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Breath of Fire (SNES) artwork

Breath of Fire (SNES) review

"Hopefully, with the newer releases of the series, more people will want to play the game that started it all."

Breath of Fire is not an epic RPG. In fact, it's story is rather average by most standards. However, it may offer some of the best gameplay seen in a Super Nintendo role playing gaming, simply because the action is never really bogged down. A joint venture between Capcom and Square, it combines the best features of Final Fantasy (fast gameplay) and Breath of Fire (old skool mechanics).

In Breath of Fire, you play the role of a young member of the Dragon Clan. One night, the town you live in is ransacked and destroyed. Your sister manages to drive away the enemy forces by turning into a huge dragon, but then mysteriously disappears! Can you save the world?

Okay, the story is a bit passe. And except for the last two hours of the game, you can guess the plot twists a mile away. The lack of a dynamite story prevents Breath of Fire from reaching into the elite of the role playing games. It's a shame too...

The gameplay is a perfect mix. It's not quite as fast and uncontrollable as say Final Fantasy, but it's not boring and slow like the sequel, Breath of Fire 2, or Tecmo's Secret of the Stars. It also brings back an old school RPG combat system, a turn by turn system. No real time battles. Normal battles tend to be less than a minute, there's an auto battle option, and random encounters do not occur too frequently.

The difficulty in Breath of Fire does run a bit below average though. This is a good starter role playing game; it offers all the typical RPG features, and a decent challenge to the newcomer. Advanced gamers should breeze through this one, although it will be a fun journey. It's very freshing to play an RPG that isn't bogged down by tedious fight after tedious fight.

And the translation job done on the game is atrocious. The text looks like it was pasted together by psycho fifth graders who are just mastering finger painting. However, a small excuse can be made for the game, as the translations of RPG's weren't exactly commonplace when it was released. Therefore, quite a bit slipped by in the way of bad grammar. It's a bit distracting, but doesn't make the game unplayable.

Graphically, Breath of Fire is a breath of fresh air. The characters are bright and colorful (along with 700 other SNES games, it should be noteD) and actually scaled a bit to real size. Not very well, but at least it's a start.

Musically, Breath of Fire follows the tried and true format of midis for each different area (i.e. one happy town, one bad town, one dungeon, ect.). It's neither distracting or enhancing of the gameplay. The effects are also a weird hodgepoge of sounds, none of which really enhance the game.

Overall, Breath of Fire is an overlooked game that definately deserves more hype. Hopefully, with the newer releases of the series, more people will want to play the game that started it all.

sgreenwell's avatar
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)

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