Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete - Review
Working Designs does it again
By Mikel Tidwell
| Battle System
| Music / Sound
| Replay Value
| Time to Complete
Until Working Designs released the remake of Lunar: The Silver Star, very few RPGamers
had heard of the Lunar series. Those who had managed to play the games on the Sega CD held the
game in an eerie revere, while the rest of us wondered what all the excitement was about. When
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete was released in 1999, it opened a whole new realm. Suddenly
everyone knew who Alex, Nall, Luna, Ramus and the rest of the gang were. The story of Lunar
became as well known as one from a Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior game.
With new appreciation for the Lunar series already at full force, Lunar 2: Eternal
Blue Complete attempts to continue the legacy that the earlier game already set in motion.
Does Lunar 2 have what it takes to go against the burst of RPGs that have flooded the
market this holiday season? This RPGamer thinks it does.
The setting for Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete is one thousand years after the end of
Lunar: Silver Star Story. The world is vastly different from before. While some of the towns and
areas remain almost untouched, other areas have changed dramatically in the passing years. The
mix of old and new really emphasizes how much time has passed. The former heroes are now
legends; their names are spoken in awe from people across the land.
|Dripping with wit
Lunar 2 begins with the protagonist, Hiro, and his companion Ruby, hunting for treasure in
a forbidden place. What they don't know is that the simple jewel they snag will lead them on an
adventure that will change their lives, and possibly the lives of those they encounter. Old and new
enemies face the new band of rag-tag heroes and only with pure determination with a dash of luck
will our heroes be victorious in their quest.
For those who played the original, Ruby works the same as Nall, except that instead of
reviving the characters once in a blue moon, she'll attack for minimal damage, making her even
more useless than Nall. However, as a character, Nall was not near as funny as Ruby is, with her
almost dangerous infatuation with Hiro. She even goes as far as to be rude to other females who
possibly think Hiro might be cute. Some of the verbal exchanges between Ruby and the others
will leave you rolling on the floor.
The rest of the characters are just as amusing. Like before, most of them are only planning
to stay a while, but seem to get tied into the whole "Save the World" plan. Like its predecessor,
the party is hardly a cohesive team. Instead they may bicker amongst each other, split up for a
time, or even force Hiro to find repeatedly when they wander off. While it sounds tedious, it opens
the door for some heart-felt verbal exchanges.
|Unchanged after 1000 years
Of course, none of this carries over into the battles. Once in a battle, everyone
fights to win. Since the major bosses and even some random monsters can wipe the floor
with Hiro's entire party, there is no room for holding back. To win a battle, one must not be
cautious or conservative. An all out assault also doesn't work too well. Careful
planning and a balance of attack and heal is the only way to prevail against the countless and
continuous battles Hiro and his friends have to face.
The battle menus have been changed, adding new features to assist the player. As before,
there is Fight, Run, and the typically overkill AI command. However, a Tactics command has also
been added. This allows the player to set a specific set of commands for each party member to act
in battle. Of course, once in battle, the situation may change, and that tactic will no longer work.
In that case, choose your actions manually, and the next round, record those actions to a Tactic
slot. With this new addition to the command menu, battles moved much quicker than the
preceding Lunar, as each action does not have to be reselected. To further please the player, there
is now an option to remove the voices from battle. While the voices never seem to bother me, it
was a wide complaint from many players about the first Lunar.
As for the other menus, most of them are intuitive. The only menu Lunar 2 seems
to lack is a status menu. While the experience points are listed under the equip menu,
the stats don't show up unless the character is actually in the equipment mode. Sometimes I
simply wanted to compare who had the better Magic Defense, or a similar stat. The use
of L1/R1 to swap characters almost makes up for the lack of a status screen, but the full
size image of someone, typically found on the status screen, is always nice, especially
when the character is a tiny sprite for almost the entire game.
|Powerful spells aplenty
Speaking of sprites, the graphics are very old-school. Since Lunar was made in the day
when sprites were what made up almost all RPGs, the remakes have never changed from this
design of sprites on a brightly colored background that scrolls so the character stays in the center.
The battles' only animations are those of movement, slashing, and the spell effects. While there is
always the critical viewer who can't understand how one can play such a "simplistic" game, it only
takes a few hours before the complaints stop and they understand why the game continues to work.
Instead of flashy graphics, the game relies on the story and the characters to keep the players into
the game. Lunar 2 completely succeeds in this fashion.
Another compensation for the simpler graphics is the wonderful music. There are only so
many ways one can say that the music seems to be perfect in every sense. If your PSX does not
take full advantage of the full stereo possible from the hardware, then you're missing out on
possibly the best game music to date. To emphasize this, Working Designs slips in a soundtrack
so fans can listen to the songs over and over again.
That's not all Working Designs packed with Lunar 2. Also included are a "Making of" CD,
a few cardboard popup figurines, a hardbound manual with interviews, Lucia's pendant, and for
those who pre-ordered, the Punching Puppet Ghaleon. The "Making of" CD has behind the scenes
views on what takes place to make a game. Full of interviews and other information, it's a must
watch for anyone who is a Lunar fan. The puppet, once you're used to the controls, is great for
sparring with a friend. Lucia's pendant is surprisingly heavy, and a well-designed item. Extras are
never made to replace the enjoyment of the game, but to be collector's items.
If you wondered if it was worth the extra $10 to $20 for the goodies, my recommendation
is the game itself is worth $60, let alone with the extras. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete has
earned a special place in my gaming library, right next to Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete in
fact. The series has helped show the gaming world that graphics don't make the game; that there's
still a place in many people's hearts for a story that warms the heart, and shows the best and worst
humanity has to offer. Rent it, buy it, borrow it, it doesn't matter. I highly recommend that
everyone play this game.