The Let's Play Archive

Golden Sun

by Quovak

Part 23: Kandorean Temple

Welcome to Daila, town #1. Because the impacts of things in Camelotland are inversely proportional to what a sane person might perceive as reasonable in light of what actually happened, the giant island-displacing 100-foot tidal wave managed to cause some puddles. This is, of course, in between the effect of a handful of misaligned fountains in Altin (flooding the entire town) and the effect of the sea being raised so as to reach the tallest building on the map (Camelot refusing to bring it up again in the hope that people will forget they actually used that as a way of tying up a game).

Besides Camelot not wanting to put effort into modeling destruction in a way that wouldn't let them reuse map tiles, the reason this town is largely unaffected is because of the mountain range. Amazingly, we know this because of an NPC telling it to us. What other amazing things could these NPCs know?

We were hit by a gigantic tidal wave, but there were no injuries... It was miraculous!
Didn't it feel like all of Indra moved when that wave hit? And that shock afterward! It felt like the whole continent got rammed into something!
The Shrine of the Sea God stopped the wave, but I'm worried... Riki and Tavi were playing in there, and I'm too scared to tell anyone.
Huh? You want a boat? [Yes] What kind of insensitive jerk are you? Everyone knows all our boats were destroyed by the tidal wave!

Ah, so the sea god stopped the wave. But they were still hit by the wave. But the wave didn't cause any damages to anyone. But the wave destroyed all their ships. But there was also an earthquake that also caused nothing to happen despite not having been stopped by the sea god.

In other words, the answer to my question is "Nothing". Insert lack of surprise.

He's been out playing with his friend for days!
Tavi never misses three o'clock snacksies! Where could he be? His food's getting cold... If Tavi isn't home soon, we're going to have to go looking for him.

And the parents of a small child only decide to start worrying about him after he misses a specific time of day after he's been away from home for several days, presumably having missed his "snacksies" in the meantime. I never knew the extent to which NPCs could make the main characters seem intelligent and likable.

Hey! You look like you already know a little about us, huh? You must be an Adept. You look like you're new around here. Embarking on a dangerous journey in a strange land? I thought so... Well, I'm looking for my companions... We were parted when Mt. Aleph erupted. Would you mind helping me find my companions?

As in the last game, the only talking djinn in the game will nag us every time we say no and eventually take it upon himself to invite himself into our party while demonstrating his impressive clairvoyance and complete lack of ambition (he got separated from his companions a few weeks ago by this point; Ivan's strategy of staring blankly into space until someone else does everything for you seems to be catching on).

Being badgered into taking a random magical vagabond along is the mark of any good friendship. As always, none of this will brought up again, no other djinn will show sentience, and djinn will regularly attack other djinn and beat them within an inch of their lives until said "companions" rejoin them as slaves "pals" so they can help you summon snow cone machines and sparks occasionally.

Now we get to go to another Eastern Mysticism temple, breaking into private property so as to interfere with a legitimate spiritual process. There is absolutely no reason for us to do this or, for that matter, anything at any point in this game at all.

Kraden is going to be doing this for the entire game. The Lost Age is about 20,000 words longer than Golden Sun was, and that distinction is almost entirely due to Kraden's terminal illness of being Kraden.

See, like some bizarro version of Solid Snake with Tourette's trying to narrate the Golden Sun radio play, Kraden basically exists to retroactively make Golden Sun 1 seem substantially better written. Remember how, before having the foresight to lock him away with the villains and not let him follow you around for 90% of the game, Kraden kept telling you stories about what you just did and pointing out that you should notice things that take up 50% of the screen? That is now going to happen for every single dungeon.

As always, there's a filler cave corridor that accomplishes nothing until we crawl up from a well, perfectly set up to allow these monks to draw up vital buckets of air.

I am not just meditating. I am guarding the entry as well. It is important work. But someday, I will be permitted to enter the temple...

No attempt is made by this man to acknowledge you in any way, nor did anybody attempt the insane strategy of locking the main door to the temple. I don't think there's a single person at Camelot who knows what "guarding" something actually entails.

Anyway, now that we've broken in we can entirely evade notice by the head monk looking directly down at us and yelling about concentration. Instead we can see cloned monks learning to levitate in what would be an example of Alex-esque psynergy if Camelot could keep its world building straight for more then three dialogue lines.

Not bad... You might stand a chance to succeed... If you fail, you may lose more than just your pride...
I do not fear death, Master!

Wasn't this a temple ten seconds ago? Weren't they performing meditation? Sending monks to their death seems not only mildly unethical but also as though it might get in the way of spiritual enlightenment seeing as, last time I checked, a proper alignment of the chakras tends to be dependent on being alive.

I think we kind of established that we might want to light lighthouses and I think we're looking for a boat or something maybe. How should we accomplish something vaguely related to our completely undefined goal none of us understand?
I think we should break into an Eastern Mysticism temple that's also a four-story cave fortress and disrupt somebody else's training so that we can risk our life to complete a trial designed to test an ability we've never learned in the hope of triggering an event flag unrelated to this action in any way.
This would be a fantastic use of our time that I will in no way object to despite having kind of established that I have a somewhat take-charge personality and that last update I was more interested in actually accomplishing our undefined goal than you were.
I have nothing to add to this conversation but because I'm in a Golden Sun game here are some words.

The first dungeon of this game is a maze.

What on earth is this get-through-the-cave trial accomplishing? Becoming one with yourself requires absolute concentration. Do it in this dark claustrophobic maze filled with wolves.

Alas, our monk appears to be left for dead due to his inability to complete this test. This test that had nothing to do with levitation and more to do with navigating terrible mazes of copy/pasted tiles designed by Parkinson's sufferers. He should have dealt with all the wolves more spiritually.

Seriously, was there actually a design process for this dungeon or did an employee just spill some rock salt on a legal pad and decide to go with it because it was still better than half of the dungeons last game?

The next part of your journey involves block pushing walking across a series of tightropes perched a few dozen feet off the ground while being pushed off by incredibly forceful steam. I was in no way being duplicitous by framing this as a test of inner concentration and if you suffer any injuries from this you clearly just aren't enlightened enough.

I'm far from an expert on Eastern philosophy, but I can't help feel this is missing the point somewhat. I was always under the impression that "desires" were more along the lines of blindly seeking wealth and power rather than trying not to be burned on hot iron. So far this test is seeming less like Buddhist meditation and more along the lines of of a Hong Kong-themed reboot of Saw.

Then at the end you fight giant monkeys. Perhaps I should just be thankful that Camelot didn't try to ape () Western religion and end up making a dungeon in a lava-filled cross-shaped church fortress that ends by fighting a series of malevolent snake ghosts after reciting a 50-page catechism.

Like the magical deus-ex-machina shield from last game, Felix's ladder-summoning spell only shows up when he really needs it, like when Camelot makes terrible dungeons and he feels an overwhelming compulsion to leave.

Wait... You're not one of my students! Who are you!? How did you... come this far?
Ah, yes... How indeed?

Remember what I said about Kraden's dialogue?

You must have come through the cave... That means... I must give you... the secret of Lash! Lash is a sacred power, passed down for years to the followers of this temple.
A sacred power? And it's called Lash, you say?

This is Kraden's role in the game. This is what Kraden does. This is the type of dialogue that Camelot thought was desperately missing from every single dungeon in Golden Sun 1.

And now, I must pass it on to you. It is our way. It is a gift given to all those who pass the test, as it has been for ages.

Thank you for telling me the exact same thing you just said but suddenly changing the condition of receiving this power into passing the test rather than being a student of the temple. It sure would be inconvenient if you showed any degree of logic and realized that completely cheating your test without permission while not training under you in any way somehow disqualified us from obtaining the reward. You remind me of a man I once met back in Tolbi.

It's fairly obvious that Camelot ran out of ideas for their arbitrarily non-interchangeable magic hand powers about two hours into the last game. Before long we'll be getting a power that allows us to pick up rice only to be severely inconvenienced by the myriad obstacles that require the power to grab wheat instead.

Lash looks quite a bit like Psynergy, doesn't it?
I do not know of your Psynergy, but our power comes from within. This technique uses the spiritual to affect the physical. One with a strong spirit can lift and move heavy objects farther.
Felix, do you think this cave was designed to test one's control of Psynergy? [No]
You are quite mistaken... You should listen to the old man. He speaks wisely.

I love it when people don't know about psynergy but make caves to test psynergy in people who don't have or know about psynergy only to reward the people who pass by teaching them psynergy. I have to say, Camelot, I really feel a sense of connection to this world you've created.

I wondered if it would be right to allow an outsider to use this power... But I like you, so I will let you learn our secret. Please, follow me.

Phew, good thing this is up to a subjective value judgment rather than an unbreakable and long-standing tradition like it was earlier this conversation. That option might have inconvenienced me if not for the fact that it was a way of getting out of the alternate possibility of a subjective value judgment which also might have inconvenienced me until the arbitrary "liking us" that was established this sentence. I love it when things work out.

This is the power and the secret of our temple! If you are worthy, you will use it with ease! When you see a rope, use Lash on it... perhaps you will find this useful on your travels. Take this power with you, and do good.

How does "liking me" make me more worthy of this honor than the students who are actually going through your training? Why do you have to go through a deathtrap maze cave to become worthy of throwing a rope? How would your students be worthy of this honor when I'm taking the one item that will allow you to grant it to them? How have you granted this gift to people "for ages" when exactly one person can possess this stone at any time and getting any use out of it would require a knowledge of psynergy, which would require being hit by purple rocks that only started appearing in the last month?

You are the second-worst sage currently in this room.