"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 Archanea, your eyes glow when you're cripplingly dehydrated.

Spells Across the Sands

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Ch. 15.

Following the conquest of Gra, Marth takes his first and more readily explicable detour into the Khadein territory. Here’s a word on speed mechanics, and a few more words on the most important villain in the story.

Reminder: you can’t win against Gharnef.

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At least our throwing axes fit right back through their arrow slits.

Vengeance in Gra

Today: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Chs. 13–14.

With two nations seized, Marth’s army is about to go in for the hat trick. The welcome wagon on the shores of Gra is filled with ballisticians, units that I think are well worth a discussion. I’d also like to follow up on the last post’s experience point analysis, and—wait, have I not talked about music at all yet? At all? What have I been doing for fourteen chapters?

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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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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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