Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete

After Lunar: The Silver Star, originally for the Sega CD, got its remake on the Sony Playstation, it was only fitting that its one and only sequel, Eternal Blue, get its own PSX reincarnation. Working Designs, which had localized Silver Star Story and the original Sega CD Lunars, naturally brought the sequel’s remake, Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete, to American shores, releasing it in 2000 just as the previous console generation was gradually coming to a close. While more enjoyable than the original version and with its strong points, especially one particular interface improvement I’ll eventually mention, the remake still falls a bit short of being in the top tier of Playstation RPGs.

For one, the battle system is middling. The barebones collision encounter system from Silver Star Story returns, as do the general turn-based mechanisms with characters and enemies constantly moving around the field, with unpredictable turn order, oft-undesired results with area-affecting skills as a result, and the escape option not always working (though it does work more often this time around). One major redeeming aspect, though, is that when you select an enemy to hit with a normal attack or magic skill, the cursor either turns red or green to indicate respective low or high effectiveness, with plain yellow highlighting indicating no effect one way or the other. Battles are a bit faster than in the original version, yet can still drag if you don’t use your skills, which can quickly drain MP in lengthy dungeons.

One interesting addition to combat, though, is the crest system, with each character able to equip two, with different pairs having unique effects, such as greatly increased attack power or agility. There also exist a few skills, such as White Dragon Protect, which can really help in the toughest battles (some of which, though, are unbeatable if your levels are too low, and you don’t have certain skills), and in the end, the battle system works out just okay.

Interaction, moving on, has received a much-needed facelift, what primarily with the ability to save your game anywhere without needing to consume skill points, inexistent in the remake. Inventory space is generous, as well, with items stacking up to twenty, alongside easy menus. The only real problem is the dash system in dungeons, with Hiro moving sluggishly, and the player able to give him a brief burst of speed, after which he/she must wait a second before being able to speed up again. This can be a bit of an annoyance if you’re trying to avoid enemies in dungeons, although it hardly wrecks interaction. Working Designs’ translation, moreover, while with small grammar errors and occasional oddness (“I can scarcely believe it!”), helps a little to bring up interaction, as well, which overall proves to be one of the remake’s high points.

While Silver Star Story proved to be a vastly different experience from the original, Eternal Blue Complete borrows far more heavily from its initial incarnation, with the two theme songs, the soundtrack, many voice clips, major parts of the script and story, and even the anime cutscenes (albeit with visual modernization), making conspicuous comebacks. The dungeons seemed different, though, and the crest system was new, so there’s still moderate creativity in Eternal Blue Complete.

The story remains the same, as you can probably infer, with ruinseeker Hiro and his baby red dragon friend Ruby encountering Lucia, from the Blue Star, and bringing her across the Silver Star to speak with Althena to warn of Zophar’s imminent return to power, eons after he rendered the Blue Star uninhabitable; a few, though, believe Lucia is the Destroyer fabled to wreak havoc upon the world. Hiro still doesn’t have much background, although the plot still has pretty much the same drama and effect it did in the Sega CD’s day, having a bit of extra backstory this time around, and is one main draw to this game.

As you can also likely infer, too, Noriyuki Iwadare’s soundtrack remains largely unchanged, not that this is a bad thing—it is, perhaps, some of his strongest work with the boss battle theme, for instance, being one of the best ever to be heard in the genre. The two theme songs return, as well, both of which are gorgeous, although the voice acting is a different story, especially in battle—few players can tolerate hearing their characters shouting “Ferocious wind!”, “Pain…”, “Mega magic flame!”, “Happy hour!”, and “Gypsy magic!” for the hundredth time without getting the temptation to hit the mute button (or, thankfully, to turn off the battle voices). Overall, like in the original version, the music is nice, but the voice acting, well, isn’t.

Like Silver Star Story, moreover, Eternal Blue Complete features a number of impressive anime cutscenes alongside an unfortunately-primitive graphical style, making the game resemble an early 16-bit RPG, though it’s hardly painful on the eyes—it’s just that even the likes of Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, and Star Ocean look better than this game, and the graphics designers definitely could’ve made an effort to make it look on par with, if not superior to, such 16-bit titles.

Finally, Eternal Blue Complete is more difficult than the average RPG, with twenty hours bare minimum needed to clear it, up to forty if the player chooses to embark upon the lengthy, tedious epilogue quest.

Nice interaction, nice music, nice story—now if the developers at Game Arts just worked a little more on the gameplay and graphics, Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete would’ve been an instant masterpiece. The series is pretty much dead today, though, so it’s pretty much the best way to experience for yourself the story of Hiro, Ruby, Lucia, and company—if you can find it, that is.

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