village of Burg
is greeted with the arrival of the wizard Nash. Nash hails from
Vane, and asks the local yokels to guide him to the White Dragon
Shrine so that he may take the White Dragon's trial in hopes of
becoming a Dragonmaster himself. Of course Alex wants to go with
him, so the two set out along with his Alex's girl Luna, his winged
creature companion Nall, and good buddy Ramus.
have probably already realized that the storyline is different from
previous versions. In the original Alex sets out on his own, while
Nash doesn't join up with him until later in the quest. While it's
the same general quest, Ubi Soft has revamped the original storyline
by streamlining several major plot points (either due to cart space
or for simplification) and adding several new sidequests to the mix.
For veteran Lunar fans (like myself) it makes the game somewhat
easier to play through again to see what they've changed, and for
newbies to the series it won't hurt enjoyment of the game any.
is in the translation, where they opted to create a new translation
instead of using an existing one from the Sega CD or PSX version.
The dialogue here isn't nearly as good as WD's Lunar, but then again
very few translations can ever match the work WD does. It is
competent though, and there are still a few funny lines to add
atmosphere to the game (like when Quark comments to himself about
where the dragon diamond originates…). Each character also retains
his/her old personality, and still basically says what you'd expect
them to say (if you've played previous Lunars) in a given situation.
Perhaps due to
the younger audience on the GBA, battles have become much easier.
New to this edition is the Arts Gage Skill, which can only be used
once after the gage bar is full. This bar is filled by direct normal
attacks, with each attack adding a little more to it. If you've seen
the Force in action in Wild Arms, you know exactly what to
expect here. Once the bar is full, that character can unleash a
super magic skill that requires no MP. Luna's skill is to restore
all MP and HP for all characters, and this unfortunately makes the
game a bit too easy whenever she's in the party. The bar fills up
fast enough that other characters need not worry about wasting MP as
long as Luna keeps attacking, which in turn makes the party nearly
original was on a 16-bit system, Lunar Legend has no problem
looking nearly as good as its PSX and Sega CD counterparts. Towns
are colorful and vibrant, character sprites are animated well, and
there's plenty of detail to be found everywhere. Spell effects are a
little subdued compared to some other GBA titles like Golden Sun,
but they still look good enough and get the job done. Replacing the
FMV cutscenes of the past are full-color still shots, which is a
necessary evil since this game is on cart. Even these look really
Sound takes a
similar hit. While the music sounds nearly identical, it's obvious
that it is lower in quality. Sound effects are pretty basic, with
typical attack sounds and virtually no ambient sounds.
isn't much in the way of extras. Other than the main game, Ubi
Soft did throw in a couple of extras such as a Gallery mode (where
you can view full color pictures of previous encounters) and a
number of cards to collect featuring every character and enemy in
the game. The "cards" are really just a sprite enclosed
in a box on a bland background, but the ability to collect all of
them might appeal to hardcore fans of Pokémon and the like.
- A classic
story reborn in portable form and it's just as good as ever.
twists on the original storyline give Lunar veterans a
reason to replay it on the GBA.
- A vibrant
game with colorful graphics, unique and fun characters, and
interesting game worlds.
backup allows for near-instant saves anywhere in the game world
outside of battle.
- Battles are
now too easy to win in most situations.
While not as
good as the system's big RPGs (Golden Sun, Tactics Ogre,
etc.), Lunar Legend still shines. It's simple (yet
interesting) storyline, unique characters, light-heartedness, and
ability to save instantly anywhere make it the perfect RPG to take
on the road. Recommended for Lunar veterans and those new to
the series alike.