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Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade

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The Binding Blade

FEFT Logo.png Ba japan fe06.jpg
Japanese logo and box art.
Developer(s)

Intelligent Systems

Publisher(s)

Nintendo

Release date(s)

JPMarch 22, 2002[1]

Rating(s)

N/A*

Platform(s)

Game Boy Advance

Predecessor

Fire Emblem: Thracia 776

Successor

Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (ファイアーエムブレム 封印の剣 Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seals) is a Game Boy Advance game released in 2002. It is the sixth installment in the Fire Emblem series, the first for Game Boy Advance and on a handheld platform, and was the last title to be released only in Japan until New Mystery of the Emblem. It was this game which sparked international interest in the franchise, caused by the appearance of protagonist Roy in Super Smash Bros. Melee, paving the way for successive titles to be translated and exported to other countries. It was also the first installment to be made without the involvement of Shouzou Kaga, a prominent figure in the series' creation and the director of every installment through to Thracia 776, who had left Intelligent Systems after Thracia.

The game is set in a new and separate world from its predecessors, the continent of Elibe, a land once wracked by a fierce war between humans and dragons. One thousand years after that conflict, the misanthropic King Zephiel, of the militaristic nation of Bern, has freed the infamous Demon Dragon and engaged the rest of Elibe in a full-scale war with the intent of "freeing" the world from mankind and returning it to its "rightful" dragon owners. In response, Roy, the young heir of Pherae, leads the forces of Lycia in combatting Bern in lieu of his ill father, Marquess Eliwood.

The game was followed up by Fire Emblem, a prequel set twenty years prior, dealing with Roy's father Eliwood in his youth. It helps flesh out Zephiel's history, and sets up and elaborates upon other aspects of the world of Elibe, some only barely touched upon in The Binding Blade.

Plot


Ss fe07 eliwood vs the dragon.png SPOILERS! This section contains key plot or ending details. Read at your own risk! Ss fe07 eliwood vs the dragon.png

1000 years before the events of this game, the land of Elibe was the scene of The Scouring, a brutal war between humans and dragons over the control of the land. Late in this war, mankind forged nine powerful dragon-slaying weapons, the Divine Weapons and the Binding Blade, and gave them to eight powerful fighters who became known as the Eight Generals to use to finish the war. However, the sheer power imbued in the weapons tore apart the world's balance and laws of physics when clashed with the dragon's own potent power, a phenomenon later called the Ending Winter. After the war, fearing the power of the weapons and the possibility of someone using them to cause a catastrophe, the Generals sealed the weapons away in hiding places across the continent, protected by a powerful seal established by one of their number, Bramimond, and once guarded by the lingering spirits of warriors from the war. Over the thousand years, the weapons remained (mostly) undisturbed, and their power - while still formidable - depleted over time.

The fall of the Lycian League

Oppression of The Western Isles

Coup d'etat in Etruria

Retaking Ilia

Liberating Sacae

On Bern's soil

After the Demon Dragon

Gameplay

The Binding Blade retains much of the gameplay of its predecessor, Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, albeit significantly simplified with a number of features removed.

Stat changes

The Binding Blade retains the constitution stat introduced in Thracia, but removes action and the pursuit critical coefficient. Resistance returns to its normal function following its absence in Thracia, and movement and constitution are no longer connected to growth rates. Strength and magic are no longer technically separate stats, but rather are the same value handled differently: physical units treat it as strength, while magical units treat it as magic.

Supports

While the support bonus mechanic had existed in a hidden form in prior games, The Binding Blade converted it into its present form, where supports between units are strengthened by their participation in battles alongside each other and are activated by having units talk to each other. It also introduces the affinity system, where each playable unit bears one of seven elemental affinities which dictates what stat boosts they provide to their support partner.

Weapon triangle

The Trinity of Magic is modified from Thracia 776: fire, thunder and wind magic are consolidated into a single magic type, anima magic. In turn, light and dark magic are integrated into the Trinity of Magic properly rather than their former position as being separate from it: anima beats light, light beats dark, and dark beats anima.

Chapters

In an average playthrough, the game is 25 chapters long, not counting any of the sidequests, of which there are six. At two points in the game, the story diverges into two separate alternate routes before later converging to rejoin a single story route, covering a span of six chapters and one sidequest per playthrough. The game features a total of 39 distinct map chapters, including sidequests and the branched routes. Furthermore, the maps of The Binding Blade are widely known for being significantly larger than those of the other Game Boy Advance installments, putting a greater emphasis on the ability to quickly cross the field.

Characters

The main story mode of The Binding Blade features 54 playable characters, the largest playable cast of the three Game Boy Advance games and one of the largest of the series as a whole, behind Radiant Dawn and New Mystery of the Emblem. However, on an average playthrough only 51 can be encountered and recruited, as the game's forked routes at two points in the game result in pairs of characters appearing only in one route or the other (Lalum/Elphin, Ekhidna/Bartre, Dayan/Juno). A further eight characters can be unlocked to be used exclusively in the game's Trial Map mode, bringing the total playable cast to 62.

Support Conversations

The Binding Blade introduced the support conversation system, an extension of the more rudimentary, behind-the-scenes support systems present in Mystery of the Emblem and Thracia 776. With this system, support bonuses are now obtained by, after characters accumulate the required number of points, having the characters talk to each other, after which their support level increases. This system allowed for a greater level of insight and depth into army members of lesser importance and to their connections and relationships, compared to prior installments where they were by and large left flat and un-fleshed out.

Prerelease information

At an early point in the game's development, the game was titled Fire Emblem: Ankoku no Miko (ファイアーエムブレム 暗黒の巫女 Fire Emblem: Priestess of Darkness); this title was also applied to the ill-fated "Fire Emblem 64" late in the development of said game, and as such The Binding Blade is believed by some to have been created using plot elements remaining from the cancelled game. The title was likely intended to refer to Idenn, who is referred to by that title in the course of the final game and her theme music is named as such.

As of mid-March 2002, weeks prior to the game's Japanese release, Nintendo of America had allegedly confirmed their intent to localize and release The Binding Blade internationally, but these plans never eventuated and instead its prequel, Fire Emblem, became the first internationally-released Fire Emblem game.[2]

Trivia

The title screen in the 2013 revision of The Binding Blade's fan translation.
  • The Binding Blade is currently the only pre-Fire Emblem Japan-only game in the series which has never been re-released on a later Nintendo platform. At this time, none of Nintendo's Virtual Console implementations support Game Boy Advance games to the point of enabling a wide release on the service.

Fan translation

The original fan translation of The Binding Blade was produced by the group DTN Translation Division and saw its first release in 2006; the last stable release was in 2006, in a playable yet unrefined state. In 2013-2014, a heavily updated and polished version of the patch was produced and released by gringe of the Serenes Forest forums. Among the patch's improvements is a total retranslation and rewrite of the game's script, updating the game's graphics and fixing untranslated/poorly translated remnants left by the old translation, and revising terminology to bring the game in line with the English releases of its prequel and Fire Emblem: Awakening.[3]

Gallery

Etymology and other languages

References

  1. NeoSeeker: Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seal (Import)
  2. Harris, Craig. (2002-03-15). "Fire Emblem Hits Japan Airwaves". IGN. Retrieved 2014-03-25
  3. gringe. (2014-03-13). "FE6 Translation Patch Redux v0.95 - Seriously, we did something". Serenes Forest Forums. Retrieved 2014-03-25

External links