The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

by LordHippoman

Part 3: Prologue 3: The Three Cavaliers

Prologue 3: The Three Cavaliers

Look at these nice title cards. I don’t have to make my own, which is fantastic when you’re as lazy as I am.

This is another short map, the prologues don’t really have much meat to them in the gameplay department. We’ll get to play with two new characters, though.

So from now on, chapters come with art and narration on the top screen, and a map on the bottom. I’m not sure why this doesn’t apply for the first two prologues only. The part of the narrator will be played by future Jagen because I’m dedicated to this stupid bit it is convenient.

: However, this success would mean little to him once he learned the cost. The boy’s woes were just beginning.

: These scratches? It’s my pride you’re wounding sire. …Anyway, we must talk. There’s a reason I’ve returned. …Sire, I am…I am to deliver to you His Majesty’s last words.

I may have accidentally spoiled this earlier, but I’m not really worried about spoilers in Shadow Dragon and come on you all guessed this already.

: My condolences sire. The king died valiantly on the fields of Gra. The traitors took from him the divine blade Falchion and gave no quarter to those of our soldiers who remained…

: I…I see…So they’re all dead. Father, too…

: His last words were as follows:

“Tell my son that I leave the future of Altea and our continent in his hands. He must rise now where I have fallen. As Falchion’s rightful heir, he has been born into greatness…Now…he must be great.”

Marth’s dad is the kind of guy who tells his kid he wishes he’d become a doctor on his deathbed.

: ...Father. I will try…

: …Sire, I…I cannot bear this! Failing to protect His Majesty…then leaving my brothers to die, slinking away like some coward…This indignity is too much to bear! One day I will repay them in kind. I will avenge the fallen…I swear it!

I like the characterization they give Cain here, but because it’s Shadow Dragon this pretty much never comes up again.

: Cain, you speak for us both. When that day comes, we will punish them together.

The game highlights an example of a house for you, in case you’re playing this game in your underground cave network and have never seen one of those.

: Your countrymen love you; perhaps they have knowledge that may serve us.

So this map’s a little bigger than the last two. You start off in the top right, and have to make it to the upper left.

Unfortunately, there are 10 Gra soldiers blocking the path! It’s...not that big a deal, but let me try and be dramatic here.

So this chapter introduces us to the infamous Jagen. He looks pretty good, right?

Jagen is a Paladin, which is the Promoted version of a cavalier. While units cap at level 20, they can Promote to a higher class with an item. This raises their stats, sometimes gives new weapon options, and lets you level to 20 all over again. Jagen’s what’s commonly referred to as a “Pre-Promote”, he’s already promoted, so he effectively has 19 less opportunities for level ups. To compound the problem, his growth rates are among the worst in the game.

Jagen is a trap. If you’re new and use him to solve all your problems, you’ll be stuck with an awful unit and a bunch of underleveled, neglected characters. This has forced many a restart for new players. That said, he’s not entirely useless. Jagen has great movement and starts with a B in lances, giving him access to the powerful Silver Lance. You can use him to visit houses or villages, or chunk down enemies to let weak units get the kills. Just don’t take him too far.

Note for anyone playing a Fire Emblem game, if you get a Paladin around the first few chapters, and they’re some kind of mentor figure? Be warned, it’s probably a Jagen.

Let’s see what advice the villagers have for us.

...What job did you have?

Hitting the X button displays the ranges of all enemies on the field. It’s handy.

I’ll start moving my units in there to get countering.

Cain’s new, and he’s much like Abel, but on average a little tankier with higher HP and Luck, while Abel leans toward big hits using Skill and just a tiny bit more Strength. They’re both great choices, and can easily fit in your team.

So, let’s just let them come at us.

Jagen, I can see that.

: Elice will have no way to escape…Let’s seize that fort across the water. Perhaps we can squash enemy reinforcement at the source.

Anyway, these soldiers still aren’t a huge threat. One rushes Marth.

It wasn’t a good plan.

Abel can start chipping away at this Archer with his Javelin while the rest of the group can’t reach him yet.

So let’s check out another house. I won’t be visiting all of these, but this one has a special place in my heart.

This guy basically flat out tells you to avoid the Jagen trap. What a helpful guy! Apparently in the original FE3: Book 1, (which I haven’t played, so I can’t confirm) he just says “DON’T USE JEIGAN”.

Then Abel missed.

And he missed again! I just talked up your skill!

Still, I mop them up pretty quickly, and we can move on to the next quadrant of the stage.

Mostly Axe users over here, so I’m putting my cavaliers on swords.

Well, there’s also this guy, but he wasn’t an issue.

Yikes, though, those Hand Axes do about triple the damage of anything we’ve seen so far! They’re inaccurate, however, and Frey dodged.

Since these Fighters can be a little obnoxious, I’ll show off some Jagen use to bring one of them down.

Poke. That’s got him at 2 HP. Also no, Jagen’s battle model is not purple and yes, I am angry about it.

If you look at the Level and Experience thing under Jagen’s name, you’ll see that chip damage only got him 6 XP, less than any of our other units would get at this point. There’s a penalty for fighting lower leveled units, which is another reason not to use the experience vacuum.

I’ll give the kill to Marth instead.

I am immediately rewarded! That’s a good level! That’s the first good level!

: We’ll need to approach carefully.

Oh, there are mages across that bridge. The camera pans over to them, but...I missed it. I’m sorry, I was excited about that level.

Finishing off the stray archer gets Frey a good level too. Wow, what a world it is outside Altea Castle!

So, Mages. Mages hit HARD, mostly because their attacks deal with the Resistance stat, which pretty much nobody in this game gets aside from a few select classes. A powerful mage in the endgame can melt even the tankiest units, quite literally. They can also attack from either 1 or 2 range, meaning they don’t have the same drawback Archers do.

However, you might also notice that Marth can kill this guy in one round, even though he’s on a Fort that boosts his defense.

Mages are made of tissue paper. High damage physical units will shred them.

I did accidentally leave Marth in the range of the other Mage, though. This is the kind of slip up that could screw me over later, but he doesn’t do enough damage to kill Marth anyway, so it’s not a big deal.

Well, not to me. Abel apparently took offense.

With the mages down, we’re all clear!

Oh hey, it’s that guy from the last chapter.

: Why aren’t you with my sister? Did you leave her someplace safe?

: ...Princess Elice will not be joining us. She has elected to stay at the castle.

Marth actually tries to run back, and Malledus steps in his way here. It’s a neat little detail, and the kind of thing the prologue does way more than the main game.

: Where do you think!

: Stop! Sire, consider for a moment why the princess would go as far as to lie to you to ensure your escape. Your sister knows that you are the future of Altea- nay, the whole land!

: …!

Marth, I don’t think 10 minutes ago is the kind of thing that deserves sepia tone.

: I’m...our future…

: Sire… You must live. Drink deeply now of these injustices; sup on these slights they serve. Remember them! One day you will lead us back here to avenge the fallen and reclaim Altea in their names!

: Then it seems my life is no longer mine to hazard.

: In your veins flows the blood of a hero- the blood of Anri. You are a son of House Archanea, and sole heir to Falchion- our only hope of defeating Medeus, Emperor of Dolhr. Sire, were’t in my power, I would have you choose your own path...but I’m afraid your path has chosen you.

Ominous enough.

Next time, the final prologue, and a harrowing choice*!

*That won’t really matter because I’m not using this file for the main playthrough anyway.

Since last time’s bonus content focused on Abel, it’s probably only fitting that today I give us a little Cain.

The Red Knight, Cain

I like this one better than Abel’s, looks less flammable.

Edit: Also sometimes he's a motorcycle.

(thumbnailed because it's huge.)