Golden Sun
Game Info
Platform(s)
GameBoy Advance
Publisher
Nintendo
Developer
Camelot Co. Ltd.
Genre
RPG
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Mild Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Fun battle system
• Deep 'class' based system
• Feels like a much bigger game

The Bad

• Lots of stale clichés
• Only half of the game

 
Grade
B

In Camelot Software's Golden Sun you are thrust into the world of the stereotypical silent protagonist Isaac. Isaac is accompanied by his childhood friend Garret as they begin to set out on a very common, stereotypical adventure. You'll notice I used the word "stereotypical" twice in the last two sentences. Well that's because Golden Sun can be summed up by the phrase "stereotypical RPG". Camelot took no risks when developing this game. They have one of each character generally found in every RPG ever made. The silent protagonist, a dimwitted brute, the reserved yet intelligent offensive magic wielder, and finally your spunky, kindhearted healer. Although Golden Sun is somewhat cliché, the familiar feel that the game offers is very welcoming and will entice you to play for hours and hours.

Gameplay: I honestly can't say that I've ever encountered a GBA game that controlled poorly. This game is no exception. One button is cancel, the other is confirm, the two shoulder buttons scroll through different categories in the menu and are shortcuts to magic powers while on the map. There is nothing particularly faulty with this aspect of the game to speak of.

Audio: The entire game has a pretty decent score of familiar sounding music. At one point I could swear that it was music from one of the early Final Fantasy games, but perhaps not. The only gripe I have with the audio was that when a character was talking the GBA would make different sounding beeps to give the characters 'voices' however you will learn to overlook this very quickly.

Visuals: This is an area in which GS really shines. This game looks every bit as good as an early 2D PSX RPG. The spell and battle animations are very well drawn and a couple were just astounding (namely the spell "Ragnarok"). The character sprites are all well drawn and seem to be animated pretty well for a game on a screen the size of a business card. This game easily looks better than any of the late SNES or Genesis games.

Other: The storyline in this game is pretty awful. At the onset the story line is enthralling and keeps you on the edge of your seat, but after a few hours the storyline seems to drag on and makes your character accomplish completely superfluous tasks. I thought we had a world to save? Oh, good point, we have to do this completely random side quest before we can save the world. At the end of this game I did not want to finish it, not because it was so grand that I wanted to keep enjoying it, but because I had no motivation to. This game is merely the first half of a much bigger game. The ending has no resolve to speak of. However if you have a friend, you can transfer your end game party to the next game. If you don't have a friend, I hope you like copying 6 page passwords, cause you'll get one. On a much brighter note, the 'job' system in this game is pretty innovative. It is more or less like a combination of the materia system from FFVII and the guardian force system from FFVIII. The Djinni you don't have equipped can be summoned, however the ones you do have give you more powerful stats and better classes. The possibilities are more or less endless in what your party can end up looking like.

Final Thoughts: This is a pretty solid game. If you were a fan of the ORIGINAL (that's the first one) Final Fantasy game on NES, this game is a must. For everyone else, it's a decent RPG that is worth a play through. If you can rent this or find it used, go ahead. The game can be completed in the low 20's with ease. This is definitely a solid game, however I would recommend Tactics Ogre or Breath of Fire II over it.

- - Casual James

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