Part 9: Fuschin and Mogall Forest
Last update, I pointed out that Camelot's terrible writing is infectious, and I wish to offer additional proof. Since I'm not being as much of an idiot this LP (the fact that I'm playing Golden Sun notwithstanding), all of my text is coming from this game script some other poor fool created. This is how he describes actions:
[After finding out that Hermes Water is a panacea for ailments, the party brings some back to Tret. After giving him some, the forest flashes with the power seeping into his being. The dank forest where Laurel and Tret rooted.]
I did not edit that in any way.
So yes, because one of the few dungeons you actually have to traverse twice is the only one so far that doesn't include a dungeon-invalidating shortcut, we get to do all the exact same puzzles again. I enjoy that the entire dungeon is covered in impassable tree stumps, implying that the Kolima residents have been clearcutting this forest for decades and Tret only started to mind when it became clear that it might inconvenience him. Truly his environmental message is something we should take to heart.
Finally, we can give the magical water to Tret. Why are we doing this? There actually is a (terrible) reason. Why didn't Mia want the lighthouse to be lit when she knew that lighting it would produce magical water that would cure all the illnesses she was trying to fight? That's another question that can only be answered with "Because Camelot."
I was indeed angry that people had laid waste to my forest...They had even taken their axes to me! Then those gems fell into my branches...Then all of a sudden...my fury overwhelmed me, and I was lost in anger!
You must have fought many monsters on your way here.
Those monsters...Maybe they were just animals that were...
Once, they were pure of heart...Hroom...Those gems have brought a great evil to the world...
Note to the writers: Having magic stones fall from the sky does not make a vindictive talking magical tree fit into your story. Also, having trees accidentally become psychic due to falling rocks doesn't help your framing device of alchemy not having been unleashed yet and magic being largely unknown.
The rest of the dialogue can basically be summarized as "Monsters are bad, go South because trees tell you to".
A little earlier, we were able to save a tree that fell over in a windstorm or something else that didn't affect the Jenga block blockade. In exchange, we now get a nut, which boosts our defense. This is an entirely fair reward for saving a child's life, I agree.
Speaking of inadequate rewards, going back to McCoy reveals that, in addition to having a memory span of about a day and not taking any issue with you utterly ignoring his "blockade", he believes that an appropriate way to thank you for saving all of his soldiers from certain doom is to let you pick one of four chests with no option to see what's in the other ones. The Water of Life, which revives a character, is the only one that's worthwhile. Other "rewards" include a potion, which restores health just like Cure or an inn, or a psynergy crystal, which restores something that recovers on its own. I can't imagine why you didn't get more takers for this mission, McCoy.
In fact, a terrible reward is the entire point of that entire arc. This guy (who was stationed rather clearly in not-Kolima, but I think Tret was doing the Tall Man strategy of punishing everybody who's ever looked at someone kind of like the people he was mad at) was a tree. This prevented him from fulfilling the service of indiscriminately letting down a drawbridge for everyone. As always, none of this (as in, the last three or four updates) would have had to happen if Isaac was willing to get a bit wet.
The world map is covered with ridiculous spiral patterns of fjords branching from rivers branching from fjords. This is because the only way this company knows to railroad you on the world map is with some water and a contrived reason for a bridge not to work.
The most logical place to go right now would be
In fact, just like Wutai, said thought process didn't even involve a reason for you to be here. Sure, there is one (that you don't get told about and basically have to assume just because this town is right in your path and it's Camelot), but it's possible to skip this area entirely as long as you have a bit of patience for the next one. Which you do if you've managed to not claw your eyes out after playing through a third of Golden Sun.
Young master...Was that your voice I heard in my mind just now? I knew it! You follow them, do you not?
I can only assume he's speaking about Saturos and Menardi, which implies that either meditation gives you powers of omniscience or that both groups of people are following the same general strategy of conversing with monks instead of saving the world.
This scene also serves to reinforce that psynergy should not at all be considered special, as literally every single town thus far has been directly affected by it in some way.
I knew it! But you must go through Mogall Forest, the endless woods. The forest itself is a mystery, and its paths even more so...No ordinary man can pass from one side to the other.
Except for Saturos, Menardi, Alex, Kraden, Jenna, Felix, you four, the people in this town, and most apes.
If you can endure the trials in the waterfall grotto, I will tell you.
So the forest is a strange mystery, but you know exactly how to get through it. You just won't tell us unless we bend over backwards to complete an arbitrary and meaningless test.
If someone asked you where the bathroom was would you first have them translate a few chapters of The Aeneid while sitting on hot coals?
Anyway, here's our next filler dungeon, the Waterfall Grotto, and the first of many honor-system based sections of the game.
It's a maze.
Arbitrary means of forcing you to waste time include log rolling and log pushing puzzles. Round logs can be pushed but not rolled, rectangular logs can be rolled but not pushed, and Camelot can be bland but not creative.
This djinn is Zephyr, which makes agility increase. It's not interesting enough to care about.
I've neglected to show this off, but some treasure chests are actually... these things. They have a ton of health and thus take forever to defeat, but give you decent items when you do. They would be worth fighting if not for this game being so easy that "decent items" are almost never useful in the slightest, so they're mostly just an annoyance.
The ultimate point of this dungeon is to get a dragon's eye so that you can put it in a statue that will breathe fire and darken the ground, creating an invisible path through the cave of Eastern mysticism. Considering how soon this comes after a rain of purple stones causing giant trees to turn people into wood, it was presumably around this point in the development cycle that the few remaining sane employees began drowning their sorrows in mescaline.
The reward for completing this dungeon is the force orb, which lets us use a magical hand to punch things from afar. This is a tremendous step up from our power to use a magical hand to push things from afar, and is even more dissimilar to our power to use a magical hand to grab things from afar. The wealth of ideas in this game is overwhelming.
As for why Garet gets it, it's because Golden Sun's inventory system is appalling. You get fifteen slots per character, your weapons and armor take up most of those spaces as do plot-important items, and half the psynergy in this game is tied to the other spots. If the writing was a bit worse and the gamma were turned down this could probably double as an early survival horror knockoff.
We monks call the power you have obtained Ki.
Why do all of these towns within a mile of each other have five different names for the exact same thing? Has anybody ever looked at a dictionary?
This is called force by the western world, but it is really a spiritual power. Use this power to get through the forest.
I can think of nothing more spiritual than holding a ball so you can beat people up from far away, nor can I think of any reason why it's meaningless to project East/West cultural struggles onto a game where the "Western" city of Kolima is five minutes north.
He then ends up going on a ten paragraph rant about how the
Thus this dungeon (which I might add is a maze, though that should have been obvious) involves punching trees and following the monkeys who pop out. I suppose we could have bypassed that whole mysticism aspect and actually used our arms to punch the trees, or just used basic trial and error (a completely valid strategy that makes the last dungeon entirely bypassable) since this forest takes up about four screens, but, as always, details.
I can't shake this feeling that Camelot is reusing some of its earlier dungeon ideas. Oh well, it's probably nothing.
The djinn is Quartz, which revives party members. This would be one of the most useful djinn out there, but unfortunately it only works if Saturn and Neptune are in alignment with Capricorn during the last Thursday of the lunar month.
This pointless forest ends with a pointless boss fight. Idly walking kind of near this stump causes the Killer Ape to come and fight you.
Spamming djinn and powerful psynergy causes Jane Goodall to sob within minutes.
On the other side of the forest is Xian. Camelot missed a golden opportunity for more senseless commentary on nothing by having all this be near the geographical equivalent of Kamchatka rather than Sinai.
Next time, we'll do more completely arbitrary missions that have only a tangential connection to anything. First, however, some people have been wondering why I never talk to NPCs.
Allow me to present Exhibit A.