Golden Sun: The Lost Age
Previously on Golden Sun: Our intrepid hero, Isaac, leads a feisty band of young adventurers on a quest to rescue two lovely maidens, Jenna and Sheba, from the clutches of the vile Mars Clan. During the climactic showdown at Venus Lighthouse, a cataclysmic tidal wave assaults the land and Jennas brother craftily escapes with the girls to safety. What will become of the two groups of heroes?
Got all that? OK, now youre ready to tackle The Lost Age. Even if you finished the first game (and especially if you didnt), youll need this refresher course, since the sequel thrusts you directly back into the dense story. Theres an interesting plot twist, though: This time around, you control the former damsels in distress. Youll explore mysterious continents, hook up with some newfound friends, and master a bevy of new magical attacks. Plus, youll eventually meet up with the first games party and manage two adventuring groups at once.
The Lost Age may be an immediate continuation of the first game, but the graphics, sound, and gameplay mechanics have scarcely evolved. This isnt necessarily a bad thing the original Golden Sun looked pretty sweet, had an epic (by GBA standards, anyway) soundtrack, and offered a solid mix of fun battles and tough puzzles. This one follows that same pattern, but on a grander scale the dungeons are more challenging, and the Djinn spell effects are even more impressive, making it a top-notch continuation to the GBAs finest RPG series.
Unlike most RPG follow-ups, The Lost Age isnt a complete, standalone sequel. Instead, its essentially the second act of one gargantuan story (much like that other fantasy megahit, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers). It picks up mere moments after the first Golden Sun, which is cool for fans of the first game, but confusing for series newcomers. Being a direct continuation also means it neither looks nor sounds any better than its forerunner. These nearly identical production values disappoint slightly then again, I prefer improved, challenging gameplay over new visuals any day. And Age completely delivers in the gameplay arena; its a much deeper and more rewarding RPG this time around. Youll be bombarded by countless Dj'inn Summons, useful new Psynergy powers, and wondrous places to explore. You have to work hard to earn everything, though, as Age sports some remarkably tricky puzzles and labyrinths. Im a sucker for difficult dungeons, so these brain-benders kept me enthralled (and occasionally baffled) throughout. I especially like having more playable characters, and here you control second-stringers Felix, jenna, Sheba, and Piers at first, and eventually add the original four GS characters. At this rate, Im game for another chapter or two in the future; the finest portable roleplaying franchise ever deserves to continue.
Whoa, who are these people again? Even though I did finish the first GS, it still took a few hours before I fully recalled the events that had transpired way back in 2001. (Maybe 15 months between releases was a bit too long, Nintendo.) Confusing plot aside, Lost Age is a stellar RPG with its priorities in the right place its lightning-quick random battles arent the main source of challenge. Instead, youll spend most of your brainpower solving incredibly clever puzzles in the games dungeons. Its not going to win any originality contests (this looks, sounds, and feels nearly identical to its predecessor), but when more of the same means more top-notch roleplaying, I cant complain.
I never solved the original Golden Sun, so this sequel left me pretty confused from the get-go. The events that took place at the end of the first game are important to this one, and the long (and hard-to-follow) text prologue that introduces Lost Age didnt help much. Once l did finally come to grips with what was going on, I thought the story was fine, but nothing special; the same goes for the abundant random battles. What really makes the gamei-click, though, are its ingenious puzzles (consider investing in a hint book) and lush, stunning visuals. Lost Age is no Final Fantasy, but it is the best RPG you can get on GBA right now.
Download Golden Sun: The Lost Age
The Lost Age will start right where the original Golden Sun left off, with Isaac and friends striving to release the power of alchemy in order to save the world. Customize the fighting style of your party and solve various Psynergy-based puzzles throughout the game by collecting even more Djinn and learning their powers.