Review by Mr. Bound

Reviewed: 07/03/01 | Updated: 07/03/01

Somehow...someway...GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS GAME!

I cannot understand the reasons that all the great games the Japanese get are never released in America. The Fire Emblem series has a long history of being a game that stood out among the riffraff, like the Final Fantasy series. The game itself has been describe as a mix between Final Fantasy and Ogre Battle. It's strategy, and it's wonderful.

Graphics/Visual Effects: 9/10

Now, there are two factors here:
1. The Super Nintendo really has limits on graphics capabilities, so there wasn't anything hugely spectacular compared to modern games.
2. RPGs have never really been known for great graphics. They've been designated for gameplay.

So, how's the visual? For a strategy title, amazing. Fire Emblem has very colorful, varied graphics. There are few signs of pixilation, mostly with the battle map icons. What it lacks in prettiness, it makes up in variety. Each character you can get has an icon that is unique (one exception). You can tell not only who the character is, but also what weapon they carry, and if they are mounted. That's a lot of detail in a minute package. Also, each character has a larger Icon used on their stats screen and during conversations. When you fight battles, you go into a larger battle screen with big, cleanly animated characters. Though never violent, the battles still display what combat in the setting is like. My only gripe? There's mild pixilation, and also the combat sprites look nothing like the character pictures.

Sound/Audio Effects: 10/10

Ouch. If you need music, turn to Final Fantasy. If you need a symphony, go to Fire Emblem 4. There are themes for pretty much everywhere, from battle to conversations. You even have you own world map theme, as do your enemies. No complaints, I play my music LOUD.

Story/Plotline 10/10

While some strategy games may have shallow plots, FE4 weaves a brilliant story of sabotage, betrayal, and conquest. On the surface, it may seem like ''run, fight, conquer, yadda yadda.'' play a bit longer (and have a translation or speak Japanese) and you'll find that the characters each develop personalities and relationships, and there's constant shifts making the game play like a movie. The main hero, known by the only english translation as Sigurd, leads a diverse band of followers across a glorious adventure of rescue, discovery, and battle. In the second half of the game, Sigurd's son takes on his father's role, and leads a second generation of warriors. There's enough here to please everyone.

Gameplay 9/10

The gameplay is incredibly well designed, and I hold it with highest regard. The game plays on tile-based maps with such terrains as roads, hills, cliffs etc. Terrains can help and hinder you, and the enemy often finds help from them. The combat system is incredible, making it so that every move must be carefully thought out so as not to kill off a character. The AI...ergh...I often find myself getting the snot beaten out of me. The AI often beats you, making the game a challenge to play without constant saves (or save states). Perhaps the most well known part of the game is the system that can cause characters to fall in love. This in itself would (and has) take a whole book to describe, but to put it simply: it's immense.My only complaints are the AI and that if you lose a character it's WAY too hard to bring them back alive.

Replay value: 10/10

Incredible. You ought to try playing the game developing different relationships than normal, or for a huge challenge, try not losing a character. You'll want to play it at LEAST twice.

Buy/Rent

Um, it's a bit hard to get a copy of the game imported...and even harder to read the Japanese...but, if you can, BUY. If not, emulate. JUST GET A COPY OF THIS GAME.

Final Score: 10/10-must have.


Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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