Plot. In the distant continent of Tellius, there lived a young man named Ike, who lived with his father Greil, leader of a band of mercenaries, and his sister Mist. Ike becomes the newest member of his father's mercenary group, the Greil Mercenaries, and completes his first mission by saving a village sacked by bandits. One day, the kingdom of Crimea, is deliberately, and unexpectedly invaded by the neighboring kingdom of Daein, ruled by the Mad King Ashnard. The last surviving member of the Crimean Royal Family is Princess Elincia, who requests the help of Ike, and the mercenaries. When Greil dies in combat against a former apprentice, known as the Black Knight, Ike's destiny is settled. He joins with many allies, including a humanoid-shape shifting race of animals, birds, and dragons known as the laguz. They march from Crimea, to Gallia, and Begnion to join with other allies and put a stop to Ashnard's tyranny.
Gameplay. Fire Emblem is a tactical role playing game, which you play as many characters and position them to attack, obtain treasures, open doors, and move to different areas. Fire Emblem is like a combination of chess, checkers, and rock paper scissors. Unlike many game series, the series introduces new characters, and more challenging quests. In terms of fighting with weapons, each has a flaw: swords are bested by lances, lances are bested by axes, and axes are bested by swords. But it all depends on how strong the characters are. Also in terms of units: Pegasus Knights are easily killed by ballista soldiers and archers, but they are swift and can become a threat in close range. Dragon Riders are easily bested by Thunder Mages. Mages can master many elements such as Fire, Wind, Ice, Thunder, and so on. Also when units reach their highest level, they promote to much stronger classes, and also use special items to do so.
Concept. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is comprised of 29 chapters in the game. The chapter that has a four part storyline is chapter 17. Players can strengthen their characters by fighting, or using special items that can upgrade their HP, Magic, Strength, Speed, Skill, and so on. Before starting a chapter, when you get the caravan in chapter 8, you can buy or sell weapons, magic, vulneraries, antitoxins, and so on.
Character Deaths. Unlike original RPG games in which when the character's health reaches zero, they are knocked out, and can be revived. But Fire Emblem is a different story, when a unit other than the main character dies, he or she will never come back for the rest of the game, and the story goes on without him or her. When the main character is killed, the game is over. This makes the player learn to be more mindful of his strategies and his units. Some characters when their HP reaches zero, suffer a crippling injury and retreat, for example, Soren in this game.
Music and Sound. The music is very well made for what I can say, and the battle themes were awesome and epic. Also the sound effects were very kick ass, during battles. This is the first Fire Emblem game to feature voice acting. Ike is voiced by actor Jason Adkins, who reprices his role in Radiant Dawn and in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Graphics. The game introduced FMV sequences with a blending of anime and CGI. During the dialogues while playing the game, they appear in their anime drawn style. I think that there should have been more CGI sequences and more voice acting, but well, that's their choice.
New Race. Path of Radiance introduced a new race to the game. This race is a humanoid-animal like beings known as the laguz. The laguz is comprised of: lions, tigers, wildcats, ravens, hawks, and dragons. The beast tribe reside in Gallia, while the Ravens live in Kilvas, the Hawks are from Phoenicis, and the Dragons reside in Goldoa. The dragons of Goldoa are very conservative and do not want to do anything with the outside world. The ravens of Kilvas are mostly comprised of pirates and criminals, looting every ship along the way. The Gallians have enjoyed a long term peace with Crimea, but with Daein invading, it's about to change.
Rantings. The only problem I have with this game is of how WEAK, Mist and Rolf are when they become playable, they're both level 1. But as they level up, the good thing is that they both become quite the titans, especially when Rolf upgrades to sniper. Also I hated how the laguz had a time limit for transformation, that was really bad, because, the enemy would target them easily when they are in their human form. Also, the ballistas will make you cry, break your controller, and drive you insane when they kill your Dragon Riders or Pegasus Knights, because they attack from a very farther distance. And there is a high chance for ballistas to make a critical attack.
Good Aspects. The gameplay, although complex, it is unique in it's own way. Also I enjoyed the deep storyline that the game has. Also one of my favorite antagonists in the game has to be the Black Knight, he is meant to be like the Darth Vader of the game. The Black Knight's theme is memorable and leaves a mark on many gamers. Playing as the laguz was also great, but the time limit was bothersome.
Overall. Fire Emblem Path of Radiance is a great game for the Nintendo Gamecube, and the data can be connected to a new one in Radiant Dawn. My final score for this game is an 8 out of 10