Fire Emblem

aka: Fire Emblem 7, Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken , Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
Moby ID: 11200
Game Boy Advance Specs
Buy on Game Boy Advance
$89.97 used on eBay
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Description official descriptions

The rightful heir to the throne of Rikea is finally returning home after many years lost to her people. But before the celebrations can begin, you must first guard her through the evil lands that await before you, by taking charge of an elite group of soldiers possessing skills unlike any other.

The first Fire Emblem title to be released outside of Japan includes an all new quest featuring a selection of warriors, wizards and dragons (both good and bad). Battle through turn-based environments and choose your moves wisely, as those you lose during a fight will be lost for good.

Spellings

  • ファイアーエムブレム 烈火の剣 - Japanese spelling
  • 火焰之纹章:烈火之剑 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (Game Boy Advance version)

75 People (64 developers, 11 thanks) · View all

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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 48 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 59 ratings with 7 reviews)

An epic and challenging strategy-RPG

The Good
I've known about Fire Emblem games for a long time, the first I've known was the first NES Fire Emblem game (thanks to emulation). Back then all Fire Emblem games were japan only, and while I could understand nothing from them, I still loved how they looked, sounded and overall felt. When I heard about the Fire Emblem game on the GBA, the first to finally get an international release, I didn't hesitate much before buying it. Now, after finishing this game for the second time, I eventually feel like writing a review for it, because it is really a great game.

When playing Fire Emblem, you first start a small quest and play the role of the tactician (your role is to give orders to other units). This small quest serves as a tutorial, and your goal is to bring Lady Lindys, the grandchild of the Marquess of Caelin, back to home in order to evil plans of his brother to poison the Marquess and take the throne of Caelin. The only heir being Lyndis, her existence as a potential heir to the throne is a nuisance to him so he also wants to kill her. Your goal is to lead Lyndis and her group safely to Caelin despite the many brigands on your way. This story is rather simple but this small quest is just SO epic that I don't mind playing it again and again. On my first try I found it very hard, but now I beat it in hard more in about 3 hours. As a proof this game actually learns something to it's players.

After this is done, you then begin the real quest with Eliwood, son of the Marquess of Pherae and Hector, brother of the Marquess of Ostilla. The quest is to find Eliwood's lost father, but you'll eventually fight against a criminal band and eventually against a dark lord that want to gather evil around the world. This quest is much longer and harder than Lyn's quest. And if you beat it, you can try Hector's quest, which is basically the same as Eliwood's, except that some cutscenes are changed to reflect Hector's point of view, a few extra chapters, and some other differences too (Hector's quest is slightly harder than Eliwood's).

The scenario of the game is really top notch, each character is developed, and there is a lot of recruitable characters, although not a single of them is normal, they all have exaggerated personalities, which make the story scenes so fun (in fact that's what most RPGs does). All characters looks very cool, except maybe a couple of them (Wyvern Knights seems to be cursed to have a ugly face in this game). The artist behind Fire Emblem, whoever he is, is the only man in the world to be able to design people with green, purple or blue hair and that looks really cool (I wish hair color of people would be that varied naturally in real life, but well it's not). You will most likely never forget Sain who is charmed by absolutely every woman he sees, the rude but so good hearted Hector, or the crazy teenage girl Serra who never shut up and always says nonsense (she is probably one of the funniest character I remember). By the way sometimes I really recognize myself through Hector's acting and speaking (not always tough).

Now onto the gameplay. Fire Emblem is simply a tactical RPG, that is chapter based. Each chapter has a goal, that is often, but not exclusively, to beat the boss. When this goal is accomplished, there is a story scene, you save your game and the next chapter starts. This game is completely linear, and personally I don't find this wrong. You just cannot go back, build some level and come back to the chapter (as you can in the sequel of this game, Fire Emblem the Sacred Stones). This make the game more challenging than any other RPG in the world, because you're forced to make strategies, you cannot just build levels over and over again. If you are lucky, you will unlock gaiden chapters (with a x after their number, like chapters 7x, 13x, etc...), and those are often harder but very rewarding in terms of building levels and exploring the story. There is also chapter where the only goal is to survive so many turns, those are called defense chapters and are often easier than attack chapters.

Each unit has a "class", and each class have specific abilities and specific graphics. Also each class can use only between 1 and 3 types of "weapons" on a rock, paper, scissors basis with both physical attacks and magical attacks, so there is 3 types of weapon (sword, axe, lance) and 3 types of magic (light, dark, anima) each one is strong against another. In addition to this, there is also bows and staves which are out of the rock-paper-scissor system. However, bows are effective against flying units, and staves are only used for curing,or affect a bad status on an enemy. No class is ever able to both use a type of weapon and a type of magic, unlike what is seen in some other games, so magic users are often fairly vulnerable against weapons, and vice-versa. Eventually when a unit reaches level 10 it is able to be promoted, that is becoming of another (superior) class and in addition to gain stats it is often able to use more different weapons or types of magic. However, to do this you'll need special items, and it's really not recommended to do it before level 20 because they level up slower after being promoted. Healers level ups very slow anyway, so it's better to promote them early so that they can use other types of magic and level up faster after being promoted. Some characters comes later in the game and are already promoted, and often they are weaker than characters you build up yourself, however, they serve as a second chance if you didn't level up and promote a character of the same class. Oh, if a character's hit points are zero he becomes "too wounded to continue to fight", and there is no way to reverse this, so if this happen to one of your favorite characters be sure to reset the game and try again. No phoenix downs here. However it's possible to do the whole game with zero deaths. I did it.

Overall Fire Emblem is a hard game, as each single unit, no matter how strong it is, has it's weakness, and that the game is rather unforgiving. Also there is a limited number enemies to fight, so a limited amount of experience to gain, so beware. I didn't mention that weapon broke after a certain amount of charge, and that a weapon less unit is defenseless. However, if you have a high defense unit this can be used as an enemy-magnet and then you can have weaker units take them out to gain experience that your high defense unit doesn't need. There is a lot of strategies to try with this game, you probably won't get bored.

The soundtrack of the game is really good, and there is a lot of different tracks, so you probably will be kept entertained by the good music. The graphics of the game are excellent, all story scenes are made with animated characters portraits on a background, and this looks nice. Main characters show their emotions on their face, while minor characters don't. All of them fells somewhat alive. During battle, you get battle animations showing the two opponents fighting which are absolutely awesome. There is gorgeous impossible-but-looks-so-cool attack moves. The critical hits animations themselves are absolutely MIGHTY. This is probably the best set of animation ever made for any 2D game. I'd watch them over and over forever without being ever bored (as long as there is regularly critical hits).

As this game looks, sounds and fell good, and as there is so many different characters, extra chapters, and different difficulties available, you'll want to replay this game a lot after beating it without a single doubt.

The Bad
The only bad thing about fire emblem is the existence of really long-range attacks, such as this STUPID bolting spell ! This is an attack that allows an unit to send bolts very far away to an enemy unit, with low chance to hit, but if it hits it deals great damage, and enemies will always bolt your weaker units from miles away without warning. Bosses have very high stats, so if they have the bolting spell they will sometimes even kill weak units in one shot. Even strong units will take great damage from it to be then finished with weaker close range attacks. Thank god this stupid spells can only be used 5 times before vanishing, and you can be sure stupid enemies always use it when they can, so after wasting this stupid spell 5 times you're eventually fine.

There is also the balistas, which throws arrows for a really big distance, but at least you can take them to your advantage too by using archers. Most enemies will miss with ballistas (if you hide in woods it misses even more often), but if they hit a pegasus knight it will very likely be a one-hit death (as they are very very weak to arrows). This make pegasus knight useless for most of the game (however their good point is that they are very resistant to spell, so for example bolting is nothing to worry about if you can provoke those stupid mages with your pegasus, wait for the bolting to run out and then achieve them with all your troops).

This removes the strategy side of the quest and adds ton of frustration. Whoever at Nintendo decided to introduce this stupid bolting spell and those stupid balistas ruined the fun of a couple of missions.

Another big frustration is the fog/dark maps. When there is fog (or darkness), you don't see the enemies unless they are really close. However, they somehow sees you with no problem. So you can be attacked by any side with any weapon without even knowing it. Fortunately most fog maps are small and straightforward. However, there IS maps with both fog and ballistas (meaning you will be hit by arrows without warning nor knowing where they're from) and there is even one particular chapter with the worst combination ever created, darkness and a boss with bolting, which is the most difficult chapter in my opinion.

Another bad thing is that only a few characters actually take place in the story after they join. Most of them join for no reason, and keep in your army for no reason, or are important when they join but becomes unimportant for the rest of the game. Some join for money, too. Some join because they're bored or because they want a challenge. Many joins because they serve one of your lords or because they are friends with someone who is already in the party. Finally there is really a couple of people in the party that really joint to fight evil and save the world, but that's really 4 or 5 people at most.

A final bad point is that there is no map of Elibe continent where the game take place in the manual nor in the game (you only see big plans of the map, not a global map) making the understanding of the scenario difficult at first. To get one either search the internet or get Fire Emblem 6 with a translation patch, as the game take place in the same continent and actually does introduce the player to it (that's probably why it's not done again in this game).

The Bottom Line
Fire Emblem is a great game, with great characters and great gameplay. If you're not too good with strategy games then you're going to have a lot of trouble beating this (like I did when I first got the game), but after this is done you will probably be much better at strategy games (like I guess am now, with no big pretension tough). I played this game 2 times completely. The first time it has taken me 4 years. The second time it took me a week. No joke.

The game really isn't as hard as it seems at first, the trick is that the difficulty is directly proportional on how much you use Marcus. Who is Marcus may you ask ? He's a knight serving Eliwood. He's by far the strongest character in your starting party (in Eliwood's story). What's wrong with him if he's strong, may you ask ? Well, the game tricks the player by stating he's a Paladin, but for real he's not, he's a thief instead. That's right, an EXP thief. If you use him to kill your enemies he will steal the EXP to the other members of your party, making them keep weak. And even if you level him up among with the rest of your party, he'll very probably end up much weaker than most people in the end, even if he was stronger on the start. The experience you get is somewhat proportional to the difference of level between the characters. If you fight a very weak enemy with a very strong ally, he will get little experience. If you fight a very strong enemy with a very weak ally, he will get a ton of experience. So chose well right from the start, use Marcus that kills a guy in one blow and get 10 EXP, or use 2 other guys that harms the enemy and get 20 EXP, plus one third to give the finish blow that gains 40 EXP ? The first solution will be no risk for sure, as Marcus starts almost invincible, but your overall party will gain 10 EXP, and that on a character who will end up weak. The second solution gives 80 EXP to your party and build better characters in the end. Also I didn't mention that levels are limited to 20, so once you reach level 20 (promoted) you cannot level up any further, that's probably why Marcus is so bad, starting already at high level he cannot gain much stats. Also stats gain on level up is partially random, so the power of your characters isn't very well indicated by their level, but rather by their stats.

And if you want a tip, this game feature a lot of characters. If you want to level all your characters up and hope to keep a nice rounded party, then don't play Fire Emblem, as this just isn't possible. To have victory you should always use the same set of characters in order to keep them strong, and you WILL have to abandon at least a half of them. If you don't then you probably will end up with a party of everyone being too weak to survive (pretty much what happened to me on my first playthrough). If you really want to level up everyone the only way is to do multiple playthroughs.

Eventually, as most enemies in the game are weapon users, I recommend to build up magic users as much as possible, because weapon users are vulnerable to magic (and vice versa). Magic is less expensive than weapons and often last longer before breaking, high-level magic users tends to dodge attacks a lot more than weapon users (getting no damage is better than get little damage after all), and magic users can always counter attack to both long-range and short-range attacks, while weapon users can only counter short range and bow users only long range. Of course you want to have good weapon users on your side too, but avoid the cavalier/paladin class, I consider it over-rated, as it starts pretty good, but end up too average, and in the end average characters will be vulnerable to everything, and you'll rather want more specific characters who are very vulnerable to some attacks, but completely invulnerable to others, such as mages and infantry. My personal favorite class is mercenary/hero, as they look awesome in battle and are very strong in attack, defense and dodge. You only get two of them in this game, tough.

In summary Fire Emblem is a very good introduction to the series to us western people who couldn't play this series before, I turned out to be a real fan of this game and if you haven't played it then I can only recommend you to try it especially if you like strategy RPGs, because it's practically perfect. If you don't like strategy RPGs you shouldn't be even reading this anyway, so my advice is to go try this game as soon as you can no matter what. And yes, this game is in my opinion much better than its sequel Fire Emblem Sacred Stones. There is better characters, more missions, enemies aren't as annoying, etc... It's just my own opinion. If you were to buy only one Fire Emblem game for the GBA by all means try this one.

Game Boy Advance · by Bregalad (937) · 2008

The perfect balance of fun and strategy...

The Good
Fire Emblem 7, the first game to make it to the shores of the USA. This game is virtually flawless. All of the characters have deep storylines in them, and I found myself having affinities with quite a few of them. This is the game that stars Roy's father, NOT Roy. Every weapon is perfectly balanced. The weapons triangle adds a nice twist of strategy. The realistic factor of not being able to revive the dead adds difficulty and more strategy. This game is better than Final Fantasy tactics Advance by far, since it actually requires thought.

The Bad
Hmmm... Some parts were tedious, but nevertheless fun. The not-being-able-to-revive-the-dead thing also makes the game too hard for some people (cough, cough, FFTA fans). Some might find the storyline cheesy and cliched, but that's the translator's fault.

The Bottom Line
If you own a GBA, go buy this game now. I'm serious. Don't go for FFTA, go for Fire Emblem. The graphics rule. The gameplay rules, The storyline rules. Blinking portraits and animated characters rule. The sprites are awesome. Just go buy Fire Emblem.

Game Boy Advance · by Lad Holyman (3) · 2004

This game Makes Sense.

The Good
The system itself is simple and effective. The system is a respectable fantasy warfare system without the need for 20 pages of rules on hit modifiers. There's a simple rock-paper-scissors method, with random element and some situational things. Easy enough to learn and keep in mind, complex enough to keep things interesting. And the AI is pretty fun: It can actually retreat to keep me annoyed at times, and can pick weak units and attack them. (Nothing like getting everything done 90% correctly, almost ready to crush the last baddies like bugs, and this smart thing decides to do just what I hoped it wouldn't do: kill the leader, Game Over.)

One thing that struck me that this game has great characters. Each of them have a lot of personality. There's good dialogue and nicely tangled yet generally straightforward plot.

Graphics rock - very nice sprite animations here too. Music is just plain amazing.

A weird thing is that I liked the auto-save thing. I'm either staying current or having to get the whole chapter done from the beginning. If I've taken a break and can't remember a thing, I can always restart the chapter and not feel bad, because the chapters are generally pretty nice and short. And the chapters are generally pretty well designed to keep things balanced as I pick up more and more of the game: The 10-chapter tutorial doesn't even feel like a tutorial.

The Bad
Once again, here we have a really, really nice game that's just about perfect in every way and the only things to complain about are in the technicalities. I think the only really annoying thing is the fact that the text speed cannot be changed, and every letter appears slooowly on screen and make beep when they appear on screen. (That's so 1980s. When do the game makers learn this isn't the way to go anymore?) The dialogue can be sped up (and skipped), so this isn't that bad, except when you speed up the text, you miss character animation...

The Bottom Line
I had heard that Fire Emblem was a great series, yet when I heard it was a strategy game and from the team that made Advance Wars, I was a bit skeptical - I thought Advance Wars was decent but it didn't just get me really really excited. But I have always liked fantasy strategy games more than modern/sci-fi strategy games, so I just got it.

And my skepticism was uncalled for.

It's actually a very fun game, quite challenging yet it's never really annoying at all. If I mess up, it's never really depressing to start the chapter over. The story is fun to follow, characters are great, and in general, everything in the game makes sense.

Fantasy strategy at its finest, indeed!

Game Boy Advance · by WWWWolf (444) · 2005

[ View all 7 player reviews ]

Trivia

References to the game

Lyn appears as an assist trophy in the Wii game Super Smash Bros.: Brawl.

Version differences

The introduction music features a voice in the Japanese and American version of the game. The European version of the game has the melody played by a flute instead. Most probably they needed more space for text in different languages, and they removed the voice to gain more space.

The Kingdom of Bern was renamed Biran in the French and German translations of the game, probably because the capital of Switzerland and its region is also named Bern, which could create confusion amongst some gamers.

Awards

  • GameSpy
    • 2003 – #5 Game Boy Advance Game of the Year
    • 2003 - Revival of the Year (Game Boy Advance)

Information also contributed by Sciere

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Related Sites +

  • Fire Emblem
    Official game web site by Nintendo of America.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

Wii U added by Michael Cassidy.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, chirinea, Exodia85, gamewarrior, Bregalad, Patrick Bregger, Hengki Kusuma Adi.

Game added December 1, 2003. Last modified January 2, 2024.