Fire Emblem review
about frikkin' time!


No! You can't play as Marth or Roy in this game! Stop whining, you stupid amature fanboys!...*ahem* Anyway, the first Fire Emblem ever to be released in English form has finally arrived. You play as a traveling tactician who runs into a green-haired nomad woman called Lyn (How these nomads train their women into hot she-ninjas is beyond me) and decides to go with her as she sets out to reunite with some relative she never knew about. Later we continue the story from the prespective of some red head (No, it's not Roy...I SAID STOP WHINING, DAMMIT!). Was all this worth the wait? Grab your swords, axes, spears, flying animals and magic books and prepare to beat up a bunch of people with more fruity hair color than a parade of circus clowns.

Graphics: 7/10
Nothing special here. You've got the standard overhead view for the battles and some short but well done animations for attacks which can be turned off if you so desire. The story is told through the usual text boxes and anime-style character portriats along with an occasional paintbrush-esque still frame. They do the job quite well and since this is a strategy-RPG you shouldn't expect much in the looks department. But MAN! Never in my life have I seen so many different hair colors in a single game, I must say I enjoyed the conversations between characters alot because of this (even though Florina, your first pegasus knight, looks like a reject from Lady Lady).

Sound: 7/10
Yay! It's the FE theme! Along with several other pieces (totaling nearly a hundred) that set the mood for battle and story sequences. Although the battle music gets a bit repetive.

Control & interface: 7/10
In battle, the controls are near flawless. Manuvering your units and ordering them to attack couldn't be easier. Pressing the R button brings up the standard help box which kindly explains the highlighted object. The preperation screen however, is a bit fiddly, especially on the ''View Map'' screen, and the individual character status screens have multiple pages which could have easily been crammed into one or two without any loss of detail. But soon enough, the menus will become second nature (unless you're mentally challenged or have flunked RPGs 101 ).

Gameplay & replay: 9/10
Now comes the juicy part! I'd like to point out that FE is not very similar in gameplay to Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre, it's more along the lines of Sega's Shining Force series or PSOne's Vanguard Bandits (assuming someone here actually played that game -_-, therfore, FE is more like a survival strategy RPG. You don't build an army of randomly named soldiers. Rather, you recruit the many warriors you come across as the game progresses, each with his own agenda and personality (and wacky hair color). You advance from mission to mission with no breaks to go off and train your characters. Heck, even shopping has to be done within missions! Who came up with that crazy idea?! Battles are your standard strategy RPG affair. Your units move around on a giant ''chess board'' as far as their movement range can allow them while taking into account the various terrain types (plains, mountains, forests, water, horse poop...ok I was kidding about the poop part...stop looking at me like that!). When within attacking range you choose who to attack and with what weapon, depending on the unit type. What weapon you attack with and the enemy uses will determine the outcome of the duel through a ''weapon triangle'', in which swords overpower axes which in turn beat spears which can out-reach swords, and a similar triangle exists for magic attacks (why are the Japanese so obsessed with the Rock-Papers-Scissors scheme anyway?). Throughout the game the characters constantly praise you (the tactician) for your efforts in guiding them to winning the battles (something the original Advance Wars used but was sadly left out from its sequel), now this really gives the feeling that you're ''experiencing'' the story and is a lot more better than the load of bull Miyamoto keeps feeding us about his Zelda games and their purposlessly mute protagonist Link. Your units start out pretty basic. Knights, mercenaries, mages, thieves and archers soon give way for generals, paladins (OMG those two are helluva tough!), assasins, sages, snipers, bishops, valkyries, dragon riders, just to name a few. You gotta be careful, though, if any of your guys (or girls) bite the dust then you can kiss their rear ends goodbye, and if one of your lords die, say hello to the GAME OVER screen, there's no reviving in the cold-hearted world of FE, so play smart or get slaughtered (it's your choice, really). While we're on the survival subject, your weapons can only be used for so long before they break and you're forced to replace them with new ones. Luckily you don't have any armor to worry about, and aside from a set few, you can take your sweet frickin' time to finish the game's missions as you won't be penalized for speed, I am very grateful for this because frankly I don't give a rat's tail about how fast you could finish a mission in Advance Wars 1 or 2. I don't pay money for a game so I can zoom through it as fast as I can and finish it in three days. And speaking of finishing, once you beat the game (not an easy task) you get replay the game in hard mode (boooorrring! Is that the best you can do, Nintendo?!) and best of all, replay the game from the prespective of a third character (Now that's better). *phew* That was a lot of typing!

Overall: 8/10
I'm a bit miffed that the ''emblem'' from the title is briefly mentioned and has little impact on the story but when all's said and done, FE adheres to Nintendo's standard of quality and fun. Many hours will go by unnoticed while playing this game, and I don't care 'cause I enjoyed every minute of it and hopefully so will you.

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