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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Game Boy
PUBLISHER:
Nintendo
DEVELOPER:
Intelligent Systems
GENRE: Strategy
PLAYERS:   1-4
RELEASE DATE:
November 03, 2003
ESRB RATING:
Everyone
IN THE SERIES
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Fire Emblem: Sword of the Seal

 Written by Jeff Milligan  on October 20, 2003

Final Glimpse: Roy's our boy! Roy's our boy! ...whaddya mean Roy isn't in this version of Fire Emblem?!


North American game players have been waiting a long, long time for this. What many feel is the absolute pinnacle of all that is strategy-RPG, the Fire Emblem line of games has enjoyed a long run of success within Japan. Unfortunately, the U.S. has had limited play-time with any of the Fire Emblem games, with absolutely nothing on the portable side. Well, our prayers for Fire Emblem have finally been answered on both accounts, as next month will bring Fire Emblem to U.S. shores for the Game Boy Advance. The wait has nearly come to an end.

For some, Fire Emblem might be all but familiar territory. However, for just about everyone else out there, the most experience they have with Fire Emblem has been using Roy and Marth in Super Smash Bros. Melee (who by the way will not be present in this version on Fire Emblem, sorry guys). Although this may be a first-time experience for most, this particular version of Fire Emblem is actually the 7th game within the series. Regardless of your prior knowledge and experience with Fire Emblem, we've got everything you'll need to know about the upcoming release right here.

Fire Emblem GBA (the original name being Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword in Japan) is based in the Kingdom of Rikea. After many years of searching, the rightful heir to the throne has finally been found. With a new ruler within the Kingdom, assassins and usurpers are abundant. This is where you step in. Players will assume the role of a military strategist, taking full control over the Kingdom's vast military forces to protect your new ruler.

As was mentioned, Fire Emblem is a Strategy Role-Playing Game, similar to that of the familiar Advance Wars (Intelligent Systems is actually the developer of both of these amazing series). Players will have to be keen and at time ruthless in order to achieve victory. Many different units will be at your full disposal, each having unique skills and advantages. You may want to send in your Pegasus Knights for a surprise aerial attack, or you could be more up front by sending Armored Footmen to the front-line of the battlefield. Caution should be exercised however, as if your soldiers should fall in battle, they are gone for good. Its obvious that strategy plays a giant role in Fire Emblem, but the game also features some RPG elements as well.

Instead of having the same units throughout the entire game, you will be able to customize your soldiers with different weapons and armor. In true RPG fashion, unit stats can also be upgraded. Victory in battles will earn your units experience points, which can be used to level up your military units stats. The Fantasy setting and highly involved story may also give you that old fashioned 2D RPG kind of feeling.

During normal gameplay, units will be controlled and moved in and out of battle via an overhead map. However, once a battle sequence has been initiated, the camera will switch to a side viewpoint. Characters in battle will be shown using a variety of 2D sprites, another feature of classic RPG's. Numerous attacks, skills, and magical spells will be at your fingertips during battle, again putting the emphasis on strategy. It's apparent that Fire Emblem has a fair share of both strategy and RPG elements, which can definitely be a good thing.

Another worthy note: those who plan on picking up the upcoming Mario Kart: Double Dash!! might want to slap down a pre-order. Those who do pre-order the game will receive a GameCube bonus disc, similar to the giveaway when The Wind Waker was released. Besides the numerous playable demos and game trailers, the disc will also be able to connect to Fire Emblem on the Game Boy Advance. Doing so will enable players to download special content on to the Fire Emblem cartridge. Unlockable items will include exclusive weapons, abilities, and music. Players will need a GameCube to Game Boy Advance cable in order to take advantage this special addition.

Final Thoughts
American gamers, especially those in love with strategy or RPG kind of games will finally be able to have a crack at what Fire Emblem is all about. Although there are some fantastic strategy games already released for the Game Boy Advance (Advance Wars and the more recent Final Fantasy Tactics especially), Fire Emblem is the definition of strategy-RPG. We'll be able to find out for sure of Fire Emblem really is all that and a bag of potato chips early next month.


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