Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Rarity of games

I've been trying to purchase most of the games that I play, partially to support the used game community, but also to get the instruction booklet. I like to at least start the game with only the information in the instructions, and some games I've played are obscure enough that even Japanese sites don't have good information on them. I wasn't able to get any during Covid because shipping costs would have been through the roof, but cheap(er) shipping has started again. I also typically skip buying the game if the price is over $30 before shipping. I just went through ebay to see the prices of all the games I haven't bought yet that I have passed in my list. These were the games that were not available for less than $100, which I suppose means they're the rarest:

  • Nage Libre (SFC) (this was not originally on my list but it's been added to 1995)
  • Shining Force Gaiden Final Conflict (GG)
  • Heian Fuunden (SFC)
  • Der Langrisser FX (PC-FX)

I think the most expensive was Der Langrisser, which is not surprising given how poorly the PC-FX sold. However, they are all cheaper than Fire Emblem Thracia 776.

Part of me wants to spend whatever I have to in order to get a complete set of CIB strategy RPGs, but I don't really know what the purpose of that would be.

I'll be back in a couple of weeks with Energy Breaker.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Game 56 - Fire Emblem: Genealogy Of Holy War - Stages 9 to end

Chapter 9

The initial part of this map was difficult. You immediately get rushed by two different sets of units. The first one wasn't so bad but Hannibal's armor group was tricky -- I had a hard time surviving the enemy phases. Eventually I had everyone arranged right. What makes it difficult is that if you want to recruit Hannibal, you can't defeat him, and you have to get Seris down to the second castle. Hannibal will begin to retreat back to the castle when most of his troops are beaten, and you can just block the castle entrance and he'll sit there waiting.

I also sent Fee out to the left to deal with the bandits; it wasn't working at first but she eventually got a critical hit that helped out a lot. Sety continues to be a monster.

In the next part I got trolled by this lady thief that steals your gold -- I lost 65,000 gold and couldn't even save the town in the end. Other than that this stage isn't too bad. There's a triple group of dragon riders that come out at the end. I put Lester on the home castle to guard it but didn't bother with the others; I wasn't really concerned about my rank so I let castles get destroyed if it was too annoying to save them.

Chapter 10

The last two stages have a lot of units with sleep staffs. This is annoying because I put the Rest staff on Julia, not knowing that she would leave until the end of the game -- there's only one Rest staff in the entire game. I really do not like the item management system in this game. So what this meant is that often I had to rely on Selis, Fee, and Aress who were reasonably good at dodging the sleep attacks or resisting them. If I did take in my whole force I just had to accept that 5-7 of them would get put to sleep and hope I could finish the enemies before that.

First there's a huge group of mages. I tried a couple of strategies to deal with them but the right one ended up being just charging them and taking out as many as I could in one round.

Next up a group of horsemen arrive. Fee is taking her usual role of speeding ahead to stop the bandits from destroying towns.

The next difficult part in the stage is when Ishtar and Julius are both near the castle.

Julius is very difficult to defeat and both Julius and Ishtar can kill almost anyone. They will both leave when they either kill one of your units, or you kill either of them. So one easy way to pass this section would just be to sacrifice a minor unit that's not very useful (I don't have the Valkyrie staff since I didn't pair Claude with anyone in gen 1).

I was not successful at all in luring them in; what I eventually did was have Altena kill Ishtar; she started out of the range but then I used Leen dancer ability to give her another move. One they were gone the castle fell easily.

The final part of the stage is not hard. This section has an easy choke point.

Move Selis out here to get the Tyrfing.

Then beat Emperor Alvis, and the stage is done. I beat him with Altena -- I was mainly using her because the discord people were badmouthing her so much that I wanted to prove her usefulness.

Chapter 11

The beginning section has annoying mages with sleep staffs so you have to send out some units to beat them. Then there's a wall of annoyance:

Lots of sleep staff mages, and too many enemies to just charge in with Selis. Basically what I did was take as many units as I could at the bottom of the enemy formation, accept that I would get a lot of sleeping units, and move Selis up to take the castle as quickly as possible.

The next part of the game is not difficult; they create a "pincer attack" to supposedly trap you but the units move so slowly that it doesn't matter -- you can just take the top castle and ignore the "pincer".

The next part is one of the hardest in the game and probably the true "final boss".

Those five mages have sleep staffs. The pegasus knights are very hard to hit, and hit very hard in return with Earth Swords that steal your HP. Ishtar is there, as are a bunch of strong units. I lost many times -- one time I managed to do it but the castle got destroyed. Eventually I went back to a save before I conquered the castle. First I took out all the sleep staff mages with Fee. I then moved everyone up and was still having problems. But eventually I got the right formation. For some reason the pegasus sisters decided to all attack Shanan, who was easily able to dodge their attacks and take them out with Balmung. From there the rest of the enemies were manageable, just being careful of Ishtar's range.

At this point the game is more or less over. The last two castles are an interesting setup but I guess they match the way the other games' final bosses have worked. Julius sits in the castle surrounded by 12 powerful units representing every type of weapon. It is apparently possible to take them all on with your main force but it's very difficult and the dialogue clearly indicates that's not what you're supposed to do.

Instead, you need to free Julia from her mind control by going up to the NE castle. I took only Selis, Aless, and Fee. Julia will helpfully follow them, and if you take the roundabout path to the north you can avoid the 12 units from moving. The mages can be taken out pretty easily, then Selis talks to Julia and Julia visits the castle to receive the Naga magic.


With Naga, Julia can take out the 12 powerful units plus Julius on her own. I sent Selis with her for the leadership bonus and to help pick off some of the units. As I said, this "special weapon to kill the final boss" has been in all four games to now.

After the credits you get a ranking -- mine was pretty low because I let a lot of castles get destroyed, and lost a fair number of units (it saves the stats even if you reset).

Overall I had fun with FE4 -- I'm not sure that the larger maps had the same quality of design as the previous games, and the numerous palette-swapped characters felt more generic than some of the previous titles. But the story was entertaining, and the gameplay in general was fun. As I said before, I really did not like the way gold and items were handled in the game despite fans of the series praising it.


This is the last we'll see of Fire Emblem for a while. The next game was released in September 1999, one of the last games for the Super Famicom. I always find this amazing because at this point the PS2 was six months away and the Nintendo 64 had passed its peak release schedule. But the last game for the SFC came out after the PS2's release!

Next up is Energy Breaker, the last of the SFC SRPGs (aside from Fire Emblem 5).

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Game 56 - Fire Emblem: Genealogy Of Holy War - Stages 6-8

Stage 6

You start out with a whole new set of people here, and slowly build up your party again. Given the length of this game, it's almost like two games in one. Lakche and Skasaha are twins, children of Arya and Aeden. I found that Lakche was a great character but Skasaha not so good, even though they should be similar. I think it may simply be the equipment; Lakche starts with the Hero Sword, which is a big help. You can put siblings together and they may get a critical hit bonus.

The first task is to choose between Johan and Johalva, or kill them both. It seems like the best one to take is Johalva; if you conquer the south castle, Julia gets a better attack magic than if you conquer the left one. But neither character is all that good (because early FE hates axes). This was a little tough to do with both armies rushing me, but eventually I was able to get Lakche in there to talk to Johalva. I did have to restart though -- the first time I went too slow. Johalva chased Arthur into the mountains and got killed by counterattacks.

The rest of the stage is not too bad.

Stage 7


This stage is quite complex. You start with three separate groups of characters -- Leif, Finn, and Nanna at the bottom, Patty and Shannan at the left, and the main group in the NE.

The first group is separated from the rest of the party until near the end of the stage. They start out having to deal with some troops attacking their castle, and another force will come out later. You can abandon the castle (without it being destroyed) and head away. Despite my unpromoted Finn I kept everyone at the castle except Nanna, who went out to deal with the town bandits. This took some coaxing (Finn kept dying) but it worked in the end.

Patty can talk to Shannan and give him a legendary weapon, which makes it fairly easy to keep that team alive provided Patty doesn't make a wrong move. I moved the main army towards this area, took out all the enemies, and conquered the castle.

Now we have to head south, and recruit Aless. He has a legendary weapon so you have to be careful, but once he's recruited he's a great unit. Tinny can also be recruited fairly easily. Now we have to head back up to take over the castle we skipped and rescue Leen (our gen 2 dancer)


The final area's not too bad except for the boss -- the bosses on the whole get much more difficult from this point out. It was helpful to use all of the evade up effects stacking on each other. Next stage we get Folsety again, which is a good boss killer.

Stage 8 

The beginning of this stage has a few units go up to the castle at the top. I found it impossible to actually defend that castle with the annoying spear knights, and so I just abandoned it and took everyone south. It wasn't that hard to deal with them all near the starting castle before I moved forward.

Recruiting Faval with Patty isn't too difficult (I may have danced to get her into range).

Sety has Folsety so there's not too much difficulty with him and these dragons, although a lot of them went around the castle to attack me instead. Bows > Dragons

I got trolled by a thief here that stole 65,000 of my gold and then I wasn't even able to save the town. Oh well.

One side note -- this game reuses enemy faces quite a bit.

He starts out on the first stage as Zane but he appears at least 5 more times. They even did this with some more significant figures, which is kind of strange.

Three stages left!

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Game 56 - Fire Emblem: Genealogy Of Holy War - Stages 4 and 5

Stage 4

This is a long stage with a lot of annoying backtracking. A lot of the enemies are mages with long range Blizzard attacks, and there are a fair amount of bowmen and pegasus knights as well. First we head up NE all the way to the castle at the top. 

 After that one is conquered, the bottom part opens up, but a troop of pegasus knights also heads towards the castle at the top. So I kept about half my force there (including the bowmen) and sent everyone else down. Unfortunately I didn't realize that a fair number of units cannot cross the mountains and so can't make it to the next castle without first conquering it and then using the Warp Staff. Also, you really want Levin down there so he can visit the castle for the Folsety magic. I also had to deal with Pamela heading back for a second round of pegasi.

In the end it took a lot of resets but I managed to conquer and hold the bottom castle against the reinforcements, losing only Arden in the process. I revived him with the one use of the Valkyrie staff (30k repair!). At this point the rest of the stage is not difficult. 

At this point I had my love matchups: Arden/Aida, Levin/Fury, Azel/Tilty, Jamka/Aeden, Dew/Lachesis, and Alec/Sylvia.

Stage 5

This is the last stage of the first generation. As far as I can see the instruction manual says nothing about the generations, but it is on the back of the box, so I don't think it would have been a surprise. But it is a sudden development that this stage ends when you still have 2 castles left, so I think that would have been a shock to people playing for the first time.

The first challenge is reaching Sigurd's father so that Sigurd can get Tyrfing. You need to move up their fast so the enemies will not go for his dad, but you have to sent some units W as well. I had to restart at least once but finally I was able to open a path up.

Next it's through the desert, which is annoying because everyone moves so slowly. I don't know why SRPGs always think they have to have slow movement areas in every game. There are mages hiding out on bluffs, but the pegasus knight can take them on effectively. There's also a large force of dragon knights; I hung back until they killed Cuan and Ethlyn and then came up to where I was, using my bows to take them down. Then it was a laborious walk through the desert to the next area, with the final boss of the generation.


Folsety took him down in one turn, and the rest of his troops evaporate.

Then boom, generation one is done. Overall this stage is fairly short because of the reduced length, and not too difficult since a lot of people have legendary weapons at this point. I managed to fix Tyrfing up to 25 uses or so and repair the other legendary weapons to full before the end of the stage.

Now we have 6 more chapters -- I'm already on chapter 7 but I will save that for two more posts covering three stages each. This is a long game!