I remember the good old days when I was a kid and we always boasted about which game had the most megabits. We had the 8-meg Strider, 16-meg Street Fighter II, and the whopping 32-meg Star Fox. However, in 1993 the Sega CD role-playing game, Lunar: The Silver Star, had 500 or so megabits making this a monster. Lunar was reincarnated on the Sega Saturn as well as the PlayStation, but most people remember the game as one of the first great CD-ROM RPGs on the market.
Lunar revolves around an adolescent boy named Alex who is obsessed with his hero's (Dragon Master Dyne) past glories. And by that I mean that he's constantly paying homage to his late hero. That is until one day his flying "dragon-cat" companion, Nall, prompts him to get his butt into gear and make his own adventures. The supporting cast features interesting and dynamic personas from rather diverse localities.
In the early 90's sprite-based graphics (or hand drawn characters) was the norm. That's a big reason why Lunar is as great today as it was nearly 15 years ago. The Sega CD had no problem replicating the artist's beautiful, well detailed characters, towns and monsters. Everything is lush and full of color, from the beautifully gradated Alpine trees in the hero's hometown, Burg, to the gorgeous bodies of water on the world map. The graphics were much like those found in Square's classic RPG, Final Fantasy 2 (or Final Fantasy IV, if you want to be exact) on the Super NES.
Lunar features a traditional old school, turn-based battle system. Each character selects an icon that corresponds to attack, magic, technique, item, retreat and run. The spells and techniques are satisfying but not nearly as flashy as Chrono Trigger's. Characters that fight with melee weapons, such as swords and staves, may have to use a turn to get position first. The hindrance adds an extra element to the strategy as to which characters should be equipped with projectile weapons such as bows and darts. The fight frequencies are inconsistent, sometimes you can wander a dungeon and not be attacked for several paces, and other times you are attack at almost every step. But luckily the fights are quick and concise in addition to the fact that MP replenishing items are bountiful.
What makes Lunar Legendary is its great music score. The tunes well fit the atmosphere much like the classical music fits a Star Wars movie. Lunar was touted as a "Musical RPG," since music plays an important role in the development of the excellent story.
Lunar is a must play because of its excellent story and audio ensemble. Its memorable characters and well-scripted verses make it a treat gathering info from townsfolk. Quick battles are more than sufficient because and those boss battles are fantastic. If you are looking for a top-tier old school role-playing game, then congratulations, because your search is officially over. You will not regret investing the 30 hours or so to see this one through.