The Link Arena (Japanese: 通信闘技場, Communication Arena) is the multiplayer mode of the three GBA installments in the Fire Emblem series. It is a mode where two to four players, each with their own copy of the same game in the series and the requisite number of link cables to connect the systems together, form teams of up to five units each and face each other in arena-style combat. The Sacred Stones, designed and released after the release of the GBA wireless adapter, is not compatible with the wireless adapter (the other two GBA games in the series predate the wireless adapter and are also not compatible with it).
Each of the three individual GBA games in the series is compatible only with other copies of the same game; for example, a copy of The Binding Blade is compatible only with other copies of The Binding Blade. Gameplay between different titles is not possible due to each individual title having characters appearing only within that game; for example, it is not possible for a copy of Fire Emblem to play against a copy of The Sacred Stones.
How it works
Players must first use the "Edit Teams" option to build their teams. Selecting "Build Team" allows the player to create a team; the player chooses one of their save files, then selects up to five units in a battle preparations phase. Players can set up units' inventories within the preparations phase, negating the need to do so within the single player mode. Once the player has picked their units and set them up, the team is saved once the Start button is pressed on the unit selection screen.
For a unit to join a team, they must have at least one usable weapon in their inventory; this normally excludes Bards and Dancers from the Link Arena as they cannot inherently wield weapons, although both are programmed to be able to take part in the Link Arena should they somehow be given a usable weapon (normally a piece of dark magic inaccessible to the player). Manaketes may not be included in any team, nor can units exclusive to The Binding Blade's Trial Maps or unlocked via The Sacred Stones's Creature Campaign.
"Unit List" allows players to view the statistics of teams already built. "Swap" allows the order of already-built teams to be swapped in the list order. Teams are deleted with the "Disband" option.
Players can tweak the exact rules of the battle using the "Rule Settings" option. There are three options under these settings:
- Hide Units: If set to On, hides enemy units until they engage one of the player's units in battle. Once an enemy unit engages a player unit in battle, that unit will remain visible. If set to Off, all enemy units are visible at all times.
- Victory Cond: If set to "Points", the highest score at the end of the battle wins. If set to "Survival", the last team with any units standing wins.
- AutoWeapon: If set to Off, whatever the player sets as their units' inventories are what's used in battle. If set to On, the set inventories are disregarded and units are instead allocated the E-rank weapons of whatever weapon types a unit is capable of using, for example a Hero will be given an Iron Sword and Iron Axe; any unit capable of using dark magic, which lacks an E-rank version in the GBA games, will be allocated the D-rank Flux.
The actual gameplay
Once a player chooses "Linked Battle", that player selects one of their teams and waits for the other players to do likewise; once all players select their teams, the battle will begin. The Link Arena also includes a "Practice" option, where a single player can take one of their teams and face them off against other teams of theirs controlled by the CPU; in this situation, the player sets the team they wish to control into the blue slot and the teams the CPU is to control into the other slots.
Gameplay goes counterclockwise from the bottom starting with the blue team (player 1), followed by the red team (player 3), the green team (player 2), and the purple team (player 4), with any team slot not present skipped over. The player whose turn it is selects one of their units, followed by one of the other players' units and then one of their weapons. Once these selections are made, a single round of combat begins. Units that survive the round earn points based on the experience formula. In The Binding Blade and Fire Emblem, it is possible to make moves that score zero points; all moves score points in The Sacred Stones with the exception of the defeat of one of a player's units on the side of the player losing that unit. Gameplay continues until only one player has any units left standing. The last player with units standing will receive 30 additional points for each of their remaining units. If the victory condition is set to Survival, the last player standing wins; if the victory condition is set to Points, the player with the most points at the end of the battle wins.
In the practice mode, gameplay can be ended early by pressing the Start button and answering yes when Anna asks the player if they wish to surrender. In the event two or more teams that are unable to do any damage to one other face off in the Link Arena, after three full turns in such conditions, Anna will tell players that the teams aren't doing any damage and ask if they would like to end the game.
Most non-weapon items have no function in the Link Arena, i.e. players cannot heal themselves with vulneraries; the only non-weapon items that function in the Link Arena are the accessory items that nullify bonus damage against fliers (Delphi Shield in The Binding Blade and Fire Emblem, Fili Shield in The Sacred Stones) and nullify critical hits (Iron Rune in Fire Emblem, Hoplon Guard in The Sacred Stones). Staves also play no role in the Link Arena. Long-range tomes do not activate in the Link Arena, nor would a ballista in the event one is hacked into an inventory; if one is in the equipped item position when their holder is attacked, only the attacker will get their strikes in. In cases where a weapon with 1 range fights against a weapon with 2 range, only the attacker will initiate their strikes; weapons with 1-2 range can take on any other usable weapon regardless of its range properties, fighting within range 1 should two 1-2 range weapons face each other.
The players' high scores are saved under the "Battle Data" option. High scores list the name of the team that achieved the listed score, along with the victory condition, their rank within the battle, and the number of players in the battle.
- Despite the color of player 4's units being purple, the text indicating the start of their phase is in yellow.
- The blue, red, green, and purple color schemes of Link Arena units are similar to those seen in the Four Swords games of The Legend of Zelda series; The Binding Blade predates the first Four Swords, preventing the possibility of it being a direct reference, and it is unlikely Four Swords was trying to reference the Link Arena with their own usage of the color schemes.
- Death quotes typically aren't viewable in the Link Arena; however, if hacks or glitches are used to invoke situations that require the use of map animations in the Link Arena and a unit is defeated, their death quote will play.
- In the event poison or petrification are inflicted in a Link Arena battle where a hack or glitch has made it possible to use such effects, these effects clear automatically at the end of the round.
- In the event AutoWeapon is enabled and a team somehow has had a unit been given an E rank in dark magic via glitches or hacking, that unit will still be given their Flux tome and be able to wield it despite not normally having the correct rank to wield it.
Etymology and other languages
|Names, etymology and in other regions|
|Language||Name||Definition, etymology and notes|
The Link Arena's main menu in The Binding Blade.
Managing the player's teams in the Link Arena in The Binding Blade.
The Link Arena's main menu in Fire Emblem.
Managing the player's teams in the Link Arena in Fire Emblem.
Rule settings menu in Fire Emblem.
Being unable to inflict damage in Fire Emblem.
The Link Arena's main menu in The Sacred Stones.
Managing the player's teams in the Link Arena in The Sacred Stones.
Rule settings menu in The Sacred Stones.
The Link Arena map in The Sacred Stones.
The results of a practice Link Arena match in The Sacred Stones.
- Multiplayer battle, the multiplayer component of the Nintendo DS installments and Fates
- Double Duel, the multiplayer component of Awakening
|Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones|