The Let's Play Archive

Golden Sun

by Quovak

Part 16: Colosso

Putting him in the finals is an insult to everyone who cleared the trials!

Colosso is the Golden Sun singularity. I can only surmise that it was some person's pet concept or that some designer had a shoehorned tournament fetish, as this - not taking the ship to avoid some dirt - is the most arbitrary part of the game. There is absolutely no way to defend this chapter in universe and the game doesn't even try, instead openly acknowledging how little sense any of it makes. This makes my job rather hard as all I can really do is point out how absolutely purposeless this (mandatory) section of the game is. And oh god is it purposeless...

Thus, I'm going to try to recreate Babi and the other tournament organizers' thought process. I feel I can empathize since their idiocy is probably somewhere up there with toxxing yourself twice in a row over video game playthroughs for the internet.

First, upon being rescued by a group of four random teenagers, Babi decides to reward precisely one of them. Even though Ivan was the only one to demonstrate any actual powers to him, Babi figures the meek silent one is the best one to die in armed high-stakes combat against the greatest warriors in the world. The rest have the pleasure of watching him die before their eyes. Remember that Babi knows nothing about these "warriors" aside from their ability to turn rocks.

Babi is looking forward to seeing your battles. He'll be angry if you just watch from the sidelines. Trust me on that.

Rather than simply making the offer of competing, Babi decides to directly force this seventeen-year-old into the fray, complete with instructions to his guards to intimidate him into compliance. I honestly think that S&M, as in the actual villains of this game, are nicer to their hostages than Babi is to the people to whom he owes his life.

We're in a fix, Isaac. We have to do it, don't you think? [No] Why do you have to be so stubborn at a time like this?

Garet decides to enable Babi because of... well...

Really, your guess is as good as mine. But look at Isaac, trying to actually accomplish things. What a stubborn jerk.

This is crazy! Isaac won't survive against those Colosso warriors!
If Isaac wants to win, he'll have to use Psynergy.

Then, because it's Golden Sun writing, Garet immediately switches gears to worrying about Isaac's well being. It's decided that since, you know, not participating would be unsporting, it's better to unnecessarily risk the lives of all the innocent and legitimate competitors by launching meteors and sparks at them in the middle of thousands of spectators. Nobody seems to have a problem with any part of this plan.

What does Babi say we're supposed to do while Isaac is competing?
We've made a slight exception. You can cheer him on from the stage. This is the first time it has ever been permitted!

While everyone's ignoring rules left and right, Babi decides to also lift the ever-unpopular "No supporting participants in a large-scale sporting event drawing thousand-person crowds" rule. Previously they would kick out audience members who became too specific in their enthusiasm.

Warriors enter the finals without any of their own equipment. The chests along the way contain items that may be useful in battle.

He also decides that, to make things fair, Isaac will have his shield confiscated but his power to summon the apocalypse can stay. He pats himself on the back for running the most respected sporting event in the world.

Worried about the fact that he may be imbalancing the tournament a wee bit, Babi slaps some sense into himself and realizes he should instead be invalidating the tournament a lot. This is done by specifically telling Isaac how to get past each obstacle in the repetitive puzzle section of the competition. Armed with this knowledge and the aforementioned apocalypse summoning, all that remains to master will be the dreaded swimsuit portion.

Babi then backpedals a bit towards the "let teenagers die" part of the plan by not taking away the full suits of armor from everybody else despite the explicit rule about taking away armor from everyone else. Faced with controversy over suddenly adding an eighth competitor and thus actually making a single-elimination style tournament work the way it's supposed to, Babi decides to obfuscate what he's doing by ordering guards to refer to the quarterfinals as the finals.

Babi is presented as one of the most sympathetic characters in the game.

Anyway, the way this tournament works is that, before each round, you get a chance to blatantly cheat in front of everyone. For example, Mia can use Douse to fill a scale up with some water and save Isaac the five seconds it would take to do the same thing. This is the only time in the game where switching djinn to open up new psynergy actually helps, though you still only have to do it somewhere around twice.

If we complete these "challenges", which are really just the same puzzles we've been doing since day 1 on a moderate time limit, we get an Iron Shield, giving us a slight leg up in the battle.

This leg-up is not the make-or-break difference to our success.

I see you've made it through your first match.
Winning your first match after jumping right into the finals is awesome!

Amazingly, not a single person notices anything even remotely suspicious with our "victory". Are there actual rules to Colosso or could you basically compete with a car and a gun and have people congratulate you for thinking outside the box?

Round two! Challenges include this maze that can be invalidated by wading pushing a mostly cut down stump left right next to the spectator pit that could be pushed by any one of the spectators who from that position probably can't see the people actually navigating the maze.

There's a challenge that involves jumping between moving platforms. You can use Halt on this man to prevent the platforms from moving, which nobody takes any issue with during the challenge specifically designed around moving platforms.

No, seriously, this is just ridiculous.

Tournaments are not supposed to work this way.

A fantastic performance, just as Babi expected...I won't underestimate you again!

Perhaps all of these guards are just frightened, sheepishly giving a nervous thumbs-up so as to calm down these demonic teenagers who seem willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish... whatever it was they've been trying to do since the last lighthouse. The audience, meanwhile, is just enjoying the trainwreck of violence and destruction; it's still more wholesome than most of the stuff on Fox.

For round three Camelot already ran out of ideas and just reused the last ones, like using Halt on a guy controlling a fundamental part of the whole challenge and using Force to jam a conveyor belt that had a conveyor belt-stopping log right in front of it in a clear violation of basic OSHA standards.

In spite of all this, I do end up losing the final battle, not as though this matters in the slightest. If you lose, Isaac collapses from exhaustion. If you win, Isaac celebrates and then collapses from exhaustion. Either way, the greatest writing in the game soon follows.


Oscar Quality.

Either way, being stabbed repeatedly apparently causing plot-important characters to go to sleep for a little bit. Lunesta sales plummeted following the revelation of this all-natural alternative.

You do wish to know more about Lemuria, correct?
I have just seen Psynergy for the first time...It is an awesome power...
I used my Cloak Ball to show him Psynergy.

Ah, the psynergy that last chapter you said (or thought) wasn't psynergy, of course. Your writing reminds me of the lyrics to a Hot Hot Heat song.

No one else could see it, but I knew Isaac's tournament was strange. I thought it unlikely that you would fight using such power...

I heard some people describe the part where you didn't actually complete any of the obstacles as "odd" and the periodic magical annihilation of your competitors as "peculiar", but "strange"? I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who caught on.

No need to be ashamed, Isaac. Psynergy is also a warrior's power. When I first learned of your power, I was shocked. I thought you might be Lemurians.

Remember back when I explicitly told you all this earlier this morning? I feel I should repeat it now that I've tortured you adequately just in case you forgot. Nice job in that tournament, incidentally. I'm wholly impressed you didn't die.

Many years ago, about the time of the great flood, Babi went to Lemuria.
The great flood struck while I was traveling with Lunpa.
Lunpa...You mean Lunpa the thief?
I know it is heard to believe...It happened a hundred years ago.

Just because it bears further repeating, the Lunpa stuff is an optional sidequest that exists to give you a djinn and some weapons, as well as, in TLA, an axe that you can get three other places in that game. Can you imagine if they had spent all the exposition for that sidequest actually explaining motivations or world-building? Or explaining any of this stuff like what the Great Flood actually was? Or giving the main characters personalities? Or not making Golden Sun?

Kraden once mentioned the Stone of Sages. Do you think that's what did it? [No] It rules all, can change anything into gold, grants immortality. Ring a bell?

Didn't we have this exact same conversation last update? I'm pretty sure we had this exact same conversation last update.

So you've even heard of the Stone of Sages...I'm afraid I don't have it. It is the draught from Lemuria that has allowed me to live for so long. It is a magical draught once taken by those who lived in Lemuria. It will run out any day now. And when it does, my life is at its end... But we cannot find Lemuria. I've sent so many ships in the past to search of Lemuria...I needed more Lemurian draught, but I couldn't find Lemuria.

Well, you could go to Imil and get the Hermes Water that does the exact same thing. Or you could use normal psynergy given that we've been studying it for a few years and have the power to heal everything and revive the dead. Or you could take advantage of the fact that the priesthood can do the exact same thing except when plot-inconvenient. Or you could accept the fact that you're going to die at 150 and reflect over your fulfilling life as the leader of a great city.

But no, I suppose that kidnapping girls, forcing neighboring villages into slavery, and forcing innocent teenagers who saved your life to fight for your amusement and then go on a quest on your behalf to ensure your immortality is a much better plan.

Babi is presented as one of the most sympathetic characters in the game.

And your reason for calling us here has to do with Lemuria?
Exactly. I want you to find Lemuria. I have not been able to locate Lemuria by sea, but perhaps by air...I can hide it no longer...I have built Babi Lighthouse to see if I can find Lemuria at sea.
What? That's why you're building the lighthouse?

Remember how I pointed out that everybody has probably forgotten what a lighthouse is? The last time the world "lighthouse" appeared in the game script was back in Imil. So, in actually, I think it's just that everyone at Camelot forgot what the plot of their own game was, not as though that should be considered at all surprising.

No, there's more to it than that. We've spotted something in the ocean southeast of the lighthouse...where Lemuria should be. The currents shift there, subtly changing a ship's direction. So the lighthouse will help the ships keep their bearings...

The very modestly named Babi Lighthouse is the next main dungeon in the game. After that you go through a tunnel that connects Babi Lighthouse to Venus Lighthouse, then climb Venus Lighthouse to finish up the game.

This means that Babi, needing a tall structure to use as an observation deck and landmark with which ships could keep their bearings (presumably after sending a couple dozen innocents to their deaths so that he could live and tyrannically control Tolbi for another few decades), found an already-existent lighthouse and decided to build another lighthouse a mile to its left.

All of this is happening because Babi wanted to build a lighthouse. Next to a lighthouse.

Babi is presented as one of the most sympathetic characters in the game.

So, how exactly did you get away from Lemuria after the flood, Babi?
That's the thing, Garet! I crossed the sea in a Lemurian ship. I am hoping you can sail it...
But why us, when you have so many powerful soldiers at your disposal?
None of them have the ability to use Psynergy. One must have Psynergy to sail this ship!

This would be a far more compelling argument for helping this random terrible man if not for the widespread knowledge that concussions can accomplish this equally as well. Going back to Vale to find a psynergy stone with which to bludgeon some random soldiers (or informing Babi that he would be perfectly capable of sailing this ship himself) would negate a large amount of this game's sequel.

Not this time. We have to beat Felix and the others to the lighthouse.

Thank you, Garet, for keeping us on track. That time a few hours ago when you called me stubborn for wanting the exact same thing notwithstanding.

Well then, our paths are intertwined. I, too, must go to Venus Lighthouse.
In any case, you will need my assistance to reach the lighthouse.
Then you can all meet at Gondowan Passage...

Well, that was an appallingly terrible cutscene. Had we won the final Colosso Battle, we would have received not just words but the world-renowned tournament's ever-sought grand prize: a hat.

This hat, to be specific, one which increases monster encounter rates and lets the wearer get mauled slightly more often.

Babi is presented as one of the most sympathetic characters in the game.



Pureauthor posted:

Where do you get the idea that Babi was ever intended to be portrayed sympathetically?

Admittedly, it's a bit hard to say, since Golden Sun isn't always very clear about what it's trying to express. However, one of the first things you see in Tolbi is a group of guards incredibly worried about his safety, his city is doing very well and it's implied that he's an effective ruler, Iodem and the others seem to worry about his well being and show legitimate hope that his plan for finding Lemuria works out, your characters are more than willing to help him and never discuss not doing so, helping him become immortal is one of the guiding goals of the endgame and, in theory some of TLA, with the main characters constantly reminding themselves that "We promised Babi we would find Lemuria. We will not fail him". Hell, his introduction is treated as "help this frail old man and look at how generous he is in return" rather than "help this tyrant and watch him torment you".

Even if you don't buy the sympathy angle, you have to agree that the game does not condemn him. Instead, you're fully expected to help him, and the only objection to doing so is that there's a slightly more important quest to do first, not that he's a power-hungry dictator who's insane.