Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

The very first story of the hit RPG series
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Mild Violence: Bloodless violence against enemies with weapons. Impact is shown.

Spiritual Content: Fantasy magic is used by player characters, one character can transform into other characters, humans transform into dragons, antagonist uses "dark" magic.

Mild Sexual Content: One character's outfit has a low neckline.

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Fire Emblem first came over to our shores in 2003 on the GameBoy Advance, but it had been going strong over in Japan for a lot longer. Now, the game the started it all finally comes here as the 11th title in this hit strategy RPG series; Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

Story:
Shadow Dragon’s story begins long ago when the continent of Akaneia was ravaged by war. The dragon empire of Dohlr ruled all the land with an iron fist and on its throne sat the evil emperor, Medeus, the Shadow Dragon. When all hope was gone, a great hero appeared; Anri. Wielding the blade Falchion, Anri defeated and killed Medeus.

Peace wouldn’t last though. After 100 years, Dohlr invades again with the resurrected Medeus once again at its head. In the midst of the conflict, the kingdom of Altea falls. Marth, the prince of Altea, is forced to flee his home, leaving his sister behind. With a few soldiers under his command, Marth sets off to save Altea, his sister, and end the reign of Medeus once again.

Gameplay:
Shadow Dragon, like the rest of the Fire Emblem games, plays like a game of chess, only with a slight twist. You choose a unit and choose a space where they will move to. Each unit has a different range. If an enemy is in range, either next to or a space away depending on the unit, you can attack them. Combat in Shadow Dragon follows a weapon triangle, just like all the other Fire Emblem titles. Swords beat axes, axes beat lances, and lances beat swords. Bows fall outside this triangle.

You’re encouraged to take care of your units, especially Marth, because if he dies, the game is over.

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Offensive Content:

Violence:
Very mild and bloodless; you attack with swords and other weapons. Impact is shown, but again, there is no blood. Enemies disappear when defeated, although the more important ones, like bosses, will say a few words before they go.

*************Spoilers Ahead*************

Early on, if you play the Prologue chapters, you must sacrifice one of your units in order to clear the stage. The unit you choose is seen captured by the enemy who order the character killed. The killing is not shown, but it’s quite clearly implied.

*************Spoilers End*************

Spiritual Content:
Anyone who’s played any previous Fire Emblem games is no stranger to the sort of content here. Magic is used and several player characters are mages. The magic they use doesn’t appear to come from the occult however. It’s limited to fireballs and lightning bolts.

One of the primary antagonists however is a different story. He is a sorcerer who does appear to use some “dark magic.” However, once again this doesn’t appear to be exactly occultist, but more like the magic used by Shamans in previous titles. On that note, your mages can be switched into Dark Mages, but there is no appearance of the dark magic class of prior games, except for the above-mentioned enemy.

Other spiritual murk is some characters are humans who can transform into dragons via magical stones. More accurately, these characters are dragons that are in human form. One character can transform into another character by standing next to them.

Elsewhere, there is an item you find that bring back a downed unit; they refer to it as resurrection. And there is also the fact that the main villain somehow resurrected himself.

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Sexual Content:
Apart from one girl whose outfit has a low neckline, there is nothing at all to worry about here. There might also have been some talk of characters becoming couples.

Noteworthy Material:
As in all previous Fire Emblem games, the lines between good and evil are drawn clearly. Marth is willing to risk his life to save others. He is also shown to be in a loving relationship with his sister. Other characters are willing to lay down their lives for what is right; in the case of the above mentioned spoiler, one gladly does just that. Some enemy characters can become allies, and it’s shown that even they have doubts about what they’re doing.

Recklessness, like in other titles, is discouraged. If one of your units falls in battle, they’re gone forever. If Marth dies, the game ends. So, you need to think and plan every move you make carefully.

Conclusion:
Ever since the first Fire Emblem game was released, I’ve been a big fan of the series. With its deep stories and impressive, though sometimes wooden, characters, it was a game meant to be enjoyed like a good book. The same can be said of Shadow Dragon, although I didn’t think its tale went as deep as some of the others like Blazing Sword, Radiant Dawn, even Sacred Stones. Still, it was an impressive little tale to me.

The tale is not without faults though. The use of magic puts a little damper on this game, especially the magic used by one of the more prominent antagonists. The transforming characters also might raise an eyebrow for some. Adding to that is the fact that the main villain was raised from the dead, and you have quite a bit of murk to wade through to reach the shore we like to call the end.

But pleasingly, this game is absent of “dark” magic, at least for the player characters, and unlike Sacred Stones, you’re not dealing with demons and possessions. Still, if any of this offends you as a Christian, than I would not recommend Shadow Dragon to you. For a Fire Emblem fan mature in their faith, I think this is a must, especially if you’re wondering how the series began.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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