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'Shadow Dragon' a chip off the old block

March 26, 2009

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Shadow Dragon'Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon' is a remake of the first game in the celebrated 'Fire Emblem' series that never made it to North American shores but don't let that fool you. It is an enhancement of the original and not merely some rushed rehash to pry the cash and coin from your hands.

'Shadow Dragon' has new chapters to play, improved graphics and now utilizes the touch screen, dual screen and online capabilities of the Nintendo DS.

For those who are unfamiliar with the origins of the 'Fire Emblem' series, 'Shadow Dragon' brings the epic story full circle by detailing the genesis of the saga. As Marth, the prince of Altea, you are a busy man. You not only lead an army to wrest control of your treasured kingdom from the gruesome Shadow Dragon but you are also searching for your kidnapped sister. As 'Fire Emblem' fans know, there is just no rest for the wicked so it is hard to feel sorry for overworked Marth.

Welcome to 'Fire Emblem', Marth. Be prepared to multitask and multitask a lot.

Shadow DragonShadow Dragon'Shadow Dragon' is a turn-based strategy RPG with the close-quarters, animated battles playing out on the DS top screen. You move individual troops across the landscape or battlefield grid and engage the enemy on fields, hilltops, inside castles or any other place medieval life-forms would bust each other up. There are a multitude of creatures and classes to contend with as well as the rock-paper-scissors combat system to factor in when rallying the troops. Guess wrong and your troops are dead for good, although there are sufficient save points so you can turn back time again and again.

Special terrain grids like water, mountains or forests act as obstructions and can become part of your strategy if you are clever enough to use them to your advantage. The battles in ‘Shadow Dragon’ will test you. Rush head-long into a confrontation and your party will surely perish. If you use the Nintendo Wi-Fi, you can even “phone a friend” and borrow troops from your online pals to get out of sticky situations. In the multiplayer component, you are limited to five-on-five troop battles but you can communicate (ie: Talk trash.) with one another using the DS microphone.

Shadow DragonAs an addition to the ‘Fire Emblem’ chronicles, ‘Shadow Dragon’ answers the questions North American fans had about how the whole series began. Tweaked a bit here and there to speed up the game, the simple RPG gameplay that is part of Fire Emblem’s enduring appeal hasn’t changed and that is just how fans like it.

With ‘Shadow Dragon’, Intelligent Systems didn’t attempt to break the mold. They just stuck to what do best and that is craft a riveting and addictive RPG experience.

If it ain’t broke, there's no need to fix it, folks.


Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
Format: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Official Site:

Rating: 8 / 10


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