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Early Installment Weirdness / Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade

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  • Due to The Blazing Blade being a prequel, there are several instances where characters are ignorant of elements that were also key plot points twenty years ago, although it's not difficult to rationalize things away given the time the heroes spend undercover, Canas' determination to keep the events out of the history books, and the fact that Eliwood would probably not want to talk about the painful events his Infinity +1 Sword caused. In particular, there's the fact that Lyn, the heroine of the prequel, is completely absent and unmentioned. That's because, when Binding was developed, she simply didn't exist; Rutger, Fir, and Karel are the fast sword-swingers of this title, and Lyn came into existence for Blazing as a good point-of-view character for the planned Anglophone-friendly intro campaign and was "meant" to simply fade into the background after the game, but the way Blazing plays out makes this notion farcical. As such, this has always stood out a little bit, but with the passing of time, the advent of Fire Emblem Heroes, and with Lyn becoming one of the most popular characters in the franchise, her complete absence from Binding is now an elephant in the room. Between a few snatches of info in Blazing and Heroes, there are guesses as to what happened to her (the most popular being that she's the mother of either Lilina or Sue and, either way, perished trying to defend Sacae from Zephiel after taking up the Mulagir), but since she simply didn't exist when Binding was written, there's no definitive answer.
  • Thieves revert to not being able to class change, even though the Jugdral games allow them to do so.
  • In this game, there are no unpromoted classes capable of using light magic, something that isn't the case with the other types of magic. Later Game Boy Advance installments feature the Monk class, which is an unpromoted class that uses light magic, essentially giving light magic an equivalent to Mages and Shamans.
  • Oddly, horseslaying weapons such as the Rapier or Halberd do not get a damage bonus on Troubadours and Nomads. This was fixed in the future GBA games.
  • While the game does introduce the support system that would become a franchise cornerstone, the game curiously only supports paired endings for Roy; everyone else's endings are unaffected by supports, which can lead to a few narrative oddities (such as Fir, for example, being a heartbreaker, as she goes off to further her mastery of the sword after the game's events, leaving her potential suitors in the dust). Units who don't participate in the endgame also get a very simplified versions of their endings. There's also no support conversation viewer after beating the game, which the prequel and Sacred Stones would include.
  • This was the game that introduced the Bandit Brothers, a pair of Gonk twins with Villainous Incest implications. Unlike later games though, their portraits are pallete-swapped from one used for earlier Berserker bosses. In later games, this look is reserved for the bandit brothers alone.
  • Some graphical differences between Binding Blade and the other two GBA titles:
    • The character mugshots do not blink. Three portraits (Lilina, Shanna, and Larum) also strangely have their mouths permanently open on their status screens. The prequel and Sacred Stones would later add blinking animations to the character portraits, and the status screen portraits were always depicted with their mouths closed.
    • The cutscene backgrounds were drawn directly as pixel art like the rest of the game's graphics. Blazing Blade and Sacred Stones would later use either photographs or paintings ported into the system instead.
    • With the exception of Zephiel, Idunn, Leygance, Roartz, and the Wyvern Generals, all bosses use the standard red palette like generic enemies instead of using ones that match their portraits' color scheme. However, in the case of Damas, Ruud, Slater, Erik, Dory, and Debias, this was due to an oversight.
    • Ballistae have their battle animations used. As for the other GBA games, however, they were never used, probably due to the ballistae in those titles having wheels attached.
    • The credits roll in this game, compared to other Game Boy Advance titles, looks drastically different; instead of using text, it uses letter graphics, and appear in a slideshow instead of crawling upwards. Also, if the true ending has been reached, it will show full endings of 10 of the characters that participated in the final chapter.
    • Strangely, some sprite animations have less FPS, which makes their animation speed slightly slower than most other animations. This is notable with the dark magic spell animations, where they move a lot more slowly, while Nosferatu's has a long delay between the spell being casted and the target taking damage from/dodging it. There was also a delay in Fae's battle sprite that lasts for a few seconds for whenever she is attacked or dodging. This is absent from all other units and their classes.
    • When Roy promotes into Great Lord at the end of Chapter 21 or the following Gaiden chapter, only his map sprite was changed. His battle sprite does not change at all, as all it does is recycle the same one that was used as a lord. Regardless of whether he is promoted or not, he always has an additional sprite for when he has the Binding Blade equipped. This is an oddity that is completely absent from the lords of later games.
  • If one were to not count Archanea Saga, the game has the earliest example of DLC maps in the main series. However, unlike the ones from later installments, the DLC were simply just 4 additional trial maps that could only be obtained through certain events at the time of release, and were never programmed into the game itself. These maps have yet to resurface in any form.
  • Unlike previous installments, this game actually has a playable tutorial, but instead of being played through a new save file, it is an optional chapter that is played separately. This would be elevated in the prequel, where the tutorial itself is actually part of the save file.
  • Binding Blade was the first Fire Emblem game to feature a Hard Mode, and it was mostly a fairly simple affair of autoleveling the enemies to be stronger, as opposed to later games making significant changes to map or enemy design or outright altering core mechanics. There were also the famous Hard Mode Perks that (accidentally) autoleveled some of the recruitable enemy units as well, which only returned (intentionally) for Blazing Blade and never again.
  • Unlike future GBA installments and beyond, base accuracy for the different weapon types are significantly more stratified in Binding Blade, with lances and especially axes being much less reliable than swords or bows. Combined with tough opponents with the capacity to dodge and bosses on +30 Avoid thrones, this leads to low hit rates that often surprise players who started with later games.
  • Binding Blade was the first Fire Emblem title to feature a convoy that is accessible on the map from a unit (Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776 had map locations where units could interact with the storage) and only one of two (the other being Binding Blade's prequel, Blazing Blade) where the convoy would be a distinct, deployable unit, making Merlinus the only character to ever hold the Transporter class. Starting with Sacred Stones, the convoy would be accessible from the main lord.
  • Magic swords are weird in this game. The light brand deals 10 damage when attacking from 2 tiles, regardless of the stats of the user and the victim. Later games would take into account the user's strength and the victim's resistance when calculating damage. Meanwhile, the runesword targets the foe's defense, doesn't count as being in the trinity of magic, and can inflict critical hits. Most of these features would be scrapped in later games.
  • Though The Binding Blade expanded on hazards and dropped the warp trap from the previous game, there are a few oddities that are only present in this game that were changed in later games:
    • A specific amount of lava geysers and poison jets activate randomly at the end of enemy phase instead of activating where a unit is standing like in later games. Though it is more difficult for these hazards to target and damage enemy units, and can unexpectedly harm a player unit that stands in front of them, their randomized nature made them relatively unimpactful due to the low chance of a unit being on a trap that would actually go off on that turn (not to mention being extremely tedious to watch empty traps go off every single turn), and therefore their function had to be altered a bit to add a bit more challenge. Heavenly arrows, on the other hand, retained their function when they were brought back in The Sacred Stones.
    • There are also mine and spike traps that only appear in Chapter 21x, and are completely invisible and placed in certain portions of the map, similar to how the warp traps worked, except that these hazards can be disabled by a thief, resulting in less frustration. The mine trap has a fixed damage of 10 like lava geysers, while the spike traps deal the same amount of damage, but can be nullified by high-defense units. While the spike traps haven't been seen again since, the mine trap was instead reworked into an item exclusive to the prequel.
  • For unknown reasons, whenever an enemy is defeated, items do not drop at all, which affects four of the weapons that debuted in this game. The then-newly-introduced Tomahawk, Fimbulvetr, and Runesword, which would've been droppable, wounded up being unobtainable in the main story, and are exclusive through Trial Maps, while the Spear couldn't be obtained at all without hacking. This was fixed in the prequel.
  • The funds ranking in this game had an unusual way of being calculated, as it is based on the ending that is viewed, and, if necessary, whether Roy and Lilina have an A-Support together or not. This is due to the fact that if the game is loaded on a map that plays an event, that map's funds value is used for the funds ranking. The best ending to get the highest funds ranking is by clearing the game on the final chapter if Idunn is spared. Though the Funds ranking itself returned in the prequel, this oddity was never used again, as said prequel lacked different endings.