Monday, December 11, 2006

Fire Emblem (GBA)

I think It's accurate to say that Fire Emblem is the first strategy/role playing game ever. It actually came out for the NES during its infancy, preceding even the venerated Shining Force series.

The GBA Fire Emblem is the first english release of this series. There are Nes and Snes roms for Fire Emblem, but they're all Japanese. Some translation groups are trying to make an english version but none has them finished yet.

The cool thing about Fire Emblem is the difficulty. Sometimes, levelling up can be very difficult, not because there's a lack of enemies, but because your strategy may not accomodate proper levelling. This says a lot about the game's need for real strategy. Remeber, once your character dies, you can't use him again in the game.

The game can frustrate players because of its difficulty, but winning a scenario is really rewarding. It's cool to win a scenario not because your characters were more powerful, but because you made good decisions in the battle.

Adding to the dificulty of the game is the fact that you can't buy or sell items after a battle, you actually need to buy/sell stuff "IN" battle. Imagine your swordsman with only 3 more uses for his sword while he's surrounded by enemy knights. He's definitely not gonna appreciate shopping for a sword during that time. Though, this concept adds resource management to this game as well.

Fire Emblem's story is also great. Just the right twist and turns to get you hooked, but just the right length to keep your attention. The cut scenes are simple montages with the character protrait in the foreground with beautiful backgrounds of the scenes.

This is just a capsule review for Fire Emblem. You can visit Gamespot or Gamefaqs for more in-depth reviews. Basically, if you want a solid and challenging game - pick this up now. I give it a 9/10.

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