Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is 20 years old! Let's celebrate this amazing game

aidan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,132


Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete was released in North America in May, 1999, which means 2019 is its 20th anniversary! This is one of my favourite games of all time, so, to celebrate, I recently replayed Lunar: SSSC to completion for the first time in probably ten years. Now's a great time to celebrate this game, and the Lunar series in general, which feels under-appreciated these days, since it's only really available to people via a mediocre mobile port.

Over on EGMNOW, I had the opportunity to write a long, heart-filled retrospective of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, but I wanted to take the time here to go through some of the things that stood out to me, and highlight why I think this game is so special.

History

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is a PlayStation and Saturn remake of Lunar: The Silver Star, one of the most popular games on the SEGA CD. It was later also released on Windows and iOS. Lunar: SSSC was developed by Studio Alex and released in North America by Working Designs in 1999.

Story & Characters



Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete tells the story of young Alex, an erstwhile bumpkin from a village called Burg who dreams of following in the footsteps of his hero, Dragonmaster Dyne. When him and his friends Luna and Ramus set out to get a Dragon Diamond from a nearby cave, they take the first steps on a journey that will save the world and change them all irrevocably.

All of the characters, from Alex and Luna, to Jessica, Nash, Nall, and Ghaleon, have full, realized character arcs, realistic motivations, and varied personalities. Best of all is the way the team comes together like a group of real people, which genuine relationships building between all of them. I love the way the party doesn't always get along—there's a lot of sandpaper between Kyle and Nash, and the tumultuous nature of Kyle and Jessica's relationship is sweet and well-handled.

From top to bottom, it's a fun, adventurous story with a great amount of warmth and heart. One of the things I think sets it apart from other JRPGs at the time is that Alex is constantly driving the plot forward in a proactive way. Rather than responding to something that happens to him outside of his control, he sets out to have an adventure, and each step along the plot's path is a choice made by Alex and the party. This really leads to a sense of adventure and wonder that is unmatched outside of other games that aren't Grandia or Trails in the Sky (both of which I consider spiritual successors to Lunar.) It's full of cliches, but it's so well executed, and the world and characters are so likeable, that it feels like the perfect telling of a favourite story.

Gameplay

One of my favourite things about Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is how fast and snappy everything is (except saving to a PS1 memory card...) Character movement is quick and fluid, even without a run button, dialogue moves along snappily, and you're into battles and fighting super quick thanks to the game's "Tactics" system (which allows you to set up predetermined actions for each character.) This carries over to the plot, which never stops moving and keeps dishing out excitement, emotion, and character development at a satisfying pace.

Graphics



(Screenshots courtesy Lunar.net)

I'm a sucker for gorgeous 2D sprite-based graphics, and Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete still holds up wonderfully today. It's character sprites are small and basic, without even the emotive animations found in something like Final Fantasy VI, but the character portraits that accompany dialogue more than make up for this. The world is varied and detailed, feeling like a living, breathing place. The original release was already a nice looking game, but Lunar: SSSC took that base work and really made something beautiful out of it. It's always fun to see what's around the next corner, and the anime cut scenes feel like a sweet reward as you progress through the story.

Working Designs Localization

One of the huge question marks I had going into my replay of Lunar: SSSC was how the Working Designs localization would hold up in 2019. It's been divisive among fans since the game's release, and a lot of the game's humour was cringey even in the mid-nineties. For the most part, though, the localization remains as warm, hopeful, and well-written as I remembered it being. There's definitely a ton of groan-worth jokes, and some tasteless transphobia when Kyle's introduced (though that's on the original creators, not WD necessarily), but it's mostly contained to side content and NPC dialogue, meaning it didn't impact or detract from my overall enjoyment of the game. This was released just when publishers were realizing how important a good localization was and, compared to its contemporaries like Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy VII, or Suikoden 2, it set a new bar.

The thing that stood out most negatively to me was the way Working Designs tweaked the difficulty in battle. They increased enemy damage by 45% (!!!) and winning a battle provided 14% less experience and 10% less gold. This often turns what otherwise feels like a light, charming experience into a grindfest at times, with dungeons feeling like a battle of attrition and resource management. I don't mind this style of difficulty, and the game never feels unfair, but given how bright and cheery everything else is, I found myself wishing the game were a bit easier, especially if it chopped 5 or so hours off the completion time.

Media

Video

Artwork from Lunar: The Silver Star & Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete















Wrap-up

In all, I was really impressed and pleased to see how the game lived up to my memories and expectations. It can be harrowing revisiting an old favourite, but when they're crafted with as much love, attention, and care as Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete it becomes obvious that time will continue to be kind to one of the best JRPGs ever.

Now, to somehow convince Vic Ireland and whoever owns the rights to the games to get them up on PSN so more people can experience this wonderful series.

Resources
 
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Skulldead

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,458
There like 3 games in my entire life that I've cry at the end


and this is one of them ! I love that game
 

muteKi

Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,153
a sunken pirate ship
I actually only ever played the Sega CD version, like a decade ago. I am interested in checking out the remake at some point but I straight up do not believe I will ever have the time.
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
20,440
The original was better. Do not like the story line changes in the remake.
 

sfedai0

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,492
Im not ashamed to say I played the demo disc for the opening song for like a month back then. I also have both Lunars and the Ghaleon puppet.
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
20,440
Im not ashamed to say I played the demo disc for the opening song for like a month back then. I also have both Lunars and the Ghaleon puppet.
I did that with the Sega CD version:


Don't really like the PSX/Saturn intro song. That said, the JPN version of the original song is amazing:

 
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Skoje

Member
Oct 26, 2017
366
Damn... this is the only place I've ever seen where people like the original over the remake
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
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Oct 27, 2017
20,440
In fact I'll go one step further and say the Sega CD version has an overall better OST on every level


I loved getting into battles in the Sega CD version to hear this song
 

Cleve

Member
Oct 27, 2017
560
Great series. I loved the original games, but I never cared for Vic's overbearing personality online or the WD localizations. Far too much topical jokey stuff that was the 90s equivalent of internet humor and "meming"
 

CrazyIvan

Member
Oct 26, 2017
177
Vermont
This the very first game I ever bought twice. I owned it for the Sega CD and bought it again for the PS1 after I got rid of my Sega system. I replayed this and Eternal Blue so many times I've easily lost count, although it has been quite a while since I last played it. One other thing that truly stood out at the time and continues to be a standout in my book is the music. I can still hum the Burg and Meribia songs off the top of my head.

Just overall delightful games with just the right amount of challenge, emotion, and fun.
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
20,440
This. I loathe the remake.
That said, I feel like the PSX/Saturn version of Eternal Blue is wholly a better game. Removed the really dumb "pay to save" mechanic, and it doesn't change the story.

That said, i feel like the animations in the Sega CD version of EB are way more impressive for the hardware than the FMV in the PSX/Saturn version.
 

Ceileachair

Member
Oct 27, 2017
117
20? I swear I played and beat the shit out of this game during Christmas vacation back in ‘93 on Sega CD.
 

Erpy

Member
May 31, 2018
958
Transphobia? Wasn't he simply cross-dressing in order to lure out and beat some bad guys who were looking for female singers?
 

BorganXI

Member
Oct 27, 2017
375
WA
The entire reason I got a Sega CD back then was for Lunar.

Love both games, but wish we'd gotten more Eternal Blue stuff over the years. So many Silver Star remakes.

I've got a ridiculous amount of import merchandise and collectables of these games.

Wouldn't mind a port and re- translation for both of them.
 
Why Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete Remains One of the Best JRPGs Ever (EGMNOW) New

werezompire

Zeboyd Games
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Oct 26, 2017
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thuway

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Oct 27, 2017
3,078
It was incredible. I remember getting it six months after I got my PS1. It felt super special.
 

Teiresias

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Oct 27, 2017
2,588
Played through both remakes back to back and still have them complete to this day. I owned and played the Sega CD original after playing the remakes so I tend to prefer the remakes.
 

KojiKnight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,548
Unpopular opinion time: Working Designs saved this C tier RPG with their fun localization.

Eternal Blue Complete, however is upper B or lower A. I prefer Lucia's story of learning to be human and falling in love versus Luna's bog standard "rescue the princess" one.


Also skip the psp Port. It's bad. Really bad.
 

Alric

Member
Oct 27, 2017
857
Not only would I love to see the first two remade again, I'd love to see another sequel really expanding on the whole Lunar / Earth stuff.
 

Yas

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
404
Arctic Circle, Finland
This is one of those games where I'm so confused which version I should hunt down from ebay and play. One group says ps1, one says SCD, one says GBA. PSP version afaik is the one version disliked by many.
 

Cactuar

Member
Nov 30, 2018
2,696
The original was better. Do not like the story line changes in the remake.
Krej is correct. While amazing, SSSC was inferior to the Sega CD version IMO due to the changes they made to Nash for me personally. But aside from that, it's an amazing version and probably they version I'd reach for if I was looking for a replay due to not having to drag out a Sega CD.

That said, they PlayStation version of Eternal Blue is actually superior to the Sega CD original.

Glorious titles and long live Working Designs.
 
OP
OP
aidan

aidan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,132
This is one of those games where I'm so confused which version I should hunt down from ebay and play. One group says ps1, one says SCD, one says GBA. PSP version afaik is the one version disliked by many.
The Sega CD and PlayStation versions are both good bets. It more or less comes down to your system preference. The PSP and GBA remakes can safely be skipped.
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
20,440
This is one of those games where I'm so confused which version I should hunt down from ebay and play. One group says ps1, one says SCD, one says GBA. PSP version afaik is the one version disliked by many.
I very honestly don't think I've ever seen anybody recommend the GBA version. Of all the ports/remakes, that is probably my least liked one.
 

KojiKnight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,548
Average poster declares beloved classic, "average" loudly multiple times in topic
If only I had warned that my opinion was unpopular beforehand. EBC is just overall the much better game. Better battle UI, better characters, better story.

I honestly believe if it was released today without it's pedigree and a standard non-WD translation, it'd be lost in a sea of other cheap RPGs. WD's localization is semi controversial now a days, but it really elevated it.

Not too mention they were the masters of preorder and omake in the physical boxes.
 

tusk

Member
Apr 25, 2018
55
Chicago, IL
If only I had warned that my opinion was unpopular beforehand. EBC is just overall the much better game. Better battle UI, better characters, better story.

I honestly believe if it was released today without it's pedigree and a standard non-WD translation, it'd be lost in a sea of other cheap RPGs. WD's localization is semi controversial now a days, but it really elevated it.

Not too mention they were the masters of preorder and omake in the physical boxes.

super embarrassing carefail
 

Erpy

Member
May 31, 2018
958
I honestly believe if it was released today without it's pedigree and a standard non-WD translation, it'd be lost in a sea of other cheap RPGs. WD's localization is semi controversial now a days, but it really elevated it.
I imagine the anime cutscenes would still elevate it above the dime-a-dozen RPG-Maker group. As would the crazy amount of inter-party dialogue the game has. Lunar did the "every townsperson says different stuff if you talk to them twice and they all say new things after every plot beat"-thing way before Trails in the Sky went and ran with it and unlike Trails you had access to most towns for most of the game.
 

LakeEarth

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,125
Ontario
This is one of those RPGs I keep meaning to try. Then again there are probably a dozen PSX RPGs I'd like to try someday.
 

Wood Man

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,488
One of the most charming JRPG ever. I played it on Sega CD, PS1 & GBA.

Only got a few hours into the PSP version. It didn't have the same charm.
 

werezompire

Zeboyd Games
Verified
Oct 26, 2017
3,103
If only I had warned that my opinion was unpopular beforehand. EBC is just overall the much better game. Better battle UI, better characters, better story.

I honestly believe if it was released today without it's pedigree and a standard non-WD translation, it'd be lost in a sea of other cheap RPGs. WD's localization is semi controversial now a days, but it really elevated it.

Not too mention they were the masters of preorder and omake in the physical boxes.
I'm not as harsh, but I don't think you're far off. Lunar 1 is a pretty good game elevated to greatness by an excellent soundtrack & the amazing-for-its-time localization which let the characters & world shine. The CD tech which was still new also didn't hurt. It would not be anywhere near as beloved if it got a bog-standard 90's mediocre translation.

Lunar: EB, on the other hand, is arguably the best 16-bit JRPG of all-time.
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
20,440
What's weak is when someone comes at you with "your opinion is wrong" with no attempt made to counter any point made. It's not like I did a hit and run on this thread. I'm down for this discussion if anyone actually wants to actually have it.
"DEBATE ME" after calling something "C-tier" with no extrapolation at all.

No.
 

KojiKnight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,548
Only got a few hours into the PSP version. It didn't have the same charm.
The absolute worst part of the psp version is that you can tell the people who were working on it that absolutely loved the series, the blog posts on the translation, etc showed a real reference to the source material and WD... It's just overall the execution came up short. Simple things like the audio fading in and out on every screen transition, not reworking the XP and encounter rate to make up for smaller areas, etc... It needed 6 months of extra time off pure polish.
 
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