Fire Emblem - Seisen no Keifu (Japan) [En by Dark Twilkitri Net v0.87d] (~Fire Emblem - Genealogy of the Holy War) ROM
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) ROMsGenre: StrategyRole-Playing
Rating: CERO: A
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Game Description & Reviews:
The Fire Emblem series, despite being one of the oldest TRPGs (Tactical Role Playing Game), was not released outside Japan until the twenty-first century. Thus, many of its finest titles would not be accessible for non-Japanese speakers were it not for these unofficial translations. Credit therefore should be given to Dark Twilkitri for making this game playable for Anglophones.
Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, (hereafter FE: GHW) was the first FE game to be set in the continent of Jugdral. The story revolves around the relationship between Jugdral's main power, the Grandbell Empire and the neighbouring states, along with the nefarious activities of a vile monotheist cult. In the midst of such political conflict and religious intrigue, the player leads his army on a path of righteousness and conquest, with each victory resulting in further development of the storyline, which contains a major twist in the middle of the game.
As noted earlier, FE:GHW is a tactical role playing game: hence gameplay is based on managing a military force and manoeuvring its units in turn-based battles. However, the sheer size of the maps in this game, distinguishes it from every other TRPG I've played so far; they are sufficiently large to permit strategic as well as tactical operations. Indeed, each of its chapters (in contrast to later Fire Emblems, such as Path of Radiance or Radiant Dawn) constitutes a full-fledged campaign, with numerous strongholds to capture and defend. The player can rest assured that this ROM will keep him occupied for quite a while.
There are some other gameplay elements that distinguish FE: GHW from subsequent console Fire Emblem titles. Weapons can easily be repaired in towns, which also contain arenas for gaining experience and money. Castles heal units that are stationed in them, and provide a substantial defence bonus as well; they play a major role in the game, since almost every chapter commences with the defence of one's headquarters and concludes with the seizure of the enemy's. Since the levels are vast, warp and return staves (which move units to castles or headquarters respectively) are much more useful in this Fire Emblem than in later ones, whilst healing staves are a little less important since castles as well as churches can also be relied on to regenerate units. Overall, the game is sufficiently different to interest, but also sufficiently similar not to confuse, anyone familiar with other TRPGs.
Graphically, FE: GHW is quite charming. Terrain, units and weapons are all distinctly drawn, as are the character portraits. The battle and staff animations are excellent, as befits one of the specialities of the Fire Emblem series. In contrast, the music (with the exception of the Epilogue's track) is suitable but not spectacular. However, the sound effects have been very well done: for example, the hoof-steps of promoted units sound different from those of ordinary ones.
There is significant room for improvement nonetheless. First and foremost, moving items between units is an expensive hassle in this game: the unit has to sell the weapon or staff at the pawn shop, and then the other unit has to buy it at twice the price! No respectable army functions like this. The inefficient exchange mechanism might be tolerable if money can be easily transferred between units, but that is not the case either. In addition, FE:GHW is not fully translated; this does not prevent one from enjoying the game, but it does prevent one from enjoying the ending. Last, but not least, the storyline may not be to everyone's tastes.
Genealogy of the Holy War is a title that TRPG gamers in general, and Fire Emblem fans in particular, will delight in; others might be better off familiarizing themselves with the genre before trying this - but they too will be grateful that this game is now in English. Thanks again to Mr. Tristan Wilkinson and others for taking the effort to translate this ROM; may they find happiness here and hereafter.
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