Mystery of the Emblem

Title: Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo
English Name: Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem
Main Character: Marth
Release Date: January 21st, 1994

Part 1: Intelligent Systems
Part 2: Dark Dragon and Sword of Light
Part 3: Fire Emblem Gaiden
Part 4: Mystery of the Emblem
Part 5: Genealogy of the Holy War
Part 6: Thracia 776
Part 7: Sword of Seals
Part 8: Blazing Sword
Part 9: Fire Emblem Tradition
Part 10: BS, The Anime, The Card Game, and the Future

Originally written for
in January 2004
by Derek Miller

A History of Fire Emblem
Monshou no Nazo Title Screen

Nintendo launched the Super Famicom in Japan in November of 1990, but continued to release Famicom games for years afterwards including Fire Emblem Gaiden. After Gaiden, however, Intelligent Systems set to work on their first Super Famicom Fire Emblem game called Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo, more or less meaning Mystery of the Emblem. Nintendo wanted them to move back towards the original game, and not only did they do this by removing the RPG exploration of Gaiden and returning many characters from the original game, they even included a revamped version of the first Fire Emblem. On January 21st, 1994, Fire Emblem hit the Super Famicom and, as was usual for the series, the game was a hit.

No, this isn't Marth. Notice the lack of a tiara.The remake of Fire Emblem: Dark Dragon and Sword of Light was not without its major and minor changes. Of course, the graphics and sounds were improved to take better advantage of the Super Famicom hardware. Some of the graphical improvements included backgrounds added to the battles and weapons that had unique appearances instead of having a general look for swords, spears, bows, etc. In addition to the graphical changes most of the music in the game was remixed. Intelligent Systems also made each character say something unique when they died as they didn't do anything when they were killed in the original Famicom game. A very helpful addition, and now a staple of the Fire Emblem games, was the ability to see how far a unit could move when you selected it. You could also see how far enemy units could move. A really cool addition was the ability for units on horses to dismount. This let them use swords while on foot and lances while on horseback. The game also included many improvements to speed up the game including faster battle animations, faster enemy actions, and the ability to forgo battle animations altogether. Although the remake of the original game was nice it was the new game that convinced Japanese gamers to fork over the money for Mystery of the Emblem.

The princess arrives.For those who didn't play the original game they could start Mystery of the Emblem by playing Book 1, which was the remake of Dark Dragon and Sword of Light. Book 2 builds on the story of the original Fire Emblem, and begins one year after the dark dragon Medeus was defeated. King Hardain of Orleans, who was one of your party members in the original Fire Emblem, is made Emperor of the continent of Akanea after he marries the Princess of Akanea, Nina, and Marth settles down to lead the kingdom of Altea with his sister Ellis. Hardain, however, holds grudges and he charges Dolua, Gra, Grunia, and Macedonia with war crimes for supporting the dark dragon. At first all Hardain asks is that the kingdoms pay a certain sum of money to the allied kingdoms, but greed consumes Hardain and soon Akanean soldiers are found to be plundering villages in Dolua and Macedonia. If that wasn't enough young boys were being kidnapped by Hardain's men, men were being murdered, and women were sold into slavery. Members of royalty in all the kingdoms soon begin disappearing, and the final straw for Marth comes when his sister turns up missing. In Marth's quest to find out what is going on he discovers that Medeus has returned and is again residing in Dolua. Apparently the Falchion was not at its full power when Marth used it to defeat the dragon, and Marth must travel the land to find fragments of the Life Orb in order to restore the power of the Fire Emblem and the Falchion.

Mystery of the Emblem is kind of obscured in the Fire Emblem series. It wasn't incredibly unique like Fire Emblem Gaiden, and it wasn't highly praised like most of the other games in the series. However, for gamers who hadn't yet been introduced to the Fire Emblem series, Mystery of the Emblem was a great place for them to start since it told the entire story of the continent of Akanea and Marth's defeat of Medeus. The next game to come, though, would win over fans of the series and bring in new fans as it is almost unanimously regarded as the greatest Fire Emblem ever made.

Go to PART 5: It Must Be Love