Review by Mr. RPG

"Dedicated to going into violent drunken rages"

Golden Sun is an RPG brought to us by the people at Camelot. Responsible for Both Mario Golf and Tennis for both the N64 and the GBC. Also the makers of the mediocre RPG for the PS, Beyond the Beyond. Knowing this, you might be wondering if Golden Sun would be taking the same path.

Gameplay:10 When playing this game you can easily note many comparisons to Beyond the Beyond in it. The battle system is turn based and it plays much like the battle system in BTB did. Only this time around it feels a lot more fun and they scrapped all the button mashing in the battles that were in BTB. ( Which you had to master in order to have any chance of beating the game.) You have the usual options in battle. Attack, Psynergy, ( Which is your magic.), Defend, Run, and Item. Aside from that you also have a few other options. They are Djinn and Summon. With all of the different Djinns in the game you can find, you can either use them in battle to do special things like raise you attributes, as well as using them to cast some powerful summon spells.
Summoning is bit more complex than in previous games I've played with the ability. When you are able to use Djinn, you can either have them set to be summoned or so that you can use their special abilities. And any Djinns that you have summoned will need to be given time to recover before you can use them again. The only real problem with this, is depending how you have the Djinn set, your stats will either go up or down and you may lose or gain new psynergy.

One other cool thing about Djinns that I didn't mention before (Because the first time through I didn't find out about this.) is that also depending on how you have your Djinns equipped on your characters you can change their classes allowing them to use different psynergy. So whereas before I thought only Mia and Isaac had any healing power, if you equip it right Ivan or even Garet can have some. One example is if you equip Garet with 6 Water and 1 Fire Djinn he will become a Luminier which gives him access to a large variety of healing psynergy.

Psynergy is another thing that makes this game unique. During the game your characters will learn many different abilities which you have to use in order to solve puzzles to get to different areas in the game. Like using Ice to freeze water in order to create platforms or the ability to move far away objects without you being next to them. As well as many others.
You can also go to a special battle arena where you can challenge other players characters with your characters, (provided you have a link cable.) or you can fight monsters to see how many you can beat without giving up or dying.
I have heard many people say that this game is not very long. I would have to disagree with that. It took me over 35 hours to beat (Both on the 1st and 2nd time through.) and I didn't even do everything you could on my first time through. Of course a lot of that was probably because whenever I got to a new place I always took time to level up.

Story:7 The game starts out with both you and your friend Garet in the village of Vale. A horrible disaster strikes revolving around four elemental stones being stolen. After this happens you and your friend must leave Vale in order to recover them and keep the bad guys from lighting the Four Lighthouses across the world, which will cause even more disaster.

I have to say that I really hated the bad guys in this game. Not because I didn't like them (Because Saturos is very cool looking.) but because of the way they were. It's not that they were especially evil, it's just that they were so arrogant that I couldn't wait till I got to the end of the game so that I could finish them off.

When you beat this game you can definitely tell that things in the game are unfinished. And I liked this a lot because it gives the game the perfect opening for the sequel.

Graphics:10 the games graphics are the most beautiful I have seen on the GBA so far. The battle animations are done very well. When your guys attack they go up to the enemy and slash at them. I really loved it when they would do critical or special attacks. Sometimes I would even shout battle cries when they did because it looked so cool to me.

The battlefields that you fight in are also very detailed. Where ever you run into a monster that’s where you’re fighting at. And excellent example of this would be when you run into an enemy in a forest area. You will be in the forest and you will be able to see beams of sunlight coming through the trees. It’s very pretty.
The summon spells are all very nice looking and probably don't last more than 15 seconds.

When important characters speak you will see portraits of them. They wont change facial expressions, but they still look pretty good. They reminded me a lot of the Shining games made for the Genesis and the Saturn.

Sound:9 This game has got some great music for the GBA. The only GBA game I've heard with better tunes is Circle of The Moon.
The sound effects are things like you striking down the enemies, spell effects, and their death cries.

Difficulty:7 This game starts out easy enough, but once you get further on it can get pretty tough. How tough it gets will depend on what Djinn you have equipped on your characters. This was my main reason for having such difficulty the first time through.

Replay Value:8 While this game doesn't have the greatest story out there, the excellent battle system made me want to keep playing it even after I beat it. Also finding all of the Djinn can be pretty tough to do. So chances are you probably wont find them all the first time through.

Rent or Buy: If you are into RPG's at all then this should be a worthy purchase, but if you still aren't sure about it, then rent it and see what you think.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/20/01, Updated 11/11/03

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