Level Select Thursdays: Mars Lighthouse
Well this is where I tell everyone my favorite RPG game of all time and that game is Golden Sun: The Lost Age. Before the internet comes at me I want to state that I’ve played plenty of RPG’s since this back in 2003 and including various Final Fantasy and other franchises. However this game (a long with Golden Sun 1) is what got me interested in the genre to begin with. This final lighthouse was the conclusion to a grand story that started one game ago and you as a player were either going to condemn the world or save. You don’t get a choice or anything but the actions of lighting said lighthouse imply this. So grab our Game Boy Advances and see what makes this lighthouse tick.
What immediately sticks out to me for Mars Lighthouse is the music. The main Mars Lighthouse theme gives the player that urgent feel of time running out despite the lighthouse itself not having a rule limit. The second track most Golden Sun players will recognize is the first mini boss against the double headed dragon (more on that later) music is this unsettling tone to it that hints at something isn’t what it appears to be. It’s also quite haunting, especially once you realize who the Flame Dragon actually is. However my favorite is The Doom Dragon final boss music, this for nearly a decade defined what a final boss music should sound like. It’s full of action and fast beats to keep the player locked onto the target at hand, but it also gives the player that if you fail here then everything falls apart.
This lighthouse will test everything you have learned during the course of the game and I love when games do that. No more hand holding, and no tutorials. It’s just you and your seven other party members to climb to the top and light this damn lighthouse. The puzzles themselves aren’t that difficult since if you reached this point then you know what patterns to look, but it still will require you to think a bit harder from time to time. The enemies themselves are nothing special as the odds are you have all the Djinn available and defeated both optional bosses then you should be good to go here.
Visually Mars Lighthouse sticks to standard formula that was set in the previous Golden Sun but with the added four extra side rooms that Jupiter Lighthouse brought in then you have Mars Lighthouse itself. The extra four rooms are pretty cool in that they correspond to other elements. Which again ties back to using what you know to finish the final level. I know I’m repeating myself but I love when games do that. I do however wish that the red color for Mars Lighthouse wasn’t so..bright. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine magenta color but when I think of Mars I think of a darker red. Maybe it had to due with it being on the GBA? I don’t know but that’s just a slight nit pick.
Now do you really want to know what makes me really love Mars Lighthouse? It’s the final boss better known as The Doom Dragon. While it has a generic name and he isn’t the hardest hitting boss he does carry that grand epic scale that a final boss in an RPG should have. Heck this boss battle even rivals Safer Sepiroth in terms of sheer spectacle. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve crossed my fingers when The Doom Dragon landed Heavy Rain or dropped my jaw when I learned that you have to kill all three of his heads to finish him, but I loved none the less.
I won’t speak of the ending because it ruins something that all started in Golden Sun 1 but let’s just say that it brought a tear to my eye. While Golden Sun isn’t the greatest RPG of all time, it certainly will be one that I will never forget and will always cherish and I make to time to play these games once a year at least. If you own a GBA or a DS I encourage you to have a look at both Golden Sun and The Lost Age for an underrated RPG.