Lunar 2: Eternal Blue


    Even though Lunar: Silver Star was originally played by a small amount of gamers, its remake was met with great anticipation when finally released last year. The deluxe edition, with special packaging and a soundtrack CD, met with a warm response and solid sales, creating an even larger audience for the remake of Lunar: Eternal Blue. The original game was the last release for the Sega CD, dooming it a tiny audience and turning it into a rare, hard to find item. The remake, while not having as many modifications as Silver Star's, presents a wonderful story to many gamers who never had the chance to enjoy it.

 Poe Sword
Hiro shows off his skills

    Like Silver Star Story Complete, Eternal Blue Complete is a deluxe version, this time with three game CDs, a music CD, a making-of CD, a hardbound manual/art book, a replica of Lucia's pendant, and several character standees. Graphically, the changes in Eternal Blue are quite similar to those made in Silver Star, with the original 16-bit Sega CD look being upgraded to a more colorful and detailed 32-bit one. However, those looking for something more than what they found in Silver Star Complete will find that the two look nearly identical.

    In addition to the changes to the in-game graphics, the anime FMV has been totally redrawn and expanded, and the result is the most powerful storytelling piece of the game. Considering that the original Blue was but one disc, having three now shows just how many cinemas have been added to the game. The only drawback is that the voices are recorded at a lower volume than the rest of the music. Though this isn't a problem during FMV, where the volume can be turned up if there's no other music, it becomes annoying when voiceovers in regular gameplay are drowned out by the average background music. The only time the background music is notable is when strains of it are taken from the original. Listening closely, you can often hear Luna's melody or other themes from Silver Star woven into the new music, helping tie the two games together.

    The battle engine is also similar to Silver Star's, though thankfully all characters can now use stocked items instead of just the five they have equipped. Some characters can also use more than one type of weapon, although it's not usually the best thing to do. The cumbersome magic experience point system has been abolished, and there are also no encounters on the world map. All of this creates a less tedious game overall, but the battle system isn't anything new or exciting.

    Money is hard to come by for most of the game, which, combined with the steady deluge of new weapons and armor, creates an irritating imbalance. Fighting enough to earn the money to purchase new weapons and armor greatly increases the difficulty of the enemies, which level up with you, nullifying most of the gain. On the other hand, skipping the new items will cause your characters to have problems defeating new monsters. To offset this somewhat, characters can now equip crests - special elemental items that add unique abilities, change stats or alter elemental damages and defenses. Considering that the overall battle system is standard old-school RPG, this serves as the main bit of innovation.

I didn't know that GIA staffer Ed McGlothlin was starring in this game...
One of Ronfar's less vulgar lines...

    While the characters of Silver Star were somewhat static and sometimes lacked depth, the characters of Eternal Blue show more development and uniqueness. We do have the standard cliché of one hero, one princess, one healer, one magician, etc., but the uniqueness comes from the fact that the magician is a money grubbing and vain female, while the healer, far from weak, is a sarcastic and womanizing guy. Indeed, the comedic bantering and interaction of Ronfar, Lemina, Jean and Ruby, full of crude jokes and sexual innuendoes, often carries the game.

    The most static of the main characters is really our Hiro, whose desire for adventure and attraction to the heroine, Lucia, are almost nauseating in cuteness at the beginning of the game. Thankfully, both Hiro and Lucia do a bit of growing up and end up as likeable as the rest of the cast. The voice-overs during gameplay and battle add another dimension to the characters, and even though Ruby is as squeaky as Nall ever was, it doesn't seem quite as annoying when coming from a female baby dragon.

 Lucia eschews clothes once more.
Stranger from the Blue Star

    If the characters and their interaction don't keep you playing, the game's other quirks certainly should. Everywhere in Lunar, the gamer can find ties and remnants of the past, even as far as characters returning from the original. Exploring every corner and talking to every NPC reveals books with tales of Alex's journey, and some NPCs will even tell you stories or sing you the words of tunes from the Silver Star. Aside from this nostalgia, however, the thousand years since you last explored the world of Lunar have seen things go vastly wrong. As the favorite saying goes "time flows like a river and history repeats" and in Lunar, peace is once again on a rapid downward spiral. Vane lies in shambles and a descendant of Ramus can't sell any of his goods, but the mysterious behavior of the goddess Althena is what drives the plot of the game. What happened between Silver Star's happy ending and now for the Goddess to lock herself away and allow her followers to hound people everywhere for donations? The Goddess now detests singing and dancing, which is hard to believe considering Luna's love of music.

    Eternal Blue also deals with the connection between Lunar and the Blue Star, Lucia's home, and the rumoured place of origin of the people of Lunar. But with the many convoluted and difficult to decipher plots of current games, Eternal Blue remains a refreshing change. This is not to say the game doesn't have its twists, but it also doesn't try to be something complicated and spiritually questioning. In the most basic sense of RPGs, it tells a story, and does so in a very light-hearted and endearing way.

Review by Tamzen Marie Baker, GIA.
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue
Developer Game Arts
Publisher Working Designs
Genre Traditional RPG
Medium CD (5)
Platform PlayStation
Release Date  05.26.99
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue delayed
447 disc 1 screenshots / 3 anime movies
12 phone cards / Hiro and Lucia / Jean poster
North American packaging