Items can prove vital for completing a game, since they provide a valuable tactical advantage in battle: Many items can bring weakened party members back to peak fighting strength, and more still provide constant statistic boosts to the characters that carry them. Some items aren't used in battle but are still valuable for navigating dungeons or advancing the plot.
The term "inventory" refers to a player's collection of items. Due to a number of factors, such as gameplay balance and data storage limitations, most RPGs have rules about how many items they let players have in their inventories. Because of their limited sizes, managing one's inventory becomes important, and players will often have to get rid of old items to make room for new, better ones.
Unfortunately, most RPGs follow their own set of rules, so knowing one game's inventory system may not be of any use when playing a different game. As a result, even veteran RPG players may not be familiar with Golden Sun's inventory system. The following are the basic rules about Golden Sun inventories:
- Each party member has their own inventory - While some RPGs have a single inventory that all characters draw from, Golden Sun gives each playable character a separate inventory. As a result, characters can only use items in their own inventory. It is possible to trade items between party members, so deciding who carries what is an important aspect of inventory management.
- Each party member can hold up to 15 items - This limit is increased to 16 in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. Normally this is only important because it means one character can't carry the entire party's items. However, new items are automatically given to the first character in the party (the order can be changed to suit each player's preferences). If that character's inventory is full, the items is given to the second party member, then the third, and so on. Fortunately, a text box typically appears to tell players which character has the item, so players won't have to worry about misplacing an item.
- Consumable items of the same type only fill one inventory slot - To be specific, each party member can carry up to 30 of the same consumable item, but they will only count as a single item towards that character's 15/16-item limit. This can provide players with a way to quickly make more room for new items: Giving all of one character's consumable items to another party member who also has a few of that item frees up inventory space for the first character.
There are plenty of ways to collect items, ranging from winning them in battle to purchasing them in shops, from finding them in treasure chests to winning them in minigames. There are many items that can only be acquired through certain methods, though, so it is important for players to familiarize themselves with all the various forms of item collection.
Starting items: Each playable character already has a few items when they join the party. While they will usually be powerful enough for that point in the game, the consumable items won't last forever and the equipment will most likely be outclassed fairly soon.
Item vendors: One of (if not the) primary sources of items. Almost every form of civilization encountered, whether it's a capital city or a backwater village, will have stores where players can purchase items with the coins they collect over the course of the game. Coins, in turn, can be found through most of the same methods items can. While coins can't be purchased with other coins, it is possible to sell items for coins, usually for about 75% of what players would have to pay to buy the item back.
There are three basic types of vendors: Weapon vendors, armor vendors, and item vendors, the last of which primarily sells consumable items, but also some equipment and key items. Sometimes players will encounter a single shop that sells both weapons and armor, or even all types of items, rather than having several separate vendors in the same town. It is also worth noting that not all towns will have all three types of vendors.
Monster drops: Another major source of items, including some of the rarest items in the series. Although combat in the Golden Sun series can be avoided for a while, players will eventually be forced to fight to advance the game. Upon defeating enemies, players are rewarded with experience points, coins, and, on occasion, items.
Almost every monster has a certain item it may drop (i.e. one can't get both a nut and an oil drop from the same species), and a certain chance that it might be dropped (i.e. don't expect to get an item at the end of every battle). It is possible to increase the odds of getting an item by utilizing Djinn: Defeating an enemy with an offensive Djinni of the element that enemy is weakest to will multiply the chances of receiving an item from that enemy by four (in addition to increasing the experience and coin rewards from that enemy). Very rarely, though, one may encounter monsters that drop no items.
Treasure chests and other hidden items: While playing the games, players will no doubt encounter a number of treasure chests. These chests usually contain coins or items, some of which are one-of-a-kind. Also, some items are hidden in other examinable objects, such as the many jars, barrels, and wooden boxes littered around the towns. It should be noted that not all objects contain hidden items, but the Reveal Psynergy can be used to quickly find their resting places.
Forging equipment: Some of the strongest equipment in the series cannot be found or purchased, but must instead be made from scratch. Players don't do this themselves, however. Instead, raw materials can be taken to certain non-playable characters, who will create new weapons or armor for the party. These NPCs can also take old weapons and restore them to their former glory.
Minigames: Several minigames, primarily the Lucky Wheels and Lucky Medal Fountains, offer unique, powerful rewards to
skilled lucky players. However, players must exchange certain other items in order to play these games. There are also minigames that let players gamble coins for the chance to win even more. Since these are games of chance, players are advised to save their progress before trying their luck.
Storyline events: Whether it's a major point in the game or part of a trading sequence, or simply a gift from a random NPC, many items are simply given to players automatically as part of a scripted event. More often than not, these items are unique and have a specific purpose. On occasion, though, they are simply normal items that may or may not be useful, but are at least free.
Types of items
The Golden Sun series features too many items for most people to keep track of. Fortunately, most items can be placed into three major groups: Equipment, consumable items, and key items. These groups can be sub-divided further, eventually resulting in multiple classes of items that, while different from one another, have enough in common to be somewhat interchangeable.
- Main article: Equipment
Equipment refers to any item that can be "equipped" to a party member, strengthening that character in some way for as long as that item is equipped. Equipment easily makes up the majority of items in the Golden Sun series, due partly to the fact that there are so many different sub-categories of equipment.
The most basic types of equipment are "weapons" and "armor". Weapons increase the wielder's physical strength and may grant that character access to special attacks. Armor, on the other hand, reduces the damage taken by the wearer. Although not as flashy or memorable as weapons, armor can also provide additional benefits, such as increasing the wearer's speed, replenishing Psynergy Points, or increasing the odds of unleashing a weapon's special attack.
It should be noted that armor is further categorized by which smaller classes of armor can be worn together. Or, to be more accurate, by which smaller classes of armor cannot be worn together. Most armor is arranged into three major groups: Head armor, body armor, and hand armor. The classes within these groups, as well as all weapons, are mutually exclusive: Equipping a new Circlet will remove the Crown that character is already wearing, and nobody can wield a Fist and a Claw at the same time.
As hinted above, weapons and armor are further subdivided into different groups, such as Axes and Maces for weapons and Helmets and Robes for armor. One of the major differences between party members is what types of equipment each character can utilize. For example, Isaac can carry Long Swords and Shields while Ivan has access to Staffs and Bracelets. Both, however, can equip Gloves and Light Blades, the latter of which is off-limits to Mia.
Although weapons and armor make up the bulk of equipment, there are a few other classes worth noting. A few classes of equipment follow the same basic rules as weapons and armor, but don't neatly fall into any other categories. A few items can be equipped to change a party member's class, and a few are so unique that they don't fall into any category at all.
One last class of equipment are items that grant the wielder new Psynergies. The Psynergies granted by these items can rarely be used in battle, and are instead used to navigate dungeons and advance the game. Unlike most classes of equipment, a single party member can equip as many Psynergy-bestowing items as they wish, so long as they follow the other in-game rules.
- Main article: List of consumable items
Consumable items get their name from the fact that they are "consumed" when used, vanishing from a player's inventory. Fortunately, Golden Sun games provide players with a limitless supply of most consumable items. A few items, however, come in limited quantities and will be gone forever once used.
Although it was already mentioned, it bears repeating here: Consumable items are "stackable", meaning multiples of the same item only take up one inventory slot. Each party member can carry up to 30 of any consumable item.
- Main articles: List of Quest items
Key items is a general term used throughout RPGs to refer to items that have little, if any, gameplay purpose, but are required to advance the plot.
Whereas some games would separate key items from the rest of a player's inventory, Golden Sun does not. As a result, items that are no longer useful may fill up valuable space in the party's inventory. While some of these items can be sold, others cannot.
Normal items Vs. Artifacts
- Main article: Artifact
One of the differences between Golden Sun and most other RPGs is the existence of Artifacts. Artifacts are special items that can be of any type (weapon, armor, consumable, etc.) and are distinguished by their rarity. "Normal" items can be won or purchased in limitless quantities. Aside from monster drops and minigame prizes (and, of course, consumable items), Artifacts are typically one-of-a-kind.
One of the distinguishing features about Artifacts is that, if sold or dropped, they can be repurchased at the appropriate vendor, even if that vendor is in a different location than where the Artifact was lost. As a result, only consumable Artifacts can be permanently lost (and even then, only when used), although these items are usually dropped by common monsters. Vendors hold their Artifacts in a different section than their common items, and a few Artifacts will automatically appear for sale when players reach certain points in the game.
Naturally, items are useless unless players can access them. Among the options available in the field menu is the item submenu.
On the Game Boy Advance, the party is displayed on the left half of the screen while the items themselves are on the right side. The Nintendo DS displays a character's full inventory on the top screen while allowing players to scroll through the party and their individual items on the bottom screen.
Regardless of the system used, Golden Sun games have players first select the party member whose inventory they wish to browse. Players then select which item they wish to interact with, making the following commands available:
- Use: Some items can be used at more-or-less any time to activate their effect. In many cases, a party member must be selected as the target. This option is most often seen in consumable items, but some equipment Artifacts also have use effects. Non-consumable items run the risk of breaking. This option also appears when it is time to use key items.
- Give: Move the selected item from its current holder's inventory to the inventory of another party member (assuming the other character has room in their inventory for the item). If the given item is a class of equipment that the receiving character can equip, players are given the option to equip it. If the item is consumable, players can choose how many of the item to transfer.
- Equip: Equips the selected item, assuming that character can equip it. Almost doesn't need explanation.
- Remove: Un-equips the selected item. Only appears if the item is equipped.
- Details: Displays information about the item that is left out of the brief description at the bottom of the screen. This option is only seen in Golden Sun and The Lost Age. As of Dark Dawn, the item details are automatically displayed on the Nintendo DS's top screen when the item is selected.
- Drop: Drops the selected item. Since dropped items are lost forever (or sent to the vendors' stock, in the case of Artifacts), players are asked to verify that they really want to drop the item. Like the Give command, players can choose how many consumable items to drop.
Starting with Dark Dawn, items are automatically sorted. Prior to this, however, new items were simply placed at the back of characters' inventories. In these games, players are allowed to rearrange items in one of four orders:
- Equipped items; key items; consumable items; unequipped items (Dark Dawn's organization is similar to this, but with key items after consumable items instead)
- Equipped items; unequipped items; key items; consumable items
- Equipped and unequipped items; key items; consumable items
- Key items; consumable items; equipped and unequipped items
- Types of items
- Broken items
- Cursed items
|Weapons||Axes • Light Blades • Long Swords • Maces • Staffs/Ankhs • Bows • Fists/Claws|
|Body Armor||Armor • Clothing • Robes|
|Hand Armor||Bracelets • Gloves • Shields|
|Head Armor||Basic Headgear • Circlets • Helms|
|Accessories||Boots • Rings • Shirts|
|Misc.||Quest items • Consumable items (Stat-boosting) • Forgeable materials • Utility Psynergy items|