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Video Game / Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

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Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is the tenth entry in the Fire Emblem series, released on the Wii in 2007. It is a direct sequel to Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, taking place three years after its ending.

Radiant Dawn is divided into four parts, each starring a different main character. The first arc features Micaiah, the leader of the Dawn Brigade, in her work to liberate the country of Daein from its abuse at the hands of its post-war Begnion occupation, an act which instigates the conflict to come. Following arcs feature Elincia, now queen of Crimea, dealing with rebellious nobles, and Ike and his mercenaries aiding the Laguz kingdoms in a war against an apparently corrupt Begnion, with the final arc bringing all the characters together in order to avert the destruction of their world.

The gameplay of Radiant Dawn is largely identical to its predecessor, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, using the series' standard turn-based tactical combat. The most major changes are the reintroduction of Dark Magic (affecting the magic Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors), discrepancies in terrain height now affecting battles, and third-tier Character Class promotions returning from Fire Emblem Gaiden. Also, despite being an early Wii game, Radiant Dawn completely lacks any form of motion controls.


Radiant Dawn was followed by the Nintendo DS game Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, a remake of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light.

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn contains examples of the following:

  • Actually A Doom Bot: In the Japanese version, the Black Knight says that what Ike fought and defeated wasn't him, but a ghost created by malfunctioning warp powder. The English localization team decided to change that into an instance of I Let You Win and justified it using existing canon.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You spend most of game switching between various different parties, though the most abrupt case is Part 2, where you play through the prologue as Elincia, then switch to Nephenee for Chapter 1, then Lucia for Chapter 2, then Geoffrey for Chapter 3, before finally going back to Elincia for the Endgame.
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  • Anti-Frustration Features: The international release allows units to promote by reaching Level 21 (unless they have a plot-based promotion), whereas the Japanese version only allowed units to promote with promotion items, which are severely limited.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The most villainous people in the game are the Begnion Senators and their lackeys, all of whom are landed nobility.
  • Badass Boast: If Stefan battles Duke Numida, he makes a hearty boast.
    Numida: Wh-who are you?
    Stefan: I am the desert, and I brook no intrusions. Make peace with your goddess.
  • Badass Normal: Chapter 3-13's Archer, who in all likelihood has better stats than Leonardo in that chapter. He starts the chapter on a Balista and proceeds to Crit everything he shoots at. Then, a common scenario in the chapter is that the mage near the archer will get killed by a hawk. The archer will then kill the hawk and block the ledge so laguz cannot climb while simultaneously attacking them, making him VERY useful to avoid getting overrun from both sides. Best part of all, he usually lives. Witness his unbridled wrath.
  • The Battle Didn't Count:
    • If you manage to defeat Ike in Chapter 3-13, he merely says that you've held out longer than he expected before being informed by one of his soldiers that his forces have breached your defenses at another location. The wounds that would have resulted in a Game Over were he under your control don't seem to bother him much.
    • Any of the battles between Ike's forces and Micaiah's don't result in any of the PCs under enemy control dying.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the end of Act 2, Lucia is about to be executed by rebel Crimean forces, with Queen Elincia looking on helplessly. Just before she gets hanged, the Greil Mercenaries show up out of nowhere to rescue her.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: The Sentinel and General classes "dodge" attacks by blocking with their shields.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Several endgame bosses have obscenely good Skills coupled with their high stats. An easy solution? Send someone with Nihil to cancel them out.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Approximately a third of the characters in your party can have a talk with The Dragon (not one of the actual dragons) in the penultimate chapter with the basic theme of "man, if only we met before you've launched your scheme to end the world, you probably would have changed your mind".
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Kurthnaga forces a ceasefire by virtue of being as large as a castle and able to blow it up. When he gets on the battlefield, however, you find out he's only around Level 20 (halfway to his max), his accuracy is subpar, and he's incredibly slow.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Bows and Wind magic note  don't deal effective damage to Wyvern Riders in this game, so a first time player (and some multiple time players) will often attack an enemy wyvern with those or leave Jill/Haar away from enemy archers/wind mages expecting them to do deal effective damage.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Yune goes through great lengths to explain that the two goddesses are not good or evil.
    "I am... freedom. Chaos. Transformation. Future. Mystery. I am Yune"
    "She is... restriction. Order. Stability. Past. Certainty. Restraint. She is Ashera."
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Radiant Dawn pretty much goes on a pretty big deconstruction in Parts one and two.
    • Part one pretty much shows that while Ashnard was certainly bad, Begnion wasn't much better.
    • Likewise, part two shifts focus to a rebellion in Crimea that happens. As a Let's Play put it, Path of Radiance pretty much went like a fairytale for Crimea. Radiant Dawn shows that when they were no longer united against Daein, they decided to go back to petty power squabbles and the new queen couldn't just take her throne and rule in peace.
    • Ike being THE hero and inspiring others? Sounds great but it also meant a lot of young people got the idea in their head that they too could start a rebellion and become a famous warrior.
    • Micaiah being an All-Loving Heroine who would easily lead her kingdom to safety and honor? Nope. War Is Hell and she can't do anything to curb Daein's racism.
    • The famous hero getting the girl and becoming an honorable king through marriage? Ike greatly resents nobility and has zero romantic interaction with Elincia.
    • The chaos god that everyone feared? Also allowed living beings to thrive and evolve.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Micaiah is set up as the main character, but it becomes clear by the end of the game that Ike is meant to be the hero. At least, kind of.
  • Developers' Foresight: Several particular maps have your own player characters against each other. Sure enough, a few characters with relations to one another will not attack one another. Not only that, but you can actually have them be persuaded to join the other team. (Which can also be used to easily transfer items between armies)
  • Divine Conflict: The story comes down to a showdown between Ashera, the Goddess of Order, and Yune, the Goddess of Chaos, both of whom are aspects of the same being, Ashunera, who split herself into two halves.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: In-universe example. Ashnard was a complete bastard in Path of Radiance, but thanks to Begnion running the country so horribly, the people of Daein started painting the Mad King in a more positive light, somewhere along the line of "Maybe he's bad, but at least he's not as bad as those Begnion dastards!"
  • Dramatic Irony: It was explained in the previous game that the reason Begnion's Beorc population was so quick to believe that asinine idea that the pacifist Herons could have assassinated Apostle Misaha is because the Herons had always denied that the Apostles had any special powers or connection to Ashera. Not only do the Apostles really have those powers, they have them because they are of Heron blood.
  • Early Game Hell: The early levels of the game are surprisingly difficult compared to other games on the series. Each level gives only one or two new units, theres no option to buy new weapons for several levels straight, and you lack a healer for roughly four levels. It's easy to make a mistake and lose a unit, especially if you picked "Normal" in the Western version, unaware that you were actually playing Hard as a result of a translation error. It's justified though, as your Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits is trying to squeeze by a huge occupying army, but from a gameplay perspective, it's quite a shock if you didn't play Path of Radiance first. The only mitigating factor is that you don't have a lot of freedom both in which characters you bring in and where they move (the first few levels are fairly cramped), so eventually you're going to figure out something that works.
  • Easter Egg: On the final map in Part Three, there are numerous interesting battle conversations that can be had between all of the important people taking part in this battle. The problem is that the relevant enemies are all the way across the map, and it is extremely likely that the chapter will end before you are anywhere close to them. It takes some real finagling in order to see most of them.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: At the end of Part 3, Ashera's judgement has turned nearly the entire population of Beorc and Laguz to stone. Ike ventures outside to an eerie quiet, desperate to find a survivor among the statues. Part 4 involves confronting and defeating Ashera to undo their fate.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Using the Old Save Bonus feature can freeze the game if there is any Easy Mode data of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance on the GameCube memory card. This is fixed in the PAL version.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The one on one duel between Skrimir and Zelgius is scripted, so Zelgius always wins the duel. If a player uses Skrimir from the point where you acquire him and mods the game to allow you to spawn in a copy of Zelgius, Skrimir will consistently win each time despite Zelgius being max level and having high stats.
  • I Am Your Opponent: Ranulf, before challenging Zelgius to single combat:
    Ranulf: I'm Ranulf, right hand to Gallia's future king. (Morphs into cat form) Will that do?
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game does not at all convey how to unlock some of the certain extra characters. Some can only be acquired on multiple playthroughs, while some require putting certain characters on the field in specific levels. For example; acquiring Stefan requires placing either one of the Laguz who can support with him (and must of done so) from the previous game, or Micaiah, on a specific tile in Micaiah's second level in Chapter 4.
    • Ike, Micaiah, and Sothe all promote during the story, but when they are isn't at all conveyed to the player. Micaiah will promote at the end of Chapter 1, and right before the finale, while Ike and Sothe promote in the 4th chapter. In the case of Ike, this is very important because if he is not max level before promoting, he can potentially turn the final fight with the Black Knight into almost a Hopeless Boss Fight because Ike's stats will be too low to reliable deal with him. Also, you want to avoid getting killed by the Black Knight's Eclipse skill? Better have Nihil on Ike or else...
    • Downplayed a bit with a section during the final dungeon following the fight with the Black Knight. Yune instructs the party to equip their best weapons, and she'll bless them. This causes them to never lose any durability at all. The game doesn't tell you however, that several enemies from that point forward can only be hurt by said blessed weapons. This can be quite troublesome if you decide to have someone keep a previously used weapon over a weapon like Alondite, or the Wishbane, which you would of acquired the level before. The Downplayed part is that the game does allow you to equip the weapons that will be blessed, but it can be still frustrating if you forget, or are unaware that some enemies can't be hurt without being blessed.
    • There are a few levels where the player has to hold out against a besieging army. The game tells you that to win, you need to last the amount of turns instructed to you. However, it is possible to, if careful, kill the boss and end the level right there, such as if you defeat Ludveck in Elincia's Gambit. This is not told to the player, and not something you might think of doing because of the sheer amount of enemies that are present on the map making it seem like a terrible idea to do.
    • This issue gets weirdly used again during the final fight with the Black Knight as well; if Ike defeats him, the level ends, but it also robs the player of the chance to acquire the best spear in the game from the enemies fighting your main army. If you move Ike to avoid fighting the Black Knight, the Black Knight will be harder to defeat, because of terrain effects that are not at all shown beforehand to the player.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Elincia starts off as a Crutch Character in part 2, but unlike others, remains feasible late-game and can function as a good staff user as well as a decent combat unit thanks to her special sword.
  • Joke Character: Oliver, who is likely outclassed by the time you recruit him, but has plenty of special dialogue with bosses and other characters, much of it hilarious.
  • Lord British Postulate: In one chapter, Lekain appears on the field for a couple turns, and then leaves. During the time they're on the field, it is actually possible to reach them and kill them. They simply retreat upon being defeated.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Part 2, chapter 1 has you controlling minor characters Brom and Nephenee from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance.
  • Mark of the Beast: A Spirit Charmer gets one as a result of his Deal with the Devil, and those who sign or inherit Blood Pacts also get them. Spirit marks are indistinguishable from the marks of the Branded, certain offspring of mixed Beorc-Laguz relationships, which are also considered sinful.
  • Meta Twist: Radiant Dawn is the first and only game thus far in the series to avert the series trope of the Medeus archetype being an Eldritch Abomination of some kind. Instead, the final boss is Ashera, the Goddess of Order.
  • Neutrality Backlash: Dragon King Dheginsea stubbornly tries to have the country of Goldoa remain neutral for 1,000 years to satisfy the terms of the covenant with the goddess Ashera. He ends up having one of his children killed and another one forced into exile because of his insistence on neutrality.
  • No Hero Discount: It doesn't matter that the entire world besides your company gets paralyzed, and you're gearing up to fight against the Goddess to save the world. If you want that forged silver sword you still need to pay full price for it.
  • No Kill Like Overkill:
    • Most Tier 3 mastery skills have effects to put enemies to sleep or paralyze them, but there's a good chance the player will never see these effects, since they're also effectively critical hits and almost always kill before their effects take hold. To give an example of how overkill the skills are, even Lyre can kill a single foe if she activates Rend.note 
    • Eclipse not only negates defense but multiplies the Black Knight's strength by 5. It activates on his Skill stat, so he always has a fixed 40% chance to rip his opponent apart to the tune of 208 damage, which even the final boss couldn't live through.
  • Old Save Bonus: If you have a Nintendo GameCube memory card with Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance data plugged into the Wii, you can transfer data from Path of Radiance to Radiant Dawn to buff your characters and/or get extra coins for forging.
  • On the Next: In the non-Japanese version, there are introductory movies for Part 2 - 4.
  • Properly Paranoid: Sothe is completely right to not trust the Black Knight when he comes to assist the Daein liberation and not buy into the noble, patriotic facade he puts on for Micaiah. While the Black Knight doesn't betray the Dawn Brigade or Daein directly, everything he did was in the name of hastening Ashera's judgment on the world.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Elincia was a Hidden Backup Princess that nobody but select few knew about, then suddenly has to rule a country after the war with Daein ends. Instead of being welcomed and loved by her people, she becomes an in-universe Base-Breaking Character since almost nobody knew she existed, with many unsure of her legitimacy and if she even can rule, while others more-or-less blindly accept her as Queen. This results in Ludveck instigating a civil-war to either overthrow her, or push her to become the Queen he feels she needs to become. After all, a Queen who has no experience in ruling isn't going to be a good ruler for a nation, especially since the nation is rebuilding from a previous war.
    • Even though Ike was a hero who stopped the Mad King Ashnard, he was still overthrowing a country's ruler and threw the country into chaos. As a result, while those who fought with Ike agree that what he did was for the best, those who didn't see him in a negative light and, rightfully to a degree, blame him since it was thanks to him that they now have to suffer the consequences of a war many of them didn't even factor into.
    • As a alliance of Proud Warrior Race Guy, the Laguz are not used to fighting in open warfare, so when they go to war in Act 3, the Beast Tribe King hires the Greil Mercenaries to act as tacticians because he is plainly aware that his people, while righteous in motivation, lack the military background the Begnion army has at their command. Skrimir several times has to be calmed down by Ranulf or Soren because Zerg Rush tactics only work when you vastly outnumber your enemy, something that is not the case for the Laguz army. Later on, we see an instance of Skrimir's lack of strategy displayed when Zelgius easily baits him into an attack, wherein the Blood Knight Skrimir falls for and is promptly defeated.
    • Also relating to that, Skrimir is beaten by Zelgius in one on one combat, but Zelgius doesn't kill him. The Laguz Alliance fly into a rage at seeing their leader defeated and seemingly killed by deciding Death Is the Only Option. Shortly after Ike and Ranulf order a retreat, reality sets in and the Blood Knight Laguz army lose their morale after seeing their leader defeated easily, and the army is forced back by this defeat. This allows the much weaker Daien Army to land a series of attacks from behind that nearly cripple the Laguz Alliance completely, and it's only because the Greil Mercenaries cover their escape that they don't break and lose the war.
    • When Daien enters the war, they do so by attacking the retreating Laguz Alliance, earning small victories that push the Laguz Alliance into nearly breaking as a result of their already low morale. However, once the Laguz Alliance recovers and focuses on fighting Daien instead of Bengion, the country is nearly beaten with ease. Daien was still recovering from Ashnard's war, and their own internal revolution, so naturally the country begins to buckle under the Laguz Alliance army, an army that vastly outnumbers them, and is filled with several strong warriors.
    • When Sanaki discovered the corruption of the Begnion senators, she attempted to confront them on their actions by having Ike cut into their plans in the previous game. She then attempts to confront them when she learned they had cause the Serenes Forest massacre by manipulating events. Instead of them submitting, or her managing to do something about it, she is captured and held hostage within her home by them. The senators hold nearly all of the power in Begnion, and by letting it sit and fester, Sanaki made it easier for them to hold her hostage and abuse their power with nobody suspecting a thing, and unlike before, they now have reasons to turn against her since she has already taken steps to stop them. Furthermore, because Sanaki is rarely seen by most of the outside world, the senators are able to easily claim she is allowing their actions, since nobody can confirm or deny if they are truthful.
    • Turns out trying to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist only works if you have the stomach for committing potentially heinous actions in the name of the greater good, and can shoulder responsibility and the guilt associated with it. As Micaiah finds out during Act 3, pushing yourself to act more aggressive in war, even when you yourself despise it and can't stomach it, is a sure fire way to risk becoming the very thing you rebelled against. Tibarn demonstrates this when he grabs Sothe and threatens to drop him to his death, which makes Micaiah realize that if she truly wants to go the distance, she'd need to sacrifice everything to do what she is told. Once she realizes this, Micaiah confronts Pellas on the situation, no longer able to stomach having to be more desperate to win a losing war.
    • Due to being sheltered most of his life, Pelleas grows into a weak willed prince who is practically babied by his mother despite being a young adult. As a result, when he becomes king, he faces numerous issues and ends up making a fatal of mistake of being tricked into signing a Blood Pact. If on a second playthrough, he joins the party, but it's repeatedly shown he is not exactly very good at combat despite being a Dark Mage. Several characters outright question if he really is capable of fighting on the frontlines as a result. If he survives, the epilogue has him abdicate the throne to Micaiah, feeling that he is not capable of leading.
    • How does the Black Knight's identity get revealed? Ranulf, having fought the Black Knight before, is able to recognize the fighting style of Zelgius during their duel as being that of the Black Knight's. Since the Black Knight had a very distinct fighting style, this made it easy for Ranulf to put two-and-two together.
    • During the timeskip between games, Largo loses his arm and thus retires from combat. Even if he is skilled enough to fight with one hand, fighting with a limb missing is a a huge handicap that limits his options during combat, making him essentially The Load.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Naesala, Oliver, and on a second playthrough, Lehran. Emphasized by their respective endings: Naesala abdicates and goes into diplomacy to atone for his role in making two wars worse, Oliver finally learns to channel his appreciation of beauty in a healthy way, namely patronizing the arts, and Lehran has his Laguz powers restored by the Herons, and when a new world war brews 1200 years later, is once again at Ashunera's side, not as her accomplice in destruction, but as her assistant in searching for a new hero.
  • Regional Bonus: The PAL version fixes the Game-Breaking Bug in the Old Save Bonus, and fixed a few name inconsistencies with the first game and a couple of utter Blind Idiot Translations (like the infamous "Heart of Fire").
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Near the end of Part 3, as Micaiah is about to give the order to fire on the Apostle, Tibarn swoops in and hangs her Bodyguard Crush Sothe over a cliff and gives her an ultimatum: cease fire and retreat or Sothe dies. Micaiah can't retreat, however, since it would effectively mean everybody in Daein would die due to the blood pact. Unable to find a third option, Micaiah is helpless as she watches Sothe get thrown over the cliff. Micaiah promptly has a My God, What Have I Done?, until it is revealed to have been a bluff and she calls for a retreat.
    • In the final chapter of Part 2, Ludveck's men have Lucia standing on the gallows. They threaten Elincia to release Ludveck in half a mark or they shall hang Lucia. Painfully, Elincia chooses to sacrifice Lucia to save her people from Ludveck and braces herself to watch her dearest friend die before her eyes...that is, until the Greil Mercenaries come to the rescue.
    • After the game seemingly drops the choice system that made a brief appearance in Path of Radiance (do you want to hire Volke? let Sothe join your army?), you're confronted with one: let Micaiah kill Pelleas to break the blood pact, or make someone else do it. Of course, this trope is taken to higher levels when everyone realizes killing Pelleas did nothing, and the blood pact is still in effect (this could be subverted on a second playthrough, where you can keep Pelleas alive and let him fight for you).
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The final battle structures this as literally a climb up a tower. First, you fight the apparent Big Bad, who is ultimately revealed to be a mere puppet. Next, you fight The Dragon, who it turns out was deeper into the conspiracy than the supposed Big Bad. Next up is an even stronger person just as deep in the plot. After this, you face the real Big Bad, and finally, at the top of the tower, face off with the goddess the Big Bad worships.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Three characters, all of them completely innocent of any wrongdoing, are explicitly or implicitly responsible for the situation becoming as bad as it does at the end of part 3:
    • Rafiel was the only survivor of the Serenes Massacre to know that the true culprit was Begnion, not Daein, but had been stuck on the other side of a supposedly-impenetrable desert for twenty years. Once the desert finds itself penetrated, he goes to Gallia and spills everything to Caineghis, who declares war on Begnion. Arguably a blessing in disguise, though, as without this information Lekain and his accomplices would've escaped justice.
    • Later on, it's implied ever-so-slightly that Kurthnaga and Ena violating Goldoa's neutrality laws was the exact moment the Dark God was destined to be released, as only then was ALL of Tellius at war.
      • This is actually inverted as the “Dark God” is not the one bringing about judgement.
  • Villain Ball: Lots of them:
    • Jarod suffers lots of them, mostly to stop the audience from developing too much sympathy or respect for him, to the point that this occasionally leads to rather bipolar behaviour (he expresses his pride in his subordinates and in the next moment he stabs them). The most obvious example is him demolishing the capital of Daein (and killing lots of (unnamed and story-wise irrelevant) innocent civilians in the process) for no explained reason, after Micaiah and the Black Knight let him escape, probably because said mission made him rather sympathetic, and he was required to be killed as the Disc-One Final Boss in the next one.
    • Although Ludveck is more cunning than most Fire Emblem antagonists, he too lapses into Stupid Evil by the end of his arc. His last trump card, have his men threaten Lucia, should Elincia not consent to his demands, is very cleverly played. Not so smart is his order to have her really killed, after Elincia (after some thought) decides that as a Queen, she cannot meet said demands for personal reasons. Not only does he lose his only bargaining chip in the process, he gives Elincia and her followers additional reasons to hate him and have him killed.
    • The most blatant and hotly debated case however is the one of King Dheginsea, whose reasons for opposing the protagonists make little to no sense in the eyes of most players. Suffice to say, he'd be The Scrappy if he weren't a pretty impressive Boss fight.
  • Water Source Tampering: Defied. When tampering with a well to take out a well-defended enemy base is suggested, Micaiah refuses to follow through. Rather than point out the questionable ethics involved, she explains that people would see it as a questionable act, and start to question their motives, maybe turn against them. More importantly, the base is a prison camp they are attempting to liberate for manpower, and this would hit the prisoners as well.
  • Wham Episode: Who could have expected the Black Knight, of all people, to come to your aid at the most unexpected time?
    "Be at ease, Maiden. I shall not allow him to harm you."
  • Wham Line: While it was rather heavily foreshadowed, when Sephiran reveals his intentions near the end of the game, it completely drops the jaws of players who hadn't picked up on it earlier (or were holding out for a Meta Twist):
    Sephiran: The goddess was to be freed... and all living creatures destroyed.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: There is both a heroic and a villainous (okay, Anti Villainous) example toward the end of the game: in the former, all but seventeen members of your party stay behind as you enter the Tower of Guidance to hold off Ashera's zombie horde (they live). In the latter, Dheginsea, in his utter devotion to Ashera, stands in your way upon entering the tower, adamant on stopping you from reaching her (he does not live).

Alternative Title(s): Fire Emblem 10


Example of: