Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is the first entry in Intelligent Systems' strategy RPG series for the GameCube (and the first featuring 3D polygon models for characters and maps), set in a new universe with all-new characters. War erupts across the continent of Tellius, and the player controls a band of mercenaries led by the main character Ike as they battle the hostile military forces of Daein and restore Crimean royalty.
The game retains the basic gameplay of the Fire Emblem series, including turn-based battles where players choose to move and attack with units, each a unique character that levels up as they gain experience from performing actions including defeating enemy units. The "weapon triangle" is a major factor during battle dictating what weapons (and thus units) are effective against another. Movement and attack ranges are dictated by grid-based ranges, which can also be affected by weather and unit types.
Player units are one of several different classes which promote automatically once they reach a certain level. Classes have an effect on what weapons they will be effective with during battle based on ratings, though character stat growth can also be affected by the random nature of stat gains during levelling. This random growth can be replaced with a new growth system upon completing the game at least once. New unit types include the laguz, shapeshifting warriors who can transform into powerful animal units for a brief period of time.
Player units can also learn combat skills which can activate during battles; each unit has an allotment of points which are used when skills are equipped, encouraging players to find the best matches.
Units continue to gain stat boosts when fighting in range of units they have built camaraderie with; these support levels are earned by completing battles with desired units adjacent to one another.
Main character Ike would later become a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U.
This game is also known as:
- Fire Emblem 9 in North America
- Fire Emblem: Trail of the Blue Flame in North America
- Fire Emblem: Souen no Kiseki in Japan