Ike (アイク, Ike) is the main playable hero in the ninth installment of the Fire Emblem series of tactical role-playing games, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, and also appears in a main role in its sequel, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. He is known by his title as the "Radiant Hero" (青い炎の英雄, Hero of the Blue Flame). Ike is one of the more recent Fire Emblem protagonists and was the first one to appear in multiple Fire Emblem console games that were released outside of Japan, which resulted in him gaining more familiarity with players than most other characters in the series. He appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. 4 as a playable character.
By 2005, the Fire Emblem series of tactical role-playing fantasy video games had fully been established as an internationally famous and successful franchise, largely thanks to the inclusion of previous Fire Emblem protagonists Marth and Roy as playable characters in 2001's immensely successful Super Smash Bros. Melee. After Melee, another Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, was released outside of Japan and marked Ike's debut.
In Path of Radiance, Ike serves the traditional role of the Fire Emblem main protagonist in that the story revolves around him and his efforts of heroism, and that in terms of gameplay he is the game's one Lord-class playable unit; he starts out at a unique class level called Ranger with initially shaky battle statistics, but he grows into a top-quality Lord class unit by the end of the game, on average maxing out most of his stats.
The game's sequel, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, extends the story and brings the overall story full-circle. It has been three years since the Mad King's War, and war engulfs Tellius once again as the various countries attempt to re-establish themselves. Unlike Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn focuses on an ensemble cast from varying viewpoints, with Ike becoming playable around mid-game and later being required to deal the finishing blow to the final boss, Ashera.
In both games, Ike learns the Aether character skill, the most powerful of the skills in the reintroduced character skill mechanic. Aether gives Ike a chance to perform a powerful two-hit combo, the first of which restores his Hit Points by the amount of damage he inflicts, and the second of which inflicts damage while only half of the target's defense is applied.
Aside from his main appearances, Ike appears as an optional party member in both Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates. He appears in Awakening as an Einherjar, a DLC and SpotPass-exclusive character that can appear from the Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn era and interact with the heroes of the Awakening era. In Fates, he appears as amiibo-exclusive character, sporting his Radiant Dawn design and having dialogue that references his status as a fighter in the Super Smash Bros. series.
His appearance in Brawl is based on his teenage appearance in Path of Radiance as a Ranger class unit, while his appearance in Super Smash Bros. 4 is based on his adult appearance in Radiant Dawn as a Hero class unit. He wields the two-handed sword Ragnell with one hand, which makes him one of the more powerful characters in the game.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Main article: Ike (SSBB)
Ike was the first Fire Emblem character to be revealed as a playable character in Brawl, sporting his Ranger class design from Path of Radiance. His sword, Ragnell, appears especially hefty and specialized for long-range combat, but Ike is strong enough to hold it with only one hand. Ike's attacks are among the longest reaching and most powerful attacks in the game. To counterbalance this, Ike's attacks are notorious for being among the slowest attacks in the game, both start-up and ending lag wise. Ike also comes with his trademark skill Aether as a technique, which gives him launch resistance at the beginning of the attack when he and Ragnell are separated and he is hunched down to jump. This allows him to resist the knockback, but take the damage of an attack. He is based on his appearance in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Ike is ranked 23rd on the current tier list in D tier.
According to Sakurai, Ike himself was not intended to be on the roster early on. Instead, Sakurai devised a blank character template of a slow and very powerful swordsman. Along with this, Sakurai wanted a new Fire Emblem character in Brawl. When discussing the potential new Fire Emblem character with Intelligent Systems, it was suggested he use Ike, being the protagonist of the latest two games in the series. Upon this suggestion, Sakurai considered Ike, and saw him to be a perfect fit for the aforementioned character template, leading to his inclusion as the new playable Fire Emblem character. Interestingly, while Ike uses his Ranger class design, he could only wield Ragnell and use the Aether skill in Path of Radiance after graduating into the Lord class.
In Super Smash Bros. 4
Main article: Ike (SSB4)
Ike makes a return in Super Smash Bros. 4 as a veteran playable character. Fittingly, he now sports his Hero class design from Radiant Dawn, the sequel to Path of Radiance.
Ike ranks at 26th place out of 56 on the tier list, placing him within the E tier. In the transition to SSB4, Ike's power and reach were slightly toned down, yet were compensated by faster attacks. His mobility was also improved, giving him faster movement on the ground and in the air. With the removal of edge-hogging, Aether is much more reliable as a recovery. However, he no longer has his effective jab cancel, removing some of his combo ability.
While he did not improve much initially since Brawl, Ike has been heavily buffed by game updates. Update 1.0.8 was by far the most noteworthy, as it decreased lag on multiple ground and aerial attacks. Update 1.1.4 also increased the damage outputs of his forward smash, neutral aerial and forward aerials. Despite his reduction of power and reach, the overall improvements to Ike's mobility and reduced lag, especially after game updates, have granted him relatively more viability compared to Brawl and especially compared to the early days of SSB4. Although he currently has a small playerbase, players such as Ryo have demonstrated Ike's capabilities in tournament play, earning him decent results.