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Lunar: The Silver Star

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Title Screen

Lunar: The Silver Star

Developers: Game Arts, Studio Alex
Publishers: Game Arts (JP), Working Designs (US)
Platform: Sega CD
Released in JP: June 26, 1992
Released in US: December 1, 1993


DevTextIcon.png This game has hidden development-related text.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.


Lunar: The Silver Star is a cult classic JRPG. Made originally for the Sega CD, it has since been remade ad nauseam. It features a young boy named Alex who steals clothes from dragons in order to keep his girlfriend from turning evil and destroying the world just because a hero told her to.

Or, to quote the excellent summary found in ABS.TXT: "Role Playing Game. A story, ALEX help LUNA with love."

Debug Features

Hmmm...
To do:
Debug savefile and explanation of menu (and I think setting bit 7 of the debug byte disables random encounters?)

Debug Menu

Much like its successor, this game contains a debug menu, this one much more advanced and user-friendly.

(Source: lunarninja)

It's enabled by setting bit 6 of $FFE619, e.g. with PAR code FFE618:0040 or an editing utility. This setting is part of the game's bitflag array, so once set, the flag will persist in the current save file.

To access the menu once it's enabled, press Start on the overworld.

Walk Through Walls

The debug flag above also enables a walk-through-walls mode, triggered by holding the B button. When enabled, the party can move through solid terrain and won't encounter random enemies.

Text

MR/MS 
CAN'T RAISE MORE LEVELS.
MS. JESSICA
MS. JESSICA 
IS MAXED OUT ON LEVELS!
MS. JESSICA 
IS MAXED OUT ON LEVELS!

This odd series of dialogue strings is stored starting at 0xFB5 in C002.MAP, in the middle of the text for the Althena shrine near Burg. No other shrine has equivalent messages. Near these is some never-called code to convert a raw integer to a 9-digit decimal display and write it to a buffer in the format used by the game's dialogue strings, as well as some code that appears to be intended to choose whether to print "MR/MS" or "MS. JESSICA".

A plausible interpretation is that earlier in development, the player had to go to shrines to find out how much experience was needed for party members to advance a level, instead of this information being available from the status screen. This could also be a leftover debugging function, though that seems unlikely given that the game goes to the trouble of selecting gender-appropriate forms of address.

Hmmm...
To do:
Japanese equivalents
All program translate Hiroyuki Koyama
1993 4th october

This message is found only in the US version, at 0xAA0 in the file MSTART.BIN. Hiroyuki Koyama was a programmer at Game Arts who worked on many of their other games, including Lunar: Eternal Blue.

Note that in Working Designs' early days, all changes made for the US version (English support, increased difficulty, etc.) were handled through the original developer. With later releases, the company hired their own programmer (singular) and took the process in-house for at least some games.

Error Handler

Lunar The Silver Star discerror.png

The Japanese version of the game will crash with a "DISC ERROR" if it tries to load something invalid. This frequently appears if the debug mode's walk-through-walls feature is used to walk off the edge of a map that doesn't have any exits on its borders. This seems to have been removed from the US version.

Regional Differences

Whenever a game is translated from a Japanese version, the inevitable question is: "What did you change?"

Gamers are very concerned, as we are, that the original game stay intact as much as possible. We really try hard to give the American gamer the same experience the Japanese gamer had when playing the original game. In reality, we meet, and sometimes exceed, the quality of the original Japanese game.
(Source: Lunar: The Silver Star US manual, p. 22 (emphasis editorial))

[studio laughter]

Actually, this game is something of an outlier as far as Working Designs releases go. The US version of the game has relatively few edits to the gameplay (though the script is another matter entirely – refer to the appropriate section of the Lunar: Eternal Blue page, because the rewrites in that game are basically the same as in this one). There are still some significant changes, though.

Enemy Stats

Six enemies, almost all of them mid– or late-game bosses, had their stats increased in the US release.

Enemy Stat Changes JP -> US
Name HP Attack
Piper 250 -> 375

+125 / 50%

46 -> 69

+23 / 50%

Inca God 1800 -> 2340

+540 / 30%

-
Black Dragon 3500 -> 5880

+2380 / 68%

180 -> 240

+60 / 30%

Xenobia 3100 -> 4185

+1085 / 35%

-
The Magic Emperor 3500 -> 4375

+875 / 25%

-
Ghaleon 4000 -> 5000

+1000 / 25%

-

Shrine Donations

In the Japanese version of the game, donating at a shrine costs 10 Silver. The US version raises the cost to 100 Silver. Hearing the bonus song requires ten donations in both versions.

It also appears that the US version intended to raise the cost of donating at the shrine near the Red Dragon's Cave to 200 Silver. Unfortunately, Hiroyuki Koyama neglected to consider that the money is subtracted from the player's total by making the base cost negative and then performing an 8-bit signed addition. When 200 is interpreted as an 8-bit signed integer, it becomes -56; thus, the game makes that negative, and winds up giving the player 56 Silver with each donation instead of taking it away.

(Source: GameFAQs)

Graphics

And you were just a scroll away from being fired too...
Oh dear, I do believe I have the vapors.
This page contains content that is not safe for work or other locations with the potential for personal embarrassment.
Such as: Anatomically accurate monster

Several of the game's graphics were redrawn, at Sega of America's request, to remove nudity and symbols with potential religious connotations.

Hexagrams

A number of pentagrams and hexagrams were changed into different symbols:

JP US
Lunar The Silver Star xagram2 jp.png Lunar The Silver Star xagram2 us.png

The transport pads were changed from pentagrams to a different symbol, an alteration which carried over to the sequel.

JP US
Lunar The Silver Star xagram1 jp.png Lunar The Silver Star xagram1 us.png

The alternate hexagram transport pads that appear in the final dungeon were similarly modified.

JP US
Lunar The Silver Star xagram3 jp.png Lunar The Silver Star xagram3 us.png

The icon used for the Light Barrier and some other items was changed from a hexagram to a triangle.

Nudity

JP US
Lunar The Silver Star xenobia jp.png Lunar The Silver Star xenobia us.png

Xenobia's bust was removed from her battle sprites. Some proper shading was also added to her swords.

JP US
Lunar The Silver Star lunaending jp.png Lunar The Silver Star lunaending us.png

The very brief nude shot of Luna in the ending was given a washed-out palette in the US version. This image also appears in a flashback in Lunar: Eternal Blue, and was similarly edited there.

(Source: LunarNET)

Ending

In the game's climactic sequence after beating the final boss, the player has to walk Alex across a long platform to reach Luna, who fires damage-dealing lightning bolts at him as he goes. In the Japanese version, the lightning only does damage equal to a small fraction of Alex's maximum HP; the player merely needs to keep walking to the end of the platform to beat the game.

The US version significantly alters this sequence. The lightning bolts will instead deal damage equal to half of Alex's maximum HP, killing him in two to three hits (unless the player heals in between). The lightning will continue doing heavy damage unless the player opens the inventory and uses the otherwise-useless Harp item, at which point the damage will be reduced to the lower amount from the Japanese version.

Strictly speaking, it's not necessary to use the Harp to beat the game in the US version, though forgoing it requires very frequent healing.

(Source: LunarNET)

Miscellaneous

  • In the Japanese version of the game, characters can only level up once per battle, regardless of how much experience they gain. In the US version, they'll level up as many times as they logically should.
  • The opening theme was rewritten into English, and the backing instrumentation recreated from scratch. The US manual goes out of its way to point out the "completely rewritten English lyrics", and that they better "convey the sense of urgency found in the game itself" than the Japanese version's "'soft' and 'lovey-dovie'" lyrics. (This almost immediately after their claim that they "really try hard to give the American gamer the same experience the Japanese gamer had when playing the original game.")
  • The debug mode was slightly enhanced for the US version, adding in a cutscene viewer triggered with C in the "WORP" menu, as well as allowing certain maps to be warped to that couldn't in the Japanese version (such as the final area of the game).
  • As with Eternal Blue, the US version has a full lower case font that it simply doesn't use, probably due to the fact that it's drawn to a different baseline and looks kind of janky when combined with capital letters.