…Before there was Eirika and Ephraim, there was Alm (Alum in Japan) and Celica. Before Magvel, there was Valentia.
One the four new Fire Emblem titles announced in this week’s Nintendo Direct was Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Echoes is a remake of the 1992 game Fire Emblem Gaiden, which was only released in Japan on the Famicom (NES). it is the little-known sequel to the first Fire Emblem game. Echoes comes to the U.S. On May 19.
…Of course, there are Amiibos. It’s not yet known how the Amiibos will work in regards to Echoes. In Fates, you could import Robin, Lucina, Ike, Marth and Roy using their Amiibos. Presumably an update will come to Fates so you can import Alm and Celica using their Amiibos. Both Amiibos are one set as you can see!
There are not one but two versions of both Alm and Celica that can be recruited in Fire Emblem Awakening. The DLC Versions of both characters have unique artwork and the DLC Version of Alm comes as the Dreadfighter Class, which you can get the scroll to change to for completing the map Rogues and Redeemers 3.
The Spotpass version of Alm is a Level 20 Hero and comes with the Skills HP + 5, Zeal, Sol, Axebreaker and Aegis. The DLC Version of Alm is a level 20 Dreadfighter and comes with the Skills Resstence, Aggressor (both Dreadfighter Skills) and Rally Resistence. The Spotpass version of Celica is a level 20 Sage and comes with the Skills Magic +2, Focus, Rally Magic, Tomefaire and Dual Support+. The DLC Version of Celica is also a level 20 Sage but comes with the Skills Rightful King (in reference to her status as a Princess), Tomefaire, Aegis, Dual Support+ and Miracle.
All four versions of Alm and Celica in Awakening are like Robin and the other Einherjar Characters: They can be promoted or Class Changed to every class in the game. The DLC Version of Alm comes with a unique Class while the DLC Version of Celica comes with a unique skill.
The original game Fire Emblem Gaiden was released in Japan on the Famicom (NES). Thanks to the magic of emulation and an English patch I found online, I started playing Gaiden the day the remake was released. I’m about halfway through Chapter 2 (Celica’s intro Chapter). It’s obvious Gaiden is where Sacred Stones and Awakening got the idea from for a traversable map. Gaiden/Echoes has two protagonists (Alm and Celica), which was brought back 11 years later in Sacred Stones (2003) with Eirika and Ephraim.
Gaiden was clearly a game ahead of its time. Much of the core features in Gaiden were brought back in later games like I said before. That said, the game IS 25 years old. Without question, it pushed the NES/Famicom to its limits. You have a “Simple” promotion tree, traversable map, separate campaigns, dungeon crawling and skills learned by leveling. Oh, and the staple Fire Emblem battle mechanics.
That was virtually unheard of 25 years ago. Gaiden was a BIG game in terms of content, which is pretty impressiven given it was one of the last NES/Famicom games released. It kinda flew under the radar even in Japan since the SNES/Super Famicom had been released the year before. To complicate things, a direct sequel to the first Fire Emblem was released on the SNES: Mystery of the Emblem. It was a remake of the original game and also came with the an all-new campaign set a few years after the first. Gaiden was virtually forgotten to time…or so it seemed.
The release of the Gaiden remake worldwide has renewed hope we may yet see Binding Blade, (Roy) Geneology of the Holy War (Sigurd and Seliph) and Thracia 776 (Lief) get released in the west. I’ll speak more to those three games in a separate post.