Released in December 1993, Lunar: The Silver Star impressed fans with its snappy translation, incredible redbook BGM, and (slightly) animated and voiced cutscenes, now the bane of the speedrunner. Alex of Burg dreams of following in his hero's footsteps and becoming the next Dragonmaster, the protector of the Goddess and the world. His chance comes sooner than he thinks when the monstrous Magic Emperor threatens all he holds dear... even the Goddess herself.
Best time: single-segment 3:13 by Elijah 'scaryice' Miller on 2007-12-11.
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This is an update to my previous Lunar run from 2 years ago (3:35, 10 segments). Not only is this new run single segment, but it's around 20 minutes faster as well. I see no way to significantly improve this, unless you could find a way to skip parts of the game.
There are two big differences from last time:
1) I no longer level up to get the Flamer spell in order to beat the Bronze Dogs in the Trial Cave.
2) I was unaware of the AI "bug" or trick last time. I'll explain. There is an AI option for each character both in battles and out. During the battles, selecting it causes the computer to control the actions for that character. On the non-battle menus, you can select to turn magic AI and item AI on or off for each character, which according to the instruction manual allows the computer to use magic and items in battle when you select AI. In limited testing I've never seen the computer actually use them though.
But what does happen instead as a result of this makes the boss fights much easier. Each character has a certain number of attacks per turn. If Alex has 2 attacks, he can swing and hit the enemy twice. This doesn't apply to magic or items, so if you cast a spell then that's all you get. However, if you turn the magic AI on and then use a spell manually, it will let you cast the spell and then automatically use the rest of your attacks to fight.
So the instruction manual is wrong, and it makes you wonder if Game Arts or Working Designs intended for this to be in the game, as it makes the top characters too powerful. Not really a bug, but more of a flaw or oversight.
Overall, this game is not hard. You can easily run from random battles which makes it nice for speed running (unlike the sequel). I only fought a total of 3 (absolute minimum = 1). Most of the difficulty comes from the maze-like dungeons and confusion about how to advance the story, both of which are no problems here. The AI thing then makes the fighting pretty easy as well. However, without leveling some of the early boss battles are very dependent on luck as described below. I'd say the odds of getting everything to go right is less than 25%. Once you get the white dragon wings and a full party, it's a breeze.
This run was made using a model 1 Sega CD and a model 2 Genesis.
All cut scenes are unskippable.
Notes on the run:
After Ramus joins, I grab the old ring from the dresser which prevents me from having to go back and get it when the game tells you to. I also take the shortcut through the mountains on the world map, which saves some time.
It's unnecessary to talk to Laike here, or anywhere else until Reza.
I pick up the heavy clothes here to sell later, as well as several other items on the way to Meribia.
No random battles in the sewer on the way to the Water Dragon, which is pretty rare. Unfortunately, the battle itself didn't go as well. Ramus got knocked down to 1 hp but didn't die. His death would've been nice so Alex could get all the experience from that fight. This puts me at a lower level for the next boss. Not a major setback, but inconvenient.
Afterwards, I do a mass sell off of the items I've been collecting and de-equipping, which gives me enough money to buy the carapace armor and helmet.
Buying those items reduces the damage enough to allow me to defeat the Bronze Dogs at my current level. This eliminates the ~10 minutes of leveling from the previous run, when I used the Flamer spell to beat them.
In order to survive this fight (and all the other solo fights), I need to take advantage of the flee command. If you can get your character boxed into the corner, it will reduce of attacks you can receive in one turn because the enemies block each other.
So it's absolutely essential that you flee correctly. Unfortunately, it's random where you go. This time I didn't flee right (straight back instead of toward a corner), so I had to do it again. Fleeing a second time is the best option if the first one sucks (staying put = certain death) but the odds of it working out are not great. Here though, it went perfectly.
The Truffle Troubler fight is another one where fleeing comes into play, and things can get messed up. This time it was flawless.
I collect the music box near Ghaleon because I need to have enough money down the road to buy two wind essences at Meribia. I also got seed of vigor in the Silver Spire later for that purpose.
I make a stop off here to get the nut, but more importantly to save on some travel time later. You can only warp to towns that you've already visited, so once I get the white dragon wings I can go straight to Nanza. I visit towns early for this purpose three other times later in the game (Iluk, Tamur, Ruid).
Jessica is stronger than Alex at this point so she gets put into the lead and gets his armor. The boss battle vs the Lizards is another tough one. In the first use of the AI trick mentioned above, Jessica both heals the party and attacks on each turn. Again, you need a bit of luck. If she acts first, then she'll not only waste the spell but also put herself right in the line of fire. Normally this doesn't happen, but it did in this run. Usually this means death on the second turn, and then Alex and Nash get destroyed. But this time all four enemies didn't surround her directly like usual, and she somehow survived. I also had Nash attack, which is useless but I wanted to have him there to take some damage.
This boss battle is the first use of the Nash's Thunder Thumper spell, which stops enemies from moving the next turn. It works surprisingly well against some of the bosses. Although it doesn't always hit, it works more often than not. I also use it against the Brainiac, the tank in the Talon Mine, and the tanks in Taben's Tower.
I buy the wind essences here. The shop also sells amulets, which purportedly reduce the random monster encounter rate. That item was something I overlooked in my previous run, but in testing I didn't see any noticeable difference when using them, so I skipped them. Jessica also has a similar spell, but her level never gets that high in the run.
The last of the three hardest (and luck related) boss fights. Perfect flee this time. Magic AI is turned off so I can use Dragon Bolt on the second turn while still getting boxed in. I probably didn't need to heal on the fourth turn, which could've cost me. Things worked out well on the last few turns though, as I acted first when I used the last Dragon Bolt, and again on the final turn.
After this, the last two-thirds of the game is pretty easy.
Probably the most annoying part of the game. The random battles feature the Count Antula enemy, which likes to put you to sleep. That doesn't fly with my normal strategy of "run away in two seconds."
Lots of things to do here. First, I forgot to pick up a nut on the way to the Thieves' Bazaar. Once in there, it's necessary to talk to the random guy in the middle of the Bazaar about Damon's Spire. If you don't do that (as well as talking to the collector several times in Iluk), then the man in the bar in Meryod will not appear.
I buy the Rain Cloud early, the last item I'll need to spend money on in the run. I had 136 silver after that, so that means I could've avoided getting one of the chests early in the game or not have talked to the man in the bar to get the 100 silver in Saith (~15 seconds wasted).
Also, here's the first time where you are required to talk to Laike.
The giant root is dropped randomly by the man eating plants. I got it after two fights which is pretty lucky, usually takes me at least four. However, that didn't really pay off in the long run. I had Jessica and Nash run, but not Mia so she could get some experience. That's because she needs to learn the Psychotron spell after the Blue Dragon cave, when I've used up my wind essences. That didn't happen, and I would've been better off having to fight a couple more battles to get it. Or maybe, letting Kyle do all the attacking and having Alex run as well.
Some awkwardness here as I hit the switch when I didn't need to, and then walked right into the wall a bit later. Costs maybe 10 seconds total, but boy does it look stupid.
It would be faster to use a wind essence here instead of back in the White Dragon Cave, but the game doesn't let you do that. Also can't warp out of Might's Lab or Taben's Tower.
==Blue Dragon Cave==
Mia uses the Deprotect spell for the first time against the Brainiac, which is the best thing she can do. It reduces defense, so it ends up causing way more cumulative damage than any of her attack spells could. She's also useful as a second healer.
Mia was unable to learn the psychotron spell and I had to walk out of the cave rather than warp out. I fought one battle on the way out to see if she would learn it, but it didn't happen. I suppose it's not too much of a difference walking out vs fighting a few more battles to get the root earlier. However, later in the first Black Dragon Cave I went slightly out of the way to get a wind essence, but then she learned it after getting the hero's crest, so that wasted some time. Overall I'd say not getting the spell cost at least a minute.
In retrospect, I should've planned out and fought the exact number of desert battles necessary regardless of when the root was acquired.
It's unnecessary to see Ghaleon on the roof. Afterwards when Laike leaves the party upon reentering Tamur, that's where I switched tapes.
Not getting the Pixie Bow for Nash was a big mistake in the last run; it makes him into a pretty good fighter.
It's unnecessary to talk to your parents.
==Black Dragon Cave #2==
Turning Alex and Kyle's magic AI off before the Black Dragon fight allows me to get a free Dragon Fire spell in since he can't reach you on the first turn if you don't move. After warping out, you get put outside at the other version of the cave. Before warping back to Marke, I go to Vane to heal up since you don't get an opportunity to otherwise.
Use of the Sidestep spell saves Kyle in the boss fight. Afterwards, I warp directly to Talon Mine instead of following the Grindery's tracks outside of Ruid.
The free items at Ramus' shop make the end of the game way too easy. I stock up on Herbs of Althena and Seeds of Vigor at Reza.
Leaving the AI on against the Dragon Angels appears pointless, but it doesn't make things worse to have them close. I'd say that in testing it actually seemed to make the fight a bit easier.
Final battles are easy, although Ghaleon #2 got a bit tricky, as my three weaker characters were all killed. I was left with no healing items as it ended. There's a glitch in the damage to Alex at one point, which made my heart race for a second. It says 7,279 damage when really it's 79.
After the credits roll, a voice says "Oops, too long." That happens no matter how long you take to beat the game; it's actually an outtake from one of the actresses that they left in to confuse people.
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