Friday, October 17, 2014

Nerdicus SNES Review #44: Breath of Fire

Title : Breath of Fire

Publisher : SquareSoft / Capcom

Developer : Capcom

Genre : RPG

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1993

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $30-$40

What do you get when you merge two of the greatest video game developers in the world? Why, only one of the most epic RPG's to ever hit the Super Nintendo, Breath of Fire. And as for the developers, I am of course speaking of CAPCOM and SQUARESOFT. I mean, come on. When you hear those names, you can't help but think of all the fantastic games they have produced throughout the years, so why wouldn't this be a success? 

And for this game to be Capcom's FIRST official RPG release..well...they couldn't have done a better job.

This was one of those games that blew me away as a kid. No joke. The characters, the story, the visuals, the music. It was absolute perfection. Back when I was in the 6th grade when the game came out (at least I'm pretty sure I was in 6th grade), I remember my friend and I used to habitually draw all the characters from this game. Mogu was probably my absolute favorite...something about that mole. Oh! And BO! That bow wielding fox-man-guy.

I outright admit, this is one of the few games where I actually ENJOYED the anthromorphic characters. They were incredibly well detailed, and their back stories were absolutely brilliant. Just take a look at this insane cast of characters, and tell me you do not want to jump right in and play this game?

It's almost impossible when you've got a RPG that basically fulfills all the needs of every nerds fantasy. Dragons, Gods, evil cults, kidnappings, ancient weapons, and a world that seems to live and breath the telling of a 90s anime. Seriously, I get the anime vibe from this game, but it works. PERFECTLY.

Alright, I can't wait any longer, we need to get into this. Prepare yourself for one of the greatest RPG masterpieces on the SNES. Get ready, folks. It's time for BREATH OF FIRE.

You play the role of Ryu, one of the last surviving members of an ancient clan with the capability of transforming into dragons. His sister has been missing, and he is on the hunt to find her and discover the nefarious plot of a cult of Dark Dragons attempting to resurrect a vile goddess to take over the world. You can't get more fantasy than that, can you?

In terms of gameplay, Breath of Fire follows the standard RPG fare. You've got your party, you travel across the world encountering monsters, finishing quests, exploring dungeons, leveling up, and gearing up. I won't knock it for being traditional, because hell this is the formula all RPG's have been following since the dawn of their existence. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

There are some unique elements added to the mix, however. Each character has their own specific "special ability" that they can incorporate into battles as well as out in the overworld map. Ryu for example can of course turn into various types of Dragons. Of course there is your traditional magic attacks as well as normal attacks which you will be using quite constantly.

Another thing that you didn't see very often is the modified health meter of bosses in the game. Every enemy has a health bar, but bosses tend to PISS YOU OFF by not dying. You'll bring em down to zero, but for some reason they just keep on coming and half the time they go into some sort of rage mode. So just when you think you've won, you're screwed.

The real heart of this game involves its story and the depth of the characters that you recruit into your party. They aren't mindless warriors or people to just act as damage fodder. Each of them have intense story lines that really make you want to dive deep into their tales. Not to mention that when you recruit characters, you are usually forced to go on character-driven quests. 

I kid you not when I say I have only felt the connection to characters in very few RPG's for the SNES, and this was one of them. Of course, once we get to the Final Fantasy series you'll really see the water works flow as I talk about those characters...OY!! I'm crying just thinking about 'em.

Now the characters in Breath of Fire may seem a bit similar, that's because man who designed them, Keiji Inafune is the same man who brought Mega Man to life. You can't go wrong with someone like that at the helm.

No, that goat isn't part of my party. But just check out those colors. You know how most RPG's were typically bland for some reason? There was something about the color palette in 16-bit RPGs that most of them decided that "hey, let's choose the darkest colors imaginable because, you know, the world is being taken over by evil gods." Dark and dreary..blah...this game was a color explosion! The artwork and animation BLEW away the competition and it only got better with each sequel.

On to the music - man....little is to be said about it other than amazing. Capcom compsers were tasked with the job of bringing this game to life through sound and it was MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. One of the best soundtracks for the SNES.

What else is there to say about this game? Nothing. It's almost perfect. Besides the irritating grinding that took place in most RPG's this game is practically flawless. Capcom and Squaresoft is a marriage made in heaven (almost as good as Squaresoft + Disney or Square ENIX..but whatever)

If you have yet to play this game, stop what you're doing, even if you're at work, and grab a copy. You can thank me later.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time, keep on gaming!



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