The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

by LordHippoman

Part 4: Prologue 4: Sacrifice

Prologue 4: Sacrifice

So, we’ve got the final Prologue chapter today. I like this one quite a bit.

: lying low while they waiting for the right chance to escape the kingdom. Before long, the enemy grew less watchful: the time to slip away had come. Still, the prince could not quell the sadness in his heart for his sister Elice.

Also his mom. Seriously, Marth’s mom is just so neglected by the game.

: Huh? ...Oh. Malledus.

: Get ahold of yourself, Sire! I know how you grieve, but the Gra host that pursues us will not be interested. We must keep moving, and with all haste at that.

Apparently they weren’t very good at hiding in the woods or lying low.

: I…I’m sorry. These thoughts are hard to put aside.

Another emergence of Blinking Marth. The harvest will be bountiful this year.

: Talys… I’ve heard the name. An island kingdom to the east, isn’t it?

: That is correct. The king there was a good friend to your father- and perhaps more importantly, a true friend. It was Princess Elice’s wish that you seek refuge in Talys should things ever go awry.

: Me, but not her…

: I’ve arranged for a boat to take us from the northeast shore. But to get there, we’ll first need to cut through a prison to the north. I managed to come by a key to the premises. Let me hand it over.

Altea is a kingdom where everything is frequently blocked off by massive structures for little reason. When your only claim to leadership is “my grandpa killed a dragon”, I guess you aren’t super qualified with civil engineering your kingdom.

Oh, this will be handy. (It’s mandatory.)

: Now, on the road, you may notice people who seem to be fighting for Gra against their own wishes.

This is good advice! In the Fire Emblem games, lots of potential allies will appear as enemies. Sometimes you’ll have to talk with them before they join your side.

This map isn’t exactly complicated either. Picture a reverse L. We’re going right, then up. It’s moderately guarded.

Perhaps most notably, this is our first map with a real boss! For, uh, certain definitions of the word. Bosses are typically named...I guess “Captain” is sorta halfway there.

So, I’m trying to park most of my units in the woods, because as you can see in the terrain overview in the bottom right of the top screen, it gives them +10 to avoidance. Terrain is a pretty significant detail on some maps. Keep in mind that forests also cost more movement points to move through, especially for mounted units, but...the game never really tells you that. Maybe a house does, I don’t know.

The exception to this mass forest excursion is Jagen, who’s off to visit another house.

Alright, I’m going!

This little cutscene triggers at the start of the Enemy Phase.

: Yes, sir. Not many of ’em, but the scouts say they’re a tough bunch all the same. And guess who’s with ’em…

: …You’re saying the prince is coming this way?

: Yes, sir. How ought we proceed? The main force ‘as yet to arrive, and- to be honest, sir- we need ’em.

: Bah! You’re cowed too easily. We can win...if we set a trap.

: Er...a trap, sir?

: The prince of Altea will be ours. Just do as I tell you, and we’ll pluck this royal plum long before the main force can show up to steal all the glory. Heh…

So, uh, the forests?

Turned out to be a good idea, because Cain dodged every single attack that came at him. I have good feelings about our red haired friend on this adventure.

After their phase ends, it’s another cutscene! There are a lot of them on this map. But this one is great.

Ah, Ruffian. Get used to Ruffian.

Don’t worry about this guy.

: Heh. I thought Altea was the great ‘ero Anri’s kingdom! Didn’t take more’n a couple of days to break you, now did it, Gaggles?

: Mmph! Arrumph!

: Ba ha ha! I’ll letcha in on a little secret. Altea’s little princeling is on ‘is way ‘ere right this moment.

: ….!

: Ooh, but sad for you, you look awful dangerous in the uniform… MISTER GRA SOLDIER!

I love this guy.

: Gugrrrrmph!

: Once the prince sticks you like a pig, we get to call him Marth the Tyrant, coz ‘e kills ‘is own countrymen. Won’t that be an ‘oot!

His grammar is shifting to accommodate just how aggressively cockney ‘e is.

: Rrrmph.

: So long, Gaggles! Better start praying to your ‘igher deity of choice!

I just cleaned up the remaining enemies south of the prison. Abel leveled up!

And we got an Iron Bow, but nobody can use it. Huh.

I did have to use Jagen on one guy because there was just a bit too much HP for the others to kill all of them, but I’ll take it.

Abel got a bit scratched up in that fight, so I’m moving him onto the Fort. Along with being fantastic defensive spots, forts have healing properties! You’ll see in a bit. However, some forts are villainous traitors. Again, you’ll see later.

Houses will never betray us.

This, I guess, counts as a hint towards this game’s absolutely asinine requirements for getting bonus chapters. Don’t worry, on the main run I will never accept my losses.

At the start of my next phase, Abel recovers some HP for being on the fort. This is a good way to heal up units without using consumables or a healer.

Door Keys are required to open...doors. That’s probably unsurprising.

Hm. Something’s telling me I shouldn’t just attack this guy.

I will scoot everyone in around him, though.

This special command appears when two units that can talk are next to eachother. So, let’s have Marth chat with Gordin.

Wow. Ruffian’s a prophet.

: Rrgmph mrph!

: Huh? You’ve been gagged? Here, I’ll get that… Wait, I know you! You’re one of our archers, er…

: I see. Well, I’m glad you’re unharmed. But I’m afraid we cannot stay here a moment longer. Stay behind me and-

: I can fight, sire! If you have a bow I could use, I would be honored to fight at your side.

That’s a handy coincidence.

Units next to eachother can trade items, although it does eat up the turn of the one who initiates the trade.

So, Gordin gets his Bow!

Unfortunately Gordin kinda sucks. Archers aren’t a great class, due to the restrictions of the bow, so they often need great stats to make up for it. Gordin...does not have those. Oddly, his most notable growth is probably his decent defense, which is...not really something Archers are begging for. Even reclassed, Gordin remains pretty mediocre.

At the start of the Enemy Phase… (again)

That...that looks bad.

: No...Anri save us...Of all the places to be beset! Sire, that is Gra’s main force- and they are accompanied by the knights of Grust’s Sable Order. Our chances of routing them are slim, I’m afraid, and those of slipping away undetected afterward, all but nil…

: Then we’ve no hope?

: I…I can think of one strategy. We could leave a decoy behind for when the enemy catches up.

: A decoy?

: It’s you they’re after, sire. Were one of your men to stay behind disguised as you…Well, the enemy ought to take the bait. That would give you, and the others time to escape.

: He will act as a decoy by dressing as you and luring the enemy force away.

I like that an Emergency Marth Costume is standard issue for Altean knights.

: But Malledus, how will he find his way back to us?

: Sire...He may not.

That sound you hear is that of thousands of OCD Fire Emblem players having traumatic flashbacks to this scene.

: …Well, I will find a way! You cannot expect me to agree to…to abandon one of our own to a death at the hands of the enemy. Surely there must be another way…

: Forgive me, sire…But this is our only chance. You know as well as I do that you must not die here today.

Well, I have a difficult choice to make. Or, I would, if I weren’t commentating this after I’d already done it.

This door is conveniently blocking passage until someone dies. Unfortunately I guess Marth broke the Door Key on that first one.

There is a “canon” sacrifice here.

Farewell, Frey.

Oh, hey, he took Marth’s sprite!

Two of them have met. I’m not sure the game engine can handle this much generic red guy.

: Simpletons! Use your heads! One of them ran; the other didn’t. What does that tell you? Easy! The one who stayed behind is trying to buy time for the one who fled.

: So, er…the one who took off is-

: The real prince, you idiot, yes! Hie, troops, after him! Put that craven whelp to the sword!

“Hie”? The prologue of this game does the whole faux-Medieval English thing way more than the rest of the series, for some reason.

Regardless, that huge mass of knights disappears, along with Frey.

: Frey? Wait! Frey! Quickly, Malledus, we must head south and rescue him!

: No, sire. We have to press on.

: Press on? Frey might be dying back there!

: If he were, then why would you be so selfish as to let him die in vain? Honor him, by allowing his life and his choice to mean something!

: ...Frey…..All right. I will honor him. I will go.

What is with this man and plums?

: No matter. Open the north door! We can still crush the Altean rabble he left behind…

you fucked up.

Abel whiffs two Javelins in a row. C’mon, man. Be like Cain.


He learned!

The remainder of the enemy Soldiers decided to try their luck against Cain. It was a bad decision.

I wish I could keep this level up. Damn having to move to Hard after this.

At the start of Player Phase… (I promise this is the last one)

Villages always have rewards, unlike houses, which just give advice. Only Marth, the Lord, can visit villages, which sucks and is dumb, because in almost every previous game in the series, that wasn’t the case. But that wasn’t one of the things they updated for the remake.

Well, regardless, the Mage goes down, and only the boss remains.

Or...does he? These guys spawned during the enemy phase. This is your introduction to reinforcements. Reinforcements can spawn at the start of the enemy’s turn, in fixed locations, almost always on a Fort. They can be on a turn timer, or wait for you to cross a certain point on the map...regardless of cause, these can be some of the most deadly things in the game.

Especially on Hard and above, where they can move and attack as soon as they spawn. This will make you deeply distrust forts. They are shifty and dangerous beasts.

For all that buildup, though, these Pegasus Knights aren’t a huge deal. I’ll hold off explaining this class for a bit, because this update is getting huge, but for now, just know they can fly.

While the others move to engage the incoming Pegs, Abel challenges Captain to a duel of the Javelins.

He wins with STYLE. That’s a critical hit!

In lieu of a death quote, Captain leaves us a free Vulnerary.

The Pegasus Knights don’t hit too hard, but they are fast.

Abel hides in a corner for now.

Here’s the bonus for bows, flying units take triple damage from them. This makes Gordin suddenly good at damage! In very, very, niche cases.

Oh, I had Marth visit the village.

: Here, this is the bow my granddaughter always used. Take it, sire! Please, promise you’ll stay safe…

Later Village rewards will prove...better.

Gordin deletes the other Pegasus, though, and that’s all for this one.

A new ally!

: Draug, is that you? What are you doing here?

Draug’s name is Guard backwards and that’s his whole character.

: I received word from Sir Malledus to ready a vessel, that we might slip away discreetly by sea.

Then the screen fades out. They didn’t want to actually make a boat. This is one of the few Fire Emblems without a boat chapter (and we’re probably better off for it, fuck boat chapters.)

(the blazing sword one was okay)

“There goes everything you’ve ever known!” Jagen’s not the best grief counselor.

: ..aven…

: I beg your pardon?

: I am a craven. Powerless to save my sister, to stanch (sic) my kingdom’s wounds; to ease my people’s fears…

: This...was your only recourse, sire. But surely, one day, you will be able to set things right…

: ”Surely”? Why do words of such conviction smack so much of uncertainty when spoken?

Marth those mean the same thing. Also worth noting, if Jagen died, this cutscene features Draug instead...with the same dialogue.

: Today, though, allow me to wallow in this pain, to feel every awful twist of it. I never want to forget.

: Sire…

: I will return, Altea! Your prince will return to you one day!

And that’s where our real story will start.

But...there’s something I want to go over here. There’s a bit of an alternate way to overcome the sacrifice dilemma. And a unit hidden behind weird gameplay decisions. Let’s check that out.

: Of course, none of that is what REALLY happened…

: Huh?

: I knew that Gaggles had to have been a I killed him with my own hands!

: ...I spoke to Gordin yesterday, Sir Jagen.

: Who the hell is Gordin?

If you kill Gordin, Jiol and his knights don’t even appear.

: Hie, let’s give them the punishment fools deserve! Open the north door! Lure them out and strike them down!

You can’t escape the “Hie”, though.

: And then Sir Cain was consumed by fireballs, sacrificing his life for the prince!

: Sir Cain is outside the door, Jagen.

(Killing Cain was actually a little annoying, the soldiers didn’t do enough damage, I had to get the mage to do it. And yes, this was on purpose. Trust me.)

Oh, also, the Rapier does triple damage to mounted units. Captain goes down like a sack of bricks against Marth's weapon of choice.

The map starts out ending the same way, but…

: Draug, is that you? What are you doing here?

If you have 4 or less remaining units, which is one death in addition to the sacrifice/Gordin, minimum, Norne appears here. This means she’s also only available on Normal mode.

: Right, we’re on our way. Sire, this is Norne. She heard wind of our struggles and wishes to fight for Altea.

Norne is an Archer, just like Gordin. She has better Speed and less Defense, which is probably better for an Archer, but she’s still not very good.

: Prince Marth, ’tis an honor. By your leave, though, I’ll be savin’ the curtsy-bobbin’ for later. Quickly, sire!

She’s also vaguely country, I guess.

Then the chapter ends as normal. This file I WILL be keeping, to do the Normal mode run for the bonus chapters on.

But all of that can wait for now. For now, we’ve finished the prologue, and next time, the main game starts. Hopefully you’ll join me!

Today’s bonus content is in honor of our fallen friend. He doesn’t have a Cipher card, but he did get special artwork for being a character debuting in the remake.

...I mean, he’s got blueish hair. Close enough to Marth, apparently.