Tsuki no megami no densetsu II: Chōsa no konran! (月の女神の伝説II:調査の混乱) – Nintendo Famicom, NEC PC-Engine, Sega Mega Drive, 1989

With a title that translates to Legend of the Lunar Goddess II: Investigation Confusion!, this title saw an overall refinement of the mechanics of the first entry. The text parser is replaced by a series of static commands and an inventory, similar to many adventure games of the same period like Maniac Mansion. The combat system has also been upgraded, resembling Dragon Quest, and several revisitable dungeons were added along with a world map in order to give combat-oriented players more content.

The Famicom version was the baseline, with the PC-Engine and Mega Drive versions derived from it; the Mega Drive added colors and minor animations, but the PC-Engine version became infamous due to its save system. While the Famicom and Mega Drive could both use battery-backed saves on their cartridges, this was not possible with the PC-Engine’s HuCard, so the game used an infamous 256-character password system instead. Strident complaints led to a version on CD being released for the CD-ROM² PC-Engine add-on, but the size of a Tsuki no megami no densetsu II save file took up the majority of the system’s available memory–a major problem given the lack of an easy memory manager. Ironically, due to their low sales and poor word of mouth, the PC-Engine versions are coveted collector’s items today.

Selene is summoned to investigate a murder in the wake of the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, inhabiting the body of a young half-Korean man, Kim, who had been injured in the quake and died some time later. Kim was attempting to solve the murder of his half-sister, who was slain in their small village in the wake of the disaster and passed off as one of its victims, and Selene was summoned by the sincere prayer of his mother. The scenario touches on many issues from the time, including anti-Korean sentiment and massacres, militarism, and the toll of the devastating 1923 quake. Unlike the previous game, whose enemies were entirely oni, the combat involves many human adversaries as well as the disturbed spirits of the recently dead.

The ending is not wholly dependent on Selene’s actions; the ultimate perpetrator of the crime (an oni-worshipping offshoot of the cult from the first game, a corrupt police chief, or Kim’s ex-lover) is randomized for each playthrough. While the number of endings has increased, the rating system has been abolished, replaced by the “star system.” Completing the game with one antagonist awards a star and opens the option to play a new game plus which guarantees one of the other two antagonists, while completing it a second time awards a second star and the ability to face the third antagonist. Three completions opens up a cheat screen that allows players to modify the scenario to their liking to experience various parts of the game.

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