Lunar Knights, known in Japan as Bokura no Taiyō: Django & Sabata (ボクらの太陽 Django & Sabata, "Our Sun: Django & Sabata") and abbreviated Boktai DS, is an action role-playing video game, the fourth title in the Boktai series of video games developed by Kojima Productions and announced at E3 2006.
The game has a new story arc, and follows new protagonists and hence has also been marked as the beginning of a new series. The game was revamped to remove the necessity of using the real-life solar sensor due to player troubles; however, it still retains the functionality if any of the Game Boy Advance Boktai cartridges are inserted.
As some gameplay features are exclusive to Japan, the original names of the characters are used in such instances.
Lunar Knights revolves around two characters: Lucian and Aaron. Lucian is a vampire hunter, wielding various dark melee weapons. He is also imbued with the power of darkness, and can change into a vampire after he builds up a Trance (shortened to TRC in-game) meter by fusing with his Terrennial, Nero, which allows him to absorb life out of his foes. Aaron is an apprentice sharpshooter, and uses a variety of Solar Guns to deal damage to his undead foes. Unlike Lucian, Aaron has light powers, and can temporarily become an avatar of the sun when needed by fusing with his Terrennial, Toasty. The player increases the two characters' levels by killing enemies, and their weapons may be upgraded with various parts, allowing more abilities to be used with that weapon.
The ultimate goal in Lunar Knights is to destroy a number of boss vampire enemies, in which the basic mission is to defeat each of them in their respective dungeons, either by exploiting their elemental weakness or using Trance. Once this is accomplished, the boss is launched into space using the Casket Rocket, Laplace; the player then enters a minigame consisting of three parts. The Casket Rocket is controlled from a third-person perspective with the stylus. By moving the stylus, Laplace moves, and tapping the screen causes it to fire lasers. After these three segments have ended, there is a short video segment in which the defeated boss is purified with the intense solar radiation in the stratosphere, made possible by the Interstellar Satellite Sunflower.
As more bosses are defeated, the player is able to gain access to different elements through terrennials. There are four different terrennials available besides Nero (Dark) and Toasty (Sol): Ursula (Flame), Tove (Earth), Alexander (Cloud), and Ezra (Frost). With each acquired terrennial comes a different climate for the player to manipulate. This can be done by going to Sheridan's Mansion and selecting 'Change Climate' to change the default weather. Certain parts of dungeons, which often hold new items and weapons, are inaccessible unless the player changes the weather. Special high-priced items are dropped by enemies or objects under certain climate conditions.
The game relies on an in-game weather control system, known as the paraSOL. It has a thermometer, and measures humidity and wind speed. The weather is generated from the game itself, not from the local outside environment. There are five types of weather: balmy subtropical, tropical rainforest, humid continental, arid desert and frigid arctic.
The Trance meter is built up as the player lands blows on their enemies. When it is full, the player can use the powers of one of their Terrennials to launch into an extra powerful attack that affects multiple enemies. The transformations mentioned above are two of these attacks, but some are more magical in orientation, and often revolve around interaction with the touch screen.
Burst attacks are Trance moves performed by terrennials other than Toasty and Nero. When a Burst attack is used, the weather will change accordingly. Terrennials are the physical manefestiations of the elements that accompany the characters, with fire, ice, wind, and earth represented. In addition, the sun has a terrennial as does darkness. Furthermore, there is a null-elemental Terrenial only available in the Japanese version - War Rock, whose details are described below in the Crossover section. When these terrennials are equipped, the player can use TRC powers, and they will add their elemental attacks to weapon strikes, at the cost of some energy. Each element is directly vulnerable to its polar opposite, and resistant to itself. For example, if the player strikes an ice-aligned monster with fire equipped, extra damage will be dealt, but if ice is equipped, less than normal damage will be dealt.
The player is able to use the Game Boy Advance Boktai games' sun sensor to play Lunar Knights like the original Boktai games. This option gives the player more of an advantage: slotting a GBA game into the DS' W-Gate allows the player to use extra sunlight by adding the detected sun strength to the amount produced by the in-game weather system (the extra sunlight appear as green blocks in the game's sensor bar) for a certain amount of time. It also enables the player to play in sunlight regardless of the in-game world's weather.
Depending on which game is introduced into the W-Gate, the Solar Sensor will cause different effects in Lunar Knights:
- Solar Sensor Version 1: By inserting Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand in the GBA Slot, the standby character will fill his ENE (Energy) and it will also charge the Solar Station depending on how much sunlight hits the sensor.
- Solar Sensor Version 2: By inserting Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django in the GBA Slot, the standby character will fill his LIFE and it will also charge the Solar Station depending on how much sunlight hits the sensor.
- Solar Sensor Version 3: By inserting Shin Bokura no Taiyō: Gyakushū no Sabata in the GBA Slot, the standby character will fill his TRC (Trance) meter and it will also charge the Solar Station depending on how much sunlight hits the sensor.
Blowing into the Nintendo DS's microphone will cause the character to whistle, drawing attention to enemies. This serves to replace the wall tapping of earlier games in the Boktai series. Whistling also has the function of using a terrennial's special technique, which can only be used when the terrennial is glowing happens during affiliated climate or time of day.
Lunar Knights producer Kensuke Yoshitomi confirmed in a 1UP interview that although it takes place in the same world as Boktai, but at a different time period with fresh characters, it is still not a direct sequel to Boktai. He stated that the many versions of Princess Zelda and Link throughout The Legend of Zelda series are a good representation of this.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2013)|
The game begins with two men talking about the nearby vampire's ability to control flame. Lucian, the Lunar Knight overhears them, and sets out to obtain the whereabouts of the Duke, the leader of the Dark Tribe vampires. Later in the level, Lucian encounters Bea, a solar gunslinger attempting to free the prisoners of the mansion. She is trying to find a way past some boxes without notifying guards. Lucian sniggers and then smashes the boxes with his sword, with the line; If someone gets in our way, we take them down. Lucian realizes the strength of the vampire, and must upgrade his weapon by taking it to Professor Sheridan. After a confusing moment with the Professor's maid, Lucian barges his way in.
Returning to the Mansion, Lucian refuses to help Bea free the prisoners, claiming they would not even try to fight back against enemies. When Lucian arrives at the end of the level, there is a cutscene where Lucian blocks a bolt from the vampire meant for Bea. After defeating and purifying the vampire, he obtains the power of the flame terrenial Ursula. He also discovers that to reach the Duke, he must collect the other three main terrenials.
Chapter Two begins with Aaron, the Solar Knight training in an underground room. He complains that he cannot fire his solar gun no matter how hard he tries. The guild is shortly attacked and Aaron is told to warn the other members. When he escapes, Aaron sees a girl on an opposite rooftop being chased by undead. There is a short cutscene where Aaron fire his gun and destroys the undead. Aaron obtains the power of Toasty, the Solar Terrenial. Later on, two vampires known as the Poes attack Aaron, however Ernest; the Leader of the Guild, and Kay; his apprentice distract them and Aaron must gather the last of the members. Aaron fights the Goat Chimera and Bea appears to assist Ernest and Kay.
In Chapter Three, Aaron is worried about Ernest and Kay. Bea reappears and tells them the vampires are hiding in the sewer where the player cannot recharge energy. Bea calls Lucian, and while Lucian refuses to let Aaron come along, Bea ignores him. When they arrive at the end, The Poes reveal that they have packed the gunslingers on a train for the vampire tower. After defeating and purifying the Poes, Lucian and Aaron obtain Alexander and Tove, terrenials of Wind and Earth. They must now infiltrate the train station. There is a split in text at this point that if the player sneaks in without detection, text will warn you that two inmates have escaped from their cells, whereas if the player was spotted text will warn that intruders have been spotted. Arriving near the end, Kay reveals that Ernest distracted the guards. Lucian finds the Duke and attacks him, but he teleports away. The player boards the train and begins to make their way across the train. On the way across, a pink orb flies by the player, and a conversation with the mystery immortal known as Polidori begins with Stoker. The player defeats and purifies the vampire known as Baron Stoker. With all 4 Terrenials, Chapter 4 will start.
Lucian and Aaron fight their way into the city, and eventually reach the Dark Castle. Before entering, Polidori appears to them, explaining he is an emissary from space on behalf of the immortals. Lucian and Aaron travel through the castle, and discover that the enemy pilot they encounter in space during purification levels is Perrault, Nero's other half. After several levels, in which the terennials question their goals, and wonder if their battle is right. However, they eventually decide the humans are smart enough to save their world, the duo find themselves in the throne room. After defeating the Duke, Polidori absorbs him, informing the duo that the ParaSol was really the Planet Eater, a planet destroying weapon.
In Chapter Five, Lucian and Aaron make their way through the Planet Eater up to Polidori. After beating him, Polidori flees into space, where in a 4-Part battle, he is destroyed. Perrault rescues Lucian and Aaron and the credits roll. There is a bonus level named Vamberry which is a 100 floor tower with a teleporter so you can leave for items and health available. At the end of it, Lucian and Aaron defeat the resurrected Polidori. During the levels, the two discover that Dumas has also been remade by Perrault. Polidori's aims are questioned by Lucian, who accuses him of being only a copy of the real Polidori. He states that he understands the aims of the real immortal. The Knights defeat Polidori, and Dumas appears to tell them that the Immortals will arrive to stop the renegade Earth. He tells them that Humans and Vampires may have to become allies. Dumas leaves, and Lucian declares he will never work with Vampires, even against the immortals. The scene ends with Aaron unsure Lucian will hold to that promise.
Boktai DS, the Japanese version of Lunar Knights, continued the crossover-promotion the series had with Capcom's Mega Man franchise since Boktai 2. Django and Sabata fight Ox Fire, one of the enemy FM-ians from the original Mega Man Star Force, as a hidden boss. If they are successful in defeating him, War Rock can assist them as a seventh terrennial. Players can also obtain exclusive items by transferring game data from Mega Man Star Force into Boktai DS.
Reception for Lunar Knights has been mostly positive, with review aggregator sites Game Rankings and GameStats placing the game at 83% and 8.7/10 respectively. Both IGN and VGRC cited comparisons to Castlevania, another series published by Konami, with IGN saying "Konami already has a vampire-slaying action adventure in the form of Castlevania, and even though the storylines and universes are completely independent of each other, it's hard to ignore the similarities." While most reviews seem to praise Lunar Knights for the use of the terrennial and paraSOL systems, Honest Gamers said "It brings some excellent features to the series, but fails to implement them as smoothly as it should have." Furthermore, many took issue with the controls of the space shooting sequences, with GameSpot calling them "clumsy" and VGRC saying "It would have been a lot nicer if you could control your ship with the D-pad, and aim/fire with the stylus, but alas, that is not the case." IGN criticized the same sequences, "while certainly not terrible, [they] aren't anything special and do feel a little tacked on as a completely separate design that's not incorporated as well into the environments." Nintendo Power magazine gave the game an 8/10, and stated that the game could have used more of the environmental puzzles of the original series.
Notes and references
- , TGS Lunar Knights Preview, published September 23, 2006
- VGRC's review of Lunar Knights. URL retrieved 14th March 2007.
- Honest Gamers's review of Lunar Knights. URL retrieved 14th March 2007.
- GameSpot's review of Lunar Knights. URL retrieved 14th March 2007.
- GameZone's review of Lunar Knights. URL retrieved 14th March 2007.
- 1UP's review of Lunar Knights. URL retrieved 3rd August 2008.
- IGN's review of Lunar Knights. URL retrieved 14th March 2007.
-  review of Lunar Knights. URL retrieved 31st March 2007.
- GameRankings.com page for Lunar Knights. URL retrieved 14th March 2007.
- GameStats on Lunar Knights. URL accessed 14th March 2007.