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Video Game / Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem

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All spoilers for Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

"Over one thousand years ago-before the kingdom was founded-people live in small villages scattered throughout the land. And one day, vicious monsters descended on the people, bringing destruction. Humanity was nearly wiped out. We cried out for help-and were heard. The goddess dispatched a fearsome warrior. In his right hand he held a sword of light; in the left, a shield with five jewels. After a fierce battle, the monsters were vanquished. His task complete, the warrior ascended to the heavens. The goddess Naga, here enshrined, protected us"
The legend of Naga as told by Jagen

Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem is the third entry in the Fire Emblem series, released only in Japan on the Super Famicom in 1994. It comprises both a compressed remake of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light (Book 1) and a new sequel (Book 2), giving players the option to skip to the sequel if they're already familiar with the original game.

In the sequel, several years after the fall of Medeus, Marth is dispatched by the newly-crowned Emperor Hardin of Archanea to deal with an uprising in Grust but is appalled to find his "allies" are instead brutally oppressing the citizens. Marth gathers a liberation army to fight back against the now corrupt Archanean Empire. As he fights through his new enemies, Marth slowly learns more about Archanea's Fire Emblem and the lore behind it, hence the title "Mystery of the Emblem".

Just like how Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light received a remake for the Nintendo DS (Shadow Dragon), Mystery of the Emblem got its own remake — New Mystery of the Emblem, Heroes of Light and Shadow. Released in 2010, it only covers Book 2 of Mystery of the Emblem and, unlike Shadow Dragon, did not leave Japan. It is far less of a direct redo than its predecessor; it reincorporates characters left out of the original Mystery of the Emblem, introduces those from the Satellaview chapters and Shadow Dragon, alters the story slightly, and implements a completely new subplot, and includes a player-created character (a feature which would be carried over to the next two entries in the series, Awakening and Fates). It includes remakes of the four BS Fire Emblem chapters as bonus content, as well as all-new bonus chapters as downloadable content.

Mystery of the Emblem is followed by Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, which takes place on the continent of Jugdral many years before the events of Marth's stories. New Mystery of the Emblem is followed by the Nintendo 3DS game Fire Emblem: Awakening, which takes place in Archanea 2,000 years in the future.

Mystery of the Emblem contains the following Tropes:

  • Adapted Out:
    • Wrys, Darros, Roger, Jake, and Beck are removed from Book 1. As such they missed out on appearing in Book 2 as well.
    • Five chapters from Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light were cutnote . Most characters who were recruited in the removed chapters were moved to other chapters.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Dragon's breath in Mystery of the Emblem ignores the unit's defense when attacking. This trait is removed in the remake.
  • Art Shift: During Book 2's introduction, Camus, Hardin, and Nyna are realistically drawn compared to its 90s anime aesthetic.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • With the exception of some late-joiners and turncoats, units who can potentially class change in Book 1 reverted back to their base class and lower levels in Book 2. Overall, the two campaigns are treated as two games in one, meaning that nothing from the previous book carries over to the next.
    • Marth forgot to bring his ultimate weapon Falchion for the uprising in Grust, causing it to be stolen by Gharnef again when Altea was invaded during his absence.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After knowing about Hardin's Face–Heel Turn, Marth is worried that Merric, who was in charge of Khadein at the time, will betray him as well when its sorcerers gathered arms against Altea. Turns out the hostility was due to a takeover from a pro-Archanean faction led by Arlen.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Hardin becomes corrupted thanks to the negative influence of Gharnef's Darksphere, which twists him into becoming evil.
  • Cowardly Mooks: Often there would be Thieves that are planning to escape from the maps with their loot. The player is strongly encouraged to go after these enemies, as they carry valuable items such as promotional items and the MacGuffins required to get the Golden Ending.
  • Crossing the Desert: The first destination in Anri's Way is crossing Mamorthod, the Desert of Death, which is where the city of Thabes is. Crossing it isn't easy with the vast desert crawling with desert raiders and their wyvern pets.
  • Darker and Edgier: Mystery of the Emblem has more political intrigue, character deaths, and darker lighting than Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. Things have gotten much worse for Archanea in general after the Time Skip due to the influence of its corrupted emperor.
  • Discard and Draw: In this game and both DS remakes, Pegasus Knights have a decent base Resistance stat of 7 (where most classes would barely able to grow theirs) that they will lose on should they advance into the Dracoknight in exchange for higher Strength and Defense.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The Iote's Shield, a typically late-game item that negates the flyer's weakness to bows, is found as early as Chapter 3 of Book 2. Though hidden, finding it will completely remove any urgency of your main flyers. The remake moves the shield to Chapter 13x instead.
    • Catria and especially Palla became this in Book 2, as they are recruited early on with good base stats and high levels in the early part of the game. Unlike Sirius and Minerva, they also join unpromoted, giving them even more room to grow.
    • Sirius himself is monstrously powerful for a character who joins in Chapter 4, and has rather high growth rates as well. He's only held back by his class being hindered by indoor maps.
    • Linde joins in the same chapter as Palla does and comes with two of the best tomes in the game (Aura and Nosferatu) when most of the available tomes are weak.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: After being used to create the Starlight spell, the Starsphere has shattered into twelve shards. It is the heroes' task to find them all to restore it to its original state. The Starsphere itself is actually one of the five spheres that needs to be assembled with the Fire Emblem to restore it to its true form, the Binding Shield.
  • Doorstopper: Mystery of the Emblem has two full campaigns (a remake of the first Fire Emblem and a completely new story), making it a very long game by the standards of the time of its release and the SNES.
  • Dual Mode Unit: Mystery of the Emblem introduces the dismount mechanic, which allows mounted units to switch between on mount or on foot. Lance-using mounted units are forced to switch from lance to swords when they dismount, while Horseman still retain their bows. Units are forced to dismount in indoor maps. This was removed in the remake (likely because reclassing would have made it redundant).
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: In Mystery of the Emblem, Fire-based attacks, like Bolganone and Fire Breath, deal effective damage against Ice Dragons, and Ice-based attacks, like Blizzard and Ice Breath, deal effective damage against Fire Dragons. However, this bonus is removed in New Mystery of the Emblem.
  • Embedded Precursor: Book 1 is an abridged remake of Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, the first Fire Emblem game.
  • Extra Turn:
    • The Dancer class made its debut in this installment. Their purpose is to refresh adjacent allies to allow them to move again.
    • The Anew staff has the same function as Dancers, but it affects all allies on the map. With its low durability and high Weapon Level requirement (20, which is the Weapon Level cap), it's best to save it for the final chapters.
  • Eye Beams: The Dulam spell summons two giant eyeballs that fire laser beams to the target. It reduces the target's HP to One.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Formerly the helpless fallen kingdom that Marth must help saving, Archanea as a whole turns into The Empire after its emperor got influenced by the Darksphere.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Exaggerated in Book 2, where axes are relegated to being Unusable Enemy Equipment, and cavalry units are forced to dismount in indoor chapters, thereby switching to swords. With Knights being the only melee units that can equip lances in indoor chapters, it's not unlikely to have a large chunk of the player's army equip swords at a given time.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: In the Book 1 chapter "Star and Savior", an alley circling the perimeter of Castle Altea is added that wasn't in the original game. There's nothing important going on over there, but in Book 2, a Thief holding the Geosphere will be running towards an escape point at the end of the hallway, necessitating taking him down before he gets there.
  • Life Drain: The Nosferatu tome restores the user's HP equal to the damage dealt to its targets. It is exclusive to female Mages and Bishops.
  • Love Triangle: Hardin and Camus loved Nyna, with Nyna favoring the latter more. This caused a political turmoil when Hardin married her and finding out that she never loved him caused his depression, which allow Gharnef to corrupt him. And then there's Sirius, whom Nyna recognize as Camus, who rejects Nyna because his past life as Camus died in the previous war, and then there's Tatiana...
  • Kryptonite-Proof Suit: The Iote's Shield is an item that negates weapon effectiveness against its wielder. Later incarnations of this item would restrict its effects to fliers.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Flame Barrel, the graveyard of Fire Dragons, is a treacherous cave filled with barbarians and their dragon pets. Though unlike later games, the lava is purely atmospheric.
  • Nerf: Many of the more broken things in Shadow Dragon were tweaked.
    • In Shadow Dragon, there was pretty much no reason to ever not be a mounted unit. In Mystery, the dismount mechanic reduces a character's stats and takes away their mounted benefits, making them weaker than foot infantry like mercenaries. Also, many maps in Book 2 involve the kind of very rough terrain that forces them to either dismount or move like snails (though fliers don't mind this as much).
    • All knight-type units (armor knights, pegasus knights, cavaliers, and their promotions) could use swords and lances at all times. In Mystery, these classes are lance-locked, unless they dismount (armor knights being obviously exempt), in which case they become sword-locked.
    • Falchion no longer makes Marth invulnerable to non-dragon melee attacks, and Mercurius is no longer locked to him.
    • Promotion has been altered—where once it raised a character's stats up to benchmarks, it now provides flat statboosts, meaning that characters with good growths gain significantly more from promoting. Promotion items themselves are also much easier to obtain. This has the side effect of making prepromoted units less powerful.
    • Several prepromotes, most notably Boah and Wendell, have had their stats reduced.
    • Many statboosting items have been reduced in potency, though they're still stronger than in most later games.
    • Warp is obtained much later in Book 2.
  • Nostalgia Level: A number of levels from Book 2 are ripped from the first game, Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. (This also served to save room.)
    • Chapter 8 takes place on the Chiasmir bridge where Marth's army fought the Sable Knights (this level was not present in Mystery of the Emblem Book 1).
    • Chapter 9 takes place in the Khadein desert where Gharnef first appeared.
    • Chapters 15 and 16 involve Marth liberating Altea again.
    • Chapter 17 takes place at the Gra Bastion where Marth faced Jiol.
    • Chapter 19 takes place in the pass of Archanea outside of the palace.
    • Chapter 20 takes place inside the palace of Archanea, where Midia is held as a hostage again.
  • Nintendo Hard: Book 2 has much harder chapters than Book 1, with many do or die moments and puzzling chapters.
  • Official Couple: Marth and Caeda, the first of several instances of the main Lord having a canon partner. They are engaged at the end of Shadow Dragon, and it's because of this war that they have to hold off their wedding—not that Caeda minds, especially since she joins the front lines with him again anyway. There are also a bunch of others: Julian and Lena, Samson and Sheena, Merric and Elice, Abel and Est, and ultimately Camus and Tatiana, as he ultimately decides to return to Valentia instead of staying with Nyna. Abel and Est's marriage also ends badly on several levels: not only is Palla still pining for him, but Est is so riddled with guilt over being repeatedly kidnapped that she abandons both her husband and possibly Archanea altogether, with Abel also throwing away everything to try and find her.
  • Put on a Bus: Several characters who appear in Book 1 fail to appear in Book 2 with no story reasons; namely Barst, Bord, Cord, Caesar, Radd, Dolph, Macellan, and Tomas.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Having been nursed back to health by his sister and not quite killed by the other after apparently dying in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light/Mystery of the Emblem Book 1/Shadow Dragon, Michalis (formerly someone evil enough to kill his own father) dies stealing Starlight from Gharnef to give to Marth's group in Mystery of the Emblem Book 2/New Mystery of the Emblem.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The first point in Anri's Way is Mamorthod, or the Desert of Death. Marth and his companions must deal with the local tribe and their tamed wyverns to survive the ordeal. This desert begins the tradition of finding hidden treasures within the sands.
  • Shop Fodder: In Book 2, you can obtain three Silver Axes over the course of the whole campaign; however, there are NO units that can actually equip them note , thus rendering them little more than free gold.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The final destination in Anri's Way is the top of a mountainous peak, where Gotoh awaits Marth in the Ice Dragon Shrine. Marth and his companions must deal with a barbarian tribe and their Ice Dragon pets, both outside and within the Shrine, to reach Gotoh and claim the Lightsphere.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome:
    • Lorenz dies at the end of Chapter 1, which is his only appearance in the whole game.
    • Boah is strongly implied to have died in his brief appearance in Chapter 19.
    • Hardin as the major villain of this game has to be put down by Marth's army.
  • Time Skip: The events of the game happen two years after Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: While the Archanean League in Book 1 managed to turn the tides against the mighty Dolhr Alliance, it didn't end up as well as expected. After successfully restoring Archanea, its newly crowned emperor is suddenly influenced by a remnant enemy, turning a benevolent empire into a hostile one. Macedon performed a coup against their new leader, clearly wanting the old one back. For how scummy Grust and Gra were in the previous war, the few good people that are left end up suffering in ruins following the loss of their military leaders and the invasion by Archanea. Marth's own kingdom Altea, for all their efforts leading the league, is still Archanea's vassal kingdom. As such they were reduced to do the dirty work for Archanea and when they protest this, they were instantly invaded in return, forcing Marth and most of his forces to flee.
  • You Monster!: Played for Laughs with minor boss Dahl, who calls Marth a monster for stealing the stolen goods from his gang of thieves.

The remake New Mystery of the Emblem, Heroes of Light and Shadow contains examples of the following:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The remakes includes a number of new chapters, incorporates characters introduced in Shadow Dragon, expanding some already existing plot points and characters, and includes a new subplot about an assassination attempt against Marth.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Statboosts given by equipping dragonstones are actually visible to the player just like the other games since Genealogy of the Holy War.
  • Ascended Extra: The new Altean recruits Luke, Roderick, Cecil, and Ryan didn't get any lines in the original. While they are still irrelevant in the main story in the remake, they are heavily featured in the Prologue chapters as Kris and Katarina's platoon mates similar to the Lyndis Legion and the Dawn Brigade.
  • Call-Back:
    • A number of Support conversations involving the Avatar allude to major events that took place in Shadow Dragon and BS Fire Emblem.
    • In their first support, Est showed Minerva a replica of the Angel Ring, an item exclusive to Fire Emblem Gaiden and mentioned how she and her sisters traveled beyond the sea prior to the War of Heroes. The Whitewings appeared in that game where Palla and Catria had to rescue Est from Valentian pirates and got involved with the war there.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Several minor bosses who share their appearances with minor bosses in Shadow Dragon were redesigned to have unique appearances.
  • Character Customization: The new main character is actually a creation of the player, built from a selection of designs and attributes. They can get new options as they progress through the story, such as a haircut by Wrys or a replica of Tiki's tiara from Xane to name a few.
  • Continuity Snarl: Accessing sidequests in Shadow Dragon requires purposefully killing off your characters, but everyone returns alive and well for New Mystery of the Emblem. Despite this, Marth recognizes most of the sidequest-only characters outside of Nagi (as that requires Tiki's death among other things).
  • Cutting Off the Branches: At the end of the tutorial of Shadow Dragon, the player is forced to choose one of their units to sacrifice themself so that Marth can escape Altea, with the choices being Jagen, Frey, Cain, Abel or Gordin. New Mystery of the Emblem not only confirms that Frey was the canon choice but also reveals that he survived.
  • Developer's Foresight: In Chapter 3x, Clarisse is programmed to retreat when your characters get too close to her position. If you somehow manage to get in there and attack her, her battle quote indicates surprise at how quickly you managed to get the drop on her.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The "Levin Sage" build requires you to completely reclass a magic unit to a sword-wielding class, which inflicts negative magic modifiers to them by reducing their magic stat a lot. However, should you get around this with a few lucky levels and statboosters, this results in a highly effective magical combat unit who is no longer held back by the low base Speed of the magic classes.
  • Embedded Precursor: The game contains a remake of the four BS Fire Emblem maps as unlockable content.
  • End-Game Results Screen: The last game to feature this since its absence in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, with Speed depending on how many turns the player took upon clearing the game, Tactics which is determined how many villages you visit and how many characters you recruit and depending on which ending you got, and Survival, which obviously states how many of your units survived the entire game.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The Assassins DLC Chapter is focused on the assassin group from the main campaign (Katarina, Clarisse, and Legion) driving out the Soothsires (the bandit group from the previous game) in order to "rescue" the children kidnapped by said bandit group.
  • First-Episode Twist: At the very end of the prologue, Katarina, who was introduced as a companion Altean recruit, reveals her true self as an assassin aiming to kill Marth. This is how we are introduced to the assassination sub-plot added in the remake.
  • Glass Weapon: There are glass staves, swords, lances, axes, and bows that break after three uses. They're as strong as Silver weapons, but don't require the high weapon rank to use them that Silver weapons do.
  • Guide Dang It!: Recruiting Michalis in Chapter 21 becomes more complicated than necessary. Instead of visiting the village with Minerva (impossible since only Marth could do that), she must stand on the village's entrance before Turn 15, where it triggers a conversation between her and Michalis. Marth must visit him on the next turn to obtain Starlight. Only after the end of the chapter then he will survive and could be recruited. Without all that, Michalis will die like in the original Mystery.
  • Harder Than Hard: Lunatic makes Hard 5 in Shadow Dragon look like a joke, with Lunatic Reverse jacking up the difficulty to ridiculous levels as enemies always attack first unless they're unable to counterattack in the first place.
  • Joke Item: You can obtain items like frying pans and use them as weapons.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Nagi's support with the Avatar, she reveals she has some sort of divination ability and notes that they are "an enigma" "guided by a mysterious fate", while the Avatar notes they have felt someone's guidance.
  • Mayfly–December Friendship: The long-living manaketes Gotoh, Xane, Bantu, and Tiki all befriend Marth. They all outlive him. In a conversation with Xane, he mentions this as a reason why he has trouble connecting with humans.
  • Mood Whiplash: Xane's third Support conversation with the Avatar starts with him pretending to be Jagen and declaring his love for them, but then discussing how he no longer fits in with humans or dragons, and how cynical he's become due to living so long.
  • Nerf:
    • Starshards and the Starsphere boosts the stats of the wielder by 2 max instead of raising their stat growths.
    • Javelins went from a respectable 7 Might in Shadow Dragon to a less impressive 3. Hand Axes were similarly brought down from 8 Might to 4.
    • Wolf and Sedgar's stat growth rates are lower than in Shadow Dragon.
    • Astram and Abel. In Mystery of the Emblem Book 2, they start out as enemies, so their base stats are in the teens in a game where the stat cap is 20. Here, their stats are not updated with the increased stat caps and difficulty levels, making them Overrated and Underleveled.
    • While Tiki can still wield multiple Dragonstones like in the original Mystery of the Emblem, and they're just as potent as they are in that game, she no longer takes on a dragon form when using them. In Mystery, the transformation lasts several turns, grants Tiki flight, and she has unlimited "breath" attacks during her transformation, prolonging the stones' uses in combat. The stones in New Mystery, on the other hand, function like they do in The Binding Blade and in The Sacred Stones, in which she transforms for a single attack and depletes one of its uses.
  • Not Quite Dead: The sacrifice that was Left for Dead in Shadow Dragon's prologue (revealed to canonically be Frey when he shows up in the tutorial) actually got out alive.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The final chapter has an accompanying organ piece titled "Forbidden Sanctuary" that the original didn't have. The first few nots of the track is a remix of the Fire Emblem theme.
  • Redemption Earns Life: It is possible to keep Michalis alive in New Mystery by sending Minerva over to the village he's staying at. If you do so, he fights alongside Marth for the rest of the war and leaves to become a king on another continent in his ending.
  • Ret-Canon: The game properly introduces a lot of bits that were originally just Word of God backgrounds to the story proper. For example, a conversation between the Avatar and Ogma brings up Ogma's fighting style being based on gladiatorial fighting.
    • The third DLC Chapter "By The Sword" focuses on Ogma and Navarre's rivalry and their relationship with Caeda, which was established in the 2nd episode of the Fire Emblem OVA.
  • Sad Battle Music: Exclusive to this version, we get Endless Battle, a melancholic map theme which plays when you're forced to fight Katarina and her assassin friends.
  • Send in the Clones: Legion endlessly sends out clones until the real one is defeated.
  • Shop Fodder: Because axe-users are now present in the remake, the Guide Dang It! instance of the three Silver Axes being sold off strictly for free money no longer applies. Gold bullion items now take up this role.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The remake allows you to avoid a number of character deaths from the original, such as Michalis and the Wolfguard.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: The Lightsphere is required in order to complete the game - even on a bad ending, as it is required in order to be able to damage Hardin, the boss of Chapter 20. However, in New Mystery, if you give the Lightsphere to Sheena or Samson, then trigger their Face–Heel Turn, the Lightsphere will remain in their inventory but they will become enemy units. However, even if you kill them after their Face–Heel Turn, they do not drop the Lightsphere you gave them, meaning you will not be able to recover it unless you load an earlier save. Without a means of clearing chapter 20, the game cannot be cleared.
  • Villain Episode: The Assassins DLC focuses on the assassins from the new subplot added in the remake and the player is given control of Katarina, Clarisse, several Legion as well as Eremiya and even Gharnef.

Alternative Title(s): Fire Emblem 3, Fire Emblem 12, Fire Emblem New Mystery Of The Emblem Heroes Of Light And Darkness, Fire Emblem New Mystery Of The Emblem Heroes Of Light And Shadow, Fire Emblem New Mystery Of The Emblem