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CONSOLE: SNES DEVELOPER: Capcom PUBLISHER: Squaresoft
RELEASE DATE (NA): August 10, 1994 GENRE: RPG
// review by SoyBomb

Not the breath of fresh air I was hoping for.

Well, well. If it isn't the original Breath of Fire, trying to sneak its way into the market between heavy hitters such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Lufia. How are you, little buddy? ...What's wrong, man? You're not looking so hot today. ...What's that? You feel a bit depressed, eh? Why is that? ...Oh, I see. You feel as though you've fallen to the wayside in the annuls of time, being overshadowed by the pinnacles of RPG greatness of the time, such as Final Fantasy III and Chrono Trigger. Well, I must admit, those are both excellent games, but there's always room for more, just like there is always room for J-E-L-L-O after a dinner entrée. There must be some things that you, child of Capcom, bring to the table that those other games do not. Remember: every game is unique in its own way.

So tell me a bit about yourself, Breath of Fire. I want to know about your history and what you're all about. ...Hmmm, okay, so you consider yourself to be an RPG for the SNES. What makes you feel that you're not an action title or a racing game? ...Okay, so you get a party that grows over time as you meet more wacky characters. ...You wander around from town to town on a seemingly meaningless path to discovering the Dark Dragons who are enveloping the land with evil's bane in hopes of smiting the conjurer of these evils. ...You engage in random battles as you wander the fields and dungeons, being able to attack, defend, cast spells, use items, or try to escape. Yes, that's definitely RPG-like. ...It takes forever to level up? Interesting. ...Apparently the user gets to name their character. Ah, isn't that nice?

Well, based on what you've told me, I'd say you are a solid RPG. You possess most of the elements that make a great RPG, and you have the capabilities of competing with your cartridged peers.

But let's look a little closer, because I'd like to know exactly what is causing your depression, if you are so capable of maximizing your potential. SO what do you consider to be your first shortcoming? ...You feel that you're an ugly child? Your graphics are not as full of pizazz as your contemporaries, including Final Fantasy III and Secret of Mana, which came out the same year? Well, I'm certain that you look just fine; you're just unique, as I said. There is charm in simplicity, you know. ...You also think that your soundtrack is lacking? Believe me, music is beautiful in all its forms. Okay, perhaps not in country music, but you don't have any of that, do you? ...Didn't think so. Well, please note that music is just one aspect of your being; people do not take interest in video games simply for the music.


Save the king from a nasty giant toad!

What else do you think is ugly about yourself? ...Huh? Your translation? What do you mean? ...I see. Alright, let me see if I have collected the essence of what you're trying to tell me. So you were developed by Capcom, but because they were inexperienced in translating such a massive amount of text into English, they handed off those duties to Squaresoft, who already had good experience in this field. But Squaresoft did a terrible job, you say, resulting in lifeless conversations, shortened item names which render their purposes inexplicably confusing, and multiple non-playable townsfolk who often say the exact same thing as each other. That's not your fault, Breath of Fire. You were just fine until that nasty old Squaresoft fiddled with your code. ...What? Yes, I guess you COULD consider that as textual abuse. How do you feel, knowing that you have been abused in this manner? ...Empty? I'm a tad surprised because they filled your limited memory capacity to maximum. Errr... but anyway, continue.

...You hate the menu systems as well? What's wrong with your menu systems? I thought your icon-based battle system was somewhat adorable! ...Ah, it's the purchasing that drives you to feel this way, particularly in buying weapons and armor. You can't tell if the qualities of those items will help or hinder each character's current stats. Well, you got me there. But hey, nobody's perfect, right? ...You flatter me, but no, I'm not perfect either. Listen: every game has its share of flaws, but they don't necessarily make them all horrible, does it? Do you think critically-acclaimed titles such as Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are perfect by any means? Absolutely not -- did you SEE those grainy textures? SOMEONE needs some serious Oil of Olay. But the public loves those games all the same. And they can love you too.

Y'know, I'm sure all four of your sequels must be proud of your accomplishments. ...What? You say you only have three sequels? ...You disowned Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter? Why? ...Ah, I understand completely. That game was rather unusual and quite the muddled anomaly, indeed, being a suicidal death threat born in an RPG's build. But you still have other children who have gone on to achieve great things. Breath of Fire III was pretty good -- especially its jazzy soundtrack! You know, I always wondered why a blue-haired character named Ryu would always show up and know how to transform into a dragon. ...Oh, it's a genetic trait, is it? Well, be grateful that you were able to start such a noble trend! ...Huh, you're a bit embarrassed about the translation job from Breath of Fire II? Yeah, I was a bit, too, but this isn't about that game. This session is about you.

*ding*

Oh! I'm sorry, Breath of Fire, but I'm afraid our time is up for today. ...What? You think I didn't really help you feel better about yourself at all? I'm sorry to hear that. ...No, I'm not hurt. Just remember that I'm not a game therapist. I'm a gamer and a realist. I'm sorry if the truth feels burdensome, but unfortunately, that is part of reality. Hopefully we can talk again soon. Goodbye, Breath of Fire, and...try to keep your chin up.

...

Thank goodness he's gone. That RPG was not exciting at all. And what's the deal with them also ripping off the Slime enemies from Dragon Quest... and STILL calling them Slimes! Isn't there a law against that?


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