Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
|Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, known in Japan as Fire Emblem: Shin Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Ken (ファイアーエムブレム 新・暗黒竜と光の剣?, literally Fire Emblem: New Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light), is a tactical role-playing remake of the first Fire Emblem video game, Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi, developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo. It is the eleventh main installment (12th overall) in the Fire Emblem series, first for the Nintendo DS and first to feature online play.
Shadow Dragon is the second enhanced remake of the first Fire Emblem game. An older enhanced remake, Fire Emblem: Monshō no Nazo, includes the original game as book one of two. The game offers a graphical enhancement from Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Ken as well as utilising the dual screens, touch screen controls and online capabilities of the Nintendo DS. The game's story centers on Marth as he embarks on a quest to win back his home kingdom and rescue his kidnapped sister. Characters and chapters that were not present in the original or were omitted for Monshō no Nazo have been introduced in this version. The artist of the character illustrations is Masamune Shirow.
Shadow Dragon is a tactical role-playing game with turn-based tactical battles. There are 25 chapters in this game including a new set of prologue chapters. There are six levels of game play difficulty for new and seasoned players. Some of the game play mechanics of the Fire Emblem series, such as the weapon triangle, were not present in the original Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Ken, but have been included in this remake. The game features over 20 character classes, including armored Knights, airborne Pegasus Riders, and Curates wielding recovery staves. Some classes that were not in the original Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Ken have been included. Players can also directly change a character's class using the "Reclassing" feature, although there are limitations on how many of one particular class a player can have at the same time. Special classes like Lord or Thief cannot reclass. Throughout the game, you can recruit more soldiers depending on a few different factors such as having a certain character talk to them, or saving their village from enemies.
Like previous Fire Emblem games, permanent saves are available after completing a chapter, and players can create a temporary save during battle. Players can also use the new "Save Point" feature in the middle of a battle, by moving a unit onto a specially designated square. Save Points are usually located before a boss fight or a similarly dangerous event. Each Save Point can be used to save the game only once, although players can load from created saves as many times as they want, as long as the save is not overwritten or erased.
For the first time in the series, players can battle each other online via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and talk using the built-in Nintendo DS microphone. These battles employ teams of up to five characters from the single-player campaign. Combat takes place on one of six multiplayer-exclusive battle maps (increased from just one in the Japanese version), which allow free movement as opposed to the Link Arena in prior games. Only two players can do battle at a time. Fog of war can be toggled on or off, and a time and turn limit are also active. Victory is determined by either defeating the opposing army or securing the central castle's flag before the turns are over. Victors are awarded a card for their efforts. One of these cards can be used on a party to give it special effects, and use of these cards can be toggled on or off. The Wi-Fi connection is also used to access an online shop, where players can purchase rare items using gold pieces obtained in the main campaign. The availability of certain items depends on what time of month it is; some items are always in the shop for purchase while others only appear on one weekend a month. Several items are not available for purchase at all via the online shop.
Long ago, the continent of Archanea was invaded by the Dolhr Empire, led by the Shadow Dragon Medeus. Anri, a youth from Altea, defeated the Shadow Dragon using the divine sword Falchion. The Kingdom of Archanea was restored and the world entered an age of peace. However, 100 years later, Medeus is resurrected by the evil wizard Gharnef, who has conquered the mage-state of Khadein. The two form an alliance with the kingdoms of Macedon and Grust in order to conquer the world. Cornelius, the king of Altea and successor of Anri, takes up Falchion and leaves to battle them, leaving his son Marth and daughter Elice in the care of a bastion manned by Altea's ally, Gra. However, Gra betrays Altea to Dolhr; Cornelius is killed, Falchion is stolen, and Elice sacrifices herself so Marth can escape. Accompanied by a handful of knights, he takes refuge in the island nation of Talys.
Several years later, Marth repels a pirate invasion of Talys, leading its king to conclude that he is ready to battle Dolhr; he sends Marth out with several of his most trusted men and his daughter, Princess Caeda. Marth first rescues the kingdom of Aurelis and enlists the aid of its king's younger brother, Duke Hardin and his retainers. He meets Princess Nyna, the last survivor of the Archanean royal family and leader of the resistance against Dohlr. She gives him the Fire Emblem, a legendary treasure given to the hero destined to save the world. The two march to Archanea and free it from Grust's grasp. After briefly invading Khadein in search of Falchion, Marth retakes Altea. He learns that his mother was killed in the invasion and that Gharnef is holding Elice prisoner. Marth next battles Grust and their top general, Camus, who rescued Nyna from execution at Dohlrian hands; he chooses to uphold his honor as a knight of Grust, and Marth is forced to defeat him. Marth is contacted by Gotoh, a wise old sage, who informs him that Gharnef wields the tome Imhullu, making him invincible; the only thing capable of defeating him is the magic of Starlight. Gotoh sends Marth to the Fane of Raman to find the materials needed to create Starlight; he also rescues the divine dragon, Tiki. Marth then invades Macedon and deposes the tyrannical King Michalis with the aid of Michalis' sister Minerva. There, Gotoh reforges Starlight. Marth invades Khadein once more, defeats Gharnef, reclaims Falchion, and rescues Elice. He then makes his way to Dohlr, battles, and defeats Medeus, returning peace to the land. If Caeda has survived the events of the game, she and Marth declare their love for one another.
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is a remake of the Famicom (known in the Western world as the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES for short) video game Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi, the original game in the Fire Emblem series. It is the first Nintendo DS video game in the series, three years after the debut of the DS. Producer Toru Narihiro attributes this to the team being preoccupied by the Nintendo GameCube and Wii titles, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, up until Shadow Dragon. He also explains that they chose to remake Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Ken due to it being the 25th anniversary of the Famicom. Narihiro wanted to draw from the script as much as he could, attempting to shy away from the increased volume of content and script lines of recent titles in the series. Unlike Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Ken, a mid-battle save point feature was included to make the game easier for beginning players. Another attempt to improve the game for beginning players was to allow them to change the classes of their characters, allowing them to recover from losing defensive characters such as knights by converting another character into a knight.
The game received a score of 9/8/8/9 (34/40) from Famitsu. Eurogamer gave Shadow Dragon 8/10, and Nintendo Power gave it 8.5/10.
Nintendo Life gave the game a rating of 8/10, praising its gameplay and steady difficulty curve. While they stated that the game was not quite up to the standards of more recent Fire Emblem titles, they did state that the game still proves to be a very enjoyable experience.
Official Nintendo Magazine UK gave the game a rating of 86%, praising its gameplay and learning curve. It notes but forgives the lack of innovation due to it being a remake of a NES title. It does, however, find fault in some of the dialogue during the early stages and the functional graphics.
NGamer scored the game at 83/100, praising its "almost unlimited replayability" and states that "despite being a 20-year-old-game, Shadow Dragon stands up impressively well by today's standards". NGamer also praises the difficulty curve, and states that while the game may be "objectively inferior to more complex offerings such as Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn ... there's still much for veterans to sink their teeth into". It finds fault primarily with the "threadbare" Wi-Fi options.
In the 2009 Nintendo Power Awards, Shadow Dragon was voted the "Best Strategy Game" by the readers.
The game sold 250,000 copies in North America.
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