Lunar 2 Eternal Blue
We're happy to report Working Designs' follow-up to last year's popular RPG Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is nearing completion. Well, we hope it is anyway. This Game Arts' developed update to their Sega CD masterpiece was scheduled for an August release, but we just got word it's been delayed again (a Working Designs game, delayed? Can you believe it?). If you just can't wait you can always check out the demo included with Vanguard Bandits. Our quick demo impressions? The new run feature for the dungeons is a welcome addition, and the voice acting and writing seem just as good as the last Lunar so far. Our only worry now is further delays--we can only play the demo so many times!
Download Lunar 2 Eternal Blue
In RPG circles the term "sequel" is used very loosely. Many times the only real link between two games in a series is the title and a few obscure references thrown in here and there. Often they take place on different worlds (we assume) and feature characters and plots that have little, if anything, to do with previous installments.
That's part of what makes Lunar 2 so enticing: Unlike so many other RPG sequels. Eternal Blue doesn't let the rich history created by the original game go to waste. Although it takes place 1,000 years later, Alex, Nall and friends have not been forgotten. As you travel the new land of Lunar you'll notice some familiar landmarks, come across the same towns, and even meet up with some descendants of the original heroes. Visit Ramus' shop in Meribia or the Ausa family in the Vane mansion. Go west of the fallen magic city to find Taben's Peak, which is really the overgrown ruins of the Grindery (get it? Taben being the original designer of the Grindery and all). There are even guest appearances by some of the more magical characters from Silver Star Story, but we won't give that away here.
Based on how hunky-dory everything was at the end of Silver Star Story, you'd think Lunar would be a great place to live, right? Not quite. It seems the goddess' chosen (a cult that rules through fear) are running amok. The four heroes of the goddess seem odd, following orders that are far too evil to have been issued by Althena. It's in this world of turmoil that Hiro begins his quest, just like the last game, our hero runs across other troubled souls who join his cause for reasons of their own.
Of course, all of this is being brought to U.S. audiences by Working Designs, who've long been known for their ability to tell a great story through good writing and above-average voice acting. Lunar 2 is no different. Actually, in keeping with the developer's original vision of a more grown-up Lunar game, their translation features less playground humor than their localization of the Sega CD original (something we're sure will please more than a few of the RPG fans who are so vocal about "pure" scripts in their games).
So what's the point? No matter how you slice it, this is simply a remake of an old Sega CD game, right? Well, sort of. Lunar 2 definitely hasn't undergone as many changes as the prequel did, simply because the Sega CD version of Lunar 2 was so much longer and more involved than the original Sega CD Silver Star. However, that's not to say things haven't been enhanced. In the original Sega CD Eternal Blue, sometimes you were left a little confused, positive that you'd just witnessed some important link between the first game and the second, but unsure as to what it was. With this remake, Game Arts made the connections between the two games much more obvious, mostly thanks to high-quality video sequences (some as long as seven minutes!) featuring that great art style from the last game.
With the success of Silver Star Story Complete on the PS and the current level of preorders on Eternal Blue, Working Designs is predicting this title will be their best-selling piece of software to date. Not only that, but the projected U.S. sales are more than all three Japanese versions (Sega CD, Saturn and PlayStation) combined! Personally we could care less about sales numbers--that is, as long as it's enough to guarantee a part three to this fantastic series somewhere down the road.
Lunar fans who are currently buried in Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete will be happy to know that the sequel, Eternal Blue, is on schedule for an end-of-year release. Lunar 2 originally appeared on the Sega CD, but the game is now being enhanced with better graphics to take advantage of the PlayStation's hardware. Eternal Blue will be a five-CD (!) set: The game takes up three discs, while the other two are for the soundtrack and a "making of" documentary feature. (For the "ProReview" of Eternal Blue for the Sega CD, see the November '95 issue of GamePro.)
Whhile we're still waiting for the U.S. release of Lunar: Silver Star Story for the PlayStation (ahem), gamers in Japan are already tearing through the sequel, Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, which was recently released for the Saturn in Japan. While the Saturn version certainly won't make it to the United States, don't be surprised if a PlayStation version surfaces in Japan in the coming months, with a U.S. version to follow soon after.
If you've played the Sega CD version, then you already know that Lunar 2 is a great game. The Saturn version offers a host of improvements.
All of the game's animation has been redone, and there's a LOT more of it, too. Best of all, a lot of it has CG mixed in with the anime, and the result is spectacular. The game is actually two CDs now because of all the animation (about an hour's worth in total). Also, like Silver Star Story, enemies are now visible in the dungeons, so you can try to avoid battles if you wish. On the downside, some sub-quests were taken out (again, just like Silver Star Story), and some of the larger dungeons have been cut down a bit (don't ask us...). The music is enhanced, but the soundtrack itself is the same as the original (this is a good thing--some of the music in Lunar was completely changed, mostly for the worse).
Lunar 2 is a worthwhile import for fans of the original, but like we said earlier--we're betting on the announcement of a PlayStation version in Japan soon. If so, don't be surprised to hear something from the Working Designs camp here in the United States soon after.
Working Designs brings Game Arts fantastic sequel to Lunar to the U.S. this winter. A thousand years after Luna and Alex first set out on their quest, evil is again plotting to throw the world into eternal darkness. As Hiro, you and your friends must find the goddess Althena and restore peace to the land. About an hour of animation and over 90 minutes of dialogue await you in this three-CD RPG.