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   Lunar 2: Eternal Blue - Staff Retroview  

Not Complete, but Eternally Better
by Michael "Macstorm" Cunningham

BATTLE SYSTEM
INTERACTION
ORIGINALITY
STORY
MUSIC & SOUND
VISUALS
CHALLENGE
Easy to Moderate
COMPLETION TIME
20-30 Hours
OVERALL

4.0/5

Rating definitions 

   In late 1994, Lunar 2: Eternal Blue was released for the Sega CD. Localized and published by Working Designs, this Game Arts classic title was in development for a long time, but for those few who got a chance to play it on Sega's CD expansion were not to be disappointed. Lunar 2 is a direct, yet distant sequel to the original 1993 Sega CD offering, Lunar, taking place 1000 years in the future. With a touching story, simple interfaces, brilliant cut scenes, and spot on voice acting, Lunar 2 truly is wonderful.

   Eternal Blue follows the adventures of Hiro and Ruby, Hiro's small, pink pet dragon, as they explore the world of Lunar trying to unlock its many secrets. One of the first encounters of the game is with an otherworldly young girl named Lucia who has come to stop the ultimate evil Zophar from fully resurrecting and destroying the planet. As Hiro and Ruby venture off to help and protect Lucia they encounter both friend and foe: Ronfar, the gambler; Lemina, the feisty mage; Leo, one of the Goddess Althena's generals; Jean, the beautiful dancer; and a myriad of pesky villains, both old and new. Their adventures take many twists and turns, but the quest of good versus evil is never without its shades of gray as villain becomes friend and ally becomes foe. This epic will have gamers enthralled all the way through its dramatic epilogue.

   The Sega CD version of Lunar 2 uses the same random encounter system as the first title. Battles are well balanced and spaced far enough apart to not become an irritant. Weapons, armor, and accessories are found in abundance or are easy to purchase as gamers will not have to spend hours battling just to gain enough money for a new sword or staff. Most every piece of equipment offers a bonus such as an attack increase, counterattack ability, or magic protection. Lunar 2's customization options are quite impressive for a game of its time.

Babe-a-licousIs it hot in here or is it just her?

   Once in combat, battles are face paced. The party is set at a maximum of five members with the story dictating who is joining Hiro at the time. Characters are strategically diverse in combat as well: Hiro is completely combat oriented, Ronfar can do risk-based damage or heal, Lemina is an offense caster, and Jean does status effect attacks. This doesn't allow for haphazard decision making in battle as you don't want to send Lemina meleeing against a magic weak foe. Boss battles are quite a bit longer and more taxing than the basic encounters, but none are unjustly balanced.

   Lunar 2 doesn't really score high in the originality department as it is very similar to its predecessor. Combat, equipment, voice acting, graphical achievements are all along the same lines as the first Lunar offering, but everything is more polished. While it offers nothing truly original, tweaks to the interaction system, extended cut scenes, more detailed characters and a longer story are what make Lunar 2 stand out from part one.

Move you stupid flying cat. MOVE! You are blocking my view.

   The beauty of Lunar 2 is vast. From the massive world to the colorful heroes to the dramatic cut scenes, Lunar 2 impresses and shows the true power of CD gaming in an age of cartridges. The anime cinematics are abundant at key points in Lunar 2 and help immerse gamers deep within the story. The only aspect of the game that keeps it from being perfect is the tiny character sprites used in world exploration and combat. These sprites are quite detailed for their size, but seem really dull when compared to their beautiful cinematic counterparts.

   Eternal Blue's music is quite easily some of the most memorable of its time, though it never achieved the recognition of a Final Fantasy soundtrack. The game contains two lyrical songs, "Lucia's Theme" and "Eternal Blue". This is a feat which is hardly even done in today's RPGs as most contain one lyrical song at the most. To go along with a wonderful soundtrack is top notch voice acting. Every main character has a decent amount of spoken dialogue, which is yet another impressive feat considering other games of its time.

   Lunar 2 is neither easy nor difficult. The challenge level is fairly well balanced erring on the side of easy. This makes the game quick and simple to get into, allowing focus on the story over challenging combat or frustrating puzzles.

   While Lunar 2 was remade for the PlayStation in what was labeled as a "complete" version, the original Sega CD version is a much better package. The game flows very well, the story is coherent and engaging, the visuals and sound are amazing for the time frame it was released and it is just a fun game. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue for the Sega CD may not be complete, but it is more of a classic than its remake.

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