Part 17: Lunpa (Sidequest)
Isaac! Is the Cloak Ball what you desire? [Yes] That Cloak Ball is very precious to me. I can't just give it away. But perhaps you could borrow it. Take it with you on your quest.
It's implied (Note: Whenever I say "implied" I mean either "explained in two thousand words I'm cutting out" or "never explained but rationalized this way on the wiki I keep referring to") that Babi needs the cloak ball to avoid getting killed by all the monsters in the cave where he needlessly keeps the only thing allowing to him to live. Since we've already established that his guards and right-hand men don't know of this and apparently think he's 160 years old because of all the eggs he eats or something, and since he was very nearly on the verge of death last time he went after some, it's pretty clear that he doesn't have any draught lying around.
Since he's giving you the Cloak Ball (sorry, letting you borrow the Cloak Ball, since that's clearly an important distinction necessitating additional words), this also means that Babi doesn't plan to go back into the cave again at any point. In other words, Babi is completely and utterly without any supply of draught at all.
Since Iodem specifically said that Babi goes to the cave fairly often, it can be reasonably implied that Babi needs to drink from that every, say, month or so. Maybe we can be pretty lenient and say every year. Either way, he has none left, and apparently decided that this (or at least a fairly recent timeframe, given Sheba's age) was the best time to start trying to find more at some point. The timeline for building a lighthouse, going to Lemuria, finding more draught, and bringing it back is thus a couple of months. Babi specifically planned it this way despite having several city-states of resources at his disposal, a single-minded drive to become immortal at any cost, and several decades of rulership.
Aw, another djinn hidden in a nondescript part of the map nobody would ever find? You shouldn't have. Really.
Chzo Similarity #784: A group of three identical guards who expend absolutely no effort guarding against the one thing they're specifically assigned to guard against. I'm beginning to think this game may have been one of Yahtzee's stronger influences.
This is Gondowan Cave, where Babi directly told us to go. It splits in two, allowing us to cross the Karagol Sea in yet another way that probably would have been far more logical than a boat ride of death. Today, we're going to do something special and completely ignore what Babi wants us to do!
...In favor of finally doing this pointless sidequest introduced in Update 4. As always, it's a bit of a Pyrrhic victory whenever these things work out.
Getting into Lunpa requires us to freeze the water under this not-at-all closed gate in the middle of a cave for no reason that they could probably crawl or stylistically limbo under. Remember that natural progression has never been a strong suit of this series.
Despite having been able to get into Lunpa ever since we got Mia, we can only now actually do anything. Babi's Cloak Ball, besides taking up another inventory space (just like the Catch Beads, Halt Gem, Douse Drop, Force Gem, and Carry Gem) lets us turn invisible in shadows. That means, of course, that we're coming up to a forced stealth section. And we all know how well stealth sections work in games not built around stealth, right?
Oh, and the stealth section's a maze.
And it includes timing puzzles.
And some pretty creepy implications (though I'm pretty sure Babi's still worse)
And the stupidest half-use of a mechanic possible.
See, if you get caught by any of the guards wearing green, the main characters are petrified by their crippling fear of that particular section of the electromagnetic spectrum and lock up in fear, forgetting about their swords and ability to summon the apocalypse. If you get caught by the guards in red, you are instead enraged by the color, motivated to fight back and kill them, and allowed to continue on your merry way.
Alternate explanation: Those who wear green are merely punching a clock to feed their families, and Isaac et al wouldn't be able to sleep at night having attacked an innocent person just trying to stay afloat in a tumultuous economy. Those wearing red, however, are designated as evil under the 2000 Color-Coding Standards Approval Act and thus killing them presents no moral complications in the least.
Alternate alternate explanation: Camelot.
Dodonpa always knew that an arbitrarily selected group of teenagers would go out of their way to save a merchant they have no personal ties to. That's why we haphazardly tossed all of these guards in an intricate cave instead of holding him in an actual prison. It all makes sense, you see.
We can also run into Donpa, Dodonpa's father (Dodonpa's the one who kidnapped Hammet, if this is a bit unclear). I suppose he's a prisoner who we'll see has complete access to the whole area, or he lives here with his maid/wife/"escort"/what-have-you and has never heard of a house.
This is the key that invalidates the whole dungeon up to this point, you just weren't able to pick it up from the locked door to the South because it was an inch too far away. This dungeon plays like an organized check-list of every problem RPGs have refused to fix since the SNES era.
Ah, good, I was worried that since this dungeon pretended to have an actual function we would miss out on the forced block-pushing puzzles. I was getting shakes there from the withdrawal.
There's also an element where you have to use Reveal to find invisible door-opening switches, since this is apparently better security than the key they're already using. The next time we see an invisible door switch it will be explained that it's to prevent non-Adepts from entering, yet Hammet has probably at some point been fed. Is Dodonpa an adept? Can the guards learn psynergy? Does anybody else even know Reveal since Hama can't teach it unless somebody else gets hit with enough stones?
Ivan, is that you? Then it would appear your journey has begun, Ivan. You shouldn't have risked yourself, Ivan.
Hammet reminds me of those characters in Animal Crossing who let you customize how they end every alternate line, though at least Katrina never chewed me out for actually trying to fulfilling a prophecy she never told me.
Sorry I'm late with your breakfast; I had to trek through several levels of cave, flip some invisible switches, push some crates, and check up on all the guards who were guarding walls, nooks, and chairs. Do forgive me.
Hold it right there! Sorry to interrupt your teary little reunion, Hammet! This must be your little rat, Ivan--you always did claim he'd rescue you! Look at him. He's just a child! But to think these kids could get this far!
If you sensibly aren't paying attention the dialogue by this point, Hammet loudly told everyone that we would rescue him, likely increasing security and making it harder to rescue him. Then he never told us to rescue him. Then he told us we shouldn't have rescued him.
Now that we've found Hammet, we'll be taking him home!
I'm afraid I can't let you do that. Hammet is what I like to call my little money tree.
You dirty scoundrel!
Name-calling won't help you! I'm not giving Hammet up!
Hammet is the reason I make money. I won't let anything happen to Hammet. Now let me release this bloodthirsty giant monster that I keep ten feet away from him into the same enclosed room as Hammet.
We deal with this monster in the usual fashion.
Uhnn! Get it off me!
How did Dodonpa get trapped under the monster?
He tried to pull another dirty trick on you! When Dodonpa saw his monster was losing, he tried to get behind you.
Ah, so when we were in the center of the room fighting the monster at the top of the room, he snuck up behind us and got trapped under the corpse of the monster at the bottom of the room. I can't believe I didn't catch onto that...
You dirty snake!
Kidnapping anybody you please to extort ever-increasing ransoms and trying to murder teenagers to preserve your practice is one thing, but trying to get behind us in battle? That offends me, good sir.
What should we do, Isaac? Should we try to move it? [No]
I think we have to try, at least.
Keep in mind that Hammet has been imprisoned since Vault. Either he has the fiercest case of stockholm syndrome in history or he may just win the award for the most character of all.
I should be able to stand after a bit.
What do you mean, "thank goodness"!? Didn't he just try to kill us?
Can't we just forgive and forget?
How to properly enjoy Golden Sun:
1. Read lines
2. Beat head against wall
3. Repeat until unconscious/dead
What should we do, Isaac? Should we lock Dodonpa up? [Either]
Dodonpa... You pitiful wretch. I always told you that if you did evil to others... others would do evil to you. You must right all of the misdeeds you've done! You're going to spend some time here thinking about all that you've done! I must apologize deeply for all of this.
I suppose making all of your characters eight years old is one way to make your target audience empathize with them. I guess.
Just a moment! If that you, Bunza?
Gasp! That voice! It's Hammet!
You sure did a good job finding this cave, Bunza.
Yes! Impressive work you did, Bunza!
This cave is immediately next to the populous settlement run by a saturday morning cartoon villain who routinely announces how great he is and where to find him. I wonder if Bunza gets a standing ovation every time he correctly finds the store.
It was pure coincidence. I really didn't want to come to Lunpa. Because we knew the thieves had Hammet imprisoned...
Then why did you come here?
I recalled what Hammet told me about being a successfully merchant.
"Merchants must not judge customers on their appearances."
"Do not avoid a place just because something unpleasant may happen."
"As long as customers await your goods, you must do everything in your powers to sell to them!"
I didn't want to come to a village inhabited by thieves where a merchant was being kidnapped for ransom, then I remembered a piece of advice about how merchants shouldn't actually use common sense and should put capitalism before their personal well being. Come to think of it, however, I probably should have realized that said piece of advice came from a merchant whose only business skill came from some people who saved his life in exchange for telling him that silk can be exchanged for money and who was currently in a thief village having been kidnapped for ransom.
I have a wagon nearby.
Should we ride in the wagon, too? [No] Huh? You don't want to ride in Bunza's wagon? [No]
So, what? You've changed your mind? You do want to go with them? [No]
Now I'm totally confused. You changed your mind again?
This underground passage leads to Hammet Palace.
An underground passage? What for?
Just to be safe.
Remember this place? This was his secret passageway: a fence. I cannot imagine why this man would have been kidnapped.
So, what do we actually get for all that? As usual, most of it doesn't actually come until you pay $40 for the expansion, but we do get a little bit of moderate interest. Most of this comes from the shop in the actual town part of the town, but heading back through the dungeon a second time...
(A second time where the keys don't work. Thanks Camelot)
...and talking to Dodonpa again...
...Lets us get a djinn he fought "long ago", probably around a week ago since that's when the djinn were released. Poor Dodonpa; the first thing to go is memory, and senility is no laughing matter. Arbitrary senility affects dozens of poorly written video game characters every year, but the Center For Video Game Senility Reduction is tirelessly fighting against this scourge. You can help, by finding better written games or with a donation to CFVGSR. Please, give generously.