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Fire Emblem Gaiden
Fire Emblem Gaiden (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム外伝 Fire Emblem Side-Story) is a turn-based strategy role-playing game released exclusively in Japan for Nintendo's Famicom console in 1992. It is the second game in the Fire Emblem series and an indirect sequel to its predecessor, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. It is mostly known for its large number of unique mechanics and gameplay styles which were mostly abandoned by later Fire Emblem games, although a few of these mechanics were briefly brought back for a single game at a time. On 18 January 2017, a remake of the game, titled Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, was announced. It was advertised as having all of what made Gaiden unique, such as a free-roaming world map and dungeons.
Gaiden is set on the continent Valentia, a land to the west of Archanea which has long been split in two through the influence of its two gods, Mila and Duma. In the middle of a crisis between the pacifistic southern Kingdom of Zofia and the militant northern Kingdom of Rigel, the young warrior Alm leads the broken armies of Zofia against the Rigelian advance in his grandfather's stead, while his childhood friend, the priestess Celica, embarks on a quest to find the missing goddess Mila and solve the mystery of a sudden famine sweeping across Zofia. Their separate missions ultimately lead them on the same path to challenge an evil cult supporting Duma in Rigel.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Chapters
- 4 Characters
- 5 Development
- 6 Reception
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Gallery
- 9 Eytmology and other languages
- 10 References
- 11 External links
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The story begins with Alm, a youth of the village of Ram, finishing his sword training with an retired general named Mycen. Alm sees a group of villagers gathering near Lukas, a soldier, who says that a General Desaix has captured Zofia's castle and killed the king. Lukas is part of a liberation force, and has come to ask General Mycen to help them.
When Alm asks Mycen, Mycen angrily denies. Still, Alm tells Lukas that he will join in place of Mycen. With Lukas and the villagers Kliff, Tobin, and Gray, he decides to travel to Zofia to help the liberation force, with several small skirmishes occurring throughout the chapter. In Thief Shrine, Silk, a priestess of Mila, is rescued and joins them.
Soon Alm's party begins to fight soldiers employed by General Desaix. At the Southern Fort, Clair, a pegasus knight of Zofia joins Alm. She says her older brother Clive is the leader of the liberation force.
In the Liberation Headquarters, and Alm meets Python, the guard of the cave. Python warns Alm of monsters, and in the next room, there are several bonewalkers and revenants. The monsters are defeated and Alm continues, meeting Clive. Clive asks Alm to become the leader of the force, and Alm accepts.
Fols states that Desaix has been seeking help from northern Rigel. Alm, surprised, states that this violates the Gods' Pact, and that Mila would never allow this. However, according to Fols, it is rumored that Mila has disappeared, which may explain the appearance of monsters. He and Python join Alm's group.
Finally, Alm travels to the Zofia gate, where powerful enemy troops are gathered. Desaix and Slayde are the two generals in charge. One is defeated, depending on which the player chooses, and they successfully liberate the castle. Thanked by many of the citizens, Alm goes to the roof and sees Mycen again. Mycen tells Alm to save Valentia, and mentions a red-haired girl...
The chapter begins with Celica, the red-haired Zofian heiress, talking to Bishop Nomah about leaving the abbey. Nomah warns her of the dangers of traveling, but Celica insists on investigating the fate of the goddess Mila. Nomah consents and lets her leave. The mages Mae and Boey and the cleric Genny join Celica as she departs.
Celica reaches Novis Port, recruiting the mercenary Saber and talking to several villagers. She and her party set out on a ship to reach Zofia Port, her destination. After several skirmishes at sea with various pirates, she travels to the Pirate Fort and defeats pirates led by the aggressive Dahha. Three other warriors, the armored knight Valbar, the mercenary Kamui, and the archer Leon are present in the battle as allies helping Celica's party. After the pirates are defeated, Celica talks to the three in the fort, and they join her party.
Continuing, Celica lands on the Sea Shrine, on which a ferocious Draco Zombie is situated. By using the Seraphim spell, Celica defeats the dragon and continues into the shrine. Afterwards, she travels to the Zofia Port, where she meets the two pegasus sisters Palla and Catria, from the continent of Archanea, to the east. According to Catria, their younger sister had been captured by pirates.
In a way, Fire Emblem Gaiden follows the tradition of NES sequels which differ drastically from their predecessors set by the likes of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and the American Super Mario Bros. 2. Though the same fundamental turn-based strategy gameplay of its predecessor and successor is still the focus of the game, it is surrounded by mechanics more like what is found in traditional role-playing games. Most of these mechanics were immediately abandoned in the next game, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, though some have occasionally resurfaced in individual games since, with Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Awakening, and Fates being notable examples of borrowing from Gaiden.
World map and villages
Gaiden was the first Fire Emblem game to introduce a traversable world map, though no Fire Emblem game since has replicated it exactly. Rather than the forced linear game structure of its predecessor, the player returns to the world map after every battle and can move Alm or Celica around freely, giving the choice to either move straight to their next destination or backtrack to visit a prior location for grinding or other purposes. Uniquely in the Gaiden system, the world map itself has its own turn count, in which a turn elapses every time either Alm or Celica move, or at command by selecting the Rest menu option. Generally nothing happens, but later in the game enemy armies will move towards one of the lords after they move. If an enemy moves onto a location currently occupied by Alm or Celica, a battle commences and the enemy units get to move first. If one of the lords attacks first the battle proceeds as normal.
Certain locations on the world map, such as villages or allied castles, can also be entered and freely moved around as in a typical RPG. When a location is visited in this way, Alm or Celica can explore it to talk to its inhabitants or find treasure chests containing items.
Weapons, items and magic
The item/weapon system's dynamic in Gaiden is different from all other games. Durability does not exist at all, consumable items do not exist with the only non-weapon items being equipment, and only a very small number of each item/weapon exists; for instance, there is only one Javelin in the entire game. All units have one inventory slot, so between that and the very limited item availability, unique weapons must be weighed by the player on who needs them most, as weapons also compete for inventory space with shields and other beneficial items like the Angel Ring. If a unit does not have a weapon in their inventory, they are still capable of attacking because they revert to having a weak "default" weapon which does not take up the inventory slot.
The magic system is also radically different, and is not tied to items or weapons used by units at all. Instead, acting more like a traditional Japanese RPG, units in magical classes learn new magic spells as their level increases, and can use them relatively freely without having to worry about durability. Instead, every spell (except Nosferatu) costs a set number of hit points to cast, with stronger spells costing more HP. Magic is divided into two categories: black magic consists of offensive spells and is primarily used by Mages, equivalent to tomes, while white magic consists of healing and support spells and is primarily used by Clerics, equivalent to staves.
Although the basic concept of changing class remained from the original game, Gaiden implemented several unique additions to it which returned in later games. Class changing is no long initiated by using items, but rather by visiting Mila Shrines when a unit reaches the requisite level. Gaiden introduced the idea of trainee classes with the Villager class; Villagers are weaker than other playable classes but, if properly trained, have the potential to promote into a wide variety of classes. It also introduced the ability for units in certain advanced classes to promote again into even more powerful third-tier classes.
Uniquely, Gaiden is also the only game where an infinite class change loop is technically possible. Dread Fighters, the final stage in the Mercenary promotion line, can "promote" back into becoming Villagers. If this is done, they can be retrained and promoted into a completely different class, or they can become Mercenaries and eventually Dread Fighters again, allowing the process to be restarted and repeated as long as the player likes.
Mila shrines are unique fixtures found at the end of certain dungeons, which perform several functions. The lion head statues on the left and right of each can provide small permanent boosts to specific stats, with a small few being able to revive dead units. The statue of Mila in their center is required to promote units, and when spoken to the statue will promote all units in the player's party capable of doing so.
Gaiden also introduced a primitive version of the auto-battle command systems that later returned in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn, Awakening and Fates. The player may use two commands on all allied units who have not moved yet. The "Assault" command causes all player units to move to attack any nearby enemies, while the "Gather" command has them move near Alm or Celica.
The group experience system, which allows extra experience to be collected by the entire army, is also unique to Gaiden. During a battle, every time a unit fights an opponent, does damage and would normally gain experience (i.e. they are not at their level cap), a small amount of experience (usually 1 or 2 points) is added to a group pool. At the end of the battle all accumulated group experience is applied to all units, ensuring all the player's units get at least some experience per battle. For example, if 10 experience was accumulated, all recruited units present will gain 10 experience. However, this experience cannot level units up, capping at 99 experience, so the unit has to gain the last experience the normal way. This feature has not returned in any game since, although the bonus experience system which debuted in Path of Radiance has a similar purpose.
At face value, Gaiden is technically the shortest game in the series, with only five chapters. However, each chapter is actually a long segment of gameplay which charts a journey across a stretch of the world map, with many individual battles occuring in each.
- Chapter 1: To Zofia!
- Chapter 2: The Pilgrimage
- Chapter 3: Liberty War
- Chapter 4: Dismal Nation
- Chapter 5: Reunion, Yet...
Thirty-two characters are playable in Gaiden, among the smallest number of any Fire Emblem game. In a single playthrough, the player can have a maximum 31 units, since Celica's route requires that the player choose between recruiting Deen and Sonya.
In an interview published in 1990, following the release of Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Shouzou Kaga mentioned that he felt that the first game was a very linear experience which did not allow many opportunities for using their developed units. As a response to this, he stated that he aimed to build multiple simultaneously-run scenarios into the next game, which eventually became Gaiden and its two-army campaign.
- Director, Game Design: Shouzoh Kaga
- Programmers: Masayuki Imanishi, Tsuneyasu Tajima, Kohji Yoshida, Kei Fukura, Masahiro Shimizu
- Graphic designers: Saotshi Machida, Toshitaka Muramatu, Naotaka Ohnishi
- Music: Yuka Tsujiyoko
- Supervisor: Satoru Okada, Hirokazu Tanaka, Keisuke Terasaki
- Special thanks: Ryouichi Kitanishi, Dr. Ohta, Mr. Mori, Papa Narihiro, Ribbon Nakamura, Will Nakajima
- Producer: Gunpei Yokoi
As of 2002, Gaiden had sold an estimated 324,699 copies in its original Famicom print run.
- Gaiden's instruction manual provides growth rates for a small selection of early game characters.
Eytmology and other languages
|Names, etymology and in other regions|
|Language||Name||Definition, etymology and notes|
|English||Fire Emblem Gaiden|| Modern Nintendo of America sources, from Super Smash Bros. Brawl onward, refer to the game by this title.|
The Japanese word 外伝 gaiden, "side-story", is commonly used in both Japanese media and English releases thereof to denote spin-off works from an original work, like what Gaiden is to Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
|Japanese||ファイアーエムブレム外伝||Fire Emblem Side-story|
|Spanish||Fire Emblem Gaiden||--|
|French||Fire Emblem Gaiden||--|
|German||Fire Emblem Gaiden||--|
|Italian||Fire Emblem Gaiden||--|
- Kaga, S., Sakaguchi, H., et al.; trans. shmupulations, Fire Emblem – Developer Interviews with Shouzou Kaga and Hironobu Sakaguchi, shmupulations.com, Published: 2016-05-03, Retrieved: 2016-05-03
- University of Japan Copyright Center, 日本ユニ著作権センター／判例全文・2002/11/14d 3, Translan, Published: 2002-11-14, Retrieved: 2015-03-30
- Artemis251, Fire Emblem Gaiden English Translation, Arty's Generic Site!, Published: 2009, Retrieved: 2015-07-07
- Fire Emblem Gaiden Wii Virtual Console website (Japanese)
- Fire Emblem Gaiden Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console website (Japanese)
- Fire Emblem Gaiden Wii U Virtual Console website (Japanese)
- Fire Emblem Gaiden Fire Emblem Museum section (Japanese)
|Fire Emblem series|