Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

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Matthew, Karis, and Tyrell clockwise from bottom.


Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is a 2010 Eastern RPG developed by Camelot Software Planning for the Nintendo DS, a sequel to the Golden Sun duology that was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2001 and 2003. It was announced at Nintendo's E3 2009 conference as Golden Sun DS, then promptly disappeared off the radar for a year before resurfacing at next year's E3 as with the Dark Dawn subtitle and was confirmed for a release near the end of 2010.

A true sequel to the previous games (as opposed to the second half of the story), Dark Dawn takes place thirty years after the end of The Lost Age and the rise of the titular Golden Sun caused massive changes throughout the world. It stars Isaac's extremely-similar-looking son Matthew as he and his friends are sent on a journey to obtain the feather of a roc in order to fix a device that Matthew's friend Tyrell broke. As is typical of Eastern RPGs, the stakes get exponentially higher and soon Matthew and his friends are caught up in a new struggle to save Weyard once again.

For a list of characters in the game, refer to the original character sheet which has Dark Dawn characters too.


Tropes used in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn include:
  • Alliteration: Patcher's Place and Carver's Camp, which are settlements founded by refugees from Vale after the events of The Lost Age. There's also Champa Camp, though unlike the other two that one was probably unintentional.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Wise One is revealed to be a creation of the precursor to prevent Alchemy's release, so it allowing the Warriors of Vale, after a test of character, to light the final beacon makes him an example, thankfully of the "on the heroes side" subtype.
  • Age Without Youth: Kraden is immortal due to the Golden Sun, but he still has a 70 year old's body. It's noted at least three times, twice in one conversation, that this sucks
  • All Just a Dream: Played with at the end of the Phantasmal Bog.Also, the happy, peaceful Border Town.
  • All There In The Encyclopedia
  • Always Save the Girl: If you try and save Eoleo first before Hou Ju while in Belinsk Castle, one of the maids, and then Ryu Kou, will force you to do this.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Blados of Tuaparang.
    • The beastfolk come in a pretty variety of colors. In the Belinsk band alone, there's a bubblegum-pink Catgirl pianist and a teal-green fox on violin.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Sveta considers her mind-reading power a curse rather than a blessing, and indicates that reading minds full of hate for him is what caused her father to come to despise humans. Karis notes that Ivan has also come to detest his mind-reading powers in the years since the games where he spammed them with glee, and that she's relieved she didn't inherit them.
  • Anime Hair: As usual for the series, if you see Anime Hair, you're probably looking at an Adept.
  • Anticlimax Boss: The Dual Boss of the Belinsk Ruins. For all they're built up in the story, Blados and Chalis aren't nearly as hard as Saturos and Menardi, or Agatio and Karst.
    • As far as a Bonus Boss goes, the Ogre Titans are pathetic. They are weak to Mars, the element of the Infinity-1 Sword the party will probobly have, start the battle slowly to give you ample buff time and only use physical attacks (easily reduced to minimal damage with a defense buff). Thanks to the game's system of resetting a buff's expiration based on the last cast (even if the cast did nothing because you already hit the increase cap), the battle is largely one sided (though long, as they have a massive HP pool between the 5 of them).
  • Anyone Can Die: Quite a Mood Whiplash around the time of the Grave Eclipse.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Sveta's Psynergy lets you communicate with the souls of the deceased, who will talk about their last moments of life before The End of the World as We Know It.
    • Most of them are annoyed at worst by the circumstances of their demise. A few are amused or even find the thought of being a ghost kind of cool.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Slap Psynergy.
    • It even leaves people stunned!
  • Art Shift: Read the books, and see the Warriors of Vale in super deformed form release the Golden Sun event.
  • Assist Character: In the prologue of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Isaac and Garet join the party and help out (although they are unplayable).
  • A Taste of Power: During the first part of the game, Isaac and Garet let you borrow some of their Djinni and assist you in battle, albeit uncontrollable.
  • Badass Beard: Isaac has grown one as a part of his "I am now the most badass man on the planet" ensemble.
  • Badass Grandpa: Hou Zan, who managed to protect Ryu Kou and Hou Ju from the eclipse monsters until Matthew came to rescue them, at the cost of his own life. This is also the same guy who shares with Tyrell the distinction of actually trying to hurt Alex!

Masked Man: How many times must I prove that you little insects can't hurt me?
Hou Zan: Once more, apparently.

    • Briggs also is attacked by the immensely powerful eclipse monsters and survives long enough to be found by the heroes and die reassuring his son. He only disqualifies on the basis of not having any known grandkids (though with a son that good-looking... one never knows).
  • Badass Longcoat: Isaac now wears one.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: To get into Kaocho Palace, you tell the guards that you're the Adepts the king was expecting. You are, you just didn't know that at the time.
    • Likewise, to get the generals out of the way so you can get into Ayuthay, you give them a note from the king, saying that he'd hired some Adepts to help sack the place. Subverted; the people of Ayuthay overhear this encounter and are understandably upset when you get into their sanctuary.
  • BFS
    • Isaac wields one during the game's tutorial dungeon.
    • Blados, though his is more notable for its length than its girth.
      • To make note of just how long it is, his battle stance has it start from the end of his right arm to the end of his left leg. His sword is literally longer than he is tall. Keep in mind that this guy is already tall for the average character you see in the series (perhaps the tallest, but it's not easily measured). Sephiroth would be proud.
    • Many swords also qualify, especially the Sol Blade, which is a golden BFS which periodically explodes with fire, calls meteors, and opens doors.
    • The Chaos Chimera wields Blados's and Dullahan has a rather large blade too. The Lizard monsters get progressively larger ones, until the sword is the same size as its body.
    • Also, the Ragnarok and Odyssey Psynergies.
  • Badass Furry: Sveta, especially when she transforms into a werewolf in battle.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Lost Ship.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Briefly appears when you first talk to a certain old lady in Kolima.
  • Black Comedy: In spite of the extremely dark tone of the second half of the game, there are still plenty of humorously weird moments -- usually involving Spirit Sensing the bemused thoughts of a freshly deceased, or someone obliviously flirting with death.
    • Case in point, not even five minutes into the horrific Grave Eclipse at Belinsk, we get monsters raiding the orchestra pit to play horror music for their next victims.
  • Bleak Level: Post-eclipse Belinsk. Things get dark.
  • Blessed with Suck: Kraden ages very slowly thanks to the Golden Sun. Except he already is a fragile old geezer.
    • In The Lost Age, a major reason Champa had to sustain itself with piracy was because the land wasn't fertile enough to grow crops. After the Golden Sun appeared, the soil became fertile, but after so much time with barren land, nobody there knew how to make use of it, so the country still relied on piracy.
  • Block Puzzle: A few of these. Most are avoidable for bonus items, but there are a couple of mandatory ones.
  • Bonus Boss: It wouldn't be Golden Sun without these. Just as in The Lost Age, bosses guard the more powerful summon tablets. And Star Magician and Dullahan make a return, guarding Azul and Iris, just like in The Lost Age. Oh Crap indeed.
  • Bonus Dungeons: The Lost Ship and Otka Island. Also, Crossbone Isle is back.
  • Boss in Mooks Clothing: Great Dragons in Crossbone Isle.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Like The Lost Age, the optional summons have nothing to be used against. It is worse here, as the final boss must be defeated at least once to get the final tablet, meaning even it isn't a useful thing to use it on).
    • Though the fire, wind and water summons can at least be obtained before the final boss fight.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The bonus boss Ancient Devil will do this to one of your party members in battle.
    • Volechek, altough he nearly snaps out of it first.
  • Brick Joke: The game opens with Karis telling Tyrell that Mars Adepts can't fly. Later, you recruit Eoleo, whose signature power is functionally Mars-based flight.
  • Broken Bridge: So many. You're going to take MUCH longer getting to Kraden than you expected. Ironically, the one literal broken bridge is never repaired.
  • Bubbly Clouds: The area right before Craggy Peak Ruins.
  • Buffy-Speak: The Djinni Pewter.

Pewter: So, that ought to help with your quest thingy, right?

  • Burial At Sea: Briggs. Eoleo states it's what he would have wanted.
  • But Thou Must!: In the same vein as the previous games' Yes/No questions, Matthew occasionally has the option of expressing which emotion he's feeling -- happy, thrilled, sad, or angry. Like the Yes/No questions, though, they only change the next few lines of dialogue at the most.
    • Lampshaded while starting a rather bizarre quest in Kolima. When one of the party members asks how they got into that situation, the answer is, of course, "Matthew can be talked into anything, that's how."
    • Arguably justified; Isaac had a bit of Chronic Hero Syndrome in the first games, and clearly brought up Matthew to share his sense of responsibility.
    • Another hilarious example would be when entering Belinsk Castle to rescue Hou Ju and Eoleo. If you attempt to rescue Eoleo first, a random NPC will stop you and question whether or not it's customary to rescue the princess first in your culture. He will let you proceed if you answer in the negative. Then, right up the stairs, Ryu Kou stops you for the same reason. Even if you press on, he will claim that he "can't stop you" but continues to block your path every time you try to proceed.
  • Call Back
    • The game's second dungeon is a Psynergy training ground with fake lighthouses at the end of each section where you set pictures of Saturos, Menardi, Agatio, and Karst on fire, and a wooden, mechanical Doom Dragon as the boss of the whole thing. However, the plot suffers in the retelling.
    • Some puzzles are very similar to the original ones (a pipe connecting one in the Mercury Lighthouse analogue, for example).
  • Canon Immigrant: Crystallux appeared in a commercial for the first Golden Sun. You can actually summon it this time around.
    • Lost Forever: Sveta will get a vision when the time comes to pick Crystallux up shortly after the Grave Eclipse goes down. You won't get another chance.
  • Casting a Shadow: The Psy Grenades that Tuaparang mooks use go off with this effect, to say nothing of the Demonic Spiders unleashed half-way through the game.
    • In fact, it turns out that Tuaparang is part of an "Umbra Clan", whose Adepts use a new type of darkness Psynergy.
  • Chaos Architecture: Justified by World Sundering (most places you visit are entirely new), averted when you visit Kolima which changed location but is still completely recognizable, but played straight in Kolima Forest and lampshaded as one NPC stating it's become even more confusing than before, somehow. Champa has a good deal of similarity with itself in TLA (especially the cave portions), but it has some strange inaccuracies.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The game gets very dark (pun intended) after the Grave Eclipse.
  • Chekhov's Gun
    • The Psynergy Vortexes disappear from the plot about two hours in... only to reappear just in time for The Stinger. Perceptive players might see it coming if they talk to a certain NPC in Yamata, who mentions Himi keeps having visions of someone named "Isaac" in terrible danger.
    • The Alchemy Forge and Alchemy Well. At first you're only fiddling with them so that the Forge can make you a way across the mountains to the north. Then, after the Grave Eclipse, it turns out that they're the power source for the Apollo Lens, the only thing that can stop the eclipse.
    • When you explore the Tanglewood, Isaac explains that the corrupted trees are creatures of shadow who shun light and heat. This makes Fireball the perfect weapon to use on them. The bit about creatures of darkness avoiding light comes back in a big way after the Grave Eclipse, and The Apollo Lens is basically your old Fireball strategy on an unbelievably grand scale.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Actually subverted throughout the series. While Alex is The Chessmaster working to manipulate everyone to his own ends, he never actually uses force against the protagonists or antagonists until the very end of Dark Dawn. He more changes his mind on who to help.
  • Cliff Hanger: Matthew, Karis, and Tyrell return home after destroying the Grave Eclipse only to find that an enormous Psynergy Vortex is hanging over Goma Plateau. Suffice it to say we're all back to hoping endlessly for another sequel.
  • Continuity Nod: Lots, including several Brick Jokes. Remember how someone once thought Isaac and his friends were muscular, bearded warriors? It happened (at least for Isaac and Garet).
    • Remember the baby pirate, the mute monk, the girl you rescued as a tree, the Sun/Moon symbols in Sol Sanctum, Kraden's offhand reference to the Philosopher's Stone, the werewolves, the dancing doll, the talking trees, and a girl you helped promising to have a son who would help you? They're all plot points in Dark Dawn.
  • Crap Saccharine World: In the thirty years since the first two games, the landscape of the world has transformed drastically, the friendly gimmicky mayors have become kings and emperors bent on conquest, and your buddies in Champa are still being driven to piracy for a living. Morgal has its own paragraph on the page. And then it got worse.
    • Talking with NPCs and filling out the encyclopedia reveals that the so-called Golden Age of Man was not as golden if you were a non-Adept or a beastman.
  • Crazy Awesome: In-universe example: Tyrell considers Carver to be this.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Volechek's plan of execution of two prisoners is by boiling them alive in front of the whole city as part of the town festival. Avoided when the party prevents this from happening.
    • Supposedly such executions happen at every full-moon festival.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Sveta's a mind-reading Adept who feels A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read. She's a beastman who laments being the subject of Fantastic Racism, never mind the turning into a Big Badass Wolf and punching the shit out of just about everything. And she's the princess of Morgal, and thus involved in the manipulations of Tuaparang to bring about the Grave Eclipse, for which she feels responsible.
  • Damning With Faint Praise: Probably unintentional; the manual declares that Karis is the most levelheaded of the initial trio. I mean depending on how you make Matthew react to things it can even be quite true, but still...
  • Darker and Edgier: In the original games Weyard was largely at peace, and the only characters who tended to kick the bucket were the villains. Now Angara, and very likely the other continents of Weyard, is full of budding countries who frequently war with each other, and once the Grave Eclipse is activated, townspeople start dropping like flies in the face of an overwhelming monster horde, with even a few named characters both good and bad getting Killed Off for Real.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Just about everyone, though Amiti gets the most lines. Like Mia and Rief, he's otherwise so sweet and naive that this is rather unexpected.
  • Death Mountain: Talon Peak, atop which you finally get that damn roc feather which was the whole point of your quest to begin with. And the Apollo Ascent, the Final Dungeon where the Apollo Lens is just begging to be fired.
  • Defrosting Ice Prince: Ryu Kou comes off as very aggressive, a Jerkass, and is suspicious of your party's ambitions the several times they meet and he willingly activates the Lunar Tower to save his sister even after the party pleads with him not to do it. He does mellow out a lot near the end of the game and eventually thanks Matthew for all the help he gave him and his sister.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Some Djinn need to be defeated in combat before they join. I suppose friendship is optional for that, though.
    • The Sand Prince Gem requests that you prove your strength before it will grant you its power, though it seems pretty eager to do so. The Ice Queen Gem is significantly less cooperative.
  • Deus Ex Homine: The Wise One, mentioned in its encyclopedia entry.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Just as in the first two games, Camelot prepares for every possible contingency and every possible action that the player will take, and accounts for it in one way or another.
    • Although, there are a few noticeable holes when it comes to supplying alternative conversations after Sequence Breaking, something the first two games were very good at. The conversations in Tonfon, if you find Hou Ju and Ryu Kou before ever going there, come to mind.
  • Did You Just Bitchslap A Bird God: In the wattle, twice. And then we kicked his ass and took a short walk through his insides.
    • Though to be fair, kicking its ass was only made necessary by Blados and Chalis, who had them sticking around longer than they needed to.
  • Difficulty Spike: The final boss is much harder than the rest of the game, and that's not even considering the Bonus Bosses...
  • Disappeared Dad: Amiti's father left before he was born. heavily hinted to be Alex.
    • Mia's husband is never identified, making this the case for Rief and Nowell.
  • Dual Boss: Versus the Kaocho generals Ku-Tsung and Ku-Embra. Also, the battles with Blados and Chalis.
  • Dub Name Change: Muto to Matthew is reasonable given his parents have reasonable names, but like the first two games a lot (Terry to Tyrell, Crown to Rief) seem to be for no reason at all.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Many of the Muggles do not appreciate the efforts of the original heroes at unsealing Alchemy thanks to the World Sundering that occurred in the meantime.
    • See also Call Back. The world could not have been saved without the Proxian quartet. Rather than being respected at least by the people who knew they were Good All Along, their likenesses are used for target practice. Then again, set off a trap that causes a boulder to crush the local village, assault the locals, kidnap a famous sage and another local, and then proceed to make enemies out of everyone you come across in your trek across the globe and see how they remember you thirty years later.
      • In fact, the Proxians are not even named in the entire game. The Sun Saga books barely make note of them when telling of the Venus and Jupiter Lighthouses, and don't even mention the fight with Saturos on top of Mercury Lighthouse, instead focusing on Alex, which is... not how the player likely remembers it.
  • Dummied Out: Use of a walk through walls code or the Endless Wall glitch will show the Venus Lighthouse on the world map, but unlike the Mercury Lighthouse (which is clearly visible when sailing around the northern part of the world map), you will never see it in-game, since the gap between northeastern Gondowan and the waterfall to the east of it is too large for it to be seen while sailing. (As with Vale and Mt. Aleph in The Lost Age, the lighthouses can't be entered when approached.)
    • There is actually a pretty huge amount of Weyard's geography on Dark Dawn's world map that is inaccessible without cheating, and it goes into fairly impressive detail. There's also an actual Sol Sanctum on the map.
    • If the bug described below is used to enter the Border Town from the Bilibin side, Matthew actually enters that side and exits to the same spot he came in from (i.e. what little of Bilibin is programmed into the game) when leaving.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In a Blink And Youll Miss It moment, the Tuparang airship shows up in the intro before you ever get control of anything. It doesn't show up again until you've started activating the Apollo Lens.
  • Emoticon: Like the games before it, Dark Dawn uses emoticons to express a character's feelings and some scenes have characters communicate with only emoticons for several seconds! You can make Matthew express his feelings when the scene calls for it, but like with most of the Yes/No questions, it doesn't change anything other than how people react to him in that scene.
  • The Empire: Under Emperor Ko's rule, Sana was this. After Unan became emperor, Sana ceased being this, but Wo founded Kaocho with the intent of continuing Ko's work. Due to Kaocho's intent on ruling all of the Ei-Jei region, it ended up being this (despite not literally referring to itself as an empire due to its monarch having the title of king, which interestingly contrasts with the literal empire ceasing to be an example of this trope) when Matthew and friends visited the region. Of course, when the Grave Eclipse occurs, it gets hit the hardest out of all the other parts of Ei-Jei (since Passaj and Ayuthay were protected by their Alchemy machines, Harapa is bright enough 24/7 that it repels the darkness-dwelling creatures, and Champa and Sana had parts of the country outside the eclipse, while Kaocho had none of those traits, and what little army they did have was niether home nor sheltered), so it's unlikely that it will have this role if there's a sequel.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Alex was one in the first two games, and he keeps his title here. It isn't until his last appearance that the characters realize it's all according to his plan anyway.
  • Expy: Matthew, Karis, Tyrell, and Rief are pretty much Isaac, Ivan, Garet, and Mia respectively, in terms of character design and stats.
  • Eyes of Gold: Matthew and Sveta gain these during the ending when Matthew's soul apparently joins with Sveta when she goes to fire the Apollo Lens. Since the player has likely grown accustomed to the usual profile images, and there's also a subtle and unearthly golden glow around the characters, this is seriously unnerving.
    • What's worse is that the fusion between Sveta and Matthew seemingly served no real purpose since Volechek jumped in the way and sacrificed himself instead. This random scene just screams either Chekhov's Gun or Ship Tease.
    • Also, at the end of the game, most of the citizens of Belinsk have golden eyes, fur and everything else due to the effects of the huge amount of Light Psynergy released by the Apollo Lens.
    • If one looks closely at the character dialogue images, after answering "Yes" to helping Sveta, Matthew's dialogue image displays him with yellow eyes.
  • Failed a Spot Check: During the Grave Eclipse at Belinsk, you can wake up a sleeping old couple upstairs in one of the houses. One of them heads downstairs, you hear an Offscreen Crash and a scream, and the old man comes back unharmed muttering about spilling his tea. He goes right back to sleep amid the screams of his city being ravaged by terrifying monsters from the abyss. Hey, it nets you a Djinn...
    • If you've triggered the Eclipse, you've also added Eoleo to your party. An internationally-renowned violent criminal who's supposed to be facing a horrible death before morning. No comment. In fact, all of Weyard pretty much misses or ignores Eoleo unless you're in Champa. Have you figured out the secret of Weirdness Censor Psynergy, Eoleo?
    • Averted in spades by Tyrell of all people. He recognizes the trap door in Kaocho Palace and tries to get the gang to dodge when it's sprung on them, and if you have Sveta try to read his mind in Apollo Sanctum when she's under your control, he wonders about that.
  • Fainting Seer: You can visit a pair of fortune-telling sisters and have them read your future. One of them goes into a screaming fit and collapses upon seeing a vision of the party bringing disaster upon the world, and can't even bear to look at you afterward. Try not to feel awkward when you revisit her home town after the Grave Eclipse.
    • Himi is first seen in a coma, apparently from a Poke in the Third Eye (metaphorical) when the Grave Eclipse began. An artifact called the Third Eye wakes her and enables her to control her clairvoyant powers.
      • An NPC mentions that Himi's symptoms had been seen before-- Lady Uzume died from the same problem shortly after evacuating the people of Izumo from that island to Nihan when the former was destroyed.
  • Fantastic Drug: Dream Leaf. Not only does your party trip on some (twice, if you want the Haures summon), you have to save the tree it's harvested from.
  • Fantastic Racism: With humans and the beastmen, though the human population of the beastmen's homeland of Morgal tends to tolerate beastmen better than the humans elsewhere (with Saha Town being populated by both and having a statue commemorating the unity of Morgal's humans and beastmen). However, a version of this combined with regular racism still occurs within Morgal towards humans who are ethnically Sanan due to the conflict with Sana in the (recent) past, with this pretty much being the reason for the imprisonment of a member of Sana's nobility (as opposed to how the son of the closest thing Champa has to a ruler was imprisoned for crimes committed in Morgal's territory; specifically, piracy).
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Angara's role as Weyard's equivalent of Eurasia is more obvious than it was in the previous games; for example the eastern part is known as Ei-Jei, which sounds similar to Asia and contains Sana (equivalent to China), Champa (named after an ancient Vietnamese kingdom), and Ayuthay (based on Siamese kingdom Ayutthaya). Nihan is east of Angara and isn't even trying to sound different from Nihon (the Japanese name for, well, Japan). In addition, Kolima's new position on the world map makes it easier to make the connection with the Real Life Kolyma region of Russia, which is in the northeasternmost part of Siberia. Between the clothing influences, Sanan imperial occupation, and Volechek being based on Borte Chino, an ancestor of Genghis Khan (he's explicitly named after Chino in the Japanese localization), Morgal appears to be a mixed-basket analogue of Tibet and Mongolia.
  • Five-Man Band: The party will be one for quite a while: from finding the Insight Glass to reaching the ruins of Belinsk.
  • Food Porn: Just like in the first two games, you can check out the stoves and see what's for dinner. Complete with commentary on more exotic fare, such as a plate of sashimi in Yamatai.
    • This actually adds another layer of Player Punch to the Grave Eclipse, when most of the ovens of trashed-out homes are covered in filth and described along the lines of "it doesn't look like it will cook much again."
  • Forced Tutorial: The first two or three hours of the game, easily, and all of it unskippable. Tutorials for moving around, tutorials for using equipment, tutorials for using Psynergy, and Flint offers you the option of skipping the Djinn tutorial only to take it back when you try to take it. And then, when you finally think you're done with tutorials? Patcher's Place has a tutorial for buying equipment. That's right, this game has to teach you how to go shopping.
  • Fusion Dance: The final boss is the fusion of Chalis, Blados, and Volechek. Not too surprising since Camelot pulled the exactly same shtick in the first two games, although they don't fuse into a dragon into this time. Blados and Chalis weren't even expecting to get pulled into the Chaos Chimera--it was supposed to be just a bunch of fell spirits under their command.
  • Future Badass: Eoleo, Briggs' infant son from The Lost Age, is now a mighty pirate, who is older (30 years on top of whatever he was in The Lost Age) than any non-Piers party member so far. Isaac has joined the fun as well, boasting both a Badass Beard and a Badass Longcoat.
  • Generation Xerox: A young blond Earth Adept with a yellow scarf, his Hot-Blooded and redheaded Fire Adept friend, a short tempered Wind Adept, and a blue-robed Water Adept go on a journey to save the world...and they're the children of the heroes who exactly fit those descriptions previously.
  • Genre Savvy: When the party ask Tret about alternate ways to get into Belinsk, he remarks that "You assume a castle built on ancient ruins MUST have a secret entrance infested with traps and monsters? Well, you're right... THIS time." Considering his age, he's probably picked this up at some point after Isaac and friends cleaned him out.
    • Tret also lets it slip that Amiti is related to Mia somehow and follows up with "I hope I haven't just given away any family secrets..."
    • Obaba comments on the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits her great-grandson has fallen in with.
    • The Sand Prince Gem all but name-checks Defeat Means Friendship in challenging the heroes to prove their worth to him/it.
    • Amiti's reason for joining your party? Seeing the world so he can become a wiser prince. It works.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    • At Patcher's Place, after Karis stops Tyrell from burning the place down again, she tells him "Now, keep your fireballs under control." A visibly disturbed Tyrell responds with "I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that."
    • Chalis's intro scene includes a fairly blatant bust shot while she's asking, "Ah, so do I entice you?" (after telling the heroes where they can find a MacGuffin). Yes, ma'am, you certainly do. She even forces you to say yes.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: The giant disembodied Psynergy hands used to manipulate field obstacles can now be used to attack enemies in battle.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: This is how the battle with Saturos and Menardi atop Venus Lighthouse is portrayed in the Sun Saga books, as they portray Felix and Alex as the primary antagonists of the original game, despite the fact that it was the other way around in actuality.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Nowell, Sveta, and Himi all have pairs, along with little-girl NPCs in most towns. Hou Ju's Odango hair might also qualify.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Eclipse Tower was designed to absorb light as a new Alchemical power source. It did its job very well...to the point that it drained away so much light that the severely light-phobic inhabitants of the netherworld saw a prime opportunity to invade Weyard. The Jenei, at least, didn't realize until activation that the Tower was too effective. The Tuaparang, however, restored it because for them, the flaw was the main attraction.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Volechek.
  • Graphics Induced Super Deformed: Matthew and the rest of the party look very chibi-esque while on the overworld screen, which make them appear to be 12 or 13 instead of 16 years old. In a battle scene however, the party is rendered in more polygons and details, resembling their artwork designs more closely.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Isaac and Garet in the game's opening tutorial dungeon, controlled by the AI.
  • Guide Dang It: In addition to some things capable of being Lost Forever, there's no way of knowing to get the very well-hidden Venus Djinni Brick in Harapa before leaving on the cloud (all the more annoying as it is the only thing lost forever at this point, so it gets left out of lists of Point of No Return), how to get the Venus Djinni at Passaj after the Grave Eclipse, or how to navigate the maze at Otka without consulting a guide first.
    • The encyclopedia entry for the Dream Leaf can only be obtained by talking to one of the villagers after defeating the monster that's afflicting the Dream Tree but before you use Hermes's Water on the tree.
    • As usual, Djinn are scattered around the world map for you to discover. Good luck.
    • The one that takes the cake is Haures' summon tablet. You have a very small window of time to obtain before it's Lost Forever, and the way to get it is not intuitive in any way. At least a lady at an inn will mention what to do for that one, but it's still the worst offender of the bunch.
    • Anyone who says they found the Ivy djinni without a guide is a liar.
  • Hair Color Spoiler: Blados and Chalis turn out to be Adepts, but Amiti takes the cake for having basically his entire subplot given away by the fact that he's a blue-haired Adept in an area otherwise exclusive to brown- and black-haired non-Adepts. And he turns out to be the son of the only other character with that shade of blue. Who'd've thunk it?
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Alex can seem this at times, often working with and against the heroes at the same time, throughout the entire series. However, this is more then likely just the fallout from being an amazing example of the Hidden Agenda Villain and/or The Chessmaster.
  • Heroic Mime: Matthew. The closest thing he has to a line of dialogue is Q*Bert-style Symbol Swearing, and even that only in the American translation. This also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
    • The game allows the player to convey the emotion that Matthew feels at certain points -- happy, thrilled, sad, or angry -- in the vein of the original games' nigh-endless (and equally superficial) Yes/No questions.
    • Also lampshaded when Tret asks for Matthew's name and Karis has to answer for him.
    • And played with again when Sveta loses control of her Pysnergy. Kraden screams her name out to snap her out of it while Matthew just screams "!!" at her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Three of them, no less, and all having some connection with the Grave Eclipse.
    • Briggs kept his ship docked despite the Eclipse to get his son out. Eoleo, and the party, are saved at the cost of Briggs' life. Cue Tear Jerker, and a Player Punch for those who grew fond of him in The Lost Age.
    • Hou Zan, Hou Ju, and Ryu Kou make their way to an iceberg outpost - unintentionally - and wind up stranded on the rocks. Hou Zan, the elder of the trio, staves off the demons for a time, but ultimately pays with his life as well.
    • With the Chaos Chimera destroyed, the Apollo Cannon is ready to overload Eclipse Tower. Matthew is knocked down multiple times by searing light, and Sveta prepares to sacrifice herself to do the deed, seeing as she's the only one with any protection from all that light. The game also implies that Matthew, who was lending her his strength, might very well have died as well. But Volechek, in his corrupted state, knocks her down and fires the cannon, dying in her (and possibly Matthew's) place. It was stated that the end of the Grave Eclipse was going to be his end anyway, as a result of his transfiguration.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Isaac and Garet. They live in their own cabin away from any settlements, their wives are nowhere to be found, they raised their sons together, and they spend the entire opening sequence acting Like an Old Married Couple. Isaac even says Matthew and Tyrell are "like brothers," which, to some people, can imply certain things...
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Arcanus, who is actually Alex, so this is normal.
  • Hijacked By Alex
  • Hitchhiker Heroes: Even more prominent than in the previous two games.
  • Humans Are White: Averted. The majority of the game's plot takes place in the Asia-equivalent part of the world, so four of the player characters are from Fantasy Counterpart Culture versions of ancient Siam, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Japan. Karis probably counts at least by upbringing since Kalay is a fantasy version of Turkey. And then we have the ancestry Wild Mass Guessing and the plethora of ethnically-correct non-player characters.
    • Aside from their clothes, this doesn't seem all that visually apparent.
      • Actually... it is. Eoleo and Himi both have differences in facial structure showing that they're of different ethnicity from the rest of the player characters. Amiti doesn't, but there's a reason for that...
  • Identical Son: Matthew and Tyrell look nearly identical to their fathers, Isaac and Garet. They even behave as such, to the chagrin of Garet, who's mellowed out with age.
    • In Garet's defense, Tyrell has managed to be even more boneheaded and quick-tempered than he ever was.
    • Subverted with Amiti, who dresses and acts quite differently, but is still mistaken for... someone with a mask... by an NPC in Tonfon Palace.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Mundane items no longer have their names capitalized. Fandom had already jumped on "(x) got a Hard Nut! (x) gave a Hard Nut to (y)" in previous games, so removing the capital letters made such innuendos even more hilarious.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: Tanglewood Forest. That stuff Isaac's saying about dispelling dark energies with light? Yeah, that'll be on the final exam.
  • Inn Security: Subverted at one point, where you're trapped in a city because of a barrier that automatically comes up at night. Anybody who has ever been in this situation KNOWS that something bad is going to happen. It doesn't, and the stay at the inn lowers the barrier the next morning, wherein you can leave without incident.
  • Irony: Tyrell complains to Paithos about the common perception of Adepts being control freaks who run everything behind the scenes. Three guesses how the bad guys operate.
  • Item Crafting: It works the same as in The Lost Age: give the smith your materials, leave town, come back for a randomly-crafted item, lather rinse repeat. Luckily, unlike in The Lost Age, Obaba doesn't charge you money for the items. However, there's now only four materials that can be used.
  • Jerkass: Ryu Kou, initially. The Djinni Pewter may also count, although this is more due to its way of speaking, very casual and heavy on the insults.
  • Keep It Foreign: Sveta's name in Japan was Stella, which is reminiscent of Tina becoming Terra in Final Fantasy VI.
  • Keigo: Trickier to spot in the translated versions, but Amiti does speak more politely and formally than most other characters, to reflect his upbringing as nobility. This also makes his snarky Meta Guy moments more amusing.
  • Killed Off for Real: Briggs, the leader of Champa, in bringing his ship in to save his son in Belinsk. And many, many more characters you've met.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Again, Matthew, Karis, Tyrell, and Rief are essentially carbon copies of their fathers and mother in terms of stats, classes, and Psynergy.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Too many to list, though not quite in Better Than a Bare Bulb territory.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: The game begins in a cottage that is overlooking the ruins of Mt. Aleph, where the Golden Sun rose. This happened in the ending of The Lost Age.
  • Leaked Experience: Just as in The Lost Age, non-active party members receive only half as much experience from battles.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Once the Grave Eclipse activates, Volechek and his soldiers chase some monsters into the Belinsk Opera House. When they reach the theater, horror music starts playing, and the soldiers start commenting on it, saying that the monsters are playing musical instruments behind the curtain on the stage. One even mentions that the monsters are quite good.
    • A NPC outside of the fortune tellers' tent outright tells you, "If the world just happens to fall into a horrific apocalyptic darkness as a direct result of your actions, don't blame yourself. Some things are just fated to happen."
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Burning Island Cave.
  • Light Is Not Good: In Apollo Sanctum, the light at the top of the mountain is so strong that Sveta has to wear the Umbra Gear to keep the party protected from being burned to death before they reach the Apollo Lens. The Apollo Lens focuses light in such a deadly concentration that not even the Umbra Gear provides adequate protection on the firing platform. Someone has to die just to turn the thing on, even if it does dispel the eclipse.
  • Light'Em Up: a few of the Fire-based Psynergies and Djinn, but besides those, one NPC in Belinsk in the epilogue claims to have been given Light-elemental Psynergy powers by the beam from the Apollo Lens.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • The Djinn now all have unique designs, the problem is that a number are punning off their Japanese name. For example, Rescue (English: Breath) looks like a knight's helmet and Kiss (English: Steel) now has a pair of puckered lips. [1].
    • Tyrell instantly realizes a connection between Chalis and Blados explicitly because of their names (which is reinforced by using the same mooks). A very easy (and within character) observation to make about the names "Heart" and "Spade," not so blatant or in character with the subtler names based on historical/tarot suits.
      • The European version, which has a slightly different translation from the US version, changes this somewhat. Tyrell's dialogue during the scene basically be summed up as "Her name sounds almost as weird as Blados.'" The Emperor hears him mention Blados and instantly assumes that the party is working under his and Chalis' command and she confirms it.
  • Lost Forever: In a major change from the first two games, about a third of the Djinn and six summon tablets can end up as this if you're not careful, due to a great majority of the locations becoming unreachable after the turning point of the plot. Make sure you have explored everything you can before activating Blados's trap at the end of Konpa Ruins, battling Blados and Chalis in the Belinsk ruins, and leaving Belinsk after the Grave Eclipse activates. Special mention to the Djinni Brick, who is the only thing missed at leaving on the cloud climb.
  • The Lost Woods: The Tanglewood and, later, Kolima Forest.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Amiti is Alex's son. Nobody puts two and two together within the game, although more than enough hints are given to the player.
    • First, the player is told that Amiti's father was a powerful Adept, and you can see that his hair is blue, which narrows it down to Piers and Alex. Camelot actually throws a curveball here in saying that the Adept helped them start the Alchemy Well, so most players would jump straight to Piers rather than Evil Genius Alex. However, take into account that Amiti's father disappeared as soon as he came, which is something that Piers is too honorable to ever do, and Paithos mentions that he never actually saw the man's face. So, either he was just very elusive... or he wore a mask, as we've seen Alex doing.
    • Later, upon meeting Laurel and Tret, Tret specifically indicates that Amiti is somehow related to Mia. Piers is completely unrelated, but Alex is Mia's cousin. Tret lampshades the possibility of "dark family secrets" at this point.
    • Also, in Tonfon, if you talk to the old man by Emperor Unan's throne after you save Hou Ju and Ryu Kou, he asks the party "Didn't you come by before? Where's your mask?". Alex had just been there. We can assume that the old man is not going senile and is actually confused by a case of Strong Family Resemblance.
      • What, you thought Amiti just had generic anime features? Nope! He's got similar facial structure to Rief, Mia, and Alex. Compare and contrast with the other ethnically diverse characters.
    • Also, if you read Amiti's mind at the very end when you get control of Sveta right after the final battle, it reveals that for some reason Amiti is thinking of Alex and he doesn't know why.
    • There is also a conversation (in the Tonfon palace, IIRC) that seems to imply Kraden and Karis have worked it out, and deliberately don't wish to let the kid know until after everything is resolved. It's never brought up again though.
      • Rief figures it out too.
    • A released character chart showing everybody's ancestry verifies the matter.
  • Lumberjack Bridge: A lumberjack thinks he may be able to do this to deal with an impassable chasm.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The High Empyror, Tuaparang's unseen leader. The Tuaparang we see first betray the country and then get Hijacked By Alex.
  • MacGuffin: The Roc Feather, needed to fix the soarwing that Isaac needs to investigate Mt. Aleph. The Insight Glass, ostensibly needed to navigate the Ouroboros Labyrinth, but really just gets Amiti to join your party. The Magma Orb (which activates the Alchemy Dynamo in Belinsk) and the Third Eye (which awakens Himi from her slumber) also fulfill this function as well.
  • Magic Skirt: Karis has the "nothing modeled above the thigh" variety (can be seen on the stats screen if wielding a sword/staff).
    • Which is kind of weird since she's wearing leggings/tights underneath.
  • The Maze: Otka Island.
  • Meaningful Name: "Matthew," the main character's name, means "gift of God." This is interesting considering the Wise One, who may very well be Weyard's God, attempted to kill Isaac using his own father as a tool in a Secret Test of Character... but also in terms of Isaac having been imbued with the power of the Mars Star. His Japanese name "Mut" can be seen as a play on mute, as he takes after his dad.
    • Sveta means "light," and she's the only one who can wear the Umbra Gear that protects from the light at Apollo Sanctum. Her name in Japanese, "Stella," means "star," playing on both light and darkness themes.
  • Mental World: Phantasmal Bog.
  • Mind Screw: Also Phantasmal Bog. The party falls asleep in order to confront the nightmares, dreams that they're sucked into a hole where they traverse a dungeon and slay a lizard, then wake up -- right next to the dead lizard.
    • You even get a Psynergy-bestowing item from it. Bwah?!
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Happens a bit with the beastmen, who get very short-tempered around a full moon (strangely, the ex-human ones are worse about this than the ex-animals). Volechek started the disturbing tradition of public execution as festival entertainment to direct the civilians' aggressions away from each other during this time.
    • The ex-humans being more aggressive under the full moon is likely a Continuity Nod to the werewolves of Garoh in The Lost Age.
  • Missing Mom: Karis' and Tyrell's mothers are never even mentioned. Eoleo, whose mother, Chaucha, players met in The Lost Age, is oddly absent from this installment (especially since we are specifically asked to make sure she's okay). While Matthew's mother, Jenna, is never seen, the characters know exactly where she is: living in Kalay along with other refugees from Vale.
  • Mood Whiplash: An interesting variation, in that the mood goes from dramatic to humorous. Immediately after you fire the Apollo Lens and end the Grave Eclipse, the game shifts back to Belinsk for the epilogue, and it's playing the jazzy music from when you first arrived there.
  • Mukokuseki: Subverted and justified with regards to Amiti, averted outright for Eoleo and Himi who have more Asian-ish features.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Volechek, the king of Morgal, decides to remain in Belinsk after the Grave Eclipse activates.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: "GRAMPS?! I'm an elder of Passaj! Call me that...or by my name, Bogho! Anything else is disrespectful!"
  • Never Mess with Granny: Obaba[2] is easily around the same age as Kraden without the lifespan-extending effects of the Golden Sun, yet death seems to be a concept completely alien to her, and she can forge as easily as she could in The Lost Age (even being able to produce what party members other than the Sol Blade-wielding Matthew can use as an Infinity+1 Sword). This is mostly obvious because she doesn't seem to be bothered at all by the fact that her hometown is engulfed in the monster-producing darkness of the Grave Eclipse, and is so unwilling to relocate to part of the country outside the eclipse's range like most other townspeople that the townspeople that didn't relocate (specifically because of her reluctance to leave town, not for their own reasons) ended up burning the buildings to produce light to repel the monsters the eclipse attracts, since Champa doesn't have any mechanism to repel them like Harapa's perpetual light or Passaj and Ayuthay's Alchemy machines.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It was a Sadistic Choice, to be fair, but Ryu Kou steals the Magma Orb and activates the Alchemy Dynamo and the Eclipse Tower in order to save his sister. Also applies to the party as well; after all, they did kill the Mountain Roc, in whose belly the orb resided.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: Isaac and Garet when they join your party for a while. Because of how strong they were when they saved the world 30 years earlier, they still retain their high defenses, high HP, and ass kicking Djinn. They can be hurt, but since everything thrown at them is pretty much Scratch Damage, nothing can really touch them.
  • Noob Cave: The Goma Plateau, Tanglewood, and Abandoned Mineshaft. Most of the monsters you fight are easily defeated in one strike with Karis' area of effect wind Pysnergy and the first boss fight is easily won due to its weakness to fire and the fact that Isaac and Garet's Djinn is shared with yours, allowing you to use high tier summons. Things start to kick up in difficulty a bit once you head out to the overworld map.
  • Nostalgia Level: The Psynergy Training Grounds, a very condensed version of the plot and more memorable moments of the first two games, with a ramshackle wooden facsimile of the second game's Final Boss serving as the boss battle.
  • Off the Rails: You thought this would be a quick run to get the feather, didn't you?
  • Older and Wiser: While Isaac has always been thoughtful and intelligent, Garet plays this trope straight; his son, Tyrell, behaves much like Garet did in the first two games, and Garet doesn't hesitate to berate him for his behavior.
    • Isaac meanwhile subverts the trope; he seems rather careless about the safety of others, bordering on outright Cloudcuckoolander. Tyrell's in life-threatening danger? Perfect time to put Matthew and Karis on an obstacle course to test their skills to rescue Tyrell. What the hell, Isaac?
  • Older Than They Look: Isaac and Garet do not look to be in their late 40s; mid-30s is more like it. In fact, Ivan's found that those directly exposed to the power of the Golden Sun (i.e. the Warriors of Vale and Kraden) age much more slowly than normal. Karis is a little worried that the parents will sharply outlive their children.
    • This is much more apparent with Kraden, who looks exactly the same as he did in the first two games, despite already being roughly 70 back then. Repeatedly lampshaded when everybody who knew Kraden back in The Lost Age is bewildered that he hasn't aged a day since then.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Ice Queen's Icy Kiss, certain weapon unleash techniques and Djinn, the Charon summon, and Skorpna enemies' "Drag Down" attack all deal damage and have some chance of a one-hit kill. In addition, the Condemn powers, which effectively sicc the Grim Reaper on someone, return, but they're still Useless Useful Spells in your hands.
  • One-Time Dungeon: This happens twice in the game, at first preventing you from returning to the first two towns, but the second prevents you from revisiting nearly half the world map.
  • Outside Context Villain: Tuaparang easily fits the bill. They're outright stated not to be from any of Weyard's known nations or peoples, and have access to extremely advanced technology and Psynergy that doesn't follow the four classical elements!
  • Papa Wolf: Briggs, who singlehandedly tries to storm the most fortified city on Angara with a busted ship in the effort to rescue his imprisoned son. Twice. The sheer insanity of this is lampshaded. He also stays in port during the onset of the Grave Eclipse so you can get Eoleo out of there, even though the monsters mortally wound him.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Once you reach a certain point in Konpa Ruins, you meet a masked man (which, by the way, doesn't even cover half his face) with blue hair that's helping the bad guys, and who Kraden apparently knows from the past. Nice try, Alex.
    • Justified. Nobody in this group except Kraden ever met him, and according to Karis's commentary in the final dungeon, everyone else who had presumed him dead. He had no reason to disguise himself.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Southeast of Kaocho, between a river and a lone tree and west of a cliff, there's a small forest where Rat Warriors often appear. These enemies are normally found outside the city of Tonfon, which players don't have access to at this point, so as with the trope namer, this is caused by the game generating a random encounter for the wrong part of the world. They hit hard (so make sure you've got money in case you need to revive someone) and take a while to take down, but they give over 900 experience points apiece, which is a lot at that point in the game.
    • Later in the game, right before the final boss, Tua Warriors appear on every random encounter and drop Waters of Life and give tons of experience (i.e. five-digit amounts), making power-leveling very easy (and making it easy to level up for the post-game optional bosses). You can easily make it to level 99 within two or three hours.
  • Petting Zoo People: A race of beastmen evolved as a result of Alchemy's return, and have developed a nation of their own by chasing the locals out. Sveta, a party member, is one of them (and noted as the first playable nonhuman in the series). It is a bit of Continuity Nod when you think about The Lost Age's village of Garoh...
  • Philosopher's Stone: The Wise One is considered to be one, though he's a bit different from the usual definition.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: This is the condition the party makes for Amiti when he wants to join them on their travels. He asks if this is because his current state of dress is embarrassing, but the reply is that it'll be cold in the mountains -- and sure enough, Amiti complains about the cold when they reach Te Rya.
    • Played for laughs again when Eoleo sees him and expresses surprise that anyone from Ayuthay wears "real clothes", implying the entire kingdom has a certain... reputation. Amiti is not amused.
  • Point of No Return: There are three major points in the game that will cut off most content before that point if you cross it without collecting everything. In order, they are: Blados collapsing the Konpa Ruins and Rief joining the party, jumping on the cloud at Passaj to go to Craggy Peak, and getting on Briggs' and Eoleo's ship at Belinsk after the Luna Tower rises and the Grave Eclipse begins.
    • The only thing missed at the second checkpoint is one Djinni; you can go back to that area later, and in fact need to for at least one other Djinni. However, you can no longer explore the rest of Morgal after requesting Arangoa Prelude from the band at Belinsk.
  • Precursors: A few of them are named, the main ones being the Jenei, ancient Adepts, the Exathi, master craftsmen responsible for building most of the sanctums and dungeons seen throughout the games... and the Fori, ancestral Muggles.
  • Precision F-Strike: By way of Symbol Swearing: When Alex shows up at Apollo Sanctum, Matthew breaks his silence to say "#$%^!" This is only in the US version however. In the original Japanese and European versions, he goes "?!" like every other time he speaks.
    • When the Magma Orb is stolen, Karis will ask your opinion of the situation. If you select the "angry" option, her response: "Wow...graphic!"
  • Precursor Heroes: The Warriors of Vale.
  • Previous Player Character Cameo: Isaac and Garet make an appearance in Dark Dawn's prologue, though they cannot be directly controlled by the player. The other party members are mentioned at least once each, but none of them appear in the game.
  • Punny Name - Plenty: For locations there's Passaj (which was lampshaded accordingly), and for people there's Amiti, whose mother was Veriti...
  • Put on a Bus: All of the Warriors of Vale aside from Isaac and Garet, unfortunately. Mia and Sheba's locations are not stated (Ivan and Jenna, at least, are said to be in Kalay, which doesn't appear in Dark Dawn); Felix is said to have left on a journey, and no one has seen him since; Piers is apparently sailing around Angara during the course of the game, but you never cross paths with him, despite the fact that the country of Sana has been trading with Piers's homeland of Lemuria (as mentioned in the Sanan capital of Tonfon), or that he apparently dropped into Port Rago to help Briggs fix up his ship.
    • Actually, the Sanans mention trading with a Lemurian, singular, who helped them improve their ships. So it's possible that this was Piers, too, and Lemuria is still closed.
    • After her one scene, Rief's sister Nowell is never seen again. Eventually Rief remembers to ask Kraden about that, and Kraden says she took a fancy to Piers and went on a joyride with him.
    • Himi's brother Takeru is mentioned to have departed on a journey because of a vision Himi had that Felix's friend Isaac was in danger, invoking their mother's aid-in-distress promise to Felix from The Lost Age.
  • Rebellious Princess: Sveta
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ku-Embra is Red, while his much more reasonable brother Ku-Tsung is Blue.
    • The helpful, outgoing Sand Prince Gem and the self-centered, arrogant Snow Queen Gem. Or the Hot-Blooded Boisterous Bruiser Tyrell and the quiet, bookish Rief (clearest in the scene in Harapa where they show some kids their respective Psynergy). If you're looking for it, this trope is all over the place.
  • Red Right Hand: Blados has blue skin and Chalis has horns.
  • Remembered I Could Fly: When confronted by Chaos Hound, Tyrell has to remind Sveta about her power before she uses Slap on it.

Tyrell: Are you an Adept or not? Use some Psynergy on it!

    • Sveta also seemingly has to remember that, as a beastman, she can scent the identity of the Chaos Hound.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The entire second party.
    • Amiti is mentioned to have a politically-advantageous friendship with Baghi of Passaj, may or may not have been directly involved in the war between Ayuthay and Kaocho prior to your arrival, and then joins our heroes on their quest.
    • Sveta is seemingly involved in Morgal's sticky political situation up to her ears... and not getting out of it any time soon.
    • Eoleo is, of course, looting and pillaging for his country. This is actually a Call Back to a very minor plot point in The Lost Age, in which the elders of Champa were considering ennobling Briggs and his family as thanks for doing what they could to support the people, even if it was criminal.
    • Not only is Himi making prophecies to guide and protect her people, she apparently inherited this from her aunt Uzume, who evacuated them to Nihan when Izumo sank in a tidal wave. Then Himi hauls off with our heroes to go save the world.
  • Rule of Cool: There is no other explanation for the Thor summon changing from his zapping the enemy with lightning to flying through the sky on his giant hammer, skydiving off it, then turning it into a giant turbofan which he then throws on the enemy. None.
    • Or Boreas going from giant stationary icegrinder to bigger-than-mountains train-horse causing avalanches by slamming its hooves in the ground.
  • Running Gag: Everybody Kraden ever met in The Lost Age is surprised to see that he hasn't aged a day since then. Everybody.

Kraden: It isn't polite to stare at the elderly, you know.

  • Sacrificial Lion: Briggs.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Same as in the previous games in regards to the elements/gods association... yet there are a couple of notable details added to the summons from the previous games, such as Procne now showing a nightingale and swallow in flight as well as the old gigantic monster-bird, and Zagan getting a design makeover and being shown sitting in Hell when summoned. They also remade Thor as a redhead - Norse mythology buffs rejoiced.
    • Though summoning Tiamat now apparently involves a Tron Lines-filled tower, Boreas is now a literal Iron Horse (a locomotive bigger than mountains with hooves), and Coatlicue is still a kind and loving goddess. In fact, she's lost the snake imagery that was basically the only thing TLA's version had right.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Matthew inherited it from Isaac.
  • Scenery Porn: Sometimes the camera tilts just so you can appreciate the view.
  • Sequel Hook: The Stinger at the end. Hey, it wouldn't be a Golden Sun game without one.
    • One of the endgame conversations imply that two new types of Psynergy have surfaced. Darkness and Light. Interesting...
    • Takeru apparently left Yamatai on a really cool flying ship. The same really cool flying ship whose captain Nowell was allegedly crushing on, perhaps? The implication that they're teaming up and have a mission (find and help Isaac) is part of the reason fans presume these two will be the next player characters.
    • Don't even try to keep track of all the hanging plot threads you'll see before that. Camelot is fond of these...
    • Granted, The Stinger is pretty much just a Call Back to what appeared to be the original plot.
  • Ship Sinking: Inevitable due to the premise and unlikely to end well due to the series extensive Shipping. Sorry, Mudshippers and Flameshippers: Isaac picked Jenna. The scene in which this is off-handidly revealed even takes place in a shipyard.
    • Mia*Piers is also obliquely sunk when Kraden reveals that Nowell--Mia's daughter--has a crush on Piers.
    • There's nothing indicating that Garet's son and Mia's two children are related. Poor Steamshippers.
  • Ship Tease: Matthew and Sveta in the ending.
    • And at the beginning of the game, Karis and Matthew during the equipment tutorial.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Snowdrift Shrine.
  • Smug Super: Some NPCs in Passaj mention that the Adept Precursors were this to the ancestral Muggles during the so-called Golden Age of Man.
  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: Sveta pulls this after your initial meeting, but thankfully she comes back
    • She wasn't likely to have taken much anyway since her armor is already top of the line and she can't use anyone else's weapons. Heck, if you're strapped for gold and couldn't afford the last round of upgrades you can take her armor before she leaves.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Played with in the fight with the Ogre Titans. You fight them two at a time, and each time you kill one a bigger, stronger one takes his place. The last is so big it's hard to see your player characters.
  • Spin Offspring: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn takes place 30 years after the end of The Lost Age and follows the story of the previous heroes' children.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Isaac, when he joins your party for a while in Tanglewood, will very frequently tell you use Djinn and summons to get an advantage over your enemies. While this can be helpful for players new to the Golden Sun series, veteran players or people who are playing through the game again will find Isaac's constant nagging on what to do in battle annoying since almost every enemy at that point can be killed in a few hits with weapons or psynergy.
    • Garet's AI is known to get rather trigger-happy with the summons if you have any Djinn on standby. Even against minor enemies.
    • The game also has quite a few points where the characters have whole conversations about what to do next, when the answer should be patently obvious.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Eoleo and his great-grandmother Obaba's first reaction to Kraden's immortality is that is that it must suck given he is still 70.
    • Tyrell made the same comment near the beginning of the game.
  • Superweapon Surprise: Volechek thinks the Luna Tower will be one he can use against Sana and Bilibin. He's... misinformed.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: In the last dungeon, Tuaparang mooks spawn which drop 5-digit numbers of EXP and Water of Life. Surprisingly enough, you will need them. Chaos Chimera, while no Doom Dragon, is surprisingly tough, and then comes Crossbone Isle and Dullahan, who has become even more badass than before!
  • Swamps Are Evil: The Phantasmal Bog.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Sol Blade is stuck in a stone in Apollo Sanctum, which Matthew can use to open a few doors. This is in contrast to the role of the previous games' Infinity Plus One Swords (of which the Sol Blade used to be one), which were simply found in random chests, randomly dropped, or forged.
    • The Umbra Gear, which can only be wielded by Sveta, also counts (although not a sword), in that collecting them is necessary to survive the incredible light at Apollo Sanctum.
  • Take Your Time: Notable at a few points in the story, particularly at the end; while Alex is fighting Blados and Chalis at Apollo Sanctum, you can just up and leave the dungeon. The Apollo Lens will still be there, unfired, when you return.
  • Tarot Motifs: Blados and Chalis, based on the suits of Swords and Cups ("blade" and "chalice", respectively). Kraden explains it near the end (though doesn't mention the Tarot by name), in which he also calls out "Arcanus" as a sign of a massive ego: fits the theme but is much more impressive-sounding. The Japanese version is even more direct, calling them Spade, Heart and Ace while the EU translation mark's "Arcanus"'s character well by noting it refers to the entire deck, chosen because he is "holding all the cards".
  • A Taste of Power: During their stint as Guest Star Party Members at the beginning of the game, not only do Isaac and Garet hit far, far harder than Matthew and Karis, but you have access to their Djinn as well, and thus high level summons such as Judgement and Meteor.
    • The only boss you fight alongside Isaac and Garet is weak to fire. You might be able to coax Garet into using one of his Djinn. If you unleash enough Mars Djinn, Isaac explicitly tells you to summon Tiamat or Meteor.
  • Tempting Fate: When Matthew's party meets with Tret and Laurel, she advises them that they must not activate a machine in Belinsk called the Alchemy Dynamo. Which, of course, means that it's going to happen.
  • Theme Naming: The Tuaparang commanders are named Blados, Chalis, and Arcanus, after the Tarot Motifs of Swords, Cups, and the deck as a whole. In Japan, they're named Spade, Heart, and Ace (the high card) for the same reason.
    • The point is raised in-game; while the former two just refer to card suites, "Arcanus" is more like a term for the entire deck. "Holding all the cards"...?
    • This might be accidental, but given their genders there's also a... biological pun to names based on "Swords" and "Cups".
  • The Night That Never Ends: The Grave Eclipse. At least until it absorbs enough light energy.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Morgal is in the late stages or aftermath of a bloody revolution against Sana and budding hostilities with Bilibin. Both of which Morgal's king wants to settle via Superweapon Surprise. A little girl is captured and condemned to Cruel and Unusual Death in Belinsk, just for being Sanan nobility.
  • The Theme Park Version: Literally, the Psynergy training grounds are a loosely adapted version of the plot from the first two games. The Kraken and Poseidon are much more important, the villains have nothing redeeming about them, Lemuria and Felix aren't mentioned, and the final boss is a mechanical wooden three-headed dragon. Instead of, y'know, the transformed parents of half the protagonists.
  • This Looks Like a Job For Aquaman: As typical for a Golden Sun game, if a party member gets a new overworld power (or if the party gets a new member with a specific power), expect to see a dungeon or two built around using that power.
    • The only place Sveta's Track Psynergy is needed in the entire game is an extremely contrived puzzle to enter the final dungeon (the dungeon she demonstrates it in is pretty straightforward). Which is sad, because the idea of it is pretty cool.
    • In Craggy Peak's Zodiac-themed dungeon, there is a very confusing puzzle involving moving around statues of goats. The nearby stone tablet is cryptic ("The goat leaves no trace behind."). Looks like a job for Insight Psynergy!
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: And then It Got Worse...
  • Tragic Monster: Volechek, no thanks to Tuaparang's...ministrations.
  • Trap Door: Kaocho Palace has one.
  • The Chessmaster: Alex is definitely one of these. To make things worse, his ultimate plan remains a total mystery — as soon as he causes the Grave Eclipse, he apparently decides to help you stop it in his typical behind-the-scenes fashion, completely backstabbing the Tuaparang.
  • The Unfought: Damn it, Alex!
    • Mooks, Blados, and Chalis aside, you never get back at the Tuaparang - or the Umbra Clan - for all the grief they caused. On top of that, their leader, the High Empyror, is never seen, only mentioned. Maybe next time.
    • While not a fight per se, the game mentions the country of Bilibin many, many times (such as how it grew from the town Isaac and his friends visited during their journey to an entire country), and yet you never get to go there. Maybe next time?
    • And for all the trash talking between Ryu Kou and Tyrell, you never get a chance to beat the arrogance out of him.
  • The Unmasqued World: In the first game(s), Adept communities kept their powers secret. Now, the whole world knows about Psynergy and there's an Adept arms race on.
    • Most obvious in Harapa, where several people can be found trying (and failing) to learn to use Psynergy and Alchemy.
  • True Companions: A certain NPC in Yamata views your party in this way. Including Eoleo.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Pretty much everybody, including the Tuaparang themselves, if Alex is any indication.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Sun Saga and Adept Training Grounds contain a few errors that are done in such a way (such as an unimportant giant monster fight being highlighted over more important plot elements like the Proxian's motivations, and Felix being called a number of insults in the beginning) to make it clear it is in-universe. There's also no mention of the TLA stinger (Alex getting power from the Golden Sun when it rose), since no one in the game would know about that.
    • Garet claims he never did stupid things when he was his son's age. Huhu.
      • To be fair, Tyrell does a lot more stupid things than Garet ever did.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Standard Status Effects are useless against bosses, One-Hit Kill spells do jack all to anything, the usual.
  • The Vamp: Chalis. She has horns, "horned" archaically refers to an adulterer. She even resembles the Succubus monster line from the first 2 games, which becomes even more apparent when you start encountering Succubi who, in turn, look like her.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Valeshipping (Isaac/Jenna) confirmed to be canon.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: One of the Mars Djinn you can get is first seen hanging happily on a tree. So how do you get it down? Use "Slap" Psynergy on the poor critter.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: The trio of Tuaparang Scouts that you fight shortly after the party meets Kraden for the first time. You only have three party members at this point with not too impressive psynergy or summons and healing items will most likely be just herbs. On top of this, the scouts will spam Psy Grenades to damage your PP and use other abilities that either stuns a party member, making them lose turns, or lower your agility so that they may attack before you can.
  • Wasted Song: At the beginning we have the music that plays in Isaac and Garet's cabin on Goma Plateau, which is a calmer remix of the series's theme song, and shortly after that there's Patcher's Place's music, the latter of which is one of two updated versions of Vale's music from the first game (the other is used for the file select screen and thus can be heard anytime, so it isn't an example). It only plays there and since it doesn't take long to reach the first Point of No Return from there, it can't be heard again without exploiting a glitch or hacking. On the other hand, despite the fact that it plays in a town in the same part of the world as Patcher's Place, Carver's Camp's music gets a better amount of use, though, as players can hear it at any point in the game.[3]
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Apollo Lens.
  • Weirdness Censor: Using Psynergy in broad daylight gets no reaction from passersby. Including lowering the water level under a ship that's being worked on by five people by several feet.
    • Subverted when Briggs mentions that he identified Matthew's group by their use of Psynergy around said ship. But Briggs knows all about Adepts already, and would know what to look for, so he's more of the exception that proves the rule.
  • Western Zodiac: The Craggy Peak Ruins houses a set of twelve zodiac-themed puzzles.
  • Wham! Episode: The Grave Eclipse covers Angara starting with Belinsk, in which the monsters get much stronger and become Demonic Spiders, the body count starts climbing higher than it ever has in the entire series, the soundtrack gets really depressing/horrifying, and worst of all, Briggs, a classic character from the original games, dies in his son's arms. A clear sign that the stakes have been raised.
  • What Do You Mean It Was Made On Alcohol?: Invoked, bizarrely, during the very creation of the game itself. According to the Golden Sun Wiki, Hiroyuki Takahashi only came up with the idea of making a new Golden Sun after "having been liquored and eaten a lot of nori".
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: In the same town and brought about by the same event as the Light'Em Up example above, another NPC claims to have gained the power to calculate compound interest.

"It's remarkably handy, actually."

  • What's Up, King Dude?: Lampshaded a couple of times (in Ayuthay, for instance), but overall it tends to be justified. In Kaocho, The Man Behind the Man makes it happen. In Yamatai, Kraden is able to make your excuses.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The original eight player characters (and Kraden) barely age due to being exposed to so much elemental energy, but it's noted by their kids that the original eight might outlive their children by a significant margin. As for Kraden, he might be ageless... but he was already 70 at the time.
    • Presumably, Alex is this way as well.
    • Obaba is upset to learn she's outlived her grandson.
      • And if not for the player party, she very well could have outlived her great-grandson, since you had to rescue him twice in Belinsk (from Cruel and Unusual Death and then from the eclipse monsters).
  • World of Snark: Pretty much all the main characters get at least one or two snide remarks in throughout the game.
  • Wutai: Ei-Jei, a region visited by the protagonists for a fair portion of the game, is Fantasy Counterpart Asia, with various analogues to China, Siam, Vietnam, and Japan, among others. There's a lot more attention to detail than usual, as well; the architecture and, in some cases, clothing is reflective of the real-world culture, and characters from these regions have different facial structures, indicating separate ethnicity from the "European" nations of western Angara. The fact that one of your party members from this region has a face resembling Mia and others from the Imil area rather than his fellow people of Ei-Jei is a big, whopping hint regarding his ancestry.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Some of this generation's hair colors are notably different from their predecessors, and I don't just mean Karis's inexplicably green hair. Garet's was originally reddish-brown, but Tyrell's hair is unmistakably red. Mia and Alex had cyan hair, but Mia's two children have very blue hair, as does another Mercury Clan descendent we encounter.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: It is impossible to leave Ayuthay after obtaining the Sand Prince Gem (an item that is required to proceed) until you acquire the Insight Glass (an item that tells you what to do next). This is to prevent players from skipping the long and convoluted sequence of events leading up to getting the Insight Glass (and therefore miss out on recruiting Amiti) because for all of that trouble, it becomes entirely useless if you're on a second playthrough or are using a guide.
  1. Though in Steel's case, it should be noted that the description still states it kisses the foe to steal their HP
  2. incidentally the grandmother of the above-mentioned Briggs and great-grandmother of Matthew's party's resident pirate, Eoleo
  3. To be more specific, Harapa uses it after the first point of no return, Border Town uses it after the second, and Harun Village uses it after the last one. (The fact that Harun Village is available permanently after the last Point of No Return allows players to sail back to it to hear its music again.)