The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

by LordHippoman

Part 1: Prologue 1: Humble Beginnings

Prologue 1: Humble Beginnings

Altea Castle, 10 AD (After Dragon)

: We’ve done all we can, Marth. He doesn’t have much time left.

: ...I see.

: I’d say I’m surprised, but...he’s like 100.

: Sire! Am I here in time?

: Barely, Knight Captain Steve. You’ll need to hurry. I’m sorry...he’s asked for you specifically.

: Steve? Is that you?

: I’m here, Sir Jagen.

: I am not long for this world, Steve...but before I go…

: Anything, Sir Jagen!

: ...Have I ever told you the story of the War of Shadows?

: ...Sir Jagen, please-

: Too late...Marth locked the door behind you…

: Please do not spend your last moments in flashback!


I’ve missed these guys. Intelligent Systems has worked on every single Fire Emblem game, as well as games like Advance Wars and Paper Mario. They recently did Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., which I heard was bad? Shame.

Dunno what a “nintendo” is. They’re probably out of business.

The screen divide on the DS has not been kind to this woman’s torso.

The horse butt is fully intact, however.

Now we get some rapidly appearing action shots!

This one is really more of an implied action shot.

I’m not sure how the trajectory worked on that dragon slicing. Maybe he ricocheted off the rock?

These two are pretty important.

This is a pretty cool title screen. I’m pretty sure nothing like this ever happens in game. But it’s a nice title screen.

I doubt I have to explain “Continue” or “New Game” to you, Copy and Erase Data are just for messing around with your save files. “Extras” contains some stuff we won’t get into, like the defunct online battle mode, and “Suspend Point” will be explained when that becomes relevant. Chapter 2, I believe?

I’ll be doing the main LP on Hard, but you don’t get to see the Prologue on that difficulty.

So, for completion’s sake, these first few updates will be using the “Normal” difficulty. Not turning on tutorials, because that’s kinda my job.

I’ve already set us up for disaster.

This map is on the bottom screen the whole time, by the way, so I’ll crop it out of future exposition shots.

: beginning an age of fear and despair for all its people.

This is Anri, one of Marth’s ancestors. He went on some long journey full of deserts and icecaps and it was the worst.

: He stood against the Shadow Dragon, and struck him down. For some time after, the land enjoyed an age of peace.

Fiendish Sorcerer pictured on the left. That other guy is a Paladin. Not very fiendish either.

: and their combined might toppled kingdom upon unsuspecting kingdom. Again, darkness threatened to engulf the continent.

: to sally forth with the divine blade and fulfill his blood destiny.

(yeah they reuse this whole panorama in the sequel :shh:)

: and a garrison manned by Altea’s neighbor and ally, Gra. Thus the boy applied himself to the ways of both pen and sword, until one day…

I really like these prologues, they weren’t in the original Fire Emblem this is a remake of. But they’re good tutorials with a fair amount of personality that I feel the main game suffers for not having.

The titles kinda suck though.

: She seemed to be, sire, but her words implied a certain urgency. She bade you dress quickly and wait by the throne.

The generic soldiers have portraits in this LP!

This is the only improvement I’ve made in two years, please enjoy.

: ...Has something happened?

: It’s our forces off in Gra, sire. There seems to ‘ave been some sort of incident, but… Well, I’m not privy to the specifics.

: I see… Thank you. I’ll be there shortly.

Marth actually walks out into the hallway now.

I’m sure it’ll be fine. How many heroic fantasy dads do you know that just up and die?

My unfunny pointing out of common storytelling tropes aside, let’s take a look at Marth here.

Marth is the main character of this game, no My Unit this time to contest it. He’s the only Lord in the game, and if he dies, it’s Game Over. Marth is a pretty okay unit, his stats aren’t going to blow you away, but it doesn’t really matter because he’s literally required on every map.

Up at the top screen on the far left you can see Marth’s current Stats. Might as well get that infodump out of the way here.

HP is hit points, if those hit 0, you’re dead.

Str is Strength, which is added to the damage you deal with most weapons. It also lessens the penalty to effective Speed with your heavier weapons.

Mag is Magic, which affects the use of Staves (More on those later) and the damage dealt by Tomes. Marth can never use either, so Magic is completely irrelevant on him.

Skill governs your chance to hit or critically hit (Triple Damage).

Speed determines if you can hit an enemy twice in one round of combat, or NOT get hit twice. This is a big deal, as it can potentially double or halve damage.

Luck is pretty much the inverse of Skill, it helps with lowering enemy crit chance.

Defense is subtracted from the damage of enemy physical attacks.

Resistance is subtracted from the damage of enemy magical attacks.

It seems like a lot at first, but you get the hang of what all this means pretty quickly. Just know that bigger numbers are better, and that nobody is ever going to get any damn Res.

This is how far Marth can move per turn. The red squares represent places he could attack...if he had anyone to attack.

Marth has a Movement stat of 7, which you can see to the right of his portrait. “Rng” refers to range. Swords have a range of one tile, and that’s what he has equipped right now.

Marth’s got to get to the throne to talk to Elice. Thankfully, the R button allows you to swap between the Stats view and an overview of the whole map. Looks like the throne is just down this hallway.

Seems like a pretty uneventful journey. After moving, you can use an item, but since we have none, Marth’s just going to Wait.

This bodes well.

: We’re soldiers of Gra, li’l prince. And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll surrender to us without makin’ any trouble.

The generic goons in this game have some kind of accent. I’ve always read it as Irish, but Cockney is probably more what they were going for.

: Surrender? But that’s ridiculous… Why would I surrender to the army of an allied kingdom?

: Meh heh heh… They don’t tell you much, do they? No matter. You’ll ‘ave the full story soon enough. Now…lay down your sword.

: I will not. I am the prince of Altea. I will not yield to you or any other nation, here on my own land, under my own castle roof!

Marth’s supposed to be like 16 14 (thanks CamelPimp) here. Pretty brave kid. Especially when his babysitters are vaguely threatening to kill him.

: Heh, you talk big, brat. Have it your way. If you won’t lay down your sword, then we’ll just have to take your life instead!

Alright, now literally threatening to kill him.

Four red dots appear! (also pretend that says “Enemy Phase”, I promise, I get a better shot later.)

Two of these enemies will run down the hallway after Marth.

This just became a little more complicated.

The Gra soldiers near the throne are...Soldiers. They’re an enemy-only class because they really, really suck. They can only wield Lances, and don’t excel in anything.

The axe wielders rushing Marth are Fighters. Fighters use axes, and they do big damage...when they hit. They’ve got pretty terrible Skill, and aren’t the most reliable of units. They’re decently sturdy, though, so they can afford a mistake or two.

That applies to most fighters, I mean. These guys are just awful.

I’m swapping Marth’s weapon out for the Iron Sword. Those numbers next to the weapons indicate their Durability, once they’ve been used that many times, they disappear into thin air! The Rapier is a good, rare weapon, and I don’t want to waste Durability on these chumps.

Speaking of weapons, I should talk about the Weapon Ranks. You see to the right of Marth’s stats, it has a list of icons and...hyphens? Well, for weapons you can use, you’ll get a rank, E through A. The better the rank, the more types of that weapon you can use, and you’ll get some minor bonuses at the higher ranks. Weapon Rank increases the more you use that weapon type. Marth can only ever use swords.

While I have the Iron Sword selected, you can also see its stats on the bottom screen. It’s E rank, has 5 Might (added to Strength to make total Attack), 100 Hit Chance before other stuff effects that, 0 bonus Critical chance, one Range, and a Weight of 4. Weight makes you effectively slower, but is reduced by your strength. It’s a weird mechanic and this is the last game they used it in.

Sorry for all the mechanics chat in this update, but not much else is happening.

There’s the good Enemy Phase shot!

The first soldier attacks Marth, and the fight plays out on the top screen. You can see the damage, chance to hit, and chance to crit of both units, from left to right under them.

This guy missed.

Marth struck back twice and killed him. The other soldier tried the same thing, and met the same fate.

Time to keep advancing towards the throne.

This enemy won’t move until Marth gets in range. A lot of the game’s foes work this way, and you’ll have to exploit it to your advantage for a clean run.

This dialogue triggers as you enter the throne room.

Hey! That’s our Throne!

: I have to get rid of him before my sister arrives!

The other Soldier attacks, however, and you might notice that Marth’s sword has a red arrow under it. This is the Weapon Triangle in effect, a staple of FE games. Certain weapon types put others at a disadvantage, effecting damage and hit rate.

The triangle is: Swords>Axes>Lances>Swords

None of the other weapons factor into it.

Since this is the first time I’m attacking on my own turn, I can show off the combat forecast. You can check the way battles will go beforehand with this information. The x2 means Marth is fast enough to hit this guy twice.

With all but the final soldier cleared, Marth hits 100 Exp…

It’s a level up! A shitty level up! Each character has a percentage chance for each stat to get increased on a level. This does add some randomness to the game. There are ways to gauge some characters chances here, called “growth rates”...but we’ll talk about that later.

Right now let’s attack the final soldier. Since he’s on the Throne, as indicated on the top screen, he gets bonuses to Avoidance and Defence this turn.

He also heals! Most bosses are on Thrones for this reason.

Still, he’s no match for the 1614 (thanks Vilkacis and also CamelPimp again) year old with no practical combat experience!

With the enemy cleared out, we can seize the throne to end the map. Every map in FE11 ends by Seizing a tile, which only Marth can do.

This game doesn’t have “MAP CLEAR!”, to my eternal disappointment.


: Steady yourself, Marth. I have grave news. Our father was defeated by the Dolhr-Grust allied forces.

Dohlr is an empire ruled by a bunch of crazy dragon people. Grust has...uh...horses? The locations in Shadow Dragon aren’t exactly fleshed out.

: What? No…

: It was Gra. Our own ally betrayed us and struck Father’s army from the rear. I am… I am not sure if he is safe. The scouts who returned gave conflicting reports…

: can’t be…

He might be okay! (he’s not okay)

: As we speak, soldiers sent by Gra are trying to take the castle. Mother and I were separated during the escape. I do not know where she is.

It’s hard to overestimate how unimportant Mama Marth is in these games. I don’t think she even gets mentioned in the sequel.

: …..

Hey, save those dots, I know a guy later who’s going to want them.

: Marth, I need you to listen to me. You must flee the castle. Go on without me.

: What?

: We’ve not many soldiers left...This is hard to bear, I know, but the castle is lost. We must face that. I will find Mother and join you as soon as I can. You find Jagen and get away from here- far away. Understand?

: ...All right. But promise you won’t be long.

That’s the end of the first map. Only...28 to go, not counting Bonus Chapters.

what have i begun