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So good, they can't stop remaking it.

Lunar: The Silver Star is the first game in the the Game Arts-developed Lunar series of console role-playing games. The game has gotten multiple Remakes and/or Updated Rereleases over the years on multiple platforms. The titles are:

All four games tell the story of a young man named Alex who sets out on a classic hero's journey with all the trimmings. The details vary a bit from version to version, but have the same underlying structure: the protagonist, Alex, admires a famous hero named Dragonmaster Dyne who died 15 years prior. So, when a dragon offers him the call to adventure, he jumps at it, seeing it as an opportunity to follow in his idol's footsteps. His journey gets him mixed up in a conflict between the forces of good and a villain called Magic Emperor, with the fate of the world at stake. By facing this foe, Alex gains the wherewithal to make all his dreams come true. He goes on a grand adventure, prevails against the baddie when it seems like all hope is lost, gets the girl, and saves the world.

The plot is traditional (and thus predictable) and the gameplay is much the same - anyone who has played an Eastern RPG will be perfectly at home with Lunar. To be as successful as it's been, other elements have to seize the player's interest. In this case, those are the writing and the music. The blend of engaging characters, the colorful writing full of shout outs and fourth wall breaking humor, and the acclaimed soundtrack (two of them, as Lunar: The Silver Star's music is distinct from the others) are what has given Lunar its staying power.

The original Lunar 1 was released in North America back in 1993 - long enough ago that the plot twists actually surprised some players. In 1999 the widely-played Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete remake was released on PlayStation, and it strongly influenced the versions to follow. Lunar Legend was released in 2001, early in the life of the Game Boy Advance; opinions on it are mixed, so Your Mileage May Vary on its quality. Most recently, Lunar: Silver Star Harmony was released on PSP. It is heavily based on Working Designs' version of Silver Star Story; the new localizer XSeed even brought Jennifer Stigile (fan-favorite singer/voice actress from the Working Designs talent pool) on board to re-record English versions of the songs.

Lunar 1 provides examples of:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Subverted. Just before the final confrontation, Ramus recognizes Alex as a true hero, and allows you to take any item you want from his shop for free.
  • A Human Am I: Luna.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Vile Tribe in The Silver Star. The remakes add exceptions.
  • Ancient Keeper: Damon, the elderly, beard-sporting, robe-wearing keeper of knowledge and provider of Plot Coupons.
  • An Axe to Grind: Not a playable character, but Master/Hell Mel can wield an axe that is much larger and heavier than he is..with only one hand.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Despite her mild-mannered and shy personality, Mia wields a bitch slap that visibly leaves a mark.
  • Artificial Brilliance: In the PSP remake; it's important to protect Jessica against the final boss because he actually goes after her first!
  • Ascended Extra: In the Sega-CD game, Luna is in the party for about a fourth of the game and doesn't have a major role until she gets kidnapped and brainwashed into the evil goddess around the halfway point. In Silver Star Story, she stays with the party until the aformentioned kidnapping.
  • Award Bait Song: Tsubasa/Wings and Wind's Nocturne from Silver Star Story/Harmony. Both songs fit the description to a T.
  • Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: Despite all their fighting, Kyle breaks out of stone to save Jessica.
  • Badass Normal: Despite being part of a group that also contains three magic users and guy who dreams of becoming a Dragonmaster and eventually does, Kyle is content with taking a sword and slaying monsters with brute force.
  • Batman Gambit: The Magic Emperor uses the heroes' altruism to help him achieve his goals. There's a bit of dramatic irony there because Ghaleon's introduction makes him damn close to Obviously Evil. But he is a Villain with Good Publicity who actually uses his right-hand woman to deflect suspicion off of himself.
  • Base on Wheels: The Magic Emperor's Grindery, a castle on huge tank treads.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Jessica and Kyle.
  • Broken Bridge: Played with. In Meryod, your party members literally break a bridge themselves.
  • The Archer: Tempest is a textbook example. Nash can also wield bows as an alternative to his first weapon of choice.
  • Betting Minigame: The original Lunar features a blackjack mini-game with Brett in Saith. A bit of advice: do not take up his offer for a double-or-nothing game. He's a Cheating Bastard from Reza, the game's designated city of thieves. As it turns out, there is another NPC in Reza who will play the same game with you, but she proves less of a jerk by playing fair.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Kyle - party resident crude, muscle-bound leader of a band of (friendly!) bandits. In the remakes he fools enemies with a considerably ugly and unconvincing Wholesome Crossdresser disguise. Another example is Master Mel - a crude, muscle-bound former leader of a band of pirates.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Not really her position, but in the remakes of Silver Star, Xenobia harbors an unrequited love for Ghaleon. She even seems aware that he'll never return her affections, and claims it's part of what attracts her to him.
    • In the intro to Harmony, Dragonmaster Dyne acts like a schoolboy trying to work up the courage to ask Althena to the big dance. Ghaleon might have had a thing for her, too. He's either a devout believer in the Goddess, or he's crushing on her, hard. Or both.
  • Boring but Practical: The Sega CD version gave the characters several more spells for all characters -- including attack songs for Luna -- but several of these were just multi-target variations on existing spells or were too overspecialized to be useful (curing only sleep instead of all status effects, for instance). Silver Star Story, in contrast, gives each character only up to eight spells, tops.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Nash.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Whoof. All versions of Silver Star are a classic example of this being played perfectly straight, to the disquiet of many. Alex and Luna not even remotely related, sure (what with Luna being an incarnated divinity and all), but the game makes explicit the fact that they've been raised together since they were infants. Apparently the writers don't think the Westermarck effect should kick in, for some reason. This is one of the few real points of contention on the game's quality these days.
  • Brown Note: One of the girls in Silver Star fancies herself a potential kidnapping victim, since the Magic Emperor is collecting singers, but... "tone deaf" is putting it nicely. Also, Luna/Althena's singing under the Magic Emperor's influence can cause pain and illnesses.
  • But Thou Must!: Occasionally Lampshaded; one NPC that does this to you says that he can keep this up much longer than you can. Better still, it's a villain, asking you to let him go since he's learned his lesson...
    • You will always get the White Dragon Wings stolen from Nall, regardless of whether Nall even has them.
  • Capital City: Lunar 1 has the Merchant City and Shining City types, played very straight and very faithfully.
  • Captain Obvious: Nall, especially in the Sega CD original.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The sword in Dyne's Monument.
    • Alex's ocarina. You start with it in your inventory, and you never use it until the very end of the game. May also count as a Guide Dang It.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Any time a female NPC flirts with Alex, you can expect the next page of text to be an angry remark from Luna.
  • Covert Pervert: Ramus, debatably. He has a rather large number of bromides of females...
  • Crutch Character: Laike late in the game.
  • Cute Monster Girl: A lot of the Vile Tribe appear as goblin-like monsters. However, the three witches who lead them are hot chicks in Stripperiffic outfits.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Magic Emperor. It helps that he's seen all this before, from the other side. He knows how heroes think.
  • Death Glare: Done for laughs with Mel's introduction, capping off a Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon threat.
  • Duet Bonding: Used for blatant ship tease in the remakes, as Alex and Luna perform duets together with ocarina and vocals. It shows up most memorably in Lyton, where only a duet of true love can open the path to the Blue Dragon's Shrine. So, Kyle and Jessica try it, as well as Nash and Mia... unfortunately, all four are lousy singers and fail, but the ship tease is still pretty heavy. Alex and Luna, on the other hand, are able to open the shrine despite Luna being nowhere in sight, hearing the song through the pure Power of Love.
  • The Dragon: Xenobia of the Vile Tribe. In the remakes, she is joined by her sisters Royce and Phacia. The skeletal remains of the Black Dragon in The Silver Star arguably counts.
  • Doomed Hometown: Burg is razed by the Magic Emperor, while all its inhabitants are kidnapped and pressed into slavery (they're rescued eventually). Only in the original version, though, as this was left out of the remakes.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the PSP remake, if you choose to let Laike help you in the ambush, Luna will joke about Alex's skills, saying that if he doesn't improve quick enough, then there wouldn't be anyone to save her. Anyone who has played the earlier versions of the game know just how dark the meaning behind her words are.
  • Eternal Engine: Might's Tower, Taben's Tower, and the Grindery are all machine-themed dungeons.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Luna. Also, observe the progression of Ghaleon's Four Heroes costume, his Premier outfit, and the Magic Emperor armor. And his final costume exhibits Bishonen Line.
  • Evil Overlord: The Magic Emperor is this and Card-Carrying Villain for the most part, and pulls off the traditional Evil Overlord look with style. There is some hidden moral ambiguity in his reason to conquer the world, though.
  • Face Heel Turn: Ghaleon.
  • Fake Defector: Nash, in the original Silver Star. This was changed to a genuine Face Heel Turn in the remakes.
  • Fake King: Xenobia replacing Lemia Ausa in Silver Star.
  • Fantastic Racism: Between humans and the Vile Tribe. Humans regard the Vile Tribe as Always Chaotic Evil and the Vile Tribe hates them for exiling them to a barren wasteland where they can barely eke out a miserable existence.
    • Subverted for beastmen: Jessica and Hell Mel's appearances are barely worthy of comment.
  • Fighting a Shadow: The first battle against "Ghaleon" in the remakes. It went down a little differently in The Silver Star.
  • Five-Bad Band: Played straight.
  • Five-Man Band: The games have a variation of this; The Chick is the Mysterious Waif, but ends up as a Distressed Damsel before the game is over. Instead, there's an extra spot for The Medic.
  • Floating Continent: The magic city of Vane. The first time you go through, you have to pass through a large dungeon with enemies that are highly resistant to physical attacks. Once you make it to the end of the dungeon, you don't have to visit it again.
  • Genre Blindness: The main cast, when they initially meet him, have not the slightest hint of an idea that Ghaleon is eviler than evil, despite all the pretty silver hair and evil eyes and such. Obviously, this puts them at a disadvantage against a Dangerously Genre Savvy enemy. Amusingly, as Lunar: The Silver Star was one of the first RPGs ever to land in the West, a lot of people actually fell for it.
    • Let's be fair now, he's only a hero who protected the world from evil in very recent memory, and it's not like any of the other great heroes were evil.
  • Generation Xerox: The original and current generation of heroes. Made very explicit in the intro to Harmony.
    • Hell Mel and Lemia bicker like Kyle and Jess.
    • Dyne rescues Althena like Alex rescues Luna.
    • Ghaleon is devoted to Althena in a way similar to Nash's feelings for Mia, and they both sort of Face Heel Turn because of that person.
  • Get on the Boat: From Caldor Island to the main continent and back. In the original game, Luna stays behind and wishes Alex good luck, but in the remake, she stays with you for quite a while...just long enough to get kidnapped by Ghaleon.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Silver Star Story, examine the chicken in Alex's house. An irritated Nall will comment on how they wake him up in the morning and how he wants to "choke them."
  • Good Parents: Alex is a rare RPG protagonist who still has two living parents, and his father helps you get through the game's first dungeon. After this, however, they don't play much of a role in the plot.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Tempest, Laike and Ghaleon.
  • Guide Dang It: Getting all the Bromides and secret items. These are instances of Difficulty by Region in the Working Designs versions.
    • WD changed the triggers for some items in Silver Star Story Complete so that they were nigh impossible for the player to find without instructions. No such changes were made in Harmony, so the secret items are easier to find.
    • Raise your hand if you knew right away that you were supposed to play music to Luna at the end of the game so she won't fry you with lightning. WD added this to their versions, so Lunar Legend and Silver Star Harmony are more straightforward.
  • Heel Face Turn: Nash from Silver Star Story Complete counts. It takes a huge slap from his mistress and beatdown by the party to knock some sense into him.
    • Phacia from Silver Star Story Complete.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Zigzagged, because while the Dragonmaster outfit comes with a red helmet, Alex only wears it in his portrait; the in-game sprite goes without it.
  • Heroic BSOD: Dyne's supposed death is one of the reasons Ghaleon turned to the side of evil.
  • Hero Worshipper: Alex really, really loves Dragonmaster Dyne...but not in that way, of course. He actually gets a chance to live out his dream.
    • Ghaleon towards Althena in the intro to Harmony: appropriate, since she is a goddess.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: In the first remake, you're treated to a bunch of these if you watch the credits roll completely. Unsurprisingly, the VA for the Magic Emperor gets the lion's share of these.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Part of why Ghaleon thinks Lunar needs a god.
  • Humans Are Special: Why Althena thinks that it doesn't.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: If Alex wants to survive approaching Luna/Althena at the climax while she assails him with lightning, he has to play his harp/ocarina first to reach out to her remaining humanity and love for him.
  • Incest Is Relative: The town of Meryod is populated entirely by inbred hicks, who seem to delight in mentioning their squicky close interrelation with each other.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kyle. Because of the way he is, Jessica can't decide if she loves him or hates his guts.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Kyle.
  • Kaizo Trap: So you just beat the Magic Emperor. If you're playing The Silver Star or Silver Star Story Complete, do remember to play the harp/ocarina, mmkay?
  • Large Ham: The Magic Emperor. Also, Hell Mel to a lesser extent.
  • Lethal Chef: When Jessica announces that she plans to make dinner, the staff panic. Her utter inability to cook bothers her deeply, since she doesn't exactly like being unfeminine.
  • Level Scaling: The bosses in Silver Star Story Complete/Silver Star Harmony adjust their statistics with Alex's level (up to level 50), making over-leveling impractical.
  • Lull Destruction: Silver Star Story Complete, when Ghaleon makes his Face Heel Turn official Working Designs fills what would otherwise be silence with Evil Gloating.
  • Magic Music: Luna's special attacks. Also she can make people sick and raise the fortress of Althena with her music.
  • Mind Rape: Before the party can fight her, Xenobia casts a spell that forces each of the characters to face their own inner doubts in the form of an illusory evil twin.
  • Music for Courage: Luna and the other imprisoned girls in the Grindery when Alex is trying to raise the Blue Dragon Shrine.
  • Musical Spoiler: In Silver Star Story Complete, the Alex's Ocarina item functions as a music test. One of the tracks is titled "Magic Emperor Ghaleon". Yeah...
  • My Friends and Zoidberg: In Harmony, when Jessica mopes after the rest of your party gets turned to stone.

  Jessica: "My father... my friends... and Kyle..."

    • Granted, this one is a bit different than usual, as instead of the Zoidberg here being less important than the others, the loss of Kyle is the one that hits Jess the hardest.
  • Names to Know In Anime: In the Japanese version of the original Sega CD game, there are only a few voice actors, including Kikuko Inoue voicing both Alex and Luna, Rei Sakuma as Nall and Rokuro Naya as Ghaleon. In the remakes, the voices are recast and expand to include...
  • No Loves Intersect: The main party can be broken down into three perfect Official Couples; the question is not who's going to hook up with who, but how. Possibly not the case for the previous generation, though.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Luna is Alex's adopted sister. Thankfully, this fact is not brought up much, and they are presented more as childhood friends than as brother and sister.
  • Not Herself: Lemia. She throws Alex and company into the dungeon upon their first meeting at the Vane magic guild. It is later revealed that this Lemia was actually Xenobia, and the real Lemia was thrown in the dungeon and slapped with a crown that robbed her of most of her memory.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Althena's Sword is an example of the Sword in the Stone variety.
  • Our Angels Are Different: In The Silver Star, Alex must journey to Althena's Tower as the final step to become a Dragonmaster. Two winged, humanoid dragons (the Dragon Angels) challenge him to a two-on-one Duel Boss for the right to wield Althena's Sword. All of the remakes cut them out entirely.
  • Port Town: Saith, the town where your party gets on the boat.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Right before his return voyage to Caldor\Honmel Island, Alex has a dream that Luna gets taken away from him. Guess what happens when he actually goes back?
  • Razor Wind: Kyle's "Sonic Riser" attack, which is lampshaded with a kamaitachi reference in the description: "release weasel."
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Most evil or possessed characters get red eyes in Silver Star Story. Most notably, Luna's eyes turn red after she is both revealed as the Goddess Althena and brainwashed by the Big Bad.
  • Reference Overdosed: The English translation goes nuts with this. Characters will talk about anything from Courtney Love to Wheaties.
  • Retired Badass: Laike the man once known as Dragonmaster Dyne
  • Sarcastic Clapping: The Magic Emperor, after Alex defeats the Black Dragon in The Silver Star. Nice job breaking the seal on Althena, hero.
  • Say My Name:

 Alex: "LUNA!"

Luna: "ALEX!"


 Quark: Don't they know that they're my sh-

  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: Played straight in the original versions. Ghaleon and Laike join your party for a single mission each, and you can take all their equipment and sell it. They're both ridiculously powerful, and can usually beat whatever comes to them bare-handed.
    • Unfortunately, this is averted in the remakes - the equipment menus for temporary characters are locked down.
  • Straw Man Has a Point: Ghaleon's belief in the Complete and Harmony versions, that humanity needs a god for protection, and cannot look after itself, turns out to have been extremely well-founded considering the events of the sequel.
  • Sure Why Not: For many years there was nary a hint about Ghaleon's background. Coupled with the fact that his appearance doesn't fit any of Lunar's races, this sparked substantial fan speculation. The spin-off manga Lunar: Vheen Airship Story proposed that Ghaleon is the last of a long-lived Vile Tribe subspecies that once ruled the magic city of Vane. One of these details was imported into Silver Star Harmony to become the only canon bit of Ghaleon background - the member of a long-lived race part.
  • A Taste of Power: In Harmony, the prologue sequence involves controlling the Four Heroes in their prime. They're all based on what the main cast would eventually become (though missing a member - Ghaleon doubles for both Jessica and Nash).
  • Taken for Granite: Hell Mel.
  • Three Amigos: Alex, Ramus, and Luna.
  • Tin Tyrant: The Magic Emperor.
  • Tomboyish Name: Royce.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Nash apparently in his introduction in the Silver Star Story/Harmony, though he's not that bad in rest of the game. The party comes across a very Obvious Trap, commenting that only a complete idiot would fall for such a thing. Cue Nash screaming for help.
  • Troperiffic: The head writer knew that the twists in Lunar 1 were easy to read. That's what he was was going for - rewarding genre savvy players by playing to their expectations.
  • Tsundere: Jessica, who as a priestess-in-training has a sensitive side, but also a very mean streak...especially when her boyfriend Kyle does something stupid.
    • Which is rather often.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Alex's party. See also Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Vanilla Edition: Silver Star Story got the Feelies-free Fanart Edition three years after its original U.S. release, and Silver Star Harmony released regular and limited editions simultaneously.
  • Vendor Trash: The Sega CD version contained so much Vendor Trash that the remakes feel downright devoid of items by comparison.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: In Lunar: Silver Star Story, there is The Fortress of Althena/Azure City of Althena which is a huge floating city with the Goddess Tower located in the center, and sucks out the life energy of the land, essentially turning the surface of the world into something like our moon. Not to mention that as soon as it appears, the entire sky turns dark. Everyone is afraid of it and once it has been risen, everyone seems to lose hope in life.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Luna's First Girl Wins cred? Unbeatable.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Though he's never shown tending to it, the Magic Emperor keeps a garden. A garden full of pixies, to boot. Could count as a Pet the Dog moment, since most of the pixies think he's genuinely nice, if out of touch with reality. The first time the party meets him as Ghaleon, he's also shown to be good with a lute.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Ghaleon milks this one as well as anyone, effectively turning the heroes into his minions.
  • Visible Silence: Alex is the king of this.
  • Weapon Tombstone: In the remakes, Dyne's Monument has his sword stuck in it. Eventually, Alex pulls it out and uses it to become the Dragonmaster.
  • Welcome to the Big City: All the party members are thrilled to arrive in the bustling Merchant City of Meribia early in the game. Being that the story is high in idealism, just about everyone in Meribia is as friendly and well-meaning as can be. That doesn't keep the party from getting robbed by a crooked jeweler, though.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Ramus' dad, the mayor of Burg, won't accept his son's insistence on leaving the continent for any reason.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Magic Emperor, albeit much more in Silver Star Story than the original.
  • Wham! Episode: The Silver Star: Midgame wham - Ghaleon is a traitor, kills Quark, and kidnaps Luna. In the span of about 2 minutes.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The reason for Ghaleon's Face Heel Turn in all versions, although the details vary.
  • Whip It Good: Tempest, but only in the original game; Game Arts stuck him with a bow in all the remakes.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Ghaleon, one of the earliest examples for Western audiences.