This Day in VG History: 1996 | Lunar goes for a stroll

Game Arts' most beloved RPG series wasn't a complete disaster on handhelds, honest.

SEGA platforms tended to have a better reputation for sports and shooting games than for chewy, text-heavy adventure games and RPGs. Which isn't to say those systems were entirely bereft of that material; sure, you had to look around a little harder than on Super NES or PlayStation, but the gems were there. Among the most enduring SEGA-borne role-playing sagas ranks Game Arts' Lunar duology, The Silver Star and Eternal Blue. The games so good they made them twice! Or more like four times, if you count the Game Boy Advance and PSP remakes of The Silver Star. But you probably shouldn't; neither of those were particularly great (especially the badly translated GBA port), and along with the benighted attempt to create a new game for DS — Lunar: Dragon Song, widely considered one of the worst RPGs in living memory — Lunar hasn't fared well on portable systems.

Except once, on Game Gear. Lunar: Sanposuru Gakuen (or, roughly, Lunar: Strolling School) took the popular RPG franchise and made it… tinier. The spinoff game didn't really feed into the primary storyline of its console siblings, largely existing as a side story. It also features a greatly simplified combat system that abandons the position-based tactical combat of the other games. But it's a quick, charming, bite-sized RPG that plays well, and that sure beats Dragon Song.

As an extremely late Game Gear release, Lunar naturally didn't see official localization. Thankfully, for anyone thirsty to revisit the Lunar universe in an adventure that is not, in fact, terrible, there's an English-language fan translation patch available for the game courtesy of Aeon Genesis and SGST. Since Game Arts and Studio Alex (the companies behind the series) appear to have vanished more or less into the ether, this is probably about as close as you're going to come to seeing a proper new Lunar game ever again.