Fire Emblem Gaiden | RPG Fan

Gaiden Fire Emblem never saw a western release except for a 3DS remake. Despite this, I saw the title discussed to the point of nausea in fire emblem communities, and even stranger, people rarely seemed to appreciate it. Now that I’ve played it (using Artemis251’s fan translation), I finally understand what’s so captivating about this bizarre entry into the fire emblem series.

While Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light felt like a foreground for the modern fire emblem Game, Gaiden Fire Emblem more like an experiment. Gone are the mainstays of the series like promo items, villages, and breakable weapons. In their place are a handful of new ideas like dungeons, route splits, and map battles.

Gaiden Fire Emblem feels unusual the moment you start the game. Instead of starting to control units on a grid, you control a young man named Alm in real time in his small village. You can walk around and talk to NPCs or leave the village and enter the world map – all the standard stuff for RPGs in general, but very out of the ordinary for a fire emblem Thurs. Soon, Alm is invited to join a rebellion against the evil General Desaix.

Once Alm joins the rebellion, Gaiden Fire Emblem starts to feel more like a fire emblem Gameplay. You travel from battle to battle on the world map, each using the grid-based combat system veterans are familiar with. unlike others fire emblem games, however, between each major battle there are some small scale skirmishes, where part of your army fights with a small group of enemies. These battles help sell the story of Alm being part of a motley militia. These encounters on the map also respawn, allowing players to grind if major battles get too tough.

You can talk to NPCs and recruit allies in towns.

Besides the strategic battles of Gaiden Fire Emblem, players also have to deal with dungeons. While dungeons seem strange to a fire emblem game, they don’t play out too differently from battles on the world map. Most dungeons have only one encounter, and it’s the same each time you play it. After completing a dungeon, you are entitled to stat-boosting fountains and shrines that allow you to promote your characters into new classes. unlike most fire emblem games, many characters in Gaiden Fire Emblem can promote twice. Instead of stopping at Paladin, Cavaliers can be promoted up to the mighty Gold Knight class, for example.

Repeatable battles and extensive promotion system encourage the player to spend time working. In my game, I didn’t do much work and only had one character ready to be promoted to their third class in the late game. It’s unfortunate, as the difficulty feels okay without grinding, but it’s disappointing not to fully promote most of your units while enemies sport all those fancy Tier 3 classes.

Whether a fight begins in a dungeon, on the map, or in a castle, the cards in Gaiden Fire Emblem are simplified even compared to Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. Many encounters are just multiple copies of one or two enemy types on a flat map. Major encounters include terrain to make things interesting, but chests, recruitable characters, and villages don’t spawn during combat. And the only objective for most maps is to defeat all enemies. Even the classic fire emblem The “seize the throne” objective is gone. This makes many cards a tedious job as you spend several turns at the end mopping up one or two enemies who have run away from combat when their health has run low.

Fire Emblem Gaiden screenshot of a dungeon.
Most dungeons are simple, but there are a few mazes!

One of the most interesting elements of Gaiden’s Fire Emblem gameplay is the inventory system. unlike most fire emblem games, where you have five to ten item slots per character and there are plenty of weapons, each Gaiden Fire Emblem the character gets an equipment slot, and weapons are hard to come by. Every weapon in Gaiden Fire Emblem is indestructible, but you often only get one, and you may not have enough weapons of one type for all the units you want to equip. For example, I used a lot of spear users, but only had three good spears for everyone. The others were blocked using weak weapons by default.

The item system is great because it forces you to make more strategic decisions with your items than you do in most cases. fire emblem Games. Instead of spending a lot of gold in the end game to equip all my units with powerful weapons, I had to decide which unit was going to work best with the only powerful weapon I had. In later games, you can even customize your selection of units and classes based on what you know will be available. The limited nature of weapons in Gaiden Fire Emblem makes everyone feel special, and it takes careful strategy to make the most of it. Unfortunately, the lack of chests and villages is a missed opportunity that would have improved the item system. If items were obtained through optional map objectives that could be lost, it would add one more thing players should think about on some of the simple maps in the game.

Screenshot of a castle from Fire Emblem Gaiden.
Item management is critical to success in Fire Emblem Gaiden.

The object system is supported by what could be Gaiden’s Fire Emblem most enduring legacy, the road has split. In Gaiden Fire Emblem, players control two armies: a rebel army led by Alm and a group of priests, mages and mercenaries led by Celica. The courses unfold simultaneously and the stories intertwine. Maps, armies, and items, however, are unique to each route.

The route split is my favorite part of Gaiden Fire Emblem. Both armies are full of charming characters, and their different soldiers and items force you to switch up your playstyle. During Alm maps, you can use your powerful physical units to stop choke points and cut off enemy armies. By contrast, Celica’s army is full of hard-hitting magic users and Pegasus Knights, who trade survivability for mobility and utility.

Gaiden’s Fire Emblem two routes add flexibility to gameplay by allowing you to switch between armies at any time. If you encounter a frustrating map or start to get bored, you can switch to the other route to freshen things up. Additionally, you sometimes have the option to trade items between Celica’s and Alm’s armies. You need to carefully consider which items are most important and who can best use them, because if you trade an item, you may not be able to get it back for multiple cards.

Fire Emblem Gaiden screenshot of a battle between Catria and a monster.
Celica’s route offers powerful flying units.

The biggest issue with the route split is the quality of the maps on Celica’s route. During the first part of the route, it seems that almost all the maps are installed on boats. These maps tend to be small and have minimal relief. You’ll spend an hour or two playing on maps that look and play very similarly, and things get worse before they get better. Once you’re done with the boats, you’ll be dealing with one map after another of difficult terrain that slows your infantry until they’re crawling. Desert maps have always been controversial in fire emblem Games; I usually like the change of pace they offer, but usually there’s only one or two per game. Gaiden Fire Emblem closer to double digit maps of deserts/swamps. You get a few powerful flying units dominating these maps, but it’s a shame that most of your units are so heavily limited.

Beyond the game Gaiden Fire Emblem tells a simple story about war, religion and extremism as Alm and Celica seek to end the conflict between the religious nations of Zofia and Rigel. Although the game has many characters, the focus is on Alm and Celica, and it does a good job of making the player want the two and their armies to be united. Overall, the story is great for a Famicom game, but it’s still rudimentary, as you might expect.

Surprisingly, I found the visual presentation of the game pleasing. Given the limitations of the hardware, I was impressed with the expression and distinction of most units. In combat, pixel art is usable. It’s easy to see at a glance what’s going on in each battle, and the unique animations for each class are fun to watch.

In all, Gaiden Fire Emblem is a fascinating mixed bag. It’s loaded with cutting-edge elements that would become series staples like route splitting and fun additions like the inventory system, but it’s held back by gruesome maps, dungeons, and feature removals. such as chests and villages. Despite the baggage, Gaiden Fire Emblem is a very memorable experience, but hard to recommend to someone who isn’t willing to deal with the more experimental mechanics it brings to the table.

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