Part 18: Crossbone Isle (Sidequest)
This is a small update primarily to show off Crossbone Isle. Not a single plot-relevant thing is going to happen and there isn't much humor value, so if you're going to gloss over an update make it this one.
Iodem is Babi's right-hand-man, the "chief minister" of Tolbi, and the ruler of the Tolbi military. Despite this, he had no idea why Babi was building a lighthouse, why Babi cared about alchemy, why Babi went into the cave so often, or that there were sandstorms along the sole path between where he lives and where he's helping to oversee the construction of a lighthouse.
Additionally, despite not knowing what specific powers (like summoning water) Isaac and company had, Iodem neglected to bring the water necessary to get through this desert without becoming dead, while even miscellaneous NPCs, including people who probably don't need to commute across the desert to supervise a massive construction project which the largest city-state in the world depends upon, casually discuss the need to bring water when crossing the desert. The alternate explanation for all of this and the surprise he exhibits when we get there is that Iodem has never actually been to the lighthouse, despite the fact that he specifically offered his assistance as being vital to us reaching the lighthouse.
Fuck it, I'm going to once again resort to the classic fallback "Some random incompetent man killed the real Iodem and took his place" theory. It's amazing how many storytelling problems can be cleared up that way.
Anyway, the reason we need to use this water is because of the tornadoes. If you get caught in a tornado for more than a few seconds you get whisked back to the beginning of the desert with no noticeable injuries, while if you use Douse the tornado dissipates and you just fight a Tornado Lizard. Because tornadoes, which are caused by violent rotating winds stirring up water vapor, are incredibly common in narrow valleys in the middle of arid deserts. And because tornadoes melt away whenever there's rain. And because lizards love violent windstorms. Moving on...
Hidden off to the side of this desert (which, shock and surprise, is a maze) is a path to return to Crossbone Isle and, directly along that path, the djinn that makes Crossbone Isle similar to a walk wherein you are repeatedly handed cakes. Flash does the same thing as Granite but even better; while Granite cut damage received in half, Flash cuts damage received by 90%.
Granite was moderately balanced in that you could only use it every other turn at best. Now, however, you can win every single battle in the game in the following way:
Turn 1: Isaac uses Granite, everyone else attacks.
Turn 2: Isaac sets Granite (without summoning, so it doesn't take an additional turn to reset), Garet uses Flash, everyone else attacks.
Turn 3: Isaac uses Granite, Garet sets Flash, Mia heals perhaps, Ivan attacks.
Turns 4 onward: Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you win every battle in the game.
This can even be mixed up with some other Djinn like Ground (which stops an enemy from attacking) and Kite (which lets you attack twice, such as setting and using a djinn or using the djinn while also attacking) to give you even more options for breaking the game wide open by using basic tools it explicitly hands you. In other words:
Turn Everything: Spamm djinn and psynergy
Going along this side passage eventually leads to this tornado. This time, using douse is bad and, as before, you have to specifically attempt to fail in order to get to Camelot's bonus dungeon...
...Because the two-way tornado takes you... back to the Karagol Sea for some reason, right next to another tornado that acts as basically a teleporter to the same area. Needless to say, this didn't exist when we first came here since it would have allowed us to completely bypass the entire subplot about helping an immortal tyrant enslave everyone.
(Speaking of, Iodem is still following us and seems to have absolutely no problem with us very definitively not going to Babi Lighthouse).
Alright, time for Crossbone Isle. In my attempt to create the first postmodern LP, we're now going to look into the past and see everything I did here back when I was supposed to be helping tourists not die on a boat.
Step one: The exact same puzzles we've been doing since day 1, but with mandatory growth use so that people who don't understand the djinn switching mechanic (useful for exactly one thing, that being unlocking growth) are locked out. Alright, sure.
Then we descend into the center of the earth. I know it's a bonus dungeon, but why are we (either the player or the characters) here other than Camelot putting it here? I like to imagine Isaac is actively screwing with Iodem, though I suppose that interpretation would require him to actually have a personality.
Even by Golden Sun dungeon standards, Crossbone Island is incredibly bland. Every floor has a door that summons monsters, then there's a puzzle room, then you get to push a stump to expedite the return journey. Unsurprisingly, there's absolutely no context for why an uninhabited and unknown island has a several thousand foot deep passageway with elaborate puzzle rooms covered with treasure chests and statues. Nobody seems to think about it all that hard.
On the plus side, there are no random battles. On the very not plus side, the first floor is a maze that you navigate by pushing stumps.
And floor 2 is Mercury Lighthouse/Kolima Forest/Every other room in the game. You didn't think an optional puzzle dungeon would have clever or difficult puzzles, did you?
That is a terrible mystery
Floor 3 is another jumping maze where you have to collect keys to open doors. Some are invisible.
I will say, I do like the way these rooms are set up in that the path to collect treasures is different from the simpler path to simply progress. Unfortunately, the incentive to collect treasures is pretty minimal as most of them are moderate healing items or pointless swords.
Floor 4 is the needlessly early brick wall. The first time you come here, you can get that one sword, some antidotes/potions, and a couple of coins. In order to get anything worthwhile, you need to make the return trip, even though only one of the lower floors necessitates anything else from this late in the game. They could have had the brick wall on, say, the seventh floor, but I suppose that would have made too much sense.
Basically, if you step on the diamond floor tiles, statues tackle you backwards unless you can turn invisible. At least they aren't wearing green hats.
Floor 5 is the same puzzle we've already had to do twice in Kolima Forest. A note on bonus dungeons: Your ability to hit Ctrl-V is not a sufficient bonus.
Floor 6 is block pushing and jumping, as well as the exact same puzzle we used to get a djinn last time we got the Halt Gem. What a bonus!
Floor 7 shows me cheating. The very last dungeon has Camelot adopting my strategy - using moderately interesting gimmicks to distract from boring repetition - by suddenly making block pushing puzzles in 3D. This involves the use of a psynergy I'll pick up next update, but that requires going forward and completing half of Babi/Venus Lighthouse before doubling back through the dungeon and half of the desert so that you can lift some blocks. I'm doing Crossbone Isle here because before the final dungeon is a better place for a bonus dungeon than during it.
Floor 8 shows Camelot simply no longer caring and putting any "puzzle" in that they can. Freezing this puddle causes the dragon statue to breath fire over the other one (?) and there's no way to re-melt the ice you create (?!). This means you have to cross the puddle, freeze it from the other side, then jump over it and save the other puddle for later so you can get back around. In other words, it serves to waste your time for not being clairvoyant the first time you do it.
Running back and forth: Camelot's definition of a puzzle. This is pretty much vital, however, as the Cleric's Ring allows you to actually use your reward for completing the dungeon. If you skip this puzzle, completing the Crossbone Isle boss essentially just lets you die more often.
Floor 9. I actually like these complex log rolling puzzles because they require an actual use of brain cells and spacial reasoning. Unsurprisingly then, they show up about three places in the game; pushing a block shows up about four thousand.
Finally, floor 10, which is a pirate ship in a lake of battery acid underneath an island in another lake. I like to think a pirate ship hit a ramp and flew down the flight of nine staircases, causing the captain moderate distress.
Trying to open the chest summons Deadbeard.
That is actually his name.
Deadbeard is the obligatory Ruby Weapon-esque bonus boss: no actual purpose in the game, arms made of undercooked noodles, and an ability to be broken to hell and back.
In this case by using basic core game mechanics.
The reward for this crawl is a single piece of armor. Like most of the weapons and armor we've picked up here, it's cursed, meaning that it has a random chance of paralyzing the user and can never be unequipped. The only way to counter this is by dedicated another equip slot to that Cleric's Ring, which negates curses. If you need two pieces of armor and a dungeon crawl for this, it must be decent, right?
The Wiki posted:
Although it has the highest defensive rating in the original game, it is not actually the best because of the decrease in Jupiter resistance. If the player chooses to have one character equipped with the Cleric's Ring, then they may choose to equip the Demon Mail in order to maximize the Cleric's Ring's effect. Otherwise they are better off sticking to the Dragon Scales or the Storm Gear.
Oh right, Camelot. Never mind then.
A GameFAQs list of Crossbone Isle treasures posted:
- Hard Nut
- 111 Coins
- 222 Coins
- Lucky Pepper
- Mystery Blade
- 333 Coins
- Fairy Ring
- Smoke Bomb
- Sleep Bomb
- 444 Coins
- Storm Gear
- Psy Crystal
- 555 Coins
- Ninja Garb
- Lucky Medal
- 666 Coins
- Demon Axe
- Water of Life
- Lucky Medal
- Psy Crystal
- Wicked Mace
- 777 Coins
- Smoke Bomb
- 888 Coins
- Cleric's Ring
- Sleep Bomb
- 999 Coins
- Water of Life
- Demon Mail