My Top JRPGs ~ #3 ~ Golden Sun

Back in the day, it was common to see RPGs on multiple discs when they hit home consoles. Because these games were so expansive, they normally stayed on these consoles and rarely ventured elsewhere. However, Camelot took a chance by creating a truly amazing story, stuffing it gloriously into two Gameboy Advance carts, and calling it Golden Sun.

The story starts in a pretty typical fantasy RPG world where people live in peace since the powerful magic known as alchemy has been sealed away. However, two fiends raid the mountain where the four Elemental Stars, which are the cornerstone of alchemical power, are being kept. Their theft shifts the world off-balance. The two culprits, Saturos and Menardi, have the goal of resurrecting alchemy by using each Elemental Star to light its corresponding Elemental Lighthouse. A set of teenagers who live in the town that guards the Stars manage to hold on to one during the attempted theft, and rather than stand idly by, they decide to set out on a journey to stop the lighting of the Elemental Lighthouses and keep alchemy from reawakening.

The battle system is pretty typical of RPGs, but it really shines when Djinni are added into the mix. These creatures can be found all around the world and they each possess a set of elemental abilities. You can use the abilities or summon the Djinni in battle. Mix and match different Djinni of different elements and you can summon some powerful creatures to unleash some devastating attacks. All of this is presented in a sort of 2D/3D pivoting battle screen that is unique and visually stunning.

Our brave heroes enter into a fight, showing us the unique battle camera angles.

Another interesting addition to the battle system is that you can use a cable to connect two Gameboy Advance systems together and fight against a friend’s party, or even just put your warriors into a special area where you can fight some powerful monsters. You can also use the cable (or a code that is given to you when you beat the game) to transfer all of your characters stats and belongings to the second game Golden Sun: The Lost Age, so you can continue the adventure without feeling like your hard work was all for nothing.

Besides the battles, there are a few other special things about the game. There are many dungeons with an almost endless array of puzzles, putting your creativity to the test as you are forced to use the spells the Djinni offer you to influence your environment in a way that will let you continue on. This can include anything from pushing platforms out of the way (or into a certain spot) to making vines grow that you can use to climb up or down. You will also find special coins that you can use in a specific town to play several mini-games that will earn you everything from money to special items and equipment you can’t get anywhere else.

The music in Golden Sun is fun and addictive. You’ll never get tired of hearing the music, and it blends in well with all of the different settings you will come upon in your journeys. The graphics are gorgeous, colored in a way that makes everything stand out. When put together with the unique and enjoyable gameplay, it makes for a portable adventure that feels too big to fit in the palm of your hands.

If you haven’t tried out the Golden Sun series yet, now is the time to do it! One of the biggest highlights of last year’s E3 was the announcement of the tentatively titled Golden Sun DS, which will be the third and newest addition to this incredible game series. This is one JRPG that is often not given the credit it deserves, and is truly a diamond in the rough. Go dust it off and check it out for yourself!

Buy yourself a copy of Golden Sun DS via this link and you’ll be supporting Chu*Blog at no additional cost to you!


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