Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblems (ファイアーエムブレム 紋章の)
Developer: Intelligent Systems
This is the third Fire Emblem game, and the first of three on the Super Famicom. It’s the game that really began Fire Emblem’s popularity. Originally it was going to be a sequel to the first game, but they decided to add a remade version of FE1 to the beginning. I’m only going to play the second new part, not the remake.
The system sticks fairly closely to the original game (the weapon triangle won’t appear until the next entry). The biggest change is the introduction of the “mount” and “dismount” system, where Social and Pegasus knights can get off their horses. This lets them use swords rather than spears, and the terrain costs change. They also have to dismount for indoor maps.
Because a patch is available I’m not going to give detailed story summaries.
The story is much more detailed than either FE1 or Gaiden, something that will continue with SRPGs in general I think.
Jeigan has retired to become the advisor so now Alan is our Jeigan character.
The interface is also much better — you can trade items between maps, see the enemy movement range and stats, and other things like that. The animation skip is new but it’s not perfect; you can’t see the unit’s stat gains on a level up if you skipped the animation.
The first stage is not very hard but has an annoying choke point in the middle.
Most of the units can’t get through that fort area, or if they can, very slowly. Eventually I just had Marth sit on the fort and take everyone out. There’s no boss because you talk to the boss and he kills himself.
Phew, this one took a while. I think the difficulty of Part 2 is based on the idea that you did part 1 first. There are a lot of difficulties here, but the prime one is defeating the thief with the Lady Sword, who runs towards the NW. This wouldn’t be so difficult except for the Dragon Knights (including the boss) who have a huge range and will move if you move into their range. The boss has a Knight Killer, which affects the majority of your team.
|The Lady Sword thief|
Another frustrating thing I found is that the thief’s movements are not predictable. From what I saw, he had two basic movement patterns. The first one allows you to defeat him with Alan without getting in range of the boss, but you will have to get in range of the left DKnight. The other one does not allow this, and the only thing I could see to defeat the thief on this version is Kachua with a Javelin.
|The extreme range of the boss|
Even once that’s done you still have troubles because of the three Dragon Knights, including the boss. One of the enemy archers (Warren) can be convinced by Kachua, leaving you 3 of them to fight the DKs. But they move very slowly through the forest, and you have to be extremely careful not to lure the boss down before you’re ready. I found Marth was the best unit to lure him down because he’s not a knight. He can’t stand up to the 3 archers all fighting him at once.
|One of my failed attempts|
That stage had 3 DKnights, the next one has 10. So we’re in for some fun next time!
It only occurs to me now how stale the series became until recently. I'm not familiar with the game that came out for the Wii/Wii U (was there one?), but the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo 3DS games have maps that look pretty similar to this game's, though the 3DS games at least had 3D combatants…none of whom looked very good!
I just started Three Houses, so far thumbs up after the massive disappointment that was Fates/Conquest following the pleasant surprise of Awakening.