Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 is the fifth official installment in the Fire Emblem franchise and is the third and final title in the series to be released on the Super Famicom, only in Japan. On August 28th, 1999, the game was made available with the purchase of a special DX version. It was then released through the Nintendo Power download service on September 1st, 1999. It was finally released in a classic cartridge form on January 21st, 2000, making it one of the very last Super Famicom games ever produced. The game was a relatively bold success both critically and in sales.
The game is considered a midquel of Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu because the plot unfolds between Chapters 5 and 6 in the precedent game's storyline. Consequentially, many characters from Seisen no Keifu appear in the game and many are playable, such as Leif and Finn.
Thracia 776's story unfolds in the middle of Seisen no Keifu's story, making it parallel to the past game's events. Prince Leif of Lenster, having been hidden from the Grandbell Empire for most of his life by his father's loyal knight Finn, finally decides to take a stand and raise an army after his childhood friends Nanna and Mareeta are captured by the empire. From that point, he raises an army to regain his homeland. The events at the end of the game directly tie into Chapter 6 of Seisen no Keifu.
Thracia 776 brought back concepts from Monshou no Nazo, such as smaller scale battlefields and the ability of cavalry to dismount while inside buildings. However, it also retained the skill system from Seisen no Keifu and brought many of its own mechanics into play, most of which have since been implemented in later Fire Emblem games. These include Fog of War maps, which impeded the player's vision range and could be temporarily ailed with the torch item, as well as secret chapters unlocked under certain conditions. All of these maps were fog of war and often contained useful characters or items not present otherwise.
Thracia 776 also introduced a "Capture" command, which allowed characters to take enemy units in order to obtain items, which were often needed due to the lack of funds in order to buy weapons from stores and a "Rescue" system, which allowed units to load characters with less build and rescue them in a similar manner to capturing. While both brought interesting new strategies to the game, only the former survived and now exists in all Fire Emblem titles from that point with the exception of Shadow Dragon.
The game is the only one in the series to feature the fatigue meter, a bar which was tied to each character and raised each time he or she entered battle. Once filled, that character was not allowed to participate in the next mission, forcing the player to differentiate the units they brought into combat as well as avoid unnecessary conflict. An item is available in the game that helps alleviate fatigue, but is prohibitively expensive.
Thracia 776 is infamous for its sadistic difficulty, even among fans of the series. This difficulty mostly stems from a combination of the Fatigue system, relatively high enemy troop strength, relatively weak allied unit strength, as well as certain chapters that rush multiple groups of enemy troops at the player simultaneously. Ironically, the final boss of the game is considered to be laughably weak, which can be considered one mercy in an otherwise brutal game.