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  • Adaptation Displacement: Outside Japan, Marth's much more well-known for appearing in Super Smash Bros. than his own games; the international release of Shadow Dragon didn't actually do much to dispel it, as it was a fairly quiet release. The announcement trailer for the re-release of the NES game for the game's 30th anniversary even makes a note of this with two kids playing Super Smash Bros. Melee in 2001 and discussing who this Marth character is.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • Elice and her relationship with Merric. Fans who don't like the pairing have suggested Elice's feelings for him are maternal rather than romantic, even going so far as to suggest she has a woobie fetish and is looking for a sweet, sickly little boy to mollycoddle based on their conversation in Shadow Dragon.
    • Are Princess Nyna and General Camus actually in tragic love with each other? Or, since he "held her hostage" to save her from being executed and then send her to safety, is their relationship more of A Match Made in Stockholm? Hell, can it be BOTH?
    • The Grustian commanders in general. Before it was revealed in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem that the kingdom's royal heirs were kidnapped by Dolhr, it is easy to see them joining the evil alliance merely to conquer the other factions. While many see Camus and the Sable Knights in Mystery as sympathetic, some of the other generals are a tad too eager to show their loyalty to Medeus than their own king. It is helped further by their king being a non-character in the first place, and most of Medeus' human enforcers are Grustian rather than his own manakete henchmen.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • In the first Fire Emblem, Gharnef is a mere check if you have the Starlight spell to break his Imhullu spell. Medeus from the same game is infamous for being in par with Idunn and Veld as the easiest final bosses in the franchise; if Marth scores a critical in the first attack with the Falchion against a full-health Medeus, the fight's over. These two get a massive buff to their stats in the remake though, particularly to their Speed that turns them into terrifying Lightning Bruisers that will double most to all of your units.
    • Michalis in the original and Shadow Dragon. Despite having an Iote Shield, he is disappointingly easy for a late-game boss. The Iote Shield is probably there just to prevent him from becoming a Zero-Effort Boss. Mystery Book I tries to alleviate this by making him move from his throne to join his forces (thus making it more of a chore to get Starlight), but it only does so much.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Shadow Dragon was a deliberate attempt at Revisiting the Roots after Radiant Dawn's failure, but it ran into similar issues with its premise. Rather than the increased focus on plot and characterization and the more complicated systems of the prior games, it went with an idea of Emergent Narrative, with a much less complex plot and supports being mostly removed, as well as the overall strength of player units being toned down and a class-change system added to grant a level of customization. Additionally, many subsystems were put in place to favor "Ironman" (no resetting) gameplay, such as filling your party with replacement units if too many characters suffered Permadeath. Unfortunately, one of these systems—that the game's bonus chapters, all of which contained recruitable characters could only be reached with a large number of dead units—sparked a very significant backlash. Though it was intended as a Mercy Mode to help struggling players train up and provide replay value, it was instead widely viewed by the playerbase, which had long since been trained to reset on the death of any unit, as forcing you to kill off your party to see all the game's content. Finally, a lot of the original game design was left in, something that tickled the nostalgia for long-time fans, but sometimes clashed with new systems they did include, like weapon triangle and weapon ranks. Additionally, due to "perfect runs" being highly desirable in prior games, instead of playing the game many different ways and building a story, most players played the game once and made sure to see as much as they could without killing units, resulting in a bland game where most units had no individual personality and seemed to all work the same, and its sales saw little improvement over Radiant Dawn. Though the game would be Vindicated by History somewhat in later years, due to a strong engine and various Ironman runs on YouTube, it's still never escaped the stigma of being "the bland, boring glorified remaster where you have to kill your own units to see everything."
  • Base-Breaking Character: Est suffers quite a bit of flack for creating one of the most divisive archetypes who come in so late and so weak that people often disregard their Magikarp Power statuses. Not to mention being "in the way" of Palla/Abel. Still, she has her fans for reasons aside from that such as her bright personality and interesting relationship with her sisters across the series.
  • Breather Level: The Gaiden chapters in Shadow Dragon. Since they can only be accessed if you have less than 15 units, it's clear the developers intended them to be an opportunity to regroup, nab some free EXP, goodies, and a unit, and get your act together before everything goes pear-shaped again. On Hard difficulty, four of the five drop the quality of enemy weapons one grade (6x goes from Steel to Iron, 12x from Silver to Steel, and 20x and 24x from Brave to Silver), and the AI is far dumber to match.
  • Broken Base: The limited time Switch release of Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light coming on the heels of the also limited time release of Super Mario 3D All Stars. What made this especially bad was that while Mario 3D got a physical release, and so theoretically could be bought on the secondhand market, Fire Emblem was digital only (there was a collector's edition, but the game itself was a download code) so if you missed buying it during its release window, it was gone. Also while Super Mario 3D All Stars was essentially a port of older games that you could get secondhand, this was the first time ever that Fire Emblem was released officially in English. The arguments of whether this was anti-consumer or not didn't just break the Fire Emblem fanbase, it tore the Nintendo fanbase as a whole asunder for a while.
  • "Common Knowledge": The DS remake actually didn't "bomb". While it certainly undersold compared to Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, it sold half a million copies - only a bit less than Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. The lukewarm reception actually led to a lot of people blaming this game as the reason we didn't get the remake of New Mystery. The 3DS was more likely of a culprit, as well as worldwide releases not really being a thing yet.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Xane is pretty susceptible to this in the DS remake, where, despite his main gimmick being that he can copy anything, it's overwhelmingly common for players to use him to copy Jake or Beck. This is due to ballisticians being a) one of the most limited classes in the game, and b) one of the classes that benefits most when you have more of them. Mocked here.
    "Yeah, Xane can adapt to pretty much any situation. You can make him a cav, or a dracoknight or—"
    "THREE BALLISTICIANS!"
  • Complete Monster: Gharnef the Dark Pontifex was once a pupil of the great Gotoh. Enraged at being passed over for his fellow pupil Miloah, Gharnef stole the Darksphere and gave himself wholly to evil. Reviving the Shadow Dragon Medeus, Gharnef started a world war to devastate entire kingdoms; murdered Miloah; and manipulated his allies to ruin through various tactics—including kidnapping their children—then leaving them to die once they were no longer helpful to him. Gharnef even planned to backstab Medeus to rule the world himself. Returning after his supposed death, Gharnef used Eremiya, a kind bishop who, devastated by the loss of her orphanage, had been brainwashed by Gharnef into kidnapping children as Child Soldiers for him. Starting a new war to see the world destroyed, Gharnef even restored Eremiya's mind in her final moments all to bask in her final, despairing screams at the horror of what she had done.
  • Critical Dissonance: Japanese critics trashed the original Famicom game when it came out, due to the ugly visuals and hard-to-understand gameplay. It proved popular among general players regardless, and strong word of mouth ended up propelling sales.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Dracoknights, starting a long series trend. They are incredibly mobile, extremely tough, tend to have decent equipment, and pretty much require bows to be taken down easily in the early game. Notably, the only Dracoknight you get with no strings attached is considered one of the game's best units.
    • In the remake, Fighters and Pirates are considered some of the hardest enemies to fight. This is due to the game reworking the classes, and their signature weapon type of axes, to be roughly balanced with their counterparts, when they were previously intended to be much weaker. Consequently, the earlygame is flooded with enemies with above-average speed, great damage, too much bulk to easily take down, weapon triangle against the normally stalwart lances, and no Weapon of X-Slaying to take the edge off.
    • The Ballisticians in the remake, due to the remake redesigning Ballistas into long-range weapons that strike up to 10 spaces away but not really altering the designs of the map to accommodate. Long-range attackers can already be pretty terrifying to deal with, but most games don't send that many at you, or at least don't make their ranges overlap much. Shadow Dragon has no such compunction, and it's not at all unlikely to see three ballisticians target the same unit and immediately wipe them off the map.
    • Also in the remakes, the Manaketes, in both the Red Dragon and Mage Dragon varieties. On harder difficulties they have an insane stat growth in all their stats and they become ridiculously fast, with them breaking the 20 Speed mark disgustingly early on Hard 5 difficulty and they'll be hitting their cap of 26 Speed about halfway through the game. About everyone but Caeda, a trained Catria, a trained Sedgar/Wolf as a Hero, and a high level Swordmaster will get doubled by these beasts, who with their incredible attack power will easily 2HKO everyone but a trained Sedgar/Wolf (while flatout OHKOing squishier units), and they can take a hell of a beating too, so it can take a lot of units ganging up just to take one out. The difference between the dragons is Red Dragons are physical-based and are tankier, while Magic Dragons are a bit slower and not as durable but are magical-based (so they'll wreck any physical unit without Pure Water) and are completely immune to magic. Your saving grace is that Manaketes are restricted to 1-range, but getting enough 2-range units close enough to kill the Manakete in one turn without the Manakete killing someone first often isn't feasible. At least their stat caps aren't outrageous, so near the end of the game you might have more than just Sedgar/Wolf that can survive a round against them, and by this point you get Tiki as well as can forge a Wrymslayer or Dragonpike to deal huge damage to them, but before then it's often best to just stay away from them.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • You wouldn't believe the shit Caeda gets among the Marth/Roy fans (who more often than not have absolutely no knowledge of Fire Emblem beyond what they know from Super Smash Bros.).
    • Elice is loathed by Merric/Linde fans.
    • By far the worst case is Est. She gets an unbelievable amount of vitriol simply because she and Abel got together after the War of Shadows. Not helping this is that they don't have a very happy ending in Mystery and many fans decry this turn of event and say that Abel should've gone to Palla who has an unrequited crush on him, often saying that the former has "shit taste". This is ignoring the fact that Abel and Est were fine with each other's company before their endings and that their supports in New Mystery imply this was a case of Poor Communication Kills.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • In the original game, the enemies in the first three chapters are pretty pathetic, with bad accuracy and Speed so low that almost anyone can double them. Chapter 4 is meant to represent the game taking the training wheels off, as it starts swapping out the weak, ill-equipped Fighters and Pirates for the mobile and better-armed Cavaliers and the incredibly sturdy Knights. The boss also has a Ridersbane, making him the first enemy you can't defeat simply by throwing Jagen at the problem. (Of course, this is compensated for by Marth being very good at fighting Cavaliers and Knights.) In the remake, this is actually inverted, as Chapter 4 ends up being seen as the end of the game's Early Game Hell.
    • Hard-5 difficulty has 4 tangible ones. The first is Chapter 5, where the enemies permanently upgrade to Steel weapons and Elfire tomes; the second is Chapter 10, where the enemies permanently upgrade to Silver weapons and Bolganone tomes and begin forging their specialized weapons to have +4 might and +20 accuracy; the third is Chapter 20, where the enemies permanently upgrade to Brave weapons and Thoron tomes; and the last is the final chapter, where the enemies begin forging their Brave weapons and Thorons for +4/20 and every other weapon for +8/20.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Since this is a game where characterization were mostly kept minimum, a lot of the recruitable units can become this even if they do not contribute much to the story.
    • Caeda's job was at first: "recruit some units while Marth does a lot of other recruiting". Aside of being a childhood friend of Marth, she's pretty much inconsequential, Nyna actually had more presence in the story than her, but she also had a stellar performance in-game. Her next appearance saw her being Promoted to Love Interest, and while other FE heroines like Lyndis or Lucina tend to overshadow her in popularity, Caeda is highly revered by the fandom as the "OG heroine of Fire Emblem" despite her insignificant start.
    • Ogma is considered a great unit overall with his well-rounded bases and growth rates. His manly appearance, gameplay traits and Undying Loyalty to Caeda started an archetype based on him.
    • Navarre's Tall, Dark, and Handsome looks as well as being one of the most likely unit to deal critical hits also started an archetype and is said to have inspired the Myrmidon class, which is defined by their high critical rates and exotic (usually Eastern) flair. He would later be reclassed into a Myrmidon in the remakes.
    • The Christmas Cavaliers Cain and Abel had very stellar performances and Those Two Guys dynamic in the original amongst Marth's original team that they became some of the most known characters in Altea and started another ongoing archetype that permeates through the series. Cain is less characterized than Abel in the sequel, but his better availability and performance balance it out.
    • Minerva has always been a very popular unit, between boasting an actual distinct personality and arc over her appearances (not to mention plot-relevance) and her satisfying Lightning Bruiser unit design that only got stronger with each passing game. Her general archetype of the red dragonrider who goes through a Heel–Face Turn is one of the most consistent in the series (and one of the most commonly overpowered), and she makes far more appearances in Archanea-related material than any other prepromote.
    • After the Shadow Dragon remake, Wolf and Sedgar became very popular for their insane growths and how well they utilize the game's reclassing system, that made them an absolute Game-Breaker who carried countless players to victory on the absolutely brutal Hard 5 difficulty (and Sedgar in particular is often regarded as the best General in the series, even though it's technically isn't even his default class). They're also liked for being among the cast's most attractive characters.
    • Vyland, among the Japanese fandom. Despite his dubious usefulness and utter genericness in a game with both far more developed characters and a billion better Cavaliers, he has a bizarre borderline-memetic following in the Japanese fandom. This is mostly due to his Mystery portrait looking uncannily like Takakazu Abe.
    • Wrys, seemingly due to his baldness, and the fact that he got cut from the main party of Mystery of the Emblem, making his absense all the more noticeable with his cameo, in the Japanese fandom. He can convince your Avatar to shave their head in New Mystery. His recruitment quote ("I can't fight, but I can heal others with my staff") is one of the first things to have reached memetic status among the Japanese fandom, highlighted with how he repeats it word-for-word in New Mystery and Heroes. While his popularity was initially exclusive to Japan, his appearance in Heroes granted him Memetic Badass status in the West, and as a result more fans.
    • Xane is very well-liked, for his cheerful trickster personality, Hidden Depths, relationship with Tiki, and the general gameplay usefulness of his shapeshifting — having two of your best unit never hurts. He's also one of a mere three playable male Manaketes. There are many who lament that Xane made no appearance in Awakening, especially given that there's no reason he couldn't have.
    • Catria of the Whitewings. She might look like just another recruit, but the one little tidbit that she has an unrequited crush on Marth shot her to unexpected popularity that she appears in a lot of extra arts, appearing in most games within the Archanea continent, and quite possibly inspired the characterization of Cordelia, who became popular on her own, in Awakening. It also helps that she tends to have good performance, rivaling her sister Palla (see below), and she's pretty attractive on her own.
    • Palla also has a sizable fanbase for being the most level-headed and mature of the three Whitewings. She's also a powerful unit in all of her appearances and is often lauded for her performance. Just like Catria, many really like her attractive look and took note of her unrequited love angle (with Abel instead of Marth).
    • Linde is definitely one of the more memorable characters in the game, even if she is inconsequential to the plot, with the exception of carrying the Aura tome and being able to use it with less requirement than others (and having actual beef against Gharnef for killing her father). Put in another unrequited love (with Merric) and an overall attractive look and she shot to popularity. She set a precedent for plucky female mages who may or may not have a tragedy angle such as Tailtiu, Lilina and Nino, who all became popular on their own.
    • Athena is by far the most popular Shadow Dragon original character, likely having to do with her hilarious conversations, odd yet attractive looks, and for being a powerhouse on par with Ogma and Navarre.
    • Gordin has also earned some popularity, thanks to his portrayal in the English dub of the OVA adaptation becoming a Fountain of Memes. ("But MAAAAAAAAAARS!")
    • Radd is just one of the many interchangeable and intentionally worst units in Shadow Dragon with no real characterization, and it doesn't help that his only line is a generic death quote. His ending doesn't help make him any less bland, either — just getting a single line stating he fell in love and retired to pursue it. He would be completely forgettable if popular Fire Emblem streamer Mangs didn't happen to come across a strange So Bad, It's Good Fire Emblem fanfiction staring a similarly-named character "Rad Quetz" during his Shadow Dragon Let's Play, spawning several memes regarding the character (in particular the opening line of that fanfiction, “To put it bluntly, Rad Quetz was simply amazing.”), and becoming a Memetic Badass after Mangs killed Medeus with Radd, on Hard 5 difficulty no less. This reputation would get enforced farther when Mangs used him again in his successful Hard 5 Shadow Dragon Ironman run, with him becoming a major contributor that survived up for almost the entire game before dying valiantly against a terrifying Manakete boss and Thoron Mage in the second-to-last chapter.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Gordin has Gaggles and Captain Gordin, Defender of Earth!
    • Wendell has either "Windell" or "The Pope", the second due to the mitre he always wears.
    • Matthis is infamous for his Artificial Stupidity of being able to kill his beloved sister Lena as an enemy. Fans label any other character who does something like this as having "Matthis Syndrome".
    • People have been making fun of Caeda because of her diplomatic skills in smoothly persuading recruitable characters to join Marth's Army. The general consensus is that Caeda is the original thot of Fire Emblem.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Palla/Abel was considered this for some time, relative to the Official Couple of Abel/Est. Est's status as a Tier-Induced Scrappy, and the Downer Ending the couple get were given as reasons why Palla/Abel is preferred. Strangely, it seems to be primarily driven by antipathy for Abel/Est and the desire for an alternative, which is likely why it was displaced by...
    • Palla/Minerva has become the most popular pairing for either character by a wide margin—in Archanean shipping circles, only Official Couple Marth/Caeda tends to be less common. This is mainly because unlike Palla/Abel, which is almost entirely undeveloped, Palla/Minerva have rather meaningful interactions, and their close bond and contrasts are evident whenever they speak of each other. It certainly doesn't hurt that Minerva, despite being incredibly popular and one of the more important characters, has never had any kind of canon love interest.
    • Merric/Linde is much more popular than the borderline-canon Merric/Elice, despite the two not interacting much. (Linde's one-sided crush mentioned in her epilogue is often assumed to be on Merric, but that's never confirmed.)
  • Fanon Discontinuity: A number of fans (old and new alike) openly prefer the European English and OVA spellings and pronunciations over the American English ones in Shadow Dragon - particularly for countries: Akaneia over Archanea, Doluna over Dolhr, etc.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Taking a quick look at Game-Breaker and questionable mechanics in the first game should be enough to see the amount of issues that would be prevalent over the course of the series such as the advantage of superior mobility from the Paladin class, the side effect of having a Flier with superior stats spreads, the strength of mobility from the Warp Staff, and last but not least the extreme advantage of having really high base stats compared to a growth oriented unit, which surprisingly comes from Wendell instead of Jagen, whose archetype ended up being the poster boy for three games in a row later on in the series.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Marth in the original game has stats that, while they may seem unimpressive at first, happen to be enough to single-handedly trivialize the early chapters and enough to last him throughout the entire game with little to no support. Marth has dominance over several broken resources, including the game's ridiculous version of stats boosters. However, on top of this, Marth has an exclusive access to three exclusive weapons: The Rapier, which is buyable for most of the game for 900 gold apiece, and is effective against Knights and Cavaliers, which are much more common in the later chapters; Mercurius, which is acquired mid-game and is one of the strongest weapons in the game (and boosts his growth rates to boot); and the Falchion, which allows Marth to ignore direct attacks and one-round Medeus. The only time Marth can have any sort of difficulty is during the small part of the early game where he is stuck with his decent, but not impressive, stats against axe-wielding bosses, and against Camus.
    • Wendell in the original is outright the best magic user in the game, having the best base stats and competent growths he has all that's needed to carry the party through a majority of the game. Add in that he can already use both magic and staves without needing to promote and you have one of the most solid units in the entire game. Even in later appearances he can still be of great use, thanks to resources such as star shards and reclassing.
    • Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light in general, being a relatively outdated game, has tons of this. One of the more notable examples was the ridiculous stat-increasing items, which give boosts of around +4 or +5 compared to the +2 of later games, while the stat cap in this game is 20. Safe to say, most of them are nerfed considerably in the more modern games, and for good reason. And there are places later in the game where you can buy them - for a pretty penny, sure, but that's what Arenas are for. With a bit of grinding, you can have an entire team with maxed-out stats by the endgame.
    • Caeda in the remake. Caeda has exclusive access to the Wing Spear, a stronger version of the Rapier (8 MT, which translates into 9 extra damage compared to the Rapier) which does not face Weapon Triangle disadvantage. This weapon allows Caeda to curb stomp any horse-riding and armored units, both of which are all over the place in Shadow Dragon. To top it off, Caeda has an extremely overkill speed growth, and the forge mechanic allows her to mitigate her low STR, especially notable with forged effective weaponry, which gets +3 Damage for every MT forged on it, such as the aforementioned Wing Spear, and her flying traits gives her absurd versatility in term of applying her offense. Promotion into Dracoknight also makes up for her weak points (low STR, HP, and DEF). It says something when Caeda barely gets buffed in the transition to New Mystery, her Wing Spear gets significantly nerfed because New Mystery is not as much of a Cavalier + Knight Swarm as Shadow Dragon, and she is still up there with Palla and Catria (both of whom enjoyed a massive amount of buffs) for the best character in the game after Kris.
    • The Warp Staff in Shadow Dragon. It allows you to teleport one of your units anywhere on the map, even right next to the boss. Oh, and it has seven uses (unlike later games where it usually has three), you get it really early and, you can find more. By abusing it, you can complete most chapters in the game in two turns or less. It's nerfed in New Mystery simply by virtue of coming much later, and isn't even available on Lunatic (the highest difficulty level).
    • Wolf and Sedgar in Shadow Dragon, thanks to their newfound massive growths to make up for their low base stats when Horseman was turned into a Tier 2 class. It helps that unlike the likes of Est, they join early in the game, so you actually have a lot of time to train them without them being liabilities, even on Hard 5 difficulty. The reclassing system also works wonders for them; players tend to reclass them into Generals to start with, as it gives them a massive boost to their HP and Defense that even at base allows them to survive well and legitimately contribute, while helping them improve their durability rapidly to get them faster to the point that they become nigh-invincible and can start snowballing; Sedgar in particular is guaranteed to raise Defense in each level up as a General, and even has a chance to raise it by 2, something unheard of in the series. After they leveled enough to start standing above the rest, players can reclass them to other classes more suited for the map they're on, such as a Hero to get the Speed to double nearly everything, or a Warrior/Berserker for unmatchable power (with Wolf also being guaranteed to get Strength each time he levels up as a Warrior/Berserker with a chance to increase it by 2). The only thing that prevents them from being able to solo the entire game is unfortunately like other physical units in Shadow Dragon, they can't increase their nearly nonexistent Resistance without reclassing into a magical class, where their strengths would be mostly wasted, and so they're always very vulnerable to magical enemies that become very dangerous near the end of the game.
    • Also in the remake, the two Ballisticians, Jake and Beck. In the original game, Ballisticians were essentially just an armored variation of Archers that couldn't promote, but in the remake their ballistas are now long-range weapons that strike up to 10 spaces away, while the Ballisticians can move up to 4 spaces before firing. Now while this is great, they're supposed to be held back by not being that strong and/or having shaky accuracy, while Jake and Beck have some pretty low base stats and growths, so even when levelled up they don't improve that much. However you're able to forge the ballistas just like any other weapon, where you can make them stronger and a lot more accurate. So with a forged Arrowspate they can accurately one-shot any flying enemy, with a forged Thunderbolt they can one-shot enemy Ballisticians, and with the other ballistas forged they can deal an otherwise very strong hit to any enemy, all from so far away and without the enemy getting the chance to retaliate. You can additionally deploy Jake and Beck next to each other and have them trade the forged ballistas back and forth instead of splitting the inventory up, and you can have Xane imitate one of them and exploit the tradebacks to get yourself a third Ballistician that doesn't require additional inventory cost. Being able to take out one to three enemies around a 14 space radius around your army without any retaliation each Player Phase is especially valuable on Hard 5 difficulty, where all enemies are so strong and it's rare for anyone but Sedgar and Wolf to be able to survive more than two rounds of combat. It's no wonder this class was made enemy-exclusive in the sequel remake, and hasn't been in the series since other than as a bonus DLC class for Fates.
  • Gameplay Derailment:
    • Why are there so many excessive units that are just outright inferior to other units you obtained prior and have no reason to ever be rationally used, especially all those later-obtained units? The developers intended for players to play these games in an "ironman" style, meaning whenever a non-Marth unit dies, they never reset for them and keep on playing, accepting whatever losses they take. The player is supplied with a ton of units to help reasonably ensure that players won't just run out of units, and all these units were made intentionally worse to serve as a punishment for the player if they got their good units killed and had to use them (i.e Cain and Abel being killed and replaced by Matthis and Vyland). The remake took it a step farther by even giving the player generic replacement units to fill up all their deployment slots if they lost so many units that they didn't have enough to field a complete army in a chapter. However the majority of Fire Emblem players just reset and willingly redo whole chapters when their good or favored units die, so all these bad units that Shadow Dragon hands you ended up just being pointless bench filler never to be fielded beyond their joining chapter, confusing players on why they even existed in the first place.
    • Similarly the remake's Gaiden chapters were meant to be a sort of Mercy Mode to struggling players, being quite a bit easier than the maps preceding them and giving the player some extra easy EXP as well as a new unit that isn't worthless, while only being accessible if the player had 15 or less units alive after completing certain chapters, or in the case of the final Gaiden chapter, not having either the Falchion nor Tiki after completing the second-last chapter. It's fairly evident if you play them that they were meant as a training ground more than an actual challenge or part of the story; they tend to have weak enemies and little more required strategy than "slaughter everything." Players, however, instead saw this as a Scrappy Mechanic, "forcing" players to kill off their units to access content, with players not wanting to be barred these extra maps and units without playing badly. As a result, Shadow Dragon is often played modded to make these Gaiden chapters accessible through normal progression, rather than keeping them as a extra to help players having a hard time.
  • Genius Bonus: With the American release of the game for the 30th Anniversary, the Collector's Edition comes with a mini Nintendo Power poster, labelling it as coming from the fictional Volume 11.5 and costing $3.50 USD / $4.50 CAD (those same prices being $6.97 USD/ $9.17 CAD when adjusted for inflation to 2020 money). Given how Nintendo Power's first few years had each issue as a bimonthly release, this would mean that this issue in essence would have been their April Fools' Day issue for 1990.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Rickard has a pretty blatant crush on Julian; he even ends his dialogue with hearts when talking to him.
  • Iron Woobie: Marth, especially in Shadow Dragon. His father is betrayed and murdered, his sister sacrifices herself to save him, his mother is murdered, his people get abused by Dolhr, and he just takes his punches and keeps marching forward.
  • Low-Tier Letdown:
    • Only six classes could promote in the original game, automatically writing off most units who could not. This isn't as significant as you'd think, since most of them can still hold their own against standard enemies if leveled or given a statbooster, but it still causes most players to scoff at them. Mystery of the Emblem slightly improves this by connecting four existing classes into lines, and the DS remakes feature lines introduced later, even going so far as changing certain Mercenaries into Myrmidons! The DS remakes improved things by giving non-promotable classes an actual promotion or higher caps to make up for it, such as giving Marth a level cap of 30 to work with.
    • The Shooter/Ballistician class in the NES game is a common "worst class in the series" candidate: it has the worst movement in the game, low stats in everything but Defense (which, as a ranged class, it needs least), can only attack at 2-range, and is restricted to only using ballistas, all of which are incredibly heavy. The remake completely reversed this by giving them siege weapon range, making Jake and Beck incredibly powerful.
    • Due to Shadow Dragon giving you a ton of units and the bulk of them being intentionally designed to be outclassed by units you already had prior, and the fact that players will almost always just reset if they lose any good unit unless they're explicitly ironmanning, about half of the entire cast ended up this and will pretty much never be used outside of memes or Self-Imposed Challenge.
    • Jagen used to be this. In the game's universe, he's considered a Cool Old Guy, veteran knight, and tactician. In real life, he started an archetype of EXP THIEVES! Then came the Metagame shift, and people cared more about efficiently contributing with reasonable investment rather than average stats at max level, causing all Crutch Characters including Jagen to become more popular.
    • By Lord standards, Marth is typically considered this in the remake, especially compared to his FE1 self, despite his good growths. First Marth starts with pretty bad base stats that will leave him stuck in a hole for a while, especially if you play above Normal difficulty where Marth doesn't get those extra Prologue maps to give him a head start. Second, everyone else but Thieves, Manaketes, and Ballisticians can promote now, so Marth not being able to really hinders him in the midgame when he can't get promotion bonuses and in the lategame when it inhibits his potential (he can level up to level 30 now to somewhat compensate for it, but that's still 10 less levels than other units on top of no promotion bonuses). Third, stat caps are now based on class instead of being universal and his stat caps are average (if he can even reach them), with none but HP and Luck going over 25, leaving him a Master of None, and most notably it means he'll always get doubled and one-rounded by Medeus on many difficulties, meaning he can't really fulfill his indended role well of being the Medeus slayer. Four, Mercurius is no longer exclusive to him, the Rapier is really lackluster compared to other effective weaponry, and Falchion is unimpressive this time with a huge opportunity cost to it (as covered in Power-Up Letdown on the main page). And then finally, perhaps the biggest limitation is that the Weapon Triangle was added in the remake while it didn't exist in the original, which means a permanently sword-locked unit that can't reclass like Marth is always at a big disadvantage when about 60-70% of the enemies use lances and enemies using axes is rare after the first few chapters.
    • In the remakes, Bantu starts out with terrible base stats for the time he joins and can get easily one-rounded in his joining chapter on the hardest difficulty, while he also has atrocious growths across the board, so he can't get any better no matter how much favoritism he gets. As a Manakete he also has no reclassing options to possibly improve him, has no promotion to get saved by promo bonuses, is stuck with 1-range, and can't use any weapons other than a Firestone, which if you failed to get the one available in an earlier chapter will leave him with absolutely no way to attack, as you can't buy them and won't get another one until way later into the game. Only being able to use the Firestone also means you won't be able to overlevel him even if you wanted to, as each Firestone only has 30 uses and you're going to need to attack way more than that to get Bantu to a level that makes him remotely usable on harder difficulties. It additionally doesn't help that all the enemy Manaketes you fight are so utterly terrifying, making Bantu look even worse with the severe disparity between him and the enemy Manaketes. The only reason players won't just ignore recruiting him or even just intentionally let him die is that he is required to recruit Tiki later on, as even the generic replacement units are way better than him; at least they can use actual weapons and might have halfway passable base stats.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Pantsless Marth in general, owing to his smug look, lack of pants, and his capability as a Game-Breaker.
    • Caeda's notorious brokenness in the DS remake sparked a lot of jokes along these lines, especially ones about her wearing the pants in their relationship (Marth doesn't wear pants, after all) or "Peg Knight" referring to a different kind of pegging.
    • Despite being mostly a mediocre unit in gameplay, Draug gets this for one Let's Play that portrayed him as a monosyllabic giant with an obsession for choking points.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Gordin, for starting the long trend of early-game archers being bad units while also being a very bad example of an archer to begin with. It certainly didn't hurt that the OVA also made him something of a Fountain of Memes, with his voice performance making him come across as a bit of an idiot and a Boisterous Weakling.
    • Matthis seems practically designed to attract these kinds of jokes, thanks to his terrible stats, Artificial Stupidity, his sibling being much better than him, his rather dorky portrait, and even his personality in the story coming across as a wimpy coward with an overly possessive (but largely ineffectual) attitude who joins the villains twice and has to be browbeaten back into reason.
  • Memetic Mutation: Shares a section with its sequel here.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Due to the Mercy Mode mechanics of Shadow Dragon (where killing off too many units causes them to be replaced by "generic" units and Breather Level chapters get added if the army is in a truly awful state), it's become fairly common for fans to joke that Marth is actually a General Ripper who alternates between letting his troops die and sending them to die on purpose. This seems to have been codified by Excelblem's LP of the game, which had hundreds of units dead by the end of its run.
  • Misblamed: Many fans blamed Shadow Dragon for nearly "killing the series", claiming its lackluster reception was the result. In fact, it was Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn that actually put the series in its dire position, as the game was far more expensive and ambitious than Shadow Dragon and also sold very poorly (being a Wii title up against Super Mario Galaxy did it no favors). Shadow Dragon going back to the handhelds, being a remake with a popular established cast, and generally having a much smaller scope and scale than Radiant Dawn were because Radiant Dawn failed so badly that they had to significantly reduce the size of the Fire Emblem team. And far from doing poorly, Shadow Dragon was actually a modest success, albeit not enough of one to ensure its own sequel saw an international release—but that was less due to being a failure and more to the DS being a rather old system at the time.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Although it's difficult to pinpoint exactly when he crosses it, it's generally agreed that Gharnef crosses it after he murders Linde's father in the game's backstory all because he was not chosen for the Aura tome.
  • Narm Charm: The original Japanese commercial. An opera that is about how to play the game and takes itself seriously, but is still cool in its own way.
  • Polished Port: The Wii U Virtual Console release of Shadow Dragon is basically the same as its original release on the DS, but with one huge difference; the Online Shop can be accessed and doesn't require an Internet connection. This allows players access to Brave weapons as well as the Elysian Whip that allows Pegasus Knights to promote into Falcon Knights instead of Draco Knights.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • While originally seen as bench-warmer pre-promotes, Wolf and Sedgar's massive stat growths in Shadow Dragon have made the duo really popular.
    • Jagen has technically been saved from the Scrappy heap a long time ago, since most fans of the series who know their stuff are aware that he's actually pretty great for the beginning, much like several later characters of his archetype. He also Took a Level in Badass in the remake, where being able to access the abilities of other promoted classes from the get-go and being the only character aside from Caeda who can easily handle the higher difficulties early on caused him to shoot up in the tier rankings.
    • Due to the limitations of his first game, Marth was often considered a bland and ignorant character with little characterization. With the remake of Shadow Dragon, Marth got a chance to show more of his internal conflict, political skill, and somewhat awkward charm in conversation.
    • The remake did this to a lot of characters. Barst went from "would be great, if he wasn't a Fighter" to "one of the best things about him is being a Fighter", Jake and Beck went from borderline worthless to some of the most broken, yet fun characters in the series, and so on.
  • The Scrappy: Matthis suffers from this, as well as being a low Tier-Induced Scrappy, mostly because of his poor growths in both the original games and in the remakesnote . He also gets the bad reputation for the uncanny ability to kill his own sister, Lena, who's required to talk to him to recruit him, and has a reputation as a coward.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • In the original game, staff users are unable to gain experience by using staves. They have to survive an attack, which is not conducive to their typically frail stats. This is rectified in every game from Mystery of the Emblem onward.
    • Weapon Level was kind of terribly thought-out; you either got a good run of luck with it and then found it pointlessly levelling up for the rest of the game (only a handful of weapons require a Weapon Level above 10), or you had a bad run with it and had your characters using steel swords at the endgame (many characters had growth rates of 30% or less). It was ditched fairly quickly for weapon ranks, and the remakes followed suit.
    • Inventory management is very terribly executed in the original, especially for those that played through the more modern entries, since for starters, buying a item that causes your inventory to be full causes your character to immediately end their turn rather than keep buying stuff from the shop and send items to the convoy, making owning both the Silver Card and VIP Card together actually less turn-efficient because that means less items to buy per turn, and the convoy can only be accessed at select locations with a (thankfully small) fee, meaning that it's not common to see multiple units to gang up near a convoy just to simply get an item, which is best exemplified by this fanart. Also, you can only give away items to someone else, not trade them, and combined with the inventory issue, you can expect a lot of units to juggle around items very quickly. You also can't sell items (which is close to real life considering that shopkeepers rarely accept items from customers), meaning that to get rid of that nearly-broken weapon, you have to drop it.
    • In Shadow Dragon, the Gaiden chapters only being accessible by having only 15 or less units alive upon completing certain chapters, or in the case of the final Gaiden chapter, only being accessible if the player both didn't get the Falchion and have Tiki dead. They were meant to be a Mercy Mode to help players that lost an extreme amount of their units, as they're also a significant stepdown in difficulty from the normal chapters while supplying the player with a new unit that's better than a replacement unit, and in the case of the final Gaiden chapter, they're given a downgraded Falchion and Nagi (who is essentially a replacement Tiki that's levelled up some), to help ensure the player doesn't end up completely unable to beat Medeus. However players generally try to keep everyone alive if possible, even units that they have no intention to ever use, and will often reset when they have units die instead of continuing on, especially if they lost units they were actively investing in. As such very few players actually saw these Gaiden chapters through their own normal play, and players took this mechanic as barring them content without intentionally killing off their units, made worse by the fact that the game has a large playable cast and gives you characters left and right.
    • Also in Shadow Dragon, the fact that some items were only obtainable from the online shop, and since Nintendo has taken the servers for Nintendo DS games offline, these online-only items are now unobtainable. Want to use those cool Brave weapons or get an Elysian Whip to promote one of your Pegasus Knights into a Falcoknight? Too bad, you can't unless you use a cheating device or play a romhack that makes them accessible through the ingame shops.
    • While the reclass feature is generally seen as a big reason to play the DS version, the "class sets" can be often be very problematic to work with. The main issue is that of the two main class sets, many classes within them do not share weapon ranks, and both sets tend to have classes with little overlap in focuses (barring Fighter and Pirate). Though this does mean that you can turn just about anyone into anything, it also means it can be difficult to transfer a character trained in one class to being trained in another; for instance, all the game's Knights only have a lance rank to work with, when nothing else in Class Set B uses lances, and it's much the same with all the Archers in Set A or Mercenaries in Set B. Combine that with weapon ranks building very slowly, and reclass-happy characters tend to be stuck with iron and steel for a long time. New Mystery allowed much more free reclassing, though this did come at the price of characters being mostly indistinguishable aside from weapon rank.
  • Scrappy Weapon: One of the main differences between the original and the remake is which weapon type is considered completely useless by the playerbase.
    • In the original: axes. They're the heaviest and least accurate weapon type, and their damage is at best equal to comparable lances and at worst slightly lower. Only four characters in the game can use them, none can promote, and only Barst is considered somewhat decent. They also lack any equivalent to silver weapons, and the closest thing they have to a Regalia weapon is the Devil Axe—a weapon that not only has the infamous backfire chance, but only nine uses. The only reason to even consider axe-users is the Hammer, which is a good anti-armor weapon and lacks most of the weaknesses it'd later acquire. It seems likely the designers didn't intend axes to be a major weapon type; there are only five axe types, all the playable axemen join in the same chapter, axe enemies largely vanish after Chapter 4 (with a brief encore in Chapter 9), and by Chapter 10 or so, axes don't even appear in armories regularly anymore. The early-game is made easy largely by the fact that most enemies have their Speed dragged to 0 by their axes.
    • In the remake: swords. The game's altered weight mechanics, as well as a significantly less forgiving evasion formula, means that the advantages swords have of being lightweight and accurate just don't apply, leaving only their lackluster power. Swords also lack an equivalent to the ridersbane or halberd (the rapier doesn't count), which is bad when cavalry are as common as they are. What's really problematic, though, is the addition of the weapon triangle to a game whose enemy formations were not designed with it in mind; about 3/4 of the enemies use lances, meaning that after Chapter 4, the game's swordsmen are now fighting with nigh-constant penalties. A lot of otherwise decent characters like Cain and Ogma are considered worse specifically because they don't have any non-sword weapon ranks. After Chapter 10, when axe enemies vanish almost completely, the only reason to use swords is forged wyrmslayers (which you don't even need a trained person to wield, since a completely untrained Swordmaster can do so at base ranks).
    • Ironically, the situation got flipped between the two. In the original NES game, swords are laughably superior to everything else: there's a lot more swords than any other weapon type, they are the lightest weapon type in a game that lacks a way to counterbalance weight (meaning that they'll almost always double a melee enemy that isn't also a swordsman), and the most accurate in a game with a non-cheating RNG, tons of characters can use them, and there's no weapon triangle to stop you from using them on everything. Meanwhile, in the remake, axes have had their numbers beefed up by adding silver, killer, anti-cavalry, and legendary axes to the mix, Strength now counteracts weight so the higher weight is barely an inconvenience, you rarely see hit rates below 80%, and the same weapon triangle problems that damn swords mean that axe-users get a lucky break. (This is particularly pronounced on Merciless, where enemies have titanic weapon rank bonuses—weapon triangle turns them off.)
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • Most of the criticisms towards Shadow Dragon can be attributed to this, being that it left the 18-year-old core original game alone and the tweaks made beyond the obvious presentation facelift failed to really elevate the archaic design.
    • The original games themselves really suffer from this. The Famicom's Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light started a genre, true, but as a result of being the first (and the game being on the NES) the interface practically qualifies as a war crime, animations are slower than what modern Fire Emblem players are accustomed to, especially on the map (and are unskippable), the plot is among the most simplistic in the franchise, once a few certain characters promote difficulty goes out the window, and this being an NES game, it's not particularly pretty to look at. The Nintendo Switch port alleviates some of these criticisms by making quality of life features to make the original more accessible to the casual gamer, such as fast-forwarding the game.
    • Mystery of the Emblem on the SNES is somewhat more fine-tuned (see below), but it still lacks attack ranges on the map, the animations are still slow (armored Knights being the biggest offenders) and while the plot is more elaborate, it still lacks some of the elements (like supports) that most modern fans would think of as defining Fire Emblem.
  • So Okay, It's Average: This seems to be the general consensus on the first game's remake, Shadow Dragon. Even discounting the lack of updated content and having to let characters die to open up sidequests, the game's generally competent, but unremarkable, across the board. This is not helped by having a generic story and no support conversations to give the characters life. The generic story can be excused since it had to follow relatively closely to the original to fit with the sequels, though since sequels never made to North America, it ends up being disappointing.
  • That One Boss: The original game and its remake are known for generally having the most pathetic bosses in the entire series, which the Hard Levels, Easy Bosses section on the main page covers, but a few do manage to really stand out in their difficulty:
    • Camus is easily the strongest of the original game's bosses. He's in the Paladin class, so he's a Lightning Bruiser with no real statistical weak points, and he's very high-level, giving him incredibly high stats relative to all but very overleveled characters. What pushes him further, though, is his weapon, Gradivus: it's incredibly light, hits like a truck, and has 1-2 range, meaning that magic characters and bow-users have to face 34 Might and likely a doubling as well. Even Marth with Mercurius is going to struggle to survive against him unless he's been heavily statboosted. This is especially noticeable when nearly every other boss in the game is a total pushover. His DS counterpart, meanwhile, is relatively easy to handle, given his vulnerability to Ridersbanes, Halberds, and the Wing Spear.
    • In the remake, the bosses of the first three chapters are notorious for being by far the hardest bosses in the game besides Medeus, and being among the most unfairly overtuned bosses in the entire seres:
      • First there's Gazzak the axe-wielding Pirate in Chapter 1, who isn't so bad on easier difficulties, but on Hard 5 his stats inflate so much that he can double for an ORKO or just flatout one-shot all your units at base besides Jagen, and Jagen is still getting 2-rounded while Jagen comes short of doing the same back even with his Silver Lance, since Gazzak's durability is so high on top of the throne boost he gets. Then since he is a Pirate your Wing Spear and Rapier won't deal bonus damage to him, while since he wields an axe he'll have weapon triangle advantage over Jagen with a Silver Lance, your only means to deal decent damage to him. Your saving grace is he is locked to 1-range and so you can gradually safely wear him down at 2-range with Gordin's bow and Javelins before sending Jagen in to finish him, but unless you get lucky with crits this will take a really long time (while those Javelins will also miss a lot), and if you're relying on the Silver Lance to take him out, you can very easily miss, which entails essentially having to restart the entire chapter.
      • Then in Chapter 2 there is Gomer, another axe-wielding Pirate, whose stats inflate even more with another half-dozen HP and another point or two to his Strength and Speed, and if you're unlucky on Hard 5, he can spawn with 12 Speed, which means he can double even Jagen at base, leaving the newly acquired Ogma and Barst as your only units who will be able to survive a round with him unless Marth or Abel were lucky enough to get multiple Speed levelups before you reach him or Caeda was able to get some combination of HP and Defense levelups (and absolutely no one is surviving two hits from him, while Barst and Jagen with a Silver Lance can barely eek out a 3HKO against him at best). To make matters worse, unlike Gazzak he has a Hand Axe, so you can't safely pelt at him from 2-range and you really have no efficient options to safely combat him without losing any units. The only real option against him is to send Ogma or Barst into his range without attacking, let them take a hit on enemy phase, retreat to heal them up enough on forts to take another hit, and repeat until Gomer's Hand Axe breaks or you get a really lucky crit that allows you to finish him on Player Phase.
      • Hyman in Chapter 3 continues the trend of early axe-wielding bosses with funny names and absurdly overinflated stats, gaining yet another near half-dozen HP over the prior boss and another two points of Speed, which with 14 Speed and 15 Strength ensures he'll double to ORKO or just one-shot all your units except Ogma and the newly-acquired Navarre, unless again some of your other units got multiple lucky levels in Speed or HP + Defense, while with his even more overinflated HP you can't even 3HKO him with Barst nor Jagen. And he has a Hand Axe too, so no being able to safely whittle him down at range, while as a Fighter there is still no weapons that deal bonus damage to him. At least this time you do get a Killing Edge courtesy of Navarre, so through Save Scumming with a nearby save point you do have a viable option in sending Ogma in with the Killing Edge (though not Navarre, as he'll get weighed down by it and thus doubled) and then resetting until you get a crit that brings Hyman into killing range for your other units, and even if you're playing without resetting, the Killing Edge does mean repeating the weapon-breaking strategy used against Gomer ensures you'll eventually get a crit before actually having to break Hyman's Hand Axe. Overall, your typical playthroughs will spend a ludicrous amount of turns on these first three chapters, easily up into the triple digits, just dealing with these bosses unless players get lucky quickly with crits.
    • In the Shadow Dragon remake, there's then Medeus at the end, who is pretty manageable on easier difficulties, but on Hard 5 gets ludicrous stats that have him join the ranks of the aforementioned axe-wielding bosses as one of the most notoriously unfair bosses in the series. As expected for a final boss, he hits like an absolute tank that will 2HKO all but the most durable of units and with 1-2 range to boot, but what really sends him into such unfair territory is his 30 Speed, in a game where few classes have a Speed Cap over 26 and few units that can actually realistically raise their Speed over 26. So about everyone but a well-trained Swordmaster (or Horseman, Berserker, or Sniper that was heavily speed-blessed and likely fed multiple Speedwings) will get doubled, and typically no one but a trained Sedgar or Wolf can get enough HP + Defense to survive two hits from Medeus, meaning in a typical playthrough you could very well be left with no units that can survive a round, or only have one or two that can, while likely not being able to even 3HKO Medeus in return. Marth's Falchion and especially Tiki/Nagi can deal a ton of damage with their bonus damage on him, but in a cruel twist those units are among those whose Speed cap falls too low to avoid getting doubled by Medeus, and so unless you got really lucky with their HP and Defense growth or fed them a ton of boosters, they'll die trying to fight him (which with Marth means a Game Over). The typical strategy to beat Medeus entails players intentionally suiciding Tiki/Nagi on Medeus, and then reviving them with the Aum Staff to send them again or having another unit finish him, or forge a really strong ballista with a high crit rate and attempt to fish for crits, as trying to beat him any other way without losing any unit requires a lot of work and probably some luck in keeping a designated Medeus slayer alive in a level full of Demonic Spiders as they take Medeus on for several rounds of combat.
  • That One Level: The remake's version of Chapter 13, "The Wooden Cavalry". Unlike in the Famicom original, Ballisticians have long range, preventing your units from closing in through without taking damage. If your good units are mostly made of fliers and fragile healers, tough luck.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Elice is supposed to be one of the driving forces for Marth to defeat Medeus, but she's rarely talked about and has very little time to be used. If she were talked about more or rescued earlier, perhaps she could have been a far more memorable character. This sadly did not change in the sequel.
  • Unintentional Uncanny Valley:
    • The battle animations and dialogue portraits for the DS remakes, which have an unsettling median between anime-inspired and realistic. Poor reception to the style likely brought the succeeding games back to an anime-inspired style like the GBA and Tellius games.
    • Linde gets the worst of this, where her portrait has her with an unsettling dead fish stare, that gets accentuated by the art style. Fortunately she was one of the few characters who got a new portrait in the sequel, where she looks much better.
    • Probably the most infamous case of this is the official artwork for the remake, drawn by Masamune Shirow. All of them have a rather uncomfortable blend between realistic and anime-like, as well as dead fish eyes, which does not bode well with other artwork from the series. The way the faces are drawn and the heavy shading isn't doing it any favors either, and literally the only artwork that stands out is Linde, who, at least, is displaying an expression, whereas everyone else just looks soulless. This art feature even affects the in-game portraits drawn in Daisuke Izuka's style (which didn't have this issue in promotional artworks drawn by him) to the point that some character portraits were changed significantly in New Mystery of the Emblem.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Michalis. It's understandable that Maria would want to save him, being his little sister and a healer. It's harder to agree with Gotoh's assessment of him as a Tragic Villain. Michalis killed his dad to take the throne and used Maria as a hostage with orders that she be killed if Minerva pulled a Heel–Face Turn, allying Macedon with The Empire because his besieged allies couldn't send reinforcements and he let Gharnef convince him he could make Macedon more powerful than them. Given these crimes, he's probably not the character that you'd be looking to get a redemption arc in Mystery.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Marth was a pretty common subject of this among western Super Smash Bros. fans, as his design in those games seems to lend itself to making that mistake. In everything other than Super Smash Bros., though, it's hard to make such a mistake.
    • Rickard due to his long hair, big eyes, and apparent crush on Julian.
    • Many have mistaken Xane for a girl.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Jagen and the Jagen Archetype. They used to be hated by the fanbase, and then the metagame shift happened and Jagen has a much better position. If anything, he ended up being widely-liked for not being a Game-Breaker, as what happened with many later attempts to make the Jagen useful for the whole game (such as Oifey, Seth, and Titania) resulted in them being a One-Man Party.
    • When Shadow Dragon came out, Caeda was considered a high-tier mage killer, but nowhere near the top of the tier list, which is populated by Wolf and Sedgar. And then people discovered how to really use Caeda, mainly due to her exclusive access to the Wing Spear. Nowadays, Caeda is considered the best character in the game alongside Lena.
    • Shadow Dragon was initially criticized for being a straight remake with better graphics than the NES game; rather this is good or bad stems from one's opinion of the original game. Since it was a fairly quiet release, it wasn't exposed as much to the demographic that would appreciate the faithfulness to the original game. However, many people who learned about the remake or looked back on it think that it was a good game for what it was, and many people were happy to see it re-released on Wii U Virtual Console. The rise in popularity of ironman runs in the Fire Emblem fandom helped Shadow Dragon in particular, as the game seems to be built to allow the challenge. It supplies the player a constant stream of so many units throughout most of the game, many enemies are vulnerable to effective weaponry so under-trained units can still possibly kill enemies and contribute, there are a bevy of Anti-Frustration Features not present in the original nor in other Fire Emblem games, and it's still fairly beatable in an ironman even on its hardest difficulty. Shadow Dragon is typically one of the most recommended Fire Emblem games for players to try their first ironman in.
    • Marth is usually viewed as a mediocre unit owing largely to his disappointing performance in Shadow Dragon. And then people started playing Shadow Dragon and the Sword of Light and realized how overpowered he used to be and his performance in Mystery of the Emblem is no slouch either. Nowadays, it is joked that Marth's pants serves as a power limiter.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?:
    • Nyna gets this from some fans. Considering how tough her life has been, it isn't surprising she suffers from emotional damage! Considering her shattered spirit, is it really surprising she handed her kingdom to Marth, after all the mess she was a part of?! Some fans also tend to blame only her for all that happened in book 2, forgetting over Boah and Hardin's in it (in-universe, all three characters blame themselves).
    • Caeda is sometimes called a slut for daring to use her good looks and charm to recruit guys into the group. Many of the people who never played Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Mystery of the Emblem and their remakes, or only watched the anime, also excuse her of being a Faux Action Girl. This is despite Caeda never getting kidnapped, and being a Lady of War In-Universe as well.
  • The Woobie: Oh boy. Nyna's life is just pretty much a litany of suck. First her kingdom gets attacked and she's on the run. Then in process of restoring her kingdom, she ended up having to witness her lover Camus dying to fight for his country. She never got over it and because of this, accidentally set Hardin, who loved her genuinely, into a path of evil and ruined her country even further, and she gets kidnapped, Brainwashed and Crazy and nearly sacrificed for Medeus. But wait! Camus somehow returned to her to snap her out of the trance! Even if he's now the masked knight Sirius! Unfortunately, by that time, he already found his Second Love, Tatiana, and was committed to her already, not re-pursuing the relations with Nyna, so after saving her, he leaves her again. It's no wonder that after all these, Nyna just handed Archanea over to Marth then vanished. There's just so much the poor lady can take.

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