The Return of Talking Time

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Old 10-14-2016, 06:58 PM
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"Bosca Hit" is a spear attack. Your guess is as good as mine.

Lacking a fast single-target healer (or a not-terrible area healer) I am forced to use the Faery Vest at one point. How it heals is a mystery.


Apparently all we need to do to prove ourselves "heroes" is just beat the hell out of Moapa. I'm starting to see why every single person in Shaman Village is a jackass.

And yeah, THIS is the trade that Ivan's prophecy concerned. Notice how much of this use Ivan, personally, was involved in, or what incredible impact it makes on the storyline concerning the fate of a withering world. We give it back to some jerks and get the Hover Jade, which lets us hover if the geoglyphs around us are purple enough.

This is why I changed the prophecy from "use" to "trade" and also tried to make it more vague about who was supposed to be doing the trade. Oh, and you didn't miss anything else in that cutscene, Moapa just trades you for the Hover Jade, goes "hooray we have finally fulfilled our ancestor's vows!" and then lurches back off to his house and leaves us alone here.

Also, everyone here is willing to talk to us and let us enter their homes now, but when have they ever had something useful to say, anyway? I grab this Djinni, putting our totals in balance and letting Jenna hold 8 Mars Djinn, reaching her final rank of Justice. I'm not sure how to parse her class progression line either.

The fortune teller points us in the right direction, which is of course only possible once you have the Hover Jade. I mean, you CAN go to Jupiter Lighthouse far before Shaman Village (and get nothing), but having Hover first will save you backtracking.

What helpful advice this child is giving us! (We can't do anything there without Lift, but eh, the gesture is nice.)

Apparently Moapa gets all broken up that he forgot to ask the names of the people who just recently defeated him and became Shaman Village heroes.


I forgot about the Lift-requiring block and backtrack Trial Road, ending up at the geoglyph that would let me use Hover.

Hover is highly situational since it needs these geoglyphs to function, but there's no denying that being able to fly around like this is pretty neat.

Anyway, back to over here. It's hard to make out on the map, but there IS a big-ass crater visible here.

We're gonna sail over to that crater next.

Thankfully, although it doesn't look like it, we CAN dock here.

Once we get here, we find a bunch of people eagerly awaiting a prophecy that when Mt. Jupiter (HOW DO YOU MISTAKE A LIGHTHOUSE FOR A MOUNTAIN) erupts in flames, they are to attach these wings to a ship. I don't know how many visitors they have since Hesperia and Atteka are basically ghost continents, but hey.

Moving on. Here's the big-ass crater mentioned earlier, and next to it...

Welcome to Contigo.

  • The aforementioned big-ass crater is one of the two remnants of the Anemos, a super-advanced civilization who decided that Weyard was boring as hell, so they literally split off a chunk of it and flew it into the air, becoming the moon. NOW WHO DO WE KNOW WHO MIGHT HAVE SOME INTEREST IN THIS?
  • The other thing they left behind was the Anemos Sanctum, which is largely sealed off, but whose inscriptions and geoglyphs are of great interest to the people here. In particular, they detail the weird and very niche prophecy about giving a boat wings.
  • The people of Contigo itself occasionally display Jupiter Psynergy, which we already know is extremely rare. However, Contigo's Adept population is only slightly higher than the total count of Gerudo men.
  • The last time a Contigo kid displayed Psynergy, he was given to Hammet alongside another prophecy, which nobody knows or cares that we just fulfilled without him with us.
  • Also they're still linked to Shaman Village but we already know that and don't care.

Oddly enough, casting Cyclone at this perfectly-arranged pile of leaves that I've already swept away does nothing, but using Scoop at the center of the pile does.

Most of these final class lines (which were not available in the first game, mind you) are kind of pulled out of a hat, but a few of them make a bit more sense.

Contigo is also where we can use Game Tickets to get rings/shirts/boots for our team, but I'm not terribly in a hurry to do this right now, this is already a pretty long update (especially factoring in all the backtracking for forging I cut out).

Just gonna highlight a few things about Contigo. First, this circle here. We've seen another like it, haven't we?

Next up, a very important baby.
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:58 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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Sorry, did I say very important? What I MEANT was "lots of fans speculated that Ahri here would be playable in Dark Dawn as the next Jupiter Adept, but Dark Dawn focused exclusively on Angara and the north half of the Eastern Sea, and the calamities that you, as Matthew, personally started".

I'm not going to be totally dismissive here: there are enough characters between Ahri here and a few minor characters introduced in Dark Dawn (most likely Takeru and Nowell, for those who have played Dark Dawn) to form the start of another adventuring party for a fourth game in the series. But that's all assuming Camelot bothers to make another entry rather than throwing up their hands in defeat.

To be fair, these guys DO mention Hammet and Ivan here and there, which is nice.

We can't make any progress in the Inner Sanctum though, since the doors are either locked or lead instantly to dead ends.

Well, enough dicking around. Now that we're about 75% of the way through the game, high time we actually went and lit us a lighthouse, eh?

Next Time: Neville Longbottom and the Jupiter Lighthouse
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Old 10-15-2016, 03:58 PM
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Buckle in, kiddos, this update's gonna be a big one.

Jupiter Lighthouse has perhaps my favorite music out of all four lighthouses. Mercury Lighthouse's music is unmemorable, Venus has a kind of heroic fanfare to it (despite it heralding you failing to stop its lighting) but Jupiter Lighthouse's music is haunting, foreboding... it's like you don't know if you're supposed to be here, and you don't know what your task ahead will do for you.

I mean, they recycled it for the cutscene with the Gabomba, so it's a bit blunted in impact there, but still.

And as expected, Jupiter Lighthouse requires all manner of Jupiter Psynergy to progress through.

Oh by the way, here's a demonstration of roughly how strong deadly poison is against monsters. It's pretty deadly!

If you don't have Hover, you get walled right here and can't progress into Jupiter Lighthouse proper. You also get zero indication of where to go, I'm fairly sure, but as I've never known someone to get this far without having a walkthrough in arm's reach I can't confirm this. And hey, it's not like there's many places TO go in Hesperia or Atteka.

Jupiter Lighthouse proper is sort of non-linear-ish kinda? I'm hesitant to call it a maze, because it's way nicer than Ankohl Ruins, but it's less linear than Air's Rock. It's also a bit more enjoyable than either dungeon for the puzzle design.

The interior of the lighthouse is in just as bad a state as the ones before it.

Shortcut building still happens here, but it's slightly more important here than elsewhere, for reasons I won't discuss yet.

Our first goal is to open that red door. To do that, we have to defeat three cacodemons, so make sure you have plenty of shotgun shells on hand.

New weapon!

I'm cutting out a lot of screenshots here, not because Jupiter Lighthouse is uninspired in level design (the early parts of it are though) but because I have a LOT to get through here.

There we are, but the geoglyph is deactivated.

I bet we can fix that.

Curiously, we can get to the top of the lighthouse without any complications whatsoever. However, the Anemos were a bit more forward-thinking, paranoid, or whatever than the ancient people of Imil or Lalivero, and sealed the top of their lighthouse as well.

Speaking of the Anemos, the implication here is that they were the real source of Jupiter Psynergy and the corresponding Adepts, and that Contigo and its people only bear minor traces of that power. But you probably already inferred that.

We show the hell out of the power of Anemos.

Now all the geoglyphs in Jupiter Lighthouse are active, letting us progress through it proper.

The Orb of Discord saps the target's PP and looks neat, and it is the second one that matters more to any reasonable player of the Lost Age.

We also climb around the exterior of the lighthouse much more than we did for the previous two.

Man, I hope that block didn't land on anyone we know. That'd be a really dangerous trap.

Getting back here, we can find some blue armor and a few health packs, very welcome sights after that room with all the lost souls.

To get the seal on top of the lighthouse undone, we need to visit the side towers. Vile Visage blocks our path with Force Novas that push us back to the end, but they're easily avoided.

Right, here we go.

We'll need this key here to get to the other tower, but it's not hard to get.

We just have to fall from above is all.

It's not enough to just Move this pillar and call it good, because its new position isn't saved when we leave the room, voluntarily or otherwise. You have to leave through the south exit, then re-enter, Move the pillar, and backtrack across the room. If you can do it without pressing A, you might be eligible to win a nickel.
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Old 10-15-2016, 03:59 PM
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Up here is pretty simple: use Hover to bypass the cracked floor...

In such a way that lets you move this pillar.

Don't step on this cracked tile until you climb up even higher though.

Yes, it backtracks to the Blue Key, but you still have things to do higher up. Do those first, THEN break your legs five times.

Once at the top, all we have to do is complete the conduit...

And then Legolas fires an arrow at an angel's butt.

Half done.

Crossing from one side to the other is easy enough.

And now it's even easier!

This seems safe.

Felix Destroyer: "Safety" is his middle name!

Activating the lightning rod lets us elevate high enough for a whirlwind to carry us over the broken bridge. Try not to think about how that right tower is still standing.

To get high up enough to reach that Hover point, we need to fly into a laser beam.

Don't do what I did here, by the way, this Cyclone portal is one-way. If you have the Blue Key, then use it.

We're not Hovering over normally, we're being launched by a whirlwind.

There's the Djinni for the area.

We can get through easily by just Hovering over here, completing the conduit, and leaving, but the Djinni won't be collected this way.

We have to redo the puzzle and move both blocks to get to it.

The Djinni rewards us for our trouble by using that Psynergy Deadbeard had.

Sorcerer makes a lot more sense as a class capstone title than Justice or Slayer does.

More in terms of clever-ish puzzles. To complete the conduit, this block needs to be in the hole. But you can't get to the other side without using the block itself as a stepping stone.

So you step across, push theze levitating blocks to where they need to be, and then climb back up and reacivate the conduit. It's a shame it takes so long in practice, because it's kind of a neat idea.

Shame the treasure here is garbage though.

Now we're getting somewhere.

Navigating the cracked floors just so, and avoiding OR utilizing the faces in the walls blowing whirlwinds at you? This is legitimately up to Zelda levels of puzzle design, honestly.
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Old 10-15-2016, 04:01 PM
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This area's just a mess though. I mean, it's the only room in the game where you can hover almost all of it indefinitely, and it's still a bit of an obstacle (if a whirlwind catches you, you fall to the ground, where a whole bunch of cracked floors will eagerly drop you down a floor).

Okay, last of the important treasures here.

And the other Legolas butt arrow is active!

Now we can light the lighthouse!

Light Surge is a pretty cool unleash, to be honest.

Use this rope to return...

Swing across here...


<Isaac> Watch out, Garet!
<Felix> Wha-- Isaac?
<Jenna> He's here! Isaac's really here!
<Piers> Sorry, could someone fill me in on what just happened?
<Felix> That's Isaac and the group he's adventuring with. But it sounds like they're in trouble!
<Sheba> We've got to help him!
Right, yes, this is good and sensical for what we know about Isaac and what my writing has set up their relationship with them as. And time is of the essence, as we'll see in a bit.

Consider, though, the original text. In the original, Felix and Isaac's groups never reconciled, and really only Jenna and Kraden would be happy to see them again. Felix would probably be apprehensive or hostile, Sheba definitely would be (remember, Isaac willingly cooperated with her captor Babi) and Piers wouldn't really know anything about them. (Which is roughly the same in my writing anyway.)

So naturally, "regardless of what Isaac believes, they must be allies now". This is something Quovak didn't like with the Lost Age, and which I don't either (and which Dark Dawn did nothing to correct): sticking with the assumptions and value judgments of the party from the first game, to the point where Isaac has never been a villain despite us knowing for a fact that he is working to preserve something that we have now PROVEN to be the cause of the world's destruction. And in Dark Dawn, Isaac takes center stage as one of the few people trying to figure out the cause of global calamities, while Felix just vanishes into the ether like a beloved Ace Attorney character.

But let's talk more on that later and see what our old pals are up to today!

As mentioned, Isaac can speak in this game, but we don't care because in our text he could always speak.

<Garet> You okay, Mia?
<Mia> Well, yes, but I'm more concerned about you! You're only holding on with one arm!
<Garet> I can't move it! I think I messed it up when I shoved you to this platform.
<Ivan> We can't get to them from here, Isaac. Any ideas?
<Isaac> Mia, try to heal Garet and pull him up. Garet, stay put! We'll try circling down to the lower level to catch you guys, okay?
<Mia> Hurry up, Isaac! I don't know how badly he's hurt, I can't guarantee I can heal him in this state.
<Isaac> Right. Let's get down there, Ivan!

Oh snap.

By the way, Karst (and Agatio) get a theme that plays here. And while Saturos and Menardi got just fairly generic "bad things are happening" music, this theme is ponderous, menacing, full of character... and combined with the two of them slowly walking forward introducing themselves here, it's basically excellent. Maybe sometime I'll post a playlist of some of the game's best tunes.

<Karst> I'm Karst. My friend here is called Agatio.
<Agatio> And we know who that one in the yellow cape is. You're Isaac.
<Isaac> What do you want? Now's really not a good time.
<Karst> Now now, you have another appointment to keep with your good friend Felix, don't you?
<Isaac> How do you know about that?
<Karst> Has it really been so long that you can't tell your old friend's handwriting? Or when it's been faked?
<Ivan> So that letter was from you, then. And you set up this trap for Isaac?
<Agatio> Not Isaac. We wanted the healer out of the picture first. Didn't expect to get two of you pipsqueaks though, that's a nice bonus.

<Isaac> What are you talking about?
<Karst> Does the name Menardi ring a bell to you?
<Ivan> ...Oh no. I think I know where this is headed.
<Karst> So you CAN see the resemblance. Alex did mention you were a clever one.
<Agatio> Isaac, you have some explaining to do to my friend here. Make it quick.
<Karst> Yes, do tell why you found it necessary to murder my sister!
<Isaac> I wasn't even trying to kill her! Her carelessness cost my father his life, not to mention Felix's family! And then she captures my friend and teacher, leaves me for dead in a volcano, and tries to destroy the world! All I wanted was for her to stop and leave us alone!
<Karst> Excuses, excuses. You still killed my sister, whether you meant to or not. And if your reason was vengeance as well, then don't be surprised when I finish what she started!
<Ivan> Wait, hang on. What do you mean by that, aside from the obvious threat?
<Agatio> If we don't light the lighthouses, the world will be destroyed. I don't know where YOUR information is coming from, but I'm not about to let a handful of misguided whelps lead to Prox's demise.
<Isaac> Prox? Oh wait, that's where you guys come from, isn't it?
<Karst> That's right. Our homeland, far to the frozen north, is Prox. It's barely inhabitable and our people are freezing to death.

Hey look, an actual motivation for our villains in the original text! It only took 1.75 games and the first two dying to establish is all.

It's fine to hide villainous motivations for a while. When a villain first shows up, their backstory need not be explained in their first or even second appearance. But to go this long without even knowing WHY (not just what) the villains are doing? (Not just Karst and Agatio, I am referring to Saturos and Menardi as well here.) That's just lazy. This isn't even a very complex motivation, not by a long shot, and it's not honestly a bad one either (although in the original text Karst and Agatio are a touch more megalomaniacal about it). You could've told us this last game, no problem.

<Karst> Sorry, you're out of questions. It's time for you to die!
<Ivan> We don't have time to deal with you, we have to go save Garet and Mia.
<Agatio> What, are you afraid of fighting without a numbers advantage for once in your lives?
<Isaac> That's a strange thing to say. It's not like you have a numbers advantage either.

<Ivan> ...Is that so?
<Agatio> That's right, Alex! Perhaps you're familiar with him?
<Isaac> We are.
<Ivan> Blue hair, permanently fixed with a disdainful expression, notorious for vanishing on his allies when they need him?
<Karst> ...Oh come on! Where'd he go?!

Again, I like that Alex gets this characterization as a complete flake. To be honest, it's not really unreasonable for him to flake out here. Karst and Agatio aren't really here to light Jupiter Lighthouse, they lack the Adept or Star (or Hover Jade) for it. And Alex's goal is just to light the lighthouses. It's no wonder Alex's ducked out on them.

Karst and Agatio don't really care enough to do anything about it.

And to battle they go! It'd be kind of neat to actually play as Isaac and Ivan here, with your Djinn configurations from the last game, but eh.

<Felix> I'm not sure. But we have to get to them, before we do anything.
<Piers> Is that wise? We just need to light the lighthouse, correct?
<Jenna> No, we can't just let Isaac die because of that psycho!
<Kraden> Agreed. We can explain our findings to Isaac later, but ONLY if he's still alive.
<Sheba> For once, I agree with Kraden. Let's hurry, everyone!
There's a lot of discussion in the original about the events up top, but honestly they don't need to spend a lot of words here. The interesting event is the Karst vs. Isaac showdown. That said...

There is a bit to find out on the way there.

<Felix> Aren't you supposed to be helping your muscle?
<Alex> I asked you first.
<Felix> ...Yes.
<Jenna> But we're helping Isaac first, got it?
<Alex> Of course, Jenna. I understand.
<Jenna> No, I don't think you do.
<Alex> Even if I don't... well, play well with others, let's say... I do understand. You can't just discard people who aren't useful to you anymore. I guess you could call that a strength in a way.
<Kraden> I'm afraid I'm not following you.
<Alex> I understand you. It's not necessary for you to understand me.

Once again. Alex is one of the most interesting villains in this or any game, and the only fault is that he's not in a better written game.

He's still ultimately villainous, of course, but he's fairly smart about it and knows enough not to make enemies despite his pseudo-sociopathic tendencies. And unlike many such villains, who are basically cast as completely demonic, hostile, inhuman beings... Alex is still ultimately trying to help you, but in a way that helps him more.

To wit: since Felix's team gives the best odds of the lighthouse being lit right now, he full heals our party.
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Old 10-15-2016, 04:04 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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I can't stress enough that it's because of Camelot's shabby writing that Alex isn't up there with villains like, say, Kefka.

Exhibit A: never Mind Read Alex. Yeah, the connection to Mia is nice to touch on, but Mind Reading Alex just undercuts his entire air of "what the hell is he doing".

Meanwhile, back at the fight!

<Isaac> Keep it together, Ivan!
<Agatio> Ha! Worry about yourself, why don't you!
<Karst> This is for my sister!

Agatio lunges for Isaac...

And we cut to a quick fight scene, where Agatio throws his signature Psynergy, Rising Dragon, at Isaac.


And that's that.

Hooray for Karst and Agatio!

<Karst> They were fierce fighters. At least now I know that Menardi lost her life in an honest fight, rather than trickery.
<Agatio> Now nothing stands in our way. Let's take the Mars Star and leave.
<Karst> What, and just let him live?
<Agatio> Well...
<Karst> You heard him. He's here to stop us from lighting the lighthouses. From saving Prox itself. Even if I've avenged my sister in defeating him, I'm not about to let him stay alive. We're NOT letting her work be for nothing, Agatio!
<Agatio> ...Of course. I'm sorry. Let's finish him off.

And then we got here!

<Jenna> You aren't gonna lay a hand on Isaac, you hear?
<Karst> Oh good, it's the sympathizers again. Fancy meeting you here.
<Agatio> So you haven't yet lit Jupiter Lighthouse, have you? Because from what Alex told us, it's pretty hard to miss when a lighthouse is lit.
<Kraden> No, but--
<Agatio> You're wasting our time here, then.
<Jenna> No, we're not. You wanted to get revenge on Isaac, and you did it. You beat him. Now get out of here, we can handle the rest of things.
<Karst> Are you seriously trying to deny me my revenge?
<Sheba> We only needed Isaac beaten for the Mars Star, right? So let's just take that and leave him alone.
<Agatio> Hm... well, he has already failed to stop us and been defeated. Maybe it'd be better for him to live with this shame--
<Karst> No, Agatio. Menardi told me that she defeated Isaac years ago, back when he was even weaker than he is now. If we let him live, he WILL come back, and we can't chance him becoming a threat later down the road. We kill him, here and now, end of story.
<Jenna> Oh yeah? And what if you have to fight past me first?!
<Sheba> Agreed. You're in no shape to defeat us as well.
<Agatio> ...Heh heh heh. You've guts to challenge us here. No honor, mind you, but you've got guts.

<Felix> No. We'll meet you at the top, after we take the Mars Star from Isaac.
<Jenna> But no killing him, got it?
<Karst> All right, all right. Felix, we'll meet you at the top of the lighthouse. Alone. We have to discuss things.
<Isaac> Ugh... Felix? Is that you?
<Felix> Yeah. We can talk later, but--
<Isaac> I heard... you want the Mars Star. It's... here, take it.
<Felix> Thanks.

Hope you didn't forget about the other two hanging on for dear life.

This part of the scene is no different in the original, honestly. The only problem, again, is that Camelot carried over the value judgment without any explanation whatsoever of why we're helping Isaac at the expense of our "allies". But since we already established better relations at the end of the first game, rather than Felix telling them all to get bent, we're in a way better position to make this work.

So, as we're about to leave...

<Felix> That doesn't seem really wise to me.
<Jenna> Neither does going up there solo.
<Piers> And to be honest, I think I can understand Karst's anger better than anyone else here right now. I'll do my best to talk to her and get her to abandon this revenge.
<Kraden> It's a solid plan, if you ask me. And with them as exhausted as they are, they can't really do much to complain about you bringing one ally.
<Sheba> The three of us can deal with helping Isaac and Garet. You just... be careful up there, okay Felix?
<Felix> Yeah, I will. Let's go, Piers.

And true enough, you only have Felix and Piers for this segment of the game.

Why Piers, of all people? Camelot just kind of assumes that Felix HAS to head up there solo and that he only gets one pal on the way up, and they just as arbitrarily decide it to be Piers. Kraden and Jenna not coming with I can see, since they're both very much invested in Isaac's recovery, but why not Sheba? I mean, we DID kind of jump off of a lighthouse to save her, you'd think she'd be more than willing to come back Felix up against some very untrustworthy characters.

Thankfully, like Babi deciding that only Isaac got to compete in Colosso, there's a very good reason Piers might be a better choice for dealing with Karst and Agatio than Sheba would be. And you'll get to see that in a bit.

They have barely anything to say to you until you go actually light the lighthouse. (And without Sheba on our team, we can't Mind Read them, although both of them are basically open books anyway.)

Right, let's do this.


Only one left.

<Felix> So... we've done it.
<Agatio> That's right. Now then...
<Karst> We've got an offer to make you, Felix. And I suppose this sailor can be part of it, too.
<Piers> What do you mean?
<Karst> I think that if just the four of us worked together, we could quickly reach Prox and light Mars Lighthouse before things get worse.
<Felix> You mean you want me to leave Jenna, Sheba, and Kraden behind?
<Karst> You saw how quick they were to defend someone trying to undo all we've done. Can you honestly say they won't slow us down?
<Agatio> And Prox is not in a good enough state for us to risk slowing down with these lighthouses at all.
<Piers> I understand your concern, Karst, but--
<Karst> You understand NOTHING, sailor.
<Piers> You really cared for your sister, didn't you?
<Karst> What?
<Piers> When I set sail from Lemuria... I thought my mother would still be back there to greet me once I returned. I knew her health was poor, but part of me just kept hoping that she'd stay there, waiting.
<Felix> Piers...
<Piers> But she's gone. She wanted only the best for me, as I'm sure Menardi did for you. But killing Isaac won't change that. You'll just bring that same pain to the people who care about him.
<Felix> If you want to save Prox, that's great. And we're all right with helping you do that. But we can't do it at the expense of our friends and family. I'm sure you can understand.

<Agatio> But Karst...
<Karst> You're asking me to just walk away from the murderer of my sister. You're just as unreliable as your friends, or Alex.
<Piers> Please, Karst--
<Karst> I already told you, sailor. You understand nothing. My sister did not die wasting away on a bed uselessly. She died in fierce battle, trying to save her homeland, and I'll fight just as fiercely to avenge her and save Prox!
<Felix> Then let's just save Prox and ignore Isaac! Surely you agree with me, Agatio!
<Agatio> ...Saving Prox and unsealing Alchemy does come first, but...
<Karst> I'm not even going to waste time arguing with you, Felix. Let's just cut out the middleman.

Once again, in the original, this sudden but inevitable betrayal comes basically clean out of left field. Karst and Agatio rule that we've already betrayed them once, despite this "betrayal" consisting of telling them to spare their foe but otherwise being as helpful to lighting the lighthouses as we possibly can. Them stealing the Mars Star is a largely pointless gesture since we're both planning to do the same thing with it, and for the same reason. It also follows a "plot twist" that Mars Lighthouse is in Prox, which we don't really care about because A: I already spoiled that ages ago, and B: we've seen literally everywhere else on Weyard, of COURSE it's in Prox.

There's also another plot point brought up here, but since it gets all of two text boxes of foretelling before this point I don't care about it at all.

<Felix> Wait, you can't just do that!
<Karst> Can't we? This IS the fastest way to do things. And it goes without saying that Agatio and I are both Mars Adepts. We can light Mars Lighthouse just fine by ourselves, while you sit back and befriend murderers!
<Piers> We can still help you, if only you'd let us!
<Karst> You want to help? You want to HELP US?! How about you lay down and die, you quislings! Agatio, let's teach them not to get in our way!
<Agatio> ...I'm sorry, Felix. But saving Prox comes first. Now, ready your weapons!

Does this seem like a contrived reason for a boss battle? Because it wasn't any better in the original text. There's two good bits about this fight: the first is that it has a bit more of an interesting flavor to it given our half-party, and the second is that you can totally lose this fight and still be able to progress. We are, of course, going to win the hell out of it anyway.
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Old 10-15-2016, 04:07 PM
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As per the JRPG rule of "girls must be casters", Karst runs disruption, and to a lesser extent, support for their team. Their movesets are considerably more unique than Saturos or Menardi, however. Seen here is Djinnfest, the first of the game's moves to do things to our Djinn stock, in this case set one Djinn per character to recovery.

This is a newer thing, the first game didn't have it, perhaps because Camelot didn't realize how essential Djinn would be for players. Giving enemies ways to deal with it is fine, but it's a really awkward thing here. One Djinn going on recovery barely matters to us, but it might matter a lot more to a player who's sharply behind on Djinn. And if we were to lose several Djinn at once somehow, we'd experience a massive efficiency decrease as all of our stats take a 50% or more hit, to say nothing of Psynergy degradation (for example, Felix could lose Revive and Gaia if he loses enough Djinn). And there's no cure for that, either: any time a Djinn is sent to a recovery state, it's in a queue, so it'll only recover one turn after the one before it does.

This is all mostly theoretical, of course, since even if Karst does nothing but Djinnfest each turn, we're still down only one Djinni per character.

Meanwhile, Agatio forms the backbone of their team's offense, with a bunch of ridiculously flashy Psynergy and physical attacks. Seen here is Stun Muscle.

Now you might think with only access to Felix and Piers here (and no prior warning to let you change up your Djinn) this fight would be basically impossible.

And you'd be technically right.

This is a rare instance of a gimmick fight in Golden Sun. For the first few rounds, your goal is survival while your team trickles in.

Granted, Jenna and Sheba aren't really the best reinforcements we could ask for. Well, if we'd reclassed Jenna, she'd be much better at helping, but Flame User is a really weak class here given Karst and Agatio being Mars Adepts. She doesn't even get the excuse of being an area healer, because Aura is strictly weaker than Wish, which Felix or Piers could easily access with a bit of reclassing.

Karst, unfortunately, messes up her sister's signature technique in a sorry attempt to appear tougher.

Agatio shows her how it's done.

Oh hey Sheba what's up.

With pure element classes, Sheba does at least serve the purpose of buffing, throwing down Resist and High Impact for days on end.

Conventional strategy for this fight is to attack Karst first, which I'm following here. She can heal both of them (albeit only with Healing Aura), can instakill with Death Scythe, and has less HP.

Honestly though, you're probably better off focusing on Agatio. He just has a constant stream of raw firepower to direct at you, and most of Karst's tricks are fairly weak on the whole.

To wit: this is the first time I've ever seen Cage actually DO anything.

Heat Kiss is an actual threat if you're reliant on physical attacks and have nobody with High Impact. (Because you are an imbecile.)

Honestly though, this fight boils down to the same strategy as the rest, of "hit them a lot and don't die".

Okay Agatio, we get it, physical fighters are stronger in this game.

Defeating the duo grants us some Dark Matter, a rather unique forgable that I'll discuss next update. But again, this is an optional fight to win, so don't feel too broken up if you miss it.

<Jenna> What even happened up here?
<Karst> Shut up and finish us off!
<Sheba> Haven't you listened to a word we've said? We're not about to go against our own advice to you.
<Karst> Well your advice was terrible! Isaac SHOULD be dead now, and so should I! Or do you think it'd be more amusing to let me live, defeated and shamed?
<Felix> We didn't even want to fight you, Karst. You said it yourself, we can work together.
<Agatio> ...Karst, they have a point. And we've been defeated by them, anyway.
<Karst> Go work with them if you want, Agatio. But I'm not going to dishonor my sister that easily.

If you're curious: no, there's no real reason for us to finish off Karst in the original text, either. In fact, due to a minor plot point I've omitted here, it could be actively jeopardizing your own objectives to do so. Why they offer this as a (false, of course) choice is utterly beyond me.

And you would not BELIEVE how hard it is for me to keep writing Karst with this "screw you, Isaac-sympathizer" berserker attitude.

<Felix> Alex.
<Alex> You have my thanks for lighting Jupiter Lighthouse.
<Jenna> Yeah, yeah. We didn't do it for you, y'know.
<Alex> Regardless of your motives, I am thankful. That said, we have a bit of a mess to clean up here, don't we?

Here's why it's a fake choice, by the way, as well as why losing this fight is possible. Alex will heal up the losers.

<Piers> You can't mean for us to fight them again, can you?
<Alex> No, of course not. I just think it's better for them to get on their feet as quickly as possible, that's all.
<Karst> Where were you, you snake?! We could've wiped them all out here and now!
<Alex> Not necessary. You have the Mars Star on you, yes?
<Karst> ...That's right, we do.
<Alex> Very good. Felix, as you no doubt have noticed, your group doesn't really get along very well with Karst. So I think it would be best if you were to leave Mars Lighthouse to us, and to head home.
<Jenna> You can't be serious. After all the trouble you've given us, now you're just telling us to get lost?
<Alex> I owe you an apology in particular, Jenna. You wanted no part of this entire debacle. Well, now you're free to head home. I've no intent of ever bothering you, Felix, or Kraden ever again.
<Karst> You owe HER an apology?! You are the worst teammate ever. If Prox wasn't on the line I'd tell you step off, about thirty feet.

<Agatio> As long as we end up saving Prox, I don't care who we're traveling with. Let's just go get it done.
<Sheba> Felix, are we okay with this?
<Felix> Even if we aren't, we're not in much better shape than Karst or Agatio right now. With Alex on their side, they could actually finish us off.
<Kraden> Jenna, Sheba! What's taking you so long?
<Piers> And we have to get back to Kraden, too.

So that's it, then.

The villains go off to complete our quest for us, and give us nothing but our hat thrown out after us.
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Old 10-15-2016, 04:08 PM
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Meanwhile, both protagonist teams meet up without outside problems.

<Jenna> Isaac... I'm so, so happy to see you!
<Garet> What, and not me?
<Jenna> I'm at least okay with seeing you again.
<Garet> Rude!
<Mia> It looks like Alex ran off again. Did he get the Mars Star?
<Felix> Yeah.
<Isaac> I can't believe it. Here I thought that we'd be okay with Saturos and Menardi gone, but now we just have even more vicious people going to light the last one.
<Felix> Don't you remember what I told you at Venus Lighthouse, Isaac?
<Isaac> You mean about saving the world with these lighthouses?
<Kraden> Thanks to Piers here, we were able to do some research into the lighthouses, and it seems like Felix's guess was the more accurate of the two.
<Isaac> You're sure about this?
<Ivan> Hey, maybe we should talk about this somewhere a bit safer.
<Sheba> What do you mean?

In the original text, Isaac is basically hostile to Felix's crew despite earlier being all "it's okay, take the Mars Star". Which, you recall, led directly to it ending up in villainous hands. Ivan steps in and mediates, arguing that neither side is in for another fight.

And as Felix was a jackass to Isaac for no clearly defined reason at the end of the first game (when they'd be most likely to reconcile and compare notes), so too is Isaac a jackass to us for no clearly defined reason here despite going out of our way to save his life from Karst.

Let's not forget that the last time Isaac saw us, Felix was "sneaking off" the side of Venus Lighthouse in freefall to save Sheba. And in Dark Dawn, retellings indicate that Isaac's team did hear of our tales of heroism, including defeating Briggs, Poseidon, and the Serpent of Izumo. Don't be a jackass, Isaac.

Next Time: Neville Longbottom and the Grand Reunion
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:42 PM
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Back at Contigo, basically everything is closed up while everyone runs off to fulfill that one prophecy about giving a boat wings. In case it isn't obvious yet, Camelot really rushed this game near the end to get everything done.

Whatever, who cares about some bland-ass NPCs anyway.

It's time for the reunion.

<Felix> It's been ages. We've been trying to find you to continue our discussion from Venus Lighthouse.
<Jenna> What even happened to you guys? After Idejima separated, you were all but impossible to find!
<Ivan> Well, we first tried to find Lemuria, technically on behalf of Lord Babi.
<Sheba> Oh, right, you were trying to work with him to secure my release.
<Piers> I hope you didn't actually tell him anything about my homeland.
<Ivan> Er... no. I'm sorry, but who are you?
<Felix> This is Piers. He's a Lemurian we befriended along the way, and it's because of him we were able to learn as much as we did about the lighthouses and the seal on Alchemy.
<Isaac> In any case, we couldn't get into Lemuria. We DID manage to sail the Sea of Time and avoid Poseidon, but when we mentioned Babi, the guards at the entrance refused us entry.
<Mia> And when we'd returned to report this finding to Lord Babi, he had already passed away.
<Sheba> So he's finally gone, then? Good riddance.
<Kraden> That... I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but I am a little sad. Even if he was tyrannical near the end of his life, he still was very important in my life.
<Mia> With Babi gone, we turned our focus to finding you. After a while, we received a letter from you, asking us to meet at Jupiter Lighthouse, north of Contigo.
<Ivan> Needless to say, that was a trap set by Karst. Our ship suffered an explosion shortly after we docked, so we were stranded here either way. For a while, Isaac suspected that you might be responsible, Felix.
Babi's death isn't originally brought up here, mind you. It's brought up by Alex back at Champa, where he introduces Karst and Agatio to the crew. That is a REALLY stupid place to bring it up, since only Kraden cares about Babi in a positive way, Sheba regards this news just as poorly as Kraden does, and what would Alex even be DOING in Tolbi that would let him know about Babi's death, anyway?

Haha, this line doesn't work in the original either! Felix would've helped Saturos and Menardi fight him if he didn't have to watch out for Sheba!

<Isaac> In my defense, I didn't know of Karst or Agatio at the time. It was almost certainly their doing.
<Felix> No harm done.
<Garet> Okay, we've told you what we were up to. Now we wanna hear your side. You got to research the lighthouses more, right Kraden?
<Kraden> Thanks to Piers' assistance, I was able to confirm that the world, as things currently stand, is physically degrading.
<Mia> Wait, are you serious? How badly?
<Kraden> By comparing Lemurian maps and Piers' own sea charts, we were able to establish a very loose timeline. It's not concrete, but at the current rate, I'd expect to see a lot of coastal cities, like Alhafra, Lalivero, and Champa collapse and wash into the sea within the next ten years.
<Sheba> That's terrible.
<Kraden> Furthermore, this rate of decay is accelerating. Gaia Falls is eroding even more of Weyard, and without the last lighthouse lit, I see no sign of it stopping.
<Garet> But Isaac, doesn't that kind of fly in the face of what the Wise One said? Isn't lighting the lighthouses a fast track to dooming the world anyway?

<Ivan> What exactly did the Wise One say to you again?
<Isaac> I think it was that Alchemy was sealed away to prevent mankind from abusing its power?
<Jenna> That's not worth the world collapsing into nothingness, Isaac! We have to light the lighthouses!
<Isaac> I never thought I'd hear YOU say that, Jenna.
<Sheba> Well, sometimes we have to roll with the punches.

Before we move on, two things.

First: in the original, the implication here is that there's still a "choice" to make about which would be worse. However, that choice never comes into play. You have no chance to extinguish the lighthouses and maintain the seal, and everything written here basically indicates that the seal WILL destroy the world, although on a non-apocalyptic timeframe (Kraden's estimates above are my own invention).

Second: the first half of this scene is a recap of the events at the start of the first game, told to Isaac of all people. Isaac, you might recall, was our player character for that segment of the game. This also consists of reminding him of his motives for opposing Felix's group. More than being stupid, this just shows a complete contempt for the player, assuming that they can't even remember why they set out on this grand quest to begin with. This is a trend that continues in Dark Dawn (by the way, I've posted all the journal entries for it already) and Camelot really needs to break this habit if they ever intend to release another entry in the series.

Moving right along, though. Remember this lady?

Hama gets an extra M in her name in this game for some reason, but let's ignore that for a bit.

<Felix> Uh, hi, I guess.
<Ivan> When we got here, we found Hama waiting for us, and she had a whole lot of info about the things going on.
<Hama> Before we begin, I have to explain the Anemos a bit. Particularly to you, Sheba.
<Sheba> Me? How'd you know my name?
<Hama> The Anemos people are one of the few cultures to possess Jupiter Psynergy. While those of Contigo, like Ivan or myself, have Jupiter Psynergy in rare occasions, it only occurs very rarely. The Anemos were the true bearers of Jupiter Psynergy, and with it, they managed many marvelous things.
<Piers> Oh, you mean that crater to the east of Contigo, don't you?
<Hama> That crater marks the spot where the Anemos civilization's city once stood. As their last feat of Alchemy before disappearing from Weyard, they caused their entire city to lift off and take flight, becoming the moon you know today.
<Sheba> What... is this true?
<Jenna> Hey yeah! Everyone in Lalivero said Sheba fell from the sky!
<Hama> Yes, Sheba. You are the last Anemos to ever set foot on Weyard. And unfortunately, I do not think you will ever leave it.
<Sheba> What?
<Hama> With Alchemy sealed as it is, developing the Psynergy necessary to land upon the moon and travel to Anemos is flat out impossible. And even if the seal should be broken, it might take centuries to get that far. In short, Sheba... you will never return home.
<Sheba> ...
<Garet> Way to be a killjoy, Hama. But don't we have bigger fish to fry? Like, oh I dunno, the lighthouses?
Just like Sheba's first appearance last game, Piers' first appearance this game, and several other instances, THIS CONVERSATION NEEDS TO HAPPEN AND DOESN'T. They bother with the revelation that Hama and Ivan are siblings here, and then promptly give that revelation all the careful consideration of a candy wrapper holding your chewed gum. Meanwhile, Sheba's origin, LITERALLY HER ENTIRE REASON FOR TRAVELING WITH FELIX, never gets mentioned here, despite this being the only possible explanation.

I'm cutting off this revelation here because I still need to preserve a bit of momentum for the scene, and Garet's just the guy to do it with, but come ON, Camelot. The important backstory revelation here shouldn't be Ivan's, because he already got that scene last game and his arc makes more sense when focused on Hammet. Meanwhile, people who played the first game barely got any idea of who Sheba is, and she gets barely any other explanation for her story in this game either. Like Mia, she has plenty of framework for building a character, but the writers just don't even step up to the plate for a game of tee-ball.

I'll come back to this in a bit, though, because this scene has more to go.

<Hama> Mercury has been lit the longest, and runs unopposed. Jupiter's lighting offsets Venus, so I should expect the tectonic activity to settle down considerably. But meanwhile, the seas grow ever more dangerous and unpredictable, and the temperature across the world is rapidly cooling.
<Kraden> So my estimates were still too optimistic, then?
<Hama> I fear so.
<Felix> So we need to light Mars Lighthouse, okay. But Karst and Agatio are already set on doing that, aren't they?
<Isaac> I don't know that I'd trust them with the task. Didn't Kraden ever explain the Stone of Sages to you, Felix?
<Kraden> I might have, but just to review, the Stone of Sages would only be accessible with the full power of all four Elemental Stars. If Alex, Karst, and Agatio were to light Mars Lighthouse, they would very likely have the first chance to obtain the Stone of Sages.
<Mia> We can't let Alex get that Stone! He's already proven he can't be trusted at all.
<Piers> But we don't even know if they CAN access the Stone of Sages, if the other Stars are in their respective lighthouses.

Hama starts glowing with an unnamed Psynergy.

<Isaac> Wait, what?
<Hama> I can't say more. My powers are... being dulled, somehow. But I do not expect that Mars Lighthouse will be lit unless all of you head there to ensure it. Alone, Karst, Agatio, and Alex will fail, and Weyard will succumb to the chilling depths of the oceans.
<Garet> So, we have some mystery person trying to stop the lighthouses? Any ideas who that could be?
<Isaac> The only one I know who would still oppose the lighthouses would be the Wise One, and I really hope I'm wrong on that count.
<Felix> We can't stand all day pondering theoreticals, not when we know what we have to do. We have to go take back the Mars Star and light Mars Lighthouse, so that's what we'll do!

Okay bye Hama. You will not be missed.

This scene is basically wrapping up, but I do want to highlight this line. Like the Great Healer hinted at WAY WAY WAY back at the start of the game, Felix has basically been the protagonist of the game the whole time, and Isaac is more of a Kain-esque person doing the wrong thing but with good intentions. I would also like to state for the record that I basically always took this line at face value, unlike basically the entire Golden Sun fandom and the writers of Dark Dawn.

No, I'm not bitter at all.

Anyway we have the party from the first game here now! They're a little underleveled compared to our current party though. Not playing on Hard Mode CODDLED THEM. (Beating the bonus boss of the first game appears to not have had a big effect.) They also start with all their gear and Djinn on account of my password, but nothing is equipped and their Djinn are scattered about largely randomly.

They also come with the Psynergy granting items from the first game, making imported data the main way to get Lift, Carry, Force, Halt, and Cloak. They are every bit as situational here as they were in the first game, but hey, more Djinn.

Again, the physical Psynergies got an upgrade in this game. Good ol' Planet Diver is now upgraded to Planetary.

It's hard to see, but the impact explosion is bigger and the flame effect on Garet as he dives is dragon head shaped.

Cutting Edge loses its instant flash and pizzazz, but you have to agree that slamdunking a dude out of a geyser is badass nonetheless.

I got bored and reclassed the Lost Age team a bit as well, but I'll probably swap them back next update. I'm basically only using the first game's team here. (And if you DO use them, Isaac's battle theme from the first game plays.)

Once we reach Atteka Inlet, we're railroaded into fulfilling the dumbest prophecy I've heard all week.

We can snag more Djinn, though!

Anyhey, our boat has wings now, because we lit Mt. Jupiter! The townsfolk chats imply that Hama was the one who galvanized everyone into finishing the boat wings. But she's literally nowhere to be seen when we first arrive in Contigo, and the townsfolk are already basically done anyway. So who even knows.

At this point it's pretty obvious that Camelot was in a bit of a deadline rush, because even by their standards this is pretty unsubtle.

The wings are functional, but require the Hover Jade to work. Not a problem, princess!

But yeah, nice, we're done with Atteka completely now!
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:45 PM
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I'm willing to give Isaac a pass as Hammet's recipient here, since the gift would do double duty for rescuing him AND watching Ivan.

Okay, first off, we did do that. And second, when we did, he told us to ignore him and go use the Rod of Hesperia.

Still, Orihalcon is pretty high tier forging stuff. We'll put this to some good use basically regardless of what we make from it.

We can hold down B to Hover around on the overworld now! This lets us clear some of the smaller reefs and fly overland, although the sharper spires, mountains, cliffside coasts and forests block flight. That's really not much of an obstacle though, we can pretty much reach anywhere in Weyard now. Well, except for Angara, since there's no shores or tributaries to fly over. Or Prox, it's way further north and inaccessible for other reasons. The sad truth is that our flying boat, while it does make sailing easier (you don't get encounters while flying, you just drain PP), it doesn't actually let us access anything new. A far cry from the airships of ye olde Final Fantasies, really.

Anyway, let's wrap up a character arc or two.

<Sheba> ...I really can't go home, can I?
<Jenna> Well...
<Felix> I'm sorry, Sheba. I know you wanted to find out where you came from, but...
<Sheba> It's... just not fair. I finally know where I come from, and... I can't go back there? I can't even meet my parents. I have no idea what they look like, or if they miss me. I don't know if they would recognize me now, or even if they're still alive. And every night, I can look up at the sky and see my home, where I came from, and never be able to reach it.

<Sheba> I almost wish I hadn't found out.
<Garet> Hey though, look on the bright side! Faran and everyone else in Lalivero raised you like family, didn't they?
<Isaac> Garet, I know you mean well, but that's not really the same.
<Garet> Oh. Sorry. I'm just saying, you should be grateful for what you have, y'know?
<Sheba> I am, don't get me wrong. But still...

<Sheba> What do you mean?
<Kraden> Well, I grew up in a small village, wracked with poverty. I was constantly hungry, and my parents tried their best, but providing for me was difficult, almost impossible. Even so, my curiosity and aptitude for learning caught Lord Babi's attentions.
<Sheba> You're not seriously going to try to cheer me up by mentioning Babi, are you?
<Kraden> Bear with me. My parents loved me dearly, and I loved them, but we all knew that village couldn't give me the life I was hoping for. Under Lord Babi's tutelage, I was fed, given a place to sleep, and access to all the libraries of Tolbi. I know now he did this not out of kindness, but selfishness. But whenever I started doubting what I was doing, I remembered my parents, and how they gave up everything they had just to ensure I'd live a happy life.
<Sheba> Did you ever meet them again?
<Kraden> No. While I was undertaking cartographical research, I went back to the village I grew up in. I arrived to empty, run-down houses. The village was completely abandoned, everyone having left for more prosperous cities. I don't know if my parents died there, or went somewhere better for themselves. All I know about them is that they wanted only the best for me.
<Sheba> I... had no idea, Kraden.
<Kraden> I can't say for certain where your parents are now, Sheba. But I don't think they abandoned you. I think they sent you down from Luna to Weyard, to give you a better life. Perhaps the powers of the Anemos were waning, and they thought you might-
<Sheba> It's okay. You don't have to theorize about what they were doing.

This scene isn't very different from the original. The only real change I gave it was updating it for the changes I've already added to the story: namely, Sheba and Kraden finally resolving their differences, connecting with their similarities, and coming to terms about Babi.

In the original, it's not really a bad scene? But it's just completely disconnected from everything. Sheba could very easily have her Anemos connection mentioned any time before this, probably by Hama (she only did so in my edits, not the original). Hearing about Babi giving Kraden a new life should be the opposite of consolation. The rest of the party is especially bad about helping her out with this, and the writers completely forgot that Isaac's party haven't been adventuring with Sheba for any length of time. To wit: Ivan even apologizes for not considering her feelings when he arrived in Contigo.

Once again, the big problem is that Camelot wanted this scene in the game, but didn't think very hard about the nitty-gritty of how it should actually fit into the grand scheme of things, or define a character here or there. But since my edits attempted to actually build up Sheba's confusion about her past a little more, and established her opposition to Kraden (and honestly I did a pretty lazy job of that too!) the scene works.

Anyway here's one of the things we can work with here. I feel validated.

The end of the game is as linear as its predecessor, but we're going to backtrack over Gondowan first to get some forging done.

The party's PP reserves are shared when flying and universally depleted, but it's very slow. And if it really is a concern, you can slow or reduce the PP drain (and your flight speed) by tapping B.

Oh hey, we can finally break this stump with Force.

Five minutes of pointless tunnel later, we have Genji.

Our Rusty Sword becomes this thing.

We also need to process the Orihalcon and the Dark Matter.

Okay, not bad. Not GREAT, but not bad.

Our first attempt with the Dark Matter yields utter garbage, on par with the Demon Mail we got for beating Deadbeard and sold off.

I am okay with savescumming for actually cool forging prizes, to a degree.

MUCH better.

Right, time for the last of these stupid things.

Magma Rock always feels like such a slog to me. I know, Air's Rock and Ankohl Ruins are worse to actually play through. I just feel like requiring us to do a fourth elemental rock, for two rewards that are basically just plot progression, isn't very interesting?

You can't enter the rock without using Lift, which is not a problem at all because you can't access Magma Rock without the airship either.

While the other three rocks made use of actual elemental Psynergies Adepts could naturally have (Whirlwind, Douse, and Growth), Magma Rock's moai instead depend on the Burst Psynergy gained from Tundaria Tower. Functionally it doesn't even crack things most of the time, it just makes the moai spit fireballs (which later becomes a field Psynergy of its own in Dark Dawn, because Tyrell is less concerned with fire safety than Garet).
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:47 PM
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The Soul Brand has a stretched version of Undead Sword from waaaaaay back in the first game as its unleash.

One big reason Magma Rock is tedious is because the Burst animation takes a pretty long time to resolve itself.

And it plays once for the moai, and once for the fireball as it impacts with a pillar.

There are also these moai that become eruption elevators, so that's neat.

There's more than just Magma Rock's location that makes it feel like a slog, of course. One thing is specific to this LP: namely, I'm here to rewrite all the cutscenes into something a little better, and needless to say, Magma Rock has nothing of the sort. You don't even get Akafubu making another appearance here, as I would undoubtedly love.

Most of the encounters here are slightly beefier than the ones we've dealt with in Jupiter Lighthouse, perhaps to force us to adapt by swapping characters between our two teams. (This is not necessary here or ever unless fighting a bonus or final boss.)

And as always, the dungeon design is full of "go the right way first" instances of the devs trying to provide far more shortcuts back than any player would really need. Honestly I've somewhat soured on the shortcut spam in Golden Sun level design, because there's no reason for them to be there. You have no reason to retread dungeons, and they aren't so difficult that you'd need to leave halfway through and go back to a town to restock, the way you would in an older classic JRPG.

Oh hey Sargasso can instakill. Neat.

Gonna speed past a lot of Magma Rock since its design is nothing new. Also noteworthy: Raging Rocks have a self-destruct move. Okay.

As the Tear Stone was the water-element forgable, and the Sylph Feather wind-aligned, so too is the Salamander Tail an elementally-typed forgable. In this case, Psychic.

If you get hit by the tennis fireball on this section, the fireball vanishes, rendering it totally harmless. They've finally managed to incorporate the complaint Miyamoto had about Dragon Quest into action segments.

Raging Rocks are a bit buggy.

Unfortunately, I can't use Burst directly on the wall, or the big-ass Magma Stone to completely incinerate the party. Shadowgate, this ain't.

So that was the exterior of Magma Rock. I cut out a lot and writing it up was STILL a slog for me. How's the interior hold up, though?

The answer is "Water Temple". That platform on that weird looking track down there will do things later.

Oh hey, the most unique common enemy (family) in the game.

Phoenixes get two actions a turn, the first of which is disproportionately fast, and possess a few fairly unique moves. Not Psynergy, mind you, that's the same stuff it's always been. I mean that these enemies can run away (which is as dumb here as ever) and they can revive fallen monsters.

Functionally this is no different from calling for help as other monsters might do, it just requires a monster to die first. But honestly? I am completely happy with this, because it gives a monster an interesting tool you have to plan around in fights.

Phoenixes also provide a STUPID amount of XP when defeated.

The fun part is that defeating an enemy gives full XP, regardless of whether it is later revived and then re-killed. And there are two-Phoenix encounters in Magma Rock. If they didn't flee sometimes, you could kill one Phoenix, let the other revive it, and keep going as long as you cared to do for the most efficient grinding in the game.

But why bother grinding in Golden Sun?

Anyway, the progression in Magma Rock is 3 floors of descending to the base of the rock, but to DO that, we need to set up platforms while the magma is out, then cross them while it's in, you get the idea.

Of COURSE we fill the place with magma, what do you take us for?

That's about it. That's what Magma Rock does.

Oh yeah and Phoenixes have top-end Psynergy but you already knew that.

Good for you.

We let the magma out via the wooden floodgate.

And then we go down the stairs and get to do this two more times, but with more backtracking.

I ache all over and I want to get back to rewriting cutscenes. Let's skip stuff.

Lesser Demons are stronger than Red Demons.
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:50 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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A Djinni is over here by a very pointless conveyor platform thingy.

It uses horrible voodoo magic at us. The Inferno line is only available to the Dark Mage class line from the Tomegathericon.

Due to an excess of Mars Djinn, Ivan is forced to have an actually decent class for once in his life.

I can use this to showcase Astral Blast's upgraded form.

Why is that moai even THERE

The blue gem in the wall indicates where the stairs down are, so you can see it even when there's magma covering it.

And once more.

In order to use Whirlwind I have to unset Ivan's or Sheba's Djinn. I don't think it gets me anywhere useful immediately though.


Earth forgable.


Okay here we are. That treasure chest is accessible from the very entrance, but we had to scale the exterior of Magma Rock, descend through three layers of floodgate puzzles, and push this pillar to get to the actual goal here.

No one is surprised by this. Man, where's the guy who designed Aqua Rock and Mercury Lighthouse? I want their work back.

At least we get to see the unique death message if a monster dies to poison. That's new, right?

Penultimate room. This is where one of the two things we need can be found, just not YET.

As we approach the pit in the center, it vomits fire and rocks everywhere, as all good volcanoes do.

The camera focuses on this particular dollop of magma. You might recall it from the Taopo Swamp, where we Doused it to make it safe for our psychically-conjured hands to shove around. Here, it serves a completely different and vitally important purpose which is in no way hinted at. DO NOT LEAVE MAGMA ROCK WITHOUT DOING THIS THING UNLESS YOU WANT TO REDO IT.

First, we need a new Psynergy.

That's very clear, thank you.

Do note that while Jenna does get one here, Garet does not gain Blaze for himself. Similarly, we can't backtrack to Gaia or Aqua Rock to get Isaac or Mia new toys. I think we'll deal with the crippling sorrow of not providing everyone as much power as they can hold.

So, Blaze. Using this on an open flame will let you launch a stream of flame from it to something nearby. Situational? Yes. Fixed in Dark Dawn? Again yes, since you get Fireball as a commonly-used puzzle Psynergy from square one. I rag on Dark Dawn for a lot of things, but its puzzle design is not one of them.

Here's an example of where it works. Can you think of any places we have encountered where there is one waist-high open flame, and a thing we could light orthogonally nearby said flame?


Anyway, here's where the actual prize for the area is. (Also, like Gaia Rock, Magma Rock has no Psynergy Stone within it, or at least none we can access. I'm willing to buy it being submerged in the magma here.)


Next Time: Neville Longbottom and the Frozen Village
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:11 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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We only have a few stops left. Our first one, almost, is Kalt Island here.

On my way there, I fly right into the Gondowan Settlement, because clearly the Hesperia Settlement wasn't creative enough, and we needed a do-over.

The place is basically useless to us, though. I don't even think it has a Djinni. All it does is hint at Magma Rock nearby.

Also: provide a vague clue that magma balls exist.

Kay that was fun.

Kalt Island has a Djinni in it, rendering it considerably more useful than Gondowan Settlement.

This one island replaces the scattered useless infodumps of the Eastern Sea by combining them into one place. Long story short: Kalt Island used to trade with Prox, but with the seas all frozen they can't get up there. Last they heard, the engineers at Loho had devised a cannon capable of blasting through the ice, which they powered with magma balls.

In fairness, Kalt Island is very easy to pick out from the rest of the world map and would be a new player's first stop when sailing towards where they thought Prox might be. It also lines out more or less everything you need to do to get to Prox (barring the location of Magma Rock, which is, uh, kind of important). It's too bad all of this is betting on the player's willingness to read NPC dialogue in a Golden Sun game.

Oh hey a cave with a summon.


Okay, here's Loho.

I have no idea why, but Loho is populated entirely by fantasy dwarves. Right on down to them being obsessed with mining and history. Nobody else in all of Weyard mentions the fantasy dwarves, and the only indication they might exist is the Mythril Silver item, samples of which are found here.

Despite what we learned at Kalt Island, the miners actually immigrated to Loho fairly recently, and have no idea how to make their cannon work, leading me to believe Kalt Island's info comes from an era where the lighthouses were lit. Or it's just contradictory bad writing, either one.

There are a few places in Loho where Scoop will yield forging materials, but most of them are off-limits until we use the cannon here.

The only non-dwarves here are the innkeeper here and the healer in the sanctum.

Since they can't do anything with a non-functional cannon, they're happy to trade it away for a chance to mine tasty ores.

Despite appearances, we can't walk further north here.

Anyway let's explode a thing.


Yeah! Take that, wall!

Yep, that's literally all the player needs to do in Loho.

Since hauling the cannon around manually would be a headache, they offer to install it on our ship for us. This entire segment feels very FF1, which I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not. Let's say it is.

Of course, we get first dibs on the ores there while they do that.

We get two Golem Cores from this area here...

And a bit of Mythril Silver from over here. There might be more I missed. Don't care.

Nobody bats an eye at our parking job.
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:12 PM
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Anyway, forging! Planet Armor from the Star Dust...

The Mythril Silver gets worked into an armlet...

And now we're gonna work with totally new materials!

Right, Isaac's team has pretty outdated stuff across the board.

Still, all of this is pretty solid.

I don't know if the Golem Core's stuff is higher-end than the Salamander Tail's stuff, honestly.

I DO know that the Golem Core weapons are among my favorite in the game. Check it out, a lategame mace Mia's actually going to use! And who DOESN'T like tungsten, honestly?

Took a bit of savescumming to not get a repeat, but eh.

I attempt a detour back to Shaman Village for Djinn, and run into the gladiators from Colosso.

As expected, they think we didn't fight fair.

This is the same justification Babi gave in the original. Also: KRADEN YOU WEREN'T EVEN THERE FOR THIS WHY ARE YOU COMMENTING ON IT

Anyway, we have to fight all three at once. And they were basically pushovers when Isaac fought them one-on-one several levels ago.

Azart bites the dust on the first turn.

Hammersphere literally drops a giant bowling ball on enemies and this is beautiful.


And then they vowed to honor our victory something something okay. It goes without saying you don't get this scene if you legitimately lost.

Hey, a shirt.

And wouldn't you know it, I forgot to get Isaac one in my gambling last game.

Anyway, one of the two Djinn remaining here. To reach them, we have to Lift specific boulders.

You can jump over this rock, but only south. I'm confused.

Anyway, there's the guy.

But as we approach, they run away, and they're too far for Halt to be of any use.

If you Lift a boulder up, you can't jump over it. Or just step on it normally. I don't know.

Anyway there's another Djinni.

Admiral time!
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:14 PM
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I also upgrade Ivan to Guru, ending his brief stint as a Sol Adept. It was fun while it lasted.

To get the other Djinni, we have to backtrack through the entirety of Trial Road. It's about as fun as it sounds.

There they are. Not flying, but lazily hovering, in a circle around this pool, mirroring our movements.

By Revealing a tile in the middle of the pool, we can rush-tackle it, stunning it enough to engage.


Final tier of Whirlwind...

Final tier of Ray. We might've seen the latter already. Eh.


Oh, and you can't Retreat through Trial Road for some reason.

Nor do the reset buttons work once you've actually done the competition.


Ignoring that forever now. To Prox!

Coming here before you get the cannon probably gives a message to the tune of not having a way past it. Like, say, Hovering over the ice wall, or Grinding it into slush, or just straight up Bursting it.

For shelter, you say?

You have an odd definition of shelter.

You don't need a second Magma Ball to do this, thankfully.

And off we go!

And our final town for the game...

Way beyond what any of our maps have recorded...

Yep, we're here for real now.

Actual bulletpoint list time GO
  • Karst and Agatio returned, but told the townsfolk that Felix chickened out and fled. They also let it slip that Saturos and Menardi were killed by Isaac.
  • Curiously, no mention is made of Alex at all. I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.
  • Saturos and Menardi were about as dishonest in their goals, as most townsfolk believe that Prox tried to extend an olive branch to Vale, requesting their aid to save the town, but Vale was too stubborn and change-fearing to let them reach the Elemental Stars. Needless to say, we have all of zero evidence for this.
  • Prox is REALLY cold. Like, it's far north, it's always cold, but with three lighthouses lit and Mars remaining dark, it's gone from Ontario to Nunavut.
  • While Karst and Agatio have set off for Mars Lighthouse, this was a while ago, and the lighthouse shows no sign of being lit. Morale is sharply declining, and many people, including the last commanding warrior of Prox, Puelle, believe them dead.
  • Despite the lie about Felix ducking out, most of the townsfolk are pretty happy to see him and wish him nothing but the best.
  • Gaia Falls doesn't exist this far north. Instead, the source of the erosion is the "rift", a massive pit of emptiness crackling with lines of energy. It serves much the same purpose for the sake of apocalypse that Gaia Falls does, though.

Hey, Dark Matter. We'll put this to use later perhaps, but not now.

This line is interesting. It implies that Prox actually broke their own seal on Mars Lighthouse WAY in the past, but someone else resealed it, extinguishing the lighthouse. I mean, it could also just be more contradictory bad writing, but it sets the stage for a throwaway line that never gets explained later down the road, so hey, let's assume my interpretation is right.

Another Djinni.

We tackle it into a snowdrift and it decides not to fight us for it.
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:15 PM
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I don't know what you were thinking would be a good progression for berserker, but "Chaos Lord" is not my first guess.

Anyway, far to the north is Puelle, a scattered few Proxian warriors, and the village elder.

Puelle is all gung-ho about finding Karst and Agatio and lighting the lighthouse, but literally everyone else there considers heading to the lighthouse now to be a death sentence. After all, the only warriors who could definitely reach the top would be Saturos and Menardi, and they're long dead.

Let's just skip this since I've now covered everything they say.


<Felix> Hello again, elder, Puelle.
<Puelle> Greetings. You look well, Felix, all things considered. Karst told us you'd abandoned us, though.
<Felix> No, nothing like that. We're here to help restore Mars Lighthouse!
<Elder> Who are these people with you?
<Felix> Well, the oldest of us is Kraden. There's my sister Jenna, there's Sheba and Piers, there's Isaac--
<Puelle> Did you say Isaac?

Isaac turns to face the warriors behind him, but Kraden stops him.

<Garet> Yeah, I dunno what YOU guys heard, but we were just trying to protect our home and family!
<Isaac> I didn't even mean to fight them to the death. But they were set against us completely. They even fused into a dragon, rather than stop their kidnapping and thievery.
<Warrior> ...So they put up a good fight, then?
<Ivan> You can say that again. We didn't think we'd get out of there alive.
<Warrior> No need to be ashamed about it. They were trying to protect their homeland, and so were you. You fought honorably, and any one of us would have done the same as you.
<Elder> Let bygones be bygones. May we assume your presence here to mean that Vale will lend its aid to Prox now?
<Jenna> Definitely. We have to save all of Weyard, regardless of what's happened between our villages!

<Puelle> But you have proven your strength by besting Saturos and Menardi, when they were pushed to their limits. We shall trust you to enter Mars Lighthouse and light it.
<Mia> We won't let you down. But we still need the Mars Star to accomplish this.
<Elder> Well, that's an unavoidable problem. If Karst and Agatio have perished in the climb, you must retrieve the Mars Star from them. And if not, please try to work together with them to restore the light of Mars.
<Isaac> We'll... do our best. Thank you all for your trust and forgiveness.
<Puelle> It's us who should be thanking you.
<Felix> For now, let's go finish the job and light Mars Lighthouse.
<Garet> Let's go, everyone!
Again, this is a conversation basically completely unchanged from the original. Which is fine, really. The only problem is one concerning a minor plot point, the same that I've omitted from a few other points in the LP. (Namely, they omit it here too, which is especially confusing.) But trust me, there will be a better time to address this.

Let's wrap this up.

Next Time: Neville Longbottom and the Mars Lighthouse
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:59 PM
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aturtledoesbite aturtledoesbite is offline
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Originally Posted by Kalir View Post

Oh, and you can't Retreat through Trial Road for some reason.

I don't remember the specifics, but it's possible, especially if you are ten years old, to use that hover pad and land in just the right spot that there's no way to get out.

Now, combine that with the fact that you can't Retreat, and that's a reload.

But...say you further combined that with a dead save battery. Anyone want to figure out the result of that equation?

Don't forget, this is ~80% of the way through the game.

Basically what I'm saying is, the fact that I managed to beat this game is a testament to my stubbornness more than anything else.
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Old 10-18-2016, 12:58 PM
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And with that I am once again all caught up!

Kalir you've managed to make me actually excited to see how this all ends, which given the source material is no small feat.

Great job!
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Old 10-18-2016, 03:50 PM
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Mars Lighthouse is the last area in the game, barring bonus areas I will not be tackling this run. Just not feeling it, not with nothing to rewrite.

The start's a bit slow, since the blizzard outside's rendered much of the lighthouse inoperable.

New phoenixes!

After a while, Avoid becomes totally viable in Mars Lighthouse.

One more time, old pal!

To reach the interior, you need to Grind this ice wall down...

To the point where you can Burst it apart.

But this dragon tells us to piss off and go find a Mars Star. Thankfully, Karst and Agatio didn't go and get themselves trapped past here, otherwise we'd be in trouble, eh?

I change up my party a bit, removing both Isaac and Felix for a while to let Jenna's music play. She also demonstrates the Masamune's unleash, which does the same thing the Bandit's Sword did.

Hey it's another one of those floor sigil things. We WILL be learning how to interact with them this update.

The chief feature of Mars Lighthouse is these dragon heads that spew a constant stream of flame. This WILL knock us down ledges if it hits us.

This area requires us to shove the large dragon statue all the way to the end without being hit by one.

Failure means you have to start over from the very beginning. Shortcutting Move, since it pauses time while in use and gives you more room to safely work with the statue, is recommended.

This takes us up here, where we can Blaze it. I am writing this on a backlog and I already know BEAT has made posts about Blaze. And if not, HE HAS DISAPPOINTED US ALL.


You'll usually have to follow up giant draconic fireballs with actual demolitions Psynergy.

More sigils we can't use yet. We're getting there, honest.

So were all these flamethrowers necessary in the original lighthouse design, or is it just a fortunate coincidence that they're destroying ice blocks left and right?

Honestly not even sure if I'm going to go back to forge this. We'll see, I guess.

This screenshot perfectly conveys this entire room and what you need to do in it. Good.

The great part is how they actually get regular fireballs to fly down the path! This is ADORABLE

Mars Lighthouse holds two Djinn, one being Mercury. I kind of like it playing around with the flavor of the lighthouse being frozen over.

Getting to this Djinni requires a bit of outside-the-box thinking.

Final rank of Isaac's superhealer class!
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Old 10-18-2016, 03:51 PM
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And we got a new Psynergy in the next room!

Now, I have no beef with the Teleport Psynergy from a pure mechanics standpoint. On the overworld, you can use it to warp to any town you've been to before (which at this point is all of them). Inside areas, it only works on those sigils we've been seeing here and there.

The big problem is that giving the crew here (specifically Mia, because you should always give her the Teleport Psynergy) this power makes a key part of an upcoming plot twist way too easily defeated. This is a problem a lot of aspiring GMs learned firsthand when their team spellcasters learned their own methods of teleportation. Teleportation is SKRONG.

Anyway the sigils are usually two way, use it on one...

Warp to its sister.

Backtracking to the invisible one warps us to here.

This might seem like I didn't go the right way first, but honestly this is a very nice thing to let us to, since actually going through that segment is timed.

And hey, who doesn't like armor?

The trick is that the flamespout up there only starts moving once you slide down and hit the switch, so you're in a race with it from the word go. If you know the route and shortcut Pound, no biggie.

Otherwise, comedy happens.



Thankfully, this gag is a relatively painless one. With the statue in the upper left moved, the trap is deactivated.

Hey best sword in the game how's it going.

You can't just run at it directly, because of the ice, but that ain't no thing.

The Sol Blade can ONLY be equipped by Isaac or Felix, and it grants you the most ridiculous unleash in the entire game.

I meant to do that.

Anyway, what's the most ridiculous unleash in the game look like?


I don't know what the multiplier on Megiddo is, but I'm pretty sure it kills most things dead, really hard.

Really though, Mars Lighthouse isn't THAT long (especially not with Avoid, once you fight a few Fire Birds you have more than enough XP to dodge everything here).

Two dragons, you say?



The two Flame Dragons here are completely different enemies with different movesets. The right one is even smaller.

The trick is that their movesets almost completely mimic those of Karst and Agatio, from back when we fought them. I WONDER WHAT THIS COULD MEAN
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Old 10-18-2016, 03:54 PM
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Unlike the previous fight, I'm going to focus on "Agatio" first, since he has the real dangerous attacks.

Yeah, he could do that.


I don't know if this fight was actually easier this round or not because I just wanna rewrite stuff, man.


Hands up if you're surprised.

<Felix> Agatio? Karst?!
<Karst> Oh... Felix. When did you get here?
<Isaac> I guess they don't remember what just happened.
<Garet> Yeah. Last time we saw people turn into dragons and back, they couldn't even stand straight.
<Mia> Garet! Honestly, you have no tact sometimes.
<Karst> ...And you brought the murderers. If only... I could stand and fight again...
<Piers> What happened to you two?
<Agatio> Well... Alex told us to climb the lighthouse without him... Said he had... urgent business elsewhere...
<Jenna> That's not like him to miss a lighthouse lighting. I don't like the sound of that at all...


<Agatio> And when we reached the room with the four reliefs, there was... an eye.
<Isaac> An eye? Like, a floating boulder with a single eye?
<Karst> Yes. It said that Alchemy was not ours to unseal...
<Agatio> And then its gaze pierced our... entire being, it felt like.
<Karst> That's the last thing we can remember.
<Felix> Mia, can you heal them?
<Mia> I don't know that I can, Felix. Whatever being turned into dragons did to them, they're in terrible shape. I can barely feel any Psynergy left in them at all.
<Karst> It's true... I've never remembered feeling... cold, and yet... here we are.

<Felix> Listen, guys. I'm going to go light the lighthouse and save Prox. Isaac and his friends are coming with me, we'll all do it together. Do you still have the Mars Star?
<Karst> Yes. Take it... If I can live to see the lighthouse lit... then I know our deaths, and my sister's death, was not in vain...
<Agatio> On behalf of all of Prox... I apologize to all of you. Our people have done horrible things to yours and many others. We just... wanted to save our homeland.
<Isaac> I understand. And I forgive you, too. If only we'd communicated a little more to start, maybe we'd be heading up to the aerie together.
<Karst> Don't waste your breath... or ours. Just... go light the lighthouse.
<Felix> Okay. You guys all heard her.
Yeah! We kinda just killed two out of three of the game's current antagonists, and the third didn't even make it to Mars Lighthouse! What.

In the original, Karst and Agatio maintain much of the tone I had here, but they don't act apologetic as Agatio does, or still simmering with vengeance like Karst does. In fact, they basically act like they've been our allies all along. It's a sad day when my Sword of Mana inspired villain eulogy is better than what was originally there. They also don't mention the conspicuous absence of Alex, which I'm just saying right now? Needs to be mentioned.

The eye is still mentioned, and for people who've played the first game it's obvious they mean the Wise One, so our actual antagonist for Mars Lighthouse is pretty set up.

Anyway we grab the Mars Star, Mythril Bag and all.

Our first step is to use it on this telepathic dagron.

Turn up the HEAT

We can either use Retreat at this point or backtrack into a literal instant fireball. This one is funnier.

So, to clear Mars Lighthouse, we need to clear each of these four small segments of mini-lighthouse, each also elementally-themed. I don't know if Camelot actually meant that whole "you need X Adept for X Lighthouse" thing. But hey, it IS the end dungeon.

I arbitrarily go for the Mars area first.

As with Jupiter Lighthouse, we stop outside in the blistering cold for a bit.


These Aka Manah enemies are SO CONFUSING. They're clearly meant to rely on instant death attacks and the like, but they are really, REALLY bad at their jobs.

Walls to blow up!

Then configure the big-ass flamethrower again!

Oh, you'll recycle the LAME puzzle? Thanks. Thanks bunches.


A noteworthy thing: we actually got an item drop! An artifact weapon! No fooling! With an ICC of 7!

...So needless to say, it doesn't actually have an unleash. Random weapon drops are. The best

At the top of each mini-lighthouse, we use Blaze...

And this sigil lights up! Three more left.

Don't even bother backtracking through, just use Retreat and call it good.
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Old 10-18-2016, 03:55 PM
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Oh let's go get that last Djinni while we're here.

Not strictly the last Djinni in the game, I think the bonus dungeons have three more? Eh.

For reasons, you can't approach this guy from any side but the south.

Oh right I kinda gave up on actually using attack Psynergy, physical or not, ages ago.

I tag in Garet using the swap feature for this fight, so he can put Felix on his feet again.

Next is the Mercury area!

Ice sliding puzzle. However, it's not currently solvable to reach the exit.

We have to go down here and do this first. Also by this point I've learned that Avoid will totally work for us now.

The biggest trick here isn't positioning the pipes, it's order. After all, the flame in the pipes will melt any ice pillars they're next to, which will undo our hard work.

Now we can head back up there and use this to ignite the highly flammable nondescript gas coming from the small dragon.

The camera work during this part is terrible, zig-zagging all the hell over the place about a second before anything is actually happening there.

But the important part is we can progress now.

Two down!

I randomly decide to do the Jupiter one next.

The first bit is basically a blind shot Cyclone maze, which is of course terrible.

But lucky me, I went the right way first, so I can shut off the trap that would wait for me had I not gone the right way first.

Okay, that makes sense. We activate the geoglyph from the right, then Hover over the flame and Cyclone on up.

Let's shove this on in.

And realize there's no slope to slide down. I don't know if the flamethrowers actually damage your party, but they do let us jump down.

Unfortunately, a freak accident caused my game to shut down and I had to go back to my old save, but I didn't lose much progress at all, basically just the Mercury and Jupiter segments. So for the Venus segment, of course the threat is being punished for not being a telepath, Wizardry style.

Didn't notice until much later, but there IS a way to avoid getting scorched. The dragon face will appear only once you cast Move, so you can do that, see if it's there, and then cancel the Psynergy.

Oh hey, a room where Carry is used.

Let's just cheat sneak to the actual entrance.

Use the lower blocks to create a path for the upper one to move across.

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Old 10-18-2016, 03:56 PM
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Next up, Sand to dodge the flames. My old Nintendo Power guide said that you're hiding in glass panels because glass is sand, but that looks like ordinary sand to me.

As dragons have fire as their domain and fish have water, humans' domain is the earth. Okay, sure.

Here's the last bit of the Jupiter area I missed: run to the end and Reveal the jump point before a fireball dunks you into the abyss!

And now we can go fight the final boss!

At this point, a player might consider going to do the four bonus dungeons. There's Yampi Desert's hidden cave, the island our turtle pal took us to, a completely separate island that Briggs mostly looted for treasure, and the Anemos Sanctum. All of these places require Teleport to get to the innards of, and all of them house superbosses guarding the game's strongest summons.

I have no interest in doing this at all. A handful of Djinn hide out in them, yes, but I think I can get by with the Djinn totals I have. The summons are strong for sure, but so are many things in this game (like attacking with a weapon). And the superbosses, while they do toy around with some alternate strategies (like summoning helpers, using your standby Djinn to steal your summon attacks, or just being immune to Psynergy) are all either completely terrible or not really an issue. Plus, I wouldn't have anything to add to them that you couldn't find from any old loser on GameFAQs. So screw those guys, we're getting this done.

Next Time: Neville Longbottom and the Golden Sun
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Old 10-18-2016, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Kalir View Post

This takes us up here, where we can Blaze it. I am writing this on a backlog and I already know BEAT has made posts about Blaze. And if not, HE HAS DISAPPOINTED US ALL.
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Old 10-18-2016, 10:35 PM
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I was much more forgiving of the scene where team Issac joins up with Team Felix, half because I was a dumb child, and the other half because I never played the first game, or heard anything about it's story.

My experience with Golden Sun is that Golden Sun 2 is the first and last game.
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Old 10-19-2016, 08:37 AM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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Originally Posted by Awkward Grunt View Post
I was much more forgiving of the scene where team Issac joins up with Team Felix, half because I was a dumb child, and the other half because I never played the first game, or heard anything about it's story.
Which, honestly, is a pretty okay thing to do! If the game hadn't failed to communicate what had happened during the first game in its unskippable intro text crawl, though, or had properly established Team Isaac during the intro where Alex tells Jenna why she can't go play with them? It'd probably be a legitimately good idea.

I am honestly curious what most of the game must've felt like for someone who's never played the first entry, honestly.
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Old 10-19-2016, 02:41 PM
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Oh man, what's the best way to spend a final update, of which I have taken 263 screenshots to start?


We get one of the rare few weapons possible by forging Orihalcon. The Stellar Axe is strictly weaker than the sword you could get instead, Excalibur, but I'll settle for this no problem.

I end up forging a sword out of the Dark Matter, necessitating that I visit the healer to unequip all of Garet's cursed gear.

The Darksword has the highest base attack in the game. This on Chaos Lord Garet gives what is quite possibly the highest base attack in the game, and the Acheron's Grief unleash can cause deadly poisoning! Pretty great, but unfortunately the name of the game is ridiculous damage multipliers from things like the Masamune and Sol Blade now.

Enough foreplay, we got a lighthouse to light.

This takes us to the very top, where some not-currently-displayed platforms...

Lead us to here. Oh man it's completely vacant, nothing bad will happen here for sure.


<Mia> I can't see a thing through this blizzard!
<Felix> Neither can I!
<Isaac> Let's just hurry and throw the Mars Star in before someone can stop us!

The blizzard kicks in even more, pushing Felix back even as he tries to make for the opening.

Yeah let's speed past everyone having no idea who this is, because WE KNOW WHO THIS IS


Fair warning: Camelot expected the player to ignore or forget a LOT of plot elements from their own game, and my writing is going to have to jump through some pret-ty insane hoops to match. For starters: y'know that Teleport Lapis we have? And which was required to get up here? Pretend it doesn't work at all.

Isaac and Garet recap to the party what exactly happened to them at Sol Sanctum and how the Wise One saved them, which might've been nice for Jenna or Kraden to ask about during the reunion scene. Camelot didn't do this, but I didn't either, because recaps of stuff we all already know are BORIGN

<TheWiseOne> Why do you now feel it necessary to do what I have forbidden, and bring death and ruin to Weyard?
<Isaac> It's the other way around! If we don't light all four lighthouses, Weyard will be destroyed!
<Garet> Yeah, Gaia Falls will eat away at everything! Prox here will probably be the first to go!

Remember that one line back in Prox about how they lit the lighthouse but were punished for it or something? I feel like this is what the Wise One is hinting at here. It's really clunkily written, as per the usual, though. In any event, Prox isn't the only place we're saving here, so let's just dismiss this entire point since it has no bearing on anything.

<TheWiseOne> Eventually, yes. But consider: lighting the beacons and unleashing Alchemy will grant humanity great power. Power enough to reignite the wars and horrors of the past.
<Piers> But we also used that power to create marvels and wonders, turning issues like famine and disease into mere myths!
<TheWiseOne> Merely changing out one set of evils for another. When great power is at stake, certain people will strive even harder to control it.
<Sheba> Well, yeah, but we can stop them, too! We've stopped evil people before, and we'll do it again!
<TheWiseOne> It is simply human nature. It will rise to the surface time and time again, and it cannot be stopped.

<TheWiseOne> Mia... Your old teacher, Alex.
<Mia> Yes? Where is he now?
<TheWiseOne> Climbing to the peak of Mt. Aleph. He has learned much and lied about surprisingly little, but there was always one grain of knowledge he hoarded jealously, knowing it would grant him everything he ever desired.
<Kraden> ...Oh, dear.
<Mia> What does the Wise One mean, Kraden?
<Kraden> It's the Stone of Sages. Alex is heading to Mt. Aleph because that's where the Stone of Sages is going to take form.
<TheWiseOne> Once all four lighthouses are lit and the seal broken, the light from the lighthouses will all focus onto a single point.

Title drop!

<TheWiseOne> The Stone of Sages will form there, and nothing can stop Alex from claiming it for himself. But the Golden Sun will grant him power beyond all human comprehension. He would be able to play with the world like a child plays with a ball.
<Jenna> You're serious?! I just... AAAARGH I hate that guy SO MUCH!
<Felix> Well, that's unfortunate, but we don't have the time to go stop him. We have to deal with the lighthouse first, THEN we can go take him down, no matter how much power he has!
<TheWiseOne> Your resolution to unseal Alchemy is strong. But I still must stop you.

So, as you might've noticed, our actual obstacle here isn't Alex, or even the Wise One, really. It's time and space. We can't be in two places at once, so we can't, say, go defeat Alex while still lighting Mars Lighthouse.

EXCEPT WE CAN, because this very dungeon gave us the Teleport Lapis! You can't seriously say that Camelot didn't expect a player to go "wait why don't we just teleport after Alex now?", can you? ...Well, yes. Yes you can. Remember, their huge astounding cliffhanger ending for Dark Dawn only works if the player does not have a concept of object permanence. And let's be honest: wouldn't it be cool to split up the party here? Half goes after Alex, half stays here to confront the Wise One?

<TheWiseOne> You must prove yourselves before I will let you unseal Alchemy. Face the ghosts of your past, and sacrifice everything, or I shall doom you to the same fate as the power-mad.
<Ivan> We're not afraid of you.
<Mia> We're going to save Weyard whether you like it or not!
<Felix> You heard them. Hit us with the worst thing you have, and we'll still be here.

So, a "miracle" is kind of a really weird word to use here, huh?

Well, in the original, the Wise One says that it "cannot interfere in the actions of mankind", which is ridiculously shoehorned in and also a blatant lie. Because right after this, he asks, what if a miracle happened that stopped you from lighting the lighthouse? That doesn't count as not interfering, genius! Furthermore, hey, you could wait for us to teleport over and beat the hell out of Alex first, capture him, bring him back here, and THEN light the lighthouse. Or you could teleport over there yourself, maybe! We could wait for the maybe five minutes it'd take, no problem. This is something Quovak and I heartily agree on: the Wise One's motivations here and our group being unable to deal with Alex's revealed plan makes no damn sense whatsoever.


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Old 10-19-2016, 02:42 PM
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<Garet> Big deal! We've fought a two-headed dragon before, three heads won't be any harder!
<Piers> Everyone, get ready. Weyard's entire future is at stake here!
<Jenna> We'll take this thing down real fast, and then go stop Alex too!


Everyone gets into battle formations, and Kraden realizes something, which is related to that one minor plot point I've been neglecting to mention all game. It has been SO HARD to not just spoil it outright up to this point, but now I just got one boss left before I can.


The Doom Dragon is the final boss of the Lost Age. It's also technically a multi-form boss, but its forms are represented by it losing heads, which I can respect.

What I CAN'T respect is its Djinn Blast technique. That colorful column right there?

Yeah! No more Djinn for Felix! Let me explain exactly how much of a hit to his stats this is (even outside of him losing Revive and his Gaia line of Psynergy, and downgrading Odyssey to Ragnarok). His base Squire class that he's now in has +10% mods to HP, Attack, and Agility, at a cost of -20% to his max PP. Slayer, the top of the line there, has every single stat up about 40% from this base value, with HP being 80% higher. Not to mention each Djinn came with its own incremental stat boosts, small ones to a handful of stats, and they boosted the actual impact of his Psynergy. But now Felix gets to wait around for 8-9 turns to be useful again.

The final secret boss, Dullahan, has a multi-target version of this (Djinn Storm) in his arsenal. Dullahan is terrible, never fight him. (Even spamming summons to damage rush him doesn't consistently work, since Djinn Storm even sets standby Djinn to recovery.)

Garet brings the recolored retaliatory pain.

Now with negatives! Again, the Darksword's base power is high, but the multiplier on Acheron's Grief is subpar, so Garet will keep doing what he always does: using Planetary, constantly, until he or his foe is dead.

Piers follows up with the Stellar Axe's Supernova unleash. It might do stuff to other things, but whatevs.

The Doom Dragon gets one turn each round, plus another turn for each head it has, up to four. Fortunately, right now most of these turns are fairly harmless.

Really? Basic rank Cure? It's like none of the three heads can work together.

But hey, it can shoot gravel at us, that's cool.

Well Garet, was fun while it lasted, to the backline with you.

Apparently I forgot to set one of Jenna's Djinn. Fixed.

A few hits later...

One head down, two to go! Note that decapitation instantly ends the round, canceling all future actions your team or the Doom Dragon would take and checking buffs for expiry and Djinn for recovery.

Losing a head means losing an action, but gaining new moves. Guard Aura is one of them, and SCREW GUARD AURA. It's basically a Defend command, but with a MUCH higher percentage for how much it shaves from attacks.

One of the bonus bosses, Star Magician, makes use of this move too. They summon four ball types: Anger Balls attack viciously until they self-destruct, Thunder Balls spam Jupiter Psynergy, Refresh Balls heal the Star Magician with Pure Ply (1000 HP) each turn, and Guardian Balls either defend or cast Guard Aura on Star Magician. Sounds like a barrel of fun, doesn't he?

No yeah out-healing a full turn of damage and also shaving it down by 90+% is totally reasonable thanks.

The Doom Dragon also uses this turn to show off the other new move, and its signature move.

Ah, yes, we haven't had a ridiculously apocalyptic attack yet.

Good start, good start.

Razing verdant forests about half a continent away from us, good.

And eventually you take the time to hit our team with one of those giant weaving lasers.

Cruel Ruin hurts your whole team, but usually focuses most of its pain on one guy.

Perfect, we'd just exhausted his PP. Go take five.

Last edited by Kalir; 04-19-2017 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 10-19-2016, 02:44 PM
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Screw Guard Aura.


Doom Dragon is down to two actions a turn, but it gets even more triggerhappy with Cruel Ruin, and gets a handful of new moves.


Darksol Gasp looks neat but doesn't do anything noteworthy. I don't care about being Haunted, I've basically been Haunted all fight anyway.

Mostly did this for science. Odyssey has more consistent damage, but I think Felix's crit chance is high enough that Megiddo will trigger more often.

Thankfully, we killed the Doom Dragon before it could use Djinn Storm. YEAH THE ONE-HEADED VERSION HAS DJINN STORM. JUST BECAUSE SCREW YOU.


Way cooler than the Fusion Dragon's defeat.

And there we have it, our thrice-beheaded foe.

Oh snap! The dragon was actually three people? WE HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS KIND OF THING HAPPEN.

Unfortunately, now I have to go back and actually address that one "minor plot point" that I've been yammering on about literally this whole LP.

See, Kraden's no idiot (in my rewrite, but let's be generous). He figured out the whole "dragons are people" angle pretty quickly, and his mind instantly went to figuring out who those three people could be. The only conclusion he reached mortified him, and he cautioned us away from fighting the dragon at all in the original text. We, of course, declined.

In the original, the upcoming reveal makes a little more sense but for all the wrong reasons. Let's gloss over that for a second.

<Sheba> What's wrong, Jenna?
<Jenna> It's not... Felix, look at-
<Felix> What? How is this even happening?!
<Garet> Wait, I recognize these people! Those two are your parents, and that guy over there, that's Isaac's dad!
<Isaac> But... it's like they said. That's impossible.


Remember waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay the hell back when Idejima first crashlanded, and everyone was discussing what to do now that they were all stranded in a strange area? Well, they originally resolve to go light the lighthouses in the Western Sea, and Jenna remarks that "our parents' lives depend on it!" Wow, what a strange thing to say, given that they kind of, y'know, died to the Mt. Aleph Boulder! Mind explaining that a bit more for the viewers? No? Okay, how about explaining Lash for thirty textboxes instead? There we go.

I don't mean to imply they FORGOT this plot thread, of course. They do actually touch on it now that the player has a bit of suspenseful interest in what she means, right around the time you hit Lemuria. (60% or so through the game.) When Lunpa asks everyone what their reasons for restoring Alchemy are, Jenna admits that she and Felix are "only firing the lighthouse beacons to gain their freedom". You see, Saturos and Menardi were so clever, calculating, Machiavellian really, that they figured the best way to ensure the loyalty of this teen they saved from a boulder hitting his town was to take him, his two parents, and this other guy all the way back with them to Prox (unaided, since their crew was all dead) and hold the three of them as hostages to get Felix to cooperate. Man, wasn't it great for Felix to tell us this when we finally slew Saturos and Menardi?

Karst and Agatio also wave this axe over our heads, particularly at Jupiter Lighthouse. They add to their betrayal by saying they'll "release" our parents into the frozen wastes, and then say that we should finish them off, but if we do, what happens to our parents? They are honestly really terrible about the entire gambit and I have no idea what they were trying to achieve. Similarly, Prox itself treats them less as hostages and more as under house arrest. And not even very strict house arrest, one Proxian even comments on the Vale parents just up and leaving for no clearly defined reason ("because they were worried about you").

This is, of course, because the Wise One abducts them just before Felix and co. show up, just to transmute them into a dragon for the sake of delaying us from lighting the lighthouse. One wonders why they thought THAT was the best use of their time, but we'll get into the reasoning of that later.

Right now, I'll just settle for the following statement, and forgive me if I'm being a bit blunt, but: THIS IS SUCH A BLOODY STUPID PLOT TWIST AND WHAT THE HELL ON WHEELS WERE YOU EVEN THINKING, CAMELOT. Undercutting the tragic backstory without telling anyone for 150% of your two games, only so you can re-Batman the protagonists as a post-victory sucker punch, is not good storytelling! This is confusing and pointless, and one of the very first things I brainstormed when doing this LP rewrite was to simply axe the parents surviving at all, because honestly? Them being alive but hostages improves nothing about the story. Be honest: was my version of the Indra landfall, the conversation with Lunpa, or the first real confrontation with Karst or Agatio really lacking this vital info?

Unfortunately, I am limited to altering text only, not screenshots, so I do still have to make an attempt at salvaging this ending. So, here we go.

Also let's not forget that Greg and Holly here didn't have portraits last game and STILL DON'T HAVE NAMES. Those are my invented OC names do not steal.

<Mia> There's no time to waste. Lighting the lighthouse can wait, there's no telling what it'll do to them. I'm going to do my best to heal them. Piers, I'll need your help to magnify my healing powers.
<Piers> Of course. I'm not the best healer, but I'll do what I can.
<Greg> Ugh... I can't... feel...
<Holly> Hurts... to breathe.
<Felix> Please, hurry.
<Ivan> How are they even here? They died when the Boulder fell, didn't they?
<Isaac> I saw it happen with my own two eyes. But we're NOT letting them die again.
<Kyle> I remember... a heavy impact... then, a giant eye... and then we were... here.
<Jenna> Mom... Dad... Not again...

Mia and Piers get to work.

This is another instance of the established gameplay rules kind of messing with cutscene flow, but less so. Mia's already been established as a solid healer, and almost always has access to Ply and Wish in her classes, which reflects this. Piers, on the other hand, is usually a Captain or something, which doesn't get Wish, only Ply. Not really the best healer, especially with his low speed. The real issue is that EVERYONE here can theoretically be capable of healing (hell, Felix, Isaac, and Jenna can all do so with base classes), so why not have everyone chip in?

The actual answer is:

To fake exhaustion and futility. Or something.

<Mia> It's no good. I've done everything I can here, even with Piers' help. They just aren't responding to the Psynergy, same as with Karst and Agatio.
<Jenna> No, keep healing them.
<Mia> Jenna, I'm literally out of Psynergy right now. And by the time I rest up, they'll be g--
<Jenna> NO! I can't... I can't lose them again!
<Felix> I never even got to see my parents after the Boulder hit... it was Menardi who'd told me they'd died... and now this is how I see them again?
<Isaac> What am I going to tell Mom? This is horrible...

As with the original Boulder impact scene, Felix's dive to save Sheba, and third scene I've forgotten and might not exist, this is honestly a really moving and memorable bit here. But the steps you have to take to even get this scene to happen are just so... bad.

<Kraden> I don't know how the Wise One returned them to life, but do not lose heart now. The important task is yet to come.
<Felix> That doesn't change that the Wise One brought our parents back to life just so we could murder them ourselves!
<Ivan> What a horribly cruel thing to do...

Garet screams furiously and uselessly out into the blizzard.

Sheba follows suit, decrying the Wise One's divinity...

And Piers can barely muster more than a whisper.
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Old 10-19-2016, 02:45 PM
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But then, out of all places...

Once again, take the time to realize that in the original, when Kraden's revelation was "three heads == VALE PARENTS ONO" and the parents were still alive, this implies that Isaac knew the dragon was composed of his and Jenna's parents, and slew it anyway. And this guy was our protagonist for the first game.

<Isaac> Kraden's right. I've made peace with my dad's death long before now, whether it happens again or not. But alive or not, he would've wanted me to finish the job we all started and to save Weyard. To save our homes, our families.
<Garet> ...Heh, that's Isaac for you. Determined to a fault. Well, you guys heard him. We ready to light this one up and go home?
<Ivan> I can't even imagine how painful this must be for you to relive this, but we'll save countless other lives by completing this task.
<Mia> Regardless of Alex's schemes, we're going to set the world right. Use Alchemy to make the sort of world your parents would want to see.
<Sheba> We've helped each other through so many calamities, Felix. We can weather this last one.
<Piers> For our parents.

That's the spirit, kids!

Let's do this!

Now I think about it, this game has kind of built up a giant theme of losing family members and coming to terms with it, hasn't it? I hadn't even really noticed until my edits, because Camelot didn't even realize they'd stumbled into an entire writing theme because every time it came up they completely bungled it. But basically every single person here has lost someone in their family, either to death, abandonment, or treachery. And for most of the party, their personal arcs have been about coming to terms with this, accepting their new family, and so on. I accidentally made Golden Sun way more poignant than even I was expecting and how the hell did I do this


Do note that the parents ONLY say things if you talk to them here. They do nothing but groan in the cutscene, and even then only before Mia heals them long enough for a scene change. IF YOU WANTED THEM TO TALK, YOU SHOULD'VE HAD THEM TALK EARLIER.

But hey I can go edit the above scenes to include lines for this. By the time you read this, these lines will seem very silly indeed!

Yaaaey we win game


<Sheba> I'd been roped into this as a hostage against my will...
<Piers> And if Poseidon hadn't shipwrecked me, I might still be back in Lemuria.
<Mia> How many lives were changed forever, how many lost... just to light this beacon?
<Isaac> I know the Wise One feared wars and strife from this... But looking at this light now, I just feel resolute. We've done something incredible here today.


And as Mars Lighthouse finishes lighting...

Kiddos from the first game!

It's Megan and Justin! Remember them? No? Oh, okay.

The two older people nearby comment on the kids talking to nobody and completely disregarding their safety advice.

The kids were told to head to the lighthouse and also warn everyone else away.

No idea who by yet, but also we gotta keep people away from Mt. Aleph.

Oh hey that sorta narrows it down.

<Sheba> Why would the Wise One be warning people away from the lighthouses and Mt. Aleph?
<Garet> Don't trust that clod! It must be a trap, just like the dragon!
<Kraden> What a peculiar warning to give, though. Although I suppose it makes sense, with all four lighthouses lit, the Golden Sun phenomenon will start soon.
<Felix> Right, the lighthouses will focus on Mt. Aleph. And the Wise One, I guess, is trying to keep people from being caught in the blast of this happening?
<Jenna> That still doesn't make any sense! Why would the Wise One force us to kill our parents one minute, then try saving people from the Golden Sun the next?
<Hama> One's actions do not always reveal one's true intentions.
<Ivan> Wait, Hama? Are you there?


<Hama> Do not lose hope yet, Jenna. The Wise One would not have gone to the trouble of bringing your parents back from death only to have them die again.
<Jenna> What do you mean?!
<Hama> I believe you will find out soon. But for now, you must also leave Mars Lighthouse, with your parents.
<Felix> That's easier said than done. But we'll try.
<Jenna> Hama... thank you for everything.
<Hama> It is I who should be thanking you, on behalf of all of Weyard.

They don't also show Jupiter Lighthouse here. No idea why, honestly.

But before anyone can pick up an arm or leg, things get exciting.

<Felix> Let's act fast! Piers, help me carry Mom!
<Piers> Right away!
<Felix> Jenna, you and Sheba take dad. Mia, Garet, take Isaac's dad. Isaac, Ivan, you'll have to guard us all.
<Isaac> Wait, I have a better idea! I can just use the--- oh no.
<Garet> What's wrong?
<Isaac> I can't Retreat! I don't have the Mars Star anymore, and that's where I got that power!
<Garet> Oh, what? That'd have saved us all time for sure!
<Felix> Don't worry about it! Just grab a parent and book it!

The light intensifies, and Garet starts panicking about someone grabbing his wrist. But before anyone can figure out what he even means by that...
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golden sun , i guess

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