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GBA Review: Fire Emblem

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When I’m not pissing people off with my lewd behavior or fart sounds, I’m constantly craving for good, solid strategy and RPG games. (Basically, I’m just like the rest of you.)

I’m not sure why I missed “Fire Emblem” when it game out — I didn’t get a Game Boy Advance until they came out with the flip-style SP — but after reading a Game Informer review of the Fire Emblem sequel “The Sacred Stones” (it was Game of the Month) I felt obliged to re-trace my steps and go back to where I went wrong.

After a few rounds of this game, I realized I’ve played a game similar to this before, and I too fell in love with that, because at the time I was too young to fall in love with a girl that wasn’t on a poster.

For another handheld system, Sega’s Game Gear, a turn-based RPG known as “Crystal Warriors” took up most of my spare time as a young’un. I fell in love with that game too, albeit its trite plot and my characters either became way too strong or way too weak.

In Crystal Warriors, players went through different levels moving their fighters across a 2-D map, confronting enemies and battling them for a round. If they died, they were gone forever. If not, they lived to move for another round. Players could purchase equipment and new players between levels. The plot in “Crystal Warriors” escapes me, but it was probably something like “some asshat wants to rule the kingdom but a) I’m the rightful owner to the throne because said asshat murdered my parents b)I’m paid to take you down, or c) I have some moral obligation to you taking the throne, and since we’re not in a democracy, I’m exercising my medieval right to take you down, you sumbitch.”

Fire Emblem, if this is a shock to anybody, made several improvements to the 1992 “Crystal Warriors” title. Consider it as sort of a gridded “Ogre Battle” with one-person units.

In the first levels, the strategist (you) finds yourself awoken in a young girl’s house. Now, while this sounds like every Zelda game ever made, the girl, whose name is Lyn, turns out to be the heiress to the Caelin kingdom (motive ‘A?’) and whose parents were murdered (definitely ‘A!’) by roving bandits (well, close enough to ‘A’).

But the plot doesn’t matter unless it’s a Squaresoft RPG for the Super Nintendo. Fire Emblem is fun on its own, but when I’m done with it I want to go back and play “Crystal Warriors.”

The strategy is in choosing who to fight which enemy, and analyzing the potential reward and danger of where to place certain units. Weapon upgrades and healing items are not always available to characters, and purchasing these happens coyly in the middle of rounds and not between them.

I’m not through the game, and I don’t know exactly what the plot is because I’m furiously A-buttoning through the dialogue (I just wanna play more rounds!) I think it’s something about some kingdom’s lord became (drunk with power, switched by a body double or brainwashed) to declare war with another country, which makes the dark-horse motive D “averting an unnecessary war.” Don’t expect Fire Emblem III, however, to feature a young libertarian traveling with a wizard and a thief to Iraq.

Like I said, plot on a GBA is only the thread that holds together a fun little strategy game that cuts down some bad men whose reasons for world domination escape my interest.

But once I’m done with it, I’ll for sure move to “The Sacred Stones,” then “Crystal Warriors.” Then I’ll await the Gamecube version of “Fire Emblem” due on later this month. Then I’ll play “Ogre Battle” for the SNES, then for the N64. Then all my “Final Fantasy” games. Hey, I’m unemployed. I can play them whenever I want … that is to say, whenever Chelsea isn’t around.

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  • nathan

    i loved fire emblem when i first played i sucked and got sain and kent killed now im wayyyyy better and ive got all the battl history, support con. and all th music. besides advance wars 2 this is one of the best gameboy advance games i have ever played and ive played a lot!