[FE8] [Complete] The Dark Amulet v1.4 (04/09/2024)

Come to the discord channel and send me some screenshots. I’ll try to figure out the issue.

Version 1.4 is out! Lots of great additions and tweaks, in this update. Patch notes are in the original post and below.

v1.4 Notes
  • Edric’s promoted class no longer has cavalry movement data / costs. Instead, it has infantry movement data / costs, because it is not cavalry
  • Elyse’s unique promoted class, the Witch, now has a new map sprite that shows off her fiery red hair
  • Fixed a small issue with Dwalt’s portrait
  • Fixed a small issue with Rivkah’s portrait
  • Fixed a small issue with Edgar’s portrait
  • Fixed a small issue with Harlan’s portrait
  • Fixed Braggo’s portrait, also removed his funny little hat
  • Fixed young Braggo’s portrait, also removed his funny little hat
  • Adjusted a small number of reinforcement placements in Chapter 9 to improve gameplay flow
  • Adjusted a small number of reinforcement placements in Chapter 20 to improve gameplay flow
  • Leandra’ PRF tome, Smite, has lost 2 might, 5 hit, 5 crit. It’s still very powerful, just not as broken as before. 20-use killer siege tomes will always do good work.
  • Reworked Tancred’s PRF tome, Tranquility, that he gets in Chapter 25. It’s still 1-range magic with massive weight. But now its bonuses to DEF and RES are increased, its hit is increased, and it has life-draining like Nosferatu. It’s meant to be a tome that allows Tancred to hold chokepoints and tank late game threats. Now it should be able to reliably do that.
  • Morgana gained +2 base SPD to make her less likely to be doubled during her joining chapter.
  • Nadya now has a (non-romantic, but sweet) paired ending with Freya!
  • Fenix now has a (non-romantic, obviously) paired ending with Elyse!
  • Royce has become much, much more threatening thanks to the introduction of a skill making him completely immune to ranged attacks. Fight him in melee, knight against knight, or do no damage at all to him!
  • The boss of Chapter 25 has become more threatening too, as her Vantage skill has been swapped for Vantage+
  • Increased the growth rates of enemy Warbringers. They’re now more dangerous.
  • Items effective against cavalry are now effective against Fallen Knights (the powerful enemy paladins only found in the final chapter)
  • The objective in Chapter 15 now changes after the original objective is no longer relevant. Time for plan B!
  • During the cutscene at the start of Chapter 25, Velaina actually leaves when she says she will, instead of awkwardly staying to listen to Edric and Tancred talk to each other
  • Added a talk event between Zeddard and Sophia in Chapter 16x that can only occur after you’ve reached the second stage of the map.
  • When you conquer the first two forts in Chapter 21, new bridges appear, allowing your north and south groups of units to meet up with your main force without the use of fliers and rescue-dropping
  • Zeddard starts poisoned in Chapter 24
  • Guests, Jarnathan, and Elyse react to the fighting that occurs during Chapter 18
  • The guards in the throne room of Chapter 18 start as green units and only become enemies when Eleanora leaves the room
  • Edgar now reacts to the dam opening in Chapter 19. Also made this chapter slightly harder.
  • The bosses in Chapter 15 now have battle quotes
  • Royce now has a battle and death quote in Chapter 23 (he doesn’t die, he just retreats)
  • The brigand in Chapter 23 starts much closer to the village with the second Hammerne staff. Now you’ll actually need to move somewhat quickly in order to get that awesome item.
  • Hilda and Fraza now have a battle conversation in Chapter 1
  • Griss and Fraza now have a battle conversation in Chapter 1
  • Rivkah and Braggo now have a battle conversation in Chapter 7
  • Fenix and Zeddard now have a battle conversation in Chapter 8
  • Hilda and Fortinbras now have a battle conversation in Chapter 15
  • Galen and Fortinbras now have a battle conversation in Chapter 15
  • Eleanora and Elyse now have a talk event in Chapter 18
  • Shorn and Fenix now have a battle conversation in Chapter 21
  • Miley and Fenix now have a battle conversation in Chapter 21
  • Hilda and Royce now have a battle conversation in Chapter 24
  • Fenix and Royce now have a battle conversation in Chapter 24
  • Tancred and Xelaina now have a battle conversation in Chapter 25
  • Fenix and Zeddard (first form) now have a battle conversation in the Final Chapter
  • Sophia and Zeddard (first form) now have a battle conversation in the Final Chapter
  • Sophia’s bases have been boosted around the board, to make her more viable in hopes she might actually survive a round against Zeddard in the Final Chapter to enable that battle chat, since it’s pretty good.
  • Sophia now gets a defensive-oriented PRF tome, Aetheria, when she speaks to Ormer in Chapter 23, for the same reason as above.
  • Adjusted support point gain rates in a few places to make it easier to hit A-rank before the end of the game for some units with poorer availability. Hitting A-rank still requires units to be deployed together in quite a few maps to achieve, but is more doable in a few cases.
  • Fixed some small spelling and grammar errors throughout

I think the game is in a pretty good state following this update. So, barring bug fixes, I’ll likely leave it alone at this point and turn my attention to the sequel :slight_smile:

13 Likes

Hello! Really enjoying the game so far (not quite beaten it yet though!). I was just wondering if there’s anywhere I can read the full support chains between characters?

Edit: I may be stupid. Did not think to check the Extras menu!! Ignore me.

1 Like

Hey. I noticed some things.

spoilers
  • In the flashback sequence the overmap sprites used are the generic ones for armor knights and wyvern riders for Forness and Zeddard respectively rather than the ones particular to axe armors and sword wyverns. I don’t know if these can be found in the repository but I 100% know at the very least that the axe armor one exists from playing Sun God’s wrath.
  • Sometimes, Royce’s galeforce just doesn’t work. I don’t know why. I know it can’t proc more than once in a turn, but there was an instance after the transition to defending Tordred that it didn’t proc.
  • The holy fragment has a visual bug. when I use it from the prep screen the + 1 to luck will appear outside the stats window instead of over the luck stat.

The following are balancing notes from my experience up until right before ch 17:

  • I think you get elysian whips way too late. I spent about half a dozen chapters sitting on pegasi with capped speed and by the time I got my first one my sky mage was lvl 20. The regular pegasus knight is already in a bad spot due to the nature of the hack’s high hp values(even among mages) and relative lack of killer lances thus far so delaying the whips so long feels pretty rough. Even after investing a power ring in her she only went from being inferior to on par with the rest of my units.
  • I don’t understand the purpose of battlelords. As enemy units they’re basically fighters in almost every way. In Rowan’s case he’s essentially an axe armor with 5 move that isn’t weak to armor slayer weapons. It’s like a repeat of the fe6 enemy myrmidon/mercenary problem where the units are essentially reskins of each other before promo.
1 Like
"Spoiler Quote

Might be related to the possible fact that no turns pass when that transition happens - so if Galeforce was triggered before switching to that segment, then its possible to enter that moment with no available galeforces.

I know that wasn’t exactly the cause because Royce didn’t KO anything the turn that the objective transitioned.

Edwin Promote class look weirld. May be the sword too long

2 Likes

This overall has the best gameplay of anything I’ve seen. You understand how to make every unit useful and feel fun at different stages of the game, I never felt bad about having to bench anyone and never felt like anyone was useless when they were on the field. That’s actually so insanely hard to do. Then the way you upgraded units at certain time with personal weapons, when the promotions happened, when ranged tomes were given, its the best out there. Also a lot of the maps are insanely good.

Story is average but doesn’t do any of the weird self-loathing stuff a lot of hacks do for no reason and then the visuals seem pretty standard.

I’m trying to create a game, not an fe hack but a strategy game based on a lot of the same gameplay mechanics, and this will be a top one I look at for how to make the gameplay good.

1 Like

Thanks, Orca much appreciate your feedback! Really glad you enjoyed the game.

I am curious - what is the “weird self-loathing stuff” that happens in some other stories? Is it a main character who doesn’t like him or herself? I want to know so I can avoid it in my next hack :stuck_out_tongue:

Its when the main hero of the story becomes hated by his own army. Not saying it cant be done well but there’s a reason the star wars prequels are a lot worse than just a normal story, and in the fe hacks the reasons the main character turns into a villain are usually pretty weird. Like the main character wanting to become king and some bandits that rob people judging him for it and somehow becoming the moral authority of the story. (That one is another top 3 hack as far as gameplay goes)

Review

Thank you for a great romhack! I beat it on Hard Mode in ~45 hours on version 1.4. It was great playthrough with an intriguing story, fun maps, and engaging characters!

Gameplay:

In terms of unit variety, I imagine it is a taste thing that there was effectively only one unit for each class (for the most part). It makes it feel like every unit is important which ties into the story importance for all the characters but it also meant that there was only one option and not a lot of room for freedom for team composition. Almost every unit having a perfect (or maybe they do and I missed a couple) is a neat touch that also contributed to making each unit feel special too. I also liked the greater abundance of staves in the game, it made so that you could use various warp/rescue strategies on multiple maps without worrying about running out of uses. This made all my stave users feel more like “supports” as opposed to just “healers” which I think was a great choice. You noted that you reduced the might of javelins/hand axes but I still found them incredibly useful (maybe because a lot of hard mode hacks already have enemies too beefy to one-round enemy phase anyways).

While I loved it from a story perspective, from a gameplay perspective having so many game-over options is rough. There were several notices that popped up every couple chapters or so when there were changed but I could never remember all the names. I saw someone mention the idea of characters “retreating”, that could be a good adjustment. Otherwise, if there was some way for you to give us a list somewhere (that we could consistently access) as you go through the game that would be very, very helpful.

The maps were all quite enjoyable to play with no chapter standing out as an annoyance to play. There was a great mixture of objectives from rout to capture to escaping to protecting/defending. There were lots of reinforcements which were a good way to keep me from turtling for too long and helped keep the stakes up. Perhaps because I’m playing on version 4 (as I saw some earlier complaints), I felt the reinforcements were generally quite fair and there was generally warning given to us through the text.

16x was very cool to play as the young versions of several characters. What Helena did though was never well explained though in my opinion though. I have no problem with stat boosters but I didn’t really see the story/gameplay reason for giving so many after that chapter in quick succession.

The rescue/escape chapters (ie. When Edric/Shorn escapes with Sheila and when you rescue of Julia) were very fun and unique chapters. The music choice there really changed the vibe of both chapters. For the first I think it was in a positive way that made it feel like a fun escape mission. The reinforcements in the Julia rescue chapter though were absolutely brutal, I tried initially to take them all out but with only three competent combat units I had no choice but to retreat. That made the music choice in the second case feel less appropriate.

For the second tower chapter (Chapter 25) I liked the concept of the ground disappearing as the tower starts breaking down. I think it would have been cool if we got warning where the ground was going to break and if you had a non-flyer on the tiles when it broke it would lead to the unit retreating (or dying if you’re feeling mean).

The music choices, in a vacuum, are all good tracks but some of them I felt didn’t match the feeling of the story in the moment. I already mentioned the rescue/escape chapters but I found the use of golden sun themes (venus lighthouse & the lost age overworld) for player phase to be played a bit too much given how epic they are. Using Frog’s theme for the knights was wonderful though!

Story:

The story was an enjoyable ride overall hitting a lot of common fantasy story themes but using them well. I liked seeing the rise of Edric along with the not-so-surprising reveal about him midway (and then the very shocking one at the end) through the story. However, it did feel that he was just along for the ride in place of other characters like Julia, Fenix, Sophia, Edgar etc. and didn’t have a strong personal stake in events for the majority of the story. Elyse’s promotion was not well-explained – how/why did it happen? I have a feeling some of the answers are in the support conversations but considering this was part of the plot it was odd to see it not explained. Zeddard was an interesting villain with nicely laid out motivations in the main story and in the flashback chapters. It would have been more interesting if there were more “serious" of his crew as most of them seemed completely unhinged (ie. Royce, Velaina, Braggo). The ending was quite the shock though. It seemed like Zeddard and co. were defeated and all was going to be well and then there was a massive plot twist – it was too abrupt in my opinion, raised too many questions and was a bit too sequel-baity. It sounds like you are set on making the sequel so perhaps these questions will be answered but in a vacuum it felt like the story just ended as soon as another climax was approaching.

The cast of characters were all very interesting with a good balance of light-heartened and serious characters. The art for them was a bit uneven though as the styles seem to jump between some of the characters (ie. The use of shadows on Shorn is so strong makes it hard to believe that Sheila is his sister.) Another, nitpicky thing, a number of the characters are off-center in their portraits, I don’t know if this was intentional or not but it did stand out to me. On the support front, I very much appreciated the more modern support system where you can have loads of B supports and then you choose the singular A support. I also appreciated that there were often talk conversations that would pop up between characters, another nice modern touch to show how certain characters react to events in the story.

**UNITS**

Edric: Combat-wise, Edric was an adventure. Mine was very strong early on and then absolutely stalled and was getting doubled throughout the midgame to the early endgame. Only with stat boosters did he get salvaged at all and his endgame perfect was ridiculous.

Shorn: Shorn went from liability early on to ok midgame to absolute demon in the endgame. Early on I had to baby him a lot but once he promoted and got his second perfect, the combination of his perfect + galeforce meant two kills every player phase – absurd.

Miley: Miley was pretty meh for the entire game. I could rarely count on her to one-round anything, even with her perfect. And on enemy phase she could barely take a hit and sometimes got doubled. She was the better of my two dedicated bow users but it says something when I was using Edric & Dwalt for bow usage more than her until the late game.

Catrine: Catrine’s role in the story was very interesting. As a unit though, she was my staff bot for the entire game and the utility was greatly appreciated. By the end though, she was inferior to Julia as a stave user and far inferior to the other mages for magic damage.

Hilda: Hilda was my MVP for ~70% of the game. She tapered off towards the end of the game as her offence stalled (I probably should’ve given her a strength booster) but she her combination of bulk, movement, and decent offence still made her super useful. I also liked seeing the Sigurd-style Engage skill on her as it made her very powerful.

Dwalt: Dwalt was super helpful early as he and Griss (while I was using him) were the only reliable frontline until Hilda got some levels under her. He fell off hard in the endgame as his growths stalled but at that point he replaced Miley as my main bow user and was still useful.

Harlan: Harlan was a super useful unit. His high magic growth combined with the light brand or his perfect made him really useful as a combat unit as two-range swords are still so uncommon in the GBA hacks. Otherwise he did usual thief duties effectively but since his combat was good I did not have to escort him to chests/doors as much compared to other thieves which was nice.

Elyse: Very interesting unit, she was meh in the early game and then she was gone until the endgame. I was surprised at how long she was gone from your team but story-wise it made sense. When she came back she was just ok as my Alexias and Leandra were far better than her. However, she had some very powerful tomes that gave her great utility.

Galen: Galen was a beast for me and if not for his absence from my team for story reasons I wager he’d have been co-MVP with Hilda for most of the game. His perfect was ridiculous and while his magic growth was decent I rarely bothered using tomes with him.

Julia: I assumed that she would get light magic but then I realized that you made the choice to have her stave-locked for the whole game. While it surprised me, I also liked it and the increased stave uses and reliance on them meant that I never had her just sitting around waiting to heal as a stave bot in the mid to late game.

Rivkah: Rivkah was a great, solid unit for me for the entire game. Her personal skill was so useful, just like Hilda’s, and made her a great player phase unit from recruitment to endgame. Her bulk was solid too as there were points, even in the late game, where she would tank 2 to 3 hits and survive.

Donnal: Donnal was supremely disappointing to me. I really liked his sprite and initially he was much more useful than Miley because while neither could really double, he hit like a truck. However, it got tougher to keep feeding him kills and then with forced recruitments in the mid-to-late game he ended up being the sacrifice (because I didn’t have a promotion item). He never really recovered stat-wise but I still brought him to the endgame and he helped chip away at some enemies.

Gareth: Gareth was another disappointing unit for me. I like soldiers/halberdiers but he was so fragile as both a soldier and a halberdier because his evasion was not great and it took a while for him to build up some bulk. He did recover a bit in the very late game with his perfect but his strength was low that outside of crits he was not particularly effective. I gave him the holy lance for the endgame though and that was enough to make him useful.

Eleanora: She was my dancer, end of story. I never used her to heal or as a combat unit (at least intentionally) but it was cool so see her unit sprite with the sword.

Alexias: Alexias became my MVP for the second half of the game. His 3-range for all tomes is ridiculous and then I gave him the perfume to increase his growths and he could nuke absolutely everything. His luck and speed were great too so he was dodging a lot – at times it was almost like using a mage/sage in vanilla FE7/8 where I could park him on the frontline and he’d just wipe out waves of enemies.

Leandra: When she arrived as relatively low-leveled and unpromoted unit in the midgame I was not sure if I would use her. However, I preserved and she paid off big time for me and finished the game as one of my primary combat units. I do think the only reason I kept her in my squad initially was because of her perfect siege tome – I used the hammerne on it twice.

I also used Griss, Sheila, Tancred, and Sophia in my run. Griss was dropped once I got more cavalry but was very useful early game. Sheila’s strength was so low it was comical, even her perfect wasn’t enough to let her one-round squishy enemies. Tancred was odd, he capped defense as a level 20+5 druid but all his other stats stunk.

3 Likes
Spoilers

Omg I just got to the A rank of Fenix and Elyse Support and like idk how to feel. That would explain why she was able to change classes but like the woman you loved was reincarnated and she was raised as your daughter. In a way that’s kinda weird but at the same time I can see how it was viewed like she gave birth to a little girl for you. Just that was kind tough.

1 Like

Just wanted to say i’m playing through this, and this is awesome. Definitely an A or S tier hack (I’m not deep enough to say which yet but it’s so good so far).
Reminds me a lot of dark lord and the maiden of light, one of my all time favorites. Gameplay is refined and the characters look sick and seem to have good personalities! Will come back with my thoughts after finishing lol

6 Likes

Yall I’m torn…I finally made it to the finale, and It’s been so good I don’t want it to end. Like I’m excited to replay especially cuz I played the earlier stages and couldn’t get Gareth cuz of a bug. But like…I’m not ready for it to end, but I’m excited to also see how it ends and the paired endings. I’m tooooorn.

3 Likes
Finished

Well I Finished…I knew I never trusted that woman. Wouldn’t be surprised if she the dawn queen. I’m excited for a sequel! So much potential, there are places we never even visited here. I mean come on Fenix, Sophia & Tancred Endings alone say soooo much. I want it. I love the characters, the story, the battles weren’t all annoying and fall into that " constant reinforcements make hacks good" that a lot of hacks fall into. Just solid gameplay. For sure now at the top of my list of hacks with other legends like vision quest & Diety Device.
Only thing I would think to change is actually make Julia a Lord and like if she is going to be gone from the party for so long she needs a level boost and probably should promote earlier. With how incredibly important she is to the story her not being a lord is just wierd especially since we lose her for so many chapters.

3 Likes

Finished this hack a short while ago, just haven’t posted about it yet. Enjoyed the hell out of it, always happy to see the dual wielding hector lord. Did a great job making me immediately feel off about the mom lol.

Fantastic hack overall. One of the greats imo.

1 Like