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Fire Emblem (NES)

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Title Screen

Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryu to Hikari no Tsurugi

Also known as: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: NES
Released in JP: April 20, 1990


CharacterIcon.png This game has unused playable characters.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
SoundtestIcon.png This game has a hidden sound test.


The first game in the Fire Emblem tactical RPG series follows the adventures of the pantsless Prince Marth and his merry men as they go on a journey to slay a gigantic mole-dragon thing. Oh, and it's been remade twice.

Unused Graphics

Fire Emblem NES-Mouse icon.png

There is a cute little mouse with some of the unit map sprites. The player unit palette has been applied to it for this image.

FE1-Red Castor.png FE1-Yellow Castor.png

There are two unused palette swaps of the character Castor. While neither is set to any units, both have portrait ID definitions: the red version is 40 and the yellow version is 41.

FE1-Arrows.png

The arrow tilesets contain unused sprites for angled arrows; in the finished game, arrows are only ever animated flying at a completely straight trajectory. The left set is for the arrows shot by regular bows, and the right set is for the flaming arrows shot by Parthia.

FE1-Shields.png

These shield icons are present in several points of the ROM, but are never used. Perhaps they were meant to appear on the HUD at some point, although what purpose they might have served is unknown.

FE1-Staff Animations.png

A set of battle sprite frames for classes depicting them with staves, heavily squished compared to their used counterparts. From left to right: curates, female mages, an unrecognisable class, and curates again except flipped around. Notably, female mages are unable to use staves while unpromoted in this game or any other Fire Emblem game, but perhaps they were intended to do so at one point.

The third sprite is the most interesting; no class is shown using any form of the sprite. It is possible that it was intended for a specific female design variant of the bishop class, since it appears to be quite feminine and female clerics do have different battle sprites from their male curate counterparts. In the final release, however, female bishops used the exact same sprites as male bishops, and there are no surviving regular-sized sprites for a female design.

Unused Characters

Although the game has 25 chapters of content, some character IDs are not assigned to any enemies. Note that due to the way that this game handles enemy stats - taking them directly from the generic stats for the class assigned to them when applied as a unit, with their luck stat only being generated upon recruitment - none of these unit IDs have any distinct base stats associated with them at all.

Sabre

Fire Emblem NES Sabre Ending.png

The most complete of these units is Sabre (セイバー), who has data as both a playable unit (ID 34) and an enemy (ID BE). Not to be confused with Saber from Gaiden and Shadows of Valentia, whose name is spelled slightly differently in Japanese (セーバー).

Sabre has a significant amount of data still associated with him, although at this point most of it is duplicated from other characters. He reuses Michalis's portrait with no alterations. While he has no base stats or preset class for the same reason as everyone else, he does have a set of assigned growth rates, although they are identical to Elice's and Gotoh's:

HP Str Skl WLv Spd Luck Def Res
Growth rates 80% 0% 50% 90% 60% 80% 30% 0%

He is programmed to be recruitable by Ogma; however, no unique recruitment conversation remains for him, so if he is hacked to appear as an enemy and Ogma talks to him, the game loads Wendell's recruitment conversation with Marth instead. He even has his own epilogue entry (pictured to the right) that correctly displays his own name and portrait, although the actual body text is again identical to Wendell's:

Japanese Translation
セイバー
せかいのしんりを もとめて
しょこくを ほうろうしている
Sabre
Seeking the world's truths,
he wanders from place to place.

Not counting the Gaiden character, Sabre has made no further appearances in the data of any other Fire Emblem game, used or otherwise.


(Source: Darrman, bookofholsety)

Enemy IDs

All of the other remaining unit IDs were evidently intended for enemies, generic and otherwise, so unlike Sabre they have no data other than the ID slot itself.

ID Name Translation Notes
82 ワイラー Wylar One of the first enemy listings. Has no portrait. Curiously, this ID can occasionally be seen in use in the battle test mode. The name is still in Monshou no Nazo, where it is still unused, but is absent entirely from Shadow Dragon.
A2 カシミアへい Chiasmir Soldier A generic ID for enemies representing the Chiasmir region. Only one chapter, Chapter 18, is set in Chiasmir and thus would be the logical place for this ID to appear, but in it the player instead fights troops from the Sable Order.
A6 バジリスク Basilisk This is the name of the mage dragon clan, as mentioned by the boss Morzas, so this ID was likely intended for generic mage dragon enemies.
A7 サラマンダー Salamander This is the name of the fire dragon clan, as mentioned by the boss Mannu, so this ID was likely intended for generic fire dragon enemies.
A8 ナーガ Naga This is the name of both the divine dragon clan, as mentioned by Bantu, and of the ruler of that clan introduced in Monshou no Nazo. While it could have been used for generic divine dragon enemies, the only divine dragon who ever appears in the game is Tiki.
A9 ガイア Gaia Given the pattern and the original meaning of the word (Greek for "earth"), this may have been intended to be the name of the earth dragon clan, although it is never referred to by any similar name in any Fire Emblem game. According to developer's notes, Medeus was himself named "Gaia" early in development.
AA てつきしだん Iron Knights This name actually was later used for some early-game knight enemies associated with Macedon in Monshou no Nazo, but those same enemies in this game are labelled as regular Macedonian soldiers instead.
B3 しろきしだん Whitewings Minerva's pegasus knight unit was evidently intended to have generic members at some point; the only ones that actually appear in the game are the playable characters Palla, Catria and Est. Curiously, if the debug menu in Monshou no Nazo is anything to go by, Intelligent Systems also considered having generic Whitewings during that game's development, although that ID slot was eventually rebranded for generic pegasus knights.
B8 テーベマージ Thabes Mage A generic ID for enemies representing the city of Thabes. Only one chapter, Chapter 23, is set in Thabes, and its enemies are instead composed of a mixture of Khadein and Dolhr troops. As with the Whitewings, though, the Monshou debug menu indicates that distinct Thabes enemies were considered for that game as well before being rebranded as nondescript dark mages.
B9 そうへいだん Curate Army An army of generic healers? What purpose these could have served is anybody's guess.
BB ク"ルニアおう King Grust The king of Grust, named Ludwik in later games, may have been planned to appear in battle himself at some point in development. Instead, he is only mentioned in passing by Lorenz when recruited by Caeda.


(Source: serenesforest.net)

Unused Items

The game features several unused items and weapons. Unfortunately, the majority of them don't do anything particularly interesting.

ID Weapon Name Translation Mt Hit Wt Crt WLv Uses Worth Notes
20 ワイバーン Wyvern 0 0 0 0 0 Infinite 0 Equippable by manaketes. Cannot be used to attack. Wyverns are used as steeds by a recurring class that debuted in this game, and also appear as an enemy dragon type in Part 2 of Monshou no Nazo, although in both contexts they are almost always referred to in Japanese as 飛竜 hiryū, rather than ワイバーン waibān.
21 ガーゴイル Gargoyle 0 0 0 0 0 Infinite 0 Equippable by manaketes. Cannot be used to attack. Gargoyle monsters appear in later games in the series.
25 サラマンダー Salamander 0 0 0 0 0 Infinite 0 Equippable by manaketes. Cannot be used to attack. As with the unused unit name, this is very likely related to the fire dragon clan.
27 シェンロン Shenglong 0 0 0 0 0 Infinite 0 Equippable by manaketes. Cannot be used to attack. Very likely related to the divine dragon clan, since "shenglong" would be the Mandarin pronunciation of 神竜 shinryū, the Japanese name of the species.
28 ネプチューン Neptune 0 0 0 0 0 Infinite 0 Equippable by manaketes. Cannot be used to attack. Neptune was the name of a cut water-elemental dragon boss.
29 ダークドラゴン Dark Dragon 0 0 0 0 0 Infinite 0 Equippable by manaketes. Cannot be used to attack. Likely related to Medeus, who is referred to in plain English as the "dark dragon" in the game's opening.
2A まりゅうせき Magestone 8 8 70 0 0 Infinite 120G A duplicate of the magestone weapon used by some enemy manaketes. Still equippable by manaketes, but using it results in glitchy graphics.
39 ヘラーン Helarn - - - - 4 23 1750G Usable by staff-wielding classes. When used, it gives the target ally's current equipped weapon infinite durability and displays the following message:
(item)のきょうどがあがった ("(item)'s strength increased.")
Given its extremely powerful effect and high durability, this possibly existed to assist with debugging.
4C トオメガネ Telescope - - - - - 1 2550G When used, it changes a hidden, presumably abandoned stat for the character, and displays the following message:
さくてきが5あがった ("Reconaissance increased by 5.")
This implies that Fog of War ("reconaissance maps" in Japan) were at some point planned to appear in this game, long before its eventual debut in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 (although no subsequent game in the series has ever allowed for a unit's fog vision to be permanently increased by a stat-booster item like this).
56 ときのオーブ Timesphere - - - - - 3 2550G When used, the game says that nothing happens and no durability is subtracted from it. May have been intended to be one of the legendary orbs/spheres along with the Starsphere and Lightsphere.
57 やみのオーブ Darksphere - - - - - 3 2550G When used, the game says that nothing happens and no durability is subtracted from it. Was intended to be one of the set of orb/sphere items, and appears as one of them in Part 2 of Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo.
5C F·エムブレム F Emblem - - - - - Infinite 2550G An item version of the titular Fire Emblem item. Has no function at all and can only be discarded. Appears as an item in Monshou no Nazo.

Sound Test

Fire Emblem (NES)-soundtest.png

A hidden sound test can be accessed from the end-of-chapter save prompt with a simple button code. Save the game, then when asked whether you wish to continue, select "いいえ" ("No"). After that, press Up, Down, Left, Right, Up, A to enter the sound test mode. Press Up or Down to select a track (can be either a sound effect or music, all of which are mixed in with each other), and press A or B to start or stop playing.

Additional testing features can be accessed from the sound test:

  • Press Select to view the ending sequence with a staff roll. They look no different from the proper credits, and any chapters not played count for zero in the turn count listing.
  • Press Start to enter the battle test mode.


(Source: Cah4e3)

Battle Test

Wylar appearing (as a knight on the left in this particular instance) in the battle test.

As aforementioned, pressing Start in the sound test mode will open a battle test mode, which runs an endless sequence of simulated battle sequences testing almost every possible matchup of class and weapon. The entire thing is completely uncontrollable and cannot be manually exited.

Sequence

The mode goes through an extremely long series of cycles nested within each other, testing every class and almost every weapon in the game against every class and almost every weapon, progressing through them in their internal order. For example:

  • The mode starts with a pair of cavaliers (the first class in internal order) each equipped with silver swords (the first item in internal order), playing two battle scenes: one in which the player-side unit initiates, and a second in which the enemy unit initiates.
  • After these two tests, it moves on to another matchup in which the enemy cavalier is now wielding the next item on in internal order, the iron sword. The player-side cavalier still has a silver sword. This process repeats through every weapon that cavaliers can use.
  • After reaching the end of the cavalier tests, the enemy-side unit becomes a knight - the next class after cavaliers in internal order - and repeats the same process with every weapon available to knights. The player-side unit is still a cavalier with a silver sword. This process, again, repeats with every class.
  • Once the enemy unit has cycled through every class with every weapon, they start again as a cavalier with a silver sword, while the player-side unit has itself moved on to the next stage: it is still a cavalier, but now has a steel sword. The enemy-side unit again repeats its entire process as before against the steel sword cavalier, after which the player-side cavalier moves on to the next weapon.
  • The process repeats over and over, going through all 22 classes with all compatible weapons, until the last combination: a firestone manakete against a firestone manakete.

Once the entire series of battle scenes has been viewed, the game unceremoniously soft-resets. However, the process seems to corrupt the second save file.

Details

Aside from the class and equipped weapon, every unit in the test has identical stats, featuring 34 HP. The unit names that appear are pulled at random from earlygame units from their respective sides; i.e. earlygame playable characters appear as the player-side unit, while earlygame bosses and generic enemies appear as the enemy-side unit. Notably, the unused boss name Wylar can appear as an enemy unit in this (pictured to the right).

Each weapon is tested at least twice per class:

  • 1-range weapons are tested twice: the player-side unit attacks, then the enemy-side unit attacks.
  • 1-2 range weapons (javelins, Gradivus, hand axes, levin swords, tomes) are tested at least three times each per cycle: both units attack at least once each at 1 range, then the unit(s) with the 1-2 range weapon attack again at 2 range.
  • Bows and ballistae are tested at least twice per cycle: the unit with the bow/ballista attacks just once at 2 range, while the other unit attacks as many times as its range type requires.
  • Staves are "tested" at least once each. The unit with a weapon attacks at their compatible range as above, while the staff user does nothing.

The rapier and Falchion, Marth's personal weapons, only ever appear on tests of the lord class, and not for any other sword-using class.

The order of weapon appearances in testing is an exact match for their internal order. The same mostly goes for classes, but with one exception: manaketes. Manaketes are tested twice in the sequence: first appearing briefly, completely unarmed, as the 17th class to show up; and again at the absolute end of the order to properly test their weapons.

Oddities

Two weapons - the earthstone and Mercurius - are oddly missing from this mode entirely. The unused Helarn staff does appear, but no other unused item does.

A handful of weapons with added visual effects experience minor animation oddities when tested by enemy-side units. This is possibly an oversight related to all of the weapons in question being expected to only ever be used by player-side units in regular gameplay.

  • When enemy lords test levin swords, the start-up lightning effect does not play on the actual levin sword attack, and instead shows up on the the player-side unit's attack animation if they attack.
  • Falchion's start-up sparkles are mis-positioned.
  • Starlight's spell animation sparkles appears on top of its user, instead of on the targeted player-side unit like it should.
  • Parthia's fire effect appears on its user, instead of on the player-side unit like it should.

If the player turns battle animations off before entering this mode, they will be automatically re-enabled at an unknown point in the testing sequence.


(Source: Fire Emblem Universe)

Unused Text

Save RAM Prompts

The range from 0x2f43c to 0x2f484 contains what appear to be a set of SRAM management prompts. This text is associated with the same pointer table as the Anna save prompts used in the finished game.

Japanese Translation
セーブラムをイニシャライズします
よろしいですか?
Save RAM will be initialized.
Do you wish to continue?
セーブラムはクリアされました Cleared save RAM.
セーブラムはクリアしません Save RAM has not been cleared.

Chapter Narration

Offset 0x22180 is an unused narration which describes the premise of Chapter 2, evidently intended to serve as its opening. However, Chapter 2 instead opens with a self-introduction from Ogma, who ends up describing the situation to Marth instead. Incidentally, Ogma's opening lines are located just before this unused narration.

Japanese Translation
*「タリスこくおうのえんじょで
へいりょくを ととのえた
アリティアぐんは
Having prepared their military force
with the aid of the King of Talys,
the Altean army
*「オルレアンでたたかっている
ニーナおうじょのぶたいと
ごうりゅうするため
タリスを あとにした。
has left Talys behind
to wage war in Aurelis
and to unite with
Princess Nyna's forces.
*「しかし そのためには まず
かいぞくゴメスの しはいする
ガルダのみなと
つうかしなければならない。
However, in order to do that,
they must pass through
the port of Galder, which is
dominated by the pirate Gomer.
オルレアンへ....
そして なつかしき そこく
アリティアへ かえることが
できるのだろうか....
To Aurelis...
And then to return to their
dear homeland, Altea...
Can they do it?


(Source: bookofholsety)

Opening Narration

Offset 0x36AB4 is a block of plain English text. It's located right after the text used for the opening sequence and is formatted the same way, with lots of blank spaces between each line, so this was likely leftover from an earlier version of the opening.

THE ACRNEAR ERA, 3011.           
"DOLLUER WAR" BROKE OUT.          
A BRAVE MAN BATTLED WITH EMBLEM. BUT     
HE COULDN'T STOP "TEARS OF ALTEMIS".

The text describes the same basic backstory of Anri, Artemis and their first war against Dolhr given in the final game, although the spellings used for Archanea ("ARCNEAR"), Dolhr ("DOLLUER") and Artemis ("ALTEMIS") differ from both those used by later Japanese material and from the eventual English releases of Shadow Dragon. The calendar system used in the Archanea games was later completely revised in Monshou no Nazo, rendering the 3011 date wildly off the mark; instead, Anri's war against Dolhr is said there to have occurred in year 498 of the Archanean calendar.


(Source: Fire Emblem Universe)