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Terra and Lightning's RPG Roundup

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Episode 8: Breath of Fire—Of Swords, Speedos, and S Ptn

Breath of Fire
Platform: SNES (there is also a slightly souped-up version on the Gameboy Advance)
Japanese Release Date: April 3, 1993
US Release Date: August 10, 1994
Difficulty: Easy
Amazon Prices: starting at $18.99 used, $649.99 for a new cartridge (if you have some money to blow)

Podcast: DownloadiTunesPodOmatic
 Lightning's Review
 Is this a travelling circus, or the Breath of Fire cast? Probably both.

The Good
  • If you’re looking for retro RPGs, this game offers solid turn-based combat, interesting character abilities, and a decent alternative to Squaresoft titles, which were ubiquitous and dominated the RPG market at the time.
  • This is the first game in the Breath of Fire series! If you have played any of the other games and are interested in the continuity of the series, this title is directly tied with the second and third installments (with the fourth game also potentially providing a link).
  • Where ELSE are you going to have to fight an army of roaches to help some mice get their cheese? I mean, really.

The Bad
  • Useless party members. Mogu, anyone?
  • A bland translation that provides little to no character development. I know this wasn’t all that common in 1993, but titles such as Secret of Mana and Final Fantasy III/VI have deeper, more meaningful stories that can more easily engage the player.
  • Sometimes the gameplay is downright tedious and boring, especially in the early part of the game.

The Ugly
  • Mogu’s Dream World. ‘Nuff said.
  • Ox’s fetching outfit:

  • Jade and his many-colored tumors. I, uh, didn’t realize he actually had eyes until I saw this picture.

The Lowdown

I definitely have retro goggles on while playing this game, since I played it when I was a kid. That being said, there are far better SNES retro titles for you to play first, such as Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy III/VI. Don’t try this unless you’re already interested in the Breath of Fire series or want to get as many RPGs under your belt as possible. There’s also the issue with availability: this is not on the Virtual Console or PSN. You will either have to emulate it or buy a cartridge. If you go the cartridge route, please note that many SNES cartridges do not have back-up batteries that last longer than ten years. Every time you save, there will be a gamble as to whether or not you can pick your game up again. In that case, you’ll either need to learn how to replace the battery or find someone who can (there are also how-to’s on the web). 

Music Credits:
RPG Roundup Theme Song: "Video Game Theme," J. Arthur Keenes Band. Creative Commons Attribution License.
Breath of Fire Soundtrack

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