Hi, I bring greetings and maps

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Lüt
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Location: Chicago, IL

Hi, I bring greetings and maps

Post by Lüt »

Looks like I registered over 5 years ago, but I'm only getting around to posting now. This is unfortunately normal for me, so get used to this rate of contribution :P

Anyway, intro: Name's Steve, currently live by Chicago. Recently spent 7 years at a 2-year college getting qualified in graphic design, music, and dietary management. Though graphic design was my career focus, I apparently did best in the music program, because the college hired me as a private tutor for students of music theory/aural skills/class piano/music lit for 4 years. Obviously I'm into music, and particularly enjoy industrial/electronic metal and film/game soundtrack, but appreciate anything well-done regardless of style. I also like movies, with my favorites being Dark City, Aliens, The Shining, LotR:FotR, Prometheus, Falling Down, Abandoned, and Them! I enjoy writing, and have a few stories in progress. I also make maps and mods for classic id games (Doom/Heretic) and classic Zelda.

More to the point: Back in the mid-90's, I was one of the few kids who thought Sega CD was the best console available, and I always tried every new game that I could find for it. That led me to Lunar, which became an instant favorite. It was the first genuinely story-driven game I'd played, as well as my first true RPG (not counting action-fantasy games like the Zelda series). It also became the measuring stick I'd use to judge all future RPGs by, and it's held up quite well by that standard.

A few years later, Lunar 2 showed up on a store shelf just as retail shops were discontinuing their Sega CD sales. I paid full price despite being nearly broke, and only years later when ebay became a thing did I realize it was probably the best use of my money back then.

The game was quite exciting at first, but I did have some issues with it. It seemed that for every 2 things it did better than Lunar, it also did 1 thing worse. I wasn't too bothered by minor things that I would consider questionable story or design decisions, but there were 2 major hangups that sunk the experience for me.

The first was getting stuck at Borgan for over a month, which killed all my momentum and made me lose any interest in further progress. Those recovered when I loaded the game one late night before bed, fully expecting to lose, and somehow beat him on a stroke of dumb luck. If I remember correctly, Lemina was the last character standing, and she fired off one last spell with only a handful of HP left.

The second happened a few weeks later, when just as I'd regained my momentum and interest, I got trapped at the impossible Ghaleon fight. Not "stuck" like at Borgan - the game literally wouldn't let me leave Vane to go leveling, and more than that, it wouldn't even let me adjust the character's equipment before entering the fight. And OF COURSE I SAVED IN VANE, because who wouldn't save after all that just happened at Pentagulia? Trapping the player in a situation where they can't power up to necessary levels AND can't equip their characters with necessary items before facing the hardest enemy so far is bad design in general, BUT to do it at the very end of such a long game is the single worst game design decision I've ever experienced.

Unable to pass Ghaleon and not wanting to redo the entire game, especially with the prospect of facing Borgan again, I set aside the console for later. However, with high school winding down and adult life beginning to creep up, "later" grew longer and longer. In the end, it would be over 20 years until I was able to retry the fight and win.

I made some maps: So with Sega CD emulation having grown somewhat stable and me figuring out how to rip my games into bin/cue files, I finally restarted Lunar 2 with Kega Fusion and made it to the end. Along the way, I took some screengrabs and assembled some rough maps with notes to help me get through the more complicated areas of the game. I had more fun than I expected doing that, and seeing that there were no good map rips online, I decided to do a Lunar 2 mapping project. Thanks to somebody posting a debug-enabled save file to TCRF, I was able to map the unwalkable areas of the game as well. I also polished up my notes and turned them into marked guides, available on a per-area basis. They were published to VGMaps late last year, but recently won the site's "Maps of the Month" feature for August 2021, which you can see here:

https://vgmaps.com/NewsArchives/MapsOfT ... 021.htm#08

If you click the game title there, it'll take you to Lunar Eternal Blue segment of the Genesis maps page, where you'll see it's probably one of the largest segments of that index:

https://vgmaps.com/Atlas/Genesis/index. ... ternalBlue

Of course, if clicking through the maps one-by-one on that site seems a little tedious, you can just download the package I submitted to that site:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PKw3Xv ... sp=sharing (50 MB)

It includes an isolated HTML index, and a different file naming scheme that makes the maps cycle in a more orderly fashion in slideshow-based image viewers like Irfanview.

Lastly, I compiled the 6 main overworld segments into a single image:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/19_uufH ... sp=sharing

Be sure to actually download the PNG file (use arrow at upper right), as the online viewer looks screwy in places.

Naturally, this compilation threw more wrenches at me than I expected. While the key transition points between the overworld segments lined up well enough, there were some rather jarring transitions (or lack thereof) at the further reaches of the playable areas. Possibly the most surprising (and irritating) one was that the bottom-right side of the Minea Sea, which was supposed to overlap with the left side of Salyan Desert, had somehow had the entire area shifted upward by one tile. Also, the Minea Sea segment doesn't replicate the varying cliff heights of the Madoria Plains segment, so you'll see a lot of those just kind of... disappear... to the left of the Illusion Woods. Granted, it's certainly not the disaster that the LttP mountains are, but it's definitely a close second.

Still, for the most part I was able to find transition points that only needed a little trimming, but you'll see a few where some more constructive methods were required, and perhaps the most obvious, the cross-fading of the icy water with the summer water between the two Katarina Zones. The mountain height cutoffs by Illusion Woods are weird if you're following elevation levels, but at least the graphics aren't choppy. The river between the Minea Sea and Salyan Desert, starting near Dalton, had its height slightly modified due to the 1-tile-shift, and the waterfall at the bottom of the river has been extended downward by 1 tile to compensate. Other water was easy enough to extend. Finally, you'll notice 2 incomplete areas where the game didn't have map data. It's beyond my capacity to fill these in, so this is as far as I take it.

OK, that's a month's worth of writing in a single post, so I'll cut it here. Nice to finally say hi, and hopefully somebody likes the maps.

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Imperial Knight
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Re: Hi, I bring greetings and maps

Post by Imperial Knight »

Welcome from a fellow Chicagoan.

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ShugoHanasaki
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Re: Hi, I bring greetings and maps

Post by ShugoHanasaki »

Oh wow! What a catalogue of maps! Welcome to the group! (^.^)
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Alunissage
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Re: Hi, I bring greetings and maps

Post by Alunissage »

Oh, nice! I'm always glad to have new Lunar stuff to add to my files. :)

If it's any consolation, Borgan is even harder in the Japanese game. This is one of the few times that WD made a boss easier, though it might only have been making him cast Gravity Bomb less often. I came really close to beating him with just Ronfar and Lemina, having Ronfar using Light Litany as an attack, but then misjudged which of the two of them to give a Silver Light to and which to give a Starlight to and ended up running out of MP. Oh well. I really need to replay it...

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Temzin
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Re: Hi, I bring greetings and maps

Post by Temzin »

No one likes Borgan, but I have a hard time imagining being able to beat the Red Dragon and False Althena, but then being stuck in an unwinnable Ghaleon fight. My 12-year-old-self fought Zophar about 20 times before winning, probably under-leveled, but never struggled on Ghaleon. Maybe it was a spectacularly weird set of bad luck-good luck? (Got past the bosses who should've been the gatekeepers that made sure you were high enough to beat the unavoidable fight.)

I agree that it would've been good, just in case, to let people wander the ruined countryside nearby, presumably full of monsters, while putting up a barrier so people can't wander off too far. Still, Ramus will also give you top-notch stuff for free, so at the very least, it would've been possible to just cheese White Dragon Protect repeatedly with all the free Silver Lights he gives you!
aka Maou

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ShugoHanasaki
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Re: Hi, I bring greetings and maps

Post by ShugoHanasaki »

The only boss i ever had trouble with in LUNAR 2 was the final form of Zophar until i realized White Dragon Protect was my baby lol!

Borgan is ....well...disgusting, but a simple boss imo. I had no idea WD made him easier in the English. Interesting. Now I feel shafted LOL
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