My review after completing the game

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Dragonmaster Lou
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My review after completing the game

Postby Dragonmaster Lou » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:35 am

So I completed it at about 11:00 or so last night... Anyway, this is a continuation of my first impressions, so everything I said there still applies here.

First, I'll again start with commenting on the translation. While I don't remember too much of WD's SSC script (I only played through it once as compared to countless replays of TSS), it certainly had a lot of their feel (not surprising since most of it was based on WD's script). I didn't notice any real out of place bits in the translation, so I was very happy with it. I suppose it helps that the lead translator, John Sears, is a fan of the older Lunar games and therefore probably wanted to preserve things as much as possible. Unfortunately, after seeing this translation of Wind's Nocturn (AKA the "Boat Song"), I still say WD's was better. Jenny Stigile's as lovely a singer as ever, but the words just didn't ring and match with the imagery as well as WD's translation, in my opinion. This differs from my view of the opening song, in which case I liked Xseed's translation slightly better as it did fit better with the images. Still, the translation overall was top notch and felt like good ol' Lunar, which is what I wanted. The new voices overall were quite good, though I do miss John Truitt as Ghaleon. His replacement was still very good so no huge complaints here. Luna's voice had a bit more sass to it in this one, which I felt fit the character more -- although she also sounded more like "generic anime dub girl." I'm not sure who the actress was that played her, but I suspect I've probably heard her in many other anime titles before, hence the "generic" sound.

The graphics were gorgeous. Someone else commented that the battle graphics were not so great because the characters glided instead of running when moving across the battlefield. To be honest, they typically moved fast enough that I could barely notice when I was trying to see it -- let alone in the heat of battle. Even so, the new and improved battle animations were top notch -- Alex, and especially Laike, looked like true badasses every time they swung their swords. I also liked finally getting away from the 16-bit era super-deformed style to something much more modern that more closely matches their character portraits.

Music was also great. Whereas before I thought SSS's soundtrack was the weakest of the bunch, the re-orchestration of the soundtrack is forcing me to revise my opinion. It's amazing what real instruments can do to improve the sound of something when compared to the PSX's lousy midi chip. It's still not up there with the Saturn EB (or even Sega CD's) as the best Lunar soundtrack, and I'm still not quite sure if it meets the high mark set by the original TSS, but this new version has given me a lot more respect for it than I had before.

One thing that has gotten a lot of comments is the difficulty of the game. Well, yeah, the game was easier than WD's translations by a mile (though I don't think it was that much easier than the Saturn versions). No longer did you have to worry about a random battle against ordinary monsters (or peons, as I like to call them) wiping out your party -- every peon battle was survivable, even if they did occasionally wear down your party.

Speaking of wearing down the party, that was something that did not happen much. Historically, I've been a "magic miser" of sorts when it came to RPGs -- generally I'd only use spells while level/money grinding near an Althena's Statue (or equivalent) or fighting bosses and conserve MP as much as possible when fighting peons by limiting myself to physical attacks unless I absolutely had to heal or take out a dangerous monster capable of whacking my entire party. About the time I got to the Fluffy Bug quest I realized that I didn't really have to do this in SSH. Between the universal inventory, the max of up to 99 items, and frequency of monsters dropping items (including Starlights -- I never paid a single piece of silver for a Starlight, Healing Herb, or Healing Fruit during the entire game -- monsters and later Ramus provided all I used for free), and getting your HP/MP filled up every level up, I basically just threw caution to the wind and starting blitzing baddies left and right with spells. This got even more ridiculous once I got Dragon Anguish -- which is an instant-kill for all enemies but also gives you full MP and Silver (unlike in prior games, where you'd get nothing for wiping out foes with this spell). Basically, the peon battles just became an exercise in running my "Dragon Anguish" tactic once Alex became a Dragonmaster. There was one thing that did make it a little bit scary -- the initiative system they used for monsters. Whereas as far as I can recall (and confirmed by firing up EB/Sega CD on an emulator today), the older Lunar games randomized the initiative of all the monsters separately -- so that part of your party would act, then some of the monsters, then more of your party, then more of the monsters, and so on. In this one, it seemed like all the monsters acted on the same initiative "roll" -- so once one started moving, no one in your party could act until all of them were done moving. This did make things a little scary at times if the monsters acted before my designated healer for the round did his/her thing -- especially when they all decide to gang up on a single character. Still, this was more of a nuisance than a real difficulty.

The bosses were also pretty much pushovers, with perhaps the exceptions of the Black Dragon and Ghaleon's final battle. While I'm not saying they were harder than they were in SSSC, they were definitely the hardest in the game and had killed some of my characters (through not the whole party) during their battles. Ghaleon in particular seemed to play dirty -- he seemed to be able to ignore Dragon Guard (AKA White Dragon Protect) almost at will with his instant death to the party spell. More specifically, Dragon Guard would only protect one of two of my party members, but never the entire party from the spell. I don't know what I was doing wrong... and at one point I was afraid I'd lose the battle when only Nash survived the attack. Still, Nash was able to resurrect Jessica and from there I was able to recover and win.

The last bit I want to touch upon was how the game made me "feel." To be honest, it made me feel the same way I felt when I first played TSS the first Christmas it was out all those years ago. Not even SSSC made me feel that way (it's a long story why SSSC didn't have the same impact for me... but it's not relevant to the discussion here). It truly did feel like Lunar, and I just had to keep going into the wee hours of the morning to get past just one more dungeon... get one more piece of dragon equipment... etc... just like those good ol' days.

In summary, this game certainly was a very worthy addendum to the Lunar family and I would recommend it to any Lunar fans or even those just starting to get into the game series. I just hope that if any future Lunars come out that Xseed and Victor Ireland/Gaijinworks can come to some sort of compromise agreement to work together on it (apparently Xseed did approach Vic about working together, but the deal fell through and neither side went into detail as to why it didn't work out) -- if only because I have a stronger attachment to the EB voices (assuming the next game is an EB remake) than I do to the SSSC ones.

That is all... signing off for now. :)
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Shiva Indis » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:23 pm

Thanks for a great look at the many things this game does right. I'll admit that it's a bit too easy for me to focus on comparing it to SSS, which is probably doing it a disservice. ^_^;

Dragonmaster Lou wrote:Luna's voice had a bit more sass to it in this one, which I felt fit the character more -- although she also sounded more like "generic anime dub girl." I'm not sure who the actress was that played her, but I suspect I've probably heard her in many other anime titles before, hence the "generic" sound.

That's a good sum up of the new Luna voice. Xseed never credits voice actors, (I assume it's to shield the actors from their unions,) but I understand that the actor in question is Danielle Judovitz.

Dragonmaster Lou wrote:Someone else commented that the battle graphics were not so great because the characters glided instead of running when moving across the battlefield. To be honest, they typically moved fast enough that I could barely notice when I was trying to see it -- let alone in the heat of battle. Even so, the new and improved battle animations were top notch -- Alex, and especially Laike, looked like true badasses every time they swung their swords.

I felt like there was a really good illusion of running in fights. I kept having to focus to notice that they weren't animated. Maybe I shouldn't have been using Jessica as my test subject, though. :P Laike does swing his sword like he's a powerhouse, and the animation for Sword Dance was particularly well done.

Dragonmaster Lou wrote:Music was also great. Whereas before I thought SSS's soundtrack was the weakest of the bunch, the re-orchestration of the soundtrack is forcing me to revise my opinion.

Evidently I didn't give the SSS compositions the credit they deserved until the orchestration was as good as (better than, actually) the Sega CD games. I'd love to hear the Lunar 2 soundtrack done up like this.
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Lunar Eclipse » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:19 am

Dragonmaster Lou wrote:Music was also great. Whereas before I thought SSS's soundtrack was the weakest of the bunch, the re-orchestration of the soundtrack is forcing me to revise my opinion. It's amazing what real instruments can do to improve the sound of something when compared to the PSX's lousy midi chip. It's still not up there with the Saturn EB (or even Sega CD's) as the best Lunar soundtrack, and I'm still not quite sure if it meets the high mark set by the original TSS, but this new version has given me a lot more respect for it than I had before.

I really loved the reorchestration as well. I'm such a fan of Iwadare's, but Silver Star Story just felt ... mundane compared to his generally uniquely florid style. The edits he made just brought a lot of life to compositions that originally fell flat.

Dragonmaster Lou wrote:One thing that has gotten a lot of comments is the difficulty of the game ...

I can't argue that it wasn't easier than its predecessors, but to be honest, I can't say that I typically play JRPGs for their challenging gameplay. I'm really never bothered by the difficulty level of a role-playing game unless it's a) just completely unfair, b) requires mass amounts of grinding, or c) somehow limits your ability to follow normal game flow (see Romancing SaGa's system of making time pass based on the number of battles you've entered, thus permanently locking you out of certain events or completely destroying some towns). As long as the battles are pretty and fun, I couldn't care less. Dragon Anguish did seem to be a slip-up on their part, but it's not a problem for most of the game considering how later you get it, and I kind of found it a bit of welcome relief during the final dungeon. ^.^;

Dragonmaster Lou wrote:The last bit I want to touch upon was how the game made me "feel." To be honest, it made me feel the same way I felt when I first played TSS the first Christmas it was out all those years ago. Not even SSSC made me feel that way (it's a long story why SSSC didn't have the same impact for me... but it's not relevant to the discussion here). It truly did feel like Lunar, and I just had to keep going into the wee hours of the morning to get past just one more dungeon... get one more piece of dragon equipment... etc... just like those good ol' days.

Got to agree here. ^_^

Shiva Indis wrote:That's a good sum up of the new Luna voice. Xseed never credits voice actors, (I assume it's to shield the actors from their unions,) but I understand that the actor in question is Danielle Judovitz.

There's a lot of debate over who exactly she is. She's almost certainly the same person as Tales of Vesperia's Estelle and Star Ocean: Second Evolution's Rena, but the former is, like Luna, uncredited, and the latter is credited as Claudia Lenz, which is believed to be a pseudonym as no one can find evidence of Lenz's existence. Judovitz is a popular theory, though.
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Alunissage » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:38 pm

I've still only played a very little of the English game, but have to completely disagree regarding Luna's voice -- to me it's not that its sass fit the character, it grafted sass that wasn't really there onto the character. In so doing, yes, it became obnoxiously generic. Aside from a little nagging and teasing of Alex and Nall, Luna is a polite, gentle person. Making her into an annoying teenager cheapens her character, not only by making her potentially too similar to Jessica (I haven't played far enough to hear Jess, so have to hedge there) but by making the comments about her caring and nurturing of the other girls incongruous. I've always seen her as the middle ground between Mia and Jessica, though Mia's excessive shyness and timidity in the remake has always bugged me too.

Regarding the difficulty, the enemy stats were exactly the same as for SSS (and Legend, except that I think Legend's bosses' stats were fixed). The differences are 1) WD's tweaks to the boss stats are not, of course, present in this game, 2) the balance was thrown off by the addition of arts moves and -- more crucially -- the HP/MP refill at level-up, and 3) some of the calculations in which those stats were used seem to have changed a little, primarily the attack order, as you noted. I also noticed when playing the import that some areas seemed to have monsters that would target specific party members; in Damon's Spire there'd be one type of monster that would always attack Mia, then I'd go to another floor and there'd be a different type of monster that would always attack Kyle, and so on. But all of the monster data was the same.

I think there was more to answer, but I'm supposed to be working now...

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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Dragonmaster Lou » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:56 pm

Alunissage wrote:I've still only played a very little of the English game, but have to completely disagree regarding Luna's voice -- to me it's not that its sass fit the character, it grafted sass that wasn't really there onto the character. In so doing, yes, it became obnoxiously generic. Aside from a little nagging and teasing of Alex and Nall, Luna is a polite, gentle person. Making her into an annoying teenager cheapens her character, not only by making her potentially too similar to Jessica (I haven't played far enough to hear Jess, so have to hedge there) but by making the comments about her caring and nurturing of the other girls incongruous. I've always seen her as the middle ground between Mia and Jessica, though Mia's excessive shyness and timidity in the remake has always bugged me too.


Hmm, I didn't get the sass as being an annoying teenager, but that just may be differences in personal opinions. I still got that Luna was polite and gentle (I mean, she certainly acted that way when she met Ghaleon, for instance), but she wasn't above nagging Alex and Nall -- and a lot of that may be a result of her familiarity with them due to growing up with them. She didn't nag anywhere near as much with other characters, if I recall correctly. I mean, you can still be polite and gentle overall while being a nag to your siblings because they're your siblings -- and Luna was effectively raised as Alex's sibling. I'm a totally different person when interacting with my sister than with my wife, my friends, random strangers, etc., because she's my sister (oh, and we drive each other crazy). Even with Luna's nagging, a lot of it did seem to be of the caring and nurturing sort -- eat your vegetables, brush your teeth, etc.

Alunissage wrote:Regarding the difficulty, the enemy stats were exactly the same as for SSS (and Legend, except that I think Legend's bosses' stats were fixed). The differences are 1) WD's tweaks to the boss stats are not, of course, present in this game, 2) the balance was thrown off by the addition of arts moves and -- more crucially -- the HP/MP refill at level-up, and 3) some of the calculations in which those stats were used seem to have changed a little, primarily the attack order, as you noted. I also noticed when playing the import that some areas seemed to have monsters that would target specific party members; in Damon's Spire there'd be one type of monster that would always attack Mia, then I'd go to another floor and there'd be a different type of monster that would always attack Kyle, and so on. But all of the monster data was the same.

I think there was more to answer, but I'm supposed to be working now...


Hmm, I did notice that as well -- some monsters seemed to like to specifically target certain characters. I also think that the enemies may have less HP in SSH than SSS because they did seem to go down a lot quicker in battle than the did in WD's version of SSS. They also didn't seem to hit as hard either.
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Shiva Indis » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:43 pm

Dragonmaster Lou wrote:I still got that Luna was polite and gentle (I mean, she certainly acted that way when she met Ghaleon, for instance), but she wasn't above nagging Alex and Nall -- and a lot of that may be a result of her familiarity with them due to growing up with them.

Agreed - if Luna is sassy, it's because she is a little overbearing to Alex, and that's always been the case. The Japanese SSS actor and the the English SSH actor are particularly expressive of this sassiness, I think.

Dragonmaster Lou wrote:Hmm, I did notice that as well -- some monsters seemed to like to specifically target certain characters.

I've read accounts where people claim that Ghaleon targets Jessica. :shock:
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby LunarRaptor » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:48 pm

Keep in mind that perhaps Ghaleon and the other bosses seemed like pushovers because you know Lunar in and out.
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Dragonmaster Lou » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:54 pm

LunarRaptor wrote:Keep in mind that perhaps Ghaleon and the other bosses seemed like pushovers because you know Lunar in and out.


Yes and no -- a lot of the stuff I knew about previous Lunars really didn't apply here. Enemies no longer had "tells" that indicate what spells they're going to use the next round (except for Ghaleon's "Blast Loci" spell) -- and that was a mainstay of me figuring out what to do in every Lunar since EB/Sega CD. Also, Ghaleon was actually a bit rough because White Dragon Protect (or "Dragon Guard" as they called it here) didn't work all the time against him.
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Alunissage » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:02 am

Dragonmaster Lou wrote:Hmm, I didn't get the sass as being an annoying teenager, but that just may be differences in personal opinions. I still got that Luna was polite and gentle (I mean, she certainly acted that way when she met Ghaleon, for instance), but she wasn't above nagging Alex and Nall -- and a lot of that may be a result of her familiarity with them due to growing up with them. She didn't nag anywhere near as much with other characters, if I recall correctly. I mean, you can still be polite and gentle overall while being a nag to your siblings because they're your siblings -- and Luna was effectively raised as Alex's sibling. I'm a totally different person when interacting with my sister than with my wife, my friends, random strangers, etc., because she's my sister (oh, and we drive each other crazy). Even with Luna's nagging, a lot of it did seem to be of the caring and nurturing sort -- eat your vegetables, brush your teeth, etc.

Sure -- but my point is that the voice, at least what I heard, far overemphasized that part, as opposed to her gentle teasing in TSS and SSSC. I know what you mean by family relationships; my sister and I are like that ourselves sometimes, though we mostly get along just fine. (Helps that we're in our mid-30s and mid-20s now.) There was no affection behind the nagging in what I heard, just raillery and sourness, making her highly unlikable.

Dragonmaster Lou wrote:Hmm, I did notice that as well -- some monsters seemed to like to specifically target certain characters. I also think that the enemies may have less HP in SSH than SSS because they did seem to go down a lot quicker in battle than the did in WD's version of SSS. They also didn't seem to hit as hard either.

I should have clarified -- by "SSS" I refer to the Japanese game(s) specifically, not WD's version (which I always call SSSC, despite the MPEG Saturn version having the same name). That's what I'm saying -- the enemies had different stats in WD's version from every other version of the game, and of course most people here are most familiar with WD's version and so will think of SSH as being the one that's been changed rather than it actually having the original stats.

I don't have my stats spreadsheets to hand but my recollection is that WD increased the attack and decreased the HP, as you said, and also decreased the EXP and Silver. The latter was about a 10% change; the attack and HP differences were larger.

Regarding Ghaleon and the dragon protection spell, wasn't there something like that in one of the other games in which a boss would cancel out shields right before attacking? I want to say it was Zophar, but my memory on this point is so fuzzy I couldn't even say which version.

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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Lunar Eclipse » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:39 am

Alunissage wrote:I've still only played a very little of the English game, but have to completely disagree regarding Luna's voice -- to me it's not that its sass fit the character, it grafted sass that wasn't really there onto the character. In so doing, yes, it became obnoxiously generic. Aside from a little nagging and teasing of Alex and Nall, Luna is a polite, gentle person. Making her into an annoying teenager cheapens her character, not only by making her potentially too similar to Jessica (I haven't played far enough to hear Jess, so have to hedge there) but by making the comments about her caring and nurturing of the other girls incongruous. I've always seen her as the middle ground between Mia and Jessica, though Mia's excessive shyness and timidity in the remake has always bugged me too.

I don't think it's really fair to assess the entire character based on a couple lines of dialogue during which, based on the script before and after, Luna is supposed to be slightly annoyed that Alex wasn't on time for practice, and even at that, there's only a very slight tinge of bother in her voice. It's certainly not as though she actually seems annoyed or angry. Generally speaking, I'd just say the actress sounds more earnest than before. Her voice doesn't strike me as sassy or perturbed, just more energetic. If you listen to a longer scene with the same actress, I think it's more obvious than with what little we're given from her in Silver Star Harmony. She doesn't have the same quiet tone as Luna's original voice, but I don't detect much difference between the intention behind it.

I just don't hear this "sourness" you're getting. If anything, GameArts themselves did a lot more than XSEED to affect her personality by putting that portrait with a sort of upturned nose in the game.
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Alunissage » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:17 am

It's been a while since I heard it, of course, but I know I didn't hear "slightly annoyed"; also, it's not just her voice on which I base that impression but on the script for that entire scene. I'll dig out my email to Xseed about it (written after playing the demo) for specifics, and Jess's response which noted some constraints they had with the character portraits and dialogue in that scene. I seem to recall one of my issues was with Alex's character portrait with the clenched fists, which made the whole scene seem a lot more like an actual fight, but again I'm going on memory.

I've been up front about having a very limited data sample, so while your concern that it's therefore unfair to make such a judgment is noted, I find it an unnecessary one. You never have a second chance to make a first impression, as they say, and a really strong contradiction to a fifteen-year conception of her character, well, stuck out. I'll grant the possibility that her voice may seem more suitable in later scenes, but that won't fix that first scene. (I can't listen to whatever you linked right now.)

I agree that the annoyed and angry character portraits are independent of the voice, but of course they were already part of my concept of her character as established by SSSC (and textually in TSS, though of course she had far fewer lines as well as only the one portrait). I suppose however I mentally heard the delivery of those lines, since none were voiced, still didn't seem as... shrill, I guess. I don't like using that word much because it's used so often to dismiss and trivialize valid anger and concerns of women, but it seems the most fitting in this case.

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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Lunar Eclipse » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:15 am

Alunissage wrote:It's been a while since I heard it, of course, but I know I didn't hear "slightly annoyed"; also, it's not just her voice on which I base that impression but on the script for that entire scene.

Oh, I thought we were just talking about the voice, not the script. I'll agree that the scene surrounding the video was more argumentative, but as I said, Luna's annoyed portrait looks pretty indignant when they use it. I feel like the script is kind of forced to match it.

Alunissage wrote:You never have a second chance to make a first impression, as they say, and a really strong contradiction to a fifteen-year conception of her character, well, stuck out. I'll grant the possibility that her voice may seem more suitable in later scenes, but that won't fix that first scene. (I can't listen to whatever you linked right now.)

But ... I'm not even of the opinion that her first voice sample is as inappropriate as you're making it out to be. I think the voice actress's first impression is fine (aside from the fact that she's a bit flat during her true first impression as Althena in the Four Heroes prologue). There are only a couple of words that have a tinge of annoyance, and I do think that's more appropriate than SSS, which makes me wonder why in the heck they'd even be worried about tardiness with how dispassionately she reacts. I'll agree that the actress is generally more "shrill", but it's just a different voice type. Regardless, I hardly think she's in danger of becoming similar to Jessica as you'd suggested earlier. In any incarnation, I've never thought of her as a character who'd call someone a "dumb bastard" or beat enemies mercilessly with a mace.

Alunissage wrote:I agree that the annoyed and angry character portraits are independent of the voice, but of course they were already part of my concept of her character as established by SSSC ...

... Huh? The portraits as they're presented in SSH were not part of her original character concept. I suppose they were part of the Japanese character concept since they follow the original Japanese script, but since the character portraits were previously static, Working Designs could shape characters however they liked without worrying about having to match everything to dynamic character art. In SSH, the script has to feel like she's annoyed when GameArts makes her look annoyed.
Last edited by Lunar Eclipse on Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Alunissage » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:01 am

I realize you're not of the opinion that her voice is a problem in the first scene. But I am, so of course that is what I am saying. ^_^ I did remember partway through writing these posts that I had had issues with the entire scene, not just the voiced part of it, so that's why I probably seem to have changed the topic partway through. Not trying to be disingenuous there.

I thought you were grouping the remakes' portraits together -- SSS did of course have an annoyed portrait and an angry portrait, and HSS had redrawn larger portraits of everyone to correspond to the head-only portraits of SSS. Didn't realize you were making a distinction between the two games in that regard. Not sure what you mean by dynamic character art; I don't recall them being animated...? Though I do remember Jess @ XSeed saying that they had issues with making WD's script fit SSH's timing since WD did change things that, she implied, XSeed wasn't able to similarly change, such as the dialogue length. I would expect the coding for the dialogue to display a given graphic at a given point as the dialogue was advanced and that the reference to the graphic could be thus be changed, but I'm not a programmer. Unless you're suggesting XSeed never had the actual source code and only were able to change the files containing text (and sound, I suppose, for the remixed pieces) rather than actual reprogramming if needed as WD routinely did.

New project to add to my endless list of Lunar stuff to do, I suppose: compare all of the character portraits and assess how much or little the character seems different in them. I definitely recall noting how Nall looked, well, nicer and less snide in his own annoyed portrait; his seemed the most different to me. I think there are a couple scenes that I transcribed from both SSH and SSSC, including noting when the portraits changed and what to.

Hm, this having gone on to a subthread from Lou's original post, I wonder if it should be split off into its own topic.

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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Lunar Eclipse » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:50 pm

Alunissage wrote:Unless you're suggesting XSeed never had the actual source code and only were able to change the files containing text (and sound, I suppose, for the remixed pieces) rather than actual reprogramming if needed as WD routinely did.

I'm sure they could've done that sort of thing, but they also gave us a much more reasonable release timeframe, so I imagine they tried to follow what was there as closely as possible instead of deviating for deviation's sake. But yeah, sorry for talking in circles with you in a slightly off-topic fashion. Will cease. ^.^;
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Alunissage » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:54 pm

(You replied while I was previewing. Funny timing.)

OK, I found my correspondence about Luna's character. I won't quote the reply since it's a personal response rather than an official announcement, but the gist (regarding the portraits) is that WD changed the length of many scenes, adding text boxes and changing portraits. The Japanese HSS code of course did not have these changes, and the altered English scenes therefore added bugs that were such a pain to correct that even changing the character portraits from the Japanese version was nixed -- I get the impression that XS did not in fact do any reprogramming themselves, just gave files to the Japanese devs to put in, but I may be wrong. I was told this back in February, so feel rather sheepish for not remembering it more clearly.

My notes about the line accompanying the fist-clenching Alex portrait are:

Alex [mad] Sounds like my cue...
Luna: You stop right this minute, Alex! Where do you think you’re going?
Nall: Where? To explore the White Dragon Cave with Ramus, of course!
[cheerful] It sounds like a heck of an adventure, so I’m tagging along
too!
* "Sounds like my cue"?? Seriously? Makes him sound like a bounty hunter out to exterminate the roarer. On the other hand, WD stuck with the tried-and-true ... ... ..., so I can't blame XS for wanting to put some words in. I just wish it had been different words.

One example that I cited that apparently falls into this category (of the GA-set portrait being pretty incompatible with the character we're used to) is this:

Woman: Well whatever the occasion may be, Alex is a lucky boy to have a beauty like you on his arm!
Luna [annoyed and blushing] Oh, stop it! You’re making me blush!

The SSSC version was this:

Redheaded woman: Well now, Luna! What's a lovely girl like you doing with a boy like Alex? Ha, ha, ha! Alex is quite the lucky guy to have someone as wonderful as you...
Luna [cheerful] Oh, stop it! Pretty soon, you'll have me up on a pedestal... ...with some crazy inscription at my feet, posing for the tourists!

I'll need to check that in some version of SSS to see what portrait is used, since I don't remember an analogue to the annoyed/blushing HSS portrait (as opposed to the nonblushing annoyed one). The second text box (starting with the second set of ellipses) may be an example of WD changing the length, which I'll also have to check.

I do maintain that some of the Burg dialogue changed Luna's character for the worse even with (probably) the same portraits and text length as WD's. Examples:

Nall: What’s up with Ramus ALWAYS deciding everything by himself without a second thought... [cheerful] Then again...this is the White Dragon Cave we’re talkin’ about. Sounds like a blast! Let’s go, Alex!
[normal] Oh! But then again...Don’t you think Luna’s going to be ticked when she gets wind of what we’re up to? [He joins party.]
* This casts Luna as angry at Alex for doing anything that might be fun or adventurous, and Ramus as impetuous and bossy. I don't mind the latter -- I'm okay with Ramus having a bit of a backbone -- but the former adds to Luna's unlikeability. Compare WD's version of Nall's last line: "But, you know Luna is going to be upset...she doesn't like you putting yourself in danger... How are you going to tell her, Alex?" It's quite different to have her upset because of worry and concern about Alex, rather than "ticked" for no reason. Of course, Nall's and presumably Alex's assumption that Luna would naturally be excluded from their trip is a character flaw of theirs in all versions of the game, since there's no good reason at all why she shouldn't go. The closest (bad) reason is that they're allowing for Ramus's dumb prejudice shown in his claim that girls exist to keep boys from having fun, but that line hasn't occurred yet. Of course, since the scene with her reads like Alex thinks she's a truly pesty little sister who forces her way in everywhere, it almost makes sense that he'd want to get away from the obnoxious bossy brat. Which might be fine if they weren't, oh, otherwise portrayed as being Just Perfect Together.

Luna: The White Dragon Cave, huh? [annoyed] I knew your ocarina sounded off! You’ve been hiding stuff from me again, haven’t you?! [mad] Tell me the truth, Alex!
* WD's version of the last sentence was "Alex, why would you travel to such a dangerous place?!" As above, compare worry about danger with accusations of lying.

Luna [annoyed] Alex!!! Don’t even think about playing hooky from practice or NO dinner for a week!
* This is a bit too authoritative, don't you think? She's not his mom. No dessert, maybe. (I didn't record the corresponding WD line, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't that draconian.)

After Luna says she's joining them to go to the White Dragon Cave:

Alex [sad] But...erm...uh...
Luna [cheerful] Oh, I’m sorry, Alex. Was there still something you wanted to say?
Alex [sad] N-No...uh...we’re good...

Doesn't that line of hers sound annoyingly smug and saccharine, now that she's "won"? Compare SSSC's:

Luna [cheerful] What are you waiting for? Let's get going!
Alex: Er...uh...

All right. Too many words, and a lot of my other notes have to do with Nall's similar annoyification, though mostly it's not as conspicuous. On to something else.

I checked my numbers on WD's non-boss monster stat changes. While there are a few specific exceptions and a few off-by-ones, here's the gist:

- HP was decreased by 10%. Exceptions: Chiro / Ice Mongrel was decreased by 20% (from 5 HP to 4); Kyclops / Kill Roller by 5% (200 to 190); Ring Horn by half (500 to 250).

- ATK was increased by about 30% in the White Dragon Cave, 20-25% in the Weird Woods (except the Honey Devil / Flytrapper at 32%), Hag's Forest, and Meribian Sewers, and 44-45% everywhere else. Exceptions: Chiro / Ice Mongrel was doubled (from 1 to 2, heh); the Talon Mine's Dark Stalker / Stalker and Sergeant / Groper and Ruid's Baiken / Baigen were increased by 22%.

- EXP was decreased by 13-14%, plus or minus 2%. Some of the earliest monsters didn't change because the number was so low already, of course. Exceptions: the four Meribian Sewers monsters' EXP was increased by 10-14%. The Chiro / Ice Mongrel was not an exception, oddly.

- Silver was decreased by 10% (a little more in the earliest monsters). Exception: my spreadsheet says that WD's Ice Pup drops 9% of the Silver its original counterpart (Shiro) does rather than 90%; I need to check this and see if that's a typo.

Edit: The SSSC guide does in fact say 135 instead of 1350 (vs. the original 1500). Bother, that means remembering to check in the game.

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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Sonic# » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:59 pm

Historically, I've been a "magic miser" of sorts when it came to RPGs -- generally I'd only use spells while level/money grinding near an Althena's Statue (or equivalent) or fighting bosses and conserve MP as much as possible when fighting peons by limiting myself to physical attacks unless I absolutely had to heal or take out a dangerous monster capable of whacking my entire party.


I play the same way, and I noticed the same thing, around the same time. Actually, for SSSC I would always spam Mia and Nash's spells during battle, since they soon gained tons of MP, and if I was careful about avoiding battles, I'd still have a surplus of power by the boss. In this game, I found myself occasionally using Alex and Kyle's special attacks too.
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Dragonmaster Lou » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:21 pm

Sonic# wrote:I play the same way, and I noticed the same thing, around the same time. Actually, for SSSC I would always spam Mia and Nash's spells during battle, since they soon gained tons of MP, and if I was careful about avoiding battles, I'd still have a surplus of power by the boss. In this game, I found myself occasionally using Alex and Kyle's special attacks too.


See, I never avoided battles. In games without random battles, I always thought it was more "macho" to only advance to the next floor/area/etc. of a dungeon only after you cleared it out of all the monsters.
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Re: My review after completing the game

Postby Shiva Indis » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:06 pm

I typically clear rooms, but I started to mess around a little in my most recent playthrough and curbed my level-gaining toward the end of the game. (That didn't make nearly as much difference as power-leveling Alex did, of course. :) ) I'm interested now in finding out how low of a level I can complete the game at, and I'm not normally a challenge gamer at all.

Alunisage wrote:All right. Too many words, and a lot of my other notes have to do with Nall's similar annoyification, though mostly it's not as conspicuous.

Curious - overall I thought Nall seemed more cute and earnest than in SSSC. But you're much better prepared to distinguish new lines from old ones than I am.

Alunisage wrote:Regarding Ghaleon and the dragon protection spell, wasn't there something like that in one of the other games in which a boss would cancel out shields right before attacking? I want to say it was Zophar, but my memory on this point is so fuzzy I couldn't even say which version.

Sega CD EB has quite a bit of really offhand magic canceling. There's little to indicate that's what's going on. Ghaleon uses it so often I suspect buffs are wasted on him. Most of the dragon fiends use it, and I'm pretty sure Zophar does too.
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