The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword

by Melth

Part 28: Chapter 20 (part 2)

Playing Through:

Matthew’s position lets him open the door for Florina immediately. I picked her for this job because no one else available but Sain could actually kill that archer in one round.

Florina bags herself an easy kill. Now Matthew will be able to loot the room in peace before she carries him out next turn.

Doorcas does the only thing he can this turn, opening the way for more competent troops to fight the middle archer and prepare to dispatch the central reinforcements. After this, I’ll go check how he’ll fare against the killer bow archer to the right.

Always remember to check the enemy weapons so you don’t get surprised by longbows like this one.

Lyn gets the main front off to a good start by scoring a lucky critical on the knight I need dead. Besides saving other people’s turns now, this also will save her a charge or two of it for the other nearby knights- she’s running out.

The trouble is that mage. I need him dead before my next turn, but no one can reach him. And he’ll definitely go for Lyn given the chance.

So Hector grabs her after equipping his handaxe…

And Canas takes and drops her. Now only people who can return fire are in the mage’s range. Priscilla waits in this exact spot because this is where Florina will end up next to as she returns with Matthew. I want Priscilla on hand to either take and drop him or continue the rescue chain depending on how the situation looks.

Turn 2 begins and the thief with the member card spawns as Legault makes his move.

There’s the card. For those who don’t know, this game has quite a number of “Secret Shops” hidden in various chapters. These sell many things you can’t buy, but nothing you can’t otherwise acquire. Generally it’s stuff that’s not worth the price for a ranking run, but the card itself has a decent amount of value so I want to steal it. Plus there’s honor and glory to consider.

First move of the second turn is the obvious one. This is the only chest that Matthew HAD to get. From now on if I want I can let the enemy thieves do the looting and then just kill them. But I’d rather do it myself and steal their lockpicks.

There are doors to open posthaste, Florina grabs him and rescues him out closer to the front.

In the center, Raven kills the archer Lowen wounded and gets a nice level up. Defense is great for him at this point.

I’ve realized that I should have given Lowen the 9 charge javelin and Fiora the 4 charge one since he needs to do more counterattacking. Fiora has nothing else to do this turn, so they might as well trade. Note how badly damaged most of my weapons are. These are my best javelins except maybe for Florina’s. And Lowen is using a steel sword because I’m completely out of iron ones to spare.

I don’t want to block the stairs and there are archers all around, so safe spots are limited.

This was a tricky decision. I want that door down and I really want to aggro as many nomads as possible so they don’t go for the center, but on the other hand I really need to conserve my javelins too and I also need to think about finishing the door off next turn. This is the best spot to stand in to aggro nomads and there was no safe way to, say, attack the wall with an iron lance and then have someone trade-switch that to a javelin before the enemy turn. Ultimately I decided that half-broken javelin or not, I needed to immediately start fighting those enemies by any means necessary, so the wall had to come down and Lowen needed a javelin equipped now.

A lucky crit from Eliwood saves me another use of his rapier. That’s nice.

Nomads are darned fast, so it’s a good thing this one has a steel bow. With it down, Hector will be free to move full speed ahead again. With his handaxe and Canas’s flux, the nearby nomads should be killed quickly. Cameron will also attack this turn though, so I need to be ready for that.

Before he rushes for the front lines, he needs some healing.

And another mediocre level for Priscilla. Doesn’t matter.

Sain has a handaxe with 5 uses. Dorcas has one with 14. That is the extent of my remaining handaxe supply.

Cameron is blocked from getting to Canas. He and his troops must attack Hector instead unless they’re archers. And only 2 of the nomads can reach Canas, so he’s fine.

Priscilla had work to do, so Sain is going to do the rescue-dropping of Matthew instead. I counted the squares and he’s going to be close enough to the door now that there’s no need for further chaining. I can just drop him here and then move further up.

Before doing that, I counted spaces and made sure I had exactly enough to reach here.

On the enemy turn, Legault swipes the ring as expected.

The other enemies advance and little else happens except that yet another thief spawns (along with a central mercenary).

Alright, this is the big wave! I need to cut through them and prevent the rest from getting between me and the nearby door. Lowen is doing a good job of attracting attention on his side, and he’ll do even better when I break that wall down.

Here’s the situation in the bottom area at the start of turn 3. The numbers aren’t good on Dorcas vs killer bow even with the forest. I’ve decided it’s worth seeing if the first volley goes in my favor. If so, I’ll keep fighting. Otherwise he’ll go run left instead. Florina doesn’t actually have a whole lot left to do this chapter. In retrospect, I should have had her help out the central people, but it’s not yet clear to me how much help they need.

Lyn finishes the nearby knight and gets a bad level. But that’s ok, because a level is a level for getting to Linus purposes.

I need to move Matthew to this area, but of course Sain is currently blocking me. So Matthew will need to go last. I’m not really sure what to do with Sain. I need to make sure Cameron dies, but I really want to make sure someone else gets the XP instead.

It’s always better to actually check than to just count spaces- maybe you forgot nomad movement costs. Here it’s safe to attack the mercenary from the left and bottom, as I knew.

So Fiora and Raven take that guy out while Lowen breaks down the door and prepares for a really rough fight. Especially with no healer.

How low on weapons am I? Well after giving iron swords to each exclusive sword user, there were no iron swords left. After giving iron lances to each exclusive lance user, there were no iron lances left. Sain is making do with a pair of 5 use each iron axes, a 5 use handaxe, and the Hammer- in case Lyn had trouble with the knights or Hector kept missing Darin. This was just axeing for trouble, but there wasn’t much else I can do. Unlike Eliwood’s story, Hector’s story doesn’t give you many steel weapons or anything you can fall back on. (The lack of steel weapons also causes some rare but significant slowdowns on occasions when people like Oswin can ALMOST kill an enemy in one hit but not quite).

I decided the chance of Sain killing Cameron anyway was too high, so instead I have Canas start things off. He gets a pretty nice level. Defense is also good on a mage. That he doesn’t totally suck at Defense is one of Canas’s great strengths really.

Perfect. This lets me finish him with Eliwood as I’d hoped. If this failed, I’d have had to use Sain afterall.

That’s a 1-use iron sword. I can’t think of a better finish for it.

Awesome! Thank you, 1-use iron sword, your sacrifice will not be forgotten!

It was critical that Cameron not be given a chance to use this and thereby rob me of about 1000 gold. Elixirs cost a fortune and you should never, ever use one. Vulneraries are already iffy at about 1/10 the price.

I need those nomads down, so I need everyone on the front lines to have a Handaxe. Once again, trading is key to all advanced tactics.

And Priscilla heals Canas for 1 hitpoint. I’ve refrained from using Priscilla and Serra on the last few chapters only warily. Your XP ranking is one of the toughest to max out and can completely blindside you, so it’s important to take every chance you get to rake in XP.

With Sain out of the way, Matthew moves in. He’s now in reach of the door next turn as long as the others keep the enemy out of the way.

If it wasn’t for Lowen’s group, there’s no doubt that huge herd of enemies would be swarming in and I wouldn’t be able to get through them for several more turns.

Well it was fun while it lasted, right Lyn? Sadly, even my mildly strength-blessed, very high level Lyn is too weak to even scratch knights with her iron sword. Dorcas will have to handle this one.

Speaking of Dorcas, he and the archer miss each other. I won’t push my luck any further. Sain or Lowen will need to find a way to kill him, Dorcas needs to take out that knight and then the bottom left reinforcements.

The enemy is actually pretty smart on the rare occasions when they have healers. That nomad got out of danger and ran back to the troudadour and now he’ll be all ready to go again next turn. Not much I can do about that since I can’t kill her yet.

Agh, this is the big reinforcement turn. Shamans, mages, archers, more archers, fighters, all sorts of enemies everywhere. And that’s going to keep up for a while, so I need to make sure the tide doesn’t turn against me anywhere.

Yeah, there’s more of them.

Dorcas gets out of there before he gets critted. Luckily Lyn can outrun knights. So next turn Dorcas will get the Knight and Lyn will take the archer.

Lowen was badly injured by so many arrows, but Raven is still in good health, so they switch places for this turn and Lowen takes a vulnerary.

And this is as far as the enemy thieves have gotten by turn 4. That’s the member card thief in the lead now actually and Legault in the middle.

So yeah, probably Florina should have gone to help the middle people instead, but she does help out here by clearing that cavalier without blocking the door.

The rapier is running low. The longsword is much too heavy most of the time, but this enemy has a steel lance so he’s slowed even more so it’s alright.

And the door is opened! Treasure, here we come!

So in order to make quick progress, I need to take out 2-3 enemies in there before my next turn. The spot to reach is that closest one the knight can hit since the fighter has a handaxe, so he can get in on it too. Canas is perfect for this. The trouble is he can’t reach it.

On his own that is. Priscilla grabs him and Sain unloads him.

And because he’s a paladin he still has enough move to get back out of there. Erk or Lucius couldn’t stand up to a knight + a fighter + a mage at once, but Canas can even if he doesn’t dodge.

So even more enemies spawn on their next turn. They’re really getting serious numbers in the bottom right where I can’t fight them.

Dorcas takes the knight and Lyn injures the archer. Her damage is pretty bad without the Mani Katti.

So Canas did quite well, but not as well as I hoped. He’ll need some healing and some help to finish this.

Here’s the overall formation and threat I’m facing this turn. The cavalry forces have been destroyed, but the middle people are all badly injured and need help. Meanwhile I need to split my main force in 2 directions: some through the treasure room and some directly at the throne.

This will help the middle people considerably. Lowen can finish a guy who only has 5 HP, but he can’t do much against one with 25.

Raven and Fiora are almost but not quite good enough to handle these reinforcements. If Raven had 1 more Str he could 1-round them himself. But he can’t, so he keeps taking damage and she can’t dodge the shamans, so they both are getting injured steadily.

Fiora levels. Still no speed. Mine is getting problematically slow. At least she’s getting Str though.

Things are a bit dangerous now, but if Lowen can just kill this guy, the middle area will be safe. Luckily he managed it.

Priscilla gets Canas ready to keep fighting.

Matthew finished off the mage and opened the path for Canas. He could kill this knight or either of the 2 fighters. The knight is by far the best choice since only it is a threat to Matthew.

Eliwood is now in door range for next turn, plus he’s ready to fight with his longsword if need be.

But the cavalier went for Lowen instead as expected, He hits level 10 and has a 10 in each of his 3 most important stats. That’s pretty much average for him- just a little ahead overall.

Well that hit was unexpected. It would be hilarious if the other one went for him and also hit and killed Matthew after I said only the knight was a threat, but the other one had already gone for Priscilla as expected.

Fiora’s biggest edge is usually resistance, but she’s not so great there to start. Good enough to beat shamans, but not good enough not to be badly injured as she fights them repeatedly. And you can see that the bottom right horde has broken loose and is heading this way. I can’t fight from this square anyway.

Whoo! Another great level for Dorcas! For him to actually gain speed is almost unbelievable.

Better get Matthew out of handaxe range. At this point I’m still not sure I intend to loot the treasure myself, so I’m preparing to move into steal range instead.

Priscilla keeps him ready to take another handaxe to the face.

Well it’s all or nothing now. By moving Hector this way instead of through the treasure room, I was choosing the riskier route to Legault. I need to send him and Sain both in now and that’s a lot of shamans in there. Plus this means I can’t deal with that troubadour or prepare to fight the bottom right people yet. Oh well, I’m confident this is the best option.

But Hector definitely needs to be at full HP for this. Keeping him 1 space back and safe would not be an option because then Legault (the middle thief now, remember) would get away.

And Fiora finishes the shaman from the new safe side after Lowen kills the last nomad.

Raven will have to dodge a handaxe, but that’s worth it to make sure Lowen fights that cavalier with his iron lance instead of a javelin.

Darin attacks Sain, unfortunately wearing out his handaxe.

Hector’s breaks as he fights the shamans. Chapter 21 can’t get here soon enough.

Lyn finishes the nearby archer. The tides of reinforcements have mostly stopped now. It’s just the calm before the pegasus knights.

I don’t know exactly when those spawn, so I want Dorcas ready to either fight them or back off to the forest.

Hector survived, now he can recruit Legault!

Legault joins for reasons that make a lot more sense if it’s Eliwood or Lyn talking to him.

And he immediately steals the member card from the nearby thief. Having Legault and thus 2 chances to steal per turn makes the rest of this much, much easier.

Canas I’m not sure what to do with. I don’t want to block the treasure room, but I can’t move just below the enemy thief because the knight + soldier + myrmidon can juuuust kill him if they all hit.

And at this point I’ve definitely decided to get the treasure myself and steal the enemy chest keys. As long as one chest remains, the nearby one will keep coming.

One more reinforcement to kill. And then I have to figure out what to do about the giant wave of fighters and archers coming.

First, this cavalier has to die and I need the iron lance for that.

Again, trading saves his bacon as Fiora switches him to the steel sword for weapon triangle advantage vs the fighters.

And then she gets out of the way.

Yeah, those 3 need help more than Hector and Eliwood do. Sain hurries to the rescue.

Darin smacks Eliwood badly, but he’s pretty much done for this level anyway.

Ah. This I stupidly didn’t see coming. I had to leave her alive and she took the opportunity to heal Darin back to full. That’s a bit of an issue.

Beginning of turn 8, the enemy pegasus knights appear. I checked the numbers, and Dorcas can handle them easily if he has a forest. One has a slim lance and one a steel, so the steel will be doubled and killed if it attacks him, but I’m going to need him to finish the slim lance one every turn.

Matthew swipes chest key number one. Yes! This is the first one I’ve got all game.

Hector finally kills that darned troubadour.

Canas prepares for battle and Legault steals the other chest key. Hooray, I got everything that can be stolen! And all the treasure too once Matthew opens that last chestl

Ooh, a lucky crit. That’ll save me a turn.

Meanwhile I’m taking a risk on the middle front, but it had to be done. With true hit, the odds were 95% that Raven would survive and I’m willing to take a bet like that to speed things along significantly.

I’ve really been dithering with Florina, unsure what to have her do. As a result she accomplished little but spending her javelin on those mages for a mediocre level.

If Lowen gets hit, Sain can just rescue him, so it’s ok.

As expected, Dorcas can easily finish the remaining pegasus knight with its slim lance on turn 9 and he’s fine due to his forest.

Matthew loots the Luna as Legault and Eliwood kill the remaining areas. I want to get this to Canas ASAP, so I’ll use Priscilla to trade it away from Matthew.

And Canas goes to the edge of Priscilla’s range to wait for her healing and trade.

As fighting continues, Lowen gets another good level. I’m thinking about actually starting to use him again if he can keep this up.

Those 3 knights in the top right are totally harmless, but I want their XP. The vulnerary is more for being ready to fight Darin next turn.

Someone needs to beat the bottom right archers. Only Sain can do it, but he needs a javelin. Yoink.

Hector lucks out against the axereaver knight.

Meh, I’ll take it.

Now THAT’S the Dorcas I know.

Sain proceeds to instant kill every archer except the one with the killer bow, just as planned.

Next turn, Canas gets a Luna and a heal.

This one use javelin is the perfect way to make sure Sain injures an enemy without killing it- leaving the XP for someone else.

Like Raven. Meanwhile Fiora has finished the killer bow archer. That wraps it up for the whole bottom right! The entire map has been cleared except Darin and some pegasus knights.


I could Wolf Beil him, but there’s no need with Canas ready to roll. All that matters is that he dies next turn without Hector having to spend his turn attacking him. Killing him this turn with the Wolf Beil would mean 1 less round of pegasus XP for Dorcas.

Hector and Darin share some unique boss dialogue.

Canas gets in this position but doesn’t actually attack. That would be much too risky.

And now it’s the next, and final turn, number 11. Things were basically done on 10. I just need to kill Darin with Canas and farm a pegasus with Dorcas.

This steel lance one will do nicely.

Yeah, we’re back to classic Dorcas.

And the first Luna critical of the game, sufficiently powerful that it could have killed Darin from full. You’ll be seeing a lot of these.

Sweet! Rock on, Canas!

More XP healing.

And we’ve won! At long last! Eliwood charges right into the back of the Dragon’s gate, shouting and sure that he’s won the battle. Apparently he can’t hear the music either. This is not the music that plays when your victory was a tidy one that solves your problems.

There he is! After 14 grueling battles we’ve finally found him! And strangely he still seems to think we’re in danger.

Ninian seems to be in a trance, but that’s nothing another use of the Rescue command won’t solve!

Awww. We don’t really know just how well Eliwood knows Uther or Hector knows Elbert, but it looks like there’s friendship between the entire families really. That’s why Hector was so disgusted with Oswin when Oswin believed the rumors Elbert was a traitor.

Man, they just all keep yelling. They aren’t even trying to be stealthy and they didn’t even bring their other troops with them.

Figures. Wonder who’s poofing in this time?

Uh oh. Maybe if they hadn’t assumed they’d already won and just charged in yelling their heads off and maybe if they’d brought the rest of the army, they wouldn’t be in this predicament.

Yet another warning that we’re up against powers we can’t overcome.

And once again it’s ignored. This is pretty common in FE and videogames in general of course. And the Eliwood equivalent is nearly always right.

And now Ephidel joins in. It’s true, really. Jaffar could wipe the floor with these guys. Sain + Canas + Priscilla could beat him pretty easily at this point though. So Ephidel has them right where he wants them. Jaffar stands between them and their way out. Now all he has to do is-

Ephidel blunders once again. Yeah. Send the only guy blocking their escape or reinforcements away. This is going to cost you big time, dummy.

And then someone- maybe Ephidel, maybe the controlled Ninian, it’s hard to be sure, starts draining Elbert’s quintessence. A creepy, red, blood-like fog which also shows up on the game-over screen (that’s a nice touch) fills the air.

If Ninian isn’t doing it, at the very least the quintessence stolen is being transferred to her.

And Nergal appears, as the whole Dragon’s Gate is now awash in Elbert’s foggy quintessence.

A great painting. Good job on Elbert’s pose in particular.

Nergal tells Ninian to open the gate and she does, as the ground shakes and rumbles.

Aaaaand that’s a dragon. Looking pretty ferocious. And half made of fire. Well this went bad quickly. Looks like it’s time to have the final battle against Nergal and the dragon and save Elbert! Any second now!

Have you been wondering where Nils was this whole time? The others have. And here he is, saving the day. If it weren’t for him, Eliwood’s blundering and overconfidence would have gotten EVERYONE killed right there.

Ninian stops holding the gate open and the magic goes wild.

“Crumbling?” That’s kind of an odd word, but alright. So he tells everyone to flee.

Everyone flees. Nergal flees by teleporting. You know, like Ephidel can do.

Ephidel doesn’t flee. He’s too stupid to listen to anyone and doesn’t get out in time.

And then Elbert hits Nergal by surprise. So hard that Nergal thinks he’s going to die. Did he even have a weapon? The 8 legends have nothing on Elbert. Chained up, tortured for months, taken down by Jaffar only by surprise, and now drained of most of his quintessence, he’s still a great enough warrior to nearly kill Nergal in a single blow.

Nergal vanishes. Not his usual teleport out, he just fades away like he’s too injured to even teleport properly.

We won!

No, surely he can’t be dying now. The whole plot was about rescuing him!

Another great painting. Along with the great music, this really gives this scene its power and pathos.

And that’s another thing. The player is thinking the same thing. The player also went through a lot and shared some of Eliwood’s difficulties: the player has been trying to rescue Elbert this whole time too and now it’s all for nothing.

And there it ends. Many of us have played this game before and others of us already knew the plot before our first play, so we’re somewhat jaded. But if you don’t know it’s coming, this scene hits HARD. That’s part of what makes this chapter one of my favorite parts of any videogame ever. Besides just being a fun and well-designed chapter, it’s both a major, unexpected twist in the plot and a really moving moment.

And it’s a really good use of the medium. Just as films can do things books can’t, videogames have their own unique ways of making their stories and themes compelling. For a film to try to be like a book would be a waste of its unique strengths, same as a book should not try for the sorts of visual grandeur that a film can rely upon. Most videogames, in my opinion, are still trying too much to be like films in how they tell their stories. And as long as that remains the case, they won’t be using their true potential as an art form.

This game is a fairly rare exception. Besides putting its art and music to good effect, it also uses the videogame’s most unique feature compared to other art forms (that the player’s actions shape events and thus the characters’ journey is also the players’s) deftly to encourage the player to get invested in the characters and to share their hopes. If you’ve been working for 14 chapters to rescue Elbert, it matters to you that he’s died in a way that it wouldn’t if you’d just been watching a movie about Eliwood for an hour or so. And it’s also a sucker punch of a surprise after saving Marquess Hausen in Lyn’s story and the recovery he made. Lyn’s story and its happy ending really does a fantastic job setting up for this story to have such a devastating twist.

Wow. He’s really dead, isn’t he? What happens now? The story up till now was fairly predictable- as most FE stories are. But now it could go ANYWHERE. Just as a first time player would be sure the end was in sight, everything suddenly goes off the rails.

Total Restarts: 11 (No more on this level)
Turn Surplus: 5 (That’s a good start toward preparing for Crazed Beast. 11 is probably the best turn to end this map on HHM)
Things I Regret Missing: The lockpick on chapter 11, that darned archer on chapter 11, this one brigand who attacked Marcus on chapter 12, 2 more brigands who ignored everyone else to attack Marcus on chapter 13x, and 2 archers who ignored Hector and Dorcas (DORCAS!) to attack Marcus on chapter 14, like 10 more enemies I could have killed if Hector could have survived one more turn on chapter18, and Uhai who decided to take a 100% chance of death to Sain over a free hit on Hector