Lunatic Fantasy Review

Title: Lunatic Fantasy
Release date: 1992? (2012-05-18 in English)
Developer: Studio Light Cross
English publisher: Stardust Crusaders & Eien Ni Hen (as a fan-patch)
Platform: Sharp X68000

I just love emulation. I have played countless of games through ePSXe or Zsnes, but I admit that this is the first time for me when I tried to play an X68000 game.

"Lunatic Fantasy" appears to be a really obscure game. I couldn't find any information pertaining to it prior to the release of the fan-patch. Apparently released in 1992 or '93 for a Japanese-only platform Sharp X68000 a.k.a. X68k, it sank into obscurity and was eventually raised from the dead by the necromantic powers of "Stardust Crusaders". There are only a handful of games available in English on the said platform and LF is now one of them.
The start of the journey.
Despite not being a very popular retro system (unlike Famicom, MSX or PC98), X68k has quite a few advanced emulators available at our disposal. I launched the game with no problems using "XM6 Pro-68k" which doesn't even need BIOS for the system (just don't forget to download an optional .DLL pack or you won't see any text in-game).

LF is a pure visual novel with just a few throwaway fight scenes crammed in. The game starts with our protagonist awakening inside a forest with no other memory than her name - Fab. With the help of local dryads she makes her way to the local town and visits a tavern. Suddenly, a blind girl runs up to her proclaiming: "Mommy, you have returned"... Thus starts an epic journey that spans ages... not. LF is an incredibly short game that can be finished in about 40 minutes. Or as finished as such an incomplete game can be.
Ooops. Apparently I had a child I didn't know about.
The plot is confusion incarnate so it's incredibly hard to talk about game without describing the events from start to finish. The scenes follow each other without a logical sequence and leave us wondering if we missed something perchance. A long time ago I heard an un-PC joke: An aspiring artist Schicklgruber was rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts - one thing led to another and about 6 million Jews died during WWII. "Lunatic Fantasy" is the embodiment of that joke; you are constantly wondering what the fuck is happening in between the scenes. Moreover, just as you manage to glean some sense and the game starts to become interesting... it ends. What's more, the message "To be continued in Lunatic Fantasy 2" is displayed. Considering there probably is no Part 2... well, you get my point.
Kobolds didn't look like that in "Baldur's Gate".
On the technical side, LF is a traditional Look/Think/Pick-your-nose retro visual novel with ADV presentation. It's interesting to note, that there usually are much more text cramped into a text box than you can view at once and sliders are added to scroll the text up and down, however it's much more convenient to click on the picture itself which will scroll down by default. On the right hand side are the action buttons though they shouldn't be needed at all in this kind of game. Look/Think/Talk interface works great on games like "EVE", but here it seems redundant as you just press all the buttons in order and the game advances to the next scene. There are no optional elements you can examine or interesting thoughts to observe. While the system is easy to use, the buttons themselves are dreadfully small and I found no keyboard commands to replace the clicking. Still, that is a minor annoyance for a game this short.

Graphics are pretty or maybe I'm just a fan of retro style anime. There are no sprites over drawn backgrounds and the entire game is comprised of CGs. Everything is portrayed in traditionally vivid colours with girls having purple and green hairs. The main draw of this game though is neither graphics nor gameplay but shoujo-ai content. There is kissing betwixt girls and even something more (though only implied).
Don't talk with your mouth full.
In the end, the VN is too short to be more than a blip on anyone's radar and it attracted my attention only due to the platform used and implied GxG content. It's not a really bad game, but it's a mediocrity incarnate and I doubt many people will set up an emulator just to check it.

Links of Interest

Visual Novel Database
Download translation from official site
Get the Japanese ROM here
You will need Lunar IPS in order to patch the ROM
Download "XM6 Pro-X68" emulator here

Final Verdict: 58%


Post a Comment