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Golden Sun: an introduction

Djinn, the Medieval Pokemon

Where do those graphically badass summons come from? That would be the collectable little monsters, the Djinn. Though their name implies they’re like the mythical Genies, they’re more like a mix between Pokemon and the Espers from Final Fantasy VI.


Above: The four types of Djinn - (clockwise from top left) Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Mercury

It seems pretty obvious that the Djinn owe much to Nintendo's Pokemon, as these monsters are hidden throughout the world. Sometimes they lay tantalizing out of your reach at the end of a dense puzzle, other times they lurk in a patch of forest in the overworld you may never set foot in. After you’ve fought  and beaten them, they join up with you, and wanting to catch them all has driven many a player off the path of the main story for hours.

Above: A Djinn in the wild

Their similarity to Espers and other such Final Fantasy power-up systems becomes evident after you catch one. Each can be given to one of the four party members and are either "set" or put on "standby." If they're set, the character gets a mild stat boost, but on standby they can be used as powerful summons in battle, though the boosts are gone. The choice of what to assign to whom, and how to use it, adds even more depth to the combat.


Fun Fact: The four elements are key

Each Djinn is assigned one of the four elements - Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Mercury - as their alignment, as are all four members of the heroic squad in both GBA games. Though assigning a Djinn to a character of the same alignment gives big benefits, certain mixtures of Djinn yield different results, even opening up whole new classes.


Above: Mia, the Mercury attuned party member from Golden Sun


Magic: not just for battles anymore

As we mentioned, magic spells during fights look pretty awesome, but they're used nearly as much outside of fights. Psynergy, which refers to all magic in GS, is used in dungeon and town exploration, often as a way to get to the next area if you have the right power. Gaining new powers and knowing when to use them is key to completing the tale.


Above: Official art of Ivan using the Whirlwind psynergy

Many of these powers involve moving pillars around so the hero can hop from one spot to the next. Unlike many RPG heroes of old, the protagonists of GS can actually move their feet from the ground, though they can only cover one square of movement per jump. So using the Move psynergy to pull a platform closer, or Freeze to create one out of ice, or even Reveal to see a hidden one, is invaluable to finishing your quest.

Other spells enable you to grow a set of vines to climb up, pound a pillar blocking your way into the ground or find secret doors or hidden treasure. You can Carry or Catch vital items, Cloak yourself in the shadows, or use Whirlwind to clear a path. All these choices added a huge amount of depth to the game, proving that – while it reminded you of RPGs of old – it had improved on the formula.


Fun Fact: Reading minds is a blast

While not the most useful of psynergies, one of the coolest was Mind Read. Mostly it worked as a vague hint system; when a villager's dialogue wasn't helpful enough, reading their minds could give you a clearer idea of what they meant. Or you could amuse yourself with reading the mind of, say, a sheep to find out how much it loves the grass it's eating. Either way, you've got to appreciate the extra care the game takes to give nearly every non-player character a second set of dialogue that may never be read.

41 comments

  • Kytl - January 15, 2010 2:57 a.m.

    i wonder how many games this series will get, if the first 2 are really a prologue, DAMN I CAN'T WAIT
  • secretsearcher - October 16, 2009 10:31 p.m.

    OK. These are totally EPIC games. I just finished Lost Age. It knocked my socks off :D @EnigmaticMan You really have to play through both games in order to appreciate the series. In my opinion, the second one is far superior.
  • Charon - August 3, 2009 4:36 p.m.

    Best games I ever played, even for the 10th time xD. Genius. Anyone who never heard of those, go get them somewhere!
  • dreamgor - July 16, 2009 9:18 p.m.

    what can i say that hasn't been said already: awesome article, golden sun pwns, the biggest announcement was GS DS (look at the trailer feature for a detailed description of my reaction the trailer the first time i saw it)
  • AgentLym - July 16, 2009 12:22 a.m.

    Can't wait can't wait can't wait!! I recently just bought both games for GBA, so... No DSi for me until I transfer my data over! lol
  • Firebaby - July 16, 2009 12:10 a.m.

    Ok i made an account here just so i could comment on this because i freakin love golden sun so much i just finished the playing the first one the other day for like the 1000th time i was so lucky that i pretty much stumbled on these games by accident when i was like 10 or 11!I cannot wait for GSDS Ps golden sun saved my baby she was on fire but i was just able to cast "Douse" and it worked out fine...
  • shelcobsohn - July 15, 2009 9:03 p.m.

    i was addicted to golden sun for like 3 months when it came out. finally i can have another rpg worthy of my precious time. send me things. 8==D rofl
  • RandomIdoit - July 15, 2009 7:43 p.m.

    I've never actually played this series, but it does look very promising. Just another Ds game I'm looking forward to.
  • darkwolf908 - July 15, 2009 5:40 p.m.

    Golden Sun is one of the best games ever...thanks for makin the article=]
  • iluvmyDS - July 15, 2009 3:31 p.m.

    I agree with Amnesiac, best damn thing announced.
  • AssassinRoxas - July 15, 2009 3:16 p.m.

    ive played the original two and it was preety good, now im waiting to see whats in store for the ds version of golden sun!=) golden sun rules
  • Fizzmonkey - July 15, 2009 2:05 p.m.

    i loved the first 2 games (couldnt beat the final bosses tho...) but i forgot how awesome the games were until i saw this.
  • The_Lurcher - July 15, 2009 8:57 a.m.

    @ Turkeykilla7: Thankyou I am Enlightened. ReCAPTCHA: Party Bedtimes (New game for the wii)
  • super0sonic - July 15, 2009 5:44 a.m.

    I enjoyed playing GS until the random battles threw me off. I never got to the second one. But i am looking foreword to this game.
  • AHolyMonk - July 15, 2009 4:39 a.m.

    This looks awesome! I played the original, and its one of my favorite games of all time. Old GBA games that are being revived like this and Advance Wars really make me embarrased to consider myself a gamer since I dont have a DS. Somethig on the to-do list now...
  • Defguru7777 - July 15, 2009 4:26 a.m.

    Golden Sun 1 and 2 were some of my favorite games of all time. I can't wait for GS DS.
  • secretsearcher - July 15, 2009 1:59 a.m.

    Ok wow. I can't believe I never gave this series a try. It looks awesome. I guess I'll have to get the first two and play those before I play the DS one. Thanks for the article, GR. I wasn't sure whether to give these games a try or not. P.S. Those summoning scenes were impressive.
  • GoldenMe - July 15, 2009 1:40 a.m.

    Thanks for making an article about this series. Camelot did a great job making such a excellent story and amazing gameplay. It was one of the only game on the GBA that looked so great. I played both, beat both, wanted to have a threesome with both, and I can't wait till it comes out.
  • MechGyver - July 15, 2009 12:56 a.m.

    Satch Boogie is good though
  • c03n3nj0 - July 15, 2009 12:10 a.m.

    Man I really need to get the original two.

Showing 1-20 of 41 comments

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