Thursday, February 6, 2014

LUNAR LEGEND

Lunar Legend is an epic role-playing adventure following a group of friends as they venture around the world following in the footsteps of a great Dragonmaster named Dyne. The main character, Alex, is a magically gifted young man drawn to seek out the legendary Dragons of Lunar Legend in order to take the Dragon's trials and become protector of the Goddess Althena like his idol. With a strong cast of characters, more than 200 items to find and use, and over 50 different magical spells, Lunar Legend on the Game Boy Advance will draw you into Lunar's magical universe wherever you may be.
[Description from Amazon]

Platform: GameBoy Advance
Developer(s): Game Arts, Ubi Soft
Rating: E

{I, the reviewer, give Lunar Legend, 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Back in the day, I always wanted a GameBoy Advance. Unfortunately, we couldn't afford much, so I was limited to gaming on the PC and my dad's Sega Genesis. Well, recently I was able to buy a used GBA, and of course to make sure it works I needed a game to test it out! So I decided to buy Lunar Legend along with it; a totally blind buy, since I have never heard of it before, but it sounded interesting, so eh, why not? And I am very happy of this being my very first GBA game!

The plot follows a young man named Alex. His hero is a man named Dyne, a Dragonmaster, who passed away 15 years ago. The game begins with Alex and his flying cat, Nall, at the grave sight. Alex dreams of becoming a Dragonmaster himself and learns that now might finally be his chance! You are first joined by Luna, Alex's childhood friend who says she'd be worried sick of Alex went on the journey himself, and Ramus, a chubby sort of guy who wants to get a Dragon Diamond. Later, you will be joined by a Vane Apprentice, Nall, a slightly arrogant kinda guy, then Mia; a sweet and kind hearted girl who is heir to the Magic Guild, Jessica; tomboyish Althene Priestess who is the daughter of Mel, one of the Four Heroes, and Kyle; a cocky bandit with fangirls.

Upon first playing the game, I felt it was OK; a bit mediocre. Sure, it had some cute and funny scenes, but it seemed nothing spectacular. Of course it was good enough to hold my attention and want to continue (a quest to see dragons? YES!) Then, the further the game goes, especially after the first boss battle, is when my initially first impression of just mediocre gets thrown out the window. We begin meeting more characters who would soon become your future party members. I have to say the game really had me hooked by the time they reached Vane, when the story intensifies! Then...STUFF HAPPENS! that really got me into the game and story, and had me all like "I'll save you!" and "you bastard!!" and "WHY?!" in various parts of the game!

Characters are fun and loveable, with their own different skills. I have to say my favorite characters were Kyle and Jessica! Their dialogues were very entertaining to read, even sometimes more than Nall, another instant favorite. The story is very interesting, beginning as what would seem just a simple adventure to meet the four dragons and pass all their trials, but then turns into something more grand and epic. Sadly there were no anime cutscenes, just screenshots of them like CGs for the GBA, but still nice when they came up. The sprites are very adorable, and I loved the sprite cutescenes~ The music felt pretty nice, too; it worked for the world perfectly, and I really love Luna's "lala" song. The battles were smooth and fluid; once in awhile I got a glitch where I could hear some chopping in the sound, but I have no idea if that is a glitch in the cart itself or maybe my GBA's fault (both ARE used). So even when it got tedious, it was fun watching the sprites in action, using their special moves and such~
The game isn't too hard, but not too easy either. You run into puzzles rarely, and it won't take you long to figure it out (not that it doesn't throw you for a loop at times). Battles are relatively easy, especially if you gear up and have the right stregety. Most boss battles aren't so bad, though that last one might tick you off a bit. So there's still a bit of challenge, but not too much where you give up. There's also a tad bit of Steampunk; sometimes, in order to get to a certain destination, you need a contraption made by a quirky inventor. Also, Lunar's "moon" seems to be Earth, which probably means Lunar is the moon, which I thought was kinda neat to have a fantasy world located at.

Any gripes? Random encounter battles can be tedious, as typical with most any turn-based combat RPGs. I still had fun with the battle system, but once in awhile when I wanted to advance and get to my destination, it could get annoying and more of a chore. Sometimes, running away from them is like 95% successful, but in certain areas I noticed running away was very little successful, so you gotta weigh it out. This was originally a Sega CD game, and though I have not played the original, even as a first time player I can tell the story felt a bit condensed. It makes me wonder what lacked, although obviously all main and important points are kept. And even being condensed, it's still a pretty satisfying, solid game for your handheld. I always thought it was weird how sprites, even when standing there, are in constant jog mode; you know, like when you see a jogger stop, but they still move their legs without advancing? I got used to it, but initially, it bothered me in the beginning. And when certain intense cutscnes end, the music will switch back to the normal music of that area which sort of took away the previous intensity. Also, you'll notice sometimes in the dialogue seemed like it would miss a word or two; you can still understand what the sentence was trying to say, but it still seemed awkward, plus there was a typo here and there, but luckily it wasn't very often. Map designs are so-so, nothing exactly memorable (though the Frontier and Dragon Caves were pretty cool). The game is pretty much solid Linear; no side quests, everything was just the main quest.

All in all, this game was a fun experience, and one I'll definitely be playing over and over again! Despite the obvious feel of a condensed story, it still manages to get you attached to every character and to have feelings and reactions to whatever happens to them. There's love, friendship, hate, and betrayal...while the gameplay may be nothing particularly special,this game's strength is the story. And I think that;s what the creators wanted; a story-driven RPG, which even with being pretty linear, would have you want to play the game over and over. According to my main save file, I spent a total of almost 23 hours of gameplay (not straight of course, in total). I was pretty satisfied with the ending and have definitely been made a fan of the Lunar world! Now I just need to buy myself a Sega Saturn so I can play the original Sega CD game to find out exactly what was lacking from the GBA version, but I promise you this is a good introduction into Lunar for your handheld, and you'll have a lot of fun and enjoy the story~

RECOMMENDED?
Definitely! You'll have some fun with this, but most of all enjoy the story and the characters!

PLAYER'S COMFORT

[MUSIC]:
The music was fairly nice and fit the world. There were a little over 60 songs to the OST and can awesomely be listened to in the Music Gallery. I really like Luna's "lala" song, and the instrumental version of the game's opening that is found on the PS1 Lunar: Silver Star Harmony.

[GRAPHICS]:
The graphics are pretty nice. Sprites are adorable, and the cutscene screenshots are nice. You can also access them in a Gallery from the menu when the game's over~ Animations and battles are fluid and smooth.

[DIFFICULTY]:
Not too hard, not too easy. Bosses definitely pose as the biggest challenge, especially the final boss! Be sure to use healing abilities, and have a lot of HealDrops and MentelGums on hand!

[LEVELS]:
It had a good sized map, with a few towns, cities, villages, and towers. I actually didn't expect the world to be that big initially, so it's nice that there was a lot more than just one area map; it spanned a few different maps.

[GAMEPLAY]:
Typical turn-based RPG combat. Your party can either Auto (auto-attack), Tact (tactial I believe), Manu (manually tell each party member what to do and to which enemy), or Run. I typically used Tact a lot if I knew the enemies were easy, but harder ones I used Manu. It's good to build up your normal attacks, because each party member has a meter that builds for a special attack that uses 0 MP. And of course, you walk around and can talk to NPCs.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Light "d" and "h", a few "bastard" and a couple "OMG".

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
There were some taverns, not much drinking is scene though and I don't remember any smoking.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There's one NPC at a bandit's outpost that says to Alex "but you might be too young for the services I offer" (seems to be suggesting she's a prostitute maybe?) There was one part where Nall was talking about a girl, and I remember Luna saying "get that horny looking off your face!" (*SPOILER* When Luna appears as Dark Althena, she wears a pretty fanservice-y outfit.)

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
It's an RPG, so there's fighting. Enemies disipate when you defeat them. There was one CG in Alex's dream with Luna and a splash of blood, but nothing really disturbing. One of the bosses, after defeating, before he dies has some blood trickling from the side of his mouth.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Alex is questing to become a Dragonmaster, legendary protector of Lunar's Deity, the Goddess Althena. There's magic use; some characters have the ability to use spells. *SPOILERS!* (Luna is said to have a hidden power inside of her, and later she becomes the dark goddess, who summons the Goddess Tower with her dark song. Later, it is revealed the Luna is the Goddess Althena, who gave up her godly form to be reborn as a human, entrusting everyone else with the future. There were some parts about saying Lunar doesn't need a Supreme Being ruling over, and the big bad guy is trying to become God of Lunar because he says Lunar needs an absolute ruler, but everyone else says they don't need one. It doesn't seem to promote rejecting a ruling Deity, but the story is Althena became human to live amongst humans and that she trusts everyone working together for the future; the big bad guy wants to have ultimate power and most likely be an evil dictator).