The Last Blade 2, originally released in Japan as Bakumatsu Rouman Dai Ni Maku: Gekka no Kenshi - Tsuki ni Saku Hana, Chiri Yuku Hana (幕末浪漫第二幕 月華の剣士 ～月に咲く華、散りゆく花～), is the second entry to The Last Blade series. It was first released in arcades in November 25, 1998. This game is also considered be the last title to the series though SNK mentioned their interests in continuing where they left off.
It has several home console versions, including Neo Geo and Neo Geo CD versions, a Dreamcast port, and a Neo Geo Pocket Color conversion. The Neo Geo CD version includes an extra quiz mode, voiced cutscenes, and a gallery section from both titles. Most of these features and the Neo Geo additions were combined for the Dreamcast port. Both games were released for a PS2 compilation on January 12, 2006. A PS4, PS Vita and PC port handled by Code Mystics adds trophies.
A drama CD was also made available for purchase on January 1, 1999. It follows Hibiki's reluctant journey as a warrior.
The official story given by SNK is as follows:
Long before humanity existed, in a far off time of myth, death was an unknown, equally distant concept, but when death first came to the world, the "Messenger from Afar" was born.
With time, the Sealing Rite was held in order to seal Death behind Hell's Gate. At that time, two worlds, one near and one far, were born. Thus the history of life and death began.
Half a year has passed since Suzaku's madness, and the underworld is still linked by a great portal. Kagami's great sin is still heard as if ringing from the heavens. Our world has been called upon. Legends of long ago told of the sealing of the boundary between the two worlds. The Sealing Rite would be necessary to hold back the spirits of that far away world.
However, the Sealing Rite brings together the power of the Four Gods and Sealing Maiden, for the first time properly completing the ritual.
To find the Sealing Maiden, Genbu began searching in the center of the world, from which all things begin. At the same time in the underworld, in the depths of darkness, many spirits conspired, plotting to hinder the Sealing Rite. They had but one wish, to be reborn into our world.
The setting is set one year after the events of the first game. Gameplay elements remain the same as the first title with some minor adjustments. Power mode now allows the player to use an unblockable guard break (known as the Bōgyo Fukagiri/Defense Failing Slash in Japanese), where using B + C (strong slash + kick) allows for a delayed strike. Speed mode instead allows for an overhead launcher (Uchiage Giri/Launching Slash in Japanese) with the same command, which if blocked low causes a stagger instead of a launch. The Ranbu Ōgi now allows for the command 22A or B, which respectively is an overhead and a low for the starting attack.
One more mode called "EX" (Extreme/Kyoku in Japanese) was added to play, which is a combination of "Speed" and "Power", only the character has lowered defense by x2 and decreased Super Meter gain while being unable to use the guard break (instead using the overhead launch with BC). All modes now aesthetically possess their own color schemes different from each other, with Power mode having the default color palette available for selection.
The grim mood of the series was stressed more than its predecessor through various ways: both introductions to the game hint to the end of an age, characters are colored to be slightly darker, and the game's cutscenes are made lengthier to emphasize the importance of the plot. This grim mood is subverted by the storylines of Akari, Hyo, Juzoh and Lee, where their endings, in the case of Hyo and Lee, can take a comical or bright turn if certain conditions are met.
The ability to lose hold of weapons has been totally removed in the game.
Three new characters were introduced:
- Hibiki Takane - daughter of a famed sword smith, she is searching for the silver-haired man that requested the final blade her father made.
- Setsuna - a being believed to be the "Messenger from Afar", he requested a blade to be forged from Hibiki's father. He is out to stop Hell's Gate from ever closing.
- Kojiroh Sanada - Shinsengumi captain of Unit Zero; investigating the Hell's Portal. Kojiroh is actually Kaori, his sister, and the original Kojiroh died early in the story.
Neo Geo CD & Dreamcast Exclusive Characters
- Kouryu - (also hidden playable)
- Along with the general motif and theme of the game, a curious text line is inscribed in the GUI of the game. This was the translated prologue text from the first game, The Last Blade, which was originally left untranslated and is read as follows:
- For ages, the barrier remained.
- "Earth" and "Heaven" were kept separate.
- "Hade's Gate"
- Genbu, Byakko, Suzaku, Seiryu
- In History's shadow, this barrier was kept secure
- Protected by the Four Gods, all remained safe.
- But this would change.
- Unlike the first game, the prologue of the game is properly translated. The ending credits however, was left untranslated, in comparison to the first game.