Right, let's kick off with some controversy: Fire Emblem's deeply flawed.
Almost everyone loves it at first. Gaily I joined a mercenaric band of adventuring ruffians, and our treks cross-continent gave us time to bond - whether for their moralism, combat skill or some other idiosyncratic charm (like a brilliant hat) - and become equally enamoured with the game's turn-based war-doing; its paper-scissors-stone weapons triangle system; the character progression; the recruitment of wayward souls; and that warming musical accompaniment, twisting your lips into a whistle every time you give up playing for five minutes to go to the loo.
All this stuff's true of all three I've played, but to lessening degrees. With the first GBA Fire Emblem, I felt that way for so long that those are my defining memories.
October is set to be a busy month for GameCube owners in America and *cough cough* those of us who import things with three of Nintendo's bigger Cube titles now cemented on the release schedule.
The one we're likely to be most interested in is the US version of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Intelligent Systems' first GameCube take on the cult strategy-RPG series, due out on October 17th. Released in Japan earlier this year, it's highly stylised and extremely promising, and the translated demo sections on display at the E3 trade event in May held our fanboyistic attention longer than virtually anything else.
More interesting for those of us without a Fire Emblem fetish is the news that Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness - the first proper GameCube Pokémon RPG - will be out in the States on October 3rd.
Fire Emblem's quite popular in this house. So much so that last week I decided to resolve important life issues in the style thereof. Asking Kristan if he wanted me to pick anything up from Sainsbury's involved striking a heroic pose whilst peering out of the window, humming the theme music, and holding up bits of paper with flowery motifs bordering nobly worded guff about journeying to the merchants in the north in pursuit of sustenance. Getting into a turn-based bar fight was more challenging. [One of these anecdotes is actually true. Guess which. -Ed]
Nintendo has yet to announce a European release date for Fire Emblem on the GameCube, but there's a new trailer over on its Japanese website - take a look at it