Golden Sun: The Lost Age (Switch): COMPLETED!

Golden Sun: The Lost Age (Switch): COMPLETED!

With the original Golden Sun ending on a cliff-hanger, and The Lost Age carrying on directly from it (or rather, from slightly before the end of the first game), I didn’t really have a choice but to start it immediately afterwards. Well, not quite immediately, as you can transfer your saved game from the first game to the follow-up but this required half an hour of password input and correction.

Not that you see the benefit of the password for some 30+ hours of gameplay, because you don’t start as the same characters. Instead, you take on the role of one of the antagonists of the first game, Felix. He’s not really bad, and was assisting the real bad guys under extreme duress, but his goal is still the same if for a different reason: to light the lighthouses. Of which there are two remaining after the original title, if you recall.

The basic gameplay remains the same as the original, and in terms of art, music, and even most of the baddies encountered, there’s not much different here. It’s very clear that both games were planned to be a single game but then for Reasons (cartridge size, development deadlines, MONEY, whatever) it was split in two, Sonic 3 & Knuckles style. What is new includes a couple of new characters for your party, some additional “magic” moves (like being able to make ropes span gaps), and – much later in the game – boating.

Yes, at some point in the story you gain access to a ship, which lets you travel most of the world by sea, docking at beaches and (I didn’t realise for a long time until I did it by accident) sailing up rivers. Later still, your ship gets the ability to fly allowing access to even more areas although you can’t fly over cliffs, trees or mountains so you still have to initiate “flying over land” from a river or beach.

Dungeons and towers are similar to the first game, although I found them generally more puzzle-focussed than before. I also found it less obvious where, on the overworld, I was supposed to go next. It is, especially once the boat gets involved, a less linear game, but it’s harder to discern exactly where the next sensible location to visit would be. That is part of the reason why I took about 40 hours to complete The Lost Age, compared to about 20 for the original, but the game is obviously far bigger anyway. The map is larger, there’s more to do, and you seem to spend much more time back-tracking and revisiting towns than you did before.

The final boss was an imposing three headed dragon, who could attach sometimes four times in one round. That sounds tricky, but actually, a combination of “heal everyone” Alchemy and the odd djinn heal/buff/defend every turn and actually, it was easy. I made much more use of djinn this time around (spoiler: the saved game transfer pulls in those you found previously once your party is bolstered somewhat in the later part of the game, so you end up with loads), mainly in the form of Massive Summons for bosses.

With the full game, as both parts are, complete, I can say it is still fantastic. I don’t think I ever got round to The Lost Age when it first came out (I bought it, but Other Things were played), so I’ve come to this after playing more modern JRPGs and can say it still holds up well. There’s no point playing The Lost Age without the first game though, so you really need to treat it as a single massive adventure.

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