Golden Sun is a Game Boy Advance game made by Camelot Software Planning and published by Nintendo. It was released in 2001 as one of the first major RPGs for the then-new system. It boasted amazing graphics...
A brilliant mix of puzzle-based and combat-based styles...
A deep, rich world...
And a lot of dialogue. A lot of dialogue.
It's not as bad in the first game, but the second and third games are worse. I recall spending an hour or so just clicking through one of the more important cutscenes in the sequel, Golden Sun: The Lost Age
It also had a very colorful cast:
I say colorful because they are color coded for your convenience! How so? Well...
The tale of Golden Sun takes place in the land known as Weyard, where long ago, an ancient power known as Alchemy granted people the power to control the four elements: Air, Water, Fire, and Earth, sometimes known as Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and Venus, respectively. This ancient power turned the world against itself, and brutally violent wars raged due to the greed of man. To save Weyard from being completely destroyed by the power of Alchemy, it was sealed away. At the time of the game, the study of Alchemy is restricted to people known as "Adepts" who live in insular communities, while the remainder of the world remains ignorant of its existence. The world lives in a quiet, peaceful slumber. But this is about to change.
Anyway, the reason I say they're color coded is because you can make a pretty solid guess as to each one's respective "element" based on the color of their clothes.
So, enough about that, let's get started! This will be a hybrid Let's Play, meaning that I'll be mostly using pictures, but I'll also add videos of important parts. For the sake of you guys, I'm also going to cut out some of the "tutorial" bits and pieces and explain the unclear mechanics myself. Also I probably won't be posting every conversation with every NPC because holy crap that would take forever.
Cast of Characters
Isaac is the game's protagonist, aka The Hero
. His personality is essentially nonexistent
, except for the little bit that's conveyed in the answers you give to the Yes/No questions throughout the game. If you answer mostly Yes, then Isaac is a brave, honest, and idealistic fellow, but occasionally a reckless and not necessarily very smart. If you tend to answer No, then Isaac is a bit less brave, much more realistic, and much more cautious young man. Note that that's just a generalization of the results from any question, as it's occasionally reversed.
In terms of combat mechanics, he's The Mario
. His stats aren't the best among anyone in the group, but his average total stats are very good. He's easily the best party member. He has single-target healing, which is handy in a pinch, and he also learns the Revive Psynergy late in the game, which can bring a dead character back to live. His attack Psynergy is also pretty good, and he'll consistently be the best or second-best damage dealer in Golden Sun.
Garet is Isaac's best friend. In terms of the Five Man Band, Garet is the resident Big Guy
. Even when Isaac and Garet are carrying identical weapons, his will look bigger. His personality in the beginning tends to fill a much wider range, but that's mostly because he's the only other character we've got at first, and thus he needs to fulfill a few more roles. He'll settle himself down into standard Big Guy tendencies after the game gets going. He is pretty much the dumbest person on the team at any given time. In fact, his stupidity is only rivaled by the antagonists.
Speaking in terms of combat, Garet is The Brick Wall
. He's slow as molasses, almost guaranteed to go last unless you fiddle with his Djinn. He hits a bit less hard than Isaac, but he's got more HP and Defense by far. His PP will be the lowest in the group, however, and his Psynergy attacks aren't as good as Isaac's. He also lacks healing Psynergy. Because he can absorb hits so easily, he's handy for carrying the healing items and the Water of Life items (to raise downed allies) and for straight up attacking.
Ivan is the young ward of Master Hammet, ruler of Kalay. Encountered in Vault where we helped him recover his master's rod
, he fills the group's role of The Smart Guy
. He's the youngest member of the group, and yet in many ways the most mature. He's also kind of a buzzkill. Generally, he'll be the member of the group deducing things and talking a lot. He still wants to save Hammet from the clutches of Dodonpa, but that won't be happening for a while.
Combat-wise, Ivan is The Squishy Wizard
. He's got the most powerful Psynergy most of the time, but his melee attacks are usually terrible and he bruises like a banana. He's got all the PP he needs to never have to worry about physically attacking if you don't want to. He does have really high Luck, which means that he's very likely to trigger special weapon attacks, so at least he's not a total melee washout.
Mia is the eldest remaining disciple of the Mercury Clan, a group of healers who live in Imil and defend Mercury Lighthouse. We find her in the midst of a terrible outbreak of the flu, and work with her to try to stop Team Jerkface from lighting Mercury Lighthouse. When we ultimately fail, she joins the group as our resident female
. Occasionally, she picks up some of Ivan's Smart Guy slack, which I find utterly insulting as she, like Ivan, knows nothing about her particular power until we meet her, whereas Isaac and Garet have known all about Psynergy for years. But I digress. She seems to either be related to Alex, the most fabulous
member of Team Jerkface, or to have been intimate with him at some point. Point is, they were close.
In terms of battling, she's pretty much (you guessed it) The Staff Chick
and The Medic
. She's about as squishy as Ivan (maybe a bit less) but with a little more HP to play around with. Instead of Ivan's powerful offensive spells, however, she's packing the most potent healing the group has. Her physical attacks are a little better than Ivan's in their default classes, but she's still a distant third to Isaac and Garet. She's there to heal, and that's about it.
Saturos is one of two leaders of Team Jerkface. He hails from the Mars Clan, a bunch of kooks who live way up North. He acts polite, but he's got a serious egocentricity problem and he likes to get violent. Basically, he's Canadian. Between him and his partner Menardi, he gets physical with a sword. Like all of Team Jerkface, his goal is to light the four Elemental Lighthouses and unleash the threat of Alchemy on the world. He's largely symbolic in his leadership, but at least he's usually pretty nice to the party
. Pro: Blue Hair. Con: Listens to Menardi occasionally.
Menardi is the other leader of Team Jerkface. Another member of the Mars Clan, who apparently have weird growths on their bodies occasionally, she's the sorceress buddy to Saturos's swordplay
. She's a bit more representative of what you think of when you think "fire personality," being brash, rude, reckless, and, well... really dumb
. In a lot of ways, she's the Garet of Team Jerkface. Except for her magic, which is actually pretty potent. Pro: Very chic. Con: Hates us.
Felix is the third member of Team Jerkface. He's Jenna's brother, and keeps her safe for the majority of the time we see the two interacting. He seems pretty sad about having to do all the bad things that Team Jerkface has been pulling, maybe it's guilt. Still a jerk, though, and he seems to think quite a lot of himself. Like Isaac, he's very quiet, and an Earth Adept; in fact, those two may be related. In Team Jerkface, he's the closest thing to The Dragon
to Saturos's Big Bad Evil Guy
. He's the one who most frequently disobeys orders and does things his own way. Pro: Doesn't monologue, sweet cape. Con: Knows all our dirty secrets.
Alex is Team Jerkface's most fabulous member. If anyone in Team Jerkface personifies the word "jerk" it's him. In this game, technically his role is that of The Evil Genius
of the team, but it's a little bit fluid. He's Mia's cousin, and a member of the Mercury Clan, which means he splashes around with water like she does. He seems to have more potent Psynergy than her, though, and in fact he's armed with a whole slew of mysterious powers that nobody's ever seen before and nobody knows from whence they came. He's also a good bit of The Chessmaster
although it doesn't show up as much until the sequel.
Jenna is Isaac and Garet's childhood friend and implied girlfriend of Isaac. Her parents were killed by the Mt Aleph Boulder, leaving her orphaned. Now she's a damsel in distress
, kidnapped by Team Jerkface and being held ransom in exchange for the Mars Star.
Kraden is a scholar who moved to Vale years ago, and studies Alchemy. He's the one who convinced Team Isaac to explore Sol Sanctum and thereby began our adventure. If he weren't another hostage, he'd likely end up as our mentor
. Talk about dodging a bullet.
Sheba is a latecomer to Team Afterthought. She's a mysterious girl said to have fallen from the sky as an infant, and is worshiped in her hometown of Lalivero. She got held hostage by Babi until the Laliverans help him build his lighthouse. She gets kidnapped during her return home and brought in tow with Team Jerkface. Considering she only has a couple of lines in the game, I don't feel obligated to put a bunch of TVTropes links here describing her (unknown until the sequel) personality.