Hello folks! Knuckles gave me all of the encouragement I needed, and so I will be attempting to do something approximating a let's play. Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War is the fourth of fifteen entries in the long running series (as of June 2017), released in 1996 for the Super Famicom and as such does not have much of an international presence. It is the second to last game Shouzou Kaga developed for Nintendo and the last game Gunpei Yokoi ever produced before his death.
The goal of this project is not to neglect housework, though that is indeed an unfortunate side effect of what’s going on here. I happen to enjoy the occasional written let's play and I think that this game specifically lends itself well to the approach I'd like to take. If you bother to read this and come away not thinking that Intelligent Systems created something truly compelling then I will clearly not have done a very good job. This is the first of what I intend to be eleven parts. Constructive criticism is appreciated!
This Prologue is titled Birth of a Holy Knight.
The first thing we're introduced to when starting a new game is the Judgral Chronology. Judgral is the name of the fantasy continent where the events of the game will take place. The significance of these facts are not immediately evident, but it is worth pointing out that (at year 440) "Galle" refers to a man and "Loptyr" is a dragon god of sorts. There are a lot of dragon gods in Fire Emblem, and few are benevolent. Possessed of Loptyr, Galle overthrows the existing republic in favor of his own evil empire, only to be defeated by the twelve crusaders. The descendents of these heroes still rule Jugdral some one hundred years later, and that is when the game opens.
The heart of Judgral is Grannvale, and incidentally I should take this opportunity to mention that the names you occasionally see onscreen (usually on the map) will conflict slightly with the spelling I end up using. Nintendo of America has official names for most of these places, and the patch I'm using mostly reflects this.
In any case, Grannvale is home of six duchies that kneel before King Azmur in the conspicuously named Belhalla. Azmur is descended of Saint Heim, one of the crusaders. Each duchy is likewise each headed by one of these descendants.
From left to right we have Lord Ring, Lord Vylon, and Prince Kurth. Kurth is Azmur's son, and the effective king since his father is at an advanced age. It is said that Ring and Vylon are Kurth's closest advisers.
Naturally this doesn't sit well with everyone. Reptor is the lord of Freege, and both he and Langbart are political opponents of Ring and Vylon. The remaining lords of Grannvale include Arvis of Velthomer and Father Claude of Edda. Arvis is said to not care much for politics, and Claude is said to fear that something has gone amis throughout Judgral. He's not wrong, naturally.
The setup is this: Barbarians from the kingdom of Isaach, north-east of Grannvale, traveled across the Yied desert to lay siege to a Grannvalian town near the border. Reports of savagery led to a public outcry, and so the Grannvalian army mobilized to liberate the town and take the fight to Isaach. Most of the fighting men, along with their respective lords, are therefore not in Grannvale.
Sigurd is the son of Lord Vylon, and the player character. He was left home, and as such we don't get to see any of that action.
Sigurd will have his opportunity soon enough though. Verdane is yet another nation of so-called barbarians, and Prince Gandolf is leading the armies of Verdane up into the southwest corners of Grannvale. Having laid seige to Jungby castle, the nearest house of any significance is Chalphy. With Vylon gone, Sigurd is the lord of the castle.
He's obviously not having any of it, and hearing that his friend Lady Adean, the daughter of Lord Ring, is in trouble he sets out with what few men remain in Chalphy.
Adean is the one on the right, and the really pretty one is Midayle, her knight. Midayle is a man, not that you were able to tell.
Here the game is trying to tell you to save villages from roaming bandits, which is worth doing. Exactly why Alec here, the knight on the right, thinks it's incredibly insightful to suggest that they protect the citizens of the realm is anyone's guess. You can tell Sigurd is Sigurd because this is classic Fire Emblem and he has an amazing head of blue hair.
The toddler lying about his age is Oifey, who mostly exists to be a character you can't get killed. The thing with Fire Emblem is that any player character aside from the designated "lord" can die, and so it's not wise to make their participation in the story necessary. Oifey therefore gets immunity as an NPC, and can exposit on vital story information whenever he feels like.
Lastly we meet Ardan, who the game tries to recommend we leave atop the castle for defense. Unique to this entry in the series, every game map is set outdoors, and you always have a home castle to defend. It's pretty rare that your castles are ever in any real danger, but when it happens it helps to have someone there. Dragging Ardan along with the army is a huge chore, but he manages to not be a liability in the first few maps and as such I will be ignoring the game's advice and leaving my castle undefended. Later on I'll be leaving him there just so I can avoid having to ever waste time by clicking on him.
The last living soul in Chalphy is Noish, but he's so aggressively boring I didn't bother getting a screencap of anything he had to say.
Now, finally, we can play! Blue units belong to the player, red belong to the enemy, and green are (usually) neutral.
But I wouldn't be doing this very well if I didn't quickly introduce you to our "units". We start with four. Sigurd here is a Lord Knight, and as such he is actually already in an advanced “promoted” class. Fire Emblem always gives the player at least one high level character he can rely on, though it is very interesting that they would make Sigurd this character. There's no need to break down the significance of the stats too much, but just know that these are great numbers in every category that matters. He's strong, fast, and durable. Only recklessness can get Sigurd killed, and even then he’ll probably survive anyway.
As a Lord Knight he can use swords and lances. With swords as the weapon type of choice, he might use that lance once or twice throughout the whole game.