The translation patches on the provided link are the most up to date versions, so yes, you'll have to just deal with those if you want to play those games.
But...you're in a bit of a dilemma. As said before, and from personal experience with the first eight games, The Sacred Stones really is the easiest Fire Emblem in the series. Hands down. I have played all of the preceding Japanese games, and, assuming we're comparing to The Sacred Stones's Easy Mode, they're all more challenging, especially the ones for Super Famicom.
My thoughts about each game, their difficulty, and their respective translation patches:
Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light - Do not play this game unless it's only for the sake of saying that you did. It will not give you a good impression of the series due to its archaic nature in gameplay (it may actually turn you away from the series if you try to), and it's already been remade twice. The fan translation is very good, though (I was actually a beta tester for it before it was released to the public). The difficulty is average, which means it's harder than The Sacred Stones.
Gaiden - A lot more interesting to play than Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light because it's never been remade and has a lot of unorthodox features. Despite the similarities to The Sacred Stones and Awakening, I would not recommend playing this game so early, mostly due to it being so old and as a result hasn't aged all that well. The fan translation is essentially perfect, if I remember correctly. Difficulty is average, which means it's harder than The Sacred Stones.
Mystery of the Emblem - Significantly more streamlined than Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light and Gaiden. Unlike every other game of the series, this game contains a remake of Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light as well as a whole sequel to it. The most notable thing that isn't fully translated is the opening before the title screen, but it's not necessary to read and everything is pretty much fine. Book 1 (the remake portion of the game) is the easiest thing from Japan that you could play, but Book 2 is notably more challenging.
Genealogy of the Holy War - Much more complex than Mystery of the Emblem (it also features some unique mechanics here), and is a way more lengthy to play through. While this is currently my favorite game in the series, I wouldn't recommend trying it out so soon. The opening and ending sequences are not translated; in fact, you have to remove the patch in order to see the ending without the game freezing, but it's all good otherwise. Extraneous in difficulty in comparison to the previous games.
Thracia 776 - Playing more closely to Mystery of the Emblem while still keeping a lot of the intricacy that Genealogy of the Holy War introduced, this is a very "full" Fire Emblem game. However, the fan translation is, quite frankly, mediocre, and it doesn't even translate menu options and statistical information and such. I am currently playing through this game, and it is the complete opposite of The Sacred Stones in terms of difficulty. Stay far away from it.
Sword of Seals - Gameplay-wise, the closest thing to The Sacred Stones, as this game created the foundation for all GBA titles, so they all play almost identically. Aside from the opening, playing the game with the fan translation patch would make you forget that you even are; it's that good. Part of why I can't easily recommend it to play so soon is that it's something that I believe can be appreciated much more if you play Fire Emblem (the first localized release) first. Overall, the most challenging game for the GBA; The Sacred Stones is a joke compared to it.
Tell you what, why don't you play Fire Emblem (also called by fans as Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword) for the GBA first instead? I honestly believe it's the ideal entry point for beginners, and while it eventually gets more challenging than The Sacred Stones, believe me, it might work out for you better. Plus, it ties into Sword of Seals because it's a prequel, and then you could get the ball rolling with playing others like Mystery of the Emblem. This is basically how I got into playing Fire Emblem.
Waluigi wrote:Yeah, Sacred Stones was pretty easy, and I wasn't even being strategic really... but Chapter 6 kicked my ass. Not being able to see enemies and not knowing where they are coming from sucks... I think something happens in the chapter to interrupt it though with a spider? If you could tell me how to get through that it would be great.
I'm not exactly sure what you're asking for. I recognize the chapter that you're referring to, though.
Chapter 6 contains Fog of War, which you can never completely get rid of. Using Colm's extended vision and the single Torch that you should have gotten from Chapter 5 will prove useful in seeing through the fog and scope for any hidden enemies. The spider you mention is called a Bael, and it will attack the three Civilians unless you do something about it. Keep in mind that the objective of the map is to simply defeat the boss of the map, who is a Shaman named Novala. Rescuing the Civilians from danger is a completely optional task, but doing so will be worth it if you plan on promoting Neimi, as you're rewarded with an Orion's Bolt at the end of the chapter.
The best way to accomplish that side goal is by making it a priority for your characters, particularly Vanessa and Seth because of their high Mov, to get over to that side of the map where the Civilians are and protect them. Use the Rescue command if you need to so that the rescued Civilian will be completely safe from harm unless the carrier is killed. Of course, killing the Bael itself, which is very possible to do, will ensure their safety, but it might be tricky if you don't bring the right units (don't bother with Franz or Gilliam because of the terrain preventing them to reach the Civilians from where they are, let alone the Bael). Regardless, you should go for killing the Bael.
An alternative to this is by defeating Novala before the Bael reaches the Civilians. This method requires you to instead prioritize finding Novala's location and defeating him within 9 turns, as that should be how long it takes before the Bael begins attacking. The reward will be the same if you go about this way, but you will miss out on experience points. I honestly wouldn't suggest trying this first unless you're absolutely sure that you can't deal with the Bael up close.
Either way, the only thing in mind that I would suggest being on the lookout for is that I remember that at least one of the enemies wields a Horseslayer. Horseslayers are lances that are particularly effective against horseback units in the same way that bows are fatal against flying units, so if you decide to bring someone like Franz, be cautious of his surroundings.
Waluigi wrote:So, I should get FE7 then? It's a bit expensive, and knock-off carts are a dime a dozen, but if I can find a legit copy at a good price, I'll be sure to pick it up. Hopefully it won't kick my ass too hard :p Is there anything else I would need to know beforehand?
Please do. I honestly believe it's my favorite of the three GBA games.
The thing about FE7 is that it was specifically designed with newcomers in mind, particularly people like you. It has a mandatory tutorial spanning almost a dozen chapters that holds your hand throughout the whole way, which I believe does its job better than FE8 despite FE8's being optional, and it even lets you yourself be in the story not unlike My Unit in Awakening. FE6 has one map outside of the main game designed to teach you the basics, but that's it; otherwise, FE6 does not go out of its way to give you more compelling information like FE7 and FE8 do.
FE7 also has the best soundtrack of the three.
Waluigi wrote:Also, if you have Awakening, how is that one so far? It looks really good, and if it comes to America I'll definately be picking it up.
I do not have Awakening, nor have I ever played it, but that's only because I don't have $300+ to import it.
If you're looking to buy FE7 online, you may want to look this way...http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nintendo-Game-Boy-Advance-Fire-Emblem-Complete-w-Box-and-Manuals-/280873344012?pt=Video_Games_Games&hash=item41655b1c0c
The complete set for $0.99, and by a seller with 100% positive feedback. Go for it.