Lunar Legend

Review

posted 1/14/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: GBA
For the five people who were unfortunate enough to have purchased the Sega CD, they’ll remember a little game called Lunar. It was a beautiful RPG that blended traditional RPG elements with anime-style graphics to form an excellent package. Contrary to what you may believe, this isn’t a remake of that classic title but instead, is a brand new entry in this venerable series that does an admirable job of taking advantage of the Gameboy Advance’s limited hardware.

Lunar Legend tells the story of a boy named Alex and his quest to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Dyne. Like any other good Japanese protagonist, he has a hot sister, Luna, and a rodent-looking pet of some sorts, in this case it’s a flying cat named Nall. I never played the original Lunar games so I don’t have a benchmark in terms of quality but I can only hope that they’re not all this cut and dry. Not only is the story old and clichéd but it also fails to overcome the hurdles that come with the language barrier that separates English from Japanese. What does this mean? It means that the story isn’t quite as compelling as it should be, especially when nearly every major conversation contains at least a small handful of grammatical errors. There’s an awful lot of Engrish here and while it’s not exactly as bad as Fire Brade, it’s still pretty weak. Expect to see PLENTY of typos and even some graphical miscues where incorrect portraits are displayed alongside the text.

The entire game (with the exception of scripted events and combat sequences) is played from the traditional SNES 16-bit RPG overhead perspective. For this game it works extremely well as it allows the player to see a great deal of their surrounding area without sacrificing too much detail. Everything in the game looks just great, from towns to dungeons to homes; it’s all here with exquisite detail. The game world does suffer from SNES RPG-isitis though in that every home and establishment looks nearly identical.

Combat in the game is very reminiscent of your garden-variety 16-bit RPG. Select your commands via menu system and when you’re finished the turn begins. I was a bit disappointed to see my characters magically teleport to their target, attack and then teleport back. In games like Golden Sun you’ll see your character jump over and strike their target instead of magically appearing next to them. I guess it’s a nice nod to the mid and early 90s but I’d rather much see some more animations, especially because the characters themselves are so lush and detailed.
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