Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, known in Japan as Fire Emblem: Seima no Kōseki (ファイアーエムブレム 聖魔の光石, Faiā Emuburemu: Seima no Kōseki?, Fire Emblem: Shining Stones of Holiness and Evil), is a tactical role-playing game for the Game Boy Advance published by Nintendo. It is the eighth game in the Fire Emblem series, the third and final game in the series to be released for the Game Boy Advance and the second game in the series to be released outside Japan.
The game builds on the game mechanics used in the previous two Game Boy Advance Fire Emblem titles—Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi and Fire Emblem—but takes place on a different world. Set on the continent of Magvel, the plot focuses on royal twins Princess Eirika and Prince Ephraim as they investigate why a longtime ally has chosen to invade their nation’s borders and the sudden appearance of monsters all over Magvel.
Though it received positive reviews, The Sacred Stones was criticized for making only superficial improvements over the previous game. Despite these comments, the game received an average rating of 85% on Game Rankings
The Sacred Stones introduces several new concepts and revives some old ones used in previous Fire Emblem games. The most notable change is the map system, which allows the player to have more control of how much experience the team gets and thus how they level-up.
The Sacred Stones retains the basic gameplay fundamentals seen in Fire Emblem; such mechanics like the weapon and magic triangles are identical to the previous game. The storyline and associated battles are divided into 22 chapters, of which six chapters are different between Eirika’s and Ephraim’s route. There are 28 chapters in total during the main course of the game.
A notable difference that separates The Sacred Stones from previous Game Boy Advance Fire Emblem titles is the use of a navigable world map, a mechanic first used in Fire Emblem Gaiden. Rather than limit the ability to train units and buy items to story battles, the ability to traverse the world map allows players more freedom in choosing how to play the game. It is possible to purchase weapons and items by visiting shops at points scattered across Magvel. Basic iron weapons and low-level tomes can also be purchased at an inflated cost from the armory in the supply caravan before battle, and units can pull items from the supply caravan during battle when standing adjacent to the main character. The Sacred Stones features monsters, all of which appear only as enemies, which are battled in some chapters in the main game. It is also possible to enter “Skirmish” battles against monsters unrelated to the story, and also a set of skirmishes inside particular structures that provide treasure but the player is unable to save between battles.
The Sacred Stones also introduces a branching class-change system. Units must use specific items to change class. The player is now given a choice in what type of advanced class a character can become, for example, Wyvern Riders may become either Wyvern Lords or Wyvern Knights. The only units that do not get to choose between classes are the two Lords, Eirika and Ephraim, who each change into their own unique class.
Trainee classes were introduced in The Sacred Stones, which precede some of the previously basic classes. These include Journeymen, Recruits and Pupils. Characters that are in a trainee class gain more experience than usual, and when they reach Level 10, they stop gaining experience and can class-change at the beginning of the next battle without the aid of an item. As with other classes, players can choose one of two basic classes to change into. After certain criteria are met, the trainee classes have a third class-change option, which is a slightly stronger version of the original trainee class.
The skill system was first introduced in Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, and made a return in The Sacred Stones. In Fire Emblem - The Sacred Stones, some unit classes have a unique skill that gives it an advantage in battle. For example, the Bishop’s “Slayer” skill triples a weapon’s might when fighting monsters. The skills are connected to the unit classes and cannot be removed.
The Sacred Stones features a multiplayer Link Arena structured identically to that found in the previous game. In addition, there is an unlockable “Creature Campaign.” Players can enter the Tower of Valni or Lagdou Ruins and progress through them by fighting battles against monsters. Reaching certain floors will unlock secret characters, most of which appeared as opponents in the main story. There are three available difficulty settings—easy, normal and hard. The easy version acts as a tutorial, and is aimed at newcomers to the series.
There are thirty-three units in Fire Emblem - The Sacred Stones that can engage in support conversations. The support system works as exactly the same as in Fire Emblem’s support system, in both the advantages that they offer and the way they can be obtained; as in Fire Emblem, a “support viewer” is available in which all attained support conversations can be re-read. Support conversations can be attained in the optional skirmish battles and extra battles in the Creature Campaign.
|Fire Emblem – The Sacred Stones|
|Platform(s)||Game Boy Advance|
|Release date(s)||JP October 7, 2004
NA May 23, 2005
EU November 4, 2005
|Mode(s)||Campaign (Single player)
Link Arena (Multiplayer)
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