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Golden Sun (Game Boy Advance) artwork

Golden Sun (Game Boy Advance) review


"After playing countless great RPGs by Square, everything else looked sub par. FF8, despite itís flaws, was still a grand game and better than most games out there. So when I heard a non Square RPG, a RPG made by the folks who brought us Mario Tennis, was a god send... I had to check it out. (Apparently Camelot has a series of RPGs, but I didnít know...I should look into it.) "



After playing countless great RPGs by Square, everything else looked sub par. FF8, despite itís flaws, was still a grand game and better than most games out there. So when I heard a non Square RPG, a RPG made by the folks who brought us Mario Tennis, was a god send... I had to check it out. (Apparently Camelot has a series of RPGs, but I didnít know...I should look into it.)

GRAPHICS - 10/10

The first thing you notice about Golden Sun is how freakishly beautiful it looks even on the Game Boy Advanceís small screen. Chrono Trigger doesnít come close. The best game to compare it to is Super Mario RPG, but with smoother animations.

The Battle has a camera! How cool is that! Spells and Summons are awesome. The overworld as some nice Mode 7 like graphics but it looked a million times better than anything on the SNES. It looked very 3D. Graphics are not a problem with this game.

GAMEPLAY and DESIGN 8/10

An RPG is nothing without a good magic system and good gameplay. GSís magic system is both easy to grasp and deep enough to put some thought into it.

Magic is learned though these just little beasties called Djinni. They come in Venus (earth), Mars (fire), Jupiter (water), and Mercury (wind) forms. You set the Djinni to characters and they learn abilities. Take them off and they lose them. The Djinni can be used in battle as a attack, defense or healing spell, and then is place in standby mode. While in standby mode it adds itís power to the other standby Djinni and can be used in a summon spell. After the summon spell, the Djinni is automatically set back to the character after a few turns.

Each Djinni has a useful power. Example: Spritz heals all members of the party while Sap drains HP from a monster. What Djinni you set to characters matters as well Venus Djinni will be more powerful on the Venus Adept character (Isaac) while Mars Djinni will be more effective with the Mars Adept (Garet)

However, if you place a certain Djinni on certain characters (Like a powerful Jupiter Djinni on a Venus Adept) you might get powerful spells. (Like the useful Revive) But equipping Djinni outside you class might replace certain spell. You need to experiment and see what teams work for you.

Psy (magic) Points are recharged slowly by walking around, so youíll always have some PP left and not need to use a item unless your really low. If you die in battle, then you do not revert to the last save state. You return to the last village with all but one character dead, and you need to pay to get them revived. Battles are fast paced and leveling up is never a real problem.

SOUND 10/10

Normally you donít get great music outside Nintendo, Rare, or Square and sometimes Capcom and Konami. But Golden Sun as a soundtrack comparable to Chrono Trigger or any Final Fantasy Game. The tunes are not as numerous as the others, but they are of the same quality. From the surprisingly powerful Overworld Map to the Lighthouse Theme, Golden Sunís RPG soundtrack is the best I heard since Final Fantasy 9.

Characters have this REALLY annoying ďbabble talkĒ which can be turned off, thank god...

I recommend using headphones to enjoy the music to itís fullest.

STORY 7/10

You are Isaac, the Crono of the story. You and your friends Garet and Jenna can use ďPsynergy,Ē a magical power that lets you do amazing things, like move objects with your mind. You start out with a slow paced flashback story, where your village is almost distoryed by a falling boulder. Jenna lost her little brother and Isaac lost his father...

Long story short, itís several years later, you go up a mountain and unlock these stones that you werenít suppose to. These cool evil villains named Menardi, Saturos, and (SPOILER) steal the stones from you. (And something else I canít mention because of spoilers)

The village then blames you for bringing death unto the world and tells you need to get the stones back.

Thatís the gist of it. The story isnít deep, and the main plot doesnít develop much. Most of quests you go on donít relate much to it, and are really just a way to get more items to continue on your quest.

Although the story is as deep as, say, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, it is enjoyable with a small but well developed cast.

REPLAY 7/10

There are a few mini quest you might miss the first time... but the games plot development scenes can be dull to sit through.

GRIPES

The ending. Itís not bad, but hear me out. No Spoilers.

The final battle in the game reminded me of the Magus battle in Chrono Trigger. You fight the boss ut then realize there more to things than you thought you knew. After Magus there was Zeal, where it really begins.

The final boss in Golden Sun reminded me of this. You beat the game with little sense of accomplishment because you know the conflict is only halted. When the words ďTo Be Continued...Ē appear on screen with a teaser from the sequel already in progress, you wish you didnít have to wait because the game feels half over.

Is that a bad thing? Not really. But I didnít know the final boss was the final boss until the credits started to roll. Lack of cart space? Monkeys for script writers? Not enough development time? Who knows, but it makes e want the sequel even more.

OVERALL 9/10
Honest Gamer score (90)

Golden Sun is special for reason I canít explain. It has the charm of Chrono Trigger with Final Fantasy like battles and a respectable story and a reasonably challenging game play. And because itís just fun to play and it gets you immersed (My GameCube was going virtually untouched the 20 hours it took to beat the game) it gets a 9. And itís on a handheld

A must own for a Game Boy Advance owner.


-review by Joseph Blanchette-
12/26/01

Rating: 9/10

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