Daydreamcast Ep. 19: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light (1990)

It’s a jumbo-sized kick-off to the new year, and to the second season of your favourite video game podcast, with topics aplenty! Our usual cross-generational grab bag this time includes 2009’s Brütal Legend, an action-adventure that’s actually an RTS, and no one’s favourite Bond game, From Russia With Love, a shooter that’s actually a horror game as it turns out! Pavlos shares tales of playing multiplayer games on the Switch with non-gaming-affine friends and recounts the wonders to be gleaned from seeing gaming literacy develop, a process all of us have undergone and that has faded from our memories. And is that the sound of a relatively recent new video game being discussed I hear? Why, yes, as if one game of the week wasn’t enough, we collectively and extensively sing the praises of Paradise Killer, a highly original detective game set in a shiny Vaporwave nightmare setting that you should check out, nenorocito! But that does not replace our actual spotlight title for the episode, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, a game both old and new at the same time. A landmark title for tactical RPGs on the Famicom, the first in Intelligent Systems’ now long-running series, the twice-remade debut never saw a Western release until last year. It benefits from various quality-of-life improvements which mostly speed up the the gameplay and provide rollback options – a welcome addition to a sometimes obtuse and often challenging experience –, giving everyone an opportunity to investigate the roots of a beloved Nintendo series. We break down its systems and many innovations therein, but also highlight the equally numerous shortcomings that stick out, particularly with later iterations in mind. Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light harkens back to a simpler time; a period of peace, it takes place in the pre-waifu era just before the evil wizard Anime broke free from his prison and laid waste to the lands, consuming everything in his path. No trace of that here, and that’s real justice served.

Timestamps:
Whatcha Playing
00:00 James Bond 007: From Russia With Love (2005)
10:47 GOTY 1985 addendum
16:53 Multiplayer games on Switch, the beauty of NES Ice Hockey (1988), and Gaming Literacy
36:20 Brütal Legend (2009)
43:04 Paradise Killer (2019)
Featured Game
01:12:30 Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light

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