Ike (アイク, Ike) is the main protagonist of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the ninth and tenth games in the Fire Emblem series. He has appeared in every Super Smash Bros. game since Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
After Super Smash Bros. Melee and its inclusion of Fire Emblem protagonists Marth and Roy, Fire Emblem established itself outside Japan with two Game Boy Advance titles, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. The international success of the former prompted developer Intelligent Systems to begin work on a more ambitious, large-scale Fire Emblem game for the Nintendo GameCube: Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Ike's debut starring game, which released in 2005.
Ike is the son of Greil, a legendary warrior who leads a band of mercenaries which operates in Crimea, a minor kingdom on the continent of Tellius. He and his younger sister, Mist, live with the mercenaries in a remote Crimean fort. Notably, he is to date the only protagonist of a Fire Emblem game to have absolutely no royal, noble or divine ancestry at all; this is reflected in his initial character class in Path of Radiance not being the usual Lord, but rather the unique Ranger, instead promoting into a Lord when he is temporarily knighted.
Like all Fire Emblem protagonists, Ike is the commander of his army, and his defeat in battle causes a Game Over. In contrast to the Super Smash Bros. series portraying him as a brutally strong, yet sluggish fighter, Ike is quick, strong and sturdy, and has an acrobatic fighting style.
Path of Radiance follows Ike's exploits through the Mad King's War. Having only recently been allowed by Greil to join missions with the Mercenaries, Ike encounters Princess Elincia of Crimea, on the run after the neighboring Kingdom of Daein attacked and conquered Crimea. Elincia hires the Greil Mercenaries to assist her in escaping Crimea, but after Greil himself is killed by his former student, the Black Knight of Daein, Ike is forced to take command of the Mercenaries.
Ike's journeys with Elincia - fleeing to the Begnion Empire, assisting its Empress Sanaki in destroying a slave trafficking ring, being knighted by Elincia, and raising an army to march on Daein and take back Crimea - brings him into contact with the ancient racial tensions between the laguz (clans of animal shapeshifters) and his fellow beorc; with a plot by Daein's Mad King, Ashnard, to unleash a dark god sealed within a bronze medallion and remake the world; and with the sacrifices his parents made to try and stop that plot decades prior. By the end of the war, Ike's deeds have earned him respect across the world, from beorc and laguz nations alike.
Path of Radiance received a direct sequel in 2007 called Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, in which Ike returned as part of a larger ensemble cast of protagonists, playing out the conflicts from multiple viewpoints. Radiant Dawn is set three years later, by which time Ike has renounced his Crimean knighthood and returned to work with the Greil Mercenaries. After assisting Queen Elincia with ending an uprising in Crimea, Ike is hired by his friend Ranulf, a cat laguz, to assist the Laguz Alliance in a war against Begnion, demanding reparations for the major atrocities they committed against laguz nations. This provokes a civil war in Begnion, in which Sanaki breaks away from her corrupt senate to join Ike's side, and is further complicated when Daein's army, led by the mage Micaiah, joins the war on Begnion's side.
The enormous war awakens and angers the goddess of order, Ashera, with the underlying conflicts having been specifically manipulated to do so, and Ike and Micaiah join forces with the released "dark god" - actually Yune, a sympathetic goddess of chaos - to reverse Ashera's judgement and save the world. The game ends with Ike dealing the finishing blow to Ashera, for which he becomes known as the legendary "Radiant Hero" (青い炎の英雄, Hero of the Blue Flame), and with him leaving Tellius forever for parts unknown.
Described in Radiant Dawn as "blunt, but genuine and loyal", Ike is reserved and socially awkward due to his sheltered upbringing, and starts out naive to the way the world works and quick to anger. He is never comfortable in the spotlight into which his work with Elincia and Sanaki thrusts him, or with command of large armies, preferring to work in anonymity with the Greil Mercenaries, but his strong sense of duty and loyalty compels him to accept it when he has to. Despite being a mercenary, he takes the life-and-death nature of war very seriously and only takes up arms as a last resort; the only exception is his rivalry with the Black Knight.
Ike is also known for his sense of sympathy, even toward his enemies and those who betray him (worrying about what could have driven them to that point), and offers almost every boss he faces an opportunity to surrender and leave the battlefield alive. His one true desire is to someday be as good a warrior as Greil was, even long after his father's death.
Even before his Super Smash Bros. appearances, Ike was one of the most popular characters in the entire Fire Emblem series. In 2017, he was voted the single most popular male character in the inaugural Choose Your Legends popularity poll for Fire Emblem Heroes (beaten only by the top-placers of the female bracket, Lyn and Lucina). Fire Emblem Awakening features him as a bonus character, albeit unrelated to the main story, via SpotPass and DLC, as well as the character Priam, a distant descendant of Ike who wields a heavily aged Ragnell. Later appearances include Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., Fire Emblem Fates and Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, all via amiibo. Ike also makes frequent appearances in the smartphone game Fire Emblem Heroes and the Fire Emblem Cipher card game.
As a playable character
Main article: Ike (SSBB)
Ike was the first Fire Emblem character to be revealed as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Despite Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn being released a year before Brawl, Ike instead sports his Ranger design from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance.
According to Masahiro Sakurai, Ike was not intended to be on the roster early on. Rather, Sakurai devised a blank character template of a slow and very powerful swordsman, and 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, owing to his status as the protagonist of the then-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 representative.
Thanks to the considerable size of his divinely blessed sword Ragnell, the majority of Ike's attacks are among the longest ranged and most powerful in the game. As a trade-off, however, most of his attacks are notorious for being among the slowest in the game in regard to both start-up and ending lag. Ike also possesses Aether as his up special move, which grants him armor at its beginning when he and Ragnell are separated and prior to his leap. Lastly, Ike boasts a neutral attack that is capable of being jab canceled easily and reliably into various combos, or even KOing outright.
In addition to his extremely laggy attacks, Ike also possesses a poor recovery. Despite his appearance, Ike is also a heavyweight, which hinders his mobility and renders him very susceptible to combos. Lastly, Ike lacks a projectile to compliment Ragnell's range; by extension, this leaves him susceptible to camping because of his aforementioned mobility issues. Although Ike's weaknesses have resulted in him attaining a small playerbase, he has nevertheless managed to achieve respectable tournament results. As a result, Ike is ranked 23rd out of 38 on the current tier list, placing him in the D tier and rendering him a mid-tier character.
As a playable character
Main article: Ike (SSB4)
Ike returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. Unlike in Brawl, he now sports his Hero design from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. The majority of Ike's frame data saw noticeable improvement primarily in the form of decreased lag, thanks largely to game updates throughout SSB4's lifespan. His mobility has also improved, thanks to his faster dashing and air speeds, as well as his higher double jump.
Changes to game mechanics have also benefited Ike: the changes to hitstun canceling grant his up and down throws respectable combo potential at varying percentages, while the removal of edge-hogging significantly improves Aether's reliability as a recovery option.
However, Ike's power and range have been slightly toned down. Despite gaining a varied combo game, Ike's renowned jab cancel has been significantly worsened to the point of being extremely situational. Lastly, Ike's mobility is below-average at best in spite of its improvements, which results in him remaining susceptible to combos, rushdowns and camping.
Ultimately, Ike's buffs have somewhat improved his viability since Brawl and especially SSB4's early days. Although Ike currently has a small playerbase like in Brawl, players such as Ryo have demonstrated that he remains a formidable character as long as his strengths are utilized to the fullest and his easily exploitable weaknesses are circumvented. To reflect this, his playerbase has achieved decent results at both regional and national level of tournament play, much like in Brawl. As a result, Ike is ranked 40th out of 58 on the current tier list; this places him in the E tier, and reaffirms him as a mid-tier character.
As a playable character
Main article: Ike (SSBU)
Ike returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Unlike his previous appearances, Ike is now an unlockable character, his Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn designs are both available for selection, and Greg Chun has become his English voice actor since succeeding Jason Adkins as of Fire Emblem Heroes.
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