Part 26: Dehkan Plateau and Madra
The next place to pretend we have a reason to go is this plateau, demonstrating that Camelot still doesn't pay any mind to whether places on the world map mesh even slightly with the background on the world map. And no, there's absolutely no way of knowing what order you need to do any of these things in order for the arbitrary event flags to work out; playing this game pretty much necessitates having GameFAQs open at all times.
Dehkan Plateau's gimmicks include pillars that support your weight exactly once before collapsing and unstable ground that supports your weight exactly once before collapsing. I'm waiting for the day Camelot finally stops pretending they're doing anything creative and just makes a game consisting of the same dungeon twelve times with different art assets involved.
Felix's tactical espionage skills are somewhat lacking.
As before, we get to chase this djinn around half the dungeon...
And chase it...
And chase it...
And watch Felix get punched in the face for our troubles. I think I can safely say this djinn is my favorite character in the series so far.
To avoid this fate, we have to fall on top of it, which is absolutely impossible to do on your first try through anything other than luck. It's always tragic when a major company is reduced to taking cues from Mario World rom hacks.
One terrible failure of animation and inconsistency in djinn skills (they're adepts who can equip items to get spells that probably aren't very fire-related?) we get another waste of an inventory slot that's only useful on specific contrived obstacles. This brings our "powers that are actually just hands" total to, what, seven? Glad to see creativity is still as strong as ever.
Djinn in this game are incredibly easy except for the fact that they will run away at a moment's notice. Since they always have higher agility stats than you do, you're completely screwed if they run as their first attack, and like most randomness in handheld games their chance of doing so is determined before you actually engage them. This becomes especially fun when they start making you go through an entire dungeon to jump down to a place where a djinn is, from which you can jump down to the beginning of the dungeon. Did people just find this mechanic fun enough in the first game that Camelot felt determined to fix that?
Oh, incidentally, that plateau was a maze. I'm also not sure how two sets of terraces at opposite ends of a valley constitute a plateau, but I suppose geography in this series has never really been... a thing.
Look... It's Menardi's ship!
It doesn't look like they sailed it here, though...
If we had that thingie Saturos had, we could just take their boat.
For all we know, the orb is at the bottom of the sea... with them...
No, Alex has it. Alex specifically told you he was capable of controlling this boat and actively planned on controlling the boat. In fact, even if this is not the case, Alex probably still knows at least something about the ship. You should compare notes on this fact given that you know where he's going, he's given you no reason to mistrust him, and you could easily meet up with him anyway. Anyone?
Well, there's no point in hanging around here all day. Let's go see about finding ourselves a ship we can use.
"Let's abandon this ship to find a ship."
Seriously? Not even a cursory effort at looking aboard the ship for the thing that controls the ship? You're not going to try making some sails and taking advantage of the fact that, control notwithstanding, you are in possession of a thing that can float on water? No interest at all in the fact that, if it got here, it either has the ability to float without said orb or is in close proximity of people who must have found the orb? No sense of surprise that this ship didn't get destroyed in the tidal wave that reshaped continents and destroyed a ton of ships? Seriously?
In a nearby cave involving block pushing puzzles (shock and surprise!) we get a new summon. These tablets unlock summons involving varying types of djinn. They are every bit as ridiculous as the originals if not moreso.
They don't look like they're Champa... Sorry for the delay. You may pass.
What were you checking us for?
Our town was sacked by pirates... They'd come to free their leader, Briggs. They came from the east, a small party, and we repelled them with ease... But then, foreigners struck from the west, exploiting a weak point near our prison.
On one hand, I give these guards credit for at least vaguely resembling guards. On the other hand, I give them minimal credit for being unarmed, doing little besides taking a cursory glance to make sure we aren't wearing skulls and crossbones and brandishing signs saying "Piracy is amazing because we're pirates", telling random strangers about how best to undermine your town's defenses, and generally being characters in Golden Sun.
Going inside said prison lets us meet an obvious clone of exactly Alex. Start the gender guessing.
Then where did you come from?
The heart of the Eastern Sea... If I told you where, you'd never believe me.
Look at me when I'm talking to you! Are you trying to mock me!?
I implore you, do not anger me.
Quovak's legal advice: If, when asked questions, you refuse to answer and instead attack your questioners with columns of ice, it is exceedingly unlikely that you are winning support for your case.
You're right... We only know what we just saw.
...What? Yes, we do. We saw him use psynergy. That is probably reliable evidence that he knows how to use psynergy. Is there an alternate possibility even worth bringing up?
I... sense someone... using Psynergy... That person... Could he be--no, he is not of my people... When will I be freed?
Why can everybody sense psynergy but us? At least Ivan sensing adepts kind of made sense as an extension of mindreading, but I guess you can readily identify adepts as long as you can create some rain, but not if you're Kraden. Also, this would be yet another fantastic opportunity to compare notes and discuss things with people who probably have access to information that might help you.
We're never going to bite for any of these, are we?
What happened in there, I wonder?
It seems Piers is a man of many mysteries.
I honestly think that psynergy being mysterious is my least favorite plot element in this series. I cannot think of a single scene across either game that has worked better because of this element than it would have without it.
Oh, you there... You look like travelers. When did you arrive? And where are you going?
[No] No need to be shy, my friends. One requires permission to cross the bridge to Osenia, correct? Then I hereby grant my permission to these four travelers!
Hello, most arbitrary event flag in the series so far! Why are you giving us permission? Why do most people not have permission? Why do you have sole authority to grant permission?
I would love for anything to be explained about this storyline at all!