Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is the eleventh installment of the Fire Emblem series and the first to feature online play. Announced in October 2007, the game is for the Nintendo DS and is a remake of the first Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. The game also utilizes the dual screen on the Nintendo DS and its online capabilities. The game features Marth as the main character of the game. The story centers on Marth as he embarks on a quest to win back the kingdom of Altea and rescue his kidnapped sister, Elice. Characters that were not present in the original version, such as Frey, have been introduced in this version. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon was released August 7, 2008 in Japan and in Europe on December 5, 2008. The North American version was released later, on February 16, 2009. Thus, the English localization of the game first occurred for the European market, using some name translations that the North American version did not end up using.
Long ago, the continent of Archanea was invaded by the Dolhr Empire, led by the Shadow Dragon, Medeus, and the people lived in fear and despair. However... a miracle occurred. Anri, a youth from Altea, killed the Shadow Dragon using the divine Falchion sword. The Kingdom of Archanea was restored and the world entered an age of peace. But 100 years later... Medeus was resurrected. He joined forces with "Dark Pontifex" Gharnef, who shared his ambitions of ruling the world, and launched an attack on Archanea. Archanea was defeated by Grust's General Camus, and, aside from Princess Nyna, the royal family was wiped out. Cornelius, the king of Altea and successor of the heroic Anri, left to battle Medeus, with the Falchion in hand. Meanwhile, Cornelius's only son and the prince of Altea, Marth, awaits his father's return as he passes his days with his combat training. He was attacked by the forces of Gra but fled to Talys. Years later, he set out to reclaim Altea.
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is a tactical role-playing game with turn-based battles. Some of the gameplay mechanics of the Fire Emblem series, such as the weapon triangle, were not present in the original Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light, but have been included in this remake. The game features over 20 character classes, including armored Knights, airborne Pegasus Knights and Curates. Players can also directly swap a character's class using the "Class Swap" feature, for example; a Knight could switch to a Mercenary. Although, there are limitations on how many of one particular class you can have at the same time. Special classes like Lord or Thief cannot use "Class Swap".
In the middle of a battle, players can save their game by moving a unit onto a special "Save Point", which is found on the map and is usually located before a boss fight or a similarly dangerous event. Each Save Point can be used to save the game and only once, although players can load from created saves as many times as they want, as long as the save is not overwritten. Players can also choose to make a similar permanent save upon completing a chapter. The Suspend feature from previous games is also present.
For the first time in the series, players can battle each other online via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. These battles employ teams of up to five characters from the single-player campaign. Combat takes place multiplayer-exclusive battle maps, which allow free movement as opposed to the Link Arena in prior games (there is only one multiplayer map in the Japanese version). Only two players can do battle at a time. Fog of War can be toggled on or off, and a time and turn limit are also active. Victory is determined by either defeating the opposing army or securing the central castle's flag before the turns are over. Victors are awarded a "Card" for their efforts. One of these cards can be used on a party to give it special effects, and use of these cards can be toggled on or off. The Wi-Fi connection is also used to access an online shop, where players can purchase items using currency obtained in the main campaign. In addition to loaning units to other players, to assist with the single-player campaign.
- Can now Trade more than one item to another unit along with trade items from units.
- Convoy is now on Marth instead of a building and does not cost Gold.
- Stats and battle formulas updated from NES/SNES to be similar to GBA/Tellius functions.
- Marth no longer has provoke on him which would cause Enemies to attack him if in range regardless of whether or not another target could be killed. Enemy AI changed to now prioritize higher hit rates and damage given.
- Enemies no longer auto-retreat to nearest healer/fort when below 20-25% HP
- Multiplayer battles for two players.*
- An Online shop that sells items from later games, such as the Brave Weapons.**
- Event Recap and Sound Room Extras
- Map Save Points - There are saves points placed on the map. They can be used only once, and can be loaded from as many times as desired.
- Prologue Chapters - Takes place during Marth's escape from Altea before the original game and Fire Emblem: Archanea Saga.
- Gaiden Chapters - Can only be accessed if you have less than 15 characters in your entire army (this excludes Chapter 24x).
- Master Seals are now used to promote in lieu of the many promotion Items (with the exception of the Elysian Whip, used for an alternate Pegasus Knight promotion.)
- Reclass is introduced as a new addition to the series.
- Navarre and Radd are now Myrmidons instead of Mercenaries
- Wendell and Gotoh are now Sages instead of Bishops and Mages now promote to Sages instead of Bishops.
- Gharnef is now a Sorcerer instead of a Bishop.
- Caeda has an exclusive Wing Spear, which is a Lance, that is effective against Knights and Cavaliers, making it her equivalent to a Rapier.
- Pegasus Knights can either promote to Dracoknights or Falcon Knights via the Master Seals and the Elysian Whip respectively.**
- Weapon specializations are changed for some classes or updated to match previous games. Pegasus Knights and Knights lost their Sword ranks while Dracoknights and Generals swap out Swords for Lances, Axes and Bows respectively. Horsemen can use Swords alongside Bows. Heroes can use Axes in addition to Swords.
- Weapon Triangle Bonuses are added. It provides the advantaged unit with +5 accuracy, not affecting the disadvantaged.
- Strength is used to calculate Attack Speed.
- Weapon Level is replaced with Weapon Rank.
- A Magic stat has been added, increasing damage with Magic tomes instead of dealing static damage.
- Classes such as Armor Knights, Pirates, Fighters, and Hunters can now be promoted into Generals, Berserkers, Warriors and Horsemen.
- Classes that still couldn't promote (Lord, Thief, Manakete, Ballistician, Freelancer) have their level cap increased to 30.
- New Classes that were not present in the original are added to the remake such as Myrmidon (first appeared in Genealogy of the Holy War), Swordmaster (first appeared in Genealogy of the Holy War), Sage (first appeared in Gaiden), Warrior (first appeared in Genealogy of the Holy War), Berserker (first appeared in Thracia 776), Dark Mage (first appeared in Mystery of the Emblem), Sorcerer (introduced in this game), and Falcon Knight (first appeared in Gaiden), along with others.
- Curates and Clerics now gain experience from using staffs.
- New characters not present in the original game (e.g. Frey, Norne, Athena, Etzel, Horace, and Nagi) appear in the Prologue and Gaiden Chapters.
- Graphics are pre-rendered sprites.
- Battle sequence is on top screen.
*This feature only functions via Local Wireless due to the closure of Nintendo Wi-Fi.
See main article: List of characters in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
See main article: Chapters (Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon)
See main article: List of weapons in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
See main article: List of items in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
- Shadow Dragon was the first Fire Emblem game to be localized by 8-4 ltd, who would later localize Fire Emblem Awakening and the remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.