The Let's Play Archive

Golden Sun

by Quovak

Part 12: Lama and Lamankan

Our amazing new power lets us lift a waist high rock in the mine that leads us out here, near a waterfall that comes out of nowhere and leads equally nowhere. The game tends to do so well making its sprite-work look 3D; I'm not sure why all the towns look like paper cutouts held up with velcro.

I know I'm becoming a broken record, but why are we going to this temple? Did our quest become a Final Fantasy X-esque pilgrimage somewhere along the way and I just wasn't paying enough attention?

I have been waiting a long time for you. You come seeking the Elemental Stars.

We do? I'm pretty sure we know exactly where they are and would accomplish absolutely nothing by getting them back, but by all means continue to talk about things that alchemical sages don't even know about but we do.

I am a Jupiter Adept, just like Ivan.
I am not a Jupiter Adept! What are you talking about?
Do you not have the power to read minds? This ability is unique to Jupiter Adepts.

As are Ivan's other powers of summoning hurricanes, storms, and other natural forces that actually make sense in relation to the Wind theme. Camelot's plot twists tend to range from poor to sub-par.

You predicted our coming...Is that also Psynergy?
Yes, the ability to foresee events also belongs to the Jupiter Adepts.

If I understand this correctly, Jupiter Adepts can read minds, see the future, control storms, and reveal secrets unknown to all other men. Mercury Adepts can walk on water, heal all diseases, teleport, and fly. Venus Adepts can push things from a foot away and Mars Adepts can light fires and thus save a few dollars on tinder. Game balance was not high on the developers' to-do list.

You will need the power of Reveal to cross the evil Lamakan Desert.
Why will we need Reveal to cross the desert?
Crossing Lamakan Desert was hard enough without the extreme heat. But evil has taken hold of the desert, and its heat has become unbearable.

That in no way answers Ivan's uncharacteristically reasonable question, and in fact only raises more. Was "constant direct sunlight, little vegetation, and very low rainfall" so boring an explanation they had to substitute "evil" as a reason some deserts are hot?

Reveal will help you find oases to cool you against the heat. Intense heat creates a curtain of air that distorts the terrain. Mirages will deceive your eyes, preventing you from finding any oases.

Wouldn't it make more sense if you saw a ton of oases and had to use Reveal to see which ones weren't real? Having comfortable pools of water every few feet that just can't be seen due to the refraction of light through warm air EVIL somewhat undermines the threat posed by an inhospitable sea of sand.

I am unsure that it will work. In preparation for this day, I tried to pass a power on to a young girl, although that power was not Reveal. My student was not an Adept...But I thought anyone could hone a skill he or she already possessed...

You need reveal. Reveal is great. You'll die without Reveal. Let me give you Reveal. I probably can't give you Reveal because I tried to give something that wasn't Reveal to someone who already had it and she didn't learn the skill she already had. From this I can derive that it isn't even worth trying something entirely unrelated to that experiment in any way. Reveal.

Hsu is in great danger! I sensed it. I came through the mine. I came to ask for help.

I think the intention here was that we cleared out the mine for her, but it was actually still infested with normal monsters and our boulder-lifting skills eventually involved putting the boulders down. Either way, I like the implication that taking detours through multi-story mines is standard procedure when going the normal route might involve tripping over rocks.

But why has the power come to you now, after all this time?
Gems fell from the sky. One hit me right on the head.
Gems...Psynergy Stones...Then this may work after all.

So she gave psynergy to somebody who couldn't use it but already had it and it didn't work, but now that this person got pelted with sharp flying rocks she can teach a different psynergy to somebody who can use it and doesn't have it.

I'm not sure Master Hama understands inductive reasoning.

Anyway, this is apparently enough to convince Hama to try a three second process which would involve absolutely no negative repercussions if it didn't work. This certainly was a cutscene.

Oh, and now that she's no longer important, we can needlessly spoil this game's sequel. Meaningless plot device sage #5 ends up being revealed as Ivan's long-lost sister, the two having been separated because their parents were suffering a lot from being able to see the future due to inheriting powers from an ancient civilization. Like most elements of this game, it isn't very well explained or thought through.

Speaking of the next game, we can get a ring there if we ignore our far more important goals and instead assume that Hama and Whatshername are incapable of moving a rock.

There isn't any dialogue that alludes to this, of course, and there's no reward or indication of anything happening, so unless you spend $40 on the next installment and then buy a link cable or write down and manually re-enter a 216 character password you would never know about the arbitrary event flag here, especially since when this game first came out it wasn't clear that it was going to only be half of what it promised. This is not how you do multi-game bonuses.

Lamankan Desert, where we're apparently supposed to go next, is the most gimmicky dungeon yet, and that's saying quite a bit. The entire point of the dungeon is to find oases before that timer bar on the left becomes full, at which point you'll suffer heat stroke, get hurt, and magically become immune to heat for a minute until it fills up again.

Spamming cure spells due to recovering pp by aimlessly running can, as always, negate this whole dungeon.

I will, however, give some credit to Camelot for (finally) making a dungeon that is not just a maze. Said dungeon is instead a wide open expanse with no indication as to which convenient rock markers are oases and which are pits of sand worms, thus necessitating the exact same trial-and-error maneuvering as a maze. Progress!

Because it's Golden Sun, there's a fair amount of text here. I feel it really helps me connect with the characters and their plight of being in a place that is hot.

And, in one of those definitive dick moves game designers love to throw around, following a map to get to the exit will cause you to miss a djinn buried at the very top in a corner you would have no reason to visit, especially given the whole gimmick of walking around too much leading to death.

You might notice that this second part of the desert is basically Mercury Lighthouse but with sand waterfalls and more brown. I consider it an early attempt at looking next-gen.

This might seem like a very arbitrary use of the Reveal power. From this point on, half of everything suddenly becomes invisible for no particularly clear reason and nobody seems to notice, since an invisible scorpion-lion-eagle-bemused old man is far less compelling evidence of evil than some heat.

While I'm nitpicking, Camelot continues to be bad at world-building because those cacti in the background are Saguaros, which are only found near LA and Arizona and thus don't even remotely fit the Oriental theme that was running so strong earlier this update. While I'm being more interesting, Ivan has a brand new summon to show off.

Viking stripper cop Thor, in the middle of showing off the gaudy jewelry adorning his smooth revealed leg, holds up a sign instructing the Manticore to yield his right of way. Shocked at the monster's careless disregard for traffic safety, Thor decides to punish him with indigo sparks. Turning around to leave, he trips over the gigantic ponytail / regular tail flapping in the desert wind, reminding him of the importance of hairnets for the near future.

I've given up trying to rationalize anything in this game.