Marth (マルス, Marusu) is the main playable hero in the first and third installments of the Fire Emblem series of tactical role-playing games. Previously well-known primarily in Japan for a game series that was never localized abroad, Marth was included in all language versions of Super Smash Bros. Melee as a playable character, and his popularity in the game (along with that of his similar counterpart Roy) influenced Nintendo's decision to release all subsequent Fire Emblem titles internationally.
The first game in what would become the long-running tactical role-playing medieval high fantasy series Fire Emblem, released on the Famicom (Japanese NES) and titled Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragons and the Blade of Light), introduced Marth as the main character. His design was noticeably different from his modern-day incarnation. The second game in the series, Fire Emblem Gaiden, took place on the same fictional world but on a different continent and was only tangentially related to the first and did not feature Marth. The third game however, titled Fire Emblem: Monsho no Nazo ("Secret of the Crest") and released on Super Famicom (Super NES) early in 1994, was both a remake of the original game and a continuation of that game's story. Marth underwent a character redesign to resemble the more "bishounen" prince he is portrayed as in today's modern image of him, and he became the only FE -series main character to feature in a starring role from the start of the game in more than one FE title. In both these games, his in-game unit is the only one that belongs to the Lord character class, and that became tradition with all main starring characters of subsequent FE titles, being units that must be kept alive and start out weak but become very powerful over the course of each game.
Marth returns to the Fire Emblem series as a downloadable and playable character in the 3DS game Fire Emblem: Awakening.
The Falchion is Marth's sword. It remains his only weapon through his two appearances in the Smash Bros. series, and is Fire Emblem's "icon" for both Melee and Brawl. All of Marth's attacks use The Falchion with the exception of grabs and throws. In the games, the Falchion appears to be a golden broadsword during in-game battle sequences. However, its has been shown as a longsword with a steadily widening blade in its official artwork. A Falchion has also been used by Alm, and Sigurd's Tyrfing sword greatly resembles the Falchion. It is extremely effective against dragons in all its appearances and vital to killing Earth Dragons and Dark Dragons.
The Falchion's sister weapon is the Fire Emblem or the Shield of Seals and they were both created together by the Dragon God Naga from his fangs. However they do not have to be used together as Marth's ancestor Anri uses the Falchion alone. Marth wields the two weapons together in the Fire Emblem games.
The Falchion has a property no other weapon has: attacks are stronger if landed at the tip of the blade, which acts as a sweet spot. Successful use of this is the crux of Marth's success in both Melee and Brawl.
When Super Smash Bros. Melee was being developed, requested character polls posted by Japanese fans placed Marth as the most popular character, so HAL Laboratory included Marth as a playable character in the fighting game, and also placed the main character from the then-upcoming Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (Fuuin no Tsurugi) game, Roy, as another playable character alongside Marth. Nintendo of America feared that these characters would not have appeal to American gamers and thus would have to be removed, but there was enough stateside approval of Marth and Roy that they were kept. Marth and Roy were introduced along with the Fire Emblem franchise through the U.S. release of Melee, and the result was immensely positive, causing Fire Emblem games from installment seven onwards to be released internationally; the first of these games also featured Eliwood, the father of Roy. Marth and Roy were not given dub voices in the game, retaining their Japanese-language voice samples (with Midorikawa reprising his role as Marth's voice actor).
As a playable fighter
Marth is one of the game's more effective fighters, currently ranking 4th on the Melee tier list. His strengths include the long reach of his sword attacks and the very good damage and knockback specs of the "sweet spot" on the tip of his blade, his moderately fast dash, long grab, usefully floaty wavedash, excellent edgeguarding capabilities, easy and efficient combos, and great SHFFL, with his drawbacks being his lack of a projectile attack and laggy up special recovery. Marth's clone, Roy, has attacks that are almost identical in appearance, and many "Marth vs. Roy" debates ensued in the years following Melee's release but professional analysis places Marth in a higher tier than Roy because he lacks Marth's subtle but vital advantages.
All of Marth's standard and special attacks involve him using his sword, the Falchion.
As with the other playable characters in Melee, Marth has three trophies which are obtained by defeating the single-player modes - a normal trophy from Classic Mode and two "Smash" trophies from Adventure and All-Star Modes respectively. The text of his Classic Mode trophy reads:
As a playable fighter
Marth returns as an unlockable playable character. Marth has superior range to most characters in the game, and relies on the length of his sword to effectively zone against his opponents. But this time however, it is uncertain as to whether or not he has been nerfed since Melee like a lot of other higher tier characters. He is currently resting in the "A- Tier" according to the official SBR tier list.
As a playable fighter
Marth will return as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, with an updated appearance. Shield Breaker is supposedly stronger in these installments. However, according to player experience with Marth during demos, he has been nerfed(citation needed).