Rawr.

Shadow Eternal; Light Unending

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Ch. 25.

At last, the finale. We’re about to come face to face with the titular Shadow Dragon. As Marth stares him down, I’ll get a couple points of frustration at SD&BoL‘s mapmaking and general game design off my chest, and then it’s on to the surprisingly elegant conclusion.

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Macedon: Like a volcano, but with water.

Terror on the Wing

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Chs. 21–22.

Marth’s attack on Macedon makes me confront my biggest personal roadblock in the War of Shadows, my greatest opportunity to improve characters, and someone who will be an interesting character sometime down the road. Stay tuned for the point I make about enemies, though; it’s a keeper.

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"I shall die for my motherland, and be reborn a French philosopher."

The Sable Knight

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Ch. 20.

And now, the most memorable and beloved character from SD&BoL. He’s a prominent figure in the resolution of the fourth act of the game and the fleshing out of the narrative purpose of the Fire Emblem. And this chapter is such a strong example of both good and bad map design that I’ve got to break up the tragedy to mention that, too.

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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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Harmein. So cheerful, as always.

The Grustian Menace

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Chs. 7–9.

This is a sort of interlude phase of SD&BoL, between the end of the first act and the more high-strung moments of the second. Continuing down the list of essential Fire Emblem basics, I’ll write about enemy reinforcements. But then let’s talk about storytelling-related stuff, OK? Like characters. Female characters. And dragons. (Just male dragons.)

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