Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
No, the man isn't Marth.[1]

In an age long past... Evil flooded over the land. Creatures awash in the dark ride ran wild, pushing mankind to the brink of annihilation.

In its despair, mankind appealed to the heavens, and from a blinding light came hope.

The eighth Fire Emblem game, and the only completely self-contained story; no other Fire Emblem media takes place in the universe of this game.

The story takes place on the continent of Magvel, as the southernmost country Grado attacks Renais. Renais had been allies with Grado for years, and was caught completely off guard. The game itself starts with Renais' princess Eirika fleeing from her castle as it is overrun. She then goes off in her search for her brother Ephraim, and her childhood friend Grado Prince Lyon in hopes of finding out why Grado attacked, and how to stop the war.

The story of the game can be easily divided into three separate parts:

  • #1 (Prologue - Chapter 8): Eirika serves as the protagonist, and most chapters are based in Renais. Ephraim and his men are used instead during the game's only Gaiden Chapter.
  • #2 (Chapter 9 - Chapter 16): This point allows you to choose which of the twins will be your main Lord gameplay-wise for the remainder of the game. Chapters 9-14 each feature a different route before both twins reunite. Whichever route you choose to follow, the army thus far will follow that Lord, and though all recruitable characters are the same, they are received at different points in-game depending on the route chosen. After Chapter 16, you will be able to promote your Lords.
  • #3 (Chapter 17 - 21/Final Chapter): The endgame. You will progress with whichever twin you chose to be your main Lord. Most of the story remains unchanged, save for several conversations.

The game shares some mechanics not seen since Fire Emblem Gaiden, the biggest of which is the ability to traverse the world map. Instead of going to the next story point immediately, the player can fight the monsters roaming the map, or can visit monster-infested areas. This allows for easy grinding. Additionally, it has a unique branching class tree, giving almost every unit multiple class options for promotion.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is one of the ten Game Boy Advance games available to participants in the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program, having been given a limited rerelease to early adopters of the Nintendo 3DS for free on its eShop as of December 2011.

Tropes used in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones include:
  • Alas, Poor Villain: A high number of villains are portrayed sympathetically, as good people who are misguided or taken advantage of. Selena, Carlyle, Zonta, Aias, Orson and of course Lyon.
  • Always Accurate Attack: The Sniper class has the Sure Strike ability, which ensures the next attack will always hit. Unfortunately, the Snipers you have will have high enough accuracy, so it's rather useless.
    • But of course, the enemy Snipers will get some mileage out of the technique.
  • Ambition Is Evil: While Valter and Riev are a Blood Knight and demon worshipper respectively, Caellach is simply an ex-mercenary who will stop at nothing to become a king.
  • Badass: Ephraim, Gerik, Joshua, Marisa, Cormag and Innes. Caellech counts for the villain team.
    • Badass Adorable: Amelia, Ross and Ewan are very cute kids (none of them is over 16), but if properly leveled and promoted, they can kick your ass.
      • Myrrh count as well, since she looks like a harmless little girl, and Neimi also fits.
    • Badass Army: The group as a whole.
    • Badass Beard: Garcia, Gilliam, Dozla and Duessel sport some awesome facial hair.
      • Gerik has a nice goatee too.
    • Badass Bookworm: Knoll, Lyon, Saleh, Artur, Lute. Ewan is on his way to become one through Magikarp Power.
      • Saleh has the in-story bonus of being Myrrh's bodyguard.
    • Badass Family: Ephraim and Eirika, Innes and Tana, Vanessa and Syrene, and Tethys and Ewan.
    • Badass Grandpa: Duessel is obviously older than the rest of the cast by far, but age does NOT slow him down. Moulder is also in this age bracket or reasonably close to it, as is Gilliam.
    • Badass Longcoat: Colm comes closest in the official artwork, though Joshua's Swordmaster sprite counts too.
    • Badass Long Robe: Saleh and Lute.
    • Badass Mustache: Moulder.
    • Badass Pacifist: Tethys. Has no direct offensive capability, but she can give those who do the ability to kick ass more than once. Also, Innes tells her and Gerik to flee at one point when certain death looks likely, and like Gerik, she stands her ground.
    • Badass Preacher: Artur, Natasha, L'Arachel and Moulder. Riev counts for the villain team.
    • Badass Princess: Eirika, Tana and L'Arachel.
    • Badass Teacher: Saleh (as Ewan's magic instructor).
    • Four-Star Badass: Ephraim, Eirika and Innes are by virtue of commanding their nation's best fighters and by being the ranking combat worthy nobles. Duessel was already one when he joins your cause.
    • Lady of War: Eirika, Syrene, Vanessa. Tana, Amelia, Marisa and Neimi grow into these too.
    • One-Man Army: Seth starts as this in the beginning of the game, and unlike most Jeigans, he's still quite viable as a mounted dealer of death by the end of the game.
    • Retired Badass: Garcia still is one damn fine warrior, even after several years of retirement.
  • Big Freaking Sword: Mercenaries battle sprites count, but Generals take the cake.
  • Blood Knight: All Valter cares about is being able to keep on fighting forever... and raping Eirika.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: DOZLA.
    • Ross is one in training.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Lagdou Ruins, unlocked after completing the main story.
  • Came Back Wrong: Orson's wife and Emperor Vigarde of Grado both died and were resurrected with the power of the stones. Vigarde promptly crumbled to dust when Ephraim defeated him. And the less said of Monica, the better.
  • Character-Magnetic Team: Regardless of which route you take, you'll still run into all the recruitable characters (bar two, who join with the other twin when you meet back up) on both Ephraim and Eirika's routes, in spite of the routes taking place simultaneously on opposite ends of the continent.
  • Climax Boss:
    • 1st Story Arc: Tirado (Chapter 8).
    • 2nd Story Arc:
      • (Chapter 14): Carlyle (Eirika's route) and Vigarde (Ephraim's route).
      • (Chapter 16): Orson.
    • 3rd Story Arc: Lyon (Final Chapter).
  • Cloudcuckoolander: L'Arachel and Dozla are energetic versions of this, much to Rennac's dismay and Eirika's confusion. Lute falls somewhere between this and Strange Girl.
  • Crutch Character: Seth, but of the Oifaye subtype rather than the Jeigan (meaning that while he does hog experience early on, he has good growths making him viable later in the game). Averted in that even though he does take experience, there is an infinite amount of experience to be gained so you can just get it better.
    • This is pretty much standard for Paladins in the Fire Emblem series. They are very powerful in the beginning or when they join you, then slowly become more balanced with the rest of the party.
    • By the end of the game, when Myrrh decides to fight for Ephraim, you'll probably be using her most of the time because of her ability to one-hit most enemies, including bosses. She's kind of a Late Game Crutch Character.
    • This is probably most played with Orson, who performs a Wutai Theft on you.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Knoll, Ewan if made a Druid or Summoner, Lyon before hitting the Despair Event Horizon, and the Sacred Twins of Grado: the Black Axe, Garm and a dark magic tome Gleipnir.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Oh, Selena. In terms of personality, she's actually a decent person, just chained by Grado's will.
    • Lyon and Knoll are gender flipped versions.
  • Demonic Possession: The Demon King attempts to possess Lyon through the Dark Stone, how succesful he is depends on which character route you chose. During Eirika's route, he completely controls Lyon and devours most of his soul, occasionally mimicking the Princes' softer personality to emotionally manipulate Eirika.
    • Not Brainwashed: In Ephraim's route, Lyon is instead manipulated more subtly by Fomortiis, who manipulates his fear of being a weak leader, his love of Eirika, and his jealousy of Ephraim in order to trick him into serving his ends.
  • Fiery Redhead: Averted. The redheads are either the most relaxed in the game (Joshua, Tethys, Ewan), or the most dutiful (Seth, Artur, Queen Ismaire).
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Five-Man Band: The characters who consistently appear in-story make one rather effectively:
  • Fragile Speedster: Marisa in particular falls into this: she'll often be one of your fastest characters, but have some trouble doing and taking damage without good weapons and supports. Rogues in general fall into this as well, being quite speedy and good at dodging but not much use in a fight compared to Assassins.
  • Freudian Trio: Ephraim, Eirika and Lyon.
    • Id: Ephraim is confident and decisive.
    • Super Ego: Lyon is intellectual and shy.
    • Ego: Eirika has a mixture of both qualities.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: L'Arachel is obviously Born Lucky. Naturally, she maxes luck without supports. The reverse is also true for poor Knoll, who starts out with zero luck. Joshua has the second lowest luck, but he's mostly played for humor as he is a Gambling Addict.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Grado Empire is defeated halfway through the game, rapidly dwindling their forces to Lyon, Riev, and what remnants the army has left, yet is still capable of throwing massive swarms of enemies at you, particularly in Chapter 19.
    • Dozla and Garcia's B-level support conversation is the two talking about their failed attempt to practice archery, including Garcia nocking an arrow backwards. This ignores that Garcia may be a Warrior at this point, and is perfectly competent with a bow.
    • The world map feature also causes this,according to the story your army is in a campaign, having to press on and deal with the circumstances, the twins being worried about each other, but to busy dealing with their own troubles to help each other out, yet (with a few exceptions) after each chapter, you can traverse the world map at will, which for some players will amount to returning to the tower of Valni (said tower being in Frelia, which is quite a trip distance wise) every time you get some new characters to grind them up.
  • Genki Girl: L'Arachel, Tana.
  • Glass Cannon: Casters like Ewan and Lute tend to have high power but bad to downright terrible HP and defence (and some, like Knoll, can't even dodge well on top of that).
  • Good Powers, Bad People: Riev, who is a Bishop.
  • Guide Dang It: It's easy enough to figure out how to unlock hidden characters that require finishing certain sections of the tower or ruins when going through them, but not so much for ones that require beating them three times.
  • Incest Subtext: Eirika and Ephraim. Though never explicitly spelled out, the Subtext is thick enough to cut with a knife and the hints don't seem to be lost on some other characters.
    • Remember the name of their sacred twin weapons? Both named after an incestuous brother/sister couple in Norse Mythology.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Lute's death quote seems to be the prototype for the ninth and tenth games very disturbing death quotes.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Colm, but only to Neimi. Also Innes, though sometimes he's just an outright Jerkass.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: After Chapter 8, you have the choice of two completely separate paths, Eirika or Ephraim. The recruitable characters follow whichever lord you choose, and everybody reunites in Chapter 15. In addition, you recruit the same characters although at different times.
  • Level Grinding: The primary reason fans dislike this one, as every other game (bar Gaiden) has only Arena Abuse (risky without save states) Boss Abuse (takes forever, also risky and limited by weapon durability) and infinite reinforcements (very rare, generally happens very late or is intended to be very dangerous and also limited by durability) allow for more XP than "normal".
  • Lightning Bruiser: While everyone can become this to a certain extent with stat-ups, Gerik starts out as one and gets better. Amelia will become one if she promotes into a General.
    • Ephraim is basically Hector, but with lances instead of axes. It's not unheard of for him to cap out several stats even before promoting.
  • Luck Stat: Standard for the series, but Knoll, whose base luck stat is zero is certainly unlucky in other things. You recruit him when you conquer a castle and search the dungeons. He initially assumes they moved his execution date up a few days after you let him out of his cell. Joshua is the second most unlucky person.
  • Magikarp Power: The Trainees. L'Arachel is a more traditional late game arriving Est despite being a healer.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Lyon to Emperor Vigarde and Fomortiis to Lyon.
  • Marathon Level: The optional dungeons. Tower of Valni is eight floors long with no checkpoints. Lagdou Ruins is ten, and every one of them laughs in the face of the rest of the game's It's Easy, So It Sucks reputation.
    • However, you CAN use the quicksave function, so you don't really have to beat them in one sitting.
  • Nerf: The game-breakingly powerful Luna spell from the previous game (which could let its wielders take out even the end bosses like last week's trash) is made more cumbersome in this game, having its accuracy cut substantially as well as being rather bank-breaking to purchase. Paladins are also a little weaker in this game than they were in Fire Emblem Elibe due to losing the use of Axes to help differentiate them from the Great Knight, though it's consistent with pre-Elibe games.
  • Nice Hat: Joshua, though it's mostly in the fandom's view.
  • Nintendo Hard: Averted, even without level grinding, the game is known for being very easy (outside of the 2nd Bonus Dungeon), not even by just the series's high standards.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The fact that you never see Monica's face makes her much stronger Nightmare Fuel.
  • Our Nudity Is Different: The L'Arachel/Ephraim support conversations have L'Arachel panic at the sight of Ephraim's bare shoulder (which he exposed so she could heal an injury to it).
    • A bit of Hypocritical Humor too, since L'Arachel's portrait shows that her own shoulders are bare.
  • Panty Shot: Played with in one of Eirika's support conversations. Forde questions the practicality of wearing a miniskirt on a battle field, Erika pretends to flash him as a joke. Though it's all text.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Snipers have a randomly-activating skill that results in an auto-hit... but snipers are the most accurate unit in the game already. Likewise, Generals have a skill that nulls damage, but their defense is so high that anything but magic or a hit from a boss will bounce off anyway.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Averted. While Jehanna is obviously proud of its 95% mercenary population, to the point where its widowed queen has an A-level in swordsmanship, the Jehannans are the most casual and friendly characters. The only person who does act like this is seen as really weird.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Outside of various members of royalty, we have two childhood friends (Colm, Neimi), a mercenary leader and dancer (Gerik, Tethys), several technical traitors (Cormag, Duessel, Knoll, Natasha and Amelia) and various thieves (Rennac), former soldiers (Garcia), and of course... L'Arachel...
  • The Remnant: While called that, the Grado Remnant are still led by the Prince after the Emperor's death and are not a really straight example.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Eirika, Ephraim, Innes, Tana, L'Arachel and Joshua for the good guy team.
    • Lyon and technically Vigarde for the villain team.
  • Script Breaking: It's possible to get some support conversations that refer to characters that haven't joined your party yet. Notably Neimi's A-level support with Gilliam refers to Cormag being intimidated by her stare, even if Cormag is still a soldier of Grado.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Demon King Fomortiis.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Natasha, who managed to defect from decadence and survive. Queen Ismaire as well; though, since Jehanna is a rather more martial country, she rules alone after her husband's death with no apparent problems, and has an A-level in swords.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Basically, anyone paired with L'Arachel or Innes (except for Vanessa, due to her Bodyguard Crush on him).
    • And don't forget that L'Arachel and Innes can end up with each other too. Their supports are this, and then some more.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Fire Emblem Gaiden, sharing many of the game's... unique elements (that are present in most RPGs but not in Fire Emblem), such as infinite XP and branched promotions.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Valter develops an extremely creepy obsession with Eirika after a while. He also seems to devote attention to Eirika's brother Ephraim, according to some, although he mostly discusses his desire to hunt him down and kill him brutally.
    • On a more humorous note, Lute has a "monk-watching habit". Which is downplayed when the player remembers that they already live together.
  • Summon Magic: Summoners can summon ghouls.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: In the first chapter, Seth apologizes for grabbing Eirika (and I quote) "So... brusquely" as they fled the castle. He was rushing, injured, panicked, and sitting on a horse. Not much of a stretch to assume that this was what happened.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Grado. Yes, the entire country. Besides having its army completely obliterated and the entire ruling family wiped from the face of the earth, it suffers a massive earthquake some time after the events of the game epilogue.
  • Tsundere: L'Arachel, BIG TIME.
    • Tana also shows shades of this, but more towards Ephraim. She's much more dere towards Cormag and Eirika.
    • Innes can be seen as a male Tsundere too.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Artur, if you don't pair him with Lute. Innes and Tana, if you don't pair them with Eirika and Ephraim, respectively. It doesn't matter what you do, Lyon ends up as this to Eirika.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: Eirika's half of the Let's Split Up, Gang! sequence between her and Ephraim begins to feel like this when you compare her achievements to those of Ephraim's. She fights some mercenaries, some monsters, fails to save Jehanna's sacred stone, queen, or royal castle, and ends up being saved by Ephraim when they meet up again. By comparison, Ephraim wins over one of the Empire's Generals, kills another, sinks the Ghost Ship, sack the Imperial Royal City, and kills Emperor Vigarde, pretty much neutralizing most of the Grado Empire as a threat and with five chapters still to go. Despite this, Eirika's route is generally agreed to be the more difficult one in terms of gameplay. [2]
    • Fridge Brilliance: Ephraim is a studied soldier and military tactician. Eirika's skill has always been in politics, which mean little when dealing with an army driven by an ancient demon. Of course, it would be more difficult for her.
  • Warrior Prince: Several, but especially Ephraim.
  • Weapon Twirling: Several characters do this as part of their critical hit animations.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lyon.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The game doesn't really tell you the details of what happened along the other twin's route, so certain story important details, including the fates of certain characters, are suddenly never touched on again. You obviously need to play both routes to get the whole picture.
    • One of the houses in Chapter 15 does give you the general idea of what happened to Glen and Selena: they both died.
  • Written by the Winners: A version of this occurs in the game, in regards to the defeat of the Demon King 800 years ago. It turns out that Morva - leader of the Manaketes - led the Five Heroes, and they defeated Fomortiis. However, in the nations the human heroes founded, there is no mention of Morva or his help. The people of Caer Pelyn are rather unhappy about this, believing the other nations are being ungrateful to the Great Dragon.
  1. Neither is the woman, for that matter.
  2. One thing that also helps Ephraim is that even though his caps are poor; he has a powerful-enough weapon to carry him through the game until he gets his unique weapon.