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Long ago, Medeus, king of the dragonkin, conquered the continent of Akaneia, beginning an age of fear and despair for all its people. That tyranny was broken, however, thanks to a miracle. A young man hailing from the Altea region appeared with a divine blade in hand. He stood against the Shadow Dragon, and struck him down. [...] However, after a century's passing, the Shadow Dragon returned. He forged an alliance with a fiendish sorcerer who sought to rule the world, and their combines might topple kingdom upon unsuspecting kingdom. Again, darkness threatened to engulf the continent.
—Shadow Dragon prologue
The original Fire Emblem timeline, and by far the one most proliferated in the franchise, sporting a respectable three main games, two remakes, four Satellaview maps, an OVA and countless manga adaptations. Yes, these are the ones with Marth.
- Fire Emblem: The Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light (Famicom, 1990) is the franchise's debut, starring Prince Marth of Altea (who would appear in Super Smash Bros Melee and Super Smash Bros Brawl before the remake of the first game was released internationally). It tells of his efforts to win back his homeland and the entirety of Akaneia from the Dolhr empire, and of his search for his family's Ancestral Weapon Falchion, which is needed if the dragon emperor Medeus is to fall. A Fan Translation was completed in 2011.
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (Nintendo DS, 2008/2009) is a remake of the first game, and is generally counted as the eleventh installment in the franchise. It is the first game in the series to have a vaguely decent multiplayer mode, complete with online play, and has a new feature that lets the player switch the classes of their units at will; otherwise, it's pretty much a straight remake with only a few additions and modifications. With the release of Shadow Dragon, Marth is now the record holder for "longest delayed solo debut after a debut in another series".
- Fire Emblem Gaiden (Famicom, 1992) is the second game, taking place in the same world as the first game but on the fairly distant continent of Valencia, and its plot has minimal relation to that of the first game. It once was the odd duck of the series, playing quite differently and featuring a lot of unique gameplay elements that haven't been seen since (or only in its spiritual successors Fire Emblem the Sacred Stones and Tear Ring Saga). A Fan Translation was completed in November 2009. It was remade as FE Echoes: Shadows of Valentia in 2017 (see below)
- Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (Super Famicom, 1993) is the third title in the series, comprising both a compressed remake of the first game and a new sequel, giving players the option to skip to the sequel if they're already familiar with the original game. In the sequel, several years after the fall of Medeus, Marth is dispatched by Emperor Hardin of Akaneia to deal with an uprising in Grust, but is appalled by what he actually finds happening there. A fan translation was completed in March 2008.
- Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem ~Heroes of Light and Darkness~ (Nintendo DS, 2010), generally counted as the twelfth title, is a remake of Book 2 of Mystery of the Emblem. Unlike Shadow Dragon, it is far less of a direct redo; it reincorporates characters left out of the original Mystery, introduces those from the Satellaview chapters and Shadow Dragon, alters the story slightly and implements a completely new subplot, as well as the inclusion of a player created character. It includes remakes of the four Akaneia War Chronicles chapters as bonus content, as well as completely new bonus chapters as downloadable content. For reasons unknown, it didn't receive an English release, so a fan translation was made as well.
- BS Fire Emblem: Akaneia War Chronicles (Super Famicom / Satellaview, 1997) is a collection of four Satellaview broadcast maps based on the Mystery of the Emblem engine, telling a number of sidestories set before the beginning of the first game and between the first and third. The nature of these games' distribution system makes them difficult to emulate at all, never mind with accuracy, so they generally go overlooked. These four maps are generally considered to comprise a single game and are for the most part not counted in the numbering scheme of the Fire Emblem series, though Guinness World Records does count them.
- Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (Nintendo 3DS, 2017). A remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, counted as the fifteenth game of the saga. Not only it retells the story of Alm and Celica, but it also adds new characters like their fourth commoner friend (and Alm's Unrequited Tragic Maiden) Faye, Emperor Rudolf's heir Prince Berkut, Clive and Clair's once-friend Fernand, Berkut's girlfriend Rinea, and a mysterious masked knight who's revealed to be Celica's long-lost half-brother, Prince Conrad. It also dwells more on the characters' themselves, who were considered as rather flat by FE standards until then, and adds more "meat" to the conflicts between the Kingdom of Zofia and the Empire of Rigel.
Also present in the Akaneia canon are countless manga retellings, as well as a two-episode anime OVA adaptation of Mystery of the Emblem. It actually was dubbed and released in the US by ADV Films, long before Super Smash Bros happened, but remains quite obscure. Additionally, the next two Fire Emblem games, Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776, are set in the same universe as the Akaneia games but in the distant past and on a completely different continent, Jugdral; the stories are pretty much only connected through Naga, the Divine Dragon God who has a large role in the histories of both continents. Fire Emblem Awakening is set in the distant future of the Akaneia universe, with the Royal Family of Ylisse (including The Protagonist Chrom, his sisters Emmeyn and Lissa, plus his future daughter Lucina, Lissa's future son Owain and any of Chrom's other prospect kids) being the descendants of Marth and Caeda. Posterior games like Fire Emblem: Warriors and Fire Emblem: Heroes often feature Akaneia characters as well, almost always led by Marth and Caeda.
This sub-series provides examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: The Nintendo DS remakes to the original Famicom games, but New Mystery of the Emblem in particular.
- A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Gharnef is Gotoh's ex-student.
- Art Evolution: Mystery of the Emblem was the first Fire Emblem to have an actual artist in the development team. To give an example, look at Astram's portrait between the various games: FE1, FE3, FE11, FE12
- More apparent in Shadow Dragon, as the character art was done by Shirow Masamune.
- All Love Is Unrequited: the Hardin/Nyna/Camus triangle in Book 2, Palla's feelings for Abel, Catria for Marth, and all the guys crushing on Caeda.
- The Anime of the Game: A 2-episode OVA based off of the first game was released in 1996, and was licensed by ADV Films in 1997. Word of God put out that it was supposed to last longer, but did not due to a lack of funds. Marth was voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa, who went on to voice him from the OAV and Super Smash Bros onwards; his dub voice was Spike Spencer, who in said games (not only Smash but also Awakening, Fates, Warriors, Heroes) was replaced by Yuri Lowenthal.
- Back From the Dead: Camus/Zeke/Sirius in Gaiden and Mystery of the Emblem, this time aiding you on your quest. Also Michalis, though he gets Killed Off for Real near the endgame.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Book 2 Hardin.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Used in the remake of Mystery of the Emblem. The Bishonen Michalis not only gets to come back from death twice, but also lose all his scars, become a king, then leave the continent and become the king of another continent! And this is after he killed his own father, was a Bad Boss to his soldiers, and an overall tyrant. However, this is also becuse his younger sister and Morality Pet Maria still loved him and endlessly prayed for him. . .. Seems you get a third chance if you’re really hot, but if you’re not attractive you don’t even get a second.
- Ditto for Ellerean as well (bonus points for being a blonde Long-Haired Pretty Boy).
- Still, there are no second chances for Clarisse and Eremiya, not even for their beauty.
- Captain Obvious: Jagen in Mystery of the Emblem.
"Sir Marth, there is a desert ahead of us."
- Character Customization: The new main character of the Mystery of the Emblem DS remake is actually a creation of the player, built from a selection of designs and attributes.
- Crapsack World: Akaneia really starts to seem like this in Book 2 and when you read up on its history.
- Conspicuous CG: The art style of Shadow Dragon; improved slightly in New Mystery.
- Crutch Character: Jagen is a very well-known example and former Trope Namer. In the original, he has less than a 10% chance of raising each stat upon level up (with some having a 0% chance), but starts decent compared to your level 1 unpromoted units. Arran replaces him in book 2 (Jagen is now Marth's tactician and doesn't fight) with only slightly better growths (Arran has a defense growth) and is worse than Jagen in the remake (his only advantage over a statsless replacement unit in growths is 10% extra luck growth).
- The remake gives Caeda a special weapon to compensate for her new inability (thanks to the introduction of weapon ranks) to grab Jagen's silver lance to compensate for her rather weak start.
- Averted by Wolf and Sedgar in the remake Shadow Dragon. They look like classic Crutch Characters, and even completely worthless if you look at their stats... however, they compensate for having much less levels by having some amazing stat growths, making both Wolf and Sedgar very viable late-game. (However, power-leveling them in the arena at early levels can be pretty bad since the game didn't seem to take the stats into account when generating arena enemies, making Wolf and Sedgar having the stats of a level 1-5 character fighting stats of someone at level 18+)
- Darker and Edgier: FE3 Book 2/New Mystery when compared to FE1 /FE3 Book1/ Shadow Dragon. Not as much as the Jugdral Series, but things have gotten much worse for Akaneia by that point.
- Dead Guy on Display: When Marth's army moves in on Pales in Shadow Dragon, Nyna recalls that this done to her entire family in the early days of the war.
- Depending on the Artist: The Infinity+1 Lance Gradivus is illustrated in the official artwork for both Shadow Dragon and New Mystery, being held by its initial wielders in each, Camus and Hardin respectively. However, the colour and patterns on its spearhead differ significantly between the two, and the spearhead itself is shaped slightly differently.
- Disney Death: Camus. Michalis gets two in the remake!
- Doomed by Canon: Whoever you pick as the decoy in the prologue of Shadow Dragon. Canonically, this is Frey. However, check Gameplay and Story Integration.
- Embedded Precursor: Book 1 of Mystery of the Emblem.
- (almost) Everybody Lives: New Mystery of the Emblem allows you to avoid a shocking number of character deaths such as Michalis and the Wolfpack from the original, leaving only faceless Mooks, Hardin, Lorenz, Boah (heavily implied), and a few Complete Monster characters.
- Shadow Dragon made most people think that everyone lived...except the sacrifice. Except this was actually the case.
- Equipment Spoiler: Subverted in Mystery of the Emblem's Book 2: You can get a few axes, but never get an axe user; you're supposed to sell them for cash. Averted in the remake, which features playable axe users and replaces those bonus axes with simply getting bonus money.
- Fan Translation: Of course.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: A mild but very clever form of it. The sacrifice in the prologue of FE11 can't be brought back using the one use "bring unit back from the dead" staff (even though characters that die by other means in the prologue can). Frey (who doesn't appear when the prologue is skipped and is seen as the canon sacrifice) appears in the tutorial in New Mystery of the Emblem. He reveals through conversations with the player character that he was the canonical sacrifice, but upon being discovered as a fake, was beaten up and left for dead. Frey was then rescued by some citizens, and survived with some memory loss and a terrible scar. So thus, you could not revive him with the Aum staff...because Frey never actually died to begin with!
- Guide Dang It: Recruitment requirements (a good number of people actually try to recruit Camus, or even Michalis), as well as gaiden chapter requirements in the FE 3 remake.
- Heroic Lineage: A strange case. Marth and the other Altean royal family members claim linage from Anri, the hero that defeated Medeus. Then Mystery of the Emblem reveals that they aren't actually descended from Anri, but his younger brother Marcelus. Yet Marth is called Anri's descendent anyway.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: Especially infuriating in Dark Dragon. You can only give items to another unit, and once you've given an item, the unit's turn ends.
- Joke Item: FE3 loves this -- they give you silver axes in a game where absolutely no one is able to use them.  The remake gives you a bouquet of odds and ends, not the least of which is a bloody frying pan!
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Nagi's support with My Unit, she reveals she has some sort of divination ability and seems notes that My Unit is "an enigma" "guided by a mysterious fate" (That is, he/she is a glorifed player avatar), while MU notes he has felt someone's guidance. Strange.
- Left for Dead: The ultimate fate of the decoy (canonically Frey) from FE11's Prologue, according to FE12.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: New Mystery brings back characters from Shadow Dragon who never appeared in the original FE3 (including the SD-exclusive characters) and even adds the characters who only appeared in the BSFE episodes. Player controlled units in the main game alone add up to 77, the largest playable cast of the entire series (just edging out Radiant Dawn at 73).
- Lost Forever: The Falchion in FE1 and 3. You know, the sword that is pretty much the only way to win the game? Shadow Dragon fixes that by giving you a weaker version if you fail to get the actual Falchion.
- It's worth noting that at least in the remake, Falchion isn't necessary to beat the boss. If for example Marth was barely used throughout the game and thus still of a low level, it's still possible to complete the final chapter with said low-level Marth sitting on a fort to prevent reinforcements spawning while others take down the boss.
- It's also worth noting that in the remake, to get the weaker Falchion, you have to have not only missed it but also have let Tiki die. (Tiki is the only other way to kill the final boss outside of Cherry Tapping). As this happens, a mysterious woman named Nagi shows up to sorta fill her role and gives said weaker Falchion to the crew. . .
- Love Triangle: Type 4 Love triangle in Book 1 with Hardin as A, Nyna as B, and Camus as C. In book 2, it becomes a type 5 as Camus now loves Teeta.
- Humans Are Bastards: But Manaketes aren't really any better.
- Just a Kid: Samson, Michalis and Hardin all dismiss Marth this way at some point in Mystery of the Emblem.
- Mercy Mode: The DS remakes give you replacement units if your unit count is less than the minimum required for a chapter.
- Easy Mode Mockery: Shadow Dragon gave you replacement units with rather insulting names like "Lucer", "Auffle", "Laim", "Rejek", "Owend", "Wymp", and "Wieklin"...
- Mind Control Eyes: In the DS version, Maria, Lena, Nyna, and Elice have this
- Mission Pack Prequel: What BS Fire Emblem basically amounts to.
- Nintendo Hard: Lunatic in New Mystery makes Hard 5 in Shadow Dragon look like a joke. (Seriously? Having to deal with a 19 ATK Archer supported by any number of enemies that can 2 hit kill your guys so early on?)
- No Export for You: Obviously, the original games had this status, and the fact that the 12th game is a remake of the third suggests that Gaiden will probably retain this status forever. New Mystery of the Emblem sadly looks to have also gone this way. Still, Gaiden itself was remade AND localized as FE: Echoes for the 3DS, so not all hope is lost. . .
- No Pronunciation Guide: The English dub of the OVA has some rather strange pronunciations of some of the location names - its handling of pronouncing "Durhua" (aka Dolhr) is particularly prone to inconsistency.
- Nostalgia Level: FE3/FE12 has several of them, each taking place on the same area as a level from FE1/FE3 Book 1/FE11.
- Chapter 8 takes place on the Chiasmir bridge where Marth's army fought the sable knights (this level was not present in FE3 Book 1).
- Chapter 9 takes place in the Khadein desert where Gharnef first appeared.
- Chapters 15 and 16 involve Marth liberating Altea again.
- Chapter 17 takes place at the Gra Bastion where Marth faced Jiol.
- Chapter 19 takes place in the pass of Archanea outside of the palace.
- Chapter 20 takes place inside the palace of Archanea where Midia is held as a hostage again.
- Purple Prose: The English localization of Shadow Dragon is incredibly eloquent and floral to the point of bordering on this trope, an incredibly stark contrast to the rather barebones scripts of the earlier Dark Dragon and Mystery fan translations, and also fairly different from earlier official localizations of the series. In a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, common consensus is that the game is much better off for it, with the New Mystery fan translation seeking to emulate the style.
Malledus: "Sire... You must live. Drink deeply now of these injustices; sip on these slights they serve. Remember them!"
- Redemption Equals Death: Having been nursed back to health by his sister and not quite killed by the other after apparently dying in FE1/FE3 Book 1/FE11, Michalis (formerly someone evil enough to kill his own father) dies stealing Starlight from Garnef to give to Marth's group in FE3 book 2/FE12. It is possible to keep him alive in FE12, then he loses his scars and becomes a king, then leaves to become a king on another continent.
- Ret Canon: The 12th game properly introduces a lot of bits that were originally just Word of God backgrounds to the story proper. For example, a conversation between My Unit and Ogma brings up Ogma's fighting style being based on gladiatorial fighting.
- Send in the Clones: When confronted at Thabes in Shadow Dragon/Book 1, Gharnef creates two clones to confuse the player. It's taken further in New Mystery with Roro, whose clones endlessly replace themselves until the real one is defeated. You can even control some of his clones in a downloadable episode.
- Someone Has to Die: The final prequel chapter in Shadow Dragon requires that the player select a unit to act as a decoy for a pursuing army. Interestingly, the game actually accounts for a few variations: it won't let the player send Marth, and the locked door preventing escape will open if you kill Gordin as an enemy or if Marth is the only unit to survive that long.
- Subverted as of New Mystery, Frey (who is the canon sacrifice) explains what really happened...
- Spell My Name with an "S": All over the place, by necessity of how long they went without an official translation; very few names are remotely consistent and standardised, among them being "Marth" and "Camus". A particularly interesting example occurred long before then: Marth being called "Mars" in the dubbed OVA (though it was still pronounced closer to "Marth" than it was how "Mars" is normally pronounced). The English release of Shadow Dragon managed to both put many of the name quandries to rest AND create even more with differences between the European and American versions!
- Spiteful AI: Seemingly, the computer are more interested in scoring casualties rather than killing Marth, even if they can. they know that if a character dies, the player's likely to consider the battle "lost" and restart anyways.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: In Mystery of the Emblem and its remake, Lorenz dies at the end of chapter 1, which is his only appearance in the whole game; later, Boah is strongly implied to have died in his brief appearance late in the game.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Very much so, especially in harder difficulties, there are mooks using forged version of otherwise unforgable weapons. Also, especially in the remakes, many enemies have their own unobtainable weapons such as Swarm, Meteor, and Glower tomes.
- Time Skip: The events of Mystery of the Emblem happen 2 (or 4) years after Dark Dragon. The new prologue chapters in Shadow Dragon happen 3 years before the latter.
- Translation Train Wreck: The Mystery of the Emblem fan translation is... unfortunate, with an overly literal interpretation of the dialogue that can be pretty stifling to read at times. Luckily, some redemption is coming in the form of New Mystery's fan translation.
- Two-Part Trilogy: Zig-Zagged. Unlike other examples of that trope, it's the middle one of the trilogy that's disconnected, only sharing a couple of characters and the world in common.
- Vendor Trash: In the NDS remakes, there are items called 'Bullion' which serves only as this with three different values depending on its size.
- In FE3 Book Two, you can obtain three Silver Axes over the course of the whole campaign; however, there are NO units that can actually equip them, thus rendering them little more than free gold.
- It gets worse in Book Two towards the tail-end of Chapter 20 when you obtain the Gradivus, the strongest lance in the game -- when the next chapter is the only place the player can effectively use it before the Final Chapter. Normally, Armors and Cavaliers (and their promoted classes) can equip the Gradivus assuming they have sufficient weapon skill. Unfortunately, Cavaliers can only wield lances when mounted, and they are forced to dismount indoors and fight with swords, and to make things worse, the Final Chapter is entirely indoors. This leaves the two Armors (Draug and Sheema), who are unfortunately very subpar units and not worth using in the last level. This often results in players either using the Gradivus exclusively in Chapter 21 and/or selling it so they can buy the higher quality swords, tomes, and stat boosting items.
- In FE3 Book Two, you can obtain three Silver Axes over the course of the whole campaign; however, there are NO units that can actually equip them, thus rendering them little more than free gold.
- You were meant to sell them for funds; they are replaced by bags of money in the remake, as it actually has axe users.