Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 9/4/2019 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Fire Emblem: Archanean War Chronicles, more commonly known simply as “BS Fire Emblem,” was a short series of four maps taking place in the two years preceding the events of the first Fire Emblem game that were available only via the Satellaview satellite download service in Japan. Because of the limited time workings of the Satellaview broadcasts, it’s a serious pain in the ass to find a working ROM of these four maps, but with enough stubborn determination, it can be done. If you don’t feel like dealing with that stubborn determination, however, you can also play them on the (sadly Japan exclusive) Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem on DS.
Because these were intended as bonus challenge maps, they’re significantly more difficult than your normal Fire Emblem maps. These are basically late-game challenge right from the get-go. Compound that with the fact that you don’t have the benefit of having a whole game to train up characters’ experience and stockpile some better weapons, and yeah, you’re in for some challenge. Patience, careful strategy, and the favor of the RNG gods are absolutely required for success here. Visually, they look pretty much exactly like the other three Fire Emblem games that saw release on the Super Nintendo, so expect that level of sprite detail.
The first map has you play as Princess Nyna and a small handful of loyal knights as they struggle to escape from Archanea Palace when it falls to Dolhr’s troops. The second map sees Minerva team up with her enemy, Hardin, and save a village near Aurelis from attacking bandits (although Minerva doesn’t know that the man she’s working with is Hardin). In the third map, Lena and Rickard, accompany by Castor and Navarre, sneak past Dolhr’s soldiers into Archanea’s palace and loot what treasure they can. The fourth and final map shows Nyna’s escape into Aurelis with the help of Grust’s famed General Camus just prior to the events of the first game.
BS Fire Emblem is a nice ride if you want a good challenge that really pushes you to plan carefully (but mainly be freakishly lucky), but unless you’re a hardcore Fire Emblem fan, there’s nothing here really worth seeking out. If you want a brutal challenge, just play Fire Emblem: Fates – Conquest. If you want to flex your SNES muscles, play the cheap and easy to find Mystery of the Emblem or Genealogy of the Holy War. With how much of a pain it is just to find a working ROM let alone one in English, if you REALLY want to play through these maps, you’re way better of playing the versions included with New Mystery of the Emblem. It’s a solid little map pack, but there just isn’t a whole lot of incentive to jump through the hoops required to play it on original hardware or a SNES emulator.