Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

For discussion of Lunar: Eternal Blue, the original game for the Sega CD
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Shinto-Cetra
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Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:07 am

I just finished Eternal Blue (original M/SCD via Openemu.) Unlike Lunar 1, it's basically the same game as the remake. (Keep in mind most of these points are opinions) There are differences, the music is better on M/SCD, but there are several things I like better about the remake, mainly scrapping the MEXP system (the biggest improvement), Chad Letts was a better Hiro than Mark Zempel, The Mystere scene loses much of it's impact when Mystere is not voiced during it, Lucia looks better with Teal hair than royal blue, added difficulty with Lucia running from battles early on, Jenny Stigle doing a better job with the theme song, higher quality cutscenes…Overall I prefer the remake, but it's close as there was no massive rewrite as with Lunar 1.

Anyway, I have already completed SSH, EBC, and TSS. I guess next is finally finishing SSSC. TSS is still the best regardless.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Alunissage » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:38 am

I loved the M Exp, myself. Was pretty disappointed when the remake just had spells morph on their own to become more expensive. I also liked how Lucia had a lot more spells, mostly pretty cool-looking, in the original. Much preferred the inventory management in the remake, though.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby AkagisWhiteComet » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:37 pm

I've only beat Eternal Blue on the Sega CD once back in the day when I bought it (it's the one LUNAR title I have that I'm most disappointed in, in that the only copy I could source was a FuncoLand copy that was just the disk). I remember the absolute worst point of the game for me was Borgan without doubt. I just ab-so-lute-ly could not beat him. I honestly do not know what I was doing wrong at the time. Levels too low? Not having a good battle strategy? It was super frustrating. I only endured because I had already finished Silver Star and REALLY wanted to finish EB. The only way I did beat him is I'm still convinced to this day was plain dumb luck in the turns of battle. Even the Zophar battles were way easier.

The whole Borgan thing was one reason it's also the only LUNAR title released state-side that I have not revisited after completing. All the other games on the various platforms I've played through multiple times.

This is also my opinion but one thing I did really like about EB on the Sega CD was the 'presentation' as in the overall look and feel of the game. The somewhat subdued palette on a CRT gave the title more authenticity in it's dungeon, ruin crawling nature than the seemingly brighter palettes of the remake. The overworld in particular when you progressed much later in the game took on a very somber mood with the soundtrack and the palette. It's hard to explain & portray but it was a great feeling.

I still to this day do not understand how Working Designs didn't catch the huge error in the remake with the White Dragon Cave. There's lines upon lines of dialogue with Nall telling you to find the treasures in the cave and they were omitted in the remake. My dumb self is wondering after I got through it all why in the world did Nall repeat all of that dialogue from the original when the treasures weren't there? Then I get the strategy guide and it was an "ohhhhhhh..." moment, but still that is a whole lot of dialogue to miss.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:23 pm

AkagisWhiteComet wrote:This is also my opinion but one thing I did really like about EB on the Sega CD was the 'presentation' as in the overall look and feel of the game. The somewhat subdued palette on a CRT gave the title more authenticity in it's dungeon, ruin crawling nature than the seemingly brighter palettes of the remake. The overworld in particular when you progressed much later in the game took on a very somber mood with the soundtrack and the palette. It's hard to explain & portray but it was a great feeling.

Ah this is true for me too. I emulated, so my CRT was not an option for me, but I have a preference for darker palettes (not so dark as for everything to be dull grey looking, but this was obviously not the case with Lunar Eternal Blue.)

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Kizyr » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:42 am

AkagisWhiteComet wrote:I remember the absolute worst point of the game for me was Borgan without doubt. I just ab-so-lute-ly could not beat him. I honestly do not know what I was doing wrong at the time. Levels too low? Not having a good battle strategy? It was super frustrating. I only endured because I had already finished Silver Star and REALLY wanted to finish EB. The only way I did beat him is I'm still convinced to this day was plain dumb luck in the turns of battle. Even the Zophar battles were way easier.

The whole Borgan thing was one reason it's also the only LUNAR title released state-side that I have not revisited after completing. All the other games on the various platforms I've played through multiple times.

Borgan's difficulty was pretty legendary. Main things that helped were:
(1) having leveled up just enough to get an upgrade to Ronfar's all-heal spell (can't remember offhand which one though)
(2) equipping an accessory on each character to lower damage from earth/thunder attacks (can buy in Neo-Vane)
(3) positioning people to take advantage of Lemina's area protection spell (...it's been a while so hopefully I'm not mixing this one up with EBC)

The first couple times through were notoriously difficult. These days, if I replay it, I tend not to have nearly as much of a problem. Usually I also don't need to level up at any point so long as I don't make a habit of running from battle. ...it's still tough as nails though. KF
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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Alunissage » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:12 am

WD has caught flak over the years for upping the difficulty in their games, but Borgan is actually easier in their version than in the original Japanese MegaCD game. Seriously. I think in both games it was Ronfar's Light Litany that I found the most useful, since it both does a decent amount of damage and heals the entire party. I once found a save with the party at level 27 right before Borgan and couldn't do it. (No, I don't know how the previous player had made it to that point at that low a level.)

Regarding the text error, well, WD's primary writer at the time kinda went AWOL and so they dumped some of the SCD text in in a huge hurry and missed that some of it was specific to that game's dungeon. The localization effort for that game was not a smooth one. Note that localization writing generally doesn't involve having the game running right in front of you so you can see context. There are some similar errors in Lunar Legend, made Japan-side and inadvertently propagated in translation -- most of the text was reused from SSS, but there's at least one place where text that would never belong in that game due to gameplay changes is there because of what was probably a copy/paste error. (Specifically, there are NPCs talking about an event that hasn't happened yet -- but after the event has happened, you can't access the location of those NPCs, so you'd never see the text at the correct time.)

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:10 am

Alunissage wrote:WD has caught flak over the years for upping the difficulty in their games, but Borgan is actually easier in their version than in the original Japanese MegaCD game. Seriously. I think in both games it was Ronfar's Light Litany that I found the most useful, since it both does a decent amount of damage and heals the entire party. I once found a save with the party at level 27 right before Borgan and couldn't do it. (No, I don't know how the previous player had made it to that point at that low a level.)


That's interesting, because as mentioned elsewhere, I played the Unworked Designs hack (mainly for the lack of censorship/saving without sacrificing MEXP, I like the WD translation that is left intact etc.) and I beat Borgan on the first try. Not the reason I use it, but said hack restores the Japanese difficulty. It was a hard fight; don't get me wrong. The only boss to give me serious trouble was Omni-Zophar, in that my party died repeatedly. The remake Omni-Zophar was much harder but this version was still hard.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Alunissage » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:23 am

Possibly the hack maintained WD's difficulty for Borgan, then (since a running theme to some complaints seems to be that WD made things too hard, not just that they changed things, so I figure the complainers want things to be easy). Because when I played it in Japanese I remember things like him casting Gravity Bomb twice without my party actually getting a turn in between. I don't remember if it took more than one try to defeat him or what level I was at, though. Annoyingly, there was never a Japanese guide published, as far as I've been able to find, so I can't check stat changes that way.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Imperial Knight » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:24 pm

With the stipulation that I've never played any of the Unworked Designs hacks, my impression from both the lists of changes and from things Vic has said is that often the changes WD made to games during localization were geared toward making the game longer more than anything else, as there was fear that if the game could be beaten too quickly then people could abuse return policies.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Alunissage » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:11 am

Really? I'm not sure I ever heard that. But I came to gaming fandom relatively late (first going online in 1999), and never did comprehend actually returning a game (or book, or other entertainment), so it wouldn't have occurred to me. I could see it in the case of non-RPGs, since Vic really likes shooters and the impression I've had is that shooters tend not to be all that long as games go, but RPGs are pretty long in themselves just by the nature of the genre. But I also don't recall ever being badly stuck on a RPG boss other than the Wind Elemental in Vay, which we know was genuinely unintentional on their part, so whatever the pace set by exploring dungeons and the encounter rate seemed to work out balancewise for me. What I mean is, if you're getting to a boss underlevelled, you're probably playing the game faster and not exploring nearly as much as I tend to. Legend and HSS mostly felt too easy to me, to where it didn't feel all that rewarding to defeat a boss, though this was also due to the Arts gauge moves and the HP/MP refills.

Though it occurs to me that the stat tweaking (specifically, getting less EXP) is maybe less defensible in games like SSS and EBC where there are a finite number of battles unless you leave and return to an area to force a respawn. When it's random encounters, grinding is maybe a little less obvious, but if you have to leave and redo the whole dungeon because you're having trouble, that kind of emphasizes that you're redoing stuff you wouldn't have to if the balance were better. I mean, I like things to be hard enough to actually have to think about strategy -- which suddenly reminds me that I DID have to bail on the Blue Fiend in EBC because its healing meant that after literally half an hour the only "progress" I'd made was to use up some healing items. I didn't need to level up for that, but I did need to revise my equipment and possibly my battle formation. I've kind of forgotten my point now.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Imperial Knight » Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:08 pm

My impression is admittedly based a fair bit on speculation/extrapolation as I do believe that when Vic explicitly mentioned return policies in interviews and such it was in the context of WD's shooters. Likewise not having played any of the hacks for comparison, I'm kind of going off of what I would expect to be the effects of, say, increasing enemy HP or item costs, both of which seemed to be common WD tweaks.

As an aside, personally speaking I dislike grinding in RPGs although in my experience it's usually unnecessary even in RPGs that have a grindy reputation (e.g. most NES RPGs). By the time you get from Point A to Point B you should be able to win battles with proper party setups and battle tactics without the need to run around in circles outside of town. I do wonder how much the perception of games being grindy comes from players using guides to make a beeline to the next story destination instead of exploring the world/dungeons in a more "natural" way.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby AkagisWhiteComet » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:41 pm

Kizyr wrote:Borgan's difficulty was pretty legendary. Main things that helped were:
(1) having leveled up just enough to get an upgrade to Ronfar's all-heal spell (can't remember offhand which one though)
(2) equipping an accessory on each character to lower damage from earth/thunder attacks (can buy in Neo-Vane)
(3) positioning people to take advantage of Lemina's area protection spell (...it's been a while so hopefully I'm not mixing this one up with EBC)

The first couple times through were notoriously difficult. These days, if I replay it, I tend not to have nearly as much of a problem. Usually I also don't need to level up at any point so long as I don't make a habit of running from battle. ...it's still tough as nails though. KF


An issue I had back then was in 95/96 I didn't have internet in my home; actually didn't even have a home computer until 1997-ish. My school also didn't get computers until well around the late 90s, and going to something like a library wasn't exactly the easiest thing to do (our largest local library literally had one computer connected online). As an early teen I effectively had no recourse to try and figure out as to what I was doing wrong. I had no sort of guides or similar to check (I didn't know Sandwich Publications made a guide back then) and I knew no one with a SEGA CD much less that also owned a copy of Eternal Blue. I'm certain for sure if I played through it again I'd likely fare better but part of me is like I can just play through the remake, have a much better go, and just deal with the text issues.

In retrospect I believe also the whole relying on magic EXP points to save was partially at fault. I didn't save that often in EB simple because I didn't want to expel magic points (I didn't know at the time it's cost raised with Hiro's level). I didn't have any sort of "good" save to return to that would have required me to play hours upon hours of the game over.

Living in super rural America sucked bad. And I'm probably just making excuses for my EB experience, but it for sure is the least fondest LUNAR memory.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:48 am

It costs you magic experience to save the game in the original EB? O.o
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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Alunissage » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:33 am

Yes, that's one of the things WD added. It costs 15x Hiro's level to save. Not a big deal after like the first few hours of the game, since battles generally yielded far more M Exp than that, but it really bothered some people. The game started you with 30 M (the Japanese game starts with 0) so you could save at the beginning before getting into any battles.

I won't say I liked it as a feature, but the outrage over it always seemed to be rather excessive.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Kizyr » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:45 am

Yeah the outrage over losing-HP-for-running in Lunar: DS reminded me of that, too.

Though the difference is that Lunar: DS had so many other very weak points to the game/story that picking out the HP-loss-for-running issue seemed rather trivial since the game was so absurdly easy, whereas with Lunar: EB it's overall a fantastic game with a couple of hiccups. KF
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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby Alunissage » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:51 am

Dunno that I'd call DS absurdly easy, given the equipment breakage and inability to select targets in battle. And accidentally running from battle because of background noise in your environment. Sigh.

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Re: Finally finished this, mini-review/comparison

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:49 am

Alunissage wrote:Yes, that's one of the things WD added. It costs 15x Hiro's level to save. Not a big deal after like the first few hours of the game, since battles generally yielded far more M Exp than that, but it really bothered some people. The game started you with 30 M (the Japanese game starts with 0) so you could save at the beginning before getting into any battles.

I won't say I liked it as a feature, but the outrage over it always seemed to be rather excessive.


Sounds like a dumb feature imo, haha
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