Part 13: Kalay
One desert later, we're reminded of Camelot's design philosophy with another random battle djinn. If you're going to design mazes you could at least avoid making it mandatory to visit the dead ends if you want to collect everything.
Because someone at the company skimmed a history book once, traveling from fake China along the fake (Yaah!) Silk Road leads to a town called Kalay that acts as a fake Middle East. The Earth-like geography doesn't reflect this at all.
It should be warned that, while nothing can top Kraden interrupting you every few seconds to soliloquize about your amazing abilities to push statues and open doors, this update and the next one represent the second-worst section of the game in terms of median number of brain hemorrhages per player. If this becomes unbearable, feel free to unwind by playing something more enjoyable, like Drake of the 99 Dragons or E.T.
Like every other town, Kalay offers generous tax breaks and direct subsidies for people who repeatedly make identical statues. The secret mountainside sewer beautification program has been a tremendous success. Incidentally, did I mention that this is the part of the game where they start throwing djinn at you?
Why were you not with Lord Hammet?
I remained in Vault to look for his stolen rod.
Then Lord Hammet must still be imprisoned in Lunpa...
In case you still haven't realized this, Ivan is basically the only character in your party who's ever actually done anything. Perhaps he was the original main character, with Isaac as a last-minute addition because this game's writers felt it too difficult to identify with anyone smarter than a mannequin.
We sent the ransom money they demanded, so he should return soon, right?
What's been happening in Lunpa these days?
The leadership in Lunpa passed from its founder, Lunpa, the noble thief, to his son Donpa, and then to Lunpa's grandson Dodonpa.
Command us to attack, and we shall!
How can we guarantee Hammet's safety if we send soldiers to attack? Hammet is a good hostage for them...They will not kill him.
Golden Sun spends more time talking about this completely optional sidequest than it does about its central antagonists (bet you can't tell me anything about how Saturos and Menardi differ in personality!) yet still manages to be entirely unclear. Were Hammet and Ivan aware that Lunpa was a city of thieves and didn't seem to let this bother them as undefended merchants carrying priceless goods?
Lady Layana, I cannot leave like this...
It will be fine, Ivan. Hammet would not want to distract you from-- I apologize. I have said more than I should...
It sounds like Hammet knows about our mission...doesn't it?
I suppose I can keep it a secret no longer...Very well, I shall tell you...He swore an oath to a Jupiter Adept. You are from Vale...? Then the prophecy was true. Three years after the terrible storm that struck only Mt. Aleph...Ivan must depart on a journey with warriors from Vale...So it was foretold.
Well, by warriors we mean teenagers who have a rudimentary understanding of what a sword is and can push things occasionally, and there's probably been more than one storm on a mountain in history, and the storm in question affected the town and surrounding area rather than only the mountain, so the prophecy was a bit of a crapshoot all things considered. Maybe I should pause more.
I've heard nothing of any such prophecy.
I need to find a way to get Ivan to join warriors from Vale three years after a storm. I'm considering concealing this from him despite his ability to read minds, obsessively keeping track of Vale meteorology, planning dangerous and unnecessary trade routes to thief villages around the appropriate time, bringing Ivan along so that he can lose a precious artifact of mine, abandoning him in a relatively nearby village, and hoping for the best.
Why not just directly tell him about this prophecy so he can actually have a decent chance of going through with it?
I swore an oath.
Actually, that seems all the more reason to-
Hammet was in mortal danger at the southwestern edge of the world, when some Adepts appeared and saved his life. He had lost consciousness. When he awoke, he found himself in their village. The Adepts gave him the Shaman's Rod and you...along with some doubloons.
Mia: Most useful party member 2001-2010
(She stunned us with her insight and her intellect)
It was a lot of gold, Mia, but he also received some business advice. He was advised to buy silk in Xian and sell it in Tolbi. To see anything sell so well, it's like a dream come true. There's no denying that was when Hammet picked up his knack for business.
Hello, random stranger. Thank you for having your life saved by us. Here's a priceless magic rod, the collection from our treasury, some kid we don't feel like raising anymore, and business advice for some reason. Our advice is to trade things of value to places where there isn't much of the material.
Adepts are not widely known for their success in venture capitalism.
Did he have to promise them anything in return?
It is something you will need on your journey. The Adept asked Hammet to use the Shaman's Rod to obtain it. He looked for this object wherever he went...But he could never find it. Then, three years ago, a storm struck, one that hit only Mt. Aleph...Hammet was worried that time was running out...But he had managed to unearth a clue just in time. That, Ivan, is why he took you with the caravan on his last journey north.
Ah, Camelot is still half-explaining something three times instead of fully explaining it once. So he took this random adopted kid up north because he was running out of time to fulfill a prophecy which was necessary to finding an item for people who gave him the kid to fulfill the prophecy. He needed the rod to do this but then abandoned the kid to find the rod in favor of wandering off somewhere completely different.
Why is this prophecy important or seemingly legitimate? What is this item they needed? How did Lunpa factor into any of this? Why is all of this relegated to a sidequest when it's set up as one of the most vital aspects of the game? Why can't Layana simply answer (or be mindread into answering) what this item is? Will Camelot ever learn to express a story coherently? Some questions may never be answered.
It was my carelessness that caused the rod to be stolen. And ultimately, that's why Lord Hammet is being held in Lunpa...
Hammet used a rod to find an item that Ivan needed then abandoned Ivan and this rod in a village so he could get ransacked, never telling Ivan why any of this was important and knowing he was the kind of kid to stare at walls for a while and then get distracted by random kids upon realizing that he couldn't get past a gate. I think the fact that Hammet's being held in Lunpa is his own fault entirely.
Will you look for it? [No]
What's wrong with you, Isaac? Did you forget why we're here? If we need it for our quest, we'll have to find it sooner or later.
Yes, actually, I did forget why we're here. I apologize for prioritizing saving the world over fulfilling a prophecy to get an item that some random guy reading a prophecy suggests might have some vague connection to us saving the world at a far later point in time.
(And this is even assuming that the "journey" in question is following Garet and Isaac on this lighthouse-stopping world-destroying mission. For all we know the prophecy could have been about him joining the Vale army and accompanying them to the store to pick up some grapes).
Now that another completely unnecessary and tangential infodump is done, we can find out what the average man on the street has to say about this. I can't believe a thief who runs a village of thieves would have the nerve to break a law outlawing thievery. Really, what is the world coming to?
In other news, Camelot is still terrible at railroading. Maybe a better use of the statue surplus would be making some decent barricades.
Speaking of poor game progression, a bunch of broken bridges are now fixed suddenly. Remember how we've taken an absurdly indirect route (everything since Mercury Lighthouse) to get down to Kalay?
Turns out the town was a brisk walk away from our starting point and the last three updates only happened because, as always, nobody knows how to swim. I thank Camelot for making my critiquing job easier, at least; perhaps this can become the first computer-automated LP commentary.
The point of traveling back up here is to use Reveal on an invisible hole for no reason. I can at least pretend I understand EVIL as a rationale, but did one of those thieves just dig up a graveyard and cover the hole with antigravity leaves so normal people wouldn't notice?
This hole is basically a dungeon unto itself. Those sure are some original puzzles there.
This is the worst puzzle in the game so far. Raindrops fall from the ceiling at certain tiles, turning this into a timing-based block pushing puzzle where only the most circuitous route actually works. If the flame goes out, time to leave and try again. The fact that Garet can summon more fire by staring at it long enough doesn't seem to be considered.
Well, this is it, we now have all the djinn that matter. With the three we've received this update (I like to think that shortly before Lama they decided to up the djinn count to 28 from something like 16 and the employees just panicked), we can now show off every summon in the game.
Mia got a bit shafted on this front, being given a snow-cone machine while Ivan got a Norse god and Isaac got the apocalypse. Winged swordsman Judgment gives us a very judgmental severed lion head hadoken. Just look at that disdain.
Then... there's the apocalypse.
Having destroyed most of the world, Judgment burns some magnesium and throws some rocks. I know it's a bad idea to expect this to have any connection to the story, but summoning the apocalypse is probably a bad way to convince people you're meant to be the protagonist.
Garet's final summon is a meteor that's also a meteorite, helpfully noted as being from deep space so as to differentiate it from all the meteorites that come from a lake.
It's a meteor. Good thing there isn't any collateral damage to the town right above us or the heroes standing two feet to the right.
We can also stop by Vault, getting chewed by Isaac's mom for visiting her instead of keeping a promise we never made.
More importantly, we can finally bypass that annoying waist-high fence next to a short cliff we could have jumped off and get a halt gem, which lets us stop things in place.
We use it five seconds later to stop and capture a djinn that's obscured by a stopwatch in this picture.
This collection mechanic was phenomenally well paced.