Part 20: Babi and Venus Lighthouses
Forty-two days ago, I embarked on a terrible quest. Today I intend to end it.
...by pushing blocks some more. Let it never be said that Camelot is reckless or too unpredictable.
Well, maybe that's not entirely fair. There is a new puzzle where you have to read the minds of statues when at no other point you've had to read the minds of statues. You do then push the statues, of course, so I'm only going to give partial credit.
There are also some interesting traps, like this statue you push to turn off the evil brick lightning and open up the part of the lighthouse we did last time.
Only to be denied re-entrance and need to go back to and through Babi Lighthouse to get back. Thanks Camelot.
Other than that, this lighthouse is basically Mercury Lighthouse with less Jesus. Wouldn't want the game to end on a high note, after all.
And no, I do not consider recontextualizing block pushing as electrical engineering / Pipe Dream to be enough.
You all know the way this works by now. We went up a dozen floors,
To go down a few floors
To go up a few floors. The people who built the lighthouses apparently subcontract from the same architecture firm as Umbrella.
With the second beacon lit, only two will remain.
No. Lighting Jupiter is virtually the same as lighting Mars.
That is true. Jupiter is really all that remains.
I can't help but feel this line was added in solely to address the question of why we've done any of this when we're carrying the Mars Star. I prefer the interpretation that Saturos and Menardi just have no work ethic whatsoever. "World saving? Sigh, I guess. Well, we didn't pay attention to what statues we were pushing, let's take a break for a couple years. Well, we're here with the elemental stars, but they're all the way over there. We could negotiate hostages, but the hostages are in the other room and it's such a long walk. Can we just restore 75% of alchemy and call it a day? My feet hurt."
I've already sent Jenna and the others to the dock at Idejima. Why haven't you released her yet? You promised to free her once you got into Venus Lighthouse.
Sheba is special.
Of course. Because Sheba is a special Adept? You guys learned something from the first two lighthouses. In order to enter each lighthouse, you needed an Adept of that clan. Right now, we have Fire, Earth, and Water Adepts, but no Wind Adept. Do we need Sheba to get into the Jupiter Lighthouse?
I'm sorry, Felix, but we cannot even enter without a Wind Adept.
Remember how we learned we need a wind adept and now have a wind adept? Is that why we still have a wind adept?
Keep in mind that they only just realized this. Had they lit the lighthouses in a slightly less coincidentally-exactly-like-your-path order, I can easily picture them alone at the gate of Jupiter Lighthouse looking dejected.
Also keep in mind that Kraden explicitly said that for all of this they still know more about alchemy than he does.
I'm taking Sheba to the ship!
Don't tell us what's best, Felix. You're not taking Sheba.
Why not? What? You don't trust me?
How can we, after you just demanded we free Sheba?
You've questioned us for the last time! Let's see what you can do!
For most people, this is the first time Sheba is ever directly seen. All of the backstory (like falling from the moon and being kidnapped for use as a bargaining chip in slave labor) is completely optional and nothing about, say, her personality is ever addressed. But Felix wants to save her because...
And is willing to defy the people who saved his life because...
And didn't try doing this when his own sister was a hostage because...
And is fighting about taking her to the boat she's soon going to anyway because...
I have sat through 90% of this game and probably about 60,000 words, and the conflicts at the end have nothing to do with them. So... what exactly did they use those words on? Clearly not world building, since even the characters don't seem to ever know what's going on. Not story clarification, since even the most basic facts (Kraden was apparently hired by Babi to research immortality) are hidden in optional conversations at the very end of the game. And it obviously wasn't characterization.
We have had an entire game, 60,000 words of it, to develop a mere three characters (Isaac I'll consider exempt) in a lead-up to this confrontation. Not only has this not been done in any way, but not a single attempt has been made to differentiate them even in meaningless respects like dialogue traits. To demonstrate this, I have decided to... alter the game's ending dialogue. All text is unedited, but the portraits of main characters have been changed to the following:
- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cat.
- The first Google Image Search result for "A Man"
- And a caricature of myself I had done at a local fairground. I feel he really captured my eyes.
This has been done through a simple find-and-replace, so each image corresponds to exactly one character. I feel this ought to demonstrate the problems with this game better than me repeating "Camelot" for the 849th time ever could.
It looks like they're having a falling out over Sheba.
There's something more to it, though...
Ah yes, much better. I find that a simple change of design increases everybody's personality at least tenfold.
It seems Saturos and Menardi no longer trust Felix.
Looks like the perfect opportunity has just fallen into our laps! Now's our only chance to prevent them from lighting the beacon!
This is the most contrived "falling out" imaginable. Felix didn't have any problems with the mass slaughters but can't bear the thought of them inconveniencing a woman in order to save the world? The "perfect opportunity" is when three powerful alchemy users are five seconds away from lighting it? I get the difficulty of creating a sense of drama/finality halfway through a story, but this end scene has absolutely no relation to anything that's been established or "implied" at any point in the past.
Look what your defiance has brought us, Felix!
Dammit Felix, if you hadn't had a minor disagreement with us then these people we don't consider a threat wouldn't have followed the trail of destruction we left to rescue the hostages we took specifically to make them meet up with us because they have something we needed until rewriting the plot's rules a few seconds ago. You always screw everything up.
I don't need you or anyone to rescue me, Isaac! I was just about to settle things with Saturos and Menardi...You can watch! And then we'll show you the true power of this beacon's light! But...Sheba has nothing to do with this! So set Sheba free!
Sheba has nothing to do with me settling the debate about whether we should release Sheba. Let Sheba free so we can settle whether we should free Sheba. And by "free" I mean take her back to the boat as I said a few sentences ago.
Sheba! Do you remember the rod connected to Hesperia? Those who pursue us bear a rod...Is it the one?
Their minds are veiled. I cannot see clearly...but I think...it's the one.
It's a waste to make her try again. If you give us the Shaman's Rod, Sheba will not be harmed. Agreed? [No]
How does Ivan know who Sheba is? Why does he care about her well-being? Why didn't we give Hammet's staff back to Hammet when we rescued Hammet? WHY IS SATUROS NOT BARGAINING FOR THE MARS STAR WHEN HE IS SPECIFICALLY NEGOTIATING THE EXCHANGE OF AN ITEM FOR A HOSTAGE?!
We gave you the rod. Now, release Sheba!
You said you'd free Sheba if we gave you the rod.
We gave you the rod, so release Sheba!
Boy, that sure is some varied dialogue that clearly differentiates the characters speaking it.
Characters who care about Sheba because...
You seem to have misunderstood. I said we wouldn't harm Sheba...but I never said we'd let her go!
Saturos is literally a Saturday morning cartoon villain. He is the mustache twirling man who steers an oil rig into a glacier because he feels like it but is foiled as soon as an eight-year-old learns about friendship. Thankfully for him Isaac is far below that mental capacity.
What do you mean? We're going to take Sheba...
You won't be going back. This is it for you!
Enough! You're the ones who aren't going anywhere!
Commentary mad-libs time:
This scene is ______ [negative adjective] because _______ [character] lacks any motivation for ________ [action] or personality.
Man my job's easy.
Welcome to the only reason there are two villains in this game.
It should already be clear how we win. As always, the psynergy amplification element matters about as much as a thing that... doesn't matter very much... and is dumb.
I cannot give up Sheba... The four beacons must still be lit...
So, wait...If he means to light the beacons, then he's our enemy, right? [No]
This is a very reasonable question. In fact, because Isaac and Garet probably knew Felix and seem to have a similar goal (rescuing Sheba, which might prevent people from lighting the beacons, which might be what Felix wants to have happen which is why Felix wants to save the woman who would be necessary to light the beacon that's like lighting two beacons because ), this would be an opportune time to sort out everything. Needless to say,
Friend or enemy, you won't stop me from taking Sheba with me!
They argue about a random Macguffin from twenty minutes ago instead and then fight a dragon because it's a JRPG.
I hope you don't think you've finished us off.
We'll be back on our feet...as soon as we do THIS!
Oh, no! He threw the Elemental Star into the lighthouse!
How could this happen...We couldn't keep them from lighting the beacon!
I think it's safe to say that the absolute best strategy for keeping the beacons unlit would be to do nothing. If what we've seen is any indication, without us the villains would lounge around gazing at the sea and arguing about nothing until dying of old age or some form of stroke.
Fire and earth share a symbiotic relationship.
This light will restore our Psynergy!
Go, Felix! Take Sheba and go!
We may not have the strength to protect Sheba after this. You must take Sheba to the ship without fail!
No. I cannot leave you to fight them alone.
Let's all argue the exact opposite of what we were just arguing! We are the most productive villains ever.
Also Felix leaves and allows them to fight on their own.
It's time you learned what true power is!
Their Psynergy is overflowing!
Hya ha ha! It's too late to run!
Fusing is essentially standing fairly close to each other. Saturos and Menardi have been completely normal humans up to this point.
And now they're a dragon.
Okay, I get that this is something that JRPGs just do and that you can't read much logic into. And it's not necessarily a suspension of disbelief destroyer because fighting some kind of Squid Angel Monster is usually far more interesting than just fighting an oddly-dressed guy.
But at least pretend there's a reason. At least Square attributes weird final bosses to abstract magic like "lifestream" or "heart of all worlds" or "time compression"; you don't get to use Mars Psynergy as an excuse when Garet is growing a largely insignificant amount of claws.
In true final boss fashion, the Fusion Dragon has some amusingly absurd and incredibly varied attacks. Outer Space involves jumping from outer space. And some purple sparks, since you can never have too many sparks.
Severe Blow has the dragon jump jumping severely to cause a blow. And purple sparks.
And then there's Dragon Driver, which has the dragon jumping as a dragon to drive you into the ground. And purple sparks.
Camelot, this is the most boring absurd final boss ever. At least give him an attack that destroys the solar system a few times.
And yet, all things must come to an end by spamming djinn and psynergy. I sure am glad I had to use strategy for a whole zero battles this game.
Goodbye, suddenly human again villains who were never developed at all. I look forward to only learning anything halfway decent about you when I pay another $40.
We did it! We won! Sure we couldn't save the Venus Lighthouse, but...We beat them! They're gone! You saw them fall down into the pit...So we don't have to worry about any more beacons being lit!
But Felix is gone, and he's taken Sheba...
I am no match for you now, Isaac...I must go...Come, Sheba!
"I wanna go away! I wanna help you fight! I'm not gonna help you fight! I'm coming back! I wanna go away!" Felix must be an absolute joy on car trips.
Why do you run from us?
They fell into the lighthouse. It's all over!
Poor fools...If you think it's over, you are sadly mistaken!
If you plan to light the other beacons, you will still need...
The Elemental Stars? We have them!
No you do not. I have half of the remaining ones. I have had it the entire game. It is the entire reason we even know you exist, so Jenna would be willing to follow you and coerce us into doing the same. Did Camelot genuinely forget about this rather significant plot element because nobody could stand to replay Sol Sanctum? Though come to think of it I suppose that would be excusable.
They're gone, Felix! You don't have to light the beacons anymore...
Yes, I do. If I don't light the beacons... It's no use talking about it...Just wait and see!
de·us ex ma·chi·na
1: a god introduced by means of a crane in ancient Greek and Roman drama to decide the final outcome
2: a person or thing (as in fiction or drama) that appears or is introduced suddenly and unexpectedly and provides a contrived solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty
In this case, the difficulty being hiding that plot twist as long as is humanly possible. Incidentally, Felix is the Origami Killer.
Having that person-width stair case right next to a straight vertical drop was fairly poor lighthouse design, in retrospect.
Hold on, Sheba! Take my hand!
There is not water next to the Venus Lighthouse. Instead, there is a moderately more dangerous thing known as land. Jumping into it headfirst is not recommended, and emulating Snake at the end of MGS2 will do nothing to change the fact that your game still makes far less sense.
What to do? What can we do?
What about Jenna and the others at Idejima?
Oh yeah! I completely forgot about Jenna! Isaac! Listen up! We've got to find Jenna!
This line is the John 3:16 of Golden Sun. No other line so encapsulates the strategy these characters (and their writers) have been using to put less thought into their world-saving than something that... typically requires little thought.
Analogies are hard.
I don't think we'll ever know.
The writers, not possessing either a backspace key or common sense, used a contrived deus ex machina to undo an equally contrived deus ex machina to poorly hide a generic and cliche implausible plot twist that will be used to negate everything we've done this game as soon as we buy another one while the ramifications of this short-term cover-up will soon be negated by yet another deus ex machina. It's really not that difficult to understand.
If you think this is lazy storytelling, you haven't seen anything yet.
Because you haven't gotten to the part where the sea rose eight hundred feet off-screen and everybody discusses it after-the-fact because, I don't know, budgeting problems drawing some blue?
When you could not find Jenna, you returned to Venus Lighthouse.
Yeah. The base of the lighthouse was flooded, so we couldn't get out.
And that's when you gazed out to sea, as you promised Babi you would.
Yes...And we saw an area wrapped in mist.
I remember how Babi said Lemuria was always covered in mist. I am not sure, but I am beginning to think that may be Lemuria...
Camelot Employee 1: Alright, I know it's late in the development cycle, but I have a great idea for how to end this game. There's this great RPG called Xenogears, and it got great reception and sold a million copies. I think it's because everyone liked the parts near the end where everyone told everyone else what adventures they went on while the player was too busy not giving the company money. Let's just do that for the ending, it will be great.
Then I guess we have no choice but to go... [No]
You swore an oath. It is meaningless unless you go immediately.
What is it with this game and oaths overruling any practical or logical reasons not to obey an oath?
Man, it sure is great that the gigantic flood didn't cause any degree of damage to any of the neighboring desert towns, even a fraction of the damage caused by about five statues in Altin. Life is so much better now that Camelot is rushing the development cycle and modeling as little as humanly possible.
This is Babi's ship. I'm not sure why Iodem thought Menardi's ship was Babi's ship before he was able to direct us to Babi's not-at-all-similar and closely-guarded-in-a-specific-known-location ship, but now...
We finally get to see the ocean!
To sea we go!
You specifically told Faran that you found Lemuria by looking at the ocean. You openly admitted two minutes ago that you have seen the ocean. Stop pretending this is a plot element.
It is time to depart.
Well...Shall we, then?
Jenna is waiting for us!
(Pictured: People who were bad at their respective jobs)
Forty-two days ago, I posted:
Masochism, surely, was the inspiration for Syrg's kind-of-recent attempt to stop people from trying to LP this game, but, as I am currently demonstrating, he failed, and I'm here to try accomplishing his dream instead. While the game is far from the worst ever made, only having given me a few forms of cancer, its hallowed position in our minds as a result of being "cursed" and perpetually unfinished (I'm among the many who consider Syrg's attempt not really an LP) is far more than GS deserves.
It is done, and Golden Sun is no longer "cursed". I may have been overcritical, repetitive, and reckless with my potential use of money, but I consider myself to have done a good deed today, and I have succeeded where seven others have failed.
I will not be playing The Lost Age. I have two more games for which I plan to record footage, one of which will be a standard vitriolic playthrough and one of which will be a change of pace from my typical style, and I still have Breakdown videos I may at some point actually turn into an LP, but I am more than willing to hear suggestions or requests for other games I tackle. Preferably ones that are not made by this company or one like it.
There will be one more update (another Fixing Golden Sun installment) and one more challenge. After that, may the book be closed on Golden Sun.
Unless you actually wanted to find out what the next game is like, of course. Say, if you were curious about the characters, the story, the title, or anything else. But if Camelot didn't care enough about their game to give it a proper ending, why should I do the same to my LP?
As such, I leave you with a simple message: This game was