Lunar is probably the one title that Working Designs is best known for. Specializing in importing, translating, and doing a little programming to bring select titles from Japan to the West, Working Designs made it their mission to bring over hits like this to expose these works to fans across the Pacific putting a number of classics under their belt. But Lunar holds a special place in their history as well as within the memories of many fans that remember it on the Sega CD. Despite what anyone may think of their “handling” of certain translations, Working Designs delivered a JRPG winner with Lunar.
I knew someone that fell in love with Luna’s singing voice on the Sega CD and I only got a chance to play the game after it was re-released for the Playstation with its own omake box and a Ghaleon hand puppet for pre-orders.
Lunar is full of the kind of innocent charm that a story like it thrives on with struggles steeped in anime flavored high fantasy, good friends, and devious villains. The turn-based combat system was old-school: grinding could take awhile to get those levels up, but not to obnoxious levels, and the wonderful soundtrack helped to soothe your patience. And the characters? All of them energized the story with their own personalities whether it was tomboyish Jessica, the headstrong Nash, or Luna’s own quiet and welcoming reserve.
Today, it’s heralded as one of the true classics of the genre and its sequel, Lunar: Eternal Blue, would be follow as a solid game in its own right. The remake on the Playstation featured more animated scenes added in along with voice acting, more material, and support specific to the system such as dual memory cards and expanding the save slots from only three to fifteen. The omake box also contained a hardcover, embossed manual that included a walkthrough – a first for Working Designs.
Though the Sega CD wasn’t as huge a hit as Sega hoped it would be, it left behind a legacy of wonderfully creative titles – some of which were never remade for later consoles such as the Playstation. But for JRPG fans, especially those wearing retro-colored glasses, the fact that Lunar had made it as far as it has is only proof positive of its storytelling chops, fascinating characters, and solid gameplay.
So here’s the ad for the Sega CD version featuring the cover art from the giant manual insert which also doubled as the case’s “cover”. Working Designs loved to use their stable of anime art to great effect in getting people excited about their games. The cover for Lunar: The Silver Star shows off all of the key characters to the game of whom are ready to tell their stories and fight the good fight…with one or two plotting the end of the world. Muahaha…