There goes Grandpa, talking about cursed fate again.

The Tyrant’s Retreat

Today: Fire Emblem Gaiden, Ch. 1: Zofia Castle.

It’s been too long since I fiddled around with colors on a map. Let me fix that as we wrap the first act of Gaiden. The concomitant thematic discussion is incoming, as is at least some mention of the musical score.

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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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In future editions, they changed the dark side of their careers and just became "ruffians."

Against the Occupation

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Chs. 10–11.

I’m knocking on the doors of the Archanean capital! A quick discussion of some plot points in SD&BoL‘s second act is in order, followed by another required mechanical discussion, this time on random levels. And I can’t leave Chapter 11 without mention of a certain someone in it, because if I omit that she’ll be angry with me because she’s watching me.

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Our attack strategy: mush everyone through the front door together.

The Fire Emblem

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Ch. 6.

We’re at a moment of huge importance in the story, so it’s time to remember that, oh yeah, this game has a story. First, let’s consider the importance of story to early games. Once I’ve established why it is that SD&BoL‘s isn’t necessarily up to today’s standards, I’ll take a look at what it does give us storywise. And I can’t leave chapter 6 without mentioning the most important thing in it: the first thematic element that I think comes to define the narrative thrust of any Fire Emblem.

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