Golden Sun: an introduction

The good guys are the bad guys and vice versa

Though originally intended as one game, the narrative was split between Golden Sun and the sequel (subtitled The Lost Age). When that happened, Camelot took a cue from its masterpiece in three parts, Shining Force III, and decided the second game would finish the story from the opposite side. As we go into more detail, a warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Above: Isaac and friends in Golden Sun

The first game's hero was Isaac, a young man who lived in a village near an inactive volcano, which held the key to the sealing away of the power of Alchemy, a magical pseudo-science from long ago. After his parents are kidnapped, he and three fellow travelers hunt for the kidnappers, who are trying to break Alchemy's seal. The villains also have Isaac's childhood friend Felix, long thought dead, and have forced him into fighting his boyhood chums. Isaac eventually beats the kidnappers, but not before they light two of the four Elemental Lighthouses. Thinking he had freed Felix, Isaac asks him to join them; Felix refuses and decides to continue the quest to unleash Alchemy. The first game ends with Isaac in hot pursuit.

Above: Our two heroes, Isaac (left) and Felix (right)

Once The Lost Age came out, some might have thought you'd continue as Isaac, but instead you take over as Felix and his own party of four. Now you're out to finish lighting the Lighthouses to break the seal, with the former protagonist becoming one of the many obstacles in your way. Midway through, you find out that Isaac's plans were misplaced, and the first villains were accidentally right in their selfish goals: the world of Weyard is dying without Alchemy. Despite the possibility that freeing it could instantly destroy everything, it's a risk Felix wants to take, and eventually he even convinces Isaac to turn on his master, who wants to uphold the seal.

Above: Happy endings all around (images from Golden Sun Universe)

This kind of change between the two games again shows how grown-up Golden Sun was, despite its kid-friendly looks. After the pretty standard RPG storyline of the first game, the heroes learn to not be afraid of the unknown, and despite the risk involved, it's better to have freedom of choice than to slowly die worrying about the dangers. Ultimately the theme was maturity, developing the ability to embrace possibilities and change rather than keeping the status quo - an idea that Golden Sun played subtly and well.

Fun Fact: The past was the prologue

Interest in a third Golden Sun game has been brewing for a long time among devoted fans, and not just because they love the series. Though there is closure to the tale of Felix, Isaac and their friends by the end of Lost Age, some plot threads were left dangling, seemingly to be picked up in a later game. Additionally, the game makers mentioned in interviews that the first two games were just the beginning of the real story. Our bet is that the main character will be revealed as Isaac's son, who must fight the abuse of Alchemy, and that an old running buddy of his father’s –  the opportunistic Alex – will be an enemy. We can’t wait to find out next year.

Above: The kid in the center sure reminds us of Isaac, even down to the color of his clothes

Jul 14, 2009

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  • candyman - July 14, 2009 8:24 p.m.

    And suddenly I remember why I loved it so much.
  • kompressorlogik - July 14, 2009 8:26 p.m.

    Yes. VERY yes.
  • Turkeykilla7 - July 14, 2009 9:18 p.m.

    I had forgotten all about Golden sun. Man that game was awsome. I got to go download the rom right now. SUPER PWNIES!!!! @The_Lurcher Blasphemy is claiming that you are better or have the attributes of God. Dont worry you didnt even touch the subject. Also Golden Sun Wasnt really that well known. Or atleast not as popular as titles like Final Fantasy. It was still super pwnies though. You should get an Emulator and try it out.
  • GamesRadarButtercup - July 14, 2009 10:23 p.m.

    Meh.,. annother game that undereprsnts equines
  • iKOemos - July 14, 2009 10:54 p.m.

    God I loved these games when i discovered them way back in 2004. They took up all my spare time. Since then I have been longing for a sequel but I was worried that it would be a waggle fest on the Wii. Good thing the game is still portable .... oh god I can't wait for this game especially after Bioshock 2 was pushed way back.
  • MechGyver - July 15, 2009 12:54 a.m.

    Bawitdaba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy, Bawitdaba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy, Bawitdaba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy,Bawitdaba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy...? Kid Rock is a retarded!
  • MechGyver - July 15, 2009 12:57 a.m. ...fukk
  • dweller - July 15, 2009 1:43 a.m.

    Man I love Golden Sun. I've played the two games several times. And I didn't have a link cable so writing codes to keep my stats and stuff took a looooooooooooong time.
  • GaMeRGuY1oh4 - July 15, 2009 1:44 a.m.

    BUTTERCUP!!! Anyways, I'm quite excited for this game. Do any of you know it's release date? The game does look awesome though.
  • idunno - July 15, 2009 1:57 a.m.

    Shining Force was absolutely amazing and now that I know Golden Sun is from them I will definitely try it out.
  • Hydrohs - July 15, 2009 2:03 a.m.

    When you guys Tweeted this at E3 I swear I came. I'm so excited. The other two characters kind of remind me of Garet and Mia. reCaptcha: Slinking commissions
  • winterwolf - July 15, 2009 3:48 a.m.

    I'm glad to see this series getting some attention, because it is DEFINITELY worth playing. I usually don't enjoy older RPG's with random encounters and all that, but Golden Sun rocks. Can't wait for the third!
  • Amnesiac - July 15, 2009 4:12 a.m.

    Golden Sun DS was my favorite announcement at E3. I am SO psyched about this.
  • Xeacons - July 16, 2009 9:03 p.m.

    Cannot wait. I can't. The thing that still amazes me after all these years was how I got to know Golden Sun. I picked it up on a whim. I thought it just looked like a cute RPG to kill time. Little did I know how I would fall in love with it's rich storyline, amazing graphics, and unbelievable gameplay.
  • Thirteenth - July 17, 2009 7:33 p.m.

    Played through the Golden Sun games once more last week, nice article. ^_^
  • Fuhjem - July 17, 2009 7:44 p.m.

    I love Golden Sun, sooo much! It's one of the only two JRPG franchises that I like.
  • SolidSpartan - July 17, 2009 11:19 p.m.

    That game was awesome. The first time I played Golden Sun The Lost Age was on a comp. Freakin bosses are hard! >.< ReCAPTCHA: "twitched standing" I've never twitched while standing.
  • EnigmaticMan - July 19, 2009 8:33 p.m.

    I don't understand, whats so special about Golden Sun. Fallout 1 + 2 which came out six years before were far superioir RPG's and there are a plethora of superior JRPG's on the GBA including Final Fantasy VI. While Golden sun is a typical Dungeon after dungeon JRPG complete with cliched characters and unituitive interfaces. Well, at least it was colourful.
  • Cyberninja - July 14, 2009 8:22 p.m.

    golden sun is awesome thanks for making the article
  • The_Lurcher - July 14, 2009 8:37 p.m.

    Finally I've been wondering why there was so much fuss over this game. I know it's blasphemy to say this, but i have never heard of this game, does anyone know if it was big in the UK? I know of certain games that are more popular in some countries more than others maybe thats why.

Showing 1-20 of 41 comments

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