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Golden Sun

Golden sun was originally released on the Nintendo Gameboy Advance system, and was designed to bring a new RPG series into the world that could rival any. And I am pleased to say that it definitely brings a lot to the table. Developer Camelot had the game in the works almost a full year before the release of the Gameboy Advance back in 2000, which says a lot for the effort put forth to bring this awesome game to the public. Although it was a typical 2d RPG style game, it still boasts tons of quests, upwards of 4 characters that join your party, GBA link cable capability, hours and hours of game play aside from the main story, and a plot that actually leaves you caring about the characters.

The basis of the story is quite simple and straightforward, and is hard to truly describe without giving away spoilers. But the simplistic and slow start quickly leads into a lengthy and deeply involved story that fans of RPG games will love. The main character Isaac is forced into a run for his life situation when a mountain/volcano seems to mysteriously erupt above his hometown. But as gamers, we all know that events in games like these always lead to much more. Isaac and a few of his friends are quickly plunged into a larger conflict and are dubbed the classic group of “Heroes”. Throughout the story you will encounter and befriend several other adventurous characters that all have their own unique personalities and abilities, some of which will join your party.

The game features the familiar random enemy encounters for the combat, but it really isn’t as tedious or as much of a pain as a lot of other Japanese based RPG’s. You will have the basic attack and defend options, use item option, magic option, and a summoning option. Your summonings are based upon a Pokemon style creature collection system. The 4 types of monsters you collect are called Djinn. They represent the basic elements consisting of wind, water, earth, and fire, and the more you have the more powerful your magic and summoning capabilities become (even though collecting most of these Djinn is optional). You must equip these creatures to your characters much like your normal equipment, but depending on what combination of them and who you attach them to will open up new attacks in battle so trying them all out is really fun and challenging to see what you can do.

There are plenty of puzzles to make your way through in the course of the story, most of which will revolve around getting to the illusive Djinn. Rolling logs, destroying plants and vines, and moving stone pillars with magic are just a few obstacles that you will find and although this may sound simplistic there were several parts of the game I found myself stuck and had to put forth a decent amount of time and effort to get past. I didn’t find myself doing the classic grind for experience that is the typical thorn in the gamer’s side found in a lot of RPG games. But after beating the game several times, I found that if you don’t do many side quests or hunt for Djinn, your party may be seriously challenged the second half of the game causing many hours of frustration.

The graphics Camelot brought forth into the game are quite simply amazing considering the time the game was released and that it’s on an 8 megabyte cartridge. The overhead view presents beautifully rendered and rich environments that even today rival anything that was ever released on the GBA system. The battle sequences feature a moving and rotating camera that follows the action giving the player the sense of being right there in the action. The effort put forth to make your summoning and magic attacks pop was well worth it, and present more to look forward to as you unlock new abilities. This is definitely where Golden Sun truly shines.

In closing the only real complaint I personally have with Golden Sun was the absence of character voices. But with all the other wonderful aspects to the game, I was able to quickly overlook it. Truly able to rival any RPG produced up to its release and boasting beautiful sound, graphics, storyline and game play elements, I would highly recommend this game to any RPG or Game Boy Advance fan. Golden Sun still can hold its own even today with two sequels, one of which is on the Nintendo DS. 7.5 Out of 10

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