"A Must Have!"

Introduction- Golden Sun: The Lost Age picks up near the ending of the first Golden Sun. Its about a group of Adepts(people who can summon magic through their minds) who venture out on a quest to light the two remaining elemental lighthouses(the first two were lit in the first Golden Sun) in order two save the world, which is the exact of opposite of your quest in the first part. Surprisingly enough, you control one of the considered ''antagonists'' in the first game. For those who played the previous game, you will have the option of putting in data from the first game to The Lost Age. The easiest way to do so is via link cable, but if you are unlucky enough, like most people are, who don't have two game boy advance consoles, you can put in passwords, ranging in three different lengths. Gold being the longest, with 6 pages of characters, but you will able to access everything including stats levels, and the all important djinn, which you will need in order to access a bonus dungeon, together with two very powerful summons. Then there are the silver and bronze passwords, which are not as long, but does not have all the characteristics you need when you get further into the game. Furthermore, putting in a password will trigger events that will only occur in The Lost Age if you completed certain events in the first Golden Sun, and therefore be able to collect some items that are only obtainable through those events. But for those who haven't played the first game, there is a lengthy recap at the beginning of the events in the first Golden Sun, and you can easily catch up with the story as you progress on with the game.Whew, yes, that was long and now we shall go on to the good part. =)

Gameplay 9/10- The dungeons in this game have become insanely harder compared to the first Golden Sun. Sometimes you end up wandering around for quite awhile before you realize where you're supposed to go. But in doing so, you gather more items, summons, levels, and of course the djinn, to make your travels easier. The djinn system is back, and its been improved, especially with the summons. In the first game, you only get to summon creatures that are related to the djinn's elements. But now you can go and explore caves specifically to find stone tablets that give you the power to summon combo creatures, which are stronger and more powerful than element-based summons. There are more available classes now, which provide you with better and more powerful attack and healing Psyenergies(which is basically the magic that the Adepts use in the game). The dungeons, as I've said before, have become harder and using the field psyenergies dominate your dungeon solving and exploration.(Field psyenergies are psyenergies that you can only use outside of battle.) The controls are very easy to learn and once you get into it, it will be hard to put the game down. You can save anywhere in the game, except during battles and the sometimes annoying dialogues that can last for twenty minutes at certain points in the game. I also kinda got annoyed at the battle system. When you target a certain enemy and it dies before the character gets its turn, you automatically defend instead of attacking the next available enemy. But the exploration and the summons make up for it and does not greatly affect the smooth flow of the game. After a certain point in the game, you get to control eight characters and therefore lets you make the ultimate team of fighters and healers. Once you get into it, it will be hard to let yourself out of the world of Weyard.

Story 9/10- As what I said before, your quest in Golden Sun: The Lost Age is the exact opposite of the first game. Here, you control Felix, who we thought died in the early parts of the first game, came back, and traveled with the the villains Saturos and Menardi, who wanted to light the four elemental lighthouses and whose motives we didn't know till later on. You try to prevent them in the first game as Isaac, whose father, also supposedly died in that storm with Felix, because you believed that once all the lighthouses are lit, and the power of Alchemy is released into the world, wars and other chaotic events will destroy Weyard. As you move into The Lost Age, however, you wonder why Felix still wants to light the elemental lighthouses even though Isaac defeated Saturos and Menardi. You realize then what it is through you encounters and many journeys across Weyard, in which you are now able to control a ship, which you weren't able to do in the first game, and as you meet and join forces with a mysterious water adept named Piers, the plot thickens. You want to save the world, but how if Alchemy will create wars and strife? It is up to you to find out.

Graphics/Sound 10/10- This game surpasses what you think the game boy advance's capabilities are. The graphics are stunning, and the gripping soundtrack makes you enjoy the game even more. The summons are amazing and when I first saw one of the newer and powerful summons, I stared at my game boy advance screen in disbelief. I did not expect it to have graphics in such an outstanding manner for a handheld console. I knew then that this game will rise as one of the best gba games there is available today, and yes, it has become one so far. As stunning as the summons are, the weapon unleashes also blew me away. I was impressed with the soundtrack as well. It seemed that its every music was fit for where you are. In dark dungeons or grim areas for example, the scary and mysterious music fits it very well. But what I enjoyed the most are the lighthouses and bosses music. In the lighthouses, the music is very encouraging, as if its telling you go out there to move on, and get to the top, which encourages me to do so, especially since the lighthouses in this game are really hard. The bosses music are very enjoyable to listen to, and at times you forget that the boss your facing is extremely hard to beat, and you just go out there and fight with a smile on your face.

Play Time/Replayability 8/10- Every great rpg has a minor flaw. But hey, rpgs are not meant to let you play the battles over and over again. You are supposed to complete the story, right? Completing the story itself took me at least 45-50 hours to complete, with all this dungeons and side quests that give you special summons to do. There is a lot of things you can explore and complete before actually completing the game itself. There is also the battle mode, where you can fight against monsters you have previously beaten. You can also link up with a friend to pit your party against theirs and test your battle skills. Golden Sun: The Lost Age is definitely a great game, and I would certainly want to pick it up from my collection and play it again.(I actually have already played it for a second time, and a third time is definitely part of things I will do in the future.)

Final Recommendation- There's no question here. If you are an RPG fan, then you definitely have to buy this game. I'm sure that you will enjoy it as much as I have. Its one of those games that you must have, and yes, will treasure. Yes, it has minor flaws, and many people criticize it. Hey, all great and popular games get criticized anyway, right? So despite all that, all I can say that Golden Sun: The Lost Age is a fun and enjoyable game, with an excellent storyline that will make you ask for more. I hope to see more Golden Sun games in the future, and I'm sure that so will you.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/03/04

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