Portable Review

Golden Sun: The Lost Age


In 2001, Camelot brought us a splendid little gem of an RPG known as Golden Sun to the Game Boy Advance. Among the GBA’s slew of RPG adventures, it was arguably one of the better turn-based outings the genre had seen in a while. It was also rather lengthy for a GBA game, clocking in at an average of about 22 hours to finish to completion.

The second game in the series, Golden Sun: The Lost Age, isn’t so much a sequel as it is the second act to a play. If you loved the story from the original, then you’re in for more of the same, but with a twist that I won’t delve into too much.

The action picks up just after the events of the first game with Alex, one of the former bad guys, his sister Jenna, their new acquaintance, Sheba, and their mentor, Kraden, experiencing the final events from the first game, ultimately ending up on an island adrift in the ocean. After it makes landfall, it is up to the group to gear up, find the remaining elemental lighthouses, and save the world in the process. Haven’t we heard something like this before?

Apart from a different cast of characters, the game plays nearly identically to the original. The primary difference is that you can import your group from the first Golden Sun for later use. I can’t really get into too much detail without giving away the storyline, but you can mix and match group members, keeping four active and four on standby. And yes, you can switch party members in and out of active status during battles. However, when all is said and done, it is still another turn based RPG with easy to navigate menus.

Back again is the Djinn collection system. These Djinn do basically the same thing as their predecessors: duplicate superior effects to spells you already have, and call insanely powerful summons. All good, but there are a total of 44 Djinn to find, plus there some are available from the first game, just in case you didn’t get a chance to find them all, or just didn’t want to enter the seemingly endless password to port over your group.

Nothing has really changed graphically between the two games, either. While they looked remarkable in 2001, they have noticeably aged by 2003. Don’t get me wrong; the graphics still look great, but one would think Camelot would have improved on the original in the two years between the two titles. Hero and enemy sprites all look decent, if fairly pixilated, and spells and weapon discharges all look nifty. Once you begin learning summons, you can summon large spell effects that are cool the first couple times you see them, but get stale rather quickly. Thankfully, you can skip them.

The audio is a blast too. Not only do we hear many familiar tracks from the original, there are plenty of new midis abound as well. Camelot obviously treated the game’s soundtrack with a lot of TLC. The music is engaging, and generally suiting to your current situation. The quasi obnoxious ‘Squeak speak’ is back. I still love how they tailor the pitch and tone to each character. If you a female is speaking, you’re guaranteed a higher pitch. If male, you can count on it being more baritone.

The game does not offer a great deal of game play. There are a couple extras, such as the optional boss that you receive from finding all the Djinni (from the first AND second games), and a couple lottery style vendors you find throughout the game. Is it worth spending another thirty hours to work your way through the game? Well, there is plenty of map to explore, and not everything on it is required to beat the core quest. As with every RPG, that’s up to the player. I would personally choose to replay both games only after not having played either in a long while. This game is definitely worth picking up for a good RPG adventure.

-Originally Posted by Getahl


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