Marth (マルス Marusu?) is the main playable hero in the first, third, eleventh and twelfth 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 Japanese NES (Famicom) and titled Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light (Ankoku Ryuu to Hikari no Tsurugi), 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 did not feature Marth. As such, it was only tangentially related to the first. The third game however, titled Fire Emblem: Monsho no Nazo ("Mystery of the Crest") and released on Super NES (Super Famicom) 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 Fire Emblem main character to feature in a starring role from the start of the game in more than one title. In both these games, his in-game unit is the only one that belongs to the Lord character class, establishing the tradition with all main starring characters of subsequent titles, being units that must be kept alive and start out weak, but become very powerful over the course of each game.
The Falchion is Marth's sword. It remains his only weapon through his three appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series, and is Fire Emblem's "icon" for both Melee and Brawl. All of Marth's attacks use The Falcion with the exception of grabs and throws.
In the games, the Falchion appears to be a golden broadsword during in-game battle sequences. However, it 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 Falcion. Chrom wields the Falchion in Fire Emblem: Awakening as he is a descendant of Marth and Chrom's daughter from the future Lucina wields a future version of the Falchion, thus causing two Falchions to exist at the same time. It is extremely effective against dragons in all its appearances, and it is vital to killing Earth Dragons, Dark Dragons, and Fell Dragons. In Fire Emblem: Awakening the sword received a redesign to demonstrate the passage of time from Marth's era to Chrom's era.
The Falchion's sister weapon is the Fire Emblem or the Shield of Seals. Both were forged from the fangs of the Holy Dragon, Naga. However, they do not have to be used together, as Marth's ancestor Anri used the Falchion alone. Marth and Chrom have wielded the two weapons together in the Fire Emblem games.
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. 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). For his bishounen character design and exotic flavoring, coupled with his effectiveness as a fighter, Marth remains one of the most popular characters in Melee.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
As a playable fighter
Marth makes his Smash-series debut (and by extent, his altogether North American debut) as an unlockable character in Melee. He can be unlocked one of three ways: using all fourteen starter characters at least once each in Vs. Mode matches, beating Classic mode with all fourteen starter characters on any difficulty, or playing 400 Vs. mode matches. In each of these cases, after fulfilling the conditions Marth must be battled to be unlocked.
Many would instinctively agree that Marth is the game's most effective fighter and the best character for use in the competitive metagame. Pros include the long reach, very good damage and knockback of his sword attacks, very high priority, moderately fast dash, long grab, usefully floaty wavedash, excellent edgeguarding capabilities, easy and efficient combos, and great SHFFL, with main cons being his lack of a projectile attack, and a laggy 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 moves (except grabs) involve him using his sword, the Falchion, which has a property no other weapon has: attacks are stronger if landed at the tip of the blade, which acts as a sweetspot. Successful use of this is the crux of Marth's success.
By tradition, Marth as a playable character is featured on his personal three trophies. His normal trophy is acquired by beating the Classic mode with Marth on any difficulty, and his Smash Blue and Smash Red trophies are acquired the same way by beating the Adventure and All-Star modes, respectively.
- The betrayed prince of the Kingdom of Altea, the blood of the hero Anri flows in Marth's veins. He was forced into exile when the kingdom of Dolua invaded Altea. Then, wielding his divine sword Falchion, he led a revolt and defeated the dark dragon Medeus. Afterwards, Altea was annihilated by King Hardin of Akanea.
- Fire Emblem (Japan Only)
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
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. He also does more damage if he hits with the tip of Falchion, doing 12% instead of the 8% he does at close range. 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. He has one of the highest chances of tripping in-game.
- The prince of Altea, in whose veins the blood of heroes runs. He and a small group of stalwarts fought to free Altea after it was invaded by the kingdom of Doluna and the dark dragon, Medeus. With his divine sword, Falchion, he fought and defeated Medeus. However, Altea was then invaded by King Hardin of Akaneia and eventually destroyed.
- Fire Emblem (Japan Only)
- Main Article: Marth (SSBWU/3DS)
Marth is returning as a veteran for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U with a redesign leaning towards his appearance in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.
- Marth's sword Falchion is not actually a falchion. It is more of a broadsword that resembles a Claymore or a Longsword. In the original Fire Emblem game, however, it was considered a rapier.
- Marth's trophy info in Brawl is not entirely correct, as it says Altea was destroyed by Akaneia, while Akaneia only controlled Altea for a period of time, and it is reclaimed by Marth near the end of the game.
- Marth speaks only Japanese in all versions of Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This did not change in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, even though ironically Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon has been released in the Americas and Europe.
- Marth's first overseas appearance was in a dubbed anime called Fire Emblem, however, he was called Mars, not Marth.
- Marth is the first character to have 2 true clones. Roy & Lucina