have been a number of good role-playing games on Nintendo's little
handheld, and they're all very good (if endlessly predictable
and cliched); for my money, I'll say the best one you can find
is Lunar Legends.
gaming fans recognize this game, as it was a certifiable classic
when it first appeared on the Sega CD in the early '90s, winning
acclaim and awards before spawning an equally great sequel which
eventually migrated to the Playstation. Lunar was innovative
and clever for its time, and it's something of an indictment
against the stagnation of the videogames business that it's still
would think that console RPG's would have evolved or changed
at all since 1993. You look at the latest Final
and marvel at their graphic prowess; but when it comes down to
gameplay, you're still stuck with waddling through every Tolkein
schtick in the book and pressing the A button on everything.
perhaps this shapes my thinking somewhat. The GBA version of
Lunar may be, at heart, a reissue, but it's still more entertaining
than more contemporary names like Golden
Lunar comes from a time when fantasy RPG's were really stretching their
wings. This was the cutting edge in story-driven game worlds,
set against mascot platformers, fighting titles and arcade puzzlers.
The story, involving a pair of young adolescents named Alex and
Luna, carries a breezy, rural flair, a more casual tempo. There
are the usual bits about young heroes following in the footsteps
of long-dead heroes and portents of doom, but most of the focus
is on these characters and their adventures.
of the more tiring aspects of these games is having to talk to
strangers in various towns. It's usually a pointless affair,
as people doll out bits of exposition and nothing else. Lunar spins this tired notion on its head, giving so many characters
life and sparked dialog. This is the one role-player that makes
you eager to talk to people.
best dialog is between the main characters, friends and rivals
who pop in and out at various points. One little remark will
often set off a fiery rant or long conversation. These kids love
to gab, gab, gab; they have such personality that I don't mind
having to save the world, sigh, yet again.
has been often said that this version of Lunar is a faithful
recreation of the original, but I think it's a marked improvement
in its presentation. Everyone and everything is given a fresh
coat of paint, looking luminous and shiny and new. Aside from
the usual battle scenes and overhead point-of-view, there are
side-view cut-scenes, as well as occasional portraits and still
shots of key moments in the story. This game looks terrific.
sound, unfortunately, is tinny. Songs are catchy, sure, but tinny
as hell. Most games on the Advance sound like this; you've probably
made your peace with that sad fact by now. Funny how everything
comes back to the same thing: corporate complacency, laziness,
a dearth of new ideas.
least Lunar's charms make it worth the ride. Not a bad