Is There Too Much Fire Emblem in Super Smash Bros?

Is There Too Much Fire Emblem in Super Smash Bros?

No, and here's why...

It was Friday morning, during my daily routine of neglecting my day job to scroll through the latest video game headlines, that I learned a new Super Smash Bros character reveal was heading our way. I took a moment to flip through my mental catalog of previous announcements, comparing who had already been announced to the series veterans I've been hoping to see the return of. My mind wandered, conjuring up images of a newly designed, sword-wielding Ganondorf with a "Toon" counterpart, or a leg-flailing, Little Mac-countering Blaziken. In the midst of all my wild fantasizing, a question crawled across the news ticker under the silver screen of my subconscious. It read "They still haven't announced a Fire Emblem: Awakening character." I quickly crunched the numbers; with two combatants already representing the Fire Emblem series, would one more cause some overcrowding? Also, do we need a third blue-haired, sword-wielding character (if they end up announcing Chrom) to the already nearly identical Ike and Marth? At least Ike's silhouette has changed, but how different could Chrom's be? Like all Super Smash Bros fans, the hypotheses ran through my head like a river, ebbing and flowing as the long weekend came and went.

And then Monday came.

I sipped a coffee that was in need of more sugar (or in need of being better tasting coffee in general) while I awaited the debut trailer. I knew a Toon Ganondorf was too good to be true, but that's the best part about the Smash Bros roster; anything is possible. I waited with bated breath as I found the Super Smash Bros official YouTube channel tucked away safely within my bookmark tab. The hot off the press video's thumbnail was staring me in the face. "Work can wait" I told myself. I was a mouse-click away from opening up a digital treasure chest. And peering into the shining bounty that awaited me, I came back surprised yet only partially satiated. I was ravenous for a surprise a little less flash and a little more fire.

Seeing Captain Falcon make his triumphant return is not the talking point of this article. Rather, it is the Smash Bros arena's two newest champions that initially left me feeling a little nonplussed. Don't get me wrong - Fire Emblem: Awakening is my absolute favorite title on the 3DS. I'm thrilled that both Robin and Lucina made it into the roster. However, couldn't have Lucina taken Marth's place? And yes, I am stuck on Ganondorf, but wouldn't the king of the Gerudos make a better strength-over-speed character than a beefed-up Ike? In other words, why does the new Super Smash Bros need four Fire Emblem characters, especially while two of the four seem like they will play almost the same? After some time pondering it, I may know why.

Let's go back in time to 2001, to revisit the release of Super Smash Bros Melee for the Nintendo GameCube. The series' sophomore debut, Super Smash Bros Melee improved on its predecessor in virtually every way. GameCube owners were delighted to find the sequel to the beloved Nintendo 64 game was jam-packed with better graphics, bigger stages, 13 new playable characters, the addition of trophies, new modes and so much more. I remember playing the game for the very first time at a friend's house after school, marveling the character select screen. "Who should I use first?" I thought in a giddy excitement as the white-gloved cursor strafed back and forth over the myriad of Nintendo icons. That's when I noticed two sword-clad strangers. Marth and Roy; fresh-faced, seemingly related characters that looked more like something out of an anime than a Nintendo game.

"Who are these guys?" I asked my friend.

"No idea...from some Japanese game." he replied as he picked the blue-haired one.

I decided to stick with Link, my go-to since the original. My friend then proceeded to crush me.

I eventually saved enough unused lunch money to buy my own copy of Super Smash Bros Melee. It wasn't long before I unlocked every character, stage and nearly every trophy. I spent the time meant for homework learning the ins and outs of the characters I loved best, including the out-of-place, cape-wearing swordsmen of "some Japanese game." During a break between training sessions, I dug through my collected trophies for more information about these mystery men, in particular Marth, the light-footed fencer that my friend destroyed me with. The caption read:

"The betrayed prince of the Kingdom of Altea, the blood of the hero Anri flows in Marth's veins. He was forced into exile when the kingdom of Dolua invaded Altea. Then, wielding his divine sword Falchion, he led a revolt and defeated the dark dragon Medeus. Afterwards, Altea was annihilated by King Hardin of Akanea.

Fire Emblem (Japan only)"

Trophy caption

I remembered thinking "Whatever Fire Emblem is, it sounds amazing!". I had to play this mysterious game featuring kingdoms, divine swords and dark dragons. I jumped on the Internet, searching every video game news site I could find, hoping for any sign of a North American Fire Emblem game... but to no avail. That is, not until two years later. In November of 2003, Fire Emblem found its way stateside on the Game Boy Advance. I finally had a chance to experience the game I've been pining for.

To be honest, I may never have been interested in playing Fire Emblem if it wasn't for Super Smash Bros Melee. North American Nintendo fans were finally given the chance to take part in Marth and Roy's original series, which could very well not have debuted successfully in the states if not for Nintendo's beloved brawler, and because of this, maybe it isn't so crazy that four Fire Emblem characters have found their way into the upcoming iteration of the fighting series. Nearly 14 years later, Marth, Robin, Lucina and Ike may lead a younger generation of Super Smash Bros players to a lesser-known yet equally lovable franchise. Cheers to discovery.

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Paul J Sensale

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