Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem
Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (ファイアーエムブレム 紋章の謎 Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem) is a turn-based strategy role-playing game released in 1994 for the Super Famicom, exclusively in Japan. It is the third game installment in the Fire Emblem series, the first for Super Famicom, and in part a direct continuation of the story of the original game, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, again set on the continent of Archanea and following the adventures of Marth of Altea.
Mystery of the Emblem is divided into two sections, dubbed "Books". Book 1 is a slightly abbreviated remake of Shadow Dragon, again following Marth's journey in the War of Shadows as he leads the army of the Archanean League against the Dolhr Empire and their ruler, the feared Shadow Dragon Medeus. Book 2 tells a new story set two years after the first book's events, in which Marth must lead a rebellion against a powerful and corrupted former ally in a new conflict, the War of Heroes, all the while uncovering the true history of Archanea and the mysterious origin of its sacred relics, the sword Falchion and the Fire Emblem.
During the Super Famicom's lifespan, Mystery of the Emblem was supported with the release of BS Fire Emblem: Archanea Senki, a series of four chapters broadcast through the Satellaview satellite radio streaming service which told new stories featuring other members of the cast in adventures leading up to Marth's own. The first few chapters of Book 1 were also adapted into a short-lived original video animation series, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, which received an English-language dub long before the Fire Emblem games themselves commenced international releases.
Sixteen years after the release of Mystery of the Emblem, an enhanced and extended remake of Book 2 was released for the Nintendo DS console, Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, Heroes of Light and Shadow. In addition to its two Virtual Console re-releases in its original form, Mystery of the Emblem was also available as a playable Masterpiece in the Japanese version of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, allowing players to experience a three-minute demo of Marth's origins as a character; owing to the game's lack of an English version, it was removed from international releases of Brawl.
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Book 1: The War of Shadows
Book 2: The War of Heroes
Mystery of the Emblem plays by and large identically to the Famicom Shadow Dragon, with the addition of a small assortment of new gameplay mechanics.
Although significantly different from its widely known modern incarnation, Mystery of the Emblem features the first known appearance of support system, in which characters can perform better in battle if they are near their friends, family or loved ones. Most playable units have a hidden in-built support bonus with certain other units, and receive a boost of a few points to their stats in battle if they are within a three-tile radius of their support partner.
Mystery is the first of three games to implement the dismounting system, in which units who ride on horses, pegasi or wyverns can get off their mount and continue to fight on foot, losing their vulnerability to effective damage in exchange for lower movement range. In exterior chapters units can dismount or remount at will, but all riding units are forced to dismount when participating in indoor chapters.
- For the first time, when selecting a unit the player is shown their movement range and where they are able to attack. In the Famicom titles, this range is not shown due to the limitations of the console.
- It is now possible for units to gain experience from using staves; in the original game, the only way Priests could ever gain experience was by letting enemies attack them.
- Exclusively in Mystery, Manaketes and their dragonstones function differently from other games in the series. When used as items, the unit is transformed into their dragon state both on the field and in battle for five turns, giving them access to a breath weapon matching the dragon type.
- Mystery connected four previously stand-alone classes into class change lines: Knights now promote to Generals using a Knight Crest, and Hunters now promote to Horsemen using an Orion's Bolt. A few other classes still lack class change options entirely, which were implemented in the Nintendo DS remakes.
Between the two Books, Mystery features a total of 60 playable characters, with 46 in Book 1 and 45 in Book 2. Six characters from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light - Roger, Darros, Wrys, Jake, Beck and Gotoh - are no longer playable, and all but Gotoh do not appear at all.
Mystery of the Emblem features a total of 44 chapters, with 20 comprising Book 1 and 24 comprising Book 2. Five chapters from the original Shadow Dragon were cut from Mystery Book 1, with their recruitable characters and important events condensed into other chapters in the game.
Mystery of the Emblem has remained the best-selling Fire Emblem game in Japan ever since its release by a significant margin, having sold an estimated 776,338 copies in its original Super Famicom print run. Among Japanese gaming communities, Mystery is widely revered as the best and most popular title in the series, and was voted the sixty-eighth most popular game in Famitsu's "top 100 games" list in 2006, with no other Fire Emblem titles appearing on the list. At its release it was scored 36/40 by the magazine's reviewers, equivalent to 9/10 from each of the four reviewers on Famitsu's panel, a feat only since matched in the series by Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade and Fire Emblem: Awakening.
Etymology and other languages
|Names, etymology and in other regions|
|Language||Name||Definition, etymology and notes|
|English||Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem||As of Fire Emblem: Awakening.|
|Japanese||ファイアーエムブレム 紋章の謎||Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem.|
- Translan: 日本ユニ著作権センター／判例全文・2002/11/14d: (University of Japan Copyright Center / Case law full text 14-11-2002) (Japanese)
- 実験!! ゲーム家族のクロスレビュー: ファイアーエムブレム 紋章の謎. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.343. Pg.107. 14 July 1995.
- Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem official Japanese website
- Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem Wii Virtual Console website (Japanese)
- Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem Wii U Virtual Console website (Japanese)
- Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem Fire Emblem Museum section (Japanese)