Game Arts - Tested on the Game Boy Advance in 2004
On a backwater island, far away from the main continend, a boy holds his dream high of becoming a Dragonmaster like his hero, Dyne. Dyne was born in the same village as Alex, the boy just mentioned. When someday suddenly a magician from the grand flying city of Vane appeared who was on the way of becoming a Dragonmaster as well, Alex had the chance to at least meet a living Dragon. Along with his childhood girlfriend Luna and his clumsy buddy Ramus, he guides the magician from Vane to the White Dragon Cave - not knowing that this step will change his whole life.
This is the beginning of Lunar Legend, another remake of the '93 Sega CD game "Lunar: Silver Star". The story of Alex becoming a dragonmaster and fighting for his love fascinated millions of players around the world. This time, the Gameboy Advance is the storyteller of this epic and romantic story.
Gameplay-wise, Lunar Legend is your standard round-based RPG. Within Dungeons, you have to face random encounters, and within these encounters, you have the standard functions of attack, defense and skill. the "auto"-function is a bit different from other RPGs since in Lunar, "auto battle" means that the AI decides on its own whether it uses skills, items, attacks or runs away. This seems to be convenient, but the AI excessively uses your ressources - MP and items - so that you don't have much of these left after a couple of fights. Different from other RPGs is the possibility to attack more than once per round, depending from your characters class, skill and the weapon he or she has equipped. New to the Lunar series is the possibility to initiate special skills after inflicting several hits to the enemies.
Outside of the battles you won't face any surprises. The towns are filled with communicative citizens, shops and so on. Lunar-like, you can save wherever and whenever you want. It's a pity that there are just two save slots available. There's no overworld in the game, there's just a small map where you can pinpoint your destination.
The graphics are very nice, espcially for the GBA and especially for a RPG on the GBA. In cutscenes, the camera angle "shifts" side-face, where you can watch perfectly animated sprites and nice backgrounds. Sometimes, the screen fades and nicely drawn anime-styled pictures show you what's going on. Those are the replacement for the legendary Lunar-videos (which couldn't possibly be ported to the GBA), for those who played any of the prior installments.
The music has been made by Noriyuki Iwadare, and the melodies are quite great. Sadly enough, Game Arts wasn't able to use the GBA soundchip properly, so even if the melodies are great, the sound quality is poor. That's disappointing. Sound effects are decent, but sometimes buggy.
·Poor sound quality
Lunar Legend is truly a great game, despite all of its smaller and bigger flaws. The story is great and still fascinating despite its original age, the graphics create lots of atmosphere and the game is fun to play, although it is a bit too easy. If it weren't for the poor sound quality, Lunar Legend would be one of the best GBA RPGs - but even considering that, the game is still a pretty good game.