Emblem Wars, Episode I.

The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light: Closing Thoughts

Today: A few final thoughts on The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light.

Come on, Malledus, you say. The dragon’s in the ground, the world is saved, Marth’s gone back to Altea, and there’s no more story to overanalyze. Tell us what you really think about the game. Enough analysis and excuses for ’90s gaming. Does it hold the same weight today that it did when it was released?

… The answer, in my view, is after the jump.

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Also the treasure chambers look like silly faces.

Invasion of the West

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Chs. 18–19.

On the docket today, we return to job classes and the importance of NPC irony. Then it’s time to sink our teeth into the first tragic aspect of the latter acts of this RPG. In the process, it’s also time to be reminded once again that we can’t win against Gharnef.

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"OK, sir, we vote you go both ways."

The Starlord Reigns Again

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Chs. 16–17.

This is it: the part where I tell you the message I think SD&BoL is trying to communicate. I think it requires a little grounding in the structure of the five-act RPG and the course of the third act so far to get there, but then I hope you see what I mean. Because this same message is going to recur in every single Fire Emblem yet to come, and if you miss it you’re missing what I consider the key motif of the series.

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So OK, nice bonding moment. Can you take this fireball in the face for me now?

Restoring the Crown

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Ch. 12.

As the game dumps yet another deluge of mediocre units on me in the space of a single chapter, I’d like to consider why it thinks I’m at all interested in them. (It’s for a good reason, really.) A couple brief stops to consider experience point gain and treasure chests, and we’re done with the game’s second act!

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All our base are belong to them.

Marth Embarks

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Ch. 1.

As I arrive on the eastern coast of Talys, I’m struck by how well I already know my way around a fantasy army. This is our first view of the effects of what will become a pattern of Fire Emblem conservatism. It’s also our first glimpse of the vagaries of translation, and the chapter closes out with the first of many scenes across the series that make me all misty-eyed. Yup, it’s going to be a long journey. Forward!

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