As I am still grinding through the Fire Emblem: Three Houses story lines, I figured now would be as good a time as any to reflect on the game that started it all here in America: Fire Emblem.
While originally the GBA game was named Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade in Japan; as well as being the seventh Fire Emblem game to be released in the series. When it was released in America/Europe, the developers decided it would be less confusing for Western gamer’s if it was just called Fire Emblem.
I can honestly say that this game is most definitely worth checking out if you have the means to do so. It isn’t a terribly rare or expensive game either, unlike Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Here is a quick list of all the systems you could use to play a GBA game.
GBA Gaming Systems: Gameboy Advanced… GBA SP...GameCube (with gameboy player attachment)… DS Lite… There are also many other modded systems that are designed to download or play GBA games, such as the Neon Advance.
Although with so many other accessible Fire Emblem games available today, why should you spend your time tracking down the original? To me there are several reasons why, but in all honesty the best one I can give is for you to experience the firsts of everything in the series. While I praise pretty much every Fire Emblem title for its story arc and characters. After playing the first one, you will realize just how unoriginal every game is that follows.
I don’t mean this as a knock against the series, as every game has its own individuality. My point is, if you start with a later Fire Emblem game first and think, “Wow this is so cool,” then chances are it was done in the original as well. For example I always thought that the Path of Radiance ship battle was fun and unique. Come to find out that the exact same thing happens in Fire Emblem.
Fire Emblem opens up with a prologue of ten chapters that acts as a tutorial. It was done perfectly as it is both interesting and engaging for fans who know what the game is, but extremely helpful to those who have no idea what is going on.
You create your own character who is known as a “tactician”. You are found unconscious by a young girl named Lyndis. Come to find out that Lyn’s race of people were wiped out by bandits, and they are coming back to finish her off. The two of you fend off the next raid, and escape to travel the world together. Soon after you are confronted by two knights of Caelin, who explain that Lyn is the long lost granddaughter to the Caelin King.
Unfortunately time is short for Lyn to return to Caelin, as her devious great uncle is poisoning her grandfather. Planning to steal the throne before she returns. Over the course of ten chapters, and with the help of many different characters you meet along the way. Lyn and her band of warriors eventually fight through the bandits and assassins her uncle sends, and save the day.
Towards the end of the prologue however Lyndis’s warriors come across Prince Eliwood (Father to Roy, red-haired knight in Smash Bros). While he does not become a playable character until the prologues conclusion, he is the main character of the actual game.
In classic Fire Emblem fashion, there is a timeskip after the prologue, of a year. Prince Eliwood’s father, Lord Elbert, has recently gone missing. So Eliwood sets out with his closest knights in search of him. Little does he know of the dastardly plot set in motion by several neighboring Lords, and a dark organization known as the Black Fang.
Along his journey Prince Eliwood will encounter several familiar characters from the prologue, including Lyndis, whose kingdom was attacked. As well as introducing his best friend Hector (A classic Fire Emblem character). Eventually the trio will find themselves fighting for the fate of their world (Ah, classic Fire Emblem). It is important to note that after you beat the campaign, a hard mode campaign will open up that follows a mini story of Hector. (For a GBA game it is PACKED with content).
Now this is classic Fire Emblem, but let’s get something straight. Excluding Fire Emblem: Three Houses, this game is just like all of the others. It is a turn based tactical RPG, that uses the triangle system (Low-key salty this isn’t prevalent in Three Houses).
The triangle system is pretty basic, and it goes as follows. Swords beat axes, axes beat lances, lances beat swords. Now this doesn’t mean that your swordsman will automatically lose to a lance warrior, but the lance wielder will have the upper hand. Although it is important to remember there are other statistics in a characters attributes that determine the outcome of a fight.
Each battle you will have a max amount of soldiers which you can deploy at a time. While this wont effect you at first, eventually your army will grow exponentially, and you will be forced to decide which characters you predominantly use.
The battlefield will look like a chess grind, and the class of your units depends on how they can move, and attack. Below I have attached a quick Fire Emblem tutorial for those of you newcomers who may not know exactly how this system works.
Fire Emblem is most definitely my favorite game on the GBA. (And this is coming from an avid Legend of Zelda fan) It is definitely fair to say that it is harder than its successors, and this is a plus.
In my opinion Fire Emblem: Three Houses, is extremely easy. I only ever struggled on my first play through’s last level, but with the time restart feature it is still nearly impossible to fail. If you want a raw, challenging, classic Fire Emblem experience. Then I implore you, go play this game!
As I said before, GBA Fire Emblem is certainly worth replaying. The characters, while maybe not as flushed out as the newer games. Are still classic staples in the series, and extremely interesting. I also think that is important to note that this game never feels dated. If you accept the graphics for what they are, then the Fire Emblem formula still feels identical to almost every game that has followed.