The Let's Play Archive

Golden Sun

by Quovak

Part 39: Categorical Inefficacy

Back in Alhafra, we can finally use our various hands and explosions to fix this ship after its horrible exposure to the environmental triple threat of tidal waves, ocean-lodged poundable pillars, and attacks from cracked-rock-shooting trebuchets. Question: By doing this, who do we think we're helping; the corrupt mayor or the corrupt family of pirates? Maybe Felix just has a ship-making fetish that's been elucidated as much as other minor plot points, like his relationship with his sister or his personality.

But, of course, I also know that you didn't do it for our benefit. Still, Briggs will be pleased when he hears about this.

Why would you be pleased about no longer being able to live in your home? Unless you just don't understand this contract agreement either, in which case I think it somehow involves boats.

But that can wait. Who was able to move the block?
We left Alhafra some time ago, but we just returned and destroyed the stone block. Felix had a hunch that we might be needed here.

This is going to be the last update before we get to Lemuria and the game dramatically shifts gears from Reverse to what could charitably be called Neutral. As such, pretty much every single Eastern hemiplane specific plot arc has to get resolved right here, and Camelot's strategy is to just make everyone have epiphanies and then not explain them. How about this, you know how most of my commentary is just asking why the previous thing happened? Just skim through this update and mentally follow everything up with that.

Sir, there's a problem! Briggs destroyed the prison and escaped with his pirates!
What, were you asleep while this was going on?

This update is full of NPCs bringing up completely legitimate questions that nobody answers. I would think that a prison would be equipped with trained personnel who would keep track of an inmate destroying the prison, but- oh right, Golden Sun. Never mind then.

What are you standing around for!? Search the area! Find Briggs at once!
It... might not be quite that easy... He is a pirate, after all... A famous one!

You could probably make the case that being famous is one of the surest signs that you are, in fact, a terrible and ineffective pirate. You could certainly make the case that, if Briggs is famous among this city's guards, they probably shouldn't have needed a visit from Moses & Co. to become suspicious of him throwing around large sums of money and living in boats.

I treated you like an honored guest in my home... Usually, one feels a certain obligation to those who do them such a kind service, am I right? So, don't ust stand there! Return the favor and find my Briggs!
Well, so what do we do? Do we go after Briggs? [No]
That's right! Why should we help the mayor, after the way he treated you!

Are you referring to an actual event? You have a number of completely legitimate reasons not to help the mayor; the fact that he didn't compliment you well enough is not one of them.

Wasn't Briggs only supposed to be in jail until the mast was fixed anyway? What was their plan now that the mast was repaired; let Briggs out and invite him to admire it for a few weeks while they auction it off? When Briggs escaped, they didn't think to look for him in the place he and his family lived? These guards are learning their manhunt techniques from Homestar Runner cartoons.

This next conversation occurs as Briggs is on a boat sailing away from the shore we're on. After about thirty seconds of this I'm pretty sure it would be more practical to switch over to semaphore or just wait until you get to Champa and send us a cordial letter.

Ahoy, Briggs!
Uh-oh... It's Felix!
You're not afraid of them, are you? Look how far away they are... There's no way they can catch us now!
You're right... They're stuck on the land, and we've got this boat! Hey! Felix! You guys take care! And keep Alhafra safe from thieves and pirates! I doubt we'll ever meet again, but if we do, remember this! Neener neener neener! Neener neener neener!
That may have been a bit much. If you make him mad, he might chase us right back to Champa.

I really don't want to try re-explaining this piracy clusterfuck again, but the entire reason Piers is here instead of in jail is because Briggs did us a favor in exchange for being attacked or something. I think Briggs has had about eight personality changes by this point, which puts him at about equal footing to the rest of the cast.

I'll wager Briggs is returning to Champa, personally.

Was your first clue the fact that they explicitly said they were going to Champa? Thanks Kraden, I don't know what we would ever do without you.

I'll be honest; I have no idea if I needed to go to Champa last update or if I could have gone straight to Alhafra. GameFAQs told me to go there so I blindly listened; if only it would have told me to play something with a clearer sense of direction, like the output from a Markov generator or a Jackson Pollock painting.

That... kind of undermines both Briggs' "I'm noble" excuse and what little intellect the greedy mayor in charge of his possessions seemed to have. In a better game I would say they were intentionally going for some vague sort of moral relativism, but I think they're really just terrible at everything.

Time for some NPC quotes:

The nerve of that Briggs! He's gone for a bit, and he comes back in a bigger boat! I'll bet he only did it to show us up, too!

Fuck you for being successful and letting us eat. Also on the list of things I'm upset about : birds. Where do they get off being able to fly when I can't?

I refuse to live in the cliffs, and therefore I am against Briggs. I have accepted his food, but that is as far as I will let myself slip.

I can't think of a single flaw in that logic, NPC who knows exactly how dialogue works.

Okay, we're done here.

Is that boy him? The "mighty warrior" you told me about?
I told you he didn't look like much, Grandma... Weren't you even listening to me? If you don't destroy him now, he's going to take me far away, and you won't ever see me again!
Oh, now he doesn't look like the kind of boy who would do that...
If he takes me away, poor Eoleo will be so sad! What do you say about that, huh?
Oh, that's just not fair. You know I can't deny my great-grandson! I don't see why I should be the one to get you out of this mess, but I can't bear to see Eoleo sad.

I couldn't stand to see my great-grandson sad. Alright, time to murder five men for you.

This is a fantastic form of catch-all parenting. My kid dropped his ice cream? Lava lizard. You gave him a D on a test? Lava lizard. I just can't bear to see him sad; you understand.

Thankfully, we have an legendary wandering mage to help us out. In all fairness it's actually fairly impressive how few typos this game has, but when they do show up I like to make fun of them as a personal reminder of why I don't get invited to parties and instead spend my Friday nights writing LPs.

My salamander! You... beat my salamander...
Grandma, what's going on!? I thought you were going to protect me!
Um. Excuse me... There seems to be a small misunderstanding.
Yeah! I don't like standing here listening to a pirate call US the bad guys!
Pirate! My Briggs?
He stole a ship from Alhafra and escaped from their jail! A ship WE helped fix!
Briggs, is this true? Piracy? It all makes sense now. The gems, the food, your absence...

Take a drink every time there's a dramatic entrance. Alternate game: Take a drink every time people take a moral high ground after doing something completely unnecessary and immoral. Second alternate game: Take a drink every time it's Golden Sun.

No, we paid for everything we brought back with us.
But you stole a boat to do it, didn't you?
Grandma, we found those jewels ourselves, and we paid Alhafra well for that ship, didn't we? We intend to repay each town we... borrowed from.

Basically, the fact that Briggs robbed a few villages and broke out of jail is completely forgiven because he happened to trip over a pile of gems in a story nobody has any issue believing and which he can surely be trusted to use for precisely that purpose, hence why he brought them back to Champa and let everyone know. Move over Kant; Camelot has a new moral compass to guide our lives.

What do you say, Felix? Can you forgive my husband? [No]
I don't know, Felix. We didn't come to capture Briggs. Why should we care?
So... what brings you to Champa? I mean, you didn't come here to catch Briggs, from what I gathered... Ah, well... To be young and foolish again.

I'm pretty sure there's one writer on this project who's just subtly taking the piss and trying to sow seeds of hated for this game's plot in the viewers. I like him. I like him a lot.

Why... Could it be? Is this the legendary trident of Ankohl?

Well, because we sure were lucky in being clairvoyant about all of that (and yes, that's the way the subplot got "resolved"; Madra never gets their boat, Briggs never receives any punishment, and both mayors drop off the face of the Earth), we can get our trident forged (and no, nobody told us about this).

Yep, this is the punchline to all of that: a "unique purpose". Camelot sure is clear about your objectives. Now time to go to Lemuria by interpreting nursery rhymes.

Just kidding, we're wasting time again. First we can get another summon by going to the Madra Catacombs and using five thousand psynergy powers in a maze cave ruin town. Exhilerating.

We can also waste more time trading with animals. To talk to this cow, you need to use Sand to get under the fence, since stepping over it or reaching through it would be impossible. Same with buying milk from the farmer ten feet away, or actually milking the cow. "You can't expect miracles", said Felix, shortly before turning into two thousand rocks.

Come on, you aren't even trying anymore.

And we're done, with the inexplicable end result of accessing this cave. Camelot, I'm sorry you lost the rights to novelize Dig Dug, but a normal person would not consider this a benefit of doing those trades.

Yes, all of that was for a djinn. There is another reward in here, but we need to come back much later for it to be accessible (much later meaning midway through completing Mars Lighthouse). Crossbone Isle was not just a fluke; Camelot actually though that was good enough pacing that they should do it again.

Okay, we're almost done with the Eastern half of the world. This misty area is Lemuria, or more accurately the Sea of Time.

It's basically a conveyor belt maze where circling volcanoes temporarily shuts off some of the conveyors. You could probably do this through trial and error pretty easily, but what you're supposed to do is go to Yallam and hear this song:

Kids in Yallam posted:

If you want to go to the stars,
if you want to go to the stars.

Go north past the twins,
passing two swirls, run
deasil twice 'round the trunk.

Haste without waste, and head to
the east, past three to the north.

There, run 'round thrice and wait
for the waves. When they stop,
run north and go to the stars.

If you race full of folly and
take the wrong way, you'll
find yourself a watery grave.

If you want to go to the moon,
if you want to go to the moon.

Face west from the stars and
run straight past three swirls,
then circle 'round twice.

Haste without waste, and head to
the south, then one swirl west.

There, run 'round thrice and wait
for the waves. When they stop,
run south and go for the moon.

If you race full of folly and
take the wrong way, you'll
find yourself a watery grave.

If you want to go to the sun,
if you want to go to the sun.

Face south from the moon
and run straight through two
swirls, then circle 'round twice.

Haste without waste, and head to
the west, then six to the north.

There, run 'round thrice and wait
for the waves. When they stop,
run north and go for the sun.

If you race full of folly and
take the wrong way, you'll
find yourself a watery grave.

Then, having copied it onto one of the sheets of butcher paper a ten year old brings on the long car rides during which he plays this game, follow those directions. Make sure you recognize that it's referring to Lemuria, though, even though there's no context given for the song at all.

Oh, and good thing you were clairvoyant enough to only do that after getting the trident pieces the game never told you about. If you didn't forge the trident, then running into Poseidon (this brings up a whole Pandora's Box of misused mythology, but without any Hope at the end) automatically kills you as this boss is invincible.

Also, hopefully you knew to use the trident here, which you do through the items menu unlike any other time you've used equipment in a battle. If you die, hopefully you can discern what exactly you need to do instead. Hopefully you caught onto the fact that the hint about defeating a mortal foe actually referred to defeating an immortal-until-tridentized foe. Hopefully you didn't assume you would need to find the trident pieces in the western half and thus put the quest out of your mind since you didn't find the tower in the middle of Antarctica.

If you did ever beat this game without a strategy guide, I do have good news. You might just be eligible to win $1 Million from James Randi.

When you actually do all of this, Poseidon isn't very hard; you basically just hit A a bit. You didn't honestly think we would go a whole JRPG without teenagers killing God, did you?

Somehow I just knew Lemuria would be a cave.

It probably comes as no surprise that this ~mystical ancient culture~ is basically just Ancient Greece. What is a surprise is that this isolated island culture apparently gets its statues from the same contractor as Imil thousands of miles North.

If you are strong enough to defeat Poseidon, you are too dangerous to enter Lemuria.

Out of curiosity, why does Lemuria have a fleet of ships? The city is surrounded by rocks and there's nowhere to go without being murdered by misused classical allusions.

You say that we are dangerous, but do you include me as well? You have my word that we shall create no problems during our stay. Will you not permit us to enter?
Piers, I know you are a man of your word, but the king's orders must stand!
You understand that we cannot simply ignore the king's orders, don't you, Piers?


King Hydros might be willing to reverse his order if we confer with him, wouldn't he? King Hydros has been seeking news from beyond the Sea of Time. He will want to see you. Wait here.
How long do you think we'll be waiting?
Good point. Time means little to most Lemurians. Mere moments to us could seem like a lifetime to outsiders.

They're going to a house to ask a man a question. I would say that would take an hour tops. This is not a cause for philosophical epiphany.

You seem young to me, and yet you are probably an old man among your people... I would imagine that you have probably done enough waiting in your lifetime.
King Hydros instructed us to be kind to the elderly at all times.
They seem trustworthy enough... Shall we let them in?
I can see no reason not to.

I can see a reason not to being that they just finished killing God and that doing so would directly contradict one of his orders. Alas, you were so close to actually being guards...

Then we place our trust in each of you. You may enter. But... don't do anything rash! Do we have your word? [No]

Alright, last update I suddenly became a Golden Sun apologist, which is somewhat like waking up one day to discover you're Hitler. While pretty much everyone agreed that I was wrong about last update being slightly well written, I will still defend this one line right here as being, without question, the absolute high point of either of these games:

Maybe this whole quest is just a game to you, but it's not to me! Are you bored!? Do you want to go home!? FINE! That's it! Then let's go home!

This settles it, there is at least one writer on this game's staff who I adore. If only he would write cutscenes that actually served any purpose at all.

Oh, hush. I'll keep a close eye on them. You have nothing to fear.
Very well, Piers. We place our faith in you, then. Enter freely and peaceably, but you are not permitted to enter the palace. If the king were to find out about this, we'd be in big trouble.
Don't worry! I won't let that happen.
Is this Hydros really so fearsome?
King Hydros has lived longer than anyone. He is most wise. While everyone respects him and holds him in great reverence... It would be a mistake to call it fear. You will understand once you meet the king yourself.

Ah, when we meet the king you just promised we wouldn't try to meet? I sure am glad we've given those guards no reason to doubt our sincerity at all.

Let's go! To Lemuria... The city you've all been longing to see...

Since when? Name one time we've "longed" to see it or anybody besides Kraden has even shown a moderate interest.

Don't worry, I'll wait.

(Probably for quite a while)


Next time, Lemuria. Things are happening now! It would be amazing if we were given any reason to care.