Throwback Bit Thursday: Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete

Lunar Article Cover

Lunar 2: Eternal Blue is my favorite game in Game Arts’ two main game series. Lunar 2 is a simple, but effective JRPG that has aged as well as fine wine. In today’s Throwback Bit write up, I remember this timeless, all time PS1 great classic!

The Working Designs Factor

During the late 1990s to early 00s, I developed an obsession with collecting Working Designs published JRPGs.  This obsession led me to long drives and game hunts over different Electronic Boutiques across Pennsylvania. This is how I managed to buy Alundra, Vanguard Bandits, and both PS Lunars.  To be fair, these hunts also led to other rare treasures such Thousand Arms.

Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete, however, was my crown jewel. I remember walking into one of the stores, and seeing it behind the counter “Used” at just 34.99. Notice that I wrote ‘used’ between quotations because the game was almost brand new.

The contents inside the collector’s game box were still wrapped and unopened. The discs were in mint condition. It is likely that the previous owner bought the game, and played a bit of it before deciding to trade it back to the store.

So, I considered myself blessed to have found an used copy of Lunar 2 in such an incredible state. I sill keep the game in its box except that its value has not depreciated in the least. I paid 35 dollars for a complete collector’s set, and it is going on sale now (used) on amazon for $200+.

Working Designs Lunar 2
No publisher created more beautiful packaging for JRPGs than Working Designs. Buying a Working Designs published game always felt special. Lunar 2 (pictured above) is one of the better packaged games from the company.

Keep in mind that this is the price that the game is selling for without the manual, and collectibles in the package. So, technically I could ask for $400 and a collector might want to buy the title from me.

Working Design games tend to gain monetary value over time, not only because of their games’ amazing packaging, but because Working Designs went under in 2005, thus the few copies of WD published games that are out there are getting rarer (thus more valuable) by the passing year.

Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete is as Eternal as its Name Implies

Lunar 2 (like Lunar: The Silver Star) aging as fine as it has is quite impressive. While the game saw a PlayStation release in the year 2000, the game was actually originally released back in 1994 on the Sega CD.

So, while the PlayStation (and Saturn) versions feature a spruced up presentation (better visuals, audio, and expanded script) from the original, the game in essence remains a 16-bit era classic.

It should then be considered as a big statement when I say, that I have had far more fun replaying Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete than I had replaying Final Fantasy VI over the last 20 years. I know, blasphemy! But nonetheless, it is the absolute truth.

Lunar 2: Eternal Blue’s character development, and translation were years ahead of the legendary FFVI. The previous statement, does not necessarily make Lunar 2 a better game than FFVI, which is a game whose atmosphere remains unparalleled (as far as 2-D games go) to this day. But, in my opinion at least, the better translation and character dialogue makes Lunar 2 the more enjoyable playthrough 27 years after both of games’ releases.

Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete does not posses the dark steampunk vibes of FFVI, and its story is not as deep (or as dramatic in the impact of it events). It is a simple tale, but one that is carried beautifully by its likable characters.

The game has many underlying themes including love, and redemption. It is however, Working Design’s stellar translation (and the game’s wonderful voice acting) that seals the deal on Lunar 2 being a timeless classic.

The older I get, the funnier the game gets, and that’s something that very few JRPGs can pull off. If you are a 90s kid or teen, you will appreciate the game’s pop culture references of the era (a Working Designs staple).

Its simplistic gameplay style of fighting random turn based battles in order to level up to defeat increasingly more powerful bosses, is as traditional within the genre as ‘traditional’ can get. Some will complain at the lack of depth in its battle, and  character progression system, but given that this is a story driven game, I actually applaud it for its simplicity.

Noriyuki Iwadare at his Finest

Lunar 2: Eternal Blue dialogue
While the visuals are 16-bit through and through, the game’s translation was far ahead of its time.

Music is an integral part of JRPGs. 30+ hour quests need to have a pleasing arrangement of tracks in order to accompany the characters’ epic exploits. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue shines on this department. Its music is not as good as Final Fantasy’s best (apart from Mitsuda’s work, what JRPG music is?), but it features some of the best aural work that you will find in any RPG from the era.

Being a CD product (Sega CD), the music was crisper sounding than that of its rival SNES, and it featured voiced tracks (along with stellar voice acting). In the early 1990s this was a relatively new way to present games (voice acting and tracks)to players.

In some ways, what the Lunar series did on the Sega CD would set the audio/visual presentation standards (animated cutscenes, voice acting, and vocalized song tracks) that many 32-bit era JRPGs would follow.

A Linear Quest That is Worth a Playthrough Today

Lunar 2: Eternal Blue is a linear as JRPGs can get, but that shouldn’t dissuade anyone from playing it, as the game strongly focuses in its characters, their development, and storytelling. Hiro, and Lucia’s quest in an unforgettable romp, worthy of a few playthroughs.

Playing Lunar 2 feels like watching a complete season of a wonderful anime series, and that is one of the best compliments that I can give to any game in this genre. If you can afford it, I would suggest purchasing a copy of Lunar 2 with the full packaging on Amazon, the game is only going to get pricier in this decade.

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By Samuel Rivera

An avid video game player and book reader, Samuel has been playing video games for the last 31 years. He has played nearly every PS1 JRPG known to man, and loves Ocarina of Time more than any other game.