Review by IAX

"Welcome to my world; Psyenergy, bad guys, and big hairy apes."

I know all of us waste time on playing video games rather than doing homework, chores, and other things like that. I can say that this has happened to me several times. Most recently this happened with “Golden Sun” for the Gameboy Advance. Being honest, I’m willing to admit that this game actually took a priority in my life to finish after I finished playing through my first session with it. The experience I had while playing it was amazing as well. I can’t recall enjoying a portable this much recently (excluding Zelda: A Link to the Past). This will probably replayed by me for a long time to come, maybe even until I lose my virginity. Hell, maybe I will even play this on my deathbed. Bah, anyways, I am going to let it be known that I highly recommend this game. It gets a spot as my favorite portable RPG of all-time slightly behind the original Pokemon for some reason. Golden Sun plays amazingly, getting you into the story with its depth and amazing variety of characters that will get know and react to. The game is an amazing graphical wonder as well. It looks good to the eyes, and doesn’t hurt them with bright colors and things like that. The sound is this game is good, though the music does get annoying while traveling around considering the theme doesn’t change on the World Map. Golden Sun’s sound effects are good, but not really up to par. The music is also good, though a bit repetitive. The gameplay, as what we are used to seeing from Nintendo, is divine. The control is excellent and the game is bit easy. Replay Value in Golden Sun is fairly good. It easily warrants a second play-through with it’s Battle Mode and the story mode. Overall, Golden Sun surpassed my expectations. I thought it would be a decent RPG worth the money I paid for it. I was wrong. It’s the first true classic on the Gameboy Advance and with the release of the sequel nearly upon us, I can’t wait a damn bit longer. I’m going to have to though. X_X;; Give it at least a rent today or die you stupid ass who owns a Gameboy Advance but not Golden Sun.

Story- 9/10- Yes, it’s a sectioned review. I tried an essay review for Golden Sun but it just didn’t work out for me. Bah, well anyway, Golden Sun’s story is excellent and draws you into the game making you are actually into the world of Psyenergy and seemingly impossible things that occur here. You start in a prologue of sorts, explaining some things that effect the game happened and why. In the prologue and the game itself, you assume the role of a character with a default name of Isaac that can be altered to whatever your liking is. The prologue shows that a boulder is about to roll over Isaac’s home village of Vale. (OH NO! WE’RE GOING TO DIE!) On your way to the plaza, where you supposedly will be safe. You meet up with Isaac’s ally and friend Garet, who is the first person to join you on your quest. Garet is a humorous and brave person at the same time who is known for being to main voice of the group, regardless of the fact that you are leader. You are on your way to the plaza when you see a kid named Felix hanging on to a rock in the swift river that runs through Vale. Some other villagers ask you and Garet to go find some help in the plaza because they have run out of Psyenergy. You go to the plaza and find someone who has Psyenergy. He gladly helps but the game doesn’t give you his name. You go back to help Felix and while the guy does try, he fails miserably when Felix loses grip of the rock and falls off a waterfall. The boulder then decides to dramatize this even more by falling now and ravage everything in the town. It falls while destroying everything in its path. After the chaos ensues, the other villagers ask you and Garet to go get some help. On your way to get help you see some people named Saturos and Menardi (later the game’s antagonists) talking about how they want to get something in the Sol Sanctum which you will learn about later in the game. You and Garet overhear them talking and they decide to kick your ass because they thought everyone in town was dead and the fact that you overheard them talking. You get your little asses kicked because they use some insanely powerful Psyenergy. The game will resume three years later when Saturos and Menardi turn up again. What will happen how and how will it lead to an insane quest like many other games? You have got to play it to find out.

Golden Sun’s story is high-quality. The beginning is good, and it progresses along with it flowing very well. Character development in the game is very good for all the central characters, even Garet. Overall, the story warrants a nine. As excellent as it is the story isn’t flawless, though still very good.

Graphics- 8/10- Golden Sun is a perfect example of a game that shows how powerful the Gameboy Advance can be. And the fact that it was one of the first Gameboy Advance games also shows that the graphics of the Gameboy Advance have room for major improvement. Overall, Golden Sun is excellent graphically for an early GBA game. Everything in this game is detailed well, except for the World Map when you are traveling on it. The trees and mountains look like flat cardboard cutouts. It could have been done better on the Gameboy Color. Other than that minor little flaw, Golden Sun appears perfect. Everything is colored perfectly; it’s not too dull enough to cause it to look like utter crap but not too bright; not on the level of causing a person seizures. (Remember the Pokemon episode with Porygon? Anyone?) The designs in the game are perfect. Everything looks GBA-SNES level. Characters look like ones straight out of an anime, which is fine with me, just as long as they look like people. Behind the odd facial expressions and spiky hair lie characters that look excellent and realistic. Levels are colored and design excellently. Rocks are gray and dull while most of the cliffs are brown and have roots and other things growing out. That’s just saying environments look realistc and are presented flawlessly. In short, the graphical excellence of Golden Sun is good but not flawless. It calls for an eight. Don’t change my mind. I may regret it.

Sound- 8/10- It’s the GBA. What the hell do you want?

Music- 7/10- Lately I’ve been noticing that the games I play have either horrible, repetitive music or well-composed music that is pleasant to the ears. Take the repetitive from the first statement and the well-composed part from the second statement. Put it together and you get the music from Golden Sun; well-composed but repetitive. It presents itself in a wonderful manner though. The repetitiveness can be avoided if you really enjoy the music. The only places where it does get repetitive are the World Map and the Dungeons you’ll be working in. The Dungeons are actually all right if you focus on the game, but the World Map can be horrible when it comes to repletion. Other than that the music is impeccable. Battle Themes suit the mood of the battle with fierce and intense music. Despite it’s repetitiveness, the World Map theme is an excellent when it comes to traveling. The moods and the way the music is composed are excellent. The music is worthy of the seven it gets. Let us all enjoy the other part of the sound more….

Sound Effects- 9/10- The music is nothing more than a shade to distract you from the sound effects in the game. This is where Golden Sun shines in its quest to appease you ears. Everything with the sound effects is superb with no noticeable flaws but it just doesn’t feel like perfection. The Psyenergy sound effects are especially noteworthy. Appeasing to the ears, they are. The Psyenergy effects sound like various things like swords flying, volcanic eruptions, an abrupt rain, and even a tornado. The reason that is so many different kinds of effects is because there is so many kinds of Psyenergy but other than that there are no other noticeable effects. They are all fairly good; rest assured but not all that noteworthy. It’s good for enough for a nine. Pleasant to one’s ears but not perfect, it can’t definitely be improved in Golden Sun 2.

Gameplay- 10/10- Despite all of the other aspects of this game not being perfect, the gameplay is the closest thing that comes to it though. Though nothing is perfect in this world, including the gameplay from the Golden Sun. Though it is near perfect, it just can’t cut the level of perfection. There are two basic modes in Golden Sun, story mode and battle-mode. Battle Mode is the mode where a player can battle random enemies from the game or a friend using the link cable. I might as well explain how the battles work right now as well. This applies to both battle-mode and story mode. There are a few commands that can be done. The Fight Command lets use your weapon to do damage. Psyenergy lets you use a type of Psyenergy to attack or use an effect. Djinni lets you use the effect of a Djinn to attack, alter stats, recover energy, etc. Summon lets you use a spirit of an element to cause immense damage. Your Djinn must be on Standby to use this though. Item lets you use an item of some kind to do an effect. And Retreat lets you run away like a little wuss. That’s Battling in a short explanation. In Story Mode, you can play along with the main game and battle to get to the end. It’s like any other Story Mode where you must complete the quest you need to do. Golden Sun is in no way difficult. It’s actually fairly easy. Even the first time, through. The control is easy from the beginning but you may have a tad bit of trouble navigating the menus at first. By just exploring them and seeing what they do can easily overcome that. It doesn’t have any major flaws that are noticeable. It gets a 10. I enjoy it, I can guarantee you will too.

Replay Value- 8/10- Replay Value for Golden Sun really depends on how you enjoyed the game. But hell I’d want to play it again.

Buy, Rent, or Screw All Together? –Buy- The game takes a fairly long time to be completed. You probably need to buy it to finish it.

Pros
-Everything not listed below.
Cons
-Repetitive Music
-Some Graphical Design flaws
-Hard Menus

GameFAQs Score- 9/10- The sun really isn’t golden, it’s platinum….Ignore that…Bah.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/04/03, Updated 07/26/03


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