In an age long past... Evil flooded over the land. Creatures awash in the dark ride ran wild, pushing mankind to the brink of annihilation. In its despair, mankind appealed to the heavens, and from a blinding light came hope.
The eighth Fire Emblem game, and the only completely self-contained story; no other Fire Emblem media takes place in the universe of this game.The story takes place on the continent of Magvel, as the southernmost country, Grado, attacks Renais. Renais had been allies with Grado for years, and was caught completely off guard. The game itself starts with Renais' princess, Eirika, fleeing from her castle as it is overrun. She then goes off in her search for her brother Ephraim, and her childhood friend, Grado Prince Lyon in hopes of finding out why Grado attacked, and how to stop the war.The story of the game can be easily divided into three separate parts:
#1 (Prologue - Chapter 8). Eirika serves as the protagonist, and most chapters are based in Renais. Ephraim and his men are used instead during the game's only Gaiden Chapter.
#2 (Chapter 9 - Chapter 16): This point allows you to choose which of the twins will be your main Lord gameplay-wise for the remainder of the game. Chapters 9-14 each feature a different route before both twins reunite. Whichever route you choose to follow, the army thus far will follow that Lord, and though all recruitable characters are the same they are received at different points in-game depending on the route chosen. After Chapter 16, you will be able to promote your Lords.
#3 (Chapter 17 - 21/Final Chapter): The endgame. You will progress with whichever twin you chose to be your main Lord. Most of the story remains unchanged, save for several conversations.
The game shares some mechanics not seen since Fire Emblem Gaiden, the biggest of which is the ability to traverse the world map. Instead of going to the next story point immediately, the player can fight the monsters roaming the map, or can visit monster-infested areas. This allows for easy grinding. Additionally it has a unique branching class tree, giving almost every unit multiple class options for promotion.Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is one of the ten Game Boy Advance games available to participants in the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program, having been given a limited rerelease to early adopters of the Nintendo 3DS for free on its eShop as of December 2011.
This game has examples of:
Always Accurate Attack: The Sniper class has the Sure Strike ability, which ensures the next attack will always hit. Unfortunately, the Snipers you have will have high enough accuracy, so it's rather useless.
But of course, the enemy Snipers will get some mileage out of the technique.
Ambition Is Evil: While Valter and Riev are a Blood Knight and demon worshiper respectively, Caellach is simply an ex-mercenary who will stop at nothing to become a king.
The Alliance: What the player party eventually becomes, having members from all the nations to fight Grado and then the Demon King.
When the game starts, Frelia and the Renais government-in-exile (read Eirika) are trying to hold off Grado.
Badass: Ephraim, Gerik, Joshua, Marisa, Cormag, and Innes. Caellech counts for the villain team.
Badass Adorable: Amelia, Ross, and Ewan are very cute kids (none of them is over 16), but if properly leveled and promoted, they can kick your ass. Myrrh count as well, since she looks like a harmless little girl, and Neimi also fits.
Badass Pacifist: Tethys. Has no direct offensive capability, but she can give those who do the ability to kick ass more than once. Also, Innes tells her and Gerik to flee at one point when certain death looks likely, and like Gerik, she stands her ground.
Badass Preacher: Artur, Natasha, L'Arachel, and Moulder. Riev counts for the villain team.
Four-Star Badass: Ephraim, Eirika, and Innes are by virtue of commanding their nation's best fighters and by being the ranking combat worthy nobles. Duessel was already one when he joins your cause. Joshua becomes this by the end of the game.
Lady of War: Eirika, Syrene, Vanessa. Tana, Amelia, Marisa and Neimi grow into these too.
One-Man Army: Seth starts as this in the beginning of the game, and unlike most Jeigans, he's still quite viable as a mounted dealer of death by the end of the game.
Retired Badass: Garcia still is one damn fine warrior, even after several years of retirement.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Still present (all of the protagonists look beautiful), yet subverted at the same time; many of the human bosses range from homely to almost as good looking as the heroes, three of the heroes are mildly Gonkish (Garcia, Dozla, and Gilliam), and the truly "ugly" opponents are undead monstrosities. However, to tell which of Grado's top generals are morally firm and which have nary a screw left in their head is pretty easy to tell: Valter, Caellach and Riev all look like they haven't slept for a month, and they have creepy facial expressions to match (especially Valter, combining with his lust for Eirika).
Chekhov's Gunman: Saleh appears in the cutscene before Chapter 5, asking Eirika and Seth where Myrrh is, and politely disappears. He doesn't show up again until the characters have to climb the mountains to Rausten (or even later in Ephraim's route).
A woman in Chapter 2 mentions that she received help from a man who dressed like a mercenary but acted much more elegantly than expected. The player initially assumes it is Ephraim in Chapter 5x, which makes a nice counterpoint to Eirika's own mercenary disguise. However, 1) Ephraim is dressed like a prince with princely weapons, 2) he's been in Renvall, making a point to avoid villages so citizens stay out of the crossfire, and 3) no one ever refers to him with a fake name. In Chapter 5 proper, the poorly-dressed but charming Joshua is recruited in Serafew, which is much closer to the village.
Selena shows up in another village in Chapter 2. While Eirika never actually fights Selena, she still shows up several more times (purely in cutscenes in Eirika's route, and as a boss battle in Ephraim's).
Tethys appears in a village in Chapter 5 to hand the player a Dragonshield. Depending on which route you play, you might not see her until quite a while later, either fighting alongside Innes in Eirika's Chapter 10, or coming to your aid against Selena in Ephraim's Chapter 13.
Amelia appears in a village in Chapter 5 as well, dropping a torch as she leaves to join the Grado army. You won't be seeing her again until chapter 9 on either route.
Your actions may have unintended consequences, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
You must accept it when your loved ones die, either in body or in spirit.
Character Magnetic Team: Regardless of which route you take, you'll still run into all the recruitable characters (bar two, who join with the other twin when you meet back up) on both Ephraim and Eirika's routes, in spite of the routes taking place simultaneously on opposite ends of the continent.
Cloudcuckoolander: L'Arachel and Dozla are energetic versions of this, much to Rennac's dismay and Eirika's confusion.
Crutch Character: Seth, but of the Oifaye subtype rather than the Jeigan (meaning that while he does hog experience early on, he has good growths making him viable later in the game). Averted in that even though he does take experience, there is an infinite amount of experience to be gained so you can just get it better.
This is pretty much standard for Paladins in the Fire Emblem series. They are very powerful in the beginning or when they join you, then slowly become more balanced with the rest of the party.
By the end of the game, when Myrrh decides to fight for Ephraim, you'll probably be using her most of the time, because of her ability to one-hit most enemies, including bosses. She's kind of a Late Game Crutch Character.
Demonic Possession: The Demon King attempts to possess Lyon through the Dark Stone; how successful he is depends on which character route you chose. During Eirika's route, he completely controls Lyon and devours most of his soul, occasionally mimicking the Prince's softer personality to emotionally manipulate Eirika.
Not Brainwashed: In Ephraim's route, Lyon is instead manipulated more subtly by Fomortiis, who manipulates his fear of being a weak leader, his love of Eirika, and his jealousy of Ephraim in order to trick him into serving his ends.
Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Often in Fire Emblem it turns out the other way around, but in this game, roughly the last 7 chapters feature a string of dangerous bosses that either have a high critical hit rate, some other trick up their sleeve (Pierce skill, Defense-piercing dragon breath) to deal/tank a ton of damage, or both. Sadly, the final boss snaps this streak.
The Empire: Grado. While it does feature most of the usual tropes (the largest territory, ruthless army, led by evil...), prior to the events of the game, The Emperor and his son were really nice and caring fellows. In fact, Grado was allies with Renais, and its two monarchs were friends.
Everything's Better with Princesses: This is par for the course for Fire Emblem, but here, one of the main Lords is the princess of Renais, and her two closest friends, Tana and L'arachel, are the princesses of Frelia and Rausten, respectively. That's three princess of three of Magvel's major countries.
With a hefty dose of Does This Remind You of Anything?, Grado possesses a predominantly blond (or otherwise light-haired) populace which uses its extremely large army to attack a former ally without provocation and nearly wipe out all the other nations by surprise.
Jehanna is a more innocuous mix of Egypt, India, Israel, and other Middle-Eastern countries. While their strength is also in arms, it is composed of loosely organized mercenary bands who take up the work simply because there are very few other options.
Carcino is practically Renaissance Italy, notably being a merchant-led republic.
Fiery Redhead: Averted. The redheads are either the most relaxed in the game (Joshua, Tethys, Ewan), or the most dutiful (Seth, Artur, Queen Ismaire).
Fragile Speedster: Marisa in particular falls into this; she'll often be one of your fastest characters, but have some trouble doing and taking damage without good weapons and supports. Rogues in general fall into this as well, being quite speedy and good at dodging but not much use in a fight compared to Assassins.
Gameplay and Story Integration: L'Arachel has an excellent luck stat, while Joshua's is rather mediocre. The two end up gambling in their support conversations; as it turns out, L'Arachel is so much luckier that she wins their bets even when Joshua cheats.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Grado Empire is defeated halfway through the game, rapidly dwindling their forces to Lyon, Riev, and what remnants the army has left, yet is still capable of throwing massive swarms of enemies at you, particularly in Chapter 19.
Dozla and Garcia's B-level support conversation is the two talking about their failed attempt to practice archery, including Garcia nocking an arrow backwards. This ignores that Garcia may be a Warrior at this point, and is perfectly competent with a bow. Even if you get this conversation before Garcia's promotion, he can still become a Warrior with no problems.
The world map feature also causes this. According to the story your army is in a campaign, having to press on and deal with the circumstances, the twins being worried about each other, but too busy dealing with their own troubles to help each other out. However (with a few exceptions) after each chapter you can traverse the world map at will, which for some players will amount to returning to the tower of Valni (said tower being in Frelia, which is quite a trip distance wise) every time you get some new characters to grind them up.
Participating in monster skirmishes also counts, since you always have to backtrack to get to them.
Government in Exile: With the fall of Renais, the loss of the King, and refuge in Frelia, Eirika and Ephraim are this.
Guest Star Party Member: Orson, who performs a Wutai Theft on you. In fact, his stats compared to the rest of Ephraim's group should be a dead-giveaway that he is the traitor mentioned at the start of chapter 5x.
Guide Dang It: It's easy enough to figure out how to unlock hidden characters that require finishing certain sections of the tower or ruins when going through them, but not so much for ones that require beating them three times.
Caer Pelyn, an independent village isolated from the outside world. It's also the only place that knows the full story of the Demon King's fall. Home to Saleh, the location must have been known to Gerik's Mercenaries as Ewan and his sister were part of the group.
The Manakete tribe residing in Darkling Woods. Purposely unknown, Morva and Myrrh are content with protecting Caer Pelyn.
Parodied. Marisa arrives as part of the enemy's reinforcements in one chapter, but she was originally part of Gerik's guild and they weren't even supposed to be fighting on different sides.
Incest Subtext: Eirika and Ephraim. Though never explicitly spelled out, the subtext is thick enough to cut with a knife. Two of Eirika's love interests even seem jealous of Ephraim. Of course, Lyon's soul was being eaten at the time, so he wasn't that clear-headed.
Remember the name of their sacred twin weapons? Both named after an incestuous brother/sister couple in Norse Mythology.
It's Personal/Nothing Personal: While it comes up on Ephraim's route when Joshua fights Caellach, it's possible Joshua's response might have been a veiled attempt at It's Personal, while Caellach, while more authentic, might have been mocking at the same time. The main factor? The fact Caellach killed his mother, though this mainly comes up in Eirika's route.
The Kingdom: Renais, Frelia, and Jehanna. They're all attacked by Grado. Renais and Frelia are out and out honorable and virtuous. And while Jehanna may hire out mercenaries, it's only because they have nothing else to trade (being mostly desert, it doesn't seem to have very much).
King Incognito: Eirika, L'Arachel, possibly Ephraim during the early chapters, and Joshua. The last one to be revealed was the longest and most successful. L'Arachel, thanks to her hammy nature, ends up immediately revealing her royal nature.
Let's Split Up, Gang: After Chapter 8, you have the choice of two completely separate paths, Eirika or Ephraim. The recruitable characters follow whichever lord you choose, and everybody reunites in Chapter 15. In addition, you recruit the same characters although at different times.
Level Grinding: The primary reason fans dislike this one, as every other game (bar Gaiden) has only Arena Abuse (risky without save states), Boss Abuse (takes forever, also risky and limited by weapon durability), and infinite reinforcements (very rare, generally happens very late or is intended to be very dangerous and also limited by durability) allow for more XP than "normal".
Lightning Bruiser: While everyone can become this to a certain extent with stat-ups, Gerik starts out as one and gets better. Amelia will become one if she promotes into a General.
Ephraim is basically Hector, but with lances instead of axes. It's not unheard of for him to cap out several stats even before promoting.
Love Triangle: Support conversations reveal that Marisa and Tethys both have romantic feelings for their leader, Gerik. They're both friendly to one another, though, and naturally, either one can come out on top.
Weirdly, both Innes and Lyon love Eirika, and they feel (Lyon in a flashback and Innes in his support conversations) that they have to compete with Ephraim, her brother, for her hand.
Luck Stat: Standard for the series, but Knoll, whose base luck stat is zero, is certainly unlucky in other things. You recruit him when you conquer a castle and search the dungeons. He initially assumes they moved his execution date up a few days after you let him out of his cell.
Magikarp Power: The Trainees. L'Arachel is a more traditional late game arriving Est, despite being a healer.
Marathon Level: The optional dungeons. Tower of Valni is eight floors long with no checkpoints. Lagdou Ruins is ten, and every one of them laughs in the face of the rest of the game's It's Easy, so It Sucks reputation. However, you CAN use the quicksave function, so you don't really have to beat them in one sitting.
Nerf: The game-breakingly powerful Luna spell from the previous game (which could let its wielders take out even the end bosses like last week's trash) is made more cumbersome in this game, having its accuracy cut substantially as well as being rather bank-breaking to purchase. Paladins are also a little weaker in this game than they were in Fire Emblem Elibe due to losing the use of Axes to help differentiate them from the Great Knight, though it's consistent with pre-Elibe games.
Nice Hat: Joshua, though it's mostly in the fandom's view. It's to the point that said hat has reached memetic levels.
Nintendo Hard: Averted, even without level grinding, the game is known for being very easy (outside of the 2nd Bonus Dungeon), not even by just the series's high standards.
Nothing Is Scarier: The fact that you never see Monica's face lets the player fill in the gaps with whatever horror they can imagine.
Power Up Let Down: Snipers have a randomly-activating skill that results in an auto-hit... but snipers are the most accurate unit in the game already. Likewise, Generals have a skill that nulls damage, but their defense is so high that anything but magic or a hit from a boss will bounce off anyway.
Proud Warrior Race Guy: Averted. While Jehanna is obviously proud of its 95% mercenary population, to the point where its widowed queen has an A-level in swordsmanship, the Jehannans are the most casual and friendly characters. The only person who does act like this, Marisa, is seen as really weird.
Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: Outside of various members of royalty, we have two childhood friends (Colm, Neimi), a mercenary leader and dancer (Gerik, Tethys), several technical traitors (Cormag, Duessel, Knoll, Natasha, and Amelia) and various thieves (Rennac), former soldiers (Garcia), and of course...L'Arachel...
The Remnant: The Grado Remnant, led by Prince Lyon and Fomortiis after Grado is taken by the heroes. Eventually Renais is taken back, and the Remnant's only goal is to revive Fomortiis' body.
The Republic: Carcino, a mercantile nation with the only democratic government in Magvel.
Renegade Splinter Faction: Carcino seems to have allied with Grado, but it turns out it's divided into two factions. Pablo, which leads the Grado supporting faction, has used force to take over Carcino. Once Pablo is defeated, Carcino returns to being allies with Frelia.
Lyon and technically Vigarde for the villain team.
Script Breaking: It's possible to get some support conversations that refer to characters that haven't joined your party yet. Notably Neimi's A-level support with Gilliam refers to Cormag being intimidated by her stare, even if Cormag is still a soldier of Grado.
This was a translation error. The Japanese script refers to "Coma", which is the Japanese name of Colm, who Neimi DOES know. An understandable mistake. And in hindsight, a positive error at that - bows are very effective in shooting down flying units (such as Cormag), who would worry about archers.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The earthquake that devastates Grado in the epilogue is viewed by the people as divine punishment for Grado's actions throughout the game- actions that originally stem from Lyon's desire to protect the people of Grado from said prophesied earthquake.
And don't forget that L'Arachel and Innes can end up with each other too. Their supports are this, and then some more.
Silk Hiding Steel: Natasha, who managed to defect from decadence and survive. Queen Ismaire as well; though, since Jehanna is a rather more martial country, she rules alone after her husband's death with no apparent problems, and has an A-level in swords.
Soulless Shell: As mentioned above in Came Back Wrong, Orson's wife Monica, and Emperor Vigarde. But in the Final Chapter, the party inflicts this on Fomortiis, imprisoning his soul in the last Sacred Stone. As a result they now only have to deal with the now-mindless resurrected body as the final boss.
Spiritual Successor: To Fire Emblem Gaiden, sharing many of the game's...unique elements (that are present in most RPGs but not in Fire Emblem), such as infinite XP and branched promotions.
Tragic Monster: Lyon, who falls under control of the Demon King bwhile trying to save his country.
Trauma Conga Line: Grado. Yes, the entire country. Besides having its army completely obliterated and the entire ruling family wiped from the face of the earth, it suffers a massive earthquake some time after the events of the game epilogue.
Wacky Wayside Tribe: Some have claimed this about Eirika's half of the Let's Split Up, Gang sequence, as Ephraim saves General Duessel, sinks the ghost ship, and conquers Grado among other things while Eirika fails to save Jehanna's Sacred Stone and is rescued by Ephraim when they reunite. However, this is a rather unfair interpretation as Eirika did learn about Carcino's treachery (and did something about it), rescue Prince Innes, and participated in some of the more dramatic moments in the game (which only get a Hand Wave mention with Ephraim). Besides which, even Ephraim didn't realize Eirika was going to run into all of that trouble—her original mission was only to make it through monsters and mercenaries to warn Rausten while he was specifically aiming for most of the crises he was involved in.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The game doesn't really tell you the details of what happened along the other twin's route, so certain story important details, including the fates of certain characters, are suddenly never touched on again. You obviously need to play both routes to get the whole picture.
One of the houses in chapter 15 does give you the general idea of what happened to Glen and Selena; they both died. We're not told how, though: Glen's death is only shown in Eirika's route, while Selena's is part of Ephraim's.
Written by the Winners: A version of this occurs in the game, in regards to the defeat of the Demon King 800 years ago. It turns out that Morva - leader of the Manaketes - led the Five Heroes, and they defeated Fomortiis. However, in the nations the human heroes founded, there is no mention of Morva or his help. The people of Caer Pelyn are rather unhappy about this, believing the other nations are being ungrateful to the Great Dragon. Morva himself, though, was much more chill about it, and actually refused to take his share of credit so he could live the rest of his life in the Darkling Woods with Myrrh.