|Developer(s)||Nintendo, Intelligent Systems|
|Platform(s)||Family Computer, Super Famicom, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, DS, Wii, 3DS|
|Platform of origin||Family Computer|
|Year of inception||1990|
|First installment||Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light (1990)|
|Latest installment||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (2017)|
Fire Emblem is a long-running series of tactical role-playing games developed by Intelligent Systems, with thirteen installments released to date. Somewhat similar to the Final Fantasy series in that it is not often that games in the series are set in the same fictional worlds and universes as each other, five universes and chronologies within five fictional fantasy worlds have been depicted in the series thus far.
The first Fire Emblem game, whose subtitle translates as "Shadow Dragons and the Blade of Light", was released in 1990 for the FFamicom as one of the earliest games in the turn-based strategy genre, and it was one of the first such game to incorporate elements from role-playing games. This is the game that introduces the character prince Marth. Nintendo decided not to distribute the game abroad, however, feeling that it would not have been successful outside of Japan based on how the original Final Fantasy for NES did not sell well abroad at the time (a heavily ironic concept under given the later success of Final Fantasy).
The next five games released under the name Fire Emblem would not be distributed internationally either. Fire Emblem Gaiden, released in 1992, was a side-story to the first game set in the same fictional world, but it took place on a different continent and was therefore only tangentially related to the first game (Marth did not make a return appearance). The third game, Fire Emblem: Monsho no Nazo (Mystery of the Emblem), released in 1994 for the Super Famicom, was both a retelling of the first game and a continuation of that universe's story concerning Marth. The fourth game, Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu (Genealogy of the Holy War), released for Super Famicom in 1996, was a distant prequel set thousands of years before the first three games on a different continent, and the fifth game, Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, the last commercial game to be released for Super Famicom (in 1999), is a midquel taking place in between chapters of the previous game to expand on that universe.
When Super Smash Bros. Melee was being developed, Japanese fans requested that Marth be featured as a playable character and HAL Laboratory obliged. Intelligent Systems was also developing the sixth Fire Emblem series game, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, released on Game Boy Advance in 2002, which introduced a new, separate Fire Emblem universe, with the swordsman Roy as the main character. It was decided that Roy be included as a playable character alongside Marth in SSBM as a promotional preview character for the game. Nintendo was initially apprehensive of keeping the characters in the game when it came time to release it in the West because the characters were believed to have appeal only to Japanese gamers, but enough Western players previewing the game approved of the characters that they were retained internationally. Melee's North American release and the subsequent introduction of the Fire Emblem franchise to a wider audience through the game prompted international attention to the franchise. As a direct result, Fire Emblem titles from instalment seven onwards were released internationally, with one exception, and were each met with success. Melee can be credited with indirectly making the franchise famous.
With Fire Emblem now an international game franchise, Intelligent Systems followed up on the sixth game with the seventh game in the series as a prequel, named simply "Fire Emblem" but often referred to by its Japanese subtitle, Rekka no Ken (Blazing Sword). It was released in North America in late 2003 and depicted the father of Roy, Lord Eliwood, son of Marquess Pherae, in a story taking place five years before Roy was born and twenty years before Roy's adventure in The Binding Blade takes place. It was designed with the aim of introducing North American and European gamers to the Fire Emblem-style of tactical play, so the first ten chapters serve as a tutorial storyline before the main game, with 20+ chapters, begins. After this game, subsequent Fire Emblem titles have been released internationally at a standard rate, including 2005's Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones for Game Boy Advance, which is a stand-alone world starring twin nobles Ephraim and Eirika; Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance for GameCube, starring a young mercenary named Ike, which depicts a racial conflict between humans ("Beorc") & transformable demi-humans ("Laguz") and is the first game in the series to feature full-motion video cinema sequences and voice acting; Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the sequel to Path of Radiance was released on Wii, featuring Ike once again, but primarily starring Micaiah and her companion Sothe, who was also introduced in Path of Radiance. Following Radiant Dawn was a pair of remakes for Nintendo DS, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and Fire Emblem: Shin Monshou no Nazo ~ Hikari to Kage no Eiyuu, retelling Shadow Dragons and the Blade of Light and Monshou no Nazo Book 2 respectively; the former starred Marth in his first official appearance in a Fire Emblem game localized and released in North America, while the latter was the only post-Binding Blade game to not be localized for reasons unknown. The latest released game is Fire Emblem: Awakening for Nintendo 3DS, a millennia-later sequel to Marth's adventures starring his distant descendant Chrom.
The game formula consistent among Fire Emblem titles is a departure from other tactical role-playing games; whereas in games like Final Fantasy Tactics, where the emphasis is on equipping weapons and armor on each unit and using area-of-effect magic spells and skills to affect multiple units, Fire Emblem games place emphasis on positioning stronger and weaker units relative to each other on the field and preserving the life of each individual unit, with weapons (that each has a durability meter that lowers after each attack and breaks after the meter is empty) and healing items being mostly the only items in each unit's inventory. A hallmark of the series is that whenever a unit falls in battle, regardless of how important a character that unit is to the storyline, that character is gone for the rest of the game, which can result in harder difficulty and missed plot developments and it's an automatic game-over if the game's main hero dies. Since a general objective to each Fire Emblem instalment is to keep the dozens and dozens of game characters that comprise the player's unit stable alive, many players reset the game whenever an ally is slain. This makes for a game series that is intense and hardcore and is therefore popular with tactical players.
In Super Smash Flash 2
Despite the series gaining popularity over the pass of the years, and its inclusion in the official Super Smash Bros. games, Fire Emblem did not get a representation in the Super Smash Flash series until Super Smash Flash 2, where a character and a stage are selectable.
- Marth: The main character of four games in the Fire Emblem series, including the first game. He has appeared in all games in the Super Smash Bros. series since Melee. Marth makes his debut in demo v0.9b, with his move set from the main games and his sprite design based on his appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Castle Siege: A stage from Super Smash Bros. Brawl that represents the Fire Emblem series as a whole. The stage takes place on top of a castle under attack. As time passes, the roof will collapse and fighters will be able to do battle in the castle's interior, which will feature destructible statues. After yet more time passes, the ground will give way and players will fall into the underground, which consists of a dark cavern filled with lava. After some time in the underground, the locale will reset to the top of the castle again and the cycle begins anew.