The following is a list of version differences between the various releases of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. The Nintendo DS remake overhauled much of the game. This version, barring direct ports of the Famicom game, has been basis of future re-releases.
Timeline of version differences
- Released April 20, 1990, the first release of the game.
Released in Japan on January 21, 1994. It was the first Fire Emblem title for the Nintendo Super Famicom and the game is divided into two distinct parts, or "books". Book One is a remake of the original Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, while Book Two is a continuation of events, following the same characters.
For clarity purposes, in this section "Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light" will be abbreviated as "FE1" and "Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem" will be abbreviated as "FE3".
- Changes in this version
- Things that have been removed in FE3:
- Five chapters (Battle in the Lea, The Pyrathi Dragon, The Wooden Cavalry, The Sable Order and Clash in Macedon) have been deleted from Book 1 of FE3. However, they are put back in the next remake, Shadow Dragon.
- Six characters are missing: Wrys, Darros, Roger, Jake, Beck and Gotoh. Some other characters have had their recruitment changed to account for the removed chapters.
- Out of all of these characters, Gotoh is the only one to appear in game, although he is no longer playable.
- Aside from staves and tomes, as well as dismounting mentioned below, no classes wield two weapon types in FE3.
- Things that have been improved:
- In FE3, there are colored tiles indicating a unit's movement range. This feature was introduced in FE3. In FE1 the player had to move the cursor to see how far one of the characters can move.
- In FE3, weapon appearances are different for each weapon during battle. In FE1, every weapon of the same type looks exactly the same in battle (due to the limitations of the Famicom), except for the rapier.
- When the player leaves a wounded character in a fortress in FE3, they will see his or her HP increase at the start of each turn.
- Things that have been added in FE3:
- In FE3, there is a narrative introduction for every chapter.
- In FE3, each character has a death dialogue.
- In FE3, Armor Knight can be promoted to General and Hunter can be promoted to Horsemen, unlike in the original game.
- In FE3, mounted units can dismount. They are forced to fight on foot in interior missions. They use lances only when mounted and swords only on foot.
- In FE3, Marth acts as a convoy instead of requiring the player to visit a storage.
The Nintendo DS version, released August 7, 2008 in Japan gave the game a complete overhaul. The graphics are rendered in updated sprites and various changes have been implemented.
- Changes in this version
- Can now Trade more than one item to another unit along with trade items from units.
- 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, which can be used only once, but can be loaded from as many times as desired.
- Prologue Chapters which takes place during Marth's escape from Altea before the original game and Fire Emblem: Archanea Saga (This set of scenarios is only available in Easy and Normal Mode, and will automatically be skipped should the player choose to play Hard Mode or Higher).
- Gaiden Chapters which 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
- 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.
- 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 and Mages now promote to Sages instead of Bishops.
- 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.
Europe and North America
Released on Europe on December 5, 2008 and in North America on February 16, 2009.
- Five multiplayer maps were added, as well as a random map selector.
- A handicapping option was added for multiplayer battles.
- Wendell's weapon experience was changed from Tome 135 to Tome 105 and Staff 30.
- Catria's Level was raised from 3 to 5, while Est’s Level was lowered from 5 to 3. Their initial stats remained the same however.
- The Warp Staff's icon was slightly altered from a six-pointed star to a five-pointed star.
Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light was localized into English and released outside of Japan for the first time on December 4, 2020, and purchasable on the Nintendo E-Shop until March 31, 2021. As primarily a port of the original 1990 game, there were minimal changes, with the majority focused on emulating improvements from recent titles.
This release was separate from the Japanese-exclusive version made available from March 13, 2019 as part of the NES collection from Nintendo Switch Online, which saw none of the changes.
- Changes in this version
- The ability to rewind the course of a battle, similar to the functionality introduced with Mila's Turnwheel in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.
- Adjustable gameplay speed, with three distinct speed options:
- All Gameplay: 1x Speed
- CPU Turn Only: 2x Speed
- All Gameplay: 2x Speed
- The ability to create and load bookmarks.