Video Game: Golden Sun aka: Golden Sun The Lost Age
Ages ago, or so the stories tell, the power of Alchemy ruled over the world of Weyard...
—Prologue ofGolden Sun: The Lost Age
Golden Sun (known as Golden Sun: The Broken Seal in Japan) is a 2001 RPG from Nintendo and Camelot Software Planning for the Game Boy Advance, who you may recall also made Mario Golf and Tennis as well as Sega's Shining series. The sequel, Golden Sun: The Lost Age, was released in 2003, while the third game, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, was released in 2010 for the Nintendo DS.Golden Sun tells the story of Isaac, a teenager from the village of Vale, gifted with the power of Psynergy, and his journey to stop a dangerous group of antagonists from releasing the ancient power of Alchemy and to rescue his friend Jenna. The resulting journey takes him and three companions through many lands and cultures to the Elemental Lighthouses, the seals preventing Alchemy's release.The sequel/second half, Golden Sun: The Lost Age, changes the viewpoint to that of Felix, one of the enemies from the first game, and has you trying to release the same power you wanted to keep sealed in the first game, for equally good reasons.Golden Sun: Dark Dawn takes place thirty years later and stars the children of the characters from the original game, who are collectively called the Warriors of Vale.Although the games lack the character depth and intricate plotting of many Role Playing Games, they feature large, vibrant worlds, a deep character class system, superb music, clever Zelda-style puzzles, and some of the best graphics and sound to be found on the Game Boy Advance. Definitely worth a look for fans of the genre, although non-fans may find the Random Encounters and Level Grinding annoying.The game's battle system revolves around the presence of Djinn, a creative but blatant attempt to cash in on the popularity of Pokémon with a dash of Final Fantasy VIII's Guardian Forces thrown in for good measure. There are a number of Djinn scattered throughout the gameworld (28 in the first game alone), and you Gotta Catch 'Em All. Once you have them, you equip them to your characters, which alters their Character Class depending on how many Djinn of which element you gave them. Of course, in battle you can also deploy your Djinn for burst damage, Status Buffs, etc, and if you had enough unattached Djinn floating around, you could then use Summon Magic for extra beat-down. ...Of course, deploying Djinn removed them from your character, reducing their stats and even changing their class mid-battle, so there was a trade-off involved.There is a character sheet, which all are invited to add to help out in.Please post any Golden Sun: Dark Dawn tropes on the game's respective page.
Tropes within the first duology:
Absent Elves: While gnomes are random monsters, Loho has dwarfs (Who are explicitly called such in an item description), Prox has some kind of dragon-people and there's even a town of werewolves, the only mention of elves is a relatively weak weapon called the "Elven Rapier" and the relatively-weak-yet-practical "Elven Shirt."
Aerith and Bob: The antagonists, especially: you have Alex and Felix alongside Karst (the most normal of the others), Saturos, Menardi, and Agatio. Though it's somewhat justified as they're a slightly different civilization from a distant corner of the world, and possibly not even human to boot.
Alas, Poor Villain: Agatio and Karst. To elaborate, after they are unknowingly killed by the player party in dragon form, both fully set aside their anger and beg Felix to light the Lighthouse for them. For Agatio, the whole situation's pretty darn depressing even though he isThe Generic Guy, and Karst gets it even worse - her death involves Felix comforting her, warming her with the heat of his hands before finally heading off. Following all that, both of them vow to stay alive until they see the last lighthouse lit - it's unclear if they did, since it would have arguably revived them the way it did Isaac's dad and Felix and Jenna's parents.
Of the trees that are horrified, by far the ones that have it the worst are the three trees that you meet along the way to Kolima. When you first see them, they're all stacked on top of one another - with the bottom tree thinking about how heavy the others are. You have to leave them there to bear the weight for days. And then they get knocked over and one of them falls into the river, to be washed away and most likely killed if you don't tow it back to shore!
The "cool with it" side of the spectrum, on the other hand, includes... A child who happily realized that her mother can't send her to bed if she's unable to move. And another that was upset with being turned human again because he enjoyed how good all the water he was planted in tasted while he was a tree. These villager's mileages sure do vary.
Child: If we were all trees, there'd be no more wars. 'Cause we'd be trees.
An Ice Person: The Mercury Clan (such as Mia and Alex) and the Lemurians (such as Piers) tend to be this.
Anime Hair: Largely averted, the more outlandish hair styles and colors belong to Adepts.
Another Side, Another Story: The first game takes place through Isaac's perspective, as he chases down Felix. Meanwhile, the second game takes place through Felix's perspective, as he's chased down by Isaac.
Anti-Grinding: The first game's first dungeon turns off Random Encounters when all three party members reach a high-enough level. This can be avoided by killing off Jenna.
Anti-Villain: Saturos, Menardi, Karst and Agatio, ruthless in their aim to release the potentially dangerous force of Alchemy to the world but motivated by the fact their hometown, and eventually the world, would deteriorate and collapse over time if they didn't.
Antlion Monster: In the Lamakan desert, one can use Reveal on circles of rocks to see if they contain life-restoring oases. Sometimes they are revealed to be traps where an antlion's pincers are waiting; if it is, the party is forced to enter battle (sometimes Isaac is seen running as he is dragged backwards while the antlion Says It With Hearts). The antlion monster itself is a Big Creepy Crawly the size of a car.
Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Used by the end of The Lost Age when the party is twice as large as the 4-member battle cap, the other four are a "backup team" that you can swap in one of each turn, and if your entire front party is annihilated your back party automatically switches in.
Atlantis: Lemuria, which is discovered and explored in The Lost Age.
Atlantis Is Boring: the opinion held by some Lemurian children (who, being long-lived, find living on an ever-decaying island quite tedious).
Automatic New Game: Both games start by prompting the player to name the character, before proceeding into a New Game.
Awesome but Impractical: Iris, the game's ultimate summon, simultaneously completely heals your entire party (all eight, including dead party members) AND deals an insane amount of damage, more than three times as much as a level four summon. The drawback? It requires 13 standby djinn to unleash. If you don't set them to standby outside of battle, you'll need a minimum of three turns dedicated solely to setting up for this summon. And don't forget that setting djinn to standby temporarily gimps your characters stats. Also factor in three turns of recovery after doing the summon before your stats return to normal, and you've got an incredibly high cost summon that, while nice, isn't nearly worth the effort when you could accomplish the same thing with mundane but effective healing skills.
Badass Normal: The Colosso gladiators, Briggs, and Moapa (alongside Briggs and Moapa's unnamed "Sea Fighter" and "Knight" goons, respectively) lack any form of Psynergy. With the exception of the first group (due to being a trio of DuelBosses), they are not noticeably less of a threat than standard bosses.
Briggs can be a slap in the face to some players. Especially those who engaged in some accidental Sequence Breaking and got to him underleveled and underequipped.
Bag of Spilling: Averted in that a data transferring feature at the end of the first game (either by Game Link Cable or by a HUMONGOUS 260-character password) lets the party of the first game keep their equipment, levels, stats, and everything else when they are added to the new party near the end of the second game.
Baleful Polymorph: The Kolima incident, which involves the village of Kolima getting transformed into trees.
Batman Gambit: Briggs pulls one on his own grandmother to get her to oppose Felix & Co. in The Lost Age. Backfires twice— once when Felix & Co. win, once when Obaba finds out about his shenanigans.
Beef Gate: Poseidon in The Lost Age, as he bars the way to Lemuria and is 100% invulnerable without a certain weapon that you need to scour the Eastern Sea to find. Even with it, he's still quite difficult.
The Serpent is able to recover all of its HP each turn unless you solve the puzzles to expose it to light. And even after you do, he still regenerates quite fast if at least three of the four beams don't reach him.
Behind the Black: Frequently pulls the old, "Door the protagonist should really see but the player can't".
Betting Mini-Game: Lucky Dice (Dice-throwing for coins) and the Lucky Medal Fountain (tossing coins and Lucky Medals into a fountain for equipment) are introduced in Tolbi in the first game. They return in different towns in the second with a new game, Super Lucky Dice (random dice-throwing and betting on if the value would sink or rise).
BFS: The aptly named Huge Sword from the second game and its Unleash effect, "Heavy Divide". Also, Felix and Isaac's Ragnarok/Odyssey Psynergy spells. And the colossal sword held by the multi-elemental summon Catastrophe. And the Excalibur's "Legend" unleash. And the Gaia Blade's "Titan Blade" unleash. And the Darksword's "Acheron's Grief" unleash.
While the Western release lacks the overt Cthulhu Mythos reference, the Tomegathericon is still a neat treat. "To Mega Therion" is Greek for the Beast, as in the one in the Book of Revelations.
The city of Contigo has a Meaningful Name. "Con tigo" is a Spanish phrase meaning "with you". In Spanish-language versions, the city's name is changed to Mitdir, from the German "mit dir" with the same meaning. Contigo/Mitdir is the city where Felix's group and Isaac's group finally settle their differences and team up with each other for the final parts of the game.
The name of the werewolf town in Lost Age, "Garoh", is possibly derived from the French "loup-garou", meaning werewolf.
The emblem on the antagonists' armor can be seen as the kanji for "fire", fitting their element.
Similar to the "Fire Bracelet/Breath" issue from Final Fantasy, there are several enemy moves in the first game called "Blessings" (Fire Blessing, Water Blessing, Evil Blessing), where the foe would spout said "Blessing" from its mouth. These were properly translated as "Breath" attacks in the second game.
Menardi's "Death Size" attack. This was fixed for Karst in The Lost Age, who used the exact same attack.
The Lost Age had Dullahan's Fulminous Edge attack mistranslated as "Formina Sage", and his Dark Contact attack mistranslated as "True Collide". Both were corrected in his appearance in Dark Dawn.
Possibly "Elven Rapier?" Seeing as its special attack is "Vorpal Slash," and rapiers are only used for stabbing, it may be a cultural form of this trope.
The Venus-aligned "Fear Puppet" is translated as "Fire Puppet". Its attack sequence shows a ghost projecting out of a voodoo doll to induce fear on the enemy, not spitting fire.
Blow You Away: Jupiter Adepts. Ivan and Sheba's wind-based powers, for starters.
Also, the Jupiter Djinni Gale deals damage and has a chance to literally blow the enemy "far away!", removing the enemy from battle.
Bonus Boss: Three in the first game and several in the second, including the hardest boss in the series, all but one located in a...
Bonus Dungeon: Several, and one in the first game even has its own Bonus Town outside (Lunpa)
Boring but Practical: Due to certain pieces of equipment having the capability of boosting Unleash rates (certain combinations allow up to one hundred and four percent chance to Unleash, normal attacks generally outclass attack Psynergy (with the exception of psynergy such as Astral Blast, Planet Dive, and Cutting Edge, which factor weapon damage into the damage of the psynergy) in terms of sheer damage. Especially deadly when combined with the Sol Blade's Unleash effect, which does three times the normal damage every time. Granted, many of the endgame weapon unleashes are even more fantastical (and outright necessary if you want to win quickly) than most attack Psynergy.
Passive PP regeneration items are extremely unexciting yet highly valuable against most of the end-game bosses.
Probably the most boring but practical strategy is to utilize shield Djinn. Flash gives you 90% damage reduction for one turn, and Shade gives you 60% damage reduction for another turn. Have two party members spend their actions alternating these two unleashes while a third heals any damage that you take, while the fourth party member chips away at the enemy's HP. You're essentially invincible against anything that can't mess with your Djinn, but don't expect this method to be any fun.
Learning equipment slots and making use of them all. Undershirts aren't very fancy (with the logical exceptions of the Mithril Shirt and the Golden Shirt in TLA), but give good stat boosts.
The default class, as in only equipping djinn to the character of that element. They may not offer anything fancy, but they are pretty reliable when it comes to psynergy and elemental power.
Boss Remix: Karst and Agatio's leitmotif is remixed when Felix's party finally gets around to fighting them.
Brilliant but Lazy: Sunshine is a genius blacksmith, but his laziness prevents himself and his family to become rich from his talents.
Broken Bridge: Several straight examples that occur in the overworld map and fix themselves later. Also done differently with a raised drawbridge, and the guy who would gladly lower it is unable to do so because the curse on a nearby town has transformed him into a tree.
Buffy Speak: Kraden amusingly refers to the Black Crystal that controls Lemurian ships as "The thingie...that makes it go."
But Thou Must: In every cutscene you're presented several yes/no choices of opinion that don't affect anything other than the next two lines of the dialogue, except for once early in the game, where refusing the quest results in a Non Standard Gameover.
The Lost Age spoofs it if you answer no on every question up to a certain point.
There is one scene at the beginning of the first game where Jenna will keep asking Isaac the same thing over and over until you says yes.
The same goes for Flint and Echo, the first Djinni in each game. After enough refusals, the Djinn force themselves into the party anyways.
Double-subverted in Champa in the second game. When Obaba asks Felix to leave, the player can choose to say "Yes" and walk away without a fight. The problem is: The plot can't progress until after the boss battle at Champa, meaning that at some point, Felix will have to go back and refuse to back down.
The town of Madra in The Lost Age, at least early in the game. As if the tidal wave isn't enough, it is also attacked repeatedly.
Among the fans, it is Mikasalla, dubbed the most useless settlement ever. That place is often being made fun of even though some other towns were not much better in the useful department.
The Cameo: The Lost Age has a sprite sheet for Linkin game but unused. Also, the fairy Mia summons early in the previous game is Primula from Shining Force III. Additionally, in the Japanese version, the Bonus Boss of the first game, Deadbeard, is called Talos, which is the name of a recurring boss from the Shining series (which would explain why he looks less like a pirate and more like a giant suit of armor).
Can't Catch Up: When Isaac's party joins in The Lost Age, they may either be a significant ways behind Felix's party or completely outlevel them, so unless you're willing to grind your first or second party them they'll probably stay that way (the inactive party only gets half experience.)
Chain of Deals: An example in The Lost Age involving the various islets in the Eastern Sea, which results in accessing a Bonus Dungeon containing a Bonus Boss and a summon tablet on one of the islets.
Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: At some point between falling off a lighthouse and washing ashore on an island, Felix switched out his old sprite (which made him look like he had stick legs when viewed from the side) for one with baggier pants and a blue cape.
Changing Gameplay Priorities: In the early game, managing Djinn is very important and very difficult, because of the way the game assigns new Djinni that you find. Come endgame, you have enough Djinn to keep summoning various gods over and over again, and it's much easier to line up the correct numbers of Djinn for massive stat boosts.
Chaos Architecture: Averted. The first opus only takes place on one continent (and the northern part of a second continent), while the second one takes place all over the world except that continent and area.
Character Class System: A very elaborate one based around equipping the Djinn— having more Djinn equipped unlocked more advanced classes, while putting Djinn in standby or recovery modes disabled the classes. Different combinations of Adept and Djinn produce different classes. Many players simply equip every party member only with Djinn of their own default element (default classes), which makes using Djinn for their own abilities more convenient at the expense of limiting the versatility of the characters, while others experiment to find classes suited to their play style, which could result in very powerful characters that get utterly ruined the moment they try to use a Djinni's power.
The Lost Age also has equipment items that, in conjunction with Djinn, can allow party members to access specific classes. These are useful because no matter how many Djinn a character uses they'll always be in some form of the item-specific class.
Piers suffers under the class system— Mercury Adept cross-class options are primarily mage-types, and he's a warrior-type character. Jenna is a mage-type Mars Adept whose cross-class options are mainly warrior-types, but she doesn't have it quite so bad.
Certain utility Psynergy, such as Whirlwind and Growth, are only usable by specific classes, hampering use of the class system. Dark Dawn addressed this issue by making these powers character-specific rather than class-specific.
Played straight: At one point in the first game, Master Hama speculates that Saturos and Menardi were able to pass through the Lamakan Desert without Reveal note the spell that the heroes use to pass through the desert, and the Proxians do not possess because their Fire Clan Psynergy shields them from extreme temperatures. In the sequel, Agatio and Karst, who are also members of the Fire Clan, freeze to death in Mars Lighthouse because the Baleful Polymorph and subsequent battle with the heroes they had been subjected to left them too weak to maintain this ability.
The Chessmaster: The Wise One and Alex. The latter is using both the heroes and the villains to light all four lighthouses so he can go to Mt. Aleph and gain ultimate power. It's not the most complex plan, but it actually works... or at least it would have if not for one tiny detail: the former altered the Mars Star and saved Isaacat the beginning of the first game so that the ultimate power would be split between two vessels, making Alex weaker than the Wise One. The former also arranged for a Secret Test of Character to ensure that the heroes were committed to their task and ready to complete it. That's how to win in just three moves, kids.
Chest Monster: Played straight with Mimics in several areas in each game. They drop good items, though, so it's worth battling each one.
Cliff Hanger: The first game's ending, which occurs at a point where you'd assume you were halfway through the game.
Climax Boss: The first fight against Saturos in the first game and the fight against Karst and Agatio in the second game, both at the top of one of the elemental lighthouses.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In general, the elemental affinities are treated this way. Adepts will have hair, eyes, and/or clothes that follow the color scheme for their element.
Mars/Fire is red, orange, or yellow— the "warm" colors. The main exception is the Mars Clan, though they do all have red eyes.
Venus/Earth is yellow, brown, or plant-green. Isaac is also a Primary-Color Champion (as is his eventual son) while Felix gets green. The only exception is the Venus Lighthouse, which has walls as purple as the Jupiter Lighthouse.
Composite Character: Some of the summons are a composite of deities from several myths; Atalanta is mixed with Artemis, Iris is a cross between her namesake in Classical Mythology and several solar deities and Coatlicue's animation is inspired from Aphrodite's birth from the sea.
Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: In the first game, Layana tells Ivan off for trying to rescue Hammet from being held for ransom with the explanation that whatever quest he's on with Isaac & Co. must be more urgent, even though she doesn't know what it is. In The Lost Age, his sister Hama tells him off for trying to find out more about his birth family for similar reasons (though at least she knows what's going on).
Returning to Vale after a certain point in the game gets you yelled at by Isaac's mom for backtracking instead of continuing to look for the others.
Isaac's father and Jenna's parents and brother are killed off right in the intro. Then it quickly turns out that the brother survived and seems to be an enemy. Then in the second game, it turns out the trope is completely subverted: the parents and Isaac's dad also survived and were made hostages, and saving them is a big motivator to the quest. So the kids are not actually orphans... then they accidentally almost kill their own parents themselves near the end of the game.
Poor Isaac's mother has to almost force her son to keep going on his quest and is a source of worry, as she falls gravely ill in his absence.
Ivan is an orphan and his adoptive father is kidnapped as you meet him, but the trope is toyed with: you're told that you can't do anything about it and you should just leave the father behind, but Ivan worries a lot, and you get an optional sidequest to free his father and ease his mind; and in the second game Ivan's mysterious parentage is a plot point.
Sheba is also an adopted orphan and joins the group because she was kidnapped, but she's an inversion of the trope: in the second game, she refuses to drop by her hometown because her worried adoptive family would force her to stay.
Piers is a straight and extreme example: he spends the first half of the game trying to go home, then when he finally does, he learns that his mother just died and he quickly gets exiled.
Mia would be a straight example, having simply no mentioned family at all... but she is the one character who is sad to leave (she says farewell to her two young apprentices) and it's more a case of "conveniently rid of her town-healer duties".
Dark Dawn implies that Mia and Alex are related, but since Alex doesn't live in Imil, the trope still applies to her.
And Garet is a complete inversion: he's the only cast member who has a large, living and functional family, but they all encourage him to leave the town and fatherless Isaac gets more angst (since he's leaving his mother alone); then in the epilogue cutscene of the second game Garet comes home, finds Vale destroyed, and thinks for a moment that they all died.
Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: Mind-reading functions much the same as dialogue, typically adding to or clarifying whatever an NPC says. (This can be amusing if you read someone's mind before talking to him, and he thinks something related to a question you haven't yet asked him.)
Convenient Weakness Placement: The Tisiphone Edge (a late-game weapon with a Venus-aligned unleash) can be farmed from Cruel Dragons in the same dungeon the Bonus Boss Sentinel resides in, who has a low Venus resistance. With a specific RNG-exploiting method (see Randomly Drops below) it is very easy to obtain multiple copies of said weapon and since it is a light blade it can be equipped by three-fourths of your entire party (five if Isaac/Felix is wielding the Sol Blade).
After Djinn are used to summon a spirit, they need to recover and are unavailable for use, becoming available one at a time per turn, in the order they were used. The Mercury Djinni Eddy resets one Djinn per character in a single turn.
The Jupiter Djinni Kite gives one character an extra turn on the turn after it's used.
The Bonus Boss Valukar can use your own summons against you, after which your Djinn will need to recover. Thankfully he often uses this ability without waiting for strong, multi-Djinn summons to be available and his speed is nothing to write home about.
In the second and third games, some enemies have abilities that put Djinn in the recovery state one or two at a time. One of the (many) reasons the Dullahan is so feared is because he can force every Djinn on every character into recovery (an ability shared with the Final Boss), not only massively lowering their stats, but also depriving them of Summon Magic, group healing and revive spells.
Corridor Cubbyhole Run: One of the puzzles in the Jupiter Lighthouse involves dodging a statue spitting whirlwinds at you.
Revisited in Mars Lighthouse, with a dragon statue spitting fireballs at you.
Creator Provincialism: A variation that applies to character classes; the Ninja and Samurai classes gets the strongest and fanciest spells while having high stats for everything compared to the others.
Critical Hit: Both normal critical hits and the special attacks each of the weapons may automatically launch on their own.
Crossover Cosmology: The summons features gods and creatures from Greco-Roman, Phyrgian, Norse, Egyptian, Aztec and Chinese pantheon in addition to some demons to the measure.
Crystal Dragon Jesus: Sanctums (usually staffed by priests and monks) that drive away evil spirits, a Clan's worship and protection of its corresponding element/sacred place, calling upon pagan gods to smite thine enemies into oblivion...
Worshipers at the church in Kalay make reference to a shepherd and the people as a flock. One NPC seems to describe the God of Abraham, but doesn't actually know what it is.
Sheba is worshiped in her village as a god-child, due to having fallen from the sky and possessing mysterious powers.
Cutscene Incompetence: No matter how hard you level up Isaac and Ivan in the first game (and transferred the data to The Lost Age); they will always be curb-stomped by Agatio and Karst at the top of the Jupiter Lighthouse.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: More like a heavy strap. If you have access to the Revive psynergy, "downed" characters aren't much of a problem, but during the first half of a game a fallen ally means walking all the way back to the nearest Sanctum to pay a hefty fee in order to bring them back. Waters of Life accomplish the same thing, but those are expensive, and very hard to come by.
Deceptive Disciple: Alex. Exactly who he was disciple to varies by the translation. It's either Mia or Mia's father.
Disc One Final Dungeon: The Venus Lighthouse in the first game. Your party has pretty lavish gear at this point and the lighthouse's background music practically screams Final Dungeon (which is technically true since this is the end of the game), but you discover that after the boss fight, Felix still plans to ignite the remaining lighthouses, Isaac still has to keep his promise to Babi to find more mythical water to keep him alive and Isaac also promised to rescue Sheba. These issues are addressed in The Lost Age.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: At some point, you can choose to pull a tree from a riverbank, so it doesn't float away. It turns out to be a transformed woman who wants to give you a "Special Gift" for saving her. Isaac got a Hard Nut!
Doomed Hometown: Double Subversion. Golden Sun opens with a (mostly successful) attempt to keep it from happening to Vale, then the town is destroyed anyway after the finale to The Lost Age. And subverted again at that point since Mr. Floating Rock warned the villagers of the impending catastrophe beforehand, allowing them to stay out of town before it happens.
Also, an inversion when it turns out that Saturos and Menardi were motivated by the fact that their home town of Prox was on the verge of being consumed by an encroaching abyss, and only the restoration of Alchemy would save it.
Dual Boss: Several times throughout each game, usually against Proxians.
Dub Name Change: Most of the playable characters (Robin, Gerald, Mary, Garcia, Jasmine, and Picard to Isaac, Garet, Mia, Felix, Jenna, and Piers. And those only for the English version. See the character sheet for details.), and several of the Psynergy, itself changed from Energy, to give a better idea of their functions (such as changing the debuffer Psynergy known as "Splash" in the Japanese version to "Break" in English) or to fit within the character limit ("Scramble Beam" in Japanese became "Searing Beam" in English, for example; also applies to several character names).
Dummied Out: Various Psynergy that have no effect outside of the debug room can be obtained via cheating. After beating the Final Boss in the second game, there is a brief sequence where you walk around the final town, Prox; normally, you don't have access to the Mind Read Psynergy at this point (as the two party members with it aren't in the party at this point), but if you hack to obtain it, there are major Sequel Hooks in the Mind Read "conversations" seen here (obviously spoilers are contained within).
Egopolis: The city of Lunpa, named after its founder. Also combined with Sublime Rhyme for some cases, a number of location names sound similar with their leaders'-either due to coincidence, translator's choice or plain laziness in the original names. Examples include Hama of Lama Temple (she's actually from Contigo), Tolbi's tyrant ruler Babi, and Uzume the elder of Izumo.
Elemental Powers: Virtually every major character except (maybe) Kraden is an Adept of a specific Element, meaning he or she can use Psynergy of that element. A lot of monsters can use these too. Depending on Djinn setup, the characters can even use Psynergy they normally wouldn't be able to use otherwise.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Severely downplayed. Most monsters aren't identified with a specific element, and no "Element X does this to that" tutorial is ever given. The only even remotely obvious ingame sign of it existing is the punctuation used in the battle messages when enemies get hit by elements they're weak, neutral or strong against: the said messages will end with !!!, ! and ., respectively. In addition, elements are only weak to the opposing one (Fire takes and deals more damage to Water and vice versa), simplifying things.
However, it's useful to know what enemies are weak to what element when you're farming for loot or experience, since dealing the death blow with an advantageous Djinni results in more Experience Points/money and better chances for rare item drops.
Elemental Tiers: The ultimate weapon in both games is earth-aligned. The Infinity Plus One summon is fire-aligned, but so very impractical (and seeing little use) that the Infinity Minus One summons are used (and more for their effects than straight damage).
End of an Age: The results of sealing off Alchemy and letting the world waste away for centuries.
Enemy Summoner: Several common monsters, and bosses like Briggs and Star Magician. The Bonus Boss Valukar can even turn your own Summons against you, at the expense of your party's Standby Djinn.
Engrish: The people of Xian have a few noticeable lines with odd grammar ("Using much armor is good for them") and use a number of 1- or 2-word sentences in sequence ("Relax. Stay long."). Thankfully, it is done pretty subtly.
Excalibur in the Rust: You can find rusty weapons in The Lost Age, which can be refurbished by the blacksmith Sunshine into pretty decent weapons at the earliest you can find them, but pretty quickly outclassed otherwise.
Fake Balance: The first game isn't that bad with this, but The Lost Age is a serious offender. About 80% of the enemies and bosses are weak against Jupiter and resists Venus including the Final Boss, making Venus-based offenses useless most of the time. This is even more obvious in Dark Dawn, where the Venus mage Himi is difficult to use due to her assigned element and being a mage (mages tend to fizzle out late-game, but she's an Eleventh Hour Ranger).
Fake Difficulty: Everything which can use Djinn Storm is very hard; everything which can't is relatively easy.
Angara is Europe in the West, with Tolbi a budding Roman Empire, and Asia in the East with Xian and the Fujin and Lama Temples connected to the west by the Silk Road. The Ankohl Ruins are obviously Cambodian-inspired.
Gondowan is Africa, with Arabic influences around the Suhalla desert and more stereotypically African influences further south.
Indra, east of Gondowan, is India, complete with a town called Daila for Delhi. Osenia resembles Australia geographically, with Air's Rock in the middle of the central desert.
The Eastern sea features Polynesian equivalents on the various islets and the Apojii Islands, a Japan equivalent in Izumo, and Tundaria for Antarctica.
Finally, the Western Sea has native Americans in Hesperia, and a Mayincatec civilisation in Atteka.
Flunky Boss: Briggs and Moapa, who are accompanied by Sea Fighters and Knights, respectively. The Star Magician, who happens to be a Bonus Boss, also has "Ball monster" minions that fight alongside him.
Food Porn: Looking in the ovens and stoves in both games can get you power-up food items or descriptions of what the people who live there are having for dinner. Some of these can be quite appetizing, others are a bit more exotic.
Felix looked in the oven. It's lamb on the bone, broiled over an open flame. The lamb is golden brown and juicy. They'd probably notice if I took some... too bad.
Felix looked in the oven. Ew! They're frying up bug larvae! It looks awful... but it smells great!
The Foreign Subtitle: An inversion; the first Golden Sun game lacked its "The Broken Seal" subtitle in the English release. Nowadays, said subtitle is utilized by English fans at times to differentiate the first Golden Sun game from the sequels, as well as the series as a whole. The other games kept their subtitles, though.
Foreshadowing: In the Playable Epilogue of the first game, an NPC mentions Champa, a town of pirates on the continent of Angara. One such pirate causes problems early in The Lost Age, and his hometown is visited later.
One of the weirdest, seemingly most random parts of the beginning of the first game goes toward defeating the Big Bad in the sequel, long after it's been forgotten. More specifically, The Wise One has Isaac take out the Mars Star for a moment, then put it back. This was apparently to take a small part of its power and give it directly to Isaac. This means that when Alex takes the power of the Golden Sun in the Epilogue, he doesn't have ALL of the power he's supposed to, and The Wise One is able to defeat Alex.
While you're in Yallam, a group of kids will teach you a song and an oddly specific looking dance. A few dungeons later, you find out that the kids were teaching you how to navigate the Sea of Time and get to Lemuria.
There are Djinn that are fought as Random Encounters on the overworld map in somewhat arbitrary regions that don't look like they could be hiding anything, and there's only a chance they'll appear in battles instead of the usual monsters when you wander in those areas. In The Lost Age, though, most people never realize that the fortune teller in Naribwe is a hint-system that gives a vague clue as to where the next Djinni not yet in your collection is. Just show him one of your pieces of armor.
Killing an enemy with a Djinni unleash of the element it's weak to will give you a major boost in XP, coins, and item drop probability.
Getting into Lemuria in The Lost Age. It involved learning a children's song in some town in the middle of nowhere, which had the way to sail to Lemuria in the lyrics. THEN there's a boss which needs a special weapon to defeat. This weapon was split into three parts, and hidden in three dungeons, so you have to travel the entire world for the three dungeons. THEN, to get through one of the dungeons, you first need to do a sidequest involving ANOTHER hard to beat boss. And when you finally got all the pieces, there's still another boss before you can forge it together. THEN you can sail into Lemuria. Try finding all that out without a guide. Sure, there's enough hints going on, but it's still quite difficult.
Visiting Crossbone Isle before you enter Tolbi on the first game. When you're on the ship crossing the Karagol Sea, you have to pick rowers in a certain order that will unbalance the two teams, sending the ship north. One confirmed order is this:
1. Guy in the green cape on the right side of the room: Hey! You're not thinking of making me an oarsman, are you?
2. Bald, muscular guy on the left side of the room: What? Ohhhh, noooo... Are you going to make me row?
3. The chef: You... You must be joking. You want me to row?
4. The old guy right near the staircase: Out of all these people, you're asking a frail old man like me to row?
Some Mechanically Unusual Classes are like this. Of course classes like Brute, Hermit and Swordsman are intuitive, but classes like Ninja and Samurainote The best character classes in the game, even better than the Swordsman and Squire series require a specific number and type of Djinn on a specific type of adept. If you did not have the guide (the only official mention of those two classes) even when you discovered this game years after it was sold out, some fans will mock you and say "You Should Know This Already, read the guide dammit!"
Hailfire Peaks: Mars Lighthouse, a fire-based dungeon that has frozen over.
Heroic Mime: Isaac and Felix. Possibly the most ridiculous example of silent protagonists in any RPG, seeing as both talk like anything at times when they're not playable (Felix in the first game; Isaac in the second game). In fact, Felix gives up the idea in The Lost Age's ending and talks to Isaac, Garet, and Kyle to reassure them. Although at some point in both games, when they are assigned the silent protagonist role, they do make some form of expression. Isaac goes "!!!" at the end of the events in the Venus Lighthouse and Felix pulls the classic "..." on Piers after Jenna and Sheba harrass Piers about his age. At one point, Felix breaks the mute hero rule and blurts out "Why?" when someone was explaining the rules to a competition he was in. This is a slight mistranslation when the Japanese version text is just "???".
Hero of Another Story: Humorously, Isaac is presented this way in The Lost Age, at least until he joins your party.
And the Serpent in the 2nd game, if you haven't lit any of the special lights inside Gaia Rock before fighting him.
Oddly enough, both of these are cases of the Lord British Postulate; the first fight is not actually impossible Saturos and Menardi can be defeated, unfortunately when the fight ends your characters are still the ones lying on the ground. The Serpent fight, however, is a complete aversion; given a sufficiently powerful character(most likely New Game+), it's possible to kill the Serpent in a single round, completely bypassing its full health regeneration, and bypassing the zone entirely.
I Did What I Had to Do: When you're faced with the very last boss of the second game, even if you may not have guessed exactly who it is, you probably remember that big dragons tend to be transformed people. And you've already got rid of all the baddies... so this can only be innocents. Unfortunately, Stupidity Is the Only Option. You're even asked afterwards if you knew what you were doing. Whatever you answer, though, be informed that Isaac knew that he was killing his father and your parents and still did it. Even considering the alternative would have been the end of the world, that's... rather cold.
I Have Your Wife: Revealed to be Felix's and Jenna's motivations for helping Saturos and Menardi light the lighthouses; their parents and Isaac's father are being held hostage in Prox. Note that the Proxian duo didn't mention the whole world-saving stuff to Felix and Jenna. Or even about Kyle to Isaac.
Informed Ability: Kraden says even a single one of the elemental stars would allow one to conquer the world, but you carry one around for the majority of both games with no gameplay-related effect other than having one inventory spot being taken up by them.
According to the Feelies for The Lost Age, Sheba has the power of precognition. Aside from claiming that it's her destiny to help Felix light the Lighthouses, which she later admits was a lie, it never comes up.
Hama states in the first game that Ivan has the power of precognition. Ivan replies that it's news to him. Though by the time the parties meet up in the second game, both Isaac and Ivan point out how much the ability has developed since then. At least for short term predictions.
A popular fanon idea back in the day was that the Adepts were naturally averse to their opposite elements, such as Mars Adepts being afraid of water and Jupiter Adepts hating the desert. Obviously, this holds up in battle, but not so well outside of it:
Garet, the first party's Mars Adept, is the most excited to see the ocean.
Some Mars Djinn prefer chilling out in icy dungeons, likewise the Proxians of the Fire Clan settled far northnote under normal circumstances they can withstand it, otherwise the cold weather can severely weaken them.
Sheba, the second party's Jupiter Adept happily spent her childhood in the desert settlement Lalivero.
Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: And not just the fences. Oftentimes your path is blocked by less-than-knee-high ROCKS. As lampshaded by Feizhi, "Waah! Silk Road! Boulders block the road!".
Played with in the prologue of the first game, when Saturos and Menardi jump up and down cliffs without a second thought.
There's a Venus Djinni in Kolima walled-in by fences that might or might not be the same height as said Djinni. The only way to obtain it is to find a secret passage leading to said spot, and not simply climbing over the fence.
Another Venus Djinn near the Kalay Docks is trapped behind a landslide-which are around Isaac's height at most on the overworld.
Similar thing with the Living Statues - you see the Statue cast frost on a puddle, then proceed to jump up a precipice and onto the frozen pillar, rather than just jumping up on the other side...
Invisibility: the Cloak Psynergy, a pretty lame variant that only works in shadows in a few particular areas (and not at all in the second game).
Invisible to Normals: Psynergy cannot be seen by non-Adepts. This disparity naturally comes into play during a few different places during the story, for instance, when the party first meets Piers. However, if the Psynergy produces any physical effects, then anyone can see it. Whether or not they notice it...
Item Crafting: A straightforward but entirely randomized setup (give the Blacksmith in Yallam a material item and buy whatever he decides to make with it).
It's All Upstairs from Here: With four lighthouses (technically five and a mountain sanctuary) between two games, expect to be doing a lot of climbing.
Compared to the lighthouses, the hugenormous Elemental Rock dungeons involve long stretches of literal mountain climbing.
And the three towers containing the Trident of Ankohl also qualify — though one of them had an elevator, so there wasn't as much climbing involved there.
Katanas Are Just Better: The Kikuichimonji (try saying that five times fast) in the first game, Masamune in the second.
Keep It Foreign: A few of the Japanese names were actually typical Western ones, and got changed in Western releases to sound a bit more exotic. Notable examples include Robin -> Isaac, and Mary -> Mia. In Dark Dawn, we get things like Stella -> Sveta as well.
Kid Hero: Most of the playable cast is 18 or under. The only exceptions are Piers, who is probably several hundred years old and Felix (who is 18), though most of the cast is 17 with implications that the journey has taken a year or more (It is stated to be winter when at Imil and winter to have just ended when in Contigo after lighting the light house with many references to months between the events indicating it is not the same winter, Colosso is mentioned to have taken place last year in the final stretch of TLA), making Ivan and Sheba the only examples by the end.
Kill Sat: The Venus final summon, Judgment, who is a giant knight that shoots a bolt of destructive energy from a lion head on one arm. Eclipse, a giant dragon who fires a breath weapon from low orbit, and Catastrophe, who's Judgment's Evil Twin.
The Law of Power Proportionate to Effort: There's a psychic power that activates exactly once without any effort on the heroes' part and is never heard from again (in Kolima forest, the pollen that turns people into trees starts falling towards the heroes, when Psynergy bubbles grow around them and prevent the transformation).
Leitmotif: Babi has one in the original game, as did Ivan. The latter is also used for Hama because, as revealed in The Lost Age, she's Ivan's sister. Even though a dramatic track plays in the presence of the villains in the same game, it's used for the game's Bonus Boss as well. The Lost Age gives Briggs a laid-back one that plays during one scene, specifically during his getaway scene. The same game gives the game's villains, Karst and Agatio, one that's used more often (and unlike what their predecessors had, it's used exclusively for them), with theirs being a dramatic-sounding one that their battle music is based on.
Lethal Lava Land: Magma Rock, Mars Lighthouse(second half), underground of Taopo Swamp...
Played straight with healing Psynergy. Isaac's (the leader and warrior type of the team) healing psynergy exactly doubles whenever he learns another. Mia's (The Medic and White Mage of the group) healing Psynergy doubles and then pentuples as they are learned.
Inverted in the case of attacks, warriors are weaker than mages early-game but as the player progresses warriors get stronger weapons, superior weapon unleashesnote only if you're lucky and EPA Psynergies (see Lightning Bruiser below) while the mages are stuck with the inferior set damage Psynergies that are expensive to use but only deal pitifully small damage.
Lighthouse Point: They are called lighthouses, but they're really more towers that store magical energy.
Lightning Bruiser: The Ninja class is this, with high stats in everything and two EPAsnote Stands for Elemental Physical Attack, a type of Psynergy where damage is calculated with the user's attack stat and since those who can access this class are mostly warriors(who generally have high attack stat) the damage output is way higher than other kinds of Psynergy while being cheaper to use as well. The Samurai class is borderlining on Mighty Glacier with some traits of a Support Party Member but can be this once they reached a high-enough level to access their own EPA Helm Breaker and Quick Strike. The only really useful spells they don't have access to are healing spells.
Little Miss Badass: Karst has a huge variety of attack (including a One-Hit Kill), buff, debuff (including a Djinn nerf), and heal options, and is generally considered Menardi's Stronger Sibling despite being the younger sister. She's also usually estimated to be a teenager, with some guesses going as young as fifteen (the same age as Ivan and Sheba), making this A case of Gameplay and Story Segregation as Towards the end of the game, Saturos and Menardi are outright stated to be Prox's strongest warriors.
Little Professor Dialog: Eoleo, the son of the pirate Briggs, who is capable of Psynergy (and effectively uses it to break his father out of prison), seems to be unusually verbose for his age... when you read his mind, that is, since he isn't able to talk yet. Talking to the other kids in Champa reveals that none of them are impressed with his "grown-up attitude".
In the first game, some of the kids-turned-trees in Kolima are remarkably philosophical about their predicament, both during it and after they're cured.
Locked Out of the Fight: Agatio and Karst make use of one of Jupiter Lighthouse's traps to separate Mia (who they believed would be their most dangerous opponent, due to her healing magic and Mercury Psynergy) from the rest of the group. Garet ends up falling in as well, leaving Isaac and Ivan to fight Agatio and Karst two-on-two.
Briggs has a leitmotif in The Lost Age that is used in only one of the many scenes featuring him.
It's also quite easy to go without hearing the theme for multiplayer battles more than once, because outside of that it only plays when Isaac's party has to outrun a boulder in the first game and only has the former usage in the second.
The island nation of Izumo is full of references to Japanese mythology, like the story of Yamata-no-Orochi, or the dancing goddess Uzume, which are understandably lost on international audiences.
A literal case regarding forged items. A quirk in the translation leaves out their price tags in Sunshine's wife's dialogue when you want to collect said forged item. The catch is you still need to pay for it.
Lucky Translation: Briggs's gesture upon escaping from jail on the ship is more along the line of flipping someone off in Japan; outside it, it's just silly. Luckily for the scene it's noted how pathetic "payback" it is and adds to Briggs's childishness.
Items forged by Sunshine are randomly-generated. However the randomness are heavily skewered against the player for the more luxurious materials, leading to unlucky players didn't even know stuff like Excalibur exist in the game, resulting them calling the existence of said weapon a total fan-made fraud just because the RNG hates them.
Weapon unleashes. Due to the Sequel Difficulty Spike in The Lost Age, they're the only practical offense method while the summons took turns to set while reducing your stats upon unleash and everything else deal Scratch Damage. But unleashes are unreliably random and equipments to boost said unleash rate are limited and difficult to find unless a certain RNG method is used.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Strangely played. The final boss of The Lost Age, the Doom Dragon, is a monster the Wise One forcibly fused together from Isaac's father Kyle and Felix's and Jenna's parents.
Magic Missile Storm: Several summons that take this form: Mercury hits the enemy with blasts of water, Jupiter with blasts of wind, Atalanta with hundreds of magic arrows, and Boreas with huge chunks of ice.
McGuffin: For the longest time the four elemental lighthouses fulfill this role. It's not until late in both games that their true purposes are revealed, and in either case they could simply be swapped out for any other elementally significant object or location. Your goal in the first game is to reach the lighthouses before your enemy does-unsuccessfully, and lock it so that they can't light it. In the second game your goal is the same: to reach the lighthouses first (but with slightly different intentions).
Meaningless Villain Victory: Alex getting screwed out of achieving god-like powers at the end of the second game by a Chekhov's Gun that was set up at the start of the first game by the Wise One, who altered the Mars Star in some way so that part of its power would be given to Isaac if all of the lighthouses were ever activated.
With a side of Bilingual Bonus: Contigo is a Spanish phrase meaning "with you". Contigo is the city where Isaac and Felix join forces. In the Spanish version of The Lost Age, the city's name is instead the German "Mitdir" (mit dir), with the same meaning.
Also falls under Bilingual Bonus: "Garoh" is possibly derived from "loup-garou", which is French for "werewolf". Guess what all the people who live in Garoh are.
The vast majority of classes depend on what Djinn are attached to the character (giving a Mars Djinni to a Venus character makes him go from Squire to Brute, for example). Most non-standard classes require all but two Djinn to be of the same element, but some like the Ninja, Samurai and Dark Mage require three of each. This tends to verge into Awesome but Impractical territory, as Djinn can be summoned in battle as spells, which lowers stats and completely changes available spells.
In The Lost Age, there are items that can be equipped to change the character's class. These tend to be drastically different from the base classes made through djinn.
The Medic: If you can be bothered to play around with the Djinn, nearly every character can be a healer. However, whenever someone needs healing in-story, it's usually provided by Mercury Adepts Mia and Piers, regardless of your current class setups.
A lot is made about the Anemos tribe, of which (at least) two major characters are descendants and whose entire city apparently lifted off to become the Moon. Guess who doesn't show up in Dark Dawn?
There are at least two elf-related artifacts in the first game. There's no sign of elves anywhere else in the series (unless you count the Mars Clan, who are more draconic), including Dark Dawn.
While the Anemos tribe is at least mentioned, there is no explanation at all for the missing Venus Clan. Are they hunted to extinction or still in hiding? Nobody in the game knows.
Mistaken Nationality: After the Jupiter Lighthouse event, the heroes meet Hama in Contigo, Weyard's Mayincatec city, along with Garet and Mia remembering meeting her in not-China. (Note that she was accompanied by the Xianese music theme. But suddenly she revealed that she was actually born and raised in Contigo. And also Ivan's sister. None of them saw this coming since she looks nothing like Ivan and more like her student Feizhi.
Muggles: A strong majority in Weyard. Usually can't even seePsynergy in action (though they can see its effects just fine), let alone use it. In Dark Dawn, an NPC discussing the Precursors of Weyard's peoples even mentions a racial group of ancestral Muggles called the Fori.
Mukokuseki:This is the reason why many players did not see "Hama is Ivan's sister" thing coming. The former founded a temple nearby Xian and looks Chinese while the latter lived in Kalay and looks European. But they are actually from Contigo.
Multishot: Despite being a sword, the Tisiphone Edge's unleash summons an archer who fires multiple arrows which represent attack multipliers.
Necromancy: For some odd reason this power is aligned with Venus, though Isaac and Felix don't have access to such spells in their default classes.
Never Mess with Granny: Obaba, Briggs' grandmother, who is a highly skilled smith/alchemist/Adept (and probably the oldest character in the game who isn't Really 700 Years Old), who summons a salamander to fight the party when Briggs convinces her that they want to rob their town, and, after learning about Briggs' pirating and giving him a good scolding, reforges the Trident of Ankohl.
Non-Standard Game Over: At the start of the first game when the bad guys make off with the Elemental Stars, you are asked (not told) by your village elder to go after the stars. Refuse twice and the screen fades to a sepia tone, accompanied with the text "And so, the world drifted towards its fated destruction." You are then given the option of continuing from the beginning of the conversation. This is ironic because the destruction it is describing is actually the slow erosion described in the second game, because alchemy would never be unlocked. The player at the time would assume the world ends because alchemy IS unlocked.
Noob Cave: Sol Sanctum in the original, Kandorean Temple in the sequel.
Not Completely Useless: Low-tier summons that were quickly outclassed such as Zagan and Atalanta are really helpful against Valukar, since they deal tons of damage to him while dealing small damage against the player (he has the ability to steal summons and use them). This is partly due to how the damage calculations for summons are handled. Summons deal an additional damage based from the target's hitpoints. Enemies with tons of hitpoints receive higher damage from summons, like Valukar.
The continent of Osenia. Without directions, you're likely to head straight east through Yampi Desert to Alhafra, when you're actually supposed to go south to Mikasalla and then east from there to Garoh and Air's Rock. Doing the former can come back to haunt you. To make matters worse, there's a plot hook for Garoh in Alhafra.
One Game for the Price of Two: The two games can be played alone, but you won't make much sense of the story, or get the best possible summons, magic and equipment.
One-Hit Kill: The Crystal Rod's unleash, Drown, will sometimes cause this via suffocation. No better is the Thanatos Mace unleash, Heartbreak, which summons some kind of demon to literally tear out your enemy's heart and crush it in his hand.
Our Dragons Are Different with a dash of Our Elves Are Better: Excluding the random encounter dragons, the Proxians may well be "dragons". They tend to transform into dragons, plus have oddly colored skin, pointed ears and patches of scaly shoulders (though the last is only noticeable on official art and a few it is designed in a way that it may be mistaken for armor). They seem to have a higher adept ratio than any of the other modern civilizations around the Lighthouses (and the Mars Lighthouse mentions dragons as masters of Mars Psynergy).
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The dwarves in the Loho mining camp from The Lost Age. Additionally, some are historians, which is why the dwarves are in Loho, excavating the ruins there. However, they all have awesome facial hair and a love for digging— "If you live in Loho and don't dig, you just don't belong"— and the only visible female in town is the human innkeeper, so they otherwise fit this trope perfectly.
Our Genies Are Different: For one thing, they don't grant wishes; they just increase your characters' power, change their classes, and give them special abilities. For another, they aren't trapped in bottles, rings, or lamps. Though sometimes Muggles keep them as pets.
Occurs frequently with many monsters in the Random Encounters, but this trope also applies to the Linked Battles where your friend's party appears as different colors to help distinguish themselves should you be using the same party and are dubbed with "Enemy" before their name, such as Enemy Isaac.
Isaac and Garet's mothers look exactly alike barring hair colors to distinguish between the two of them.
Jenna's in-battle sprites during the brief time that she's in your party in the first game are nearly identical to Mia's. Subverted in that there are minor differences between the two sets of sprites, since even if their outfits are similar in basic design, they're still ultimately wearing different outfits. The sprite sets are nonetheless VERY close in appearance to one another, though, so it's obvious that one was made by editing the other. She even gains completely different battle sprites in The Lost Age, where she's a major playable character and would thus be expected to have more effort put into her sprites.
Pals with Jesus: "Isaac, since when were you on a first-name basis with the Wise One?"
The Phoenix: The Phoenix enemy line, consisting of the Phoenix, Fire Bird, and Wonder Bird. These monsters are renowned for acting multiple times per turn and having a high Experience Point yield. The Phoenix monster is also seen in the Mars-based Phoenix Psynergy in the Lich Psynergy set.
Planar Shockwave: Seen in quite a few Summons' attacks and weapons' Unleashes. Sol Blade's Unleash, Megiddo, is one of the more prominent examples.
Plot Coupon: This game has many a plot coupon. Most of them are a specific Psynergy that is gained by completing a quest (or series of quests), and are required to proceed to the next stage of the central story.
However, the most notable example of Plot Coupon in these games is the Trident from The Lost Age. To obtain it, the player must first obtain the three prongs of the trident by travelling to 3 separate towers across a great sea. The Trident is then forged at a fourth tower and at the conclusion of an entirely separate story arc. The Trident's only function is to weaken an otherwise immortal boss (called Poseidon, by the way) so that they don't heal every other turn. The Trident is never seen, heard of, or used again.
Poor Communication Kills: The Proxians' goals are actually in the world's best interests and you end up siding with them in the end. If Saturos and Menardi had just bothered to explain, you would not have needed to fight and kill them.
Unfortunately, they did try to warn the elders of Vale about the end of the world, and probably reasoned that Isaac, having come from Vale, wouldn't listen either.
Lemuria seems to have been a more active port town in it's heyday.
Powers as Programs: Quite apart from the Djinn-based class system, many "utility" powers are gained from certain items — most Broken Bridges throughout the games are dealt with by finding the relevant item. With the exception of Grind, which is limited to Earth adepts for some reason, these powers can be used by anyone who equips the item (Dark Dawn changes this; all the psynergy-granting items - except the Slap Glove, which you only have for a single dungeon - are locked to certain elements like Grind was).
Previous Player-Character Cameo: In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, you take on the role of Felix, who was a minor antagonist in the first game, and take on three new party members with him. Eventually, you run into the original party from the first game. They join up with you in Contigo after the conflict that occurs at Jupiter Lighthouse.
Purple Is Powerful: Jupiter, represented by the color purple is the most effective element in the series from The Lost Age onwards, being super effective against 80% of the enemies and bosses. The same bunch of enemies and bosses are highly resistant to the intended strongest element (Venus) making said element's offenses ironically useless most of the time.
Quicksand Box: There is a part in the second game in which you aren't told what you have to do other than "Go to Lemuria", and a "Get to the other side of the world" but it's blocked by an obstacle. While it is a little more non-linear and some people actually really like that; the game doesn't really keep track of the stuff you had done so the only way to figure out whether or not you completed certain dungeons was to go explore them and find that that was the trident piece you had in your inventory. The other half of the world is thankfully a lot less...vague about where to go since there isn't as much content.
Not only that, but once you get the ship, there's very little telling you that you have to do certain things - For example, there's very little reason to go to Tundaria Tower to get that Trident Piece.
Randomly Drops: The game uses this, but it was discovered that the random number generator used to determine drop rates wasn't really random at all. Thus, by making a specific party and conducting battles in just the right amount of turns and action orders, you can guarantee that an enemy will drop even the most powerful weapons and armor in the game.
Rare Candy: Peanuts, cookies, bread, apples, mint leaves, and... pepper. Each will boost a single stat.
Really 700 Years Old: Babi and the Lemurians. This is played with in the case of Piers/Picard, the Lemurian sailor, who refuses to admit his age.
Red Herring: In Lemuria, reading a dog's mind provides a hint to dig around for buried items. When the player uses Scoop near the dog, yields a bone - a completely useless item. The dog may have actually been referring to a rusty sword buried some distance away on the same screen.
Rich Bitch: Lady McCoy, in no small part due to her husband spoiling her. When one of the construction workers that she sent to manage construction of her palace starts to chop one of the forest's guardian spirits down and causes it to turn all the workers and everybody in Kolima into trees, her primary concern is that the incident has delayed construction on her palace. She's even more unhappy once Lord McCoy decides to outright cancel the project in favor of leaving the forest at peace.
In order to progress through the Jupiter lighthouse, several statues that shoot arrows of light need to be turned on.
Sadly Mythtaken: Over and over. The way the elements are associated is hint enough of not following any mythology to a T. There are many examples, but some bizarre examples stand out:
It becomes very interesting when you summon Neptune against Poseidon. Poseidon, stop hitting yourself!
Coatlicue, the hideous all-devouring snake goddess of the Aztecs, is routinely portrayed in summons as a cute underwater-dwelling Shrine Maiden who heals your party. In comparison, Boreas the giant snow-cone machine doesn't seem nearly as bad.
Cybele is a dopey tree-horned frog who spits seeds at enemies.
Sand Is Water: Sort of. Felix's Sand spell dissolves the party into sand and allows them to travel through patches of sand, including moving freely against "currents" of sand and up cliffs with sand spilling over the edges. And through glass panels. Although, it could be argued that the glass panel didn't go all the way down to the rock, so they group could squeeze under the glass panel when they were in "sand" form.
Save Point: Averted — you can save anywhere, anytime outside of battles and cutscenes. Once the final battle is done in the second game, the game refuses to save if you try to do it until after the credits are over.
Saving the World: But Felix's party is the one that is actually working towards that goal, although no one (not even Felix himself) knew it until Lemuria.
Isaac. 17-year-old + bright yellow scarf = many dead monsters.
Menardi's Sash of Asskicking.
Felix, too, has an amazing cape that billows over his shoulder.
Isaac's son inherited the scarf and kicks just as much ass.
The Lachesis' Rule's unleash summons a heavenly maiden who uses her scarf to attack the enemy.
Schmuck Bait: There are at least two cases in the first game alone of a sign telling you not to do something necessary to advance in the game. Hilarity Ensues.
Secret Test of Character: The Wise One gives one to the Adepts at the end of the second game in the form of tricking them into murdering their own parents before being able to light the last Lighthouse; when the heroes do light it, the parents are revived, and The Philosopher Kraden figures it was a test.
Sequel Escalation: The final boss for Golden Sun, the first game, how about 5000 HP. The first form is two targets with 3000 HP each. In Lost Age? You meet a boss with 3000 HP in the middle of the game. The final boss has a good 10,000. Also, you could beat the first Golden Sun decently equipped at level 24 - The second will push you at least to level 30 if you're fully equipped, otherwise you may need to go much higher.
Possibly justified by Isaac's party joining Felix's - the games presumably expect the two parties to be pretty much equal by that point, so Jupiter Lighthouse was presumably intended for the same level range as Venus Lighthouse was.
Sequel Hook: At the end of the first game, setting up the second. At the end of the second game, too, when The Wise One takes some of the power from the Golden Sun and seals it away in the Mars Star, not to mention the fact that the villain, though vanquished, did not technically die, setting up...over six years of waiting until Golden Sun DS was finally revealed at E3 2009. Don't forget that if you cheat, you can give Felix Mind Read and you can read the minds of the people in Prox. This is normally impossible, but if you do do it, you will hear thoughts that hint at a sequel.
Easily possible in the first game. You can easily choose to go straight to Imil before ever going to Kolima, and you don't really have to go to the Fuchin Temple to beat the first game (you can get through the Mogall Forest by Trial-and-Error Gameplay, and after that, all that Force is used for is getting one optional scene.) Unfortunately, if you fail to pick up the Orb of Force, you'll be unable to get One Hundred Percent Completion in The Lost Age, as two of the Djinn in that game cannot be reached without the Force Psynergy.
Normally, you need the Orb of Force to get the Lift-psyenergy, getting through the mines in Altin and ultimately progressing in the game - but if you failed to pick it up, the game will change a few things to let you keep going and prevent an Unwinnable by Mistake situation. Likewise with the Lash Pebble in TLA.
Possible in the second game, too, if you make the mistake of going to the Yampi Desert and Alhafra right away instead of heading south to Mikasalla. Unfortunately, in that case the consequences are a little more dire— Briggs and his friends are geared towards a higher-level party that picked up better equipment in Garoh and Air's Rock, and as a result can be devastating to a party that didn't.
Sequential Boss: The final bosses of both games. In the first game, Saturos and Menardi battle Isaac's party, revitalize themselves after the fight and fuse into the Fusion Dragon. In the second game, although you fight the Doom Dragon in one long battle, it has three forms with their own separate HP meters.
Shifting Sand Land: Two deserts in Golden Sun, one in The Lost Age. Lamakan Desert in particular DOES become too hot for the group and they start taking damage from heatstroke unless they rest at hidden oases.
What powers the above developed shipping fandom. Most of the major ships get a moment or two. I.e: Jenna blushing when Kraden and Sheba call her and Isaac an "item."
How about a Ship Tease for both Valeshipping and Mudshipping in the first game? Go back to Vale, and some of the NP Cs will express alarm that you're traveling with a girl who isn't Jenna. Isaac, you old two-timer, you!
To...Monty Python? Yes. Amazing the Easter Eggs you can find with Mind Read... (in Kolima, one of the NPCs is thinking the Lumberjack Song to himself)
If you keep telling the first Djinni in the second game "no", he'll eventually launch into a Billy Mays-esque sales pitch.
There's a mob in the second game called an Alec Goblin, which may or may not be a shout out pun to Alec Baldwin.
The Japanese version has a Captain Picard.
Due to Camelot's (then Sonic! Software Planning) involvement with the Shining Force series there are a number of nods to it. Beyond the the easily noticed graphical similarities in the interface, one injured person in the 2nd game thinks "Eyes... Shining in the Darkness... No! Go away!!!" and the final boss has an attack called "Darksol Gasp".
Mia's Ply power, the few times it can be used in the overworld, is represented by Primula from Shining Force III. Additionally, Deadbeard, the bonus boss of the first game, is referred to as Talos in the Japanese version (Talos is the name of a recurring enemy/boss in the Shining series).
The Incredible Hulk is referenced with a random castle guard, who is thinking "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry" when you mind read him.
Chi/Ki is named Force in the West. Makes sense in context, and probably was unintentional, but it was too funny to let it pass.
The Djinni Rime is found in Old Lemuria... home of the "ancient mariner".
Sleeves Are for Wimps: The Proxians seem to follow this trope, and it makes sense as well - look closely, and you realise that their arms are actually covered not in armour, but scales (with what seem to be jutting spikes on their shoulders). This is a fairly good hint towards their more draconian-than-human traits, too.
Sorry I'm Late: The fight against Karst and Agatio on Jupiter Lighthouse works like this—much to the enemies' chagrin since their original plan was to fight the group two at a time.
Sound Test: Golden Sun: The Lost Age has a pretty well-hidden one as an Easter Egg, which requires talking to a specific NPC (the woman in the lower-left-most corner of the area) in the multiplayer Battle Mode lobby while holding the L or R button. The Sound Test only lets you play songs that you'd already heard on that save file, but using a completed save file unlocks every track. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn contains no such feature, however.
Some characters that appear or are referred to in both games have differently-spelled names, or different names altogether. The most notable are Hsu in the first game -> Ulmuch in the second, and Hama in the first game -> Hamma in the second.
One of Dullahan's attacks is called "Formina Sage". However, in Dark Dawn, this attack is called "Fulminous Edge", most likely the correct translation.
Spider-Sense: apparently all Jupiter Adepts develop this after a while. Hama is particularly good at it.
Spiritual Successor: The Golden Sun series is this to the Shining Force series, at least as it was back on the Sega Genesis and Game Gear, when Camelot was the developer. Those original SF games were strategy RPG's instead of Golden Sun's traditional RPG style, but the plots, graphics, menus, and visual effects carry obvious similarities regardless. More directly, to Beyond The Beyond, which itself was a Spiritual Successor to Shining in the Darkness and Shining the Holy Ark.
Spiteful A.I.: The Djinn you fight as random encounters plus the phoenix type monsters will usually decide to run away from battle before you can finish it off. In dungeons, Djinn that flee can be fought again by just leaving the area and returning while those on the overworld map just have to be found in the area again. The phoenix monsters, however, appear randomly like any other monster, but since they are Metal Slime type monsters, they give TONS of experience points.
The Stinger: The first game has this as a setup for the sequel. The second game has this as a setup for... nothing, for six years. Then Dark Dawn happened, but it still resolved very few of the Sequel Hooks set up in The Lost Age.
Strange Syntax Speaker: The people of Xian use some strange sentence structures (though not nearly as strange as some fanfic writers portray it), presumably to show that they normally speak a different language from the heroes. This is present even in the Japanese versions, as references to it are made in the 4koma Gag Battle doujinshi. Curiously, Xian's successor-nations in Dark Dawn are filled with people who speak normally.
Summon Magic: The Djinn. And, you know, the Summons themselves and some weapon unleashes. Also the magic provided by the class-changing Trainer's Whip and Tomegathericon items.
While Jupiter and Venus are supposed to be super-effective against each other most enemies who are obviously Jupiter-aligned (e.g.; flying monsters with wind attacks) are only weak to their own element and highly resist Venus attacks, completely defying the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors that has been established in the first place.
Call Dullahan, a spell exclusive to the Dark Mage class series is super-effective against its namesake.
Take Your Time: Oh, yes. Lampshaded when Layana scolds your party after you rescued Hammet.
Title Drop: The Golden Sun is a mass of energy that rises above Mt. Aleph in the second game.
Tome of Eldritch Lore: Tomegathericon, a spellbook in the second game which gives you a demon-summoning character class. The Japanese version even calls it "Necronomicon". It lets you summon the Bonus Boss as a Psynergy attack.
Once he stops the Heroic Mime business, Isaac speaks like a kind but hard-cutting warrior, especially evident in the way he stands up to Karst and Agatio.
Once Felix begins fighting for himself instead of apparently letting Saturos and Menardi kill everything, it's very possible for him to be more powerful than Isaac when the two parties join up near the end of The Lost Age.
Too Awesome to Use: Waters of Life and Psy Crystals, although the second game is a bit more generous with the amount you can get (as random drops), but both are in bonus dungeons, the latter of which is in the Anemos Sanctum, needing all djinn from the previous game.
Translation Correction: A few of the Djinni have their names changed to reflect their elements, and thus the Theme Naming, better (Such as Solo and Duo -> Flint and Echo).
Trauma Inn: Only for HP and MP though. All status ailments like poison and death must be removed either by magic spells, elixirs or antidotes, or visiting the town's Sanctum and paying for each individual cure. Note that being haunted by the Grim Reaper can be fixed with Restore. Being haunted by evil spirits requires a professional exorcist.
Turns Red: Doom Dragon, as it loses its heads. Each form is programmed to act differently and has its own HP meter, which causes summon rush strategies to fail.
Unfamiliar Ceiling: During the Inevitable Tournament, dying in battle makes you wake up in the infirmary, surrounded by your friends, who will then inform you that you were just dreaming. Then you have to restart the tournament from the beginning. And if you win... you wake up in the infirmary, surrounded by your friends, who will then inform you that you won.
The Unfought: Alex. His final fate was left ambiguous (he was left atop Mt. Aleph as it collapsed).
If you give the Lash Pebble to Piers and you go to Lemuria, when Piers will leave the party you will need to Lash once to enter the house of Lunpa. However, if you can't use Lash, Lunpa will insult you and throw down a rope instead, preventing you from getting stuck.
In the first game, if you enter Altin Mines without the Force Psynergy needed to cause a path-opening rockslide, Garet will get frustrated and kick a wall, causing the rockslide.
Used the Retreat glitch to skip getting Mia at Mercury Lighthouse? Well, you also skipped the only locations where Ply is needed to continue, and getting the Frost Gem enables you to solve Frost puzzles without her.
Upgrade Artifact: Psynergy-bestowing equipment, Psynergy-teaching tablets in the Elemental Rock dungeons, etc.
Useless Useful Spell: Bosses in particular tend to shrug off status ailments in about a round or so. And your buffs are useless against the Fire Clan enemies, since they all apparently know Break.
The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Venus Lighthouse in Golden Sun, Mars Lighthouse in The Lost Age. Initially, many gamers are disappointed to find the Venus Lighthouse battle is the end of the first game before The Lost Age is announced.
You know that guy at the beginning of the game who appears to be injured, and asks you if he's going to die? If you say "no," he gets up and finds that he's not injured at all. But if you say "yes," he actually dies.
Likewise, you can completely miss the tree situation at Bilbin Junction, so Jill the tree gets washed away downriver. Either she never reverts to being a human when Tret restores everybody else, or she reverts to human and then drowns, or she washes ashore far away from her home and everybody she's ever loved, probably in monster-infested territory. Pick your Fridge Horror.
The Anti-Grinding mechanic in Sol Sanctum can be duped by getting Jenna KO'd. You can also loot her stuff before she gets kidnapped.
Villain Episode: Subverted in The Lost Age; Felix's quest is just as heroic as Isaac's.
Villains Act, Heroes React: Subverted in The Lost age; your party acts, opposed by the Wise One. Inaction is what would end Weyard.
In The Lost Age, you must jump off the edge of the world to find a hidden Djinn.
There is a sign, deep within the Altin Mines, that says, "Do not strike the walls! Rocks may fall!" ** Right next to it is one of those logs you keep knocking over with Force, positioned right by a wall...unfortunately Stupidity Is the Only Option in this case - using Psynergy on the wall/letting Garet kick it is necessary to advance further in the cave.
Warmup Boss: The three thieves in the first game, the three gorillas Chestbeaters in the second.
The Teleport Lapis, found in the second game's last dungeon.
Retreat, a default power of the heroes, lets you escape a dungeon quickly, unless the plot actively wants to prevent you doing so.
Welcome to Corneria: An interesting variation; all NP Cs seem to follow this trope to the letter, but each one thinks a second static line of dialogue you can Mind Read for. Oftentimes, these reveal they're hypocrites.
What the Hell, Hero?: Whatever you choose to answer when asked to hand over the Elemental Stars in Sol Sanctum, either Garet (who wants to Always Save the Girl) or Kraden (who is in the Hostage Situation but tells you to forget about him) is going to call you out about it. Garet even kicks you.
When Trees Attack: Tret, a talking tree that has been given a violent split personality, is one of the earliest boss battles.
Whip It Good: The Trainer's Whip in The Lost Age. It can't be used as a weapon, but it does bestow its wielder with (among other things) the Whiplash Psynergy spell.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Subverted. The Lemurians willingly keep drinking the elixir and could end their lives or choose to age normally at any time; a lot of them are simply supremely bored.
Inverted. Four teenagers battle the extremely powerful Saturos on the top of Mercury Lighthouse about 25% through the game and would normally not be a match for him, but the location's influence on Elemental Powers lets the group manage to defeat him and render him in this position.
Inverted again after the second-to-last boss of the first game, where they do it again only without the bosses being handicapped. Of course, said bosses end up getting very creative with how they use the new fountain of Earth energy they just activated...
And inverted again in the second game, when Felix & co. do this to Agatio and Karst.
Inverted; In the first game, after Isaac and Garet set out from their hometown on their journey after agreeing to the Wise One's instruction to stop the villains, they can return home at several points, and the villagers will even ask how things are going. This is double inverted because Dora apparently made Isaac promise (off-screen) not to come back before he has completed his quest, yet not only are you allowed to return to the home town, you are actually encouraged as there's a Bonus Dungeon hidden in there.
Quasi-inverted in The Lost Age. You can see the part of the world map where the first game took place (it takes maybe 1/4 of the overall map used in part 2), but it is surrounded on all sides by mountains and impassible barriers making it impossible to access in Part 2; however, there is a glitch somewhere on the western shore where if you angle your ship just right, you can exit and your character will spawn on the other side of the mountains letting you onto the Part 1 world map complete with towns and dungeon icons all the way to Mt. Aleph and Venus Lighthouse. However, again, these icons aren't linked to any actual towns or dungeons; when your character walks over them, he passes right through them without shifting from the world map. Still, even though you can't actually go home, it makes for a nice sightseeing tour.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Lemuria in particular is dedicated to the color blue, but other examples appear here and there (not limited to just blue at that!) while The Fire Clan is as wild in hair colors as they are in skin colors.
Definitely invoked by Karst, with the variation that it's her sister who was killed, and Karst doesn't know she actually committed suicide.
Strangely averted when you would expect it: although they are blamed for the storm, no one confronts Saturos and Menardi for said storm having caused the death of Isaac's father and both of Felix and Jenna's parents. Well, they have to be stopped anyway, but revenge doesn't seem to be a motivation. Then again, all three are actually still alive... and held as hostages, but Isaac doesn't know that.
You Meddling Kids: One of the Champa Pirates delivers the line if Felix and the gang visit them in jail.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The Doom Dragon boss fight is set up in a way that severely nerfs summon damage and thus prevents "summon rush" strategies from working. ( You're not fighting one huge monster, you're fighting three forms, each with its own damage calculation for summons.)
You Said You Would Let Them Go: Played with at the end of the first game, where the party trades the Shaman's Rod to Saturos for his hostage, Sheba, only to be tricked by crafty wording. (To be fair, Saturos only said he wouldn't hurt Sheba; her release was never mentioned.) Subverted with Jenna and Kraden at the beginning of the first game, as Isaac and Garet are unable to hand over the Mars Star before Saturos and Menardi's party is forced to flee with the hostages.