Table of Contents

Page 1 - FE1 - Ankoku Ryu to Hikari no Tsurugi (Dark Dragon) / FE2 - Fire Emblem Gaiden
Page 2 - FE3 - Monshou no Nazo / FE4 - Seisen no Keifu / FE5 - Thracia 776
Page 3 - FE6 - Fuuin no Tsurugi / FE7 - Rekka no Ken (Fire Emblem in English) / FE8 - Seima no Kouseki (The Sacred Stones)
Page 4 - FE9 - Souen no Kiseki / (Path of Radiance) / FE10 - Akatsuki no Megami (Radiant Dawn) / Anime

Fire Emblem: Souen no Kiseki / Path of Radiance - Gamecube (2005)


Cover

Fire Emblem: The Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem: The Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem returns to the home console! The GBA Fire Emblems did a good job of keeping things clean and readable given the small screens but it's good to be back on the big screen. Relatively speaking, that is. Path of Radiance brings further refinements to established game play elements, new systems and map gimmicks. All of these aspects make Path of Radiance an evolutionary step in the franchise beyond the mere implementation of 3D graphics. Most of these changes be unnoticeable until you try playing an earlier Fire Emblem game, and you'll be sorely missing some of the improvements implemented here.

Promotions are automatic. Once a player reaches level 21, they automatically promote to the next class. No more worrying if a character has the right promotional item in their inventory before they hit level 20. Items can be used to promote a character between the levels of 10 and 20 before the automatic promotion. These items are very rare. All support conversations happen on base rather than on the battlefield. The GBA Fire Emblems offered limited windows of opportunity for players to have these conversations on the battlefield and the game didn't always make it clear to a player who could converse with who. It's crystal clear now and a lot less frustrating. Support levels are now based on the battles that the fighters have participated in, so they don't need to fight directly next to each other.

The Bonus Experience system lets players freely allocate experience points from a specially collected pool to any character they choose. This makes it easy for new recruits with low levels to catch up with the rest of the force. The game also baits players to try pursuing additional objectives to earn even more Bonus Experience. Pushing and Smiting lets a unit move another unit one space (or two spaces in the case of Smiting) forward, although this only applies to allied units. Also new are the Iaguz units, demihumans that can temporarily change into beasts and wreck havoc when transformed. The transformed beasts include birds, beasts, and dragons. Special skills can also be learned by nearly any character through the use of scrolls. You can even forge and upgrade weapons, allowing you to recolor and rename them. The magic system triangle is now closer to FE IV, and dark magic is gone. Certain spells are also effective against the three different types of Iaguz.

One of the remarkable feats that Path of Radiance goes relatively unnoticed is balance. You can create a pretty kick-tail army using any of the units you get. With the right combination of leveling, support conversations and skill allocation, everyone has the potential to inflict massive damage. Some units are harder to nurture than others. Most of the Path of Radiance crew will reward players for their investments, rather than the previous games which had quite a share of bench warmers.

Got a GBA connector cable? Plugging in the two Fire Emblem carts unlocks art galleries and extra "trial maps" which offer extra challenge to the seasoned player. Two of the five total trial maps can be unlocked by beating the game, but GBA cable-less gamers may feel spurned. Find a friend or hit up eBay, the better maps are GBA-connect exclusive.

Our setting for this installment is on the continent of Tellius which is divided into several nations: the frigid, militaristic of Daein in the north, the small, peaceful kingdom of Crimia in the west, the massive, theocratic empire of Beginon to the east and a handful of Iaguz kingdoms to the south. Ashnard, the "Mad King" of Daein sends an army in and takes Crimia by force. The Greil Mercenaries accept a mission escorting someone to the big cat Iaguz kingdom of Gallia. That "someone" turns out to be Elinicia, the sole survivor to the Crimian throne. As Ike, the Mercenaries and Elincia roam around Tellius in search of sanctuary, war follows. Previously isolationist nations are pulled into the conflict. As Asnard was hoping for, soon the entire continent is at war. From the summary alone, Path of Radiance's plot comes across as very typical and by-the-book. The story and character interactions keep some of the plot's more mature themes such as racism remain prominent throughout the game.

Ike
Your standard blue haired Fire Emblem hero, Ike is the son of Greil, leader and founder of the Greil Mercenaries in the small kingdom of Crimia.

Mist
Ike's little sister. As can be expected, she's kidnapped early on, but once you save her, she joins the battle group.

Titania
This red headed knight is a tank and a total master of destruction in the early stages of the game.

Elincia
The Princess of Crimia and sole survivor of the royal bloodline. She must be defended at all costs.

Soren
A sorcerer with a sour attitude. He becomes your status advisor, providing updates after each battle.

Lethe
The Iaguz are race of humanoids capable of transforming into powerful beasts ranging from cats to dragons to birds. Shunned by humans or "Beorc" as they call them, tribes of these beings live in isolation, and much of the plot revolves around their conflicts. Lethe is the princess of one of these tribes, who can transform into a cat-like creature.

Path of Radiance is an excellent game. The music is rather standard fare, although it's nice to hear it with the much improved synth offered by the disc format, and the 3D characters animate the exact same way as they did in the sprite battles. And much like the sprites, the character models feel minimally tweaked between characters classes. The visuals are pretty sparse, with barely detailed scenery and fairly low polygon models. Most of the maps look ugly with the default grid markings. But Fire Emblem has established itself as being about game play and not graphics. The North American version has been made a bit easier from its original Japanese incarnation, although it's missing the voiceover narrations between chapters.

MP3s Download here

Battle 1
Battle 2

Fire Emblem: The Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem: The Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem: The Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem: The Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem: The Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem: The Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem: The Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem: The Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem: Akatsuki no Megami / Radiant Dawn - Wii (2007)


American Cover

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

In 2007, the next Fire Emblem was released, this time for the Wii. Much like other games that were dualogies (FE1 and 3, FE4 and 5, FE6 and 7), the new game, Radiant Dawn, is a sequel to Path of Radiance, Taking place three years after its predecessor, the story covered a wider scope of groups and events ranging from the liberation of nation of Daein from the currently occupying Begnion empire, the Crimean rebellion against Queen Elincia, and the exploits of the Griel Mercenaries and the Iaguz alliance to stop Begnion's rapid push for control. The game is separated into four chapters focusing on each of these three groups, eventually bringing them all together to form a grand finale somewhat like Odin Sphere.

Micaiah
The main character of the first chapter, who is commonly referred to as "The Silver Haired Maiden". She's a member of the Dawn Brigade, who are fighting against the Begnion empire. Despite her extremely young look, she is wise and mature far beyond her years.

Sothe
A relatively minor character from Path of Radiance, Sothe is also part of the Dawn Brigade. Here, is a powerful Rogue, much stronger than before. He is one of the first units you'll get that can handle just about everything and often will be instrumental in pulling the party through the first chapter.

Pelleas
The orphan of Daien's former king. Accompanied by a shady self-appointed strategist, Izuka, and Micaiah's forces, he seeks to liberate his country.

Elincia
Now the Queen of Crimea, she struggles desperately to regain order in the land and prove her worth as a leader. She takes center stage of the extremely short second chapter.

Geoffery
Leader of Crimea's Royal Knights and devout supporter of the queen. He wields a very mean lance and is a force to be reckoned with. The rest of order, however, pales in comparison. (Save for Kieran.) One of the main combatants of the second chapter.

Ike
Path of Radiance's poster boy seems a little weak at first, though towards the end, he becomes an amazing fighter. He continues to run the Griel Mercenaries and is hired by the Iaguz Alliance to assist them in an assault on Begnion. Returns with most of the cast from the last game to star in the third chapter.

Skrimir
Nephew of the Lion King Caineghis, he's in charge of the Iaguz Alliance and leads the charge to attack Begnion. However, his strong headed recklessness does little to help lead.

Zelgius
Grand Commander of the Begnion Army, he is tasked with driving the Iaguz from Begnion's territory. Though seemingly loyal to the Senators, he often has a far more effective and personal way of handling things. There's probably more to him than meets the eye.

As one can guess, with an expansive number of events to cover, the development of a majority of the cast gets skimped over a lot. Though Fire Emblem never has been a series known well for its plotlines, things seem especially thin here, which is sad, seeing as how much of the cast of the previous entry was very charming and fleshed out. Here, the characters are introduced, given a few lines about their lives or inner conflicts, then forgotten completely. It makes sense - there are over seventy playable characters, which is obviously a huge number - but it still feels too brief. The utter destruction of support conversations that helped develop characters in the last game just pours more salt on the wound.

The fact that it's a sequel to the GC game may make it difficult for newcomers to jump in (even though the connections don't really begin until the second chapter), there are other reasons why Fire Emblem rookies should steer clear. Radiant Dawn caters to the hardcore Fire Emblem crowd by cranking up the difficulty right at the beginning. The Easy mode isn't too overwhelming, but the Normal mode is absolutely punishing. Most will storm into the intro map expecting nothing, only to find that their units can't take any punishment and can deal very little damage. Worse yet, it's difficult for all the wrong reasons, because the units you control themselves have extremely poor stats in comparison to the forces they must fight. On top of this, the Iaguz units have been nerfed to the extreme. As a result of this difficulty spike, this is the first game since Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War that allows you to permanently save your game in the middle of battle, without being overwritten when you reload it. This allows you to take some chances and give you another shot if something doesn't go your way. The problem is, it ends up coming to the point where the standard procedure to winning a battle is constantly quick saving and hoping you did everything to a tee. That's not strategy, that's just frustrating. It's noted that this is only available in the English release, and is not available in the higher difficulty settings.

However, towards the midway point, the difficulty evens out a bit when you get better characters, making it quite a bit more bearable and more in line with Path of Radiance. Sadly, the game still tends to feed you characters that are worthless beyond redemption, like the incredibly weak heavy knight Meg). Bench warmer characters have been a common occurrence among strategy RPGs in general, but Path of Radiance was so well balanced that such an achievement can't help but be missed.

There are a handful additions to the actual mechanics. The terrain can how have different elevations, requiring that you climb up and down, and units on higher terrain can do more damage. You can import data from the Gamecube game, allowing for returning characters to have beefed up stats. The Iaguz can now gain more levels, and human characters can be promoted twice. Dark magic spells, missing from Path of Radiance, are back. There are also a few new classes, and a Crossbow weapon for archers, which allow them to attack directly adjacent squares. The support system has changed so you can allow any character to support any other character. However, each character can only have one support, and it's missing all of the cool conversations that were found in Path of Radiance.

The graphics are sufficient, although they're not much better than the Gamecube game. It does not use any Wiimote pointer functionality at either, requiring that you turn the remote on its side to play, although there's now an option to widescreen display. The battle animations are still somewhat poor, but they're a bit less stuff and more dynamic. The FMV cut scenes look pretty nice and, fortunately, there are more of them, with tolerable voice acting to boot. The soundtrack is once again is rather standard fare, although memorable tracks are few and far between.

In the end, Radiant Dawn is still a quality title, but it comes off rather too vicious for casual players. For newcomers, it is recommended to try out the Gamecube installment first.

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem Anime

In 1996, an anime based on Fire Emblem was released. It's only a two episode OVA that details the events of the first Fire Emblem games. The first episode gives a bit of backstory, detailing how Marth fled from his kingdom and how he became friends with Sheeda. The episode then ends with the story of the game's first battle, and Marth's return to take over his kingdom. The second episode covers stages two and three of the game, mostly focusing on Marth and company saving Julian and Lena from the thieves at Devil Mountain.

Unfortunately, here's where the story abruptly ends. It's really hard to get a grip on the characters, since there's rarely much focus on them. Marth is a bit on the wimpy side (although, I suppose that was the point) and Sheeda is kind of a whiny brat. The artwork is pretty standard from the time it was made, and there are a few music themes that are carried over the game. Had it went on longer, it would've have been worthwhile, but it just sorta leaves you hanging. Oddly enough, this was translated and brought to America by ADV long before any English speakers knew what Fire Emblem was, so the connection between the game and the anime was pretty much lost, making it seem like another Lodoss War wannabe. Oddly enough, ADV decided to translate the main character's name as "Mars" instead of "Marth", later decided to be the official English spelling in SSB Melee.

Spin Offs - Tearring Saga

After leaving Nintendo, Shozo Kaga, the father of Fire Emblem, created his own studio called Tirnanog. One of his first games was Tearring Saga for the Playstation in 2001, which bore more than just a suspicious resemblance to Fire Emblem. In fact, the games are almost exactly the same, right down to the interface, graphical and music style. It was originally called Emblem Saga early in development, and the hero, Ryunan, even had blue hair, though this was later changed to brown. It seemed that Kaga was creating his own unofficial sequel. Nintendo was none too pleased about this, and ended up suing them, along with publisher Enterbrain. Nintendo lost, and the game went on to sell very well. For a clone, it's exceptionally well done, and the 32-bit graphics of the Playstation look significantly better than any of the 2D entries in the Fire Emblem series. The Playstation 2 sequel, subtitled Berwick Saga, changed the formula significantly, so it wasn't as much of a blatant clone, but that's a story for a whole other day.

Tearring Saga Translation

Tearring Saga

Links

Intelligent Systems Fire Emblem Page Straight from the makers.
Official FE Thracia 776 page Still up after all these years.
Pegasus Knight.com Incredibly comprehensive data site. In Japanese.
Fire-Emblem.com Nintendo's official English site.
Fire Emblem Planet Another thorough site. Grabbed some artwork from here.
Fire Emblem Wikia Wiki with tons of character info.

Radiant Dawn Artwork

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