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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.

Fire Emblem is a turn-based tactical RPG for the Famicom developed by Nintendo subsidiary Intelligent Systems. It depicts the adventures of the skirt-wearing Prince Marth and his merry men as they go on a journey to slay some stupid dragon.

This first entry in the Fire Emblem series would be remade as the "Book 1" portion of its Super Famicom sequel, Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo. A stand-alone Nintendo DS remake, titled Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, was also produced, with this version being given an international release.

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. They do not appear to be connected to any units, and they use portrait entry 0x40 for the red version and 0x41 for the yellow version.


Although archers are present in the game, they only ever fire their arrows straight. Despite this, there are arrows being shot at an angle visible in the tileset.


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

There are unused sprites for some classes depicting them with staves. From left to right, the sprites are for the Priest, female Mage, an unused sprite, and the Priest flipped around. Although the Priest does use staves in the final game, these sprites are squashed in comparison to the final version. The female Mage has never been able to use staves while unpromoted in the series, 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 female variant of the Bishop, as the Cleric does have a different sprite compared to the Priest and the sprite appears to be quite feminine. In the final release, female Bishops used the same sprites as male Bishops.

Unused Characters

To do:
Find their stats. Add Japanese names to those missing them.

Although the game has 25 chapters of content, some character IDs are not assigned to any enemies.

  • Sabre (セイバー) is an unused character with data as both an enemy (ID 0xBE and playable unit (ID 0x34). He uses the same portrait as the late-game boss and major villain Michalis, his growth rates are the same as Elice and Gotoh's, and his epilogue ending is the same as Wendell's. Should an enemy be hacked into using his character ID, he can be recruited using Ogma. No recruitment conversation remains, and the game loads up Wendell's recruitment conversation with Marth instead. His name is slightly different from that of Saber (セーバー), a mercenary who appears in the next game, Gaiden.
  • Wylar (ワイラー, ID 0x82) is one of the first enemies and doesn't have a portrait. However, his name can be occasionally seen in the battle test mentioned below. His name remains in Monshou no Nazo, still unused there.
  • Chiasmir Soldiers (ID 0xA2) appear among other such generic enemies, but in the only chapter which would make logical sense for them to appear in, Chapter 18, the player instead fights troops from the Sable Order.
  • Basilisk (ID 0xA6), Salamander (ID 0xA7), Naga (ID 0xA8) and Gaia (ID 0xA9) are the names of the dragon tribes: Basilisk are the Mage Dragon tribe, Salamander are the Fire Dragon tribe, and Naga are the Divine Dragon tribe. Some people believe Gaia was going to be the Earth Dragon tribe's name, as none is given in the final release. Developer notes mention that Medeus, the antagonist of the game and an Earth Dragon, was named Gaia earlier in development. A Gaia spell goes unused in the next game, Gaiden.
  • Iron Knights (ID 0xAA) do get used for some early armour knights in Monshou, but those enemies are labelled as standard Macedonian soldiers here. Despite this, this character label was still present, though unused.
  • Whitewings (ID 0xB3) have a generic enemy ID, but it is not used for any enemies. The only characters the term is used for in the final release are the three Pegasus sisters; Palla, Catria, and Est.
  • Thabes Mages (ID 0xB8) have a generic ID, but Chapter 23's enemies are composed of a mixture of Khadein and Dolhr troops, as opposed to labelling them as being from the battlefield of that chapter.
  • Priest Army (ID 0xB9) has an entry, but what purpose it may have served is unknown.
  • King Grust (ID 0xBB) may have been planned to be fought in combat at some stage in development, but any plans to do so were scrapped. His only mentions in the final game was by Grustian general Lorenz when he is recruited or fought, calling him a "weak man" and mentioning he was frightened by Dolhr's might. He is then confirmed to have died after the events of this game in Monshou.

Unused Items and Weapons

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

ID Weapon Name Translation Might Hit Weight Critical Weapon level Durability 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 mounts of a class appearing in this game, and an enemy dragon type in later games.
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 other 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.
27 シェンロン Shenron 0 0 0 0 0 Infinite 0 Equippable by Manaketes. Cannot be used to attack.
28 ネプチューン Neptune 0 0 0 0 0 Infinite 0 Equippable by Manaketes. Cannot be used to attack. Neptune is the name of a cut boss mentioned in interviews.
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.
2A まりゅうせき Mage Dragonstone 8 8 70 0 0 Infinite 120G Equippable by Manaketes. Duplicate of the Magestone weapon used by some enemy Manaketes, with glitchy graphics.
39 ヘラーン Helarn - - - - 4 23 1750G A staff weapon. When used, it gives one ally's current equipped weapon infinite durability. This is possibly an item that was made for debugging purposes, as its effects are extremely powerful. Using it displays the message "(item)のきょうどがあがった" ("(item)'s strength increased.")
4C トオメガネ Telescope - - - - - 1 2550G When used, a message says さくてきが5あがった ("Enemy-search increased by 5.") This implies that Fog of War (called "enemy search maps" in Japan) was supposed to appear in the series much earlier than Fire Emblem: Thracia 776. However, there are no fog levels in the game. Interestingly, this item does actually have a tangible effect, it changes a hidden stat for the character, though its not actually visible anywhere on the stat screen.
56 ときのオーブ Time Orb - - - - - 3 2550G When used, the game says that nothing happens and it doesn't lose durability. 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 Dark Orb - - - - - 3 2550G When used, the game says that nothing happens and it doesn't lose durability. Was intended to be one of the set of orb/sphere items, and appeared as one of them in Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo.
5C F·エムブレム F Emblem - - - - - Infinite 2550G An item version of the Fire Emblem, which is mentioned in the plot numerous times. Has no function and can only be discarded. The Fire Emblem later appeared as an item in Monshou no Nazo.

Sound Test

Fire Emblem (NES)-soundtest.png

After saving the current game, when asked to continue the game or not, 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 music track, and press A or B to start or stop playing. 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 turncount charts. Press Start to view the battle mode test.

(Source: Cah4e3)

Battle Test

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

The above sound test provides access to a debug battle test feature. As mentioned above, press Start to view the battle mode test.

This shows almost every class in the game fighting each other, with each equippable weapon also being tested. The weapons appearing in the test have no regard for character locks for personal weapons. Random character names are selected for both sides; this is why the otherwise unused Wylar can appear. The only class that does not appear is the game's final boss class, the Earth Dragon.

There appears to be no way to manually exit this mode. The game will, eventually, loop through every unit and weapon combination on both the player and enemy side on its own then will return to the title screen. Sitting through every combination takes an extremely long amount of time.

One odd behavior is that if the player turns battle animations off before entering this mode they will turn themselves back on at an unknown point in the testing sequence.

Unused Text

There are several unused pieces of text in the ROM.

Chapter Narration

The first is located at offset 0x22180.

Japanese Translation
へいりょくを ととのえた
Having prepared their military force with
the aid of the King of Talys,
the Altean army
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
However, in order to do that,
they must pass through the port of Galder,
which is dominated by the pirate Gomer.
そして なつかしき そこく
アリティアへ かえることが
To Aurelis...
And then to return to their dear homeland, Altea...
Can they do it?

This appears to be an unused narration intended to serve as the opening for Chapter 2, since it matches the situation described here. 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.

The translation was provided by bookofholsety.

(Source: Fire Emblem Universe)

Opening Narration

The second is located at offset 0x36AB4.

THE ACRNEAR ERA, 3011.           

This English text is located right after the text used for the opening sequence and it's formatted in the same matter, with lots of blank spaces between each line, so this was likely leftover from an earlier version of the opening.

This text references the legend of Anri, the hero who fought against the Dolhr Empire a century before the events of the game, but was forced to be separated from his lover Artemis after the war ended. The romanizations used for the names here (e.g. Acrnear, Dolluer, Altemis) differ from the ones used in later localizations (and other media for that matter). In later supplemental sources, the war against Dolhr is established to had happened in the year 498 of the Akaneian calendar, not 3011 as stated in this text.

(Source: Fire Emblem Universe)