Part 3: Hiro is Very Wise(?)Chapter 2: Hiro is Very Wise(?)
: ...it's got to be... around here... somewhere... ah! Hiro... go down into the basement and get some weapons while I look for the jewel... and don't dally! We've got to get over to the Blue Spire immediately!
Don't get all bossy on me! It wasn't even your idea to go there in the first place!
And of course, dally is the first thing we'll be doing. Gwyn has a tons of books lying around. Let's read them!
"Dragon Tower Ruins
Star Dragon Tower
And... the Blue Spire."
Gosh, these sound like they might be future dungeons! And I'm not sure why the Blue Spire gets the ellipses. Maybe Gwyn's ellipsitis might be acting up again.
But that's boring. Let's go downstairs.
More books! And a treasure chest, but we're already armed, so this chest is not as exciting as the one Alex's dad had in the first game.
"This book I will dedicate to the discovery of the secrets of the ruins.
Wouldn't it be weird if that book was actually a bodice ripper or something?
The rest, however, are definitely exposition-dumps. Get your exposition pants on!
"Once Lunar was a barren world, unable to support life. The Blue Star was a place of death and decay, so Althena turned to Lunar. She blessed it with her power, and it became a place of beauty and wonder. Pleased with her work, she brought people to this land from the Blue Star."
"The Blue Spire in the north part of the Salyan Desert in an ancient mystery. The entrance was sealed tight with powerful magic, and no one has seen the interior of the tower for hundreds of years. It is rumored that the spire links Lunar to the Blue Star..."
The Blue Star is mentioned in the first game, but only vaguely. There was no backstory for the planet Lunar itself. I suppose one could call this a retcon, but none of this really changes the plot of Lunar 1.
The geography, on the other hand... I'm not actually referring to the Blue Spire, and how it wasn't in the first game. I can just assume the world of Lunar is bigger than the game showed us and I didn't see everything. However, the Salyan desert, which is where the sequel starts, is new. Most of the geography is completely changed from the first game, and most places from the first game are just gone. But not all. There are some familiar places.
"The city of Vane once floated above the clouds. But, Magic Emperor Ghaleon used his evil power to blast it from the heavens."
Vane was a flying city in a JRPG. Really, it was only inevitable. In Lunar 1, Vane was a glittering (if eliteist) metroplois ruled by a mage upper-class. Have to wonder how it fared in the intervening years.
And since we're catching new readers up to speed...
"There are four Dragons of Althena. They are white, red, black, and blue. The power of Althena and the Dragons is what protects this world from evil. These are the only true dragons in the world..."
A Dragonmaster is Althena's strongest protector. Since Althena's last rebirth, the world has been without a Dragonmaster. The last Dragonmaster was called Alex."
"Every few hundreds years, the Goddess of beauty and love, Althena, returns to us. At that time, she leads the people into a place of peace and absolute harmony."
Uh, no, that didn't happen. She was reborn as a human in the first game, yes, but there wasn't a period of peace and harmony following her. For from it. Well, maybe that was a fluke. She seems to have reborn again and maybe there's lotsa harmony now?
No. No there is not.
"Once in a very long time, it is said that a shape-shifting Dragon comes to be. The Dragon can change form at will. And, it's power is beyond belief."
This isn't part of the catch-up; this is new. I mean, Nall flew around in adorable pint-size, and I guess could transform into big size (but he didn't in the original Lunar 1) but that doesn't seem to be the same thing this book is describing. Odd.
Enough book-learning. Let's get to the stabbing.
We don't even get a brown potato sack this time. Just a shitty old knife.
Not that shitty, mind. We do lose an extra attack, but our attack power more than doubles so it's a fair trade-off.
Let's go see if Gwyn manages to find what he was looking for in his stacks of cluttered mess.
: If we put this jewel in the eye of the dragon at the entrance, it should open! Here, put this in your bag, Hiro.
My, that looks... familiar doesn't it?
: Be sure to equip the weapon you took from the chest. It's no use to us in your bag, m'boy.
I always feel offended when games do that. I know it's to instruct the dumb kids playing, but I think even as a dumb kid I knew to equip my damn items. Then again, I suppose if Final Fantasy 1 can fool adults, maybe the advice is needed.
: Okay, let's get moving. The Blue Spire's to the north, after we cross the bridge.
Alright, new party member! Let's check him out!
It's kinda sad that Hiro's grandpa is innately stronger than he is, but Gwyn is level 3 to Hiro's level 1.
Gwyn is actually a healer. He comes with Heal Litany, as displayed above, Calm Litany, and the Adorable Sleeping Ruby Spell! Or Herbal Breeze, rather. Calm Litany is 7 MP and restores HP for the whole party, and Herbal Breeze costs 5 MP and is a single target sleep spell. The latter will not see any use. With Gwyn, anyway.
Gwyn comes with a Staff and a Cloth Tunic, neither of which we can remove. I'm thinking he may not stay with us to the end game. You also can't pour any magic experience into his spells.
Also, now that we have a second party member, let's finally look at Ruby's "Tactic" command.
So what do these somewhat elusively named functions do? Let's look at memory first.
Memory lets you remember what happi- I mean it lets you pre-set a specific chain of commands for the party. Do you know the "Macro" command in Phantasy Star 4? More or less the same thing, although you can't set up combination attacks in this game.
And "Order" lets you position your characters on the battlefield. Unlike the first game, which makes you place your characters in a pre-set line-up, there's a bit more freedom to position characters here. You can place them anywhere you want on this square as long as the characters are not directly on top of one another. As a general rule, fighters up front and mages in back or the middle.
Oh! And more one thing before we leave.
I leveled up Hiro's Wind magic! Which does nothing, for now. However, each subsequent level of magic is going to require more and more MExp to reach. It takes 10 more MExp to reach Wind level 3 than it did to reach level 2. These numbers will only climb. Oh, they will climb.
With all this boring business taken care of, let's get to the killin'.
: We need to see what's going on around here. Head that way... across the bridge and to the north.
Gwyn thankfully gives us a bit of direction, although which way the bridge actually is remains as a mystery. (It's to the west.)
And here it is. Like Gwyn said, after you cross you just keep going up.
It might look like there's something up those narrow passages, but there isn't. Just keep going north, between those two mountains.
And we're already there. Nothing to it. By a large a simple journey, although we did run across a new enemy.
I didn't run across many Sand Cyclops (although they're more mud than sand, really) on my way. They take two hits instead of just one, so that's how you know that they mean business.
And they can freeze you. Those dicks! Thankfully it wears off quickly.
At least we get a level-up out of the battle. Unlike Lunar 1, Lunar 2 gives you a rundown of how your stats increase on level-up. Nice, but not really necessary. For now, Hiro mostly gains 1 or 2 points per stat, with the exception of MP, where he gets a much appreciated 6 MP, and-
Wait, wisdom. Really? Uh, okay.
Regardless, we're at our destination.
That's not a welcoming sight. Why is there one missing?
: Hmmm... now if we put the jewel in the eye here, the door should...
: ... ....hmmm, that's strange. The door should have become visible... Very, very... strange.
You are a shit archeologist. Unless this is supposed to be a pirate dragon, I'm pretty sure it has two eyes.
There should be a pirate dragon in these games.
You get no points if you all ready had deduced how to solve this puzzle, by the way.
: I didn't know you found another Dragon's Eye jewel, Hiro. What else haven't you told your grandpa, hmmm?
Quick, Hiro! He's on to you! Hide your stash!
: Oh well, no time for that. Let's get inside while the door beckons...
So we're now in the first dungeon in the game. We're actually not yet in the Blue Spire; we're more or less in the basement.
There's a bit of a puzzle on the first floor, although I'm being generous with the definition of "puzzle." Basically there are a bunch of blockades, and we have to find the switches to open the gates.
Like so. Just step on them and there ya go. If you find a gate, search for a switch. That's the long and short of it. It's pretty easy, and you are not going to get lost.
Although there's some treasure on the far right you might wanna grab. It's not much, but every adventurer has to build their fortunes somewhere.
So let's talk enemies instead.
Slimes are back!
And they still have that adorable animation! They're much like they were in the original; weak fodder. Although there is one thing to note.
Because the luck stat now exists, critical hits now exist! Unfortunately, enemies can also crit hit you, but that's life.
Brainpicker? That's an odd name. And what is that thing doi-
Oh ew! Hey, stop that! Gross...
That doesn't do too much damage, but it followed that up with another attack, so when the Brainpickers are presenting like horrible bonobos, take 'em out. Both Boomerang and Poe Sword will do the trick, but can also just attack 'em and save your MP.
Now these are interesting. If you take out the red guy...
Then the rest follow. And you want take the red one quickly, with your Poe Sword, because he's a hardy bastard.
And he'll bitchslap your ass half-way across the room. Don't fuck with these guys.
I'd also like to mention that unlike the first game, running now has a chance of failure. I've actually save-stated, and then each time I'd try to run from battle and it would always fail on the first turn. It makes me kind of wonder how the game was programmed.
Anywho, Hiro gets another level-up along the way, although his stat gains aren't anything spe-
Wait, again? I guess they really wanted Hiro to get some Wisdom.
Anyway, past the first few doors, we come across a bridge and some more locked gates.
And they actually change the battle background to reflect the change of scenery! I've played these games for too long; I'm actually kind of impressed by that.
Anywho, same deal. Walk around and find the buttons.
There's an Herb! We start off with a decent supply of them anyway, but if you're running low on MP for heal spells, this is appreciated. Although the game still has its kiddie gloves on, so that's not too much of an issue.
Oh! And Gwyn gain a... level. Well, Gwyn is a temporary character; it follows that he's not going to get good stat gains.
After we press the switches, we head into the next room.
These time, there's a bunch of floating platforms that we have to cross, but they're not aligned correctly. There are also four little rooms in the corners.
In these tiny rooms, there's a sun symbol on the floor and a floating globe. Touch the globe and...
Whaddya know. The platform with a sun symbol moved into place.
So that's this room summed up. Oddly, you actually don't have to move that star platform. You can, its room is in the south-eastern corner, but you can still cross with the platform slightly askew.
Nothing else to say about this part of the dungeon. Hiro gains another lev-
Seriously Hiro. Did you mess up your character sheet or something?
Anyway! After crossing that little gap...
Uh. So that's where the missing statue went. I have a baaad feeling about this...
No wait, it's cool. Nevermind!
So we're past the first part, but we're not done yet. This was just the basement. We've still a bit to go.
When I first played this a kid, as soon as I saw the tower I said, "I am not climbing that."
We are climbing that.
The creators did show some mercy on you, and thankfully put in a statue of Althena.
This seems like a good time to drop a save and-
Wait. Waaaiiit a second. Something's off...
"Cost?" Wait, I have to pay magic experience to save?
Oh yes, I had forgotten to mention one of Lunar 2's more infamous features. So, in Lunar 1, you could just save anywhere, doesn't matter. Quite unusual for a game of its time. Hell, in all the other Lunar games you can save anywhere. So why did this game decide to make you pay?
Well, the Japanese version didn't. This was added in the English version. I have the guidebook for this game, and in it Victor Ireland tries to weakly defend adding this in, saving that most other RPGs only let you save at inns, or on the world map. I presume that later he jumped off a climb because the other RPGs were doing it too.
Magic experience is already kind of tight in the game, and this doesn't help. It's particularly bad early on. By the way, the cost for saving does go up throughout the game. At the end, yes, you do generally get enough magic experience per fight that it's not a big problem, but still.
Although you know what doesn't carry a magic experience cost? Save states. So screw you mid-nineties Victor Ireland.
Enough bitterness. Next time: The Blue Spire!