Also available on Wii, 3DS, and Wii U via Virtual Console (Japan only)
Firing up my Retron 5's translation patch feature for the first time, I popped in my very first Super Famicom game and dove into the older releases of my favorite Nintendo franchise. I then proceeded to get my ass handed to me by a mix of tactical errors, bullshit critical hits, and good old fashioned hard-as-balls game difficulty. And hot damn, was it fun. Mystery of the Emblem is exactly what you'd expect from a Fire Emblem game - turn based tactical combat on a grid based field.
The story was good, but it should be; it's one of three remakes of the original Fire Emblem. Well, Book One is a remake ofthe original Fire Emblem; Book Two is a continuation that picks up a couple years after the events of Book One. Without spoiling any of the plot, it revolves around Marth, prince of the kingdom of Aritia, and his quest to defeat the dark mage Gharnef and the Shadow Dragon Medeus. Along the way, Marth must gain alliances with the other kingdoms of the continent of Akaneia and build his army to stand against the fearsome dragon.
As I was playing a fan translation, some of the names were a little bit off from the official name translations (the Kingdom of Grunia, for example, is called Grust in the official translations), and some of the grammar felt stilted and awkward, but with the exception of one or two minor menu things, everything was fully translated and perfectly understandable.
There were couple of gameplay differences that tripped me up a bit. The Horseman unit - a mounted archer - does not counted as cavalry for the Knight Killer (officially localized as Horseslayer), inflicting regular damage rather than bonus damage. Likewise, the Knight Killer lance doesn't do any extra damage to Armor units (officially localized as Knight) even though both melee cavalry unites and Armor units use the Knight Crest to promote. Those aren't negatives, by any means, but just gameplay differences that threw me off at first having gotten used to the later released and officially localized games. Oh, and the regular non-boss Earth Dragon that pops up in Book Two isn't considered a dragon for the Dragon Killer's special effect. Got Marth fucked up in a heartbeat making that mistake...
Overall, while the difficulty is in a different ballpark entirely from the more recent games (except maybe for Conquest), it's an extremely rewarding game. There are two endings - the "true" ending if you collect all 12 shards of the Star Orb in the first half of Book Two, and the "normal" ending (I guess it could be considered the "bad" ending) if you miss any Star Orb fragments. I ended up finding 11 of the 12, so I got the "normal" ending and did NOT feel like replaying through Book Two just to get the extra three or four levels. That's why it's listed as Beaten and not Completed in my Backloggery. But yeah, for fans of Fire Emblem or SRPGs in general, I'd definitely suggest playing this (preferably through a legit cartridge, but emulators are okay, too, I guess).
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.