The Let's Play Archive

Golden Sun

by Quovak

Part 34: Piers' Ship

So, remember how I said that there was almost going to be a plot this update? Meet Karst. Despite having the exact same goals as we do, absolutely no reason to oppose us in the slightest, and a clearly shoehorned-in nature as Camelot seemingly just now realized that plots work better when there are plot elements in them, she's going to be our new antagonist. Right now she's searching for her sister, a woman who was last seen lighting lighthouses, by standing in a random town that's a continent and an ocean away from the nearest lighthouse. No, we aren't able to, say, ask her questions or communicate with her at all, but we are going be railroaded into doing exactly that in about five minutes. It's just like Golden Sun 1 again

Don't be. Everything worked out for the best. I was able to recover it with the help of Felix and his friends.
That's wonderful! I'm so relieved! I was worried that you might never get it back!
If you've already recovered your jewel, why don't you stay here for a bit longer?

Remember, even if Camelot would rather you didn't, that these are the same people who locked Piers in jail. Look, Camelot, I get that these "not so different" speeches, "good after all" revelations, and "let's all help each other" scenes are easy to write and probably work well on five-year-olds, but you're allowed to have characters disagree and oppose each other. You know, conflict...? Tension? Plots?

Unfortunately, we can't...
Hey, have you seen the girl out front?
We must go... to the island that is my home.

While I abridge these conversations, I actually put a lot of effort into making sure that the end results are just as consistent as the originals. Thankfully, that often means very little work for me since the standard on which I'm basing them is very low. This is directly how the scene plays out; nobody acknowledges Sheba's question at all and we suddenly have to go, even though had we tried to leave before coming here Piers would have insisted we return to Madra for a proper going-away ceremony.

Piers, are you... Are you sure?
After what we've been through, I feel I've learned a few things. Like... the fact that you truly are good people. And that you have gone to great lengths for no other reason than to help those in need.

I think Camelot has completely forgotten that we're playing as an antagonist. Then again, since we haven't received even a hint as to our goal and are only now about to meet our new antagonist, it's probably safer and easier to just say they forgot they were supposed to be making a game.

I, too, must do something to help where I can. And the sooner we depart, the better, right, Kraden?
But we'll be back, I promise. Maybe we'll be able to visit at a more leisurely pace...

I told you that I would reward you when the boat was fixed... That may take quite a while now, it seems... That being the case, I'd like to give you that reward now.
Madra is still in shambles from the disaster... We couldn't possibly accept any gifts...
Nonsense! Misfortune or no, a promise is a promise!

You know, we're completely aware of the other mayor's plan to ransom off this boat and completely screw over Madra a second time. We just... aren't going to bother relaying that information. I wonder how this fits in with Piers' "good people" hypothesis.

Cyclone is another terrible power that does completely arbitrary things, namely lifting plants off the ground because it would be absurd to pull them with hands (and no, it's not at all similar to the whirlwind that pulls plants off of walls; how dare you insinuate such a thing?). For no apparent reason, it also acts as a teleport spell on certain areas, though this is never told to you in-game. Later on you get a different teleport spell that works on other areas, again with no overlap between the two. This game is essentially a spiritual sequel to Donkey Kong 64.

Why didn't I see it before? You are Vall! Then Menardi should be somewhere around here, too... And yet...

How does Karst know Vall while Vall doesn't know Karst? Vall never left Menardi the entire time they knew each other, so he must have been there when Karst found out about him. Eventually, when we go to Prox (S&M's hometown), we discover that Vall lived there for a short time and everybody recognizes us, but Karst apparently doesn't. Did she only find out about us through her sister's intimate penpal correspondence?

You won't see Menardi or Saturos again. Isaac killed them.
I can't believe it... No one has the power to defeat Saturos and my sister... Yet you all avoid my gaze... And that look on your faces... It... is true... Who is this Isaac? What? You feign ignorance. Why? Would you protect him from my fury!? Never mind. I believe I've heard some rumors of a traveler named Isaac lately. Is this Isaac the same one they've been speaking of? Is he pursuing you? If that is the case, then this Isaac should show up here sooner or later.

This is exactly how people talk and subtly express characterization. And yes, Karst just went from complete ignorance to rationalizing a plotted murderous crusade against this figure (who I would think S&M would have told her about) in the space of about three sentences.

How do you know it wasn't Felix who defeated your sister?

This is an actual line that Kraden says, and it almost single-handedly cements Kraden's role as not just an annoyance but an absolutely suicidal liability. Why on earth would you say this? Why would you possibly encourage a bloodthirsty psychopath hellbent on revenge that you might be worth killing? What would be the best case scenario from bringing up this possibility? Besides, you know the answer: because Sheba told her eight lines ago.

I can gauge a man's strength at a single glance. Even if you doubled Vall's power, he would still be no match for my sister. And besides, I doubt Vall could find it in himself to betray my sister. He knows that the lives of those he holds dear would hang in the balance.

Okay, in all honesty, I can kind of accept and even respect what they were going for with these occasional aside references. It's actually not a bad idea, since it rewards you for paying attention and piques your interest without slapping you in the face with a two-dimensional motive. The problem is that nobody ever takes any issue with this; Piers never asks "Hey, what was that about the fate of those you hold dear? Could you clarify what we're hoping to do here?", and the characters never discuss this as a reason for hurrying up or taking their quest seriously. The motivation is completely redundant if the characters think they're saving the world and completely trivializes the whole point of this journey if they don't. Besides, it means that Camelot has to deal with a hostage situation as a core story component, and we already know from past precedent that's one of the worst ideas they possibly could have had.

But I must congratulate you on your successes at both the Mercury and Venus Lighthouses. Although your success there now prevents us from returning the Western Sea. You would have failed, of course, had we not researched how to climb those lighthouses...

So we would have failed at something we watched Saturos and Menardi do had Saturos and Menardi not done it. And my success at being coerced into helping you was a result of you having a plan needing to be helped. That's... a way to frame things, I suppose, though I don't think you researched things very well. It was only halfway through the journey that S&M caught onto the pattern of appropriate adepts being a prerequisite for entry and they didn't know that lighting the lighthouses entailed more lighting more than 75% of the lighthouses, after all.

Regardless, Isaac won't be getting in my way. You will have to find your own way to the Western Sea. And if you make the journey, you'll have to light Jupiter on your own as well! We have our own work to do, and number one on the list is taking care of Isaac! Are we clear on this, Vall? [No]

Alright, and now we're being threatened into dividing up a complex task both of us have a mutual interest in accomplishing. I get that Karst is basically a psychopath, but why is this the jumping-off point for a rivalry? Why don't we come to an agreement about how to efficiently accomplish this, since Karst's interests are far more in line with ours than, say, Piers'? Why not clarify the ultimate purpose of lighting these lighthouses? Or ask for clear directions to the next one seeing as she's apparently researched this? Or ask about Alex and see what her reaction is so we can possibly simplify the status quo of three groups knowingly trying to accomplish the same thing without ever bothering to help each other? Hell, why not explain the Isaac situation in some degree of actual depth so we at least make sure we're all on the same page?

Seriously, every single bit of conflict in this series could be solved or at least greatly mitigated if the characters took the radical step of just talking more. I have no idea how a group of people with exactly one skill, that of repeating things ten thousand times, could be so bad at using that skill that they randomly choose their partners and enemies based on how cordial they are without ever caring to pick up on their motivations or beliefs.

Wow. And I thought Saturos and Menardi had issues.
We shouldn't take Karst too lightly...
We ought to warn Isaac that Karst is after him. Maybe we should try to find him first.

This is one of those weird things Camelot does that only gets worse from here on out: they basically pretend they never shifted the perspectives at all and carry over every value judgment from GS1 intact, complete incompatibility be damned. Why are we defending Isaac when he's our enemy? Why is killing him a higher priority for Karst than world-saving? Why should we warn him? How could we warn him? Sheba, you've met Isaac twice. You've never said a word to him, he directly helped the person keeping you as a slave and then tried to abduct you, he's trying to stop you from saving the world, and you know nothing else about him at all. You have no reason to care about him and should in fact probably be cheering Karst on. Yes, this is Golden Sun's new plot.

Believe me, I'd love to see Isaac again, but we just don't have time to look for him.

Fuck. You. We just ran across a couple continents to help werewolves and witch doctors because boats are hard. We're about to spend three hours collecting trident parts and figuring out a way to get through mist so that Kraden and Piers can feel better. We're currently paying a nice goodbye to a family in a small town so that we can finally conquer those pesky inch-tall shrubs. You do not get to play the "No time to waste" card. That wouldn't fly even in a good RPG.

Even if we did find them, I think there is a good chance we'd end up fighting them. What we are trying to achieve, they are trying to prevent... And they will fight to stop us. They were strong enough to defeat Saturos and Menardi. They won't be beaten easily. We should continue on ahead, just as Saturos and Menardi would have.

For once, Kraden's ramblings make complete sense. I have absolutely no difficulty believing that we have, in fact, been going about this exactly as Saturos and Menardi would have.

Before leaving Madra, there's one other thing we can accomplish. This man has a particularly kind of mushroom he likes, which is probably going to come back in style. In return for it, he gives us a "pet", since djinn apparently got down here while psynergy stones didn't or did but Camelot forgot to mention it. Either way, djinn are still not considered strange at all, and it's apparently become common practice to reward somebody making you dinner by permanently parting with, say, your cat.

On the way out, thieves can make an appearance and we can beat them up to get some shoes made out of gold. Despite me playing from a linked game, this didn't happen, because I didn't trigger the proper event flag of... talking to the mayor of Vault at the right time with no indication that anything would be unlocked as a result. Remember how I've spent this entire LP doing nothing but pointing out that Camelot isn't very good at things?

Menardi apparently has the most generic and nondescript boat in the world. Last game, Iodem mistook her ship for Babi's ship despite know where Babi's ship was, and this game a group of four people who all traveled in her ship (over a route that never entailed traveling in a ship) couldn't differentiate between her ship and a different ship made in an isolated culture half a world away. Come on, Menardi, put a coat of paint or some speed line decals on that. Give it some panache.

To set sail, we must go down to the power chamber belowdecks. Let's head down.

Alright, I'm going to openly admit that my presentation of this dungeon is a complete cop out and something I should probably be ashamed of. The reason for this is both simple and illegitimate: I don't have footage of this dungeon. I'm not sure how that happened given that in theory I recorded it twice, but I'm not playing the Gondowan Cliffs and Gabomba Statue a third time just to get some screenshots of forgettable filler dungeon #805. Instead, in what is probably the worst thing I've done since yelling about Belgian men, I'm going to give it an extreme cursory glance using two blurry screenshots taken from a Youtube playthrough of this game. I'm pretty sure I'm still exceeding the expectations set by the last seven Golden Sun LPs.

Despite the fact that this is a boat anchored in knee-deep water, the point of the dungeon is to go down several stories into a power room presumably located somewhere near the core of the earth. The gimmick is that these squids are actually novelty water balloons that will turn into freezable puzzles when you kill them. This whole dungeon is the same block pushing / column jumping as always, just with even more interruptions to the action. At the end, you fight a giant one of these that you kill by spamming djinn and psynergy.

Then you get here. Yes, this is part of the boat. Camelot really, really loves designing caves.

I have to wonder why orb-powered ships ever took off. People clearly know how to design normal ships, since we rode one to Tolbi and the ship Briggs bought seemed rather light on subterranean passageways. Personally, I would rather be in the market for a boat that didn't necessitate navigating a maze and pushing basins correctly every time I wanted to make it go, but practical engineering doesn't seem to be of grave importance in Weyard. At least the boat is relatively light on statues.

Take the tiller, Vall!

Oxford English Dictionary posted:

tiller, n.3
Nautical. A horizontal bar or beam attached to the rudder-head, acting as a lever by means of which the rudder is moved in the act of steering.

Wikipedia posted:

A tiller or till is a lever attached to a rudder post (American terminology) or rudder stock (English terminology) of a boat that provides leverage for the helmsman to turn the rudder. The tiller is normally used by the helmsman directly pulling or pushing it, but it may also be moved remotely using tiller lines.[...] As the size of boat increases the force needed to control the rudder via a tiller becomes excessive. In the 21st century, a steering wheel tends to be used instead of a tiller on new boats with an overall length in excess of approximately 10 metres, except on narrowboats on English canals, where boats up to 22 metres long and steered by a tiller are being built.

In other words, as you'll be able to see next screenshot, not at all how this boat is actually controlled. Did "grab the wheel" just not sound fancy enough?

No. Isaac and co were the ones who wanted to go to Lemuria; we were only interested as an incredibly non-urgent curiosity. We should actually go to the Jupiter lighthouse, seeing as we just decided that we had no time to waste in doing so and given that going there was the entire purpose of acquiring a ship.

Yeah, I didn't think that would work. To Lemuria, then, I guess. Grab the wheel tiller.

Then I want to go to Lalivero! And Tolbi! Oh! And Vale! Can we go to Vale?

Man, I'm glad we listened to you about Isaac. Otherwise we never would have had all this time.

The coastline of Angara, the continent in which Vale lies, is surrounded by rocky cliffs.

Say it with me, time #603: This is Kraden. These are the lines Kraden says in the game.

The sea is vast... We can go wherever we please! So, let's explore a bit, Vall! To the open sea!

And with that, we finally have a boat. Now, our goal is to find Lemuria, but Camelot isn't about to start offering clarity any time soon. In order to get to Lemuria, we have to do the following things:

1. Get through the Sea of Time
          I. Decipher a poem told to you in Yallam

2. Defeat Poseidon by using the Trident of Ankohl
          I. Collect the trident pieces
                    i. Collect the Right Prong from the Shrine of the Sea God
                    ii. Collect the Center Prong from Tundaria Tower
                              a. Get the necessary psynergy from Aqua Rock
                    iii. Collect the Left Prong from Ankohl Ruins
                              a. Get the necessary psynergy from Gaia Rock
          II. Reforge the trident
                    i. Repair Briggs' Boat
                    ii. Forge the prongs in Champa
The in-game hint pointing you in the direction of all of that? Right here:

Yes, that's your clue.

I hope you like GameFAQs. Trust me, we'll be using it a lot.


Twiddy posted:

I always assumed that Jenna and Kraden told Sheba about Isaac. They had been traveling together for some non-zero amount of time, and talking is a thing that people do when they're occupying similar locations. From that standpoint, it would be a clever (clever as in following show-don't-tell) way of showing how much the characters have communicated about their personal lives with each other.

Nope. Sheba got kidnapped in Lalivaro right before the Venus Lighthouse, giving her only an hour or so of time to be caught up with things offscreen. At the very beginning of this game, when they're on the island recapping everything, she's completely unaware of who Isaac is.

Camelot posted:

Saturos and Menardi are gone... Another group came... They fought Saturos and Menardi and won.
Was it Isaac?
Isaac... Yes, I think that's what they called him...

Since then, we've seen every conversation she's been a part of and Isaac has only been mentioned in the most vague of terms. As I said in the update, it's basically just Camelot ignoring the fact that we changed perspectives because writing is still hard.