Friday, October 2, 2009

Lets Play Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seals! Episode 1

Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seals. Released for the GBA in 2002 as a Japan exclusive, it was the sixth installment in the Tactical RPG series. Most of you may know the main character from this:
(Roy is the one on the farthest left, in case you did not know)

Yes, Roy's appearance alongside Marth, another Fire Emblem character, made the series know to the west. Roy's incursion was a bit of product placement by Nintendo, as Sword of Seals was released around the same time as SSBM did in Japan.

But after the popularity of Marth and Roy, Nintendo released this game for western countries:

This is Fire Emblem 7, or Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. It open the series up to the west, and to me. See, a friend of mine got this game for Christmas, and he asked me to finish it (Being regarded as a games buff by my friends). due to it's difficulty (I will get to that in a minute) I played the game, and was hooked. It's story, characters, music and gameplay got me completely addicted, even when I felt inclined to throw the game into a wall for how merciless it was. It even took up a portion of my trip to Europe in 2005 (Damn you game). I became a fan of the series, buying Sacred Stones and Path of Radiance that same year as well (And I got Radiant Dawn this year).

Blazing Blade was a prequel to Sword of Seals, and since it was never released outside of Japan, most western gamers never found out the conclusion to the story. Since Blazing Blade had my favorite story of the games, I was hooked into this one. Along the way in this LP, I will be presenting my feature: The Wonderful World of Fire Emblem, where I explain trends, points of intrest.

So lets dive in!

Episode 1: Obligatory Bandit Attack
of the continent. The laws of nature were twisted from the vast amounts of power that were released...

The Dragons were defeated and disappeared from the face of continent. Mankind then began to spread its forces throughout to populate the land.

So this is our backstory. It boils down to:
* Man and Dragons were friends
* Something bad happened
* War
* No more dragons. OR ARE THERE?

Naturally, if you have played Blazing Blade, you should know this is not the case. More on that another time

for some time now after the dragons were defeated in the scouring.
civilization in Elbie

attitude about life, is located in the east
Having the majority of power rest in two politically different nations? What could possibly go wrong?
Read: European states
Wastelands in the North
Read: Russia
Read: The Native American plains

Although there were occasional clashes between nation-states, there was a
general sense of balance of power and peace in Elibe.

However, that balance was suddenly disrupted.
See statement above for why nobody is surprised
of Elbie

This is King Zephiel. When we first met him in Blazing Blade, he was a proud young idealist who had slight parental issues. I will cover him in more detail later on. Seeing what he has become now is a bit of an omen of how his life turned out.
Against them.
Aw man.
He was sent as a transfer student to train to become the next Duke of Pherae.
Well, here we have our hero. His father was Eliwood, the hero of Blazing Blade. I wonder how he is doing these da-
However, Eliwood, who has fallen ill, has sent for Roy to return home.
Huh. I always knew those poor stats would catch up to him one day....
had traveled to Lycia to pay her respects to Eliwood.
Hey! It’s Hector! And he......Oh dear. Poor Hector has not aged well.
This was him in Blazing Blade. Fifteen odd years ago.
Time to begin the game! And what Fire Emblem game beginning would be complete without.....
The Obligatory Prologue Bandit Attack!TM (Sacred Stones does not count. Shut up)

Oh come on now. Eliwood was hardly the best Knight. Harken was better than him.
"Boss! The residents of the castle have hidden inside!"

Damas (the main Bandit)
"Heh even Eliwood, the greatest knight in Lycia, can't beat an illness eh?"

"Hehehe, you were right when you said there wouldn't be many soldiers around
here because they're getting ready to take on Bern!"

"Of course, who do you think I am? But you never know when reinforcements are
gonna come. All right! Kill off the guys in the castle while we still got
time! Then all the treasure is ours!"
The bandits from Bolm Mountain are attacking us!
This is Merlinus. He was your Item guy in Blazing Blade, and actual, playable character who was your mobile base for items. In Blazing Blade he was a whiny coward. This game he instead takes up the advisor/C3PO position.
Damn you plot device illnesses!
This is Lillina, Hector’s daughter. She made a brief cameo at the end of Blazing Blade. Oddly, despite the fact that her father was an armored Axeman, she is a Mage. She does inherit one big thing from her father in terms of combat, as we will see later on.

"Lilina, you must hide somewhere. This castle will become a battlefield."

"No, sir. I will fight, too!"

"Don't be ridiculous. If something happened to you, I wouldn't know what to
say to Hector."

"To my father? But..."

"It's going to be all right. Roy should be almost here by now, so if we can
hold our own until then, we can drive off these bandits.
Merlinus! I want you to send a messenger to Roy informing him of this attack

"Y-Yes sir!"
"Master Roy! Bandits have appeared and are attacking the castle as we speak!"

"He's inside, defending against the bandits' attacks. But I don't know how long he can last with his illness...!"
"Are you from Ostia? Lady Lilina is in the castle. She should be all right as
long as Lord Eliwood is with her, but he can't last forever."

"No...I shouldn't have let Lilina go to the castle before me."

"You're right. All right, let's go! We're going to save those trapped in the
Now we can finally take control of our units. But before the battle begins, we should check our units:
Roy is a Lord, the main hero of a Fire Emblem game. Lords began to come in different varieties after the games hit the west, but Roy is simply a vanilla Lord. Now you remember how awesome Roy was in Smash Bros right? So you must assume he is awesome here right?

Wrong. Roy, at this point in the game, and for a while, is rubbish. He has a basic archetype of the vanilla Lords, which is a sword wielder with average stats, and whose main weapon is a Rapier. So Roy has rubbish growths and really does not promote until very late in the game. And that Rapier he has is far weaker than the versions in the later games. However, we kinda need him to win.
Next is Marcus, who some of you may remember from Blazing Blade. Remember him? Terrible growths, sucked away vital EXP from more deserving units, and became downright useless by the end of the game? A unit who you most likely used on your first playthrough, because he looked so damn powerful? And found out the hard way when your units began dropping like flies (Which happened to me)?

Well guess what? He is all of those things and worse here! His only use is to weaken enemies so weak units can get EXP. Such is the fate of his kind.
These two are Alan and Lance, Cavaliers. They are usually the first units you get besides your Lords. They have large movement ranges and wield lances and swords. Nothing much to say. There is also this trend in Fire Emblem that you get two Cavaliers, a red one and a Green one. The Red one is better in strength and defense and the Green is better in skill and speed. They started shuffling this trend around after this game though. Alan and Lance are the embodiments of this trend, following it to the letter. I don’t really use these two, as you get a much better Cavalier later on.
This is Bors, a Knight. Knights are your basic tank units. High strength and defence, low speed and resistance. Bors is not too useful in this part of the game. A slow, Lance unit is a poor match against hordes of Axemen. Later, when enemies become more varied, Bors gets his chance to shinel. I did not use him much on my first playthrough however.
And finally we have Wolt, an Archer. Archers are a unit that goes from useful in situations to a massive help. Bow units will become downright essential in this game later on. Wolt’s average. He was having mediocre growths on my previous playthrough, so I ditched him.

With the unit line up done, on with the show!
So lets start by moving Alan to attack. The move controls are simple: select a unit...
....Move the cursor over where you want it to move...
....And select attack. That screen is the battle window. Let me explain:
HP: The HP of the unit. Duh.
Power: Damage done.
Acc: Chance of hitting. This is out of 100. You will dread this. More on that later.
Crt: Critical attacks. They do 3x the normal damage.
So lets attack!
Standing off....
For the record, having a sword shoved through your head and into your shoulders is only fatal when those numbers at the bottom hit zero. Such is the case in the world of Fire Emblem.
As is having an axe go through your mount.

I should explain the weapon triangle. There are 4 varieties of weapons. Swords, Lances, Axes and Bows. Bows are exempt from the triangle, so we will worry about them later. Each of the three other weapons gain 1+ attack and 30+ Accuracy when pitted against the weapon they are strong against (And the weaker weapon . Swords beat Axes, Axes beat Lances and Lances beat Swords.
Next, I send Lance over to attack the lower Fighter. You may notice that he has a 2x hovering over the damage number. This means he can attack twice for 9x2 damage.
One of Marcus’ only real uses is to be a shield. As the enemies are not to keen on attacking someone who can kill them in a flash.
I send in Wolt to attack the bandit, but he won't kill him. I also move Roy and Bors near Lance.
So it’s the enemy turn. Poor sap’s day is going bad fast.
Aww. He thinks his army of Axemen can defeat an army that contains mostly fast Swordsmen.
One of the bandits makes a futile attack, before coming to terms with the fact that strikes through the head and shoulders tend to be lethal.
Another attacks Roy, but gets stabbed through the neck for his effort.
Turn 2 for Team Pherae. And it looks like the bandits have walked right into the killing zone!
And one of them is in Bors range! Lets see what he can do!
Good thing Lance was on hand to clean up your mess! I have to put Wolt in dangers range to eliminate that archer. He can take it. He’s a big boy.
Bouncer Marcus will stop any unwanted guests.
The bandit gets attracted to Lance and goes after him, axe-a-flailin’. This does not work out for him. (NOTE: I switched the battle animations off for now. It’s easier to convey. I may switch them back on for future chapters. I will always have them on for bosses though). Just let Lance soak up the EXP....
Just for that, your punishment is to check out the houses. Have fun with the door to door salesmen.
Alright Bors, lets see if you can redeem yourself.
Much better.

Also, Lance gets our first Level up! Lets see what it is!
F**k you Lance. F**k you.
That cluster of Fighters is a bit dicey, so Lance and Alan will draw them out, allowing the others to move in, and eviscerate them
Meanwhile, Marcus’ constant bothering of locals finally pays off.
Elsewhere, the drawing out tactic works to great effect.
I failed to capture it, but Wolt just missed the Fighter. Even through he had an 80% chance of hitting. Wolt, this is not a good impression on your omnipotent commander from another dimension.
Alan also got a Level up. It was the same as Lance, except he got a point of Strength as well.
See boys? This is what a real Level up should be like.
Some more slaughter later, it’s time to face.....THE BOSS
The guy on the castle, in case you didn’t know.
Well, one did attack Marcus head on....
Ah censorship. Despite that in this translation, “Crap” and “Shit” are freely used.
Wolt does a piddly amount of damage. It’s for....
....Roy to step in. Ten damage is good. However...
You can’t tell it from this shapeless blob, but Roy just performed a critical. So 10 damage became 20 (5+[5x3]). Needless to say, he won’t be lasting much longer.
Took this shot for posterity. It’s a true Kodak moment.

"Of course, father. How is your health?"

"I'm fine. I'm still alive, see? Now, Roy, you know why I sent for you to
return to Pherae, yes?"

"I am to take over your role of leading Pherae's military and join the Lycia
Alliance Army."

"Yes. As you know, Bern has started to conquer Lycia. We must follow the
ancient rule and send out our military to protect the land of Lycia."


"I really didn't want to send you out because you were still studying, but I'm
not well...I would only be a hindrance to everybody else."

So our young hero is now the commander of the forces that hold the fate of their home in their hands. No pressure!
Justify your case.
Magic user? Sold! Welcome abor-
WHAT? You don’t hold the orders around-


"With Hector's absence, there is no one currently sitting on the throne in
Ostia. The people must be feeling uptight as well. You, being the princess,
must take the throne until Hector returns and ease the tension of the people.
Am I wrong?"

"...No, sir."

Oh. Good enough reason then.
I have arranged a contract with.
No, not them.

Or them.

Are you a bad enough dude to save Lycia?

Alright. Enough of that.
Mission Complete!!

Tune in next time for Episode 2: Not an Arthurian Parallel

(Wonderful World of FE feature coming later)

No comments: