Gaia Rock is a somewhat-mandatory dungeon-style location in Golden Sun: The Lost Age. It is one of the four Elemental Rocks scattered across Weyard, and is the elemental rock of Venus. Located on the island with Izumo in the Great Eastern Sea, Gaia Rock is referred as Mt. Mikage by the locals of Izumo, and is the main site of a subplot involving characters from Izumo; the other Elemental Rocks, in contrast, do not have much involvement in plot progression at all.
Gaia Rock can be completed as soon as the Lemurian Ship is acquired and the Great Eastern Sea can be explored. It is a uniquely laid-out dungeon that can easily deceive players into believing it is much more straightforward than it actually is: The large "main entrance" at the base of the rock leads through a straightforward series of rooms and hallways into a chamber at the end where NPCs and an incredibly difficult boss battle are at. But it has a full exterior portion like the exterior portions of the other three Elemental Rocks, and once the Dancing Idol key item is collected at the top, a series of additional dungeon rooms in the interior are to be opened up, and the puzzles solved within weaken the boss at the end. After all that, then the boss is to be properly challenged, and the important reward for defeating it is the Sand Psynergy, which is needed to progress through Ankohl Ruins afterward.
When you enter the Gaia Rock location, the large black entrance at the mountain's base would lead you inside, and where you would go through is a series of rooms that eventually lead into the room with the Serpent boss battle. If you go inside and come to the chamber (consulting the below section To the Serpent), a brief cutscene can be watched, but because the Serpent boss is currently incredibly difficult to defeat due to restoring several thousand HP each turn, you would have to leave the room afterward anyway and retreat to the entrance of Gaia Rock so as to begin the dungeon proper. Therefore, the actual dungeon of Gaia Rock begins just outside the large, black entrance.
From just in front of the large, dark entrance into the mountain, go left behind the trees to find a wall ladder. Climb it, push the earth pillar you find two spaces left and make it fall into the gap, then climb up and down onto the gray tile where the earth pillar is now right next to. Use the Move Psynergy to shift the earth pillar one space right onto the gray tile. Go right, climb down the wall ladder at the right side of the screen to return to the ground level, and go all the way back left to climb up the left wall ladder again. Now you can use the top of the earth pillar to hop across to the right, and you will be lead to the wall ladder going off the top center point of the screen. Climb it to get to the next screen.
In the first screen above the base entrance, climb up the wall ladder and the green vines, and climb up the wall ladder beyond that to get to the top right part of the screen. Two dangling green vines are visible off to either side of the screen, and climb down the left vine to be lead to a chest containing a Nut. Climb back up to the top, and slide down the cliff slide to the left of the vine. Immediately climb up the twisting wall ladder, and go a fair distance left until you get to another series if wall ladders leading downward. As you climb down, note how a whirlwind-spouting moai-head statue causes a dangling vine to swing back and forth. When you get to the dangling vine right below that, cast the Whirlwind Psynergy while facing the vine from the right and then press A to swing across a gap. Visible left is an earth pillar behind a rock; use Move to remotely move it one space left. Whirlwind-swing back right, and climb the lower-right vine until you are lead to the earth pillar you just pushed left. Push it one space further left so that it falls, then climb up the remaining two wall ladders and exit the screen off to the left.
The next screen is a maze that is quite linear if you have the presence of mind not to swing across the first vine you immediately see. Climb down the wall ladder immediately below you and down the ivy below that, hop left twice, climb up a wall ladder and vine, then when you get to a point where you can either climb up another wall ladder or swing across a dangling vine to the right, swing the vine to the right. Go up, swing another vine to the left, and exit off the top part of the screen.
The next screen presents you with an obstacle that requires trial and error to pass; the otherwise simple wall-ladder maze to the top has spots that hide moai-heads that instantly pop out as soon as you climb onto said spots and immediately send you back down to the base. While setting one of these off makes it remain there and now you can pass beyond it via an unblocked "wall-ladder path", there is nothing to indicate the spots where these moai-heads are hiding in. The wall can be passed with simply enough tries, but to avoid triggering a trap that sends you back down, climb up the right of the two wall ladders, go up the right fork, then when you get to the next fork above that, take the left "wall-ladder path" to avoid the wide climbable area that is part of the right wall-ladder path. Next, the mass of climbable wall-ladders to the right above of you is a pointless dead end, so climb left, and climb straight up to the top where solid ground is. The remainder of this screen linearly leads you to the upper right corner of the screen, where you exit into the next screen to the right amongst the scattered rocks.
Now in the final screen of the exterior portion of Gaia Rock, first go right along the upper part of your area of the screen so that you hop right across the visible earth pillar, and this leads you to a chest containing an Apple. Return to your starting point in this screen, climb down the wall ladder below, lead yourself to where the earth pillar is, and Move it all the way down. Return to the starting point again, and hop across where the earth pillar is now; the uneven path to follow subsequently leads you to the last point, where there appears to be an empty white podium surrounded by a ring of earth pillars. The fact there is a ring pattern here should clue you in that you're supposed to use the Reveal Psynergy here; an invisible idol on the pillar becomes visible on the podium. Interact with it to gain the Dancing Idol rare item, which is crucial to completing Gaia Rock as well as getting a reward afterward. Cast the Retreat Psynergy to return to Gaia Rock's base.
With the Dancing Idol in your inventory, enter the large, black entrance at the base of Gaia Rock. The hallway you enter features an empty white podium just like the one at the top of Gaia Rock's exterior you found the Dancing Idol on, which should clue you in that you're supposed to use the Dancing Idol here. The two dragon-head statues to either side of the room shift positions to reveal two new entrances. Enter the doorway to the right, and the twisting hallways you'll go through linearly lead you to a point in a room on an upper floor where there is a mass of plants on the center of the room. Use Cyclone while standing in the center of these plants, and through some unusual effect they will reform themselves into floating, alternating platforms hovering in midair.
Return to the hallway with the podium, using Retreat to do so if you prefer, and enter the left doorway, which will linearly lead you to the room where the leaf platforms are now floating in regular patterns. Standing at the lower right point of the elevated portion of floor you climb up a stairwell to, hop right onto a platform that stops just to the right of it. When it floats down, hop right. When that platform floats down, walk one space right. When that platform floats right, walk one space right. When that platform floats up, walk one space left. When that platform floats up, walk one space right, and when that platform floats up, hop up to finally pass the room and exit off its north end.
The next room features the first puzzles that will weaken the Serpent boss at the end of the dungeon. When you go through a twisty hallway to where beyond a fork leading left and right there is a sub-level where dragon-head statues and a podium are visible, take the right fork to get down to the sub-level. Cast Cyclone on the plants that a beam of sunlight is shining on to uncover a hole that the sunlight shines through, which affects the Serpent below. Then use the Dancing Idol on the white podium to make the left dragon-head statue shift positions, which uncovers a second beam of sunlight that shines into another hole. With two lights shining into the final chamber, go back to the fork and take the left path up to the next floor.
In the next floor, go down to a square mass of plants, and when you cast Cyclone on them, you trigger a battle with a Mad Plant that rewards you with a Potion when felled. Go down into the next room, which is a hallway featuring a wall-mounted maze of climbable wall ladders featuring, perhaps unfortunately, the same sort of pop-out moai heads as the wall-ladder maze on the exterior portion of Gaia Rock. Before climbing right across this, enter the door to the right of your starting point in this room to make it into the part of the previous room where there is another empty white podium; place the Dancing Idol here to shine a third light into the Serpent's chamber, then return to the hallway.
Starting at the left part of the hallway with the wall-ladder maze, climb up it, and climb right along the thicker, lower "path". Then when you have three "ways right" to choose from, choose either the top or the bottom ways but not the center, and you can safely climb to the last portion where there is a thick square section of climbable wall. Avoid the tiles to the bottom right of the square section and you should make it to the right end of the wall-ladder path. Whirlwind-swing your way right with the dangling vine and enter the rightmost door of the screen. The room you reach features a large spider web with an empty white podium on its center; simply Cyclone any of the plants in this room to send the podium into the earlier room below, and slide down the wall slide after it to return to the room, where making use of the Dancing Idol on the new podium shines the fourth and final light into the Serpent's chamber. With the boss fully weakened, this main portion of the Gaia Rock dungeon is complete, so cast Retreat to return to the first hallway.
To the Serpent
To get to the initial hallway in the interior of Gaia Rock , use retreat, then take the pathway in the front up. When you get to a screen where two small earth objects block your path and need to be moved out of the way, Move the lower object two spaces up and one space right, and Move the upper object two spaces right, two spaces down, and one space left. Proceed out of this room's exit.
You are in the first of a long series of similar-looking rooms that have multiple exits and small cross-shaped plants at the center of them. Each of these rooms have two of their exits lead back to the first room in this series while one exit properly leads to the next room in this series - and if the Growth Psynergy (most easily achieved by trading Venus and Mars Djinn between Felix and Jenna) is cast on the cross-shaped plant at the center of each room, it grows an arrow pointing to the desired correct exit. While this helps immensely for players without a guide, this series of rooms can be gotten through with help of an external information source such as this article, which saves PP. In the initial screen, go left; in screen 2, go up. Screen 3 contains a chest that reveals itself to be a Mimic, and when you fell it you earn a Game Ticket. From Screen 3, go up. In Screen 4, go right. In screen 5, go up. In screen 6, go right. In screen 7, go right. In screen 8, go down. Screen 9 contains a chest that has a Rusty mace, which when reforged in Yallam becomes the Demon Mace. From screen 9, go right. In screen 10, go right. In screen 11, go up. In screen 12, go right. In screen 13, go right. And finally in screen 14, go up.
The final chamber features the large, green dragon that is fought as the Serpent boss battle if interacted with. If this room is reached before acquiring the Dancing Idol at the top of Gaia Rock, a brief cutscene occurs, but if it is reached after having gotten the Dancing Idol like what you are presumably doing now, a different cutscene plays. Interact with the Serpent to start the challenging boss battle. If none of the puzzles in Gaia Rock were solved by this point, the Serpent would heal itself by 2430 HP at the end of every turn, but having solved all the puzzles and letting four separate beams of sunlight into this chamber makes the Serpent heal itself only by 30 HP at the end of every turn, making it doable. Defeat the Serpent in battle, then after watching a cutscene, interact with a stone tablet that appears to make Felix permanently learn the Sand Psynergy. Immediately use Sand to travel underneath the Serpent's now-petrified body and emerge in the enclosed area to the right of the body, and interact with the area at the rightmost part of the small river of blue fluid to get the Cloud Brand weapon; this is a weapon that a cutscene in Izumo encourages you to return here for, so grabbing it now saves you a lot of time. Gaia Rock is now complete, so Retreat and return to the world map, and return to Izumo.
Fighting the Serpent
It is possible to defeat the Serpent without ever exploring Gaia Rock. Gameplay would continue as normal after the battle, but it is incredibly difficult to defeat the Serpent in its non-weakened state. The only plausible strategy would be the following:
IMPORTANT NOTE: AT NO POINT DURING THIS BATTLE CAN ANY CHARACTER BE DOWNED. THE STRATEGY BECOMES VERY RISKY IF THIS OCCURS, BUT MIGHT STILL WORK.
Before: Gather the 5 Djinn for each element (6 for Mercury) and pair them with their respective adept. Do not use the Mysterious Card or Tomegathericon. Set all Djinn on standby save Iron, Shade, and any two Djinn of your choice for Jenna and Sheba.
Turn 1: While two characters defend the team (Preferably Felix with Iron and Piers with Shade) two characters summon their most powerful deities (Meteor, Thor, Judgement, and Boreas)
Turn 2: The two characters who defended the first turn summon their most powerful deities while the other two (optionally) defend the team. (This raises the entire team's respective elemental power)
Turn 3: Defend this turn or use healing Psynergy as necessary. (note: all characters become weakened in terms of HP and damage output without Djinns equipped.)
Turn 4: By this time, some Djinn should have recovered. You can choose to defend, use healing Psynergy/supplies, or summon Djinn.
Repeat turn 4 until every character has at least 3 of their respective Djinn on standby. DO NOT USE SOUR, THE MERCURY DJINN!!
Turn X: It doesn't really matter what Felix, Jenna, and Sheba do during this turn besides maintain a large amount of health. Piers should unleash Sour during this turn. If playing on an emulator, try replaying the turn using different commands for each character, as percent chances during turns in battles are predetermined (if Felix, Jenna, Sheba, and Piers all do the same thing in one turn, no matter how many times it is replayed, you will always end up with the same outcome). If not playing on an emulator, DO NOT reset the game if the Serpent's resistance isn't lowered by Sour's ability. It is not fully essential so much as it is a failsafe.
Turn Y: How this turn goes essentially determines a win or loss due to the massive amount of health the Serpent regenerates. Summon every top deity again; their damage should be somewhere from 800-1000. The numbers should be significantly larger than they were before. If not, one of your characters was probably downed and revived after their first summon turn, meaning that their raise in elemental power was wiped.
Turn Z: If you are so unfortunate as to not win during Turn Y, you can continue battling, but you are more unlikely to succeed due to lowered HP and PP. Also, at the levels the characters are during this point in the game, after summoning the most powerful deity their elemental power usually hits a roof around 100. Summoning the most powerful deity a second time won't boost the power of the third summon by much, if at all.
|Bestiary of Gaia Rock (Exterior)|
|Monster Name||LVL||HP||ATK||DEF||AGI||EXP||Coins||Weakness||Drop||Drop Rate|
|Fire Worm||25||97||211||49||94||158||113||Oil Drop||1/32|
|Gnome Mage||25||162||179||50||108||86||126||Crystal Powder||1/16|
|Bestiary of Gaia Rock (Interior)|
|Monster Name||LVL||HP||ATK||DEF||AGI||EXP||Coins||Weakness||Drop||Drop Rate|
|Dread Hound||25||252||211||56||90||116||176||Prophet's Hat||1/64|
|Fire Worm||25||97||211||49||94||158||113||Oil Drop||1/32|
|Gnome Mage||25||162||179||50||108||86||126||Crystal Powder||1/16|
|Wood Walker||25||230||213||75||94||242||201||Bramble Seed||1/16|
|Mimic (unique)||28||707||251||71||153||840||531||Game Ticket||1/1|
|Mad Plant (unique)||28||566||254||65||114||630||451||Potion||1/1|
Apple: Found in a chest near the area where you can find the Dancing Idol.
Dancing Idol: At the peak of the exterior, there is an empty pedestal surrounded by a ring of log pillars. Cast Reveal to see a dancing figure, which you can obtain as an item. Use it on any similar-looking pedestals in the interior portion to make progress in the interior of Gaia Rock.
Nut: Found in a chest in the first screen off the ground level screen.
Interior: Sand: This Psynergy is the reward that presents itself following the boss fight with the Serpent. Inspect the stone slab that emerges out of the ground.
Cloud Brand: Right after getting the Sand Psynergy after the boss battle, immediately cast it to transport yourself to the end of the trail of fluid, then inspect the end of the stream with the A button.
Rusty Mace: Found in the chest later on in the winding multi-room path towards the most interior room.
Background and Story
Gaia Rock is the Elemental Rock of Earth, just like Air's Rock, Aqua Rock, and Magma Rock, and since Air's Rock in particular is stated to have stood on Weyard since the world's beginning, it can be assumed the same holds true for Gaia Rock. The people that lived near the mountain, those that settled the town of Izumo, came to regard the mountain as sacred ground, likely because of the presence of carved chambers within the mountain. Within the deepest chamber of Gaia Rock has slumbered a large dragon which they named the Serpent, and they interpreted the beast as the divine guardian of the island. The peoples of Izumo had apparently concluded that the Serpent is a creature blessed with eternal life, and that this life is provided to it by an aura mysterious to them that permeates the grounds of the mountain. The people named the mountain Mt. Mikage, which in their original tongue translates as "the undying mountain", a reference to the perceived immortality of the Serpent.
Like the other Elemental Rocks, Gaia Rock appears to imbue those living around it with the ability to perform Venus Psynergy as Adepts; over the generations, a family was established as Izumo's equivalent to a royal line based on them having learned Venus Psynergy, which to all the people is a mysterious power. The leaders of Izumo have always had the ability to use Venus Psynergy, including the modern-day Lady Uzume, as well as her brother Susa.
When the eruption of Mt. Aleph occurred at the start of Golden Sun, the Serpent awoke from its slumber, at around the time Izumo was holding a festival. Nothing more than a feral beast, the Serpent left Gaia Rock to intrude on the festival and cause mass panic; the Serpent ate all of the food reserves present at the festival before turning calm and returning back to its lair in Gaia Rock. The people of Izumo, of course, were terrified that what they perceived to be their guardian was turning on them, and letting their superstitions take over, they came to believe that the Serpent would only be appeased from here on out if every year a young village maiden would be offered to it as a sacrifice. Some time after the Serpent's initial attack, in Golden Sun: The Lost Age, a lottery system was employed to decide which village girl would be offered, and Kushinada, the fiancee to Susa, was selected by chance. Kushinada accepted on the basis that if she were to run away, the rest of Izumo would be put in danger in her place.
Susa, obviously not pleased with any of this, entered Gaia Rock with the intention to slay the fearsome beast himself. He brought with him massive amounts of barrels containing a deluding fluid named Dragonsbane (the alcoholic beverage Sake in the Japanese version), a fluid which the Serpent is highly content to continually drink; Susa's plan is to weaken the Serpent with enough of the fluid so that he may slay it with the Cloud Brand weapon.
The party of Adepts traveling across Weyard comprised of Felix, Jenna, Sheba, Piers, and Kraden come to the island in search of additional Psynergy to help complete their own quest with, and upon hearing of the plight of those living in Izumo, they decide to make helping Susa slay the serpent an additional objective during their exploration throughout Gaia Rock.They learned that the Serpent is weakened by Sunlight because of how it was only able to attack Izumo during the nighttime, so they solve riddles within Gaia Rock that pour sunlight in to the Serpent's chamber. When the Adepts arrive at the Serpent's chamber, Susa chooses that point in time to stab the Serpent with his sword, but the beast is barely fazed and defeats Susa easily despite all the Dragonsbane it consumed. Felix's party engage the Serpent in a particularly fierce battle, and are only able to emerge triumphant because of both the sunlight and the Dragonsbane Susa spent so much time providing the Serpent with. Susa deals the finishing blow with the Cloud Brand (which he then quickly hides at the scene for Felix to retrieve later as a reward) and the Serpent is turned to petrified stone, and Susa sincerely thanks Felix for his assistance before leaving Gaia Rock to return to Izumo. Felix finds a tablet after the battle and learns the Psynergy ability to turn his body into sand before leaving Gaia Rock himself.
Just outside Gaia Rock, Susa lies down from exhaustion, and reassures Felix when he exits Gaia Rock shortly afterward that he is not dying. Felix's group returns to Izumo, and Susa follows shortly after. With Izumo and Kushinada now saved, Uzume expresses her heartfelt gratitude to Felix, and is only further pleased when Felix presents her a mysterious item he had found in Gaia Rock: A doll that dances on its own, which was designed to allow his group to explore Gaia Rock further and which Uzume seems to have already known of. Uzume says that with the doll, she will be able to explore Gaia Rock on her own in the future.
- Out of all the 4 Elemental Rocks, Gaia Rock is the only one with a boss and an NPC.
- Gaia Rock's theme sounds very much like the music that plays in Okami when the Celestial Brush is used.
- Gaia Rock can be seen, though not visited, in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. It appear more similar in shape to Mt. Fuji in this game, as a conical volcano. The Mars Djinni, Sizzle, can be found on the overworld just south of where the entrance to Gaia Rock used to be found.