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Retro Review: Breath of Fire (SNES)

Originally released April 1993 in Japan and August 1994 by Square Soft, Breath of Fire is a classic RPG that’s become synonymous with retro gaming. It follows the story of a young boy who embarks on an epic journey to find his lost sister. So if you’re looking for a taste of true gaming nostalgia, check out Breath of Fire.

Characters

Like many classic RPGs, Breath of Fire boasts a diverse cast of playable characters, each of whom has access to a specific set of magical spells and abilities. The main character, Ryu, is the last surviving member of a secretive clan, rightfully called the “Light Dragon Clan.” In addition to casting magic and performing traditional weapon-based attacks, he can morph into one of several powerful dragons.

Here’s a list of all primary playable characters in Breath of Fire:

  • Ryu — the game’s main protagonist; capable of morphing into a dragon.
  • Nina — princess from the Kingdom of Windia who can transform into a large, fast-moving bird for easier travel.
  • Bo — a wolfman who can hunt wild game for meat in the open world.
  • Karn — a thief who can merge two characters together to form a single, more powerful character.
  • Gobi — an underwater breathing fish-like humanoid who can transform into a large fish.
  • Ox — member of the Iron Ogre Clan, Ox is a half man, half ox who can smash walls.
  • Bleu — immortal serpent-like sorceress with exceptionally powerful magic.

Story

Upon starting  new game, you’ll watch a prologue explaining the backstory to Breath of Fire: the goddess Myria causes the Dragon Clan to split into a Light and Dark faction. As the two factions fought each other, it drew the world towards the brink of destruction. But a Light Dragon cause and imprisoned Myria before this happened, sealing her away using six keys.

After the prologue, you’ll take control of Ryu as he searched the world for his lost sister who was captured by the Dark Dragon Clan. Without giving away too much of the story, you’ll have to scour the landscape while battling the Dark Dragon Clan, who is led by Emporer Zog. Z

Gameplay

Breath of Fire has stellar gameplay, especially considering that it was released more than two decades ago. It features turn-based combat in which you are given one of several options, such as attack, morph, use an item or cast a spell. Combat, however, only occurs in certain areas. When you’re moving around in the open world, for instance, you’ll encounter a battle every couple of steps. But when you’re traveling through a town, you won’t encounter any enemies — not usually, at least.

There’s also strong character development throughout the game. After defeating an enemy, the party is awarded with experience points. And once you’ve collected enough experience points, your characters will level up; thus, becoming more powerful.

Final Review

Breath of Fire is a classic RPG that’s well deserving of a 10/10 rating. It has all of the features of an excellent RPG, but with a unique twist: the main protagonist can morph into a dragon. In previous RPGs of its time (and even today), dragons are viewed as the “bad guy.” Breath of Fire takes a step in a different direction by making both good and bad dragons, with the game’s main character being able to morph into a good dragon. This twist, along with its polished game mechanics, make it a perfect RPG for fans of the genre.

Due to its widespread success and critical acclaim, several sequels to Breath of Fire were released in the years to follow. This includes Breath of Fire II, Breath of Fire III, Breath of Fire IV, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, Breath of Fire 6.

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