Lunar is one of the best traditional RPGs for the Playstation. Since Final Fantasy 7 came out there haven't been many overhead 16 bit style RPGs to come on the PSX, and the ones that did were nothing to speak about. Then came Working Designs, who updated thier Sega CD classic, adding anime cut scenes with voice and redoing over 50% of the game. One special feature of Lunar is the packaging, it comes with a Making of Lunar CD, which is about 20 minutes long showing you how everyone came together to make Lunar, a soundtrack CD, a clothe map, useless but cool, a leatherbound instruction booklet with a ribbon page holder and 2 game CDs, not to mention the cardboard box it comes in with a velcro strap over it, and a hidden game in the Making of Lunar CD, which is a good remake of Warlords for Atari 2600 using the characters in Lunar. All this doesn't affect the game, but it is pretty amazing nonetheless.
The graphics in Lunar are very crisp and clear, and are reminiscent of the graphics found in games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 3. The overworld graphics look very much like Chrono Trigger, while the main graphics in towns and dungeons look like those of a traditional Sega RPG. Overall, the world of Lunar is a bright place, and the graphics reflect that. Every now and then, when you meet a new main character or a special event happens, you get to see an anime cut scene. I don't really like these cut scenes, the voice acting seems too contrite and they only show the new character being introduced saying, like, one phrase- pointless if you ask me. Some of the cutscenes later in the game are better though. One thing I like is that when you speak to a main character, a small anime picture of them is shown off to the left of the dialogue box, and each character has different pictures for different moods. Other than that, there's not really much to say about Lunar's graphics, they're your pretty basic RPG graphics updated to PSX standards.
Graphics Rating: 79
The game plays pretty smoothly outside of battle. My major gripe with this game is the menu system, it's too dang hard to figure out. Even at the end of the game I was still messing up in the menu. Also, items must be equipped to a person for that person to use it. This can get very annoying, but can also add an extra edge of strategy to major boss fights. The battles take some getting used to, characters, aligned on the right, have an attack range, and can only attack an enemy if they are close enough. Then when they attack, they walk up to the enemy to hit them and stay in that spot. Each character gets his/her own set of magic with no chance to learn each others magic. One thing I do like is that battles are accessed by running into a visible enemy on the screen, and not randomly accessed just by walking around. The game leads you around by the nose, with little to do on the side. It seemed like the pit stops in towns were always too short, and long, hard dungeons were much too close together. The game always throws you back into the battle scenarios with little time to let your brain rest.
Working Designs put a lot of effort into making the music for Lunar, they hired a sound team who spent 6 months writing over 100 songs for the PSX remake. I can't say that it paid off. I mean, some of the music is really great, but it's not as good as they were aiming for, IMO. Not too many of the tracks really grab me like some other RPG songs do. For the most part, it's hum drum easy listening music. In all fairness there are a few really great songs though. The voice clips are amazing, too, each character has a voice clip right before he/she performs a spell. There's also voice clips during the anime cut scenes, some of the actors do a good job, like the man who did Ghaleons voice seemed dead-on with his Ghaleon voice. And Luna's singing voice is pretty impressive too. The sound effects are nothing to speak of, but they do thier job.
Sound Rating: 87
The storyline is what sticks out in Lunar. It's done very nicely, that's one good thing about the linearity of the game is that it keeps the storyline interesting. When you start out, you meet the hero, Alex, standing at the monument of his hero, Dragonmaster Dyne, as you hear his voice reminiscing about how he's a fanatic about Dyne and how he longs to go on an adventure, just like his hero. After that, his money-hungry friend Ramus comes up to him, and tells him about the dragon diamond that's been found in a cave just outside his town. And so Alex starts his big adventure, but not without his tag-along girlfriend Luna. If you've played any RPG before, you'll know that thier adventure doesn't stop there, it links to something bigger and bigger until Alex and his friends are fighting to save the entire world. Along the way there are many twists and turns that have to do with Luna and Dragonmaster Dyne, and Alex meets many interesting characters on his quest, while always being accompanied by his companion, Nall, who appears to be a flying cat with wings (there's more than meets the eye with him, too). Also, there's a Goddess over the world of Lunar named Althena (you'll find out ALL about her before you finish the game). The story was presented in grand fashion, but sometimes it seems as if there are too many twists, and often the game gives things away long before they actually happen, which is annoying. Sort of like self-spoilers.
Storyline Rating: 93
I haven't replayed it, that should tell you something. RPGs have always had a problem with replay value, some games find ways around it, like Chrono Triggers multiple endings. Some RPGs are so great you just have to play them again, like Final Fantasy 3. Lunar, though, does almost nothing for replay value. They do let you view all of the anime cut scenes after you've beaten the game, but that's not very fun and it's irritating because some of the scenes are contained on disc 1, and others on disc 2, and you have to switch between them if you want to view them. If you like this game a lot, it may warrant a replay, but I haven't played Lunar since the day after I first beat it. Replay Value: 60
(not an average)
Lunar is a great game while it lasts, but it's cut a little short, I beat it in 24 hours, and there's really nothing to keep you playing after you beat it. Lords of Lunar, the hidden game on The Making of Lunar CD, is a hoot though! I've played it almost as much as I have Lunar itself.