Fire Emblem: The Lonely Mirror (New FE8 ROM Hack)

#1

Hello Fire Emblem Obsessionists,

I have been working on a FE8 ROM Hack, titled Fire Emblem: The Lonely Mirror, for about a year now and wanted to share it with the FE Community. I love the Fire Emblem series so much, and working on this project has been really fun. I have completed full playthroughs - of the 14 maps currently avaialble - virtually every weekend, and I have fun with it each time; I hope that this ROM hack will be enjoyable for you as well. If you wish to provide feedback in any way, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The project is going strong, and I am currently working on the next set of chapters. My velocity is about 1 new chapter per month.

Features:

  • Original story, including hand-painted, storybook intro, and characters.
  • 14 playable maps on single route of play.
  • 16 playable characters.
  • Enhanced gameplay; though, staying true to classic GBA Fire Emblem.
  • Much more, but it’s fun to discover.

Trailer:
I created a mini-trailer for Fire Emblem: The Lonely Mirror.

Screenshots:




Download:
You can download a UPS of Fire Emblem: The Lonely Mirror ROM hack here:

Also, included will be credits and special thanks, character stat growth, and a ReadMe to help get you going.

18 Likes
#2

Quite an entrance! Looks like you’ve put a lot of effort into this upfront. Definitely will be trying this out.

1 Like
#3

Several chapters for first public release? Check.
Some strategy changes (I spy adventurer class, new bow and bow thieves)? Check.
Hand-painted art? Mega-check, sold!

Looks great I’ll be sure to give it a try and like usual break the hack as much a possible with xp abuse.

EDIT: So, I tried to patch and am getting a “Rom doesn’t match UPS” error. This is the rom I use for all hacks and have only once had an issue like this before. Any ideas?

#4

It’s always nice to see a new hacks.

1 Like
#5

I also cant patch it and last time i had that issue i changed the nups option from abort to ignore and it worked but this time it didnt…

#6

Hot damn, gotta put this one at the top of my list of hacks to play.

1 Like
#7

I recreated and uploaded a new UPS file, and it seems to be working fine now. I am not sure what I did the first time; it was late at night for me.

#8

I think it is easy to open ups with FEBuilderGBA.
FEBuilderGBA automatically searches the current directory and emulator directory for non-modified ROMs(vanilla) that are the source of patches.

After pressing the button, ROM of ups file name .gba is written to the directory where ups was.
After that, you can execute it with the F5 key, or close FEBuilderGBA and open it in another emulator.

#9

So I just completed a run on normal through the hack thus far, and I have to say- tremendous work. There is a lot of quality and care put into this, and I look forward to the future of this project.

Having said that, I’ve got a bullet points here as far as good and bad

  • Objective variety: I like how each chapter is approached slightly differently and has their own hook. Beyond even that not every map is sieze, they all even have their own approach to the maps. In particular I dig the paralogue where you are not only rushing for villages on a (admittedly generous) turn count, you also have to strategize with only two characters with fairly limited kit
  • Plot: The story, the writing, and motivation are all great spins on a very IS style plot. I like the novelty of the bandits only being a sub-plot after the ball gets rolling on the main storyline, the threads to pull you into the magical portion of the story are well planted and lead in interesting directions, and the current cliffhanger leaves me looking forward to the next chunk of story
    +Map Design: I can not give you enough praise for design in each chapter. Every map had a good feel and hook, invited creative play, and was balanced for both offensive and defensive play, as well as thinking on your toes. My only real gripe is that treasure and gear progression feels somewhat sparse, but that’s it’s own point overall
    +/- Characters and Classes - I’m conflicted on this one. On the one hand, every character feels unique, and indeed, no two characters on your side share a class (with one exception) and stand apart enough in growths, design, and stats to make each character usable. Having said that, some feel more usable then others. Both caden and liaden more or less obsolete Winifred, unless you just prefer female sniper bases and the cain/abel seems fairly stacked in favor of the cain (vergil) this time around, with great base defense and solid axes in an enemy roster less balanced toward swords. Kudos for side-stepping the Jaigen pretty neatly. I walked away ending up liking Joseph and Miles, and am curious to see how everyone plays closer to endgame
    -Loot and gear progression: to give credit, the vendor/armories are placed at appropriate points in progression, and much of the gear and gems gained thus far are excellent additions and well timed. Giving the lord a magic sword instead of a rapier is actually fairly clever and further differentiates leah and boone as to how they can address fights. I only consider this a negative because
  1. there is no opportunity for promotion- I understand this is a design decision, and perhaps you aren’t yet ready with class balance or progression yet to pen that can of worms, and the one promotion item feels appropriate in timing in both plot and gameplay (it seemed naturally appropriate to give it to caden, as my highest level character and a symbolic gesture of him taking the throne [spoilers]). Beyond that one chance, with a decent variety of choices, there are still roughly 10 characters that don’t get a chance to mix things up or get buffs to stats that need a boost
  2. Magic weapons vs res - this isn’t a hard critism against magic. I like the shining bow, and having a magic sword early opens up a lot of tactical opportunities, but neither seem especially well balanced against roughly 60% of what your army stands up against; ironically, this seems to swing both ways, to an extent, as the number of dark mages and their triangle advantage against every mage you get, as well as the relative might of thunder mages asgainst everyone but Joseph, makes near every enemy mage a landmine you play around
  3. misc- there seems to be too few chests, with underwhelming loot, knives feel underpowered compared to swords, and the lack of any gear above C rank hurts the later third-sh of the game

All and all, I enjoyed this hack thuroughly. If Lael were a light magic user to counter dark mages, that would help mitigate the relative power of dark mages. Otherwise, Great maps I love, a good cast of heroes, and a solid plot that leaves me wanting more. Great work!

#10

Alright, always good to see new hacks! Especially an initial release with such a large number of chapters!
For now, here’s my feedback on the Prologue through Chapter 2. I’m playing on Normal.

Prologue:

  • A pretty standard prologue chapter. I think I may have actually beaten it without getting hit.
  • I find it a bit strange that Espen tells Leah to run as the Celyste army approaches after having tried to kill her earlier.

Chapter 1:

  • I’m only a couple chapters in and Leah is already not doing well. She gets two-rounded by most enemies she tries to fight and has not gained a single point of Pow. She can’t even hurt the boss! Have you considered giving her a Rapier?
  • Kathryn is a typical healbot, nothing special.
  • Grant is probably my favorite so far. I just have a big soft spot for Knights and Generals.
  • Vergil might be decent, but I don’t think I would’ve given him a Steel Axe yet. His hit rates suck with it against anything that doesn’t wield Lances and that low Skl growth rate isn’t going to help. I’d probably start him out with an Iron Axe instead.

Chapter 2:

  • There’s a bug with the Sky Knight’s highlighted map animation. It jerks to the left when it raises its wings.
  • …Yeah. A Rapier on Leah would REALLY be appreciated. I know the Sky Knight reinforcement drops a Longsword, but it would be much more helpful for her to have that anti-Cavalry effect sooner because she’s near-useless without it.

Overall (so far):

  • Right now Leah is probably the worst Lord I’ve ever seen in a hack. She can’t do any damage without effective weapons, she can’t reliably dodgetank, and her durability is atrocious. Please figure out some way to buff her. Give her a Rapier, increase her base stats, anything.
  • The portraits are pretty hit-or-miss. Some of them look good, while others (like Leah’s) look kind of rough around the edges.
  • Chapter 2 feels like a bit of a difficulty spike compared to the Prologue and Chapter 1. It took me a while to figure out I needed to rush to the western chokepoints and turtle there for most of the map.

I’ll try to keep playing later, but I can’t make any promises.

1 Like
#11

Thank you for checking out the hack, and I appreciate your feedback.

Yes, I know Leah tends to have a difficult time Ch 1 through Ch 3 - especially if she does not level well. Leah actually gets her personal weapon at the beginning of Ch 5, but I can understand that being a bit late. I will play around with her beginning the game with a Rapier-like weapon to see how it affects the pacing.

Aww… Kathryn is more than a “heal bot.” Well, I at least like her.

Yes! There are some portraits that could use some touch ups - especially some of the bosses as I didn’t want to spend too much time with all the other work I am planning for this hack. I am eventually planning on going back and doing some portrait fixes. I do have my own personal backlog and priorities, but just keep in mind that creating a ROM hack is A LOT of work! I do work full time on this as my second job, so things will get done!

1 Like
#12

Thanks for the well constructed feedback, WaywardTroper. I cannot believe you breezed through the hack so quickly. You have some keen insight and look to be paying attention to some finer details. Actually, some of your points are very intertwined with the story.

Future Chapters Spoilers

Chapter 11 will begin after a 3-year time jump. Liang and Caden are units that rejoin actually pretty late in the story. I believe Ch 21 and Ch 24 respectively. While Winifred will be rejoining Ch 15. The reason that she is seemingly worse is that she will have a lot more availability throughout the whole campaign. Of course, I am trying to balance all my characters in some way. Likewise, Travis will rejoins in Ch 12 and Vergil rejoins in Ch 20.

Lael is a catalyst for some future events, but I might consider giving her access to light magic. That could be interesting.

I am planning on a long campaign for this ROM hack - it will be between 30 and 40 chapters. I am still trying to determine the best chapters to begin giving out promotion items - or whether I will switch to Master Seals.

2 Likes
#13

Master seals simplifies promotion, and opens up extra rom space for additional items, so unless you intend on patching in an extension to open more space, I’d recommend them over class specific, plus it allows more flexibility with party composition.

I like the idea of balancing around bases, growths, and availability, but I see potential issues; for example I’m going to hazard a guess and say Joseph is a Sety archetype, and ultimately represents the interests of his nation while his brother tries to maintain the peace in their newly stabilized nation, as a result, he’ll be a psuedo-lord of sorts who rejoins the plot fairly early after the time skip. Compared to brett, who comes in with a sturdy base HP and Pow as well as the stronger fire magic, Joseph relies on growths and the high hit/crit of wind magic… but he gets a majority of a chapter alongside Miles to play catch up, can potentially get the energy ring to patch a potentially lower pow, and gets forsetti and S rank wind magic like Rexcalibur or Blizzard or Fimbulvetr to become a critting machine. So unless Brett gets a significant chunk of additional chapters to shine, he’ll be overshadowed. Admittedly, Brett has fire magic with its own checks to take advantage of… but then so does Lael (hence my suggestion)

I do like how you’ve balanced everything; it definitely skews towards challenging, especially with the reinforcement spawn mechanics, but I like how it gets me to react and adapt and better utilize under used weapons. I’m curious to see how you continue the balance from here, and how you’ll contrast Faith from say, a wyvern rider you recruit, or her rival/sister you run into in Ch 9

Caveat-ting of what Voni said, I think the issue Leah runs into is she is an Elrika by design, especially with her growths and bases, meaning its a bit of a coin-flip how good she is. I like the relatively early angelic robe to give her the extra HP she needs (although I would change that back to +7, but I digress). What would help her, potentially, is a buffed con to mitigate sword weight so she could compensate for a potentially lower Pow with the various iron blades and steel swords that drop. I could also see a prof weapon down the line to invert weapon triangle and with a 15 crit to help compensate as well. Maybe a gift between nations to strengthen peace negotiations?

#14

My feedback on Chapters 3-5.

Chapter 3:

  • Brett packs a very good punch with his magic. He was able to wear down the boss well enough for Leah to finish him off and grab some much needed EXP.
  • Handling the Fire/Thunder/Wind Trinity of Magic by way of effective bonuses is a novel means of circumventing the common issue of the Trinity of Magic being too weak because most magic users have high Res and low Def. I like it.
  • This chapter was refreshingly not as difficult as the last one thanks to the ally units (especially that super-strong Hero guy whose name I forgot). Leah still badly underperforms compared to everyone else, though she’s gotten better.

Chapter 4:

  • Faith was good for reaching the northern Village and that’s about it. At this stage she’s really only as good as Leah by virtue of being a flier. Her combat performance is just as bad, though this may have had something to do with the large number of Axe users. Also, her Con is so bad that she can’t double-attack with anything other than an underpowered Slim Lance.
  • A tricky, but still doable chapter, though several lucky Critical Hits made things easier. The large number of Brigands feels like it can be a bit overwhelming, but thankfully this is a Defeat Boss chapter.

Chapter 5:

  • Atticus is also not very impressive as a combat unit, but at least he has Thief utility and Knife access for reliable 1-2-Range.
  • Majestra should be a very fun toy to play with. 15 Critical on a magical sword is insane. But I don’t know if it’s enough to patch up Leah’s performance since it has limited uses.
  • I love how there are still functioning shops in what I’m guessing is supposed to be a ruined hellhole of a town.
  • This is a very frustrating chapter for many of the typical reasons associated with Fog of War chapters. Even with savestates this chapter was a nightmare. It doesn’t help that it’s difficult for Faith and Atticus to contribute when their combat is so bad. I would recommend removing some of the enemies entirely, possibly the reinforcements.

Overall (so far):

  • Majestra makes Leah’s combat performance skyrocket from 0 to 100, but whether it’ll be enough to carry her through enough of the game that she can stay good afterwards remains to be seen.
  • Having played a few more chapters, I’d say the main problem with this hack is uneven difficulty. Most of the time they’re either fairly easy (i.e. the Prologue and Chapters 1 and 3) or horribly difficult (i.e. Chapters 2, 4, and 5).
  • I think Faith and Atticus ought to join with Levels on par with the rest of the party (who are mostly about Level 7-9) so that they’re not so useless in combat.
1 Like
#15

Thanks for the additional feedback.

Regarding Leah’s performance, I am providing her with a limited Rapier weapon to get her through the early parts of the game and increasing her Con. Majestra also has 50 uses, and will be reset after the time skip; When also considering the Hammerne staff, Leah can probably spam Majestra as much as she wants.

Gah! Balancing is very difficult when considering I have been the only person play testing. I have probably done 40+ playthroughs, and at this point, the game is very, very easy for me to complete. I will be of course doing changes the more I play.

  • Chapter 2 is easy now that Leah begins with a Rapier because it is super effective against everything. You also don’t even need to kill everything, and just rush to the gate instead. You can beat this in 4-5 turns.
  • I honestly don’t think Chapter 4 is too bad if you secure the forts. Just bait the boss, and win. Faith does have a difficult time on this map, but she can get the villages and pick off enemies. I will say that this chapter appears to be very difficult the first time one plays.
  • Chapter 5 is difficult, and in my opinion is probably the most difficult map in the current build. This is also the chapter I have the most fun with when I play… but I guess I enjoy fog of war. I believe there are only 4 units that are reinforcements, but I can play around with it.
1 Like
#16

Now this is interesting… I’ll keep this in mind as I play.

Something I forgot to add, some descriptions indicating which weapons are locked to certain classes (i.e. Fire/Thunder/Wind tomes, Knives) would be nice to have.

Now, my feedback on Chapters 6 and 7 and Prelude 1.

Chapter 6:

  • Does the Light tome give Res +2? A description saying so would be nice to have.
  • So many enemy magic users… Thankfully bait-and-switch tactics make this chapter pretty doable.

Chapter 7:

  • I see Caspian, Winifred, and Travis are all recruitable. Do I have to keep them alive to obtain them? (Of them, I only defeated Winifred). I love Winifred’s Archer Serra animation, by the way. I’ve made a separate save file in case I lost her.
  • The opening was tricky with all those enemies clustered in one place, but once that was over with it was smooth sailing. I really hope I don’t have to keep Winifred alive as an enemy to recruit her.
  • …I think I forgot to visit the shops. Dangit. What did they have?

Prelude 1:

  • I must admit I don’t like this sudden flashback with seemingly no warning. It also doesn’t help that the enemies here have a very silly motivation after the rest of the story so far has been fairly serious.
  • Silvan’s unique battle animation, while amusing, doesn’t look like it fits with this portrait. Unless this is an
AVENGERS: ENDGAME SPOILER

Endgame Thor-type deal

  • The Houses in this chapter give some pretty underwhelming rewards.
  • Does freeing Silvan have any kind of benefit? He’s not listed among the recruitable characters, unless he’s not recruitable until a chapter not in the current patch.
  • LOL, the main villain is a Bard. Can’t wait to fight him.

Overall (so far):

  • How long is this Prelude going to last? I feel the way it’s presented screws up the pacing, unless there’s something I missed.
2 Likes
#17

Agree, kinda ruined the experience.

#18

Woah, added to my list! Looking forward to giving it a go in the near future.

#19

The Prelude is 3 chapters long, and even the chapter with the bandits relate back to the main story. I used the first chapter as a way to introduce new characters in a more light-hearted manner. If you thought the transition was jarring, do you have any suggestions to make it feel better?

Otherwise, I am sorry if the prelude ruined the experience for you. Maybe the hack isn’t for you.

1 Like
#20

Is this Prelude just there to give the player exposition, or is it like Boone explaining to Leah what happened before?