Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon Review

By Greg Bemis - Posted Mar 16, 2009

Adam takes a look at 'Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon' for the Nintendo DS. Are you the one guy who played the original Famicon version? Then this X-Play Review of the classic turn-based strategy game is for you!

The Pros
  • Solid tactical strategy
  • Nice interface
The Cons
  • Dull story
  • We're getting tired of remakes

What do you know? There’s a brand new Fire Emblem game out for the DS. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is actually a remake of the game that started it all way back in the early 90s. Unless you’re a die-hard fan of the series, chances are you never played it, as the first Fire Emblem was releases only on the Famicom.

Now with More of the Same

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon ReviewWhat you get in this new version of Shadow Dragon is improved visuals, a much nicer interface (thank you once again, DS Stylus), and some additional gameplay. Now included in the game are four short Prologue Chapters which help ease new players into the game while fleshing out the storyline somewhat. Even with the additional story elements, Fire Emblem generally won’t wow you with any narrative acrobatics. Just focus on the plot points and get to the next battle.

And the battles are really where it’s at with this game. While similar to its turn-based cousin, Advance Wars, Fire Emblem sports some interesting twists in its design. You control your squad of heroes, fight bad guys, level-up, purchase and upgrade your gear, and generally go about doing what you do in tactical strategy games. In the world of Fire Emblem, however, death is permanent. If you lose a character in a battle, he or she is gone for good. For new players, this feature is established in a most clever manner during the prologue. The notion of expendable units doesn’t fit well into this game.

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16-Bit Glory

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon ReviewThe visuals have been boosted to roughly SNES quality, which is about all a game like this needs. The graphics are clean, colorful, and easy to read on the small DS screen. Both screens are put to good use with the bottom one serving as your main display and the upper one toggling between several useful info screens at the touch of a button. 

They even tossed in some wireless multiplayer options with a range of features including voice-chat, squad sharing, and player matching over the internet. But Fire Emblem feels first and foremost like a single-player game, where the careful nurturing of your troops over time brings you great rewards. 

Beware the Ides of Marth

Fans of the series will be quick to pick this one up and will likely get much enjoyment.  New players might find more to love in the newer games in the series.  Either way, Shadow Dragon is a good move for tactical strategy gamers.

Article Written By: Greg Bemis