Part 19: Route to Babi Lighthouse
Keeping with the postmodern approach, there are a number of hoops you have to jump through for Sheba's existence to make any sense at all. It's extremely possible that her name has never come up before this point if you haven't talked to the right NPCs in Babi Palace, and now there's an entire town that exists solely to hide a hidden conversation.
A Game Script posted:
This part is *not* mandatory, but it was recommended that it be put in there for clarification issues, seeing as how Sheba is put on a pedestal during the last stretch of the game and it's not really clear why.
The town is Suhalla, which decided to use grape jelly instead of water for irrigation purposes. There's a group of guards hidden in a building around here that actually provide vital context since the usefulness of information is inversely proportional to how much Camelot tells you about it.
To summarize, a group of guards was escorting Sheba through the desert (because...) where she was kidnapped by Saturos and Menardi.
Don't worry if you don't understand anything about this whole Sheba thing. Camelot certainly didn't.
We tried to hold them back...but they were too powerful! They had strange powers...We were no match for them.
It must have been Felix! We must get to Babi Lighthouse as soon as possible!
How does Iodem know this, exactly? Not only has he never seen them, but if I had knowledge of two strangely dressed fire summoners, a hovering androgynous creature, and an angsty teenager I would not associate an act of senseless violence with that last one. Perhaps this is simply the shame of a psychic post-Columbine world.
This two screen dungeon really only exists to waste your time a bit more. Guess which oval to jump down. If you're wrong, you get trapped on the other end of a knee-high stone and have to start all over. Fantastic design there.
I get that Babi needed to build the lighthouse somewhat near the sea, but did he really not have any better options?
I want it to be on the other side of that cave beyond that mountain path beyond that inhospitable desert beyond that other cave. Preferably right next to another town so we can get a constant supply of slaves. I'm sure they won't mind.
This is another bonus scene that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Iodem attempts to use the Black Orb to gain control of this boat, which he believes is Babi's. When it doesn't work, Iodem assumes it's because "it isn't time" and takes it back. Later on we run into Babi's actual boat and find out that the reason the Orb didn't work here is because this boat was Menardi's.
This is terrible for a number of reasons:
1. Iodem doesn't know what his master's ship looks like and/or assumes that any boat is automatically his master's.
2. Saturos and Menardi have a boat, thus proving that they could have gotten here half a game ago and already succeeded.
3. This area is easily accessible by boat, thus proving that Isaac and company could have gotten here half a game ago and already succeeded.
4. Saturos and Menardi seem to have taken a boat to this area, which is in between the Lighthouse and Suhalla Desert. This blatantly contradicts what we heard earlier, which is that Saturos and Menardi kidnapped Sheba in the desert. S&M apparently destroyed Silk Road, doubled back to some water, took a boat here, went through the desert, stopped in some towns over there, turned around and went back through the desert, and then went to the lighthouse, stopping to kidnap a randomly-transported girl and take her to the place she was already going.
5. All of these could have been avoided had Camelot taken the simple step of putting in less content by not creating this scene or modeling this boat.
Finally we come to Venus Lighthouse, which, rather embarrassingly, S&M managed to open in about five minutes. The implication (there's that word again) is that Babi simply couldn't open the door. Rather than have his thousand-man army just take some chisels and battering rams to it or construct a ladder/system of pulleys/staircase, he gave up and decided to make everyone build a different one he could actually open. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to realize that there was also an underground entrance that his slave could have opened in a few seconds. She never appeared to mention this as a method of gaining her freedom and Babi never seemed to know anything about lighthouses despite spending most of his life researching alchemy.
Really, this whole endgame is even more of a plotting mess than the rest of the game. It's hugely obvious that a lot of content was cut and that they took the path of least resistance by rushing this game out the door while filling in the plot gaps in the next game. Amazingly, all of this could have been avoided in one of two ways: writing several more words or writing substantially fewer words.
The reason Sheba could have gotten in is that Camelot, as always, is inconsistent. One of the many "implied" elements to this game is that only [X] adepts can enter the [X] Lighthouse, hence why navigating Mercury Lighthouse required Ply and navigating Venus Lighthouse requires... Reveal.
Which is a Jupiter Psynergy.
Camelot is not very good at this.
For some inexplicable reason, we aren't actually completing Venus Lighthouse yet. We're going to get halfway through it, then go to Babi Lighthouse, then take an underground passage back to Venus Lighthouse to do the other half. This is just to get Carry, the psynergy I rather confusingly talked about last update and which is exactly the same as Lift, which summons a magical hand to do things that hands do.
This is Lift.
This is Carry. World of difference.
Another room or two and we get to make a floor glow. That was the entire point of this section of the lighthouse and now we're going to go somewhere else.
Like over here. That red building is Babi Lighthouse; just imagine how easy this commute might have been if he had devoted some of that manpower to building a bridge.
There were...seven...One of them must have been...Sheba.
The scholar Kraden was protecting her. I'm certain it was Sheba...
Remember how Vale used to be isolated? Apparently everybody knows about the old shut-ins that live there but only occasionally know about psynergy even if they can namedrop an alchemic sage. Alternately, this is another group of people who saw the crazily-dressed fire summoners, hovering androgynous man, angsty teenager, and helpless young girl captive yet decided that the crazy old guy was the more memorable of the group.
(edit: TLA reveals that Kraden was originally an apprentice of Babi's. I'll give this a pass, if not an enthusiastic one.)
Once they finished with us, they headed for Babi Lighthouse. They spoke of the ruins beneath the lighthouse...
Ruins? Of course! The foundations of the lighthouse!
Say, while we're building this my-immortality-granting monument to my greatness with slaves from this town that I kidnap young women from, let's position the lighthouse on top of ruins. Huh, culture and history? Sorry, am I immortal yet? Man, I must be the greatest ruler ever.
This is another city where there's absolutely nothing of interest. I think Camelot might have modeled a few dozen cities before thinking of what to do with them, which is why everything in this half of the game besides Tolbi has been "Chi from the line" at best and "Maybe get a djinn through an awkward perspective jumping puzzle" at worst.
It's probably also why there have been about five pseudo-dungeons in as many minutes.
This lighthouse is really just a three-screen "Go up a few floors to go down a floor" dungeon. If we take the least efficient possible path to accomplish this, we end up falling to a place where we can pick up...
The final djinn in the game! Not that this matters in the slightest, but it's a nice anti-OCD element finally.
We also get to discover Babi's school of architecture, which is probably not OSHA compliant and doesn't make very efficient use of the fortress-style building plans.
Alternate history Golden Sun: Isaac, having fractured his ankles at the beginning of the game, is unable to progress in any way. This causes no problems whatsoever, as S&M manage to save the world without your interference.
On a sidenote, this update is the first time we've actually seen direct evidence of S&M killing people rather than simply inconveniencing them. I have a feeling that because you're helping a terrible tyrant they needed to up the villainy to make sure you felt like the good guys so that they could best pull out the twist that you aren't the good guys.
How do normal people get down here, exactly? Is jumping off a 60 foot cliff the standard route?
It's hopeless. It won't budge...
Of course not! I told you, this door doesn't open! If it did, we would have gone in long ago to study the ruins.
If they got through, then we can, too. Right?
You think you can stop them? [Yes] You seem quite sure of yourself, but what do you think you can do?
I have never heard such harsh words from you, Faran.
Iodem reminds me of the stereotypical puritan who would be absolutely appalled by an utterance of "Gadzooks" or "By Jove" or "I enjoy seeing plays".
Well, that took about five seconds. Next time you want to open a door you should try examining the wall two inches from the door.
How in the world did you open the door?
I don't know how to explain it...
We did it because we're us!
It would take too long to explain.
Magic. The answer is literally magic. I'm pretty sure you can explain that to the town that hosted a magical psychic woman who fell from the moon.
Why did it close?
I don't know...Why does anything close?
The banality of Golden Sun dialogue over time (measured in aneurysms per conversation) can be modeled as a 10th degree power function. It began high enough but by this point approaches Graham's Number.
It closed to prevent people with no Psynergy from entering!
It would be perilous for those without Psynergy to try to get through.
I agree! You'll have to let us handle it from here!
Maybe it closed because the switch was timed. There isn't anything inherently magical to the switch besides being invisible, and there's no reason not to at least try to let Iodem enter by holding the door open a second. Oh well, let's jump to baseless conclusions for a minute.
But we can't leave Sheba in their hands just because it's dangerous.
They have greater power than you can even imagine. The power they just displayed is but a fraction of their true might.
Opening a door may seem impressive, but it's only a tiny portion of their power. One day, they may even open windows and pick things up. Chances are they will bother not use their hands.
Next time, the final dungeon in the game and probably more lying about update schedules. This is why I set toxx clauses.