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Fire Emblem Review for Game Boy Advance (GBA)
Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2003 @ 09:08:01 pm E.S.T

Although Fire Emblem was only recently released in the United States, it has been widely popular in Japan for years now. Until now, the most the US had seen of Fire Emblem are cameos of Roy and Marth in Super Smash Brothers Melee on the GameCube. Now, we finally get the long awaited game on our precious GBA’s. You play the role of Mark, an amateur tactician, who is trying to get experience through live battle. Will you lead your army to an early burial or to greatness? You will have to see through your actions on the battlefield.

Fire Emblem is separated into chapters. Each chapter consists of some dialogue, which reflects upon the plot and a level where you must complete the given objective. The levels get increasingly harder, so at first it may seem easy, but trust me, it gets very, very difficult as you proceed through the game. The way the dialogue takes place really began to aggravate me as we continued through the chapters. They had cutouts with balloons showing what they were saying. Every so often the cutout would make a different face or look in a different direction, but that’s about it. The story of the game is also not the most original or creative. It seems like you’ve heard the story in many different places. It doesn’t really do anything to drag you in, which is a very big problem, considering it is supposed to be an RPG.

The strategy portion of Fire Emblem is excellent. The battle system makes the game a very enjoyable experience. I found myself playing the game one to two hours in a row. I only stopped because my eyes were beginning to hurt. The battle system is like a board game in which you can move your “pieces” all around the “board”, the pieces being the characters and the board being the battlefield. The battlefield is made up of blocks. Depending on which class your character is determines how many blocks the character can move in one turn. Also, certain characters must be next to the enemy to attack, while others can be one block away. For instance, a knight must be next to the enemy in order to attack, but an archer must be one block away to attack. As you can see, what class a character is plays a large role in the battle. The class determines the character’s weaknesses, strengths, health, and others. Unlike most other Strategy RPG’s, if a character dies, he or she cannot be revived. They will not come back throughout the whole game. As a result, you are getting new characters nearly every 1 to 2 chapters.

The graphics of Fire Emblem are exceptional. The battle sequences are sheer works of art, especially when they execute a critical hit. A critical hit is basically a one hit kill in which a character performs a special movement, which they would not usually do when attacking. The sprites in all areas are well drawn. Although the cutouts I spoke of earlier were annoying, they were well drawn. The backgrounds during battles should not go unnoticed for they are vibrant with colors. The music of them game was well composed and orchestrated. It added a lot of feeling to the game, even though it lacked a good story. For example, when you were in a town, there was peaceful music and when you defeated all the enemies there was heroic music.

Fire Emblem has around 30 chapters. You switch characters and enter a new branch of the story every 10 chapters, so it should keep you entertained for quite awhile. There are also some side quests along the way, which are usually more difficult than the major chapters. Overall I thought Fire Emblem was a great game and should be checked out by all strategy fans and also gamers who are new to the genre.

Review By: Deepan Paul - 3248 Reads

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