This is the last Fire Emblem game original series creator Shouzo Kaga developed with Intelligent Systems and Nintendo. This Super Famicom game was released for the Nintendo Power system, where consumers purchased blank rewritable memory carts and had games of their choice written to them at various convenience store chains. It later received a proper retail release, although this is extremely difficult to find and is quite expensive – the limited special edition box set is even pricier! This game is a throwback to the older Fire Emblem games, featuring more and smaller chapters and a wide range of units to choose from. A lot of skills from Seisen no Keifu have been taken, lock stock and barrel. It also introduced the interface and artwork style that would later be used in the Game Boy Advance titles.
Thracia 776‘s story follows Prince Leif. before he meets up with Seliph in the 7th chapter of Seisen no Keifu. Thracia has been eying Leonster land for conquest for years, and while every nation is at war, why not take advantage of the opportunity, especially when supplied with extra soldiers from Arvis and company?
Leif makes his way from the small village of Fiana nestled in the mountains towards the capital of Leonster itself. He gathers a small force there, drafted from rebels across the land. A lot of things about the story fly in the face of continuity, since Prince Leif starts off damn weak in Fire Emblem 4 and Leonster is still overrun with Thracian soldiers.
Thracia 776 introduces rescuing, which has been a staple of Fire Emblem games ever since. If a unit has low HP, another with a higher Build stat (a rating similar to “constitution” in the previous games) can whisk them away to safety. Unlike later additions, characters have chances to raise their Build when they level up. Granted, these rises are extremely rare. A lot of abilities incorporate the Build stat. Enemies with lower Builds can be captured, have their possessions pillaged and released. Thieves can steal unequipped weapons or items from enemies that weigh less than their Build stat. With all the waves of enemies that you’d be thrown against, stealing enemy weapons becomes a necessity at times.
One system some players might find irritating is the Stress system. Every action a unit does bumps their stress meter up a notch. If stress rises higher than their HP, they have to rest for the remainder of the whole stage. Stamina drinks can eliminate stress, but they’re expensive and rare. Certain chapters require specific characters to be present, so the stress system can screw players over at times. A few stages also have annoying “Fog of War”, so your characters can only see spaces adjacent to them. In general, this creates one of the toughest games in the series. On the plus side, there are now bonus “gaiden” chapters you can find by completing certain objectives in various stages. These extra stages are vital for gaining levels and finding hidden characters.
The main character and prince of Leonster. He wields the Sword of Light which Deirdre originally gave to his mother Ethlyn.
Quan’s former squire and a lance knight of Leonster. He rushed Leif to safety when Thracia and Freege invaded Leonster.
A sword master and mayor of Fiana. She turns out to be a member of Sigurd’s army that survived Arvis’ ambush and lost her memory.
Quite a few characters from the previous game make appearances here. Please note that there is a rather irritating stat leveling bug where characters continue to gain in a stat they’ve already maxed out (alas, you don’t reap the benefits of this!) with the first version of this game which was later fixed.