Fire Emblem is a strange series; much loved and well known, yet still a relative outsider when compared to the likes of Kirby or even Star Fox. Released first as a Nintendo Power exclusive deluxe pack in 1999 and then again in more standard SNES packaging in 2000, Thracia 776 has the dubious honour of being the very last SNES title released in Japan — its late launch meaning that it would have been seen in stores next to N64 and even Dreamcast games.
Surely coming so very late to the party means that they would have wanted to make it as inclusive as possible to ensure it sold enough to make this oddball release worthwhile, right? Wrong. Thracia 776 is difficult. Really difficult. Of course, most Fire Emblem titles are, but this is in another league entirely – just four battles into the game you’ll find yourself imprisoned, stripped of all your equipment and desperately struggling to escape with your life. This map also has several groups of civilian prisoners to consider; not just capable adults but children and the elderly too – do you waste precious time unlocking their prison doors too? Do you help fend off the endless guards that pour in and try to snatch these people away or do you leave them to it? You’re outnumbered, ill-equipped, and running out of time.
At first it’s frustrating as a gamer to experience battles like that because we’re used to looking for the little “trick” that helps us get everything our own way first time, but it’s helpful to think of Thracia 776 not as an SRPG, but as a war simulator. Not the usual simulator that deals with the dry minutiae of things like ammo weight and armour statistics, but a war simulator that deals with the raw difficulties of conflict – where things aren't always balanced in your favour and you will lose a friend to an unlucky blow – but you’ll have pick yourself up and carry on regardless.
RPGs are fond of giving you some tough choices to make, but rarely do they also force you to genuinely put your own life and success on the line to make them happen. Thracia 776 is a perfectionist’s nightmare in that regard, the difficulty forcing you to give up on some promising equipment stashed in a far-flung corner of the map or watching your favourite healer get captured and carried off by enemy forces.
But these events also create a meaningful narrative too, in addition to the already well thought out story that runs through the game. How many RPGs have you mindlessly attack groups of indistinct enemies until you reach the one boss monster that actually matters? Not so in Thracia 776; a game where just about any enemy can steal treasure from under your nose, run away with that one civilian you really needed to save or ambush you in the dark. A first run through the game will be slow going and full of reloads after critical errors, but there’s no doubt that by the end you’ll recall every skirmish and hard-won victory – a claim that most RPGs can only dream of.
Woah, it really sounds special and quite thought-provoking.
I'd love to see this in English in the Wii U eShop
I'd like to see them do some Fire Emblem collections......I've managed to convince myself that it is plausible based on the sales of awakening.
I would love to be able to get all the fire emblem games for wii u eshop. I know, not really possible, but any would be great.
I agree I like a challenge it would be great to see this on the wii u eshop
If it wasn't for Advance Wars, Fire Emblem may not have recived any English translations. Just look at this quote from edge-online with an interview with AW's director, Kentaro Nishimura:
Thracia is quite difficult, I have played it a little with a patch, but I hate how some of the menu dialogue among other things is all messed up.
I think it's better than Fire Emblem 4, but FE3 is far better than either of them in my eyes.
Leif is a baddonkey lord.
I admit I'm one of those whose first experience with FE was in SSB, and the first FE game played is Awakening. Still, I like to play games 'as they were' and as such I tried so hard to go through Awakening in the classic mode. That said I cared too much for my characters when they died and found myself going through innumerous restarts. I gave up after a while. I can't imagine going through this kind of game where I don't have the option of turning that off.
That said, bring to the WiiU Virtual Console and I'll be putting money down
I was really interested in this a while back after getting into the series. i think there was a fan translated version of the game somewhere. but they way your describing it, sounds like this might be the hardest version of the series thus far.
This IS a real Fire Emblem game, unlike the awful and childish Awakening.
Per what Radio Shadow said: Let's all thank Advanced Wars.
I would love to see both series end up on the Wii U and AW make it's return to the 3DS.
@R-Moss How was it childish?
@FishieFish Fat too easy, storyless, and the char design is dull (and anime/childish, of course).
Awakening is an anti-Fire Emblem. It's a decent game, but an awful Fire Emblem game. Worst of the series. The reviews are delusional and make no sense at all. They are all contradictory... Sorry, I digress.
The sum of char design, characters and ZERO strategy required made this game childish.
@dkxcalibur AW3DS would be cool. But I don't want a anti-Advance Wars.
They will want to make an easy AW too. And AW without fog of war (absent in Awakening) isn't a real AW.
@r-moss What did you think of Sacred Stones?
Thracia seems like a real nightmare for completionist - so I might have to pass. There's nothing more rustrating to me than missing/losing a character, even if he's the weakest of all.
@R-Moss Childish is quite the exaggeration.
The visuals haven't really changed much, only the level of detail they could dispatch - the character design is still the same style as ever. Also, the combat is easy on regular difficulty, but Lunatic + Classic is just insane, especialy without New Game+.
But I agree on the story part: both the characters and the general plot are more lighthearted than the other games.
However, saying that because it's not just like Thracia, it's anti-FE is just hypocritical. Thracia isn't the embodiment or absolute example of a Fire Emblem game, it's one of many in the series.
Awakening might not be your taste, but the core essence of highly character-driven, challenging turn-based combat is still the same as every other entry to the series as a whole.
I am studying japanese just so I can play imported games, needless to say I am a HUGE Fire Emblem fan (just look at my profile pic)
For some reason I actually got into this one despite hating most Fire Emblem games. Dunno why, maybe I was just in the mood for a hard-as-nails strategy game...
Of all the games that I want on the eShop, the Fire Emblem series (especially this one) is basically my list. I've considered trying to learn Japanese just to play these (and some other Japan exclusives).
@Voncivent It's widely considered to be the hardest Fire Emblem game ever created. People thought Radiant Dawn was hard, but Thracia makes Radiant Dawn look like child's play.
probably my 2nd favourite FE after genealogy. thracia's flaws are endless: endless crap characters, the spiteful single RNG, bulls**t reinforcements... and yet it's still my 2nd favourite. fire emblem without shouzou kaga has been like megaman without inafune.
othin and havan FTW
your avatar is childish/anime
Twitch should play this game next
@Maelstrom Was the black sheep of the series. But Awakening is worst.
If Nintendo actually translated some of those old Fire Emblem games they'd sell like crazy--especially Thracia, which I'm, like, dying to play. Even if it's flat-out unfair (like reinforcements appearing and moving in the same turn).
Funny that this article mentioned the prison level, which made me turn Thracia off forever, and sell my Collector's Edition of the game. Not only are you initially weaponless there, but the goal of the map is to get your team to an exit at the top; leaving anyone behind loses them forever, they're dead. So to successfully get everyone out, Leaf (this game's Lord character) will have to be the last one out. Meaning he has to remain and fend off the endless waves of much-stronger enemies as your numbers slowly dwindle. Freaking infuriating. These sorts of levels are also the very worst of Fire Emblem, where enemies endlessly respawn, and immediately behind you. Crave a challenge all you want, but ideally you'll clear a map with no casualties on the first try, that stuff makes it nearly impossible.
I also had high hopes for the game in terms of sprite animation and graphics, given its release date. Very disappointing, not a huge amount better than Monsho no Nazo. All in all I wasn't happy with Thracia 776. The GBA trilogy really are the best of the series.
Bonus Time: I sold my Collector's Edition of Thracia to a guy in France. It took forever getting there, despite me sending International Priority. He went completely ballistic during the wait, and at one point threatened to fly to Seattle and get his money back from me in person. Would have loved to have seen him. Then the game showed up and he sheepishly apologized. Made me wanna fly to France and get my game back since it was unfortunately now in the hands of a crazy person.
@vonseux Yes, indeed (however it's from a manga, not an anime), but I'm not a brand or series and already have a girlfriend. So, it's my guilty pleasure.
"the character design is still the same style as ever."
Nope. One of the selling points was the new style.
"but Lunatic + Classic is just insane, especialy without New Game+. "
Nope. The difficult is broken. You don't need strategy, only grind.
Radiant Dawn is a hard Fire Emblem. Lunatic in Awakening is broken and you don't need strategy at all.
"but the core essence of highly character-driven,"
The secondary characters of past FE games are most charismatic and had a better background story (is this correct? I'm still learning english) than the Awakening main ones. In the 3DS, all of them are shallow and childish (facepalm for Chrom's punch lines).
Good game. Too easy. Bad Fire Emblem. FOR ME, is the worst. BUT was necessary, but in long term, it may hurt the brand.
Maybe I'm exaggerating and made a bad choice of words.
I did enjoy the game, but this isn't the Fire Emblem that I love.
@R-Moss this is a problem that was created in Seima no Kouseki/Sacred Stones: the ability to fight non-story maps solely for the purposes of grinding. A Fire Emblem can be hard without being cheap, but they never will be again as long as grinding is permitted.
@Technosphile Yes, but now, cap ALL the stats is more a matter of time.
The Master Seal / Second Seal combo turn the game into a papaya with sugar (a.k.a piece of cake). Because of this I have said that there no need of strategy, only grind.
@RadioShadow I never really got this logic, given Shining Force was pretty successful for Sega across several platforms. If I remember correctly, Shining Force I and II sold really good on the Genesis, while Shining Force III did well in the US, despite the Saturn dying around the time it came out.
I think there was a market for these types of games in the west, Sega was just the first to figure it out.
I knew it was only matter of time. Now Nintendo needs to bring it over in the West.
Looks interesting... I'd love to play this. It seems like "Tell-Tale's Fire Emblem" with all the hard choices.
BTW, I'm a Fire Emblem veteran, and I love Awakening.
Look, FE:A is a bit uncharacteristic for FE games, I'll give you that.
But worst FE? When Shadow Dragon exists? Please no, at least FE13 has bearable gameplay and mechanics (though Pairing is a bit overpowered).
"Thracia 776 has the dubious honour of being the very last SNES title released in Japan..."
This is incorrect, and a common misconception. Metal Slader Glory: Director's Cut came out even after Thracia's physical release, and this was actually the last "Nintendo" game (it was developed by HAL) on the platform.
@Kujibiki Well, personal taste (I don't even know if this is correct. I want to mean a favorite from a person) aside, the online mode in Shadow Dragon is terrific.
@R-Moss Interesting you would equate anime with childish ... that is quite curious frankly Oo Also I'm not sured in which way Awakening required "no strategy" and therefore less than other FE games, also I disagree about your sentiment that it is "easy", first off Path of Radiance as well as Radiant Dawn were alot easier (despite being wonderfull games) than Awakening on Lunatic (+)/Classic in my opinion. Truth be told I'm not sure at all what you are getting at, maybe you don't like some of the art, the marriage-system or the story ... be that as I may it certainly doesn't hurt the core experience of the game in may opinion. I'm glad Awakenung was as warmly rcevied as it happend to be, it virtually guaranteed the survival of the series and also further localisation (not to mentio: SMT x FE). So ..... even if it was some childish/casual whatever bs game (which it absolutely is NOT) it would have served a greater purpose ...
@Gerbwmu Awakening was very casual and easy compared to other Fire Emblem games. It also came out with not many major 3DS games to compete with.
The real Fire Emblem games will not get many of Awakening fans on board.
Does it come to Wii U or 3DS e-shop!?! PLZ!!!
My opinion: 'Fire Emblem: Awakening' wasn't easy, nor was it the easiest Fire Emblem game I've played. I think 'Path of Radiance' for Gamecube was the easiest I've played, and 'Radiant Dawn' for Wii was the most difficult.
FE: Awakening is right in the middle as far as difficulty for the series goes. I wonder if people commenting have played more then one Fire Emblem game?
I actually bought this recently on my Japanese Wii U, was choosing between it and Genealogy of the Holy War, but I heard Thracia is better. Haven't played much yet though so I'm only on the second chapter.
@Kujibiki It was almost unavoidable for SD to end up as awful, being a mere remake of the first game (dumb choice for them to redo the earliest, if any). Awakening had no excuse.
It'll suck if future entries follow in Awakening's footsteps.
"Interesting you would equate anime with childish"
Well. Let me put in other words.
Awakening is like an CHILDISH anime, like Conan or One Piece or Pokémon.
I cry a little when I see the fanbase for such a fantastic niche series of games being so hyper-critical and entitled in demanding every game be exactly the same and totally different while claiming they are too easy (which none are)...
Please don't be part of the reason we see fewer niche titles being made by endlessly whining about every tiny personal pet peeve you can dream up that isn't addressed with the developers bowing and scraping to your petty, petulant, demands.
Awakening was barely made because it is a niche title with a small, but dedicated fanbase. This is not Call of Duty cash machine that's gonna get made every year and ported to as many platforms as possible. Try to keep an open mind and appreciate the series for it's quirks and be more constructive about the changes from one title to the next.
I'm not pointing at any one single person, but as a serious fan of this series and someone who dearly wishes more sequels and ports, let's try to be more unified in praising what is good and more constructive in addressing the things we didn't like.
@Action51 I think part of the reason people say Awakening was easy is because of DLC allowing you to grind. I did buy DLC such as Exponential Growth and it made the game really easy(especially on Normal). While I like being able to train my units to level 20, it kind of takes the challenge out of the game too, I think it's part of the reason why I don't like Sacred Stones as much as some other FE games.
One of the best ones.
I don't see why people complain about totally optional DLC. The first time I went through the game, I just rushed through it without ever touching the DLC or spotpass characters. On Lunatic(+), non-DLC isn't even easily achievable withouth spending hours grinding with 1 EXP per battle. There's plenty of people that have beaten Lunatic and Lunatic + without ever grinding. The main use for the DLC is to grind for the Challenge map DLC. And grinding itself isn't that bad when the game doesn't force you to do it and it can even help newcomers. There's absolutelty no one that forces you to grind.
When this game was in development, Nintendo basically told IS that if the next FE didn't sell well, they'd be no more Fire Emblem games. The feel I get from the game is that they took every idea they had and put them in a single game since it could very well be their last and as a way to try to expand the niche of gamers that buy the games. Obviously, the game isn't without its flaws(the story feels like a mash up of three different storylines that has been crammed to fit a limited amount chapters). I understand that some people do not like the game, but I think saying it runed the series and is not an actual FE game is taking it too far.
Awakening was a last chance stallion for the series and it bolted. So I'd expect more of the self inset fanfiction, free map style Fire Emblem (curious thing, the post play survey asked me if I want to see marriage and pair up return in future games). It is a shame the series is not big enough to support both the more mainstream demographic and the demographic who wants a game with more sub-systems or a richer plot (Radaint Dawn is my thought, as the Dawn Brigade was too tough an opening volume for beginners) but maybe we should celebrate the past rather than regret the present.
I just wanted to say thank goodness this article did not fall into the cliche of describing it as "the dark souls of" which generally and lazily describes most games with difficulty and some mechanics and sub systems to get your head around.
@1upsuper I think FE5 was still the last SFC game to get a boxed retail release (the only boxart I can find for Metal Salnder is a NP Flash cart with the printable sticker you got from the kiosk).
@Ralek85 Lunatic+ is not the good kind of hard if you ask me. Throwing high stats, silver weapons and absurd skills onto enemies to the extent of having to restart maps multiple times (e.g. guy with Hammer in chapter 1 has Hawkeye, restart) just to even play one turn is not fun. Then comes the fact you're only using about 5 characters for your sanity (one of which is a female tactician forced to marry chrom so his kids are usable) which seems like a shame. In FE5 the actual combat is not the difficult part rather dealing with everything else (in particular weapons, many a first playthrough end when you find all your weapons broken and not enough money to buy the horribly overpriced ones from the preparations shop) and while the cast has weaker links everyone feels like they can contribute something (and the fatigue mechanic that forces you to rotate them is great). I do dislike how some things are non-obvious though (character specific visiting of locations, maybe if I could read the text it would help...) but the challenge feels genuine (as bigger stats won't help as much due to lower overall stats for both you an enemies, but fans like big numbers and seeing them go up which is why we've reached the modern FE challenge of balancing this by giving the enemies bigger numbers).
@yokokazuo I'd have personally gone for Holy War as Thracia is a side story of that. But both are kind of unique for Fire Emblem games in how their mechanics are compared to other entries while still being familiar.
@Starwolf_UK I knew it was a sidestory, but I asked on Miiverse what people thought I should get and most suggested Thracia 776. I'm just under 200￥ short of having enough to buy Genealogy...
Thracia 776 is probably one of my least favorite Fire Emblem games. It's not bad but it's frustrating to play.
Well, it's a good game but it wasn't the very last SNES game in Japan.
Nintendo still made several Picross games and the last was Metal Slader Glory: Director's Cut, a remake of a Famicom visual novel by HAL (though I see both versions of that game are pretty expensive now).
@R-Moss Well I hear you and there might be something to it. The game has a different somewhat 'lighter' tone in many regards. Personally I don't take issue with that, like the 'casual' setting this was clearly aimed at broadening the potential consumer base while retaining the core audience. I think they managed that quite nicely. I found the experience more than enjoyable. In fact something similar happened to another favourite franchise of mine in the form of Persona 3 and 4 I think. Which was itself less "dark'n'gritty' than SMT but progress steadily towards more of a highschool drama anime series without going all the way. Persona 4 is still an amazing game and no worse for it just a bit different. But I can see how this is most likely just personal preference. I always feel western rpgs are more often than not take themselves to serious for their own good and neither Awakening no Persona 4 is really out there when it comes to 'childish anime'-style in jRPGs. One can hope FE maybe can walk either walk in both shoes or gets a kind of Persona-esque spin-off series I could enjoy "classic" FE as much as "classic" SMT by the way of e.g. SMT IV. By the same token I love me some Persona and definitely also would love me some FE:Awakening II
Sound pretty difficult, the first Fire Emblem i played was the demo for Awakening and to tell the truth i downloaded because is the first game (here in the Americas) to no have those death penalty. I really want to play the final game.
@Starwolf_UK First off, let's be happy it was a success ! No matter where FE goes from here as a franchise, will be vastly preferablely to it being a dead franchise ! Secondly, "Throwing high stats, silver weapons and absurd skills " is really nothing new neither for the FE series nor for tactic/strategy/rpg games in general. I'm still hoping for a more advanced AI down the line, maybe on the WiiU blessed with more prorcessing power. An AI that plays to win and not just to score a single cheap kill would be a real breath of fresh air! But you certainly make some valid points (esp. about strategic planning with items e.g., also I never found that aspect all that taxing in most previous games), and I wanna repeat the kind of naive lunatic hope, that we might see some kind of two-pronged FE franchise (at the very least) similar to SMT (check my post above).
@FishieFish you were saying
@R-Moss What's even more childish is that people take a jab at Awakening whenever anything recent on Fire Emblem is discussed.
@Technosphile Thracia 776 isn't bad, you're just being too picky and not trying hard enough.
@R-Moss @Caryslan I love how "veterans" never realized that grinding is completely optional. Don't take a jab at a feature you're not forced to lose, it's just silly.
@Action51 Thank you.
One Piece and Conan aren't childish! Well maybe a little....but don't equate childish = stupid. One Piece is amazing, and I have quite a few friends who are Conan fans.
@EliwoodMason What does this have to do with what I said? My only comments were that I'm surpised Nintendo did not release Fire Emblem before 2003 in the West, especially given the popularity of Shining Force showed that an audience for these kinds of SRPGs did exist before Melee introduced us to Marth, Roy, and Fiire Emblem.
What in the world did I say about grinding? I was not even comparing Shining Force to Fire Emblem! My only point was that it was shocking Nintendo refused to bring over Fire Emblem before the GBA, while Sega took a huge chance, and had a fairly succesful series.. And its possible that had Marth and Roy been dummed out in the western version of Melee, we might not even be playing Fire Emblem at all.
I'm not making fun of Fire Emblem, I'm just stating a simple fact. Where did you get the idea I was talking about grinding?
@Action51 I find that the people whining about others opinions by calling them entitled etc.. are far more petulant and irritating. Especially the way they/you fabricate something to complain about (as if anyone here has been 'demanding' anything).
Weird, I just saw a copy of this today at a local game store.
@Caryslan I'm guessing he meant to @ someone else, like maybe Kaze.
I actually like having the option to grind. To me, it's the RPG in Strategy RPG. If I get stuck, and I can't figure out what to do, or I screwed up the progression of a character, you sure as hell better give me the option to grind my way to victory.
Despite this being a pretty rare game, I have two copies. One is a proper cartridge with this game's label, while the other is a nondescript casette from the "Nintendo Power" Japanese download service with this game on it.
This game is also hard as hell and I've never gotten very far at all.
@CanisWolfred When you get stuck in a game, and the only option left is to waste time with grinding (instead of changing strategy). It's just bad design imo. I come to the realization that i'd rather be playing something else, at that point. Grinding sucks, period.
Anyone who's played Genealogy of the Holy Wars can agree that this Fire Emblem can be labeled as an incomplete title due to a lot of unused data, 20 stat caps from the titles with Marth, units that can become completely broken (Galzus and Sety for example), three units were never given any lines apart from escape and death quotes, chapters can be completed in one turn with the necessary items and the overall scale of the previous instalment leaves much to be desired. However, Thracia 776 despite its short comings is an amazing game, though really hard. Capturing units both generic, recruitable allies and bosses is a rewarding system, though the idea of units succumbing to fatigue really makes this game dicey for newcomers. Even without side quests (or gaiden chapters in this case), the main story can be cruel, especially when you're suppose to fight Rhinehard, Cyas and Coen who possess enough leadership stars to increase enemy units hit and evasion rate by almost 60%. Character-wise, I've always enjoyed many of the characters in this game and watching Leif grow up in the battlefield from a young inexperience knight to the prince of Leonster. Plus due to separate routes in the game, you're going to need an extra playthrough to venture through both of them (be sure to kill Owlen off before entering route A, Eyrios is worth it and if you decide to recruit Cyas be sure to be prepared for the worst). It's also the first Fire Emblem to offer playable dark magic users (and brigands), though Salem was never as good as other units unfortunately. Though this game never received the success of other Fire Emblems, it did an amazing job combining elements from Geneology of the Holy Wars and implement them into a traditional Fire Emblem setting. It's also an rare, yet interesting perspective that the Fire Emblem series took with projecting an entire side-story as the main plot of the game. Maybe Nintendo will offer this game a remake one day, the series finally had its first game in the series to hit a million copies, so all the more reason to follow in suit and cash in. A shame that the final boss can be killed by any unit (someone even manage to post a video on YouTube where he killed Berdo with Shanam, and that guy is pretty much garbage the moment you recruit or accidentally kill him).
I knew SNES had a life beyond N64 launch but this living alongside Dreamcast games seems crazy. Also shocked Nintendo thought the West didn't appreciate turn based games when Civ is so popular.
This description kind of reminds me of my current experience with Uncharted Waters: New Horizons. Loads of critical errors, complete restarts and an evil learning curve.
@Doma It's better than not being able to progress any further at all, since then it means that all the hours you spent with the game were a waste. I'd rather spend extra time to progress further than null everything I just accomplished.
Having just recently got into the series with Radiant Dawn, which I thought was challenging, but not impossible, I wanted to move to Path of Radiance but due to the high cost of obtaining a physical copy, I went with the GBA games. Currently working on Fire Emblem GBA, which I think is solid, I just think a little bit gets lost in the small screen. Knowing that there's some more full screen options, I'll have to check them out. Just how many story arcs, are there, anyways?
@Kagemusha the story arcs are: akaneia (FE1-3, 11-13), jugdral (FE4-5), elibe (FE6-7), tellius (FE9-10) and magvel (sacred stone)
Neat story, but meh, I hate brutal games. The very last licensed SNES game released in the west is Frogger, LOL!
'Radiant Dawn' is my favourite and in my opinion very challenging , I have just started 'Awakening' on Classic + lunatic and I am loving it. I hope Thracia gets released on VC.
Soooooo..... Why are they telling us this? I love Fire emblem, but I could care less about the games that are (and will only ever be) in Japan.
I'm on board with the others for bringing Fire Emblem games to the english VC. So far all I have played are Sacred Stones and Awakening (both on hard mode, though I have yet to try Lunatic), and while I imagine a fully fledged Fire Emblem game would overwhelm me, I would greatly enjoy to play a classic-styled strategy game like the older ones in the series. It's always a great feeling when you pass through a difficult map with no deaths, especially one that takes a lot of restarts and planning. I imagine playing the older games like Thracia would be a fun yet anguishing experience for me.
Only just seen this entry now (been on holiday). Own an original of this, the limited edition with the plush toys etc. Quite a nice set actually. May consider selling it on at some point, but it looks nice on the shelf next to the 64DD heh.
Ah, of course. Awakening arguments. I wouldn't expect anything else.
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