The Fire Emblem series used to be stuck in the Land of the Rising Sun. There seemed to be no hope that Fire Emblem would ever sniff the rest of the world, until two Lord characters from their two respective games made their debut on the popular Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube. With their debut to Western audiences and the public curious about what this franchise is all about, Nintendo chose not to release Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade anywhere else but Japan. Instead, for E3 2003, that is when they announced that Fire Emblem, titled Fire Emblem: Rekka No Ken in Japan, would finally make a release on the Game Boy Advance.
Fire Emblem told a story revolved around a character that goes by the Tactician — who is that Tactician? Well that is you. In a similar fashion to the unreleased worldwide Fire Emblem: Shin Monshou No Nazo: Hikari to Kage no Eiyuu for Nintendo DS, and Fire Emblem: Awakening for the 3DS, you became a part of the Fire Emblem world, as you get to pick a name, your birthday, and affinity, then guide a number of units throughout the course of Fire Emblem. Unlike those two games though, you didn’t actually fight, but you are a part of following the three main Lord characters and their stories — Lyn, Eliwood, and Hector.
Lyn, who you might have heard of if you’ve played Super Smash Bros. Brawl, served as the tutorial mode for Fire Emblem newbies, as you learned how to move along the grid based map, the weapons triangle, magic, long range attacks, etc. While you end up doing that, you guide Lyn through various trials, as what once was a goal for her to get revenge on the bandits that killed her tribe turns into a story that reveals she is the granddaughter of the Marquess of Caelin, and she needs to hurry to Caelin before Lundgren, the younger brother of the Marquess, takes the throne by force. This is composed of 10 chapters, along with one gaiden, or side quest, chapter.
Once you beat the tutorial, you get to play the main quest, and that involves Eliwood, the son of the Marquess of Pherae. Set a year after the events of Lyn’s story, Eliwood ventures off to find his father, who has mysteriously disappeared without word of his whereabouts. The search for his father eventually leads to a plot conspired by Nergal, who happens to be the major antagonist in this game, who wants to bring forth the dragons that once ravaged the continent, and harness their quintessence (basically life force) and use it to become a god in his world. In this arc alone, old friends return (including Lyn), tragedy will take place, betrayals will be commonplace, but resolve and determination also shine in Eliwood’s story.
Once you then beat Eliwood’s story, you then unlock Hector’s main quest. Hector is Eliwood’s friend, and the brother of the Marquess of Ostia. The story goal is still the same for the most part, but this follows Hector’s journey as he will have to go through a trial as well, one that ends up testing his resolve and willingness to keep fighting for his friends. This mode is harder than Eliwood’s main story, as it features limitations in money, more enemy units, new chapters and side quests, and also fleshes out plot points not touched on in Eliwood’s (and Lyn’s) main quests.
Fire Emblem for the Game Boy Advance rated out well by critics at the time, and even despite it’s age, it’s still actually a good playthrough today. One of the reasons why is of course the battle system. It has evolved since then, but you got to pick units, have them fight battles, and move them across a map. You can’t just always go into each battle charging head first — you had to actually use strategy to achieve your objectives, or else you risk losing a character in battle. Sometimes it will be simple fare. Other times you may have to play defense against a large amount of enemies for a set amount of turns. You will even run into a map that limits the movement of your units. In short, there was a number of different conditions for each map, and you had to come up with a sound strategy to ensure you’ll beat the chapter.
So, have any questions about Fire Emblem GBA? Have any thoughts about Fire Emblem GBA you would like to share? Feel free to do so in the comments below! Also, since some of you voted for more Fire Emblem 7 discussion, feel free to touch upon anything you think I should work on. I make no guarantees, but I’ll consider it.