by Professor Layton
previewed on NDS
What’s a Fire Emblem?
If you were to ask a gamer ten years ago what Fire Emblem was, they’d likely have no clue about what you were talking about. Now if you were to ask somebody today, they’d probably be able to explain a little about the franchise. Prior to the release of the Fire Emblem, the first game in the series released in North America, none of the games in the franchise had been released outside of Japan. That’s not to say that the characters in the games weren’t brought outside of Japan before this, though. Due to Marth and Roy being included in the popular Super Smash Bros. Melee, people started wondering about their origins. With that in mind, Nintendo decided to bring the series overseas and see how people would respond. The result was fairly positive and since the release of Fire Emblem in North America, every game in the series has been brought outside of Japan.
The ‘New’ Dragon
Now we have this latest entry in the amazing Fire Emblem series, the final English name of which is still to be determined and thus we'll call it Fire Emblem DS. Unlike recent Fire Emblem games, Fire Emblem DS is a remake of the first Fire Emblem, which was released for the Famicom nineteen years ago. Seeing as gamers outside of Japan never got to experience the original, it'll be all new to them. That is, if it sees a worldwide release this time.
Of course, a remake just wouldn’t be a remake without a bunch of improvements. In this case, Fire Emblem DS takes advantage of the more powerful DS. Using both of the DS’ screens, Fire Emblem DS delivers a far more advanced experience than its original incarnation. The top screen displays character stats, dialogue encounters and battle and cutscene animations, whereas the bottom screen provides the world map and battle and character sprites.
Perhaps the biggest, and best, new feature added to the game is the new online two-player game mode. This mode can be played either locally with somebody who has their own DS and game cartridge or online against random opponents. No matter what it is, Fire Emblem throws you into an epic strategic battle against another Fire Emblem player. To add a little customization, the battle allows you to select upwards of five units from your single-player game file to fight. As if that isn’t enough, players can determine the rules for each battle. Feel like playing a ten minute round? No problem – 3, 5 and 10-minute time limits can be implemented to really hurry things up. The icing on the cake is an online shop that allows players to purchase items that can’t be unlocked in the game. The best part about it is that you won’t have to throw away your ‘real’ money.