Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
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|Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade|
Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (ファイアーエムブレム封印の剣 Faiā Emuburemu Fūin no Tsurugi?) is a tactical role-playing game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo. The game was released on March 29, 2002 in Japan, is the sixth game in the Fire Emblem series and the first of three games in the series that have appeared on Nintendo's Game Boy Advance handheld.
The Binding Blade stars Roy, who previously appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Roy and Marth's popularity in Super Smash Bros. would lead Nintendo to localize Fire Emblem for Western audiences, and The Binding Blade was eventually followed by a prequel, Fire Emblem, the first in the series to be released outside of Japan.
Fire Emblem is a turn-based tactical role-playing game in which players move a small group of units around a square-based grid, battling their enemies in order to complete a certain predefined objective. It is reminiscent of other tactical RPGs with features such as character classes and the ability to level up. Once characters reach a certain level, they can promote to a new class, further enhancing their stats with the possibility of being able to use more weapons.
The Binding Blade takes place in the fictional continent of Elibe, which is split into six nations of diverse ruling styles: Lycia, Bern, Etruria, Sacae, Missur, and Ilia. There is an archipelago to the northwest called the Western Isles, composed of Caldonia, Fibernia, and Dia. The Fire Emblem in this game is the Imperial Seal required to assume or recognize the Bernian throne. The Binding Blade is set 20 years after its prequel, Fire Emblem. Because Fire Emblem takes place two decades prior to The Binding Blade and was designed to introduce western audiences to the gameplay of the Fire Emblem series, its plot is structured so that no knowledge of The Binding Blade is required to enjoy the storyline.
Many characters from The Binding Blade reappear in Fire Emblem in younger forms, including Hector, Eliwood, Bartre, Karel, Merlinus, Murdock, Marcus, Zephiel, and Guinevere. The playable characters Sophia and Fae also make cameo appearances in Fire Emblem chapters, but are not playable. Among the playable characters in Fire Emblem are several relatives of the The Binding Blade cast: Wolt is the son of Rebecca, and nephew of Dart; Fir is the daughter of Bartre and Karla and the niece of Karel; Lugh and Raigh are the twin sons of Nino; Klein and Clarine are the children of Pent and Louise; Sue and Dayan are the daughter and father of Rath, respectively; Hugh and Niime are, respectively, the son and mother of Canas; Igrene is the daughter of Hawkeye; and Geese is the younger brother of Geitz. Several other characters from Fire Emblem, if their supports are maxed out with other characters, can be treated as the parent or relative of some characters. For example, Ninian can be the mother of Roy, and Lyn can be the mother of Lilina. There are other possible relations.
Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade has a total of 62 playable characters, which was the highest in the series prior to the tenth installment, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.
The game stars Roy, the son of Fire Emblem protagonist Eliwood. Roy leads the League of Lycia's army against the forces of the militant country of Bern shortly after his father falls ill.
The story begins when King Zephiel, ruler of the kingdom of Bern, finishes the brutal conquest of Ilia and Sacae and sets his sights on Lycia. With the war coming to his own country, Roy is sent home to lead Pherae's army to oppose Bern, but soon after he meets Guinevere, the princess of Bern and Zephiel's younger sister, who has escaped from her homeland to search for a way to stop the imminent war between Bern and Lycia.
Upon the death of marquess Hector, Roy carries on the Lycian League and makes many promises: to protect Princess Guinevere and Hector's beloved daughter, the mage Lilina, and most importantly, to save the entire continent from Zephiel's mysterious thirst for world domination.
In January 2001, it was revealed that a Fire Emblem game was coming and to be released on the Game Boy Advance in Japan. Its working title was Fire Emblem: Ankoku no Miko (暗黒の巫女?, Maiden of Darkness), and it was unknown if it was going to be released in the Western world, where little was known about the series. It was going to follow gameplay from the previous installments of the series as a tactical role-playing game. Its storyline was similar to the finished product, featuring the continent of Elibe and a lone hero named Roy, whose town is attacked by the neighbors of Bern for mysterious reasons. For centuries, the two lands were compatriots until suddenly they become bitter enemies for no known reason, leaving the player to uncover the mystery and defend their city from disaster. It was also possible that it was based on the work on the cancelled Nintendo 64 sequel of Fire Emblem, which would have had the same 2D graphics and control scheme.
In 2001, Nintendo Space World showed some video game footage of Fire Emblem's gameplay, but a release date was unknown. It was known that players will have the ability to raise and fight their troops in battle and will also be able to play against friends on multiplayer on other Game Boy Advance systems.
In March 2002, Nintendo started airing a commercial for Fire Emblem on television networks in Japan. The company had also created a "director's cut" version of the commercial, with no game footage, on its website. The game was developed by Intelligent Systems, and featured the same style of turn-based strategy as Advance Wars, though Fire Emblem was set in a "fantasy environment complete with knights, wizards, and mystical creatures." It was set for release in Japan on March 31, 2002. Nintendo of America had revealed that the series will come to the US, but had not announced a release date.
Roy appears as a secret player character in the Nintendo GameCube fighting game Super Smash Bros. Melee. He was originally intended to be playable in the Japanese version of the game in order to promote the upcoming release of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade along with Marth, the protagonist of the first and third Fire Emblem titles. Both Roy and Marth speak Japanese in the North American version, which relates to the fact that their games were Japan-exclusive.
The soundtrack was composed by Yuka Tsujiyoko, who has worked on the majority of the series. In addition to its original music, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade also features versions of songs from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, including the recruitment theme and the battle music. The music for the player's turns during the Trial Maps is also one of Fire Emblem Gaiden's map themes.
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- ゲームボーイアドバンス - ファイアーエムブレム 封印の剣. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.118. 30 June 2006.
- (Japanese) Official website
- (Japanese) Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi at Fire Emblem World
- (Japanese) Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi at Fire Emblem Museum
- Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade at Fire Emblem Wiki
- Fire Emblem: Binding Blade at Fire Emblem Wikia