The Let's Play Archive

Golden Sun

by Quovak

Part 8: Imil and Mercury Lighthouse

Imil is on the other side of a cave. The cave is a maze. I remain surprised.

The only noteworthy thing is our introduction to vines. Sprouts become vines when you use Growth, a psynergy that is only available to a particular class formed by combining Venus and Mars djinn. Guess how clear Camelot makes this mechanic.

Due to a questionable understanding of geography, the obligatory arctic tundra area is a mere stone's throw away from the gigantic temperate forest. I do not believe anyone at Camelot has actually looked at a map.

There's probably some brilliant Sarah Palin or 2 Kings 2:23 joke to be made here, but otherwise nothing of interest.

Actually, to put my overly-pedantic hat back on, let's take a look at what the world map looks like.

[Needless callback to the part of my last LP that nobody liked lessons]

Golden Sun takes place on a world that is flat. Camelot gets one point for actually (in the second game) addressing why this wouldn't work, namely that the waterfalls to nowhere are eroding the sides of the planet and will probably doom towns that are a little too close to the vast expanse of nothingness, but loses about eight billion points for actually thinking this was a worthwhile framing device or element to include in anything.

At the top is Imil, located at the North end of a flat surface which denies North any special status distinct from, say, East. On Earth, the North and South parts are cold because of the way the globe tilts while rotating around a source of heat. On a flat table, there is no reason for any variation in temperate zones or reason for them to have Earth-like placement at all. The only reason is to draw a "clever" parallel with Earth (hey, look at the shape of those land masses!) that doesn't get reflected by any other geographic features ever. Also, Camelot is staffed by idiots who thought that a magically regenerating ocean eroding the edges of the Earth was a halfway non-horrible plot device.

In slightly less pedantic style, remember that big deal everyone made about seeing the ocean? Later on they're going to once again make a big deal about seeing the ocean. Right now we're right next to an ocean. Don't expect anyone to acknowledge this in any way.

[Temporary End of Pedantry]

Imil is cold and people are sick. That's pretty much the extent of noteworthy things about it.

We can get a djinn by doing the obligatory Pokemon-style ice-sliding puzzle, bringing Garet's total to an amount greater than one. Apparently beings of fire like hanging out in caves of pure ice, because the mutually opposing elements concept doesn't actually apply unless it's convenient.

Thank you, Mia...I can't imagine how this village would ever manage without you...Cough...

Meet Mia, who will soon become by far the most useless of our four party members. Now, none of our characters have anything resembling personalities, and it would be pretty much impossible to describe any of them without summarizing the (very few) actions they perform, but Mia can't even be described in that sense. She has no character to speak of and does nothing with any degree of impact in the entire game. The only reason she's here is to round out the elements and get a token double-X chromosome in there somewhere.

It can't be...Only I can...Oh, no... Alex!!!

Here, Mia pretends to be useful in that she supposedly knows about the lighthouses and what people are doing there. She will promptly forget all of this upon stepping inside said lighthouse and will suddenly believe our incorrect theory about what the lighthouses are supposed to do despite being the caretaker of one. You know how this game is with consistency and all.

Upon entering, Mia is perplexed by the existence of statues and upset (though not even remotely taken aback) by the presence of giant lizards who bless you in a lovingly painful fashion. There's a lot of needless dialogue about how she has psynergy but never knew other people could do it because nobody in this game ever leaves their house.

You've saved me again, haven't you! Do you have business in the lighthouse, too? [No] Please tell the truth! I can't believe you'd go so far to help someone you just met. You have some errand in this lighthouse, don't you? [No] Please tell the truth! [No] Please, don't hide anything. Just tell me the truth!

Choosing yes results in her joining the party. It does not result in any dialogue, such as you telling her the truth. This might be due to her losing the requisite number of brain cells needed to tag along with us.

We're already at the first lighthouse of two (the other two are in the $40 expansion pack called The Lost Age), but we're only about a third of the way through the game. This is because the latter "half" is pretty much nothing but filler.

(Like the first half .)

The lighthouse is a maze built around pushing things.

Inexplicably, the place is derelict and falling apart. Also inexplicably, the lighthouse follows Sol Sanctum's twenty marble statue per hallway quota and contains intricate systems of waterways despite the fact that only two people (Mia and Alex, as mentioned earlier) are allowed in. The Imil tax protests about this allocation of funds probably get pretty violent.

Mia may be terrible at maintaining the lighthouse she's in charge of maintaining, but she does come preloaded with a djinn (that appeared a few days ago and are supposedly entirely mysterious to everybody) and a magic spell that make her fit the obligatory white mage gender role. The fairy-summoning spell, besides doing whatever arbitrary dungeon design requires, makes the game even more broken than it already was. Ply, as it's called, heals your party. Normally this would be a completely standard and not at all noteworthy spell, but the fact that you restore PP by pacing around a bit and now have a second character who also has a cure spell means that you can spam these cure spells to your heart's content (while spamming djinn to your heart's content) and win any battle with no difficulty at all.

Using ply on that statue also allows certain platforms to make you Jesus, but only for three jumps. Then you drown because swimming should not be this hard.

The three-jump limit, of course, is so they can make water navigation into a maze. The rest of this dungeon is the same pointless copy/pasted nonsensical tedium as always.

"Secrets" that involve trial-and-error running into walls!

Palette swaps of puzzles from a few dungeons ago Plumbing maintenance!

Terrible ideas for puzzles that make no sense at all!

And the existence of technology that makes the existence of this dungeon entirely incomprehensible (Ply on the statue makes you rise up onto this platform elevator; it's odd). I doubt the vital functions of a lighthouse were being fulfilled by the statue switches and unconnected mazes of pipes.

On the plus side, we did get two djinn during all this, which means two more ridiculous summons.

Mia's newest one is this… thing, which I'm sure at least one person on the internet has on a body pillow and/or wall scroll. Its name is Nereid, named after the nymphs who guide sailors during storms, and it is thus found doing the exact opposite of this and drowning enemies in columns of water.

And Garet's is a teenage elf version of Astro Boy-Magus with a gigantic left hand riding a fire horned lion drawn in a "style" that would make a high school art teacher cringe. Its name is Kirin, which means giraffe, but it's also sometimes used to refer to a lion-elk thing that for once actually vaguely resembles the summon. I'm so proud.

It...It can't be! The beacon cannot be lit without the Mercury Star...

So the bright light coming from the lighthouse didn't suggest the possibility that they had lit the lighthouse? And Mia felt like investigating something that couldn't have possibly happened? And they didn't compare notes about the whole "this lighthouse is being lit to destroy the world" problem?

This is one of the few times a wall of text would have been appropriate, specifically back when we were railroaded into telling the truth only to not tell the truth. Or anything else.

Heh heh! Those kids are still alive? You came all this way to save Jenna and Kraden?
That's not all...We're after the Elemental Stars!
Then we have no choice...Let's take care of them now, before they can do any harm!

It's not clear from the screenshots, but Saturos walks out from behind the giant sphere. This lighthouse was lit at least fifteen or twenty minutes before we got up here. In that time, Menardi took the hostages a couple feet to the side while Saturos stared longingly across the sea. Forgive me for not being terribly fearful of these villains.

You have endured so much, and now you want to throw your lives away? Fine. If that is your wish, prepare to have it granted.

We'll be taking the same elevator everyone else is taking one boss fight later. There's a small part of you that already knows where it's going to lead.

You have to be very careful when fighting him...We have to match his strength...
Match me? Pah! You think you can match the great Saturos? [No] And yet you still want to fight? Ship of fools...Fine then...I'll just teach you all a lesson!

Wasn't the purpose of having those hostages specifically so that we would show up? We're being foolish for doing exactly what we were forced into doing by people who specifically wanted us there for the express intent of getting something we had (the Mars Star)? Which they aren't trying to take?

Saturos' plan fails if he doesn't have the Mars Star. A minute ago he had control of hostages he planned on trading for the Mars Star. Now he plans on killing us for no reason without knowing if we still have the Mars Star. This is not how to formulate and enact a plan.

What's this!? The light of Mercury...It's weakening my Psynergy! I must finish this quickly...Come on, fools!

The gimmick of this fight is that, because we're at a lighthouse, Saturos' mars power is weakened while Mia's mercury power is the exact same but she regenerates pp in battle also, making Ply spamming even more effective. Combined with the fact that Garet, our djinn, and everything that would involve work to alter is unaffected by this apparent weakness, this battle basically entails spamming powerful attacks until you win in about eight seconds.

When enemies die, they turn to ash. This doesn't at all fit this boss fight, where you talk to a very uncremated Saturos immediately afterwards, but I'll admit it's a cool effect.

Who would have thought that Mercury Lighthouse held such great power? If only my Psynergy had been at its full power...

Crazy; 25% of what's necessary to power enough alchemical force for the entire world actually has effect on people ten feet in front of it? Who could have imagined such a force (besides the one trying to awaken it)?

Saturos...You said you were weakened. What did you mean?
I shall tell you what he means...
That voice! Could it be?

As always, Mia is shocked about things she directly knew about earlier this update and our enemies consider hiding behind spheres to be slightly more important than accomplishing their goals. I'm sure she he would have used the power of the lighthouse to help Saturos eliminate their only threat to destroying or perhaps saving the world, but you don't understand just how pretty that ocean was.

Alex, do you realize what you've done?
Ha! Of course...I have freed a great power that has long been sealed away. Mercury, the lighthouse of Water...The Mercury Lighthouse supplied you with limitless Psynergy.
Mia is an Adept too, isn't she? [Yes] Geez, Isaac, you knew all along, and you didn't tell us?

Actually, Mia told us, rather explicitly. It was around the time she was letting us walk on water and creating fairies everywhere.

His full power was bound by the Water Psynergy of the lighthouse.
Didn't Saturos know that?
Of course he knew. However, he failed to appreciate the power of this lighthouse. As did I...
Is that why we were able to defeat Saturos?
No... There is more to it. I stood by, watching your battle from afar...

"Afar" meaning "from the other side of this sphere right in front of you". Saturos and Alex are terrible at hide and seek.

I did not help Saturos, because I was certain he would win. But I was wrong...You have become such great fighters in a short time. I was merely stalling you until Saturos regained his strength.
You were just buying time! That's not fair, Alex!

Mia has a very strong sense of justice. She infamously accused Alex of being a "poophead" when they were kids and he wouldn't share his cookies.

Alex and Saturos decide that, rather than kill you now that your power is realized and there aren't any exploding volcanoes this time, the best course of action is to teleport five feet and then calmly walk away. The ability to teleport at will is never actually used to escape a danger or, say, get to the lighthouses before we can finish helping everybody who has so much as a lisp.

Well, it seems that my ride has returned while we were speaking. And so, I bid you adieu.

You can fly. You can teleport. You could have ridden down with Menardi. You could be dealing with your primary enemies (who, incidentally, are carrying something you need for your goal) instead of killing time so you can ride an elevator you don't need to ride. You are terrible at all things.

Do you still have the Mars Star? [Yes] I appreciate your honesty.

(Not pictured: More useless teleportation.)

I bet you're thinking that this is another one of those forced attempts at foreshadowing that makes no sense but will eventually be used to accuse you of not paying attention.

To be honest, perhaps as a result of a recently developed brain tumor leading to me trusting Camelot in something, I thought that I had missed something here. I decided to try my hand at the Golden Sun Wikia to fact check myself until I realized that there is no explanation for any of this but that terrible overlong writing is apparently a communicable disease (I also learned what Alex's eye color is). To attempt to quarantine myself I'm going to start limiting my comments to three word phrases.

I've failed my clan, failed in my duty...
All we have to do is stop them from lighting all the lighthouses! The beacon of Mercury Lighthouse has been lit, but we'll stop them next time.

Just stay home.

Let's go after them now! We should hurry!
But the people of Imil need you, Mia.

She'll be useless.

It's okay. The fountain will run over with healing waters now.

Deus Ex Machina.

Imil will be fine as long as the fountain continues to flow with the Water of Hermes.

More arbitrary "references".

Where's it lead?

The dungeon's entrance…

All for water.

Fuck Golden Sun.