For detractors of portables, there is usually the universal argument against the screen size and graphics quality of these pint-sized systems. Who wants to carry around a heavy game pack when the graphics on said system look the equal of your old Atari?

Nintendo decided to put the shut-up into the mouths of these protestors by releasing the ever-popular Game Boy Advance. Then the company decided to take the next step and produce a slimmer, compact, yet not-taking-a-single-thing-away Game Boy Advance SP. The SP is a fun toy to play with during class, and it is always fun to have students enviously eyeing your every move.

Now on GBA is the sequel to “Golden Sun,” called “Golden Sun: The Lost Age,” but that will not be reviewed just yet. Better to return to the grassroots of this newly successful enterprise and give the readers the entire story set right from the beginning.

In the calm village of Vale, an eruption suddenly takes place, killing a few of the townsfolk. Skip to a few years later, and the hero of the story, Isaac, is now trying to be a better human being by fixing roofs (insert “awww …” here) for his family.

Things start to come out of whack, and before you can say “ultimo,” someone has stolen the Elemental Stones that help keep the entire world in balance. Chaos is afoot, and Isaac and friends decide to stop it by any means necessary.

For those RPG fans in the stands, there isn’t anything new in “Golden Sun” that hasn’t been done. Those still clamoring for a game to have a system like the legendary “Secret of Mana” for the SNES will still be in the waiting game as turn-based fighting still is king in this game’s court.

The format is more like a standard Final Fantasy with equipping, special powers, and magic supply. Instead of actual magic, though, the players in this game utilize “psynergy” — however, it isn’t anything different from the standard Magic Point system (use spells, lose MP and so forth).

The special moves in the form of Djinns provide some rather cool cinematics in the fight sequences — now, if only they could have gotten rid of that annoying music.

On top of the magic, be ready to spend lots of time just fighting in the lands to gain extra experience and money. The further you get into this game, the more stubborn and deadly the foes become. Bum-rushing through this game can lead to disastrous results.

This game is not recommended for the casual gamer due to its tendency in having the user commit him- or herself in order to build a better character. On the other hand, RPG diehards will find themselves at home with this game.

While others skip right to the new version of the series, it seems more natural and just plain right to start to entire story from the beginning. Then, after giving up half your summer trying to collect all the Djinns, go for “The Lost Age.”

Grade: A/B

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