Lunar (series)

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Lunar
Lunar series logo.png
Genres RPG
Developer(s) Game Arts
Platforms Game Boy Advance, Game Gear, iOS, Nintendo DS, PlayStation, PlayStation Portable, Sega CD, Sega Saturn, Windows
Year of inception 1992
First release Lunar: The Silver Star
June 23, 1992
Latest release Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch
September 20, 2012

Lunar (Japanese: ルナ, Hepburn: Runa) is a series of role-playing video games, developed by Game Arts in Japan and published in the United States by Working Designs, Ubisoft, and Xseed Games.

The original releases of The Silver Star and Eternal Blue, were published for Mega-CD in Japan and Sega CD in North America. The Silver Star was critically acclaimed and was the top selling game in Mega-CD history. Both games were later remade for the Japanese Sega Saturn with considerable story, graphical, and musical changes. These remakes were later ported to the PlayStation in Japan and North America. The first game was also ported to the Microsoft Windows computer platform in Japan and Korea, and was later remade for the Game Boy Advance and PlayStation Portable in Japan and North America.

A side-story game, Lunar: Walking School for the Game Gear, was also remade for the Sega Saturn but has seen no North America release in any form. Backed by publisher Ubisoft, Game Arts created a new Lunar installment for the Nintendo DS, released in September 2005 in North America.

Plot[edit]

Promotion of Lunar: Silver Star Harmony at the TGS 2009

The Lunar stories take place on an inhabitable moon called Lunar, or "The Silver Star," that orbits a planet known as "The Blue Star." Thousands of years ago, the Blue Star was infected with evil by a dark god named Zophar. His evil corrupted the hearts of people, turning some into monsters to do his bidding. The survivors cried out to the patron-deity of the Blue Star, a Goddess named Althena, for help. She confronted Zophar in an epic battle, and was only able to stop him by using her powers of creation to seal him in another dimension, destroying nearly all life on the planet in the process.

Unable to restore the planet until several millennia had passed, Althena instead chose to transform the planet's moon into an earthlike world, and transported the survivors there. These included not only humans but also a race of "beast-men," and another race of elf-like beings skilled in wielding magic.[citation needed] There was also a fourth race of people who would later come to be known as "The Vile Tribe" after they rejected Althena's teachings. She was forced to banish them to an area of Lunar called "The Frontier," a barren wasteland where even Althena's magical power could not reach. They became enemies of Althena and her followers for thousands of years.

To protect Lunar, Althena created four intelligent Dragons – a white one, a red one, a blue one, and a black one – that each shared a part of her divine power. There are only four Dragons at any given time, though they are replaced over time with younger ones. Strangely, during their infancy, these dragons resemble talking, winged cats, until they claim the power of their predecessor and ascend to adulthood. The Dragons spend most of their time sleeping underground until they are needed.

Althena also decreed that there would be a champion called The Dragonmaster to lead Lunar's heroes. This person would be anyone who managed to make their way to the hidden lairs of the Four Dragons, and pass their harrowing trials. There have been many Dragonmasters across the centuries, and many on Lunar have striven to achieve that title. The people of Lunar became very devoted to Althena, though many remember Lunar's origins as only an old legend. The various Lunar games and manga cover different events in Lunar's history.

Games[edit]

Main series[edit]

Title Original release date

Japan

North America

PAL region

Lunar: The Silver Star June 26, 1992 (Mega CD) December 1, 1993 (Sega CD) October 27, 2010 (PSP)
Notes:
  • Originally released for the Mega CD in Japan in 1992, and in North America in 1993.
  • The game made use of animated cutscenes placed at specific points in the story, which would later become a trademark of the series.
  • First game to tell the story of Alex, a boy who longs to become a Dragonmaster, servant of the Goddess Althena, and champion of justice.
  • The title was remade for the Sega Saturn in 1996 and released as Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete.
  • This version was ported to the PlayStation in 1998 and Windows in 1999.
  • The enhanced remake served as the basis for a number of other ports: Lunar Legend for the Game Boy Advance in 2001, Lunar: Silver Star Harmony for the PlayStation Portable in 2009, and Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch for iOS platforms in 2012.
  • Lunar Legend deviates slightly from other ports; though many elements of Silver Star Story Complete are present, it adds new plot points while getting rid of others.
Lunar: Eternal Blue December 22, 1994 (Mega CD) September 15, 1995 (Sega CD) N/A
Notes:
  • Second game in the series, also released for the Mega CD in Japan in December 1994 and the Sega CD in North America in September 1995.
  • This game saw improvements in both graphics and sound, as well as being a much longer game.
  • The story takes place 1,000 years after Lunar: The Silver Star.
  • The plot centers around Hiro, an adventurer who gets caught up in a quest to save the world from an ancient evil known as Zophar.
  • The title was remade for the Sega Saturn in 1998.
  • This version was ported to the PlayStation in 1999 and released as Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete.
  • The game is available in Japan as part of the PS one Classics series, and can be played on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV.

Spin-offs[edit]

Title Original release date

Japan

North America

PAL region

Lunar: Sanposuru Gakuen January 12, 1996 (Game Gear) N/A N/A
Notes:
  • Only released in Japan for the Sega Game Gear in 1996.[1]
  • Though it deviates from the play style of the first two games (mostly due to the limitations of the Game Gear hardware), it takes place in the same world.
  • Even though it was released after Lunar: The Silver Star, it takes places hundreds of years before it.
  • In this game, the hero is a girl named Ellie who must solve the mystery of a magic school while stopping the resurrection of a great evil presence known only as "D".
  • The title was remade for the Sega Saturn in October 1997 and released as Mahō Gakuen Lunar! exclusively in Japan.
  • An unofficial translation patch made by fans was released for the Game Gear version in 2009.[2]
All the Lunar: Hyper Applications July, 1999 (Windows OS) N/A N/A
Notes:
  • Released only in Japan as a CD-ROM for Windows 95 and Windows 98 in 1999.[3]
  • It contains a variety of software for Windows-based operational systems, as well as wallpapers, art galleries and a digital daifugō card game with characters from Silver Star Story and Eternal Blue.[4]
Lunar: Dragon Song August 25, 2005 (Nintendo DS) September 27, 2005 (Nintendo DS) February 27, 2006 (Nintendo DS)
Notes:
  • Released in Japan and Europe as Lunar Genesis, and in North America as Lunar: Dragon Song, exclusively for the Nintendo DS.
  • First game in the series to be officially released in Europe.
  • The story takes place 1,000 years before Lunar: The Silver Star, making it the earliest game in the series chronologically.
  • The game tells the story of a courier named Jian who is pulled into an adventure where he must save the people of Lunar from being overrun by the Vile Tribe, as well as helping to ease tensions between humans and beastmen.

Reception[edit]

The Lunar series has spawned a variety of other works in the setting, including a manga series, two artbooks, as well as novelizations of The Silver Star, Magic School Lunar! and Eternal Blue. The console titles have generally been received very positively; the two PlayStation versions generally place well in considerations of the best games available for the system.[5] The original two games, and their remakes, have reviewed very well, averaging between 82% and 91%,[6] and with Eternal Blue generally agreed to be the highest-reviewed Sega CD title in the history of the platform.[7] Lunar Dragon Song, however, was panned critically, with an aggregate rating of 58% on GameRankings.[8]

Future[edit]

Since the release of the enhanced remakes of Lunar: Silver Star Story and Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, rumors have come and gone concerning the development of a game known only as Lunar 3. In a 1998 interview,[9] Victor Ireland, president of Working Designs, stated that Lunar 3 was "in development" and scheduled for release (at least in the U.S.) for the PlayStation 2. However, several delays later, no such game was ever revealed by Game Arts or Entertainment Software Publishing, the Japanese publisher of the series. It has been speculated that an English version Magic School Lunar! would be called "Lunar 3", but this has been proven false as well.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [セガハード大百科] ゲームギア対応ソフトウェア(ソフトライセンシー発売) (in Japanese). Sega. Archived from the original on 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2015-11-15. 
  2. ^ Romhacking.net
  3. ^ Tsutaya
  4. ^ LunarNET
  5. ^ IGN (January 22, 2002). "IGN: Top 25 PS1 Games of All Time". ign.com. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  6. ^ GameRankings (May 10, 2009). "GameRankings: Review Data for Lunar Series". gamerankings.com. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  7. ^ GameRankings (May 10, 2009). "GameRankings: Review Data for Lunar Eternal Blue". gamerankings.com. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  8. ^ GameRankings (May 10, 2009). "GameRankings: Review Data for Lunar Dragon Song". gamerankings.com. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  9. ^ Webber and Rudo. "Interviews - Victor Ireland (Interview 1)." LunarNET. May 1998. Last accessed on 17 October 2005.

External links[edit]