Lunar 2 would follow Silver Star Story onto the Sega CD for North American audiences in ’95 with a number of improvements that would also make it a classic. It took place in the same world a thousand years later after Alex and his friends had won the day working in a wonderful sense of continuity with a much larger story. The main villain, Zophar, would also go on to rate as one of the toughest bosses in any JRPG to date on many players’ lists.
As with Silver Star Story, Working Designs would also do the translation and programming work to get Eternal Blue over to the West and they would have their hands full thanks to all of the material that made it even larger story-wise than the last one. Nearly an hour of voiced and animated cut-scene work was included, a huge leap over Lunar’s few minutes of vocal ear candy, but it would also feature the same degree of presentation polish. The manual was as much an illustrated work of art as the first was and small fixes were made to the gameplay to polish it further.
One of the more controversial changes was in charging players to save in the game. Although you could save “anywhere”, the escalating costs to use the feature was not a popular option. At the same time, it also featured an improved “AI” system that allowed you to automate your allies to some degree in combat.
The story was also a bit more “serious” than the last one, though it was crammed with depth fleshing out the world and its characters. It was filled with a number of incredible twists that I can’t really go into here if you’re thinking of playing this classic, but it certainly helps to have played the first game to appreciate one of the best ones.
Unfortunately, the game would also be one of the Sega CD’s final hurrahs at the worst time of its life cycle.
If I’ve read the release dates right, Lunar 2 came out six days (September 15th) after Sony’s Playstation hit North American shelves in the same year on September 9th,. The rest, as they say, is history.
The ad for the game had also sported the art that would be part of the embossed manual along with featuring more of the anime art showing off the main characters. A line of screenshots followed showing off the top down exploration, turn-based combat, and the cuts interspersed throughout the game to back its expanded story.
But it wasn’t over for Working Designs who jumped right into Sony’s pool. The re-release of Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete arrived on the Playstation for NA with an omake box style release packed with extras as mentioned earlier. Working Designs would also do the same thing for Lunar 2 with Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete and go a few steps further with an omake box within the main box.
The omake box came with a replica of Lucia’s pendant wrapped in paper for protection inside a velvet pouch, a small printed map on the inside cover flap, and a plastic packet of miniature cardboard stand ups. It was even labeled “Omake Box” on the spine and fit right in with everything else.
As for the game itself, it also featured a number of enhancements such as expanded animation work, voice overs, and even more tweaks to the gameplay. But one thing I didn’t know until years later was that the story for the complete version of Eternal Blue had apparently followed the Sega CD version of Silver Star Story – not the expanded version the remake – leaving a few holes in the plot. It didn’t really rob me of any enjoyment that I got from the adventure, though more than a few eagle-eyed fans certainly noticed.
A few other changes included improvements to the video to “make it look better” for American audiences by raising its resolution from 256 x 224 to 320 x 224 in fullscreen. Much of the voice acting was lifted from the original, though it was also noted in the manual (which was also packed with interviews and a slice of the strategy guide) that Hiro’s had undergone a complete revamp with a new actor and Ruby’s was also “softened”. Save slots were also vastly increased allowing you to use up to thirty (two PSX memory cards combined) and you also didn’t have to pay to save anymore.
And here are a few pics of Working Designs’ omake styled set below (apologies in advance for some of the blurriness):