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  -Part 1 :: [02.22.03]
  -Part 2 :: [05.23.03]
  -Part 3 :: [02.01.04]
  -Part 4 :: [08.17.04]
  -Part 5 :: [02.17.05]
  -Part 6 :: [02.17.06]
  -Part 7 :: [08.06.08]
  -Part 8 :: [08.28.11]
  -Part 9 :: [05.17.13]
  -Part 10 :: [11.26.13]
  -Part 11 :: [11.24.14]

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"'I am here to guide [Suelette], daughter of the [manjuice] lineage, on her journey to heaven as the seventh Chosen,' he announces, spraying pretentious exposition all over the unsuspecting party. Based on this, we now know that there have been six other Chosen Ones since the events described in the opening story. And given that the world appears to be very much not dead, it would seem that they all succeeded in their own journeys of regeneration. Good to know. Also, 'journey to heaven' might set off alarm bells for anyone who's ever played FFX or really any RPG ever. Could this be a reference to the ultimate sacrifice? Will Suelette...die at the end of her journey? We won't find out until later. How suspenseful!"
     -Jeanne, Tales of Symphonia Part 2

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Lunar: Silver Star Story : Part 1
By Sam
Posted 02.22.03
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Before we get going with this game, I should clarify that this is a recap of Lunar Silver Star Story Complete for the Playstation. Seems a bit silly that I'd need to mention that, but considering this very game has appeared on four different consoles, to varying degrees of story consistency, I figured you'd like to know.

So. Lunar.

The game opens up with a movie-sized list of production credits. Lunar, according to the repetitive, boring interviews on the Making Of disc, is very much like a playable movie, so I suppose that explains it. I for one am thankful that I can enjoy it without spending $40 on a ticket, a small soda and small popcorn. Josh informs me that the game cost something like $60 when he bought it, somewhat justifying the overpriced comparison, but hey, that wasn't my money.

Anime cinematic time! It starts out over water, giving the somewhat mundane background necessary to list the production credits, AGAIN. This time with Working Designs featured prominently at the beginning. I'm sure between this, the dozen or so WD logos on the box, and of course the m4D 1337 +0i13+ hUm0r, I'm going to immediately forget that this is a Working Designs Presentation. Finally, the camera jumps from aqua-view to a white dragon flying through the sky. Oh, look, the name of the game is "Lunar Silver Star Story Complete." I thought it was "Working Designs Presents Lunar, Presented by Working Designs."

The dragon flies across the screen as the sugary theme song begins. It's actually a nice little tune, so I'll refrain from harping on it. A boy in a furry blue hat (with earflaps) looks out over a green valley, a white baby dragon perched on his shoulder. Whoops, spoiler! We get a close-up on Earflaps' face, to see his lovely green eyes. Yes, that matters. Humor me for a little while. The view changes to a blue-haired lass dressed like Heidi. Water ripples outward from her dainty feet, as she stands in the shadow of the Earth. As I'm sure none of you could guess, she looks forlorn and angst-ridden as white dragon feathers blow past her pretty face.

We're next treated to a mural of the cast. In general, there are three types of characters: old scruffy men, prissy men, and very attractive women. Thanks for keeping things simple, Game Arts. More shots of Earflaps and Heidi as the song hits its crescendo. This is just a stab in the dark, but do you think these two could be our main characters?

Nasty person in black armor, Heidi looking scared and helpless (shocking), Earflaps getting a new badass outfit (complete with NEW earflap hat), boobtacular blonde chick with magic powers. I get the feeling that I just saw a montage of the entire plot.

Villain chicks. Is there no middle ground between 'Amish' and 'Skankbag'?

The rest of the cinematic is mostly Earflaps and Heidi riding on the back of the large white dragon from the beginning. Oh, and there's some cute running-together-hand-in-hand imagery thrown in there, just so we're absolutely clear on the relationship status of these two kids. Unless they're siblings. Oh, maybe they're siblings anyway. That's never stopped Japan. Finally, we see head shots of the (spoiler!) baby white dragon and the other four main characters, before we fade out on Earflaps and Heidi standing together and staring into the sky at the Earth. Wasn't that all idyllic and sweet? I think I just got a few new cavities.

After I select--you guessed it--New Game from the startup screen, we fade in on the in-game version of the cliff overlooking the green valley from the FMV. A stout little brunette sprite is standing under a tree, staring at a slab of white marble planted in the ground. It looks like there's a moldy branch sticking out of it. Chubby Sprite Boy, a.k.a. Earflaps (though he is without his hat now), a.k.a. Alex, delivers his opening exposition. Who exactly young Alex is talking to is beyond me, as I don't really want to consider the implication that he's aware of ME, sitting here and watching his most private moments. So let's just say he's addressing…the tree.

So Alex, being of the age where all young RPG boys save the world and become men, really, really wants to leave his hometown of Burg and have a rousing adventure. His little speech crosses the line between "relevant information" and "disgustingly blatant exposition" and then stomps on that line with soccer cleats for good measure. Here it is in full, complete with his verbal emphasis. For effect, imagine his voice along with it--that is, the voice of Ashley Angel. Yeah.

"I don't remember when it started exactly. But the dream of having a fantastic adventure in far-off places grabbed my heart early and has yet to let go. You see, my hero is Dragonmaster Dyne. Outside my village, there's a monument in his honor. [He's standing right next to the monument, but maybe he's so wrapped up in his exposition that he doesn't notice?] His adventures were the most fantastic of all. Fighting evil, risking death, protecting the Goddess Althena! It's all so…so…exciting! One day, I want to have adventures like that. [sigh] But…excitement of that kind is a long way from Burg."

So there you have it: Alex's entire character, not to mention half of the game's backstory, handily summarized for you in one easy monologue. And we even got some hero worship/necrophilia as a bonus! Wasn't it nice of the writers to get all his personality out of the way early so he could say nothing but "…" for the remainder of the game? Very efficient.

'Alex, it's!'

Before Alex can launch into the story about that one time he lost his hat or the time when he cosplayed as Dyne for LunarCon '95, a horribly high-pitched voice calls for him. The (spoiler, for the love of God!) baby white dragon flies into view, and we're back to anime mode. Alex tells "Nall" hello. Nall exposits in his ear-shattering girl voice that though Dyne was the greatest of the "Four Heroes," he doesn't understand how Alex can waste so much time staring at his "dull monument." Oh, and for the record, it appears that the moldy tree branch sticking out of the Dyne Memorial Hunk of Marble is actually the Sword of Althena. In true cliché fashion, no one has been able to remove the sword from the stone. Nall--or Squeak, as he will be hereafter known--"suddenly" remembers that they're late for their singing practice with someone named Luna. She sounds like the impatient type, too. Great. Time to go meet the love interest, as soon as Alex is finished jacking off to thoughts of being (with) like Dyne.

As Alex and Squeak leave the monument, an earthquake rumbles through the area. Squeak wonders what could have caused it. We're about to discover the answer to that, as an even tubbier sprite lumbers toward them, prompting another anime cut scene. Unlike Alex, this kid is as large as his sprite would indicate, and he's for some reason dressed like Doofus from Ducktales. Thankfully, he's not a duck, as I deal with enough of those. Doofus greets Alex and Squeak with still more exposition: the ice around the White Dragon Cave has melted, so now they can sneak in and get a Dragon Diamond! Doofus cares about this because he is GREEDY! This, other than his overweight nature, is his solitary character trait. Perfect, I'm sure the game designers thought, for comic relief. By the time the anime ends, I'm not exactly sure why this bit even needed a cut scene. The whole thing was a chest-up shot of Doofus talking. I suppose GA needed to pad the cut scenes with wastes of time like this so they could advertise the "almost an hour" of anime in the game. Whatever.

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