[ Part 1 ]First ImpressionsFire Emblem: Monshou no NazoPart II - Chapters 1 & 2The title screen. How pretty.So I started up Snes9x, my SNES emulator of choice as you can see (only way to really play the game now a days) and my patched ROM for Monshou. Funny that it gives me some sort of "check sum" error but goes on as if nothing happened - I'm not sure what that means but I've used two emulators and it does it in both. Anyway, "Nintendo presents..." shows up, along with a picture of the Shield of Seals, and then I'm led to the title screen (shown above).As far as title screens go, it's just ZOMG AWESOMELY EPIC like the elaborate ones of today, but back then, I'm sure it was considered to be uber. We're just spoiled with the shiny new graphics of today's games. I myself am a child of the Nintendo 64/Playstation 1 era, so I was born in a time where 3D graphics were the "thing" and semi-commonplace. However, growing up with two older brothers made me appreciate the classics like Mega Man and Zelda and all the other 8-bit games. So I can get passed the whole "ZOMG NOT SHINY AND REFINED" graphics.So I do the logical thing and press "Start" (which would be the Enter key) so I can get started with this epic game of wonder. I, like other people, decided to play the original game before playing Shin Ankoku, Book 1 of Monshou's remake for the DS. I like playing the originals before going on to the ones with the cosmetic face lifts (original Resident Evil > RE-make). But I'm digressing.Sucks to be fourteen, doesn't it, Marth?So we're given the whole back story as to what happened before the game start. To summarise:A long time before the game, Akaneia was invaded by the Kingdom of Dolua (or Durhua, depending on personal preference and translation). Dolua was led by Medeus (or Mediuth, again depending on personal preference and translation), a mamkute who wasn't the cuddliest guy on the planet there. So, because of such predicament, the people of Akaneia shut themselves inside their homes out of fear for Medeus, and despair for what had happened. So, Medeus, the Dark Dragon King, decimated the Holy Kingdom of Akaneia, which always guarded the world against evil. And so the world was basically doomed to destruction and the human race was almost extinct.AND THEN A MIRACLE APPEARED, because this is a Fire Emblem game - there's always a saviour of some sort in one. A young man from a town called Altea (or Aritia depending on translation preference) named Anri went on a journey filled with extreme hardship to obtain this uberly-awesome sword named Falchion, the Sword of Light (hence the Hikari no Tsurugi part of Ankoku's title - and I know this isn't a review of Ankoku, but Book 1 is FE1, in case you forgot). For comparison (and those who've played FE7 and FE6), Falchion is like a Divine Weapon. Anyway, Anri used Falchion to kill Medeus, because Divine Swords in shrines in the middle of nowhere always kill evil dragons.So, because Medeus was Dolua's king, with his fall, Dolua was no more, Akaneia was restored, and the world wasn't doomed any longer. Anri went back to Altea and became its king, which led other countries to form kingdoms and governments and other stuff. Since everything was torn from the war, they all had to rebuild. Which makes sense, of course.So 100 years later some dark priest by the name of Garnef resurrected Medeus and brought Dolua back from the ashes, which is not a Good Thing. Grunia and Macedonia became involved with Dolua's antics and helped restore it to its Empire Status. Because Garnef wanted to rule the world like Medeus did, they became allies and attacked the Holy Kingdom of Akaneia. Again. Grunia's General Camus and Medeus basically had Akaneia keel over and die a horrible death, and the whole royal family - save for the Princess Nina - was executed.It just gets better worse from there, though. Not too far from Akaneia is Altea, and its King Cornelius went to claim Medeus's head. Since I'm sure no one knows who the hell that is, I'll tell you. King Cornelius is Marth's father. And because this is Fire Emblem, the main character is always related to the saviour of the world. So Anri's blood flows through Cornelius's veins and I guess he thinks he can just go about slaying dragons and rescuing princesses. In any case, he took Falchion and went to duke it out, but their ally - the Kingdom of Gra - betrayed them at the last minute, and so Cornelius, being the main character's father, dies because he's essentially canon fodder.So a kingdom is naught without a leader. Altea fell. The Princess of Altea, Elice (or Ellis if that's your preference) helped her fourteen year old brother flee to Talis, and in the process, got kidnapped by Garnef.And that, my friends, is where the story starts to unfold, leading us into the first chapter.So far, so good. The graphics are pretty non-descript for the intro - no fancy CGs or anything, but hey, let me remind you that we must think in the mind-set of Back Then! This was revolutionary stuff right here! As for the story, it's your typical Fire Emblem background.Book 1: Chapter 1 - Marth's JourneyChapter 1's title screenSo then it shows me, after that whole prologue thing, this screen (pictured above). I had to assume that that land mass was Talis - they don't have the name on it or anything - and thought, "Sheeda grew up in some back-ass-water place!" They tell you Talis is pretty small - doesn't even have its own knights - but since it's in a remote region of Akaneia and it's hard to get to normally, it's the perfect place to hide, right? Well, I thought so. The King of Talis goes on to say that Marth is too young to fight with the Empire, him being fourteen and all (you're too young, Padawan, to become a Jedi and fight with the Empire! You must train to become a master of the Force! ...Sorry, I had to), and to stay and become stronger. Pfft, like Marth has a choice if he wants to reclaim his (mostly destroyed) kingdom and rescue his sister.So when the chapter actually starts, it's two years later, and Marth's sixteenth birthday is fastly approaching. Well this is new, they actually tell us how old someone is in a Fire Emblem game! And then you're brought to an opening dialogue that Jeigan starts....Oh yes, there is a character named Jeigan. Where did you think the Jeigan-archtype came from? His stats suck, but he's good for weakening enemies if you give him an Iron Lance. I gave his Silver to Sheeda 'cause she needed it juuuust a little more.Anyway, Marth confronts Sheeda, the Princess of Talis, who is a Pegasus Knight (and an awesome one at that). Pirates from Garda invaded the castle and "killed lots of people!", which bandits are wont to do. And Sheeda's father, who is surprisingly not dead, has been taken hostage, so Marth has to go rescue him.I kinda laughed at the dialogue because it sounds kind of...emotionless. There's the occasional exclamation point, but it's all full-stops otherwise. A sample:Jeigan: Prince Marth, Sheeda has come from Talis Castle.Marth: What? Sheeda, what's happened to the castle?Sheeda: Marth, am I glad to see you! The Garda pirates suddenly attacked us. They took over the castle, and killed lots of people! Please, you've got to rescue my father.Marth: Don't worry, Sheeda. The bravest Aritian knights are here in this fort. We won't lose to those pirates. Come, let's go to Talis castle together.I dunno, I thought it was a little emotionless on everyone else's part - Marth doesn't sound emotionless because I hear all of his dialogue in Midorikawa Hikaru's voice by default - but...yeah. That's the impression I got. It could be the translation, though - I've never really...gotten this far in the Japanese version (that was before I could read Japanese, of course).Anyway, moving along, I went to that village and got 5000G, which is awesome-sauce. Then I killed some people, Sheeda criticalled an enemy, got attacked and almost died, and criticalled that dude, which is awesome. And contrary to popular belief, Marth isn't as crappy as everyone says. He doesn't get hit often 'cause of his Luck, and his often kills the enemy when he double attacks.One thing that irked me - a few things, actually - was that the Social Knights didn't know the meaning of "double attacking". I guess Jeigan never taught them how to swing their arm more than once per lance thrust. Another thing was that Mounted Units can only use Lances - they have to Dismount to use Swords, which seems kind of retarded in a way. And only Marth can visit villages. Oh yeah, and forget about rescuing people. They're on their own out there.Dismounting is a cool feature, though, and I wanna know why it's not in any of the more recent titles. Inside maps have them dismounted by default, which makes sense because you can't have a horse or a pegasus inside a building. There's no weapon triangle, so your lance user can pwn an axe user just the same as a bow user or a sword user. Of course, you have weapons that score criticals against certain classes, like Knight Killer and Armour Killer, which critical against Social Knights and Armour Knights, respectively. Other than that, the fight menu is the same as all the other FEs, except the "Wait" command is on the top when it's normally on the bottom.So anyway, where was I? Kill people, gain experience, have Marth seize the castle. Even though everyone keeps saying, "ZOMG DON'T USE JEIGAN," I still use him. To a certain extent, of course. He weakens enemies, not kills them. That's why I gave his Silver to Sheeda. Which was a good idea.Marth is your supply caravan thing, which means any extra weapons are sent to him, and to access the storage, you need to be next to him, click on him, and select "Supply" from the choices. I guess it makes sense since he's the leader of the army and everything, right?Oh, and like all the other FEs, Peg. Knights are weak against archers. So I had to make sure Sheeda stayed away. (You'll see how difficult this actually is in the next chapter.)The boss's name is Gazack, which I kept reading as "Ball sack" @_@ Haha. I dunno where Intelligent Systems picks the names for FE, and I'm not sure I wanna know the answer to it. So I defeat this douche with Doga and I get dialogue with King Talis (after Seizing Castle). He's grateful for Marth's help and then decides to put words into his mouth. Marth isn't a silent protagonist - he isn't Link - so why Sheeda's dad thought it'd be a great idea to shove words in Marth's mouth is beyond me. It's another way of saying, "YOU MUST GO HERE NEXT."You get new people to add to the party, which made me excited. OGUUUUUUUUMAAAA.And then King Talis shuts up. I think he talks too much.Actual dialogue.