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Fire emblem noken

Wallpaper featuring (from left to right) Hector, Eliwood and Lyn from Fire Emblem, the first Fire Emblem game to be released internationally.

Template:Nihongo is a tactical role-playing games franchise developed by Intelligent Systems (specifically Shouzou Kaga),[1] the makers of Advance Wars (which shares some of Fire Emblem's strategic elements), and published by Nintendo Co., Ltd. The Fire Emblem series is well-known for its innovation and for introducing the first tactical role-playing game, with a strong emphasis on Western forms of medieval folklore. The series is also renowned for having deeply developed characters, as well as the fact that most units' death—or defeat in battle—is permanent in the game until the end of the playthrough.[2] The series currently spans ten games, and has been released on the Famicom, Super Famicom, Game Boy Advance, GameCube and Wii.[3] A Fire Emblem game was announced for the Nintendo DS in October 2007; [4] it is a remake of the first game, Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi, and will be the first Fire Emblem game to have online features.[5]

Fire Emblem, the seventh title in the series, became the first to see an international release in 2003,[6] largely due to the popularity of Fire Emblem characters Marth and Roy's appearances in Super Smash Bros. Melee.[7] Released outside of Japan simply as Fire Emblem, the game was designed specifically with newcomers to the series in mind, and the first ten chapters were structured in a manner that eased newcomers into the gameplay.[8] All Fire Emblem titles produced since have also seen international release.[3]

Gameplay

Basics

File:Thracia776Screencap.png

The Fire Emblem series is a series of turn-based tactics games that involve moving units through a map grid in order to defeat the opposition and eventually complete a mission objective such as seizing a base,[8] surviving for a number of turns, or defeating a boss. Many conventions of traditional console role-playing games are also present; for example, the player may spend money to buy weapons and special items from shops, visit villages and towns, engage in conversations with NPCs or enemy characters, and transfer equipment between characters.[9] Depending on the game, these actions may take place during or in-between battles.

The combat system bases itself on a rock-paper-scissors method of fighting,[2] as each weapon type has both an advantage and a disadvantage against other types. From Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu to the most recent game, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the weapon triangle has been lance beats sword, sword beats axe, and axe beats lance.[10] Bows are unaffected by the triangle, can attack from a distance, and do higher amounts of damage against flying units like pegasi and wyverns,[2] but this is offset by the bow-wielder's inability to counter-attack direct melee strikes. A similar trinity of magic, that varies from game to game, has also existed. In the Game Boy Advance Fire Emblem games, light beats dark, dark beats anima, and anima beats light.[11] In other games, fire beats wind, wind beats thunder, and thunder beats fire. Magic is also unique in that magical attacks can be used from either a distance or in melee range.

Unlike in most other games, most weapons in the Fire Emblem series have a finite number of uses and will eventually break. Therefore, the player must often buy replacement weapons or spend gold to have broken weapons repaired.[8] Typically, weaker weapons such as the iron weapons allow more uses than the more powerful steel and silver weapons.

Units

Unlike in Advance Wars and other tactical RPGs such as Final Fantasy Tactics, player-generated units are absent. Instead, Fire Emblem utilizes a distinct cast of characters, each belonging to one of many character classes and having a personality and past of his or her own.[2] Typically, the size of the player's character roster is very small at the beginning of each game, but as progress is made, other units may join the player's party through story events or through actions taken. The latter games in the series typically contain playable rosters between thirty and fifty characters deep.[12]

Using units in battle will allow them to gain experience points; a character's level will increase upon gaining one hundred experience points. Leveling up party members can be a challenge, as many newly recruited units arrive with inferior levels and statistics,[13] but because the amount of experience earned from defeating an enemy is determined by the level discrepancy between the battling units, characters at lower levels earn more experience than higher-leveled characters when defeating enemies of comparable level. In addition to statistics, units have a weapon rank for each type of weapon they can use; these run from E (lowest) to S (highest). In Radiant Dawn it is possible to achieve an SS weapon level, which is one level higher than S.[14] Units can only use weapons whose rank is equal to or lower than their own, but weapon ranks can be increased by repeatedly using weapons of that type.

As characters level up, they may gain the ability to change to a more powerful character class, often referred to as "promotion." Depending on the mechanics of the particular game, characters may promote upon reaching a certain level,[2] or through the use of special items that instantly cause promotion. Major characters may automatically promote during story events. Characters that promote receive a one-time statistics upgrade that is higher than the average leveling upgrade and additional abilities that are standards of the higher-tier classes.

Supports

Romance and friendship are prevalent themes throughout the Fire Emblem series. Starting from the sixth game, Fūin no Tsurugi,[15] this characteristic has been further emphasized in the gameplay itself through the use of support conversations. In the GBA Fire Emblem titles, these conversations can be triggered by having specific pairs of characters end their turns standing next to each other. After a specific number of turns have accumulated, the player is given the option to view a support conversation between the two characters; this process can occur up to three times.[12] Path of Radiance altered the approach by requiring characters to be in a certain number of battles together and not necessarily adjacent to one another.[16] Characters who support each other receive statistical bonuses, based on support level and each character's elemental affinity, that activate any time they are within three spaces of each other on the battlefield.[12] If two characters with a mutual romantic attraction, strong friendship, or other form of mutual connection engage in three support conversations throughout the game, the result will sometimes affect the game's ending.[17] Depending on the characters involved, such results could include marriage, a deepening of friendship, or a continued pursuit of their ongoing relationship.

Death

Fire Emblem characters that run out of hit points die and cannot be brought back to life in game.[2] This also affects recruitable NPC and enemy units. If a player wishes to continue using a character or to recruit a would-be playable unit that has been killed, then the player must restart that chapter from the beginning. In addition, a "Game Over" occurs whenever one of the main characters falls, or in other situations depending on a mission's requirements. Only under special circumstances, such as being significantly related to the story, will characters who have fallen in battle not actually die, though the player will still be unable to use them in further battles.[9] In extremely rare situations, characters that fall in battle can become playable at a later point in the game. For example, in Fire Emblem, the game is split into two parts, Lyn's tale and Eliwood's (or Hector's) tale; all characters from Lyn's tale are recruited again in the second part of the game, whether or not they survived the first part.

The Fire Emblem

The eponymous item of the games is a plot device or item that has taken multiple forms throughout the series, changing with the setting. The original Fire Emblem was a shield. In the remake of the original game in Monshō no Nazo, Marth can use the Fire Emblem to open chests, and in Book Two (the second half of the game), it can be upgraded with five orbs to turn it into the Shield of Seals.[18] In Seisen no Keifu, it does not appear, but it is mentioned as the family crest of the Velthomer house by the person succeeding it.[19] In Fūin no Tsurugi and Fire Emblem, the Fire Emblem is a gemstone required for a ceremony to recognize the heir to the throne of Bern and also to seal away Idoun, the Demon Dragon. In The Sacred Stones, the Fire Emblem is the Sacred Stone of Grado, which holds the Demon King's (a dark deity in Sacred Stones) spirit, but it is split in two (the other half forms the Dark Stone), and the Fire Emblem is crushed. In Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, it is another name for Lehran's Medallion, an artifact containing the imprisoned spirit of a dark god.

Setting

The primary settings of the Fire Emblem series are commonly defined by the names of the continents on which the games are set. Aside from Akaneia and Barensia, which are confirmed to be part of the same world, each continent is thought to exist in its own separate universe with its own incarnation of the Fire Emblem. Games set on the same continent are typically linked through the overarching storyline and character relationships. For example, Fire Emblem is a prequel to Fūin no Tsurugi,[20] and some of the characters in these games are blood-related. There are currently six continents:

Akaneia:[1] Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no TsurugiMonshou no Nazo
Barensia:[21] Gaiden
Jugdral: Seisen no KeifuThracia 776[22]
Elibe: Fūin no Tsurugi[15]Fire Emblem[20]
Magvel: Sacred Stones[23]
Tellius: Path of Radiance[24]Radiant Dawn[25]

Games

The following is a list of games released in the series.

Games predating Fire Emblem were released only in Japan. Due to this, there are no official English language titles for these games. An official English language title may be given if Nintendo elects to localize any of these games to North America or the PAL region.
Title Year Platform Notes
Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi ("The Dragon of Darkness and the Sword of Light")[26] Template:Vgrelease Famicom The first Fire Emblem title.
Fire Emblem Gaiden ("Sidestory")[27] Template:Vgrelease Famicom Side story of the first title.
Fire Emblem: Monshō no Nazo ("Mystery of the Emblem")[28] Template:Vgrelease Super Famicom, Virtual Console Enhanced remake of Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi along with a sequel. It was adapted into a 2-part anime series. Released on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan in December 2006.
Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu ("Genealogy of the Holy War")[29] Template:Vgrelease Super Famicom, Virtual Console Deviates from standard Fire Emblem gameplay mechanisms. First Fire Emblem set in a separate universe. Released on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan in January 2007.
Fire Emblem: Thracia 776[22] Template:Vgrelease Super Famicom A side story of Seisen no Keifu first released on the Nintendo Power download service. Regular ROM version was released in 2000.
Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi ("Sword of Seals")[30] Template:Vgrelease Game Boy Advance The first Fire Emblem title to appear on a Nintendo handheld. As of July 2007, it is the last Japan-exclusive Fire Emblem title.
Fire Emblem

Released in Japan as Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken ("Blazing Sword")[31]

Template:Vgrelease Game Boy Advance The first Fire Emblem title to be released in the West and the prequel to Fūin no Tsurugi.
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Released in Japan as Fire Emblem: Seima no Kōseki

Template:Vgrelease Game Boy Advance First title to incorporate several play mechanics not seen since Fire Emblem Gaiden. It is currently the only Fire Emblem title not related to any other game in the series by setting or story.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

Released in Japan as Fire Emblem: Sōen no Kiseki ("Trail of the Blue Flame")[32]

Template:Vgrelease Nintendo Gamecube The first title in the series to be rendered in three-dimensions and to incorporate full motion video.
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Released in Japan as Fire Emblem: Akatsuki no Megami ("The Goddess of Dawn")[33]

Template:Vgrelease Wii The sequel to Path of Radiance.
Fire Emblem DS (Tentative name) Unknown DS Enhanced remake of Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi. The first game in the series to have online capabilities.[5]

A Fire Emblem game was originally planned for release on the Nintendo 64,[34] but the project was discontinued.

Controversy

Controversy began in 2001 when Shouzou Kaga, one of the series' main developers, left Nintendo to found Tirnanog, an independent studio. One of his first games was Tear Ring Saga for the PlayStation, a game that borrowed heavily from the Fire Emblem series in terms of graphics and gameplay.[35] The game was initially similar to Fire Emblem in title, with the development name being Emblem Saga. Nintendo filed a lawsuit against Tirnanog and, the game's distributor, Enterbrain seeking $2 million dollars in the belief that the game infringed upon Nintendo's copyright.[36] Nintendo lost,[35] and Tirnanog later produced a sequel called Tear Ring Saga: Berwick Saga.

Music

The musical scores for Fire Emblem have been composed by Yuka Tsujiyoko for most of the series' history.[37] The first eight games in the series all featured soundtracks composed entirely of instrumental music. However, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance broke from this trend with the end credit theme "Life Returns", a lyrical piece sung in the language of the fictional heron laguz (bestial humanoids) tribe. A lyrical version of the "Fire Emblem Main Theme" is also used in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Due to the worldwide release of the game, this version of the song is sung in Latin.[38]

There are also recurring tracks in the Fire Emblem series. The most frequently used is the "Fire Emblem Main Theme" which is played at some point during each game. Its use is particularly varied, as it is sometimes used as the title screen theme, while in Path of Radiance, the song is not heard until the very end of the game, when each character's performance is ranked. Since Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, battle themes of previous Fire Emblem games have been remixed as arena battle themes. Similar rearranging appears in other circumstances, as well; for example, the musical score for the trial maps in Path of Radiance was originally the music score for Chapter 10 of Seisen no Keifu. The games' music has been released on various soundtracks in Japan.[39]

Influence on other media

Anime

In 1995, an anime OVA (co-produced with KSS) named Fire Emblem was produced and released; it was closely based on the first three acts of Monshō no Nazo and was cancelled after only two episodes.[40] It featured Marth, and its story was based upon that of the Fire Emblem games that he appeared in.[41]

Card game

The Fire Emblem trading card game was released by NTT Publishing Co., Ltd. in August 2001. Six series were produced before its termination in 2006. The first three series depicted characters from Seisen no Keifu, the fourth featured characters from Thracia 776, and the Anthology expansion featured characters from both games, but with artwork from different artists. The final two expansions featured characters from Monshō no Nazo. The trading card game is similar to battles in Fire Emblem, but players battle with different types of cards, such as character, terrain, weapon and surprise cards. NTT Publishing also published Fire Emblem soundtracks and books.[42]

Appearance in other games

File:SSBB Ike.jpg

Since its inception in 1990, the Fire Emblem series had largely been confined to Japan. In 2001, however, Nintendo released Super Smash Bros. Melee, a fighting game containing characters from throughout the company's videogaming history. The original Japanese release of this game contained two characters from the Fire Emblem series: Marth, the protagonist of the first game, Fire Emblem: Ankoku no Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi, and the third, Fire Emblem: Monshō no Nazo; and Roy,[43] who stars in the then-unreleased sixth game, Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi. According to Nintendo's official Japanese website, Marth was put in Super Smash Bros. Melee upon the request of Japanese gamers.

Marth's design and playability earned him extra attention while the game underwent debug testing in North America, and it was by the decision of Nintendo of America that he was included in the North American version. Roy had been included in Japan to promote the upcoming release of Fūin no Tsurugi, and was likewise included in the North American version. It was due in part to Marth and Roy's popularity from their appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee that Nintendo eventually decided to localize and market Fire Emblem games for North American and European release.[7]

If Marth is unlocked and all players hold some specific buttons, a remixed version of the Fire Emblem main theme and Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi's "Encounter theme" will play instead of the stage's original music.[44] Although there is no word yet on whether Marth or Roy will return in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Ike (from Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn) has been confirmed to appear as a playable character.[45] Lyn, one of the lords from Fire Emblem, also makes an appearance as an Assist Trophy item summon.[46] One of the game's stages, Castle Siege, is inspired by the Fire Emblem series.[47] The Fire Emblem Main Theme has been arranged similar to the Super Smash Bros. Brawl main theme, including orchestral arrangement and Latin lyrics.[48]

In another Intelligent Systems game, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, a minor character in Petalburg raves about his favorite video games when spoken to. The first game he talks about is Fire Emblem.[49] Likewise, the Nintendo DS game Daigasso! Band-Brothers features the Fire Emblem theme as a song.[50]

Media reception and sales

The Fire Emblem games have scored well in the media — Fire Emblem was awarded 9.5 by IGN in 2003.[9] However, the games have gradually been receiving lower average scores as the series moves on. On Game Rankings, Fire Emblem averages 88%, The Sacred Stones averages 85%, and Path of Radiance averages 86%.[51] Critics have welcomed the character development and plotlines but have criticized the limited multiplayer options.[9] Critics have also commented negatively on the 3D graphics of Path of Radiance.[52] In 2006, Fire Emblem: Monshō no Nazo appeared in Famitsu's Top 100 Games list, where it is number 68.[53]

As of November 2007, Radiant Dawn—which has been released in Japan and the USA— ranked 81% on Game Rankings.[54] On the week ending February 25, 2007, Radiant Dawn was the highest selling Wii game of that week, with 73,359 sales.[55]

See also

References

External links

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