Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
Buy On
  1. 85
    Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon doesn't offer a revolutionary experience, but it is a highly polished and well-balanced example of strategy gaming. Nintendo did a nice job making sure it kept the challenge the series is known for while at the same time providing a friendlier experience for newcomers.
  2. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon rejuvenates Marth's 18-year-old journey with tactical dexterity and finesse.
  3. The turn-based tactical battles and permanent character death are as unforgiving as ever, and the story is banal as only mediocre heroic fantasy can be. Fans will love this for being a nicely updated piece of history; the rest of us will wonder why Nintendo is re-skinning this venerable franchise yet again.
  4. An excellent real-time strategy game that will devour your hours just as quickly as its predecessors did on the Game Boy Advance.
  5. An excellent DS debut and offers a solid introduction point to the series for new players. It refines and fine-tunes the gameplay to provide a largely enjoyable strategy adventure. The only major complaint is the game doesn't really bring anything new to the table, aside from changes made to properly utilize the DS hardware.
  6. Fire Emblem's DS debut has been a long time coming but it's unquestionably worth the wait. Shadow Dragon provides astonishingly compulsive turn-based action.
  7. Another great game in the series.
  8. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon makes for an interesting introduction to the series, but it's going to feel a bit backward to anyone who has played the "older" games in the franchise.
  9. Shadow Dragon will live long in a lot of DS slots - and probably even long enough to show the US gamers who's boss for a while in 2048 or whenever it comes out over there. Sorry guys.
  10. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is a great entry in the series, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Whether you’re new to the series or genre or you’re a seasoned FE fan this is a great game. It adds just enough new material without making it too different.
  11. Games Master UK
    Naturally, a must for fans, but the gentle learning curve makes it a tactical fun-for-all. [Feb 2009, p.76]
  12. 83
    Nintendo and Intelligent Systems succeeded in making the first Fire Emblem more casual, and is an excellent choice if you either found the previous games intimidating, or have never played one. Still, those looking for a hardcore strategy game will be sorely disappointed.
  13. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon debuts on Nintendo DS with a classic chapter adapted to these times. The deeply interesting story of the game with many characters to recruit and different strategies for the victories offers a unique experience. The most important feature is the online mode, simple but correct in its way. This is one of the best games to come out this year for Nintendo DS.
  14. games(TM)
    The pinnacle of the series’ handheld bloodline but also nothing that we haven’t really seen before. [Feb 2009, p.112]
  15. Edge Magazine
    The beginning is a sensible place to start, but rest assured, it gets much, much better. [Feb 2009, p.91]
  16. 60
    Fans of the series will be quick to pick this one up and will likely get much enjoyment. New players might find more to love in the newer games in the series. Either way, Shadow Dragon is a good move for tactical strategy gamers.
  17. Pelit (Finland)
    It may not be an innovative title, but still a tactical and worthwhile RPG with excellent fights. [Feb 2009]
  18. Shadow Dragon is a very good Strategic RPG in which we'll be able to play the role of an imperial prince who has to save his world. Its a fair game, with good graphics and very much the same gameplay that made Fire Emblem famous. The multiplayer feature is still a work in progress, so perhaps next time.
  19. While not revolutionary by today's standards, it is easy to understand why the original was groundbreaking in its day.
  20. War has never been so compact and accessible.
  21. Nintendo Power
    Once this game goes into my DS, it'll be there until I've experienced every nuance. [Mar 2009, p.86]
  22. 80
    It’s not the best title for newcomers (who should try Path of Radiance on Gamecube or Sacred Stones on GBA if they want an easier route into the series), but veterans of Fire Emblem, or strategy games in general, should at least consider this purchase.
  23. The reincarnation of the original Fire Emblem isn’t the best in the series, but it certainly does enough to make it a worthy addition.
  24. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Back from the 90’s comes a classical RPG / turn–based strategy mix. You can expect hours and hours of epic battles in the best of “Sword & Sorcery” style. [Issue#174, Jan 2009]
  25. While it's nothing Fire Emblem fans wont have seen before, this is a hugely enjoyable tactical RPG.
  26. Nintendo Gamer
    Shadow Dragon boasts some of the most intense turn-based squabbling in existence. [Feb 2009, p.60]
  27. 80
    Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is another quality addition to the series, but it doesn't feel as good as the latest installments because it lacks refinements made to the formula.
  28. Part of what has made Fire Emblem such a beloved series is the emotional attachment the player makes to the characters, and unfortunately, this is largely missing in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. Shadow Dragon is not a bad game; heck, its a very good game. It’s a great buy for fans of the series or the genre. It’s just missing that charm that earlier games in the series had, at least for me.
  29. Series veterans will recognize the familiar play style of the previous installments and jump right into the story, as a tutorial helps newcomers learn the basics. Because of these changes, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is the gem of the series and a must play for DS owners.
  30. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is an exceptional strategy title for the DS. It may be hard, but it has tremendous replay value and will keep you entertained for hours. Highly recommended.
  31. Fire Emblem:Shadow Dragon, despite its old age - gracefully disguised by the new aesthetics - is everything Fire Emblem always strove to be. An addicting game, where success truly rewards the player. It might not offer a very complex story and even leaves certain characters a blank slate, something that simply isn't the case with the more recent games, but everything else is right there. Essential to any fan, it's a great way to introduce someone to the genre.
  32. All Nintendo fans will take pride in the fact that they can finally experience Marth’s adventure, and it’s a lengthy one that should keep Nintendo's "hardcore" gaming audience busy for quite a while.
  33. The gameplay is great, the story is interesting, and the online functionality is superb.
  34. 83
    Remake or not, this is the first time we've seen the original game in the series here in the US, and almost 20 years later it's still worth playing.
  35. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon continues the series' trademark strategic gameplay, this time on the Nintendo DS. If you're a sucker for the combination of strategy and roleplaying elements, this game will let you burn countless hours on your DS. Upgrading your units and making sure they survive is very addictive and fun, and the intuitive online mode is a great bonus. This is not an easy game though and not for the casual player, but for all of you strategy nuts out there, this is one great buy.
  36. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is a must for all Fire Emblem collectors. Die-hard tactical fans might be a little bored with the old school nature of the game, and who can blame them.... given there are so many solid Fire Emblem games to pick from.
  37. Despite its shortcomings, Shadow Dragon lives up to the franchise by offering deep characters, an incredibly diverse cast of characters, a lengthy and engaging campaign, challenging gameplay and for the first time, online multiplayer.
  38. It shouldn’t have taken 19 years for Nintendo to dig up this Famicom gem.
  39. This is the first chance Americans have gotten to see where this classic franchise got its start, and upon playing it, it’s easy to see how it became so beloved.
  40. 80
    Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon could be played by someone new to the series quite easily thanks to its many refinements and the tutorial contained within the Prologue chapters. Veterans of the series will find a game that combines the refinements of more recent entries, save for a lack of variety in battle objectives.
  41. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon doesn't miss the target anywhere, but it doesn't exceed the expectations in many aspects, too. A good game and well recommended, but not a must-have if you're not a fan of the series.
  42. 80
    It hasn’t toppled the Sacred Stones from its berth as the best game in the series (or, if you’re a purist, Fire Emblem on the GBA), and it feels a bit like a missed opportunity to ally the game that started it all with some of the many incremental improvements that have been introduced since. Still, though, it is a Fire Emblem game, and for some of us, that’s enough.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 116 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 116
  2. Negative: 21 out of 116
  1. May 10, 2012
    Make no mistake, this is a polished game. However, I hold Fire Emblem to a higher standard due to the quality of the other games, and this oneMake no mistake, this is a polished game. However, I hold Fire Emblem to a higher standard due to the quality of the other games, and this one fails compared to them. True this is a remake of a very old game, but nearly no attempt was made to flesh the story out or update the mechanics. Playing through it, I little attachment to my characters or the plot in general, which is simply told through a short chapter description before each mission. Fire Emblem isn't just a tactics game! There are far better TBS games out there! It's appeal has always been the RPG element, the compelling story, and lovable characters. Strip FE from this, and it becomes only a solid, but not outstanding tactical role playing game. Full Review »
  2. Feb 5, 2013
    Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. A game that is as Fire Emblem as you can get... if you are reading this in the 1990's. The game is a straight andFire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. A game that is as Fire Emblem as you can get... if you are reading this in the 1990's. The game is a straight and faithful remake of the series first outing, "Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light", released for the Famicom in 1990. And that is where it's problems start: It is just as the game was in 1990. Sure, you have your Weapon Triangle now, sure, the graphics are a lot better than they were back then, but at the core, this is a early 90's game. If you are ok with that, then I cannot stress this enough: Buy this game. It is a good game all by itself, but it just fails in comparison to other Fire Emblem games. A lot of the features a Fire Emblem fan has gotten accustomed to are missing in this title. Character development is almost nonexistent, the story is incredibly linear and rather dull from today's perspective, and the beloved support conversations from the GameBoy Advance games are not here either, taking away the character's depth. Despite that, however, it is still quite enjoyable as a turn-based strategy game.
    If you have ever played an other Fire Emblem, you should either be prepared to play something that feels pretty old, or you should want to dwelve into the franchises history. If you are interested in how it started, this is the way to go. If you look for a nice strategy game for the DS, this is the way to go. But if you think you get a high quality Fire Emblem with this game, you should probably stay away from it.
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 30, 2012
    Quite good.It's nothing compared to the GBA pair(Because I don't include FE6 as it's a Japanese exclusive >_< )It's still a good game with anQuite good.It's nothing compared to the GBA pair(Because I don't include FE6 as it's a Japanese exclusive >_< )It's still a good game with an outdated storyline and some of my least favourite characters in Fire Emblem games.Still good though. Full Review »