Lunar: The Silver Star is but one of many great games that came out for the Sega CD. The main character is named Alex, a young boy about to become a man who dreams of becoming a DragonMaster like his hero, Dyne. The story begins with what is obviously too dangerous of a task for Alex and his friends, Luna and Ramus to undertake: stealing a diamond from the white dragon that lives in the nearby cave to the east.
After the encounter with the dragon, along with a couple of other tasks, Alex sets off for Merebia to make his way in the world, thereby thrusting you into what I consider to be one of the greatest stories of all time. Granted, it appears to be your run of the mill "young boy from small village grows up and saves the world from total destruction", but Lunar goes much deeper and provides quite a few twists and turns.
While the control is good during battles, I was annoyed with the super responsiveness of the movement on all the maps. Other than that minor annoyance the game controls beautifully. Selection of any options whether it is in battle or the standard non-battle options is quick and responsive, and loading times between cutscenes and the game are actually quite good.
As for graphics, the detail is great considering the time period, and the cut scenes are awesome! While there isn't much animation in the cut scenes, it more than made up for it in detail. I still remember how breath taking everything was when I first played this game when it was first released. About the only thing I felt needed more in the graphics department were the spells. Even the most powerful spells weren't all that impressive, and left me wanting to see more.
I still remember first popping in the cd and being blown away by the excellent music this game had. This was the first RPG I had played or heard of in which it sounded like a real orchestra, and about my only lament when it comes to the tunes is the length of them. At an average of a minute in length, the music simply isn't long enough. But then what is there is so good you probably won't even mind hearing it that often.
Ultimately, the music is accurate to the emotions the creators were trying to convey, and of excellent quality. While the song for the festival that Luna and Alex were to perform was good musically, I would have preferred to hear Luna sing more than just "La" many times over. As for sound effects in battles, these leave a bit to be desired as they didn't contain as much oomph as the voices, and the sound effects added to them! One piece of advice: if you do play Lunar on your Sega CD, you owe it to yourself to get a stereo set up on your TV (if there isn't one already) and just let it crank when it comes to hearing the voices.
The voice acting was excellent and displayed tons of emotion without overdoing it. But the real prize is the sound effects going on while they talk! This makes the experience all the better! With a good stereo, you can FEEL the booming voice of the white dragon in the beginning of the game, you get chills from the echo of Ghaleon's maniacal laughter after killing the insane black dragon in its cave.
However, as good as all this is, we still have yet to speak of the true crowning achievement of the game... the storyline! While Final Fantasy 4 for the SNES had an excellent storyline, no RPG has ever tugged at my heart and emotions like Lunar: TSS has. This is where Working Designs does their best work. I would love to tell you of Luna's little secret, and of friends that Alex meets. Of dragons and why it is they are so important to the survival of the world. Of an alternate universe, and of how Lunar easily surpasses any Square game in terms of character development. But I'm not. I cannot ruin for you an excellent game that you simply must experience.
Gameplay is good. Everything is quite self-explanatory and easy to figure out. The AI system could be better, and the configuration of such could be made easier. It isn't entirely useless as long as you know how to use it, but personally I think it's boring simply watching the computer have all the fun. One unique thing WD threw in was the fact that your characters had to move next to your enemy before they attacked with their sword or other close combat weapon. Experience is your standard kill the enemies to get experience to up your levels with no fancy stuff like materia and the like thrown in. Walking around the world be it in a town, cave, outside or otherwise is the traditional God's Eye view. The magic system is standard select the spell, pick the enemy and fire. Also there are a lot of spells and you will be getting new ones even around level 50! Very nice.
This game is a classic. Beautiful sound, music, graphics, storyline and character development more than make up for the minor blemishes (and as for all you Square fans snickering at my previous comment for character development, don't take my word for it, go and rent or buy this game right now and see for yourself!) About the only thing preventing me from giving a near perfect score is that it is simply too short. I beat it in three days and when you consider the length of other games such as FF4 and the (at the time) soon to be released FF6, coupled with the fact that those were on cartridges and this was on CD makes for no excuse why this game wasn't longer than it was. Overall, Lunar: TSS is a memorable experience, which can be enjoyed by seasoned sorcerers and neophytes into the world of CRPGs alike.