Do you want to save the princess? No? But there’s a gas that her kidnapper uses that only you’re immune to! Do you want to save the princess? No? But there’s a gas that her kidnapper uses that only you’re immune to! Do you want to save the princess? No? Then you’re out of luck, because the decision was made for you before you got asked. The little “no” box that you’ll be given is just a decoration.
This is a good game, riddled with campy weirdness and lines that occasionally wander into the realm of pure gibberish. Yet, for all of its flaws, this game will bring back many memories of a better time for gaming… and possibly some dark memories, too, depending on whether or not you were an altar boy at some point in the past. After all, memories tend to go hand-in-hand. While you google that possibility, however, allow me to ramble about the greatness of this game.
Basically, you wake up and everything around you is on fire. Turns out you’re part of some kind of clan of good dragon-people who gave up the life of being dragons, or something like that, and the evil dragon-people set your house on fire. They’re just so determined to be bastards.
So, having been rendered homeless by a bunch of sissy evil dragons, you have to go fight them. Why? Just because. Sure, you could get a second job and buy a new house in a better village rather than avenge a bunch of people who forgot to buy insurance for their huts, but you know. Destiny and whatnot. Also, they kidnapped your sister, but she kind of had it coming.
Off you go into the wide, wide world, and the first village you stumble across has been destroyed in a manner similar to that of your home. Of course, all of the people are miraculously alive, because apparently the evil dragon-people aren’t very efficient. Go figure. Anyway, their castle has been overridden by monsters and they need someone to clean it up. Way to go, your first quest as a hero of justice is doing unpaid exterminator work! Moving on up in the world. Your parents would be so proud.
Having successfully killed a bunch of low-level monsters that could be mortally wounded by the spray of a garden hose, the king, in his infinite wisdom, decides that it’s obvious that you’re a true hero, and the shamelessly asks you to help out with the earthquakes that suddenly begin to occur. Naturally, such a task requires a hero, because the earthquakes are the result of an earthquake machine. An earthquake machine.
Breath of Fire utilizes a day/night system, which comes into play as you sit outside the town, waiting for the infinitesimally-motivated guards to fall asleep so you can sneak through to the guy with the machine. I don’t know about you, but if I had a machine that could wreak havoc on the world and allow me to extort my way to being supreme emperor of all existence, I’d hire night-shift guards. Just saying.
The game starts to pick up once you begin to recruit other characters, including Nina (a bird-person princess), Gobi (he turns into a giant fish), and Bleu (a half-snake sorceress), by which time you’ll have likely numbed yourself to the inane blather random people are willing to offer up.
Starting the game is maddeningly difficult. You choose a name, then assign the X, Y, B, and A buttons to different functions such as the menu and equip screens. Then, you press start and nothing happens. If, out of habit, you proceed to mash the B button repeatedly in a desperate bid for something to happen, you’ll just reassign it to a different function. It’s very counter-intuitive, especially for terminally rage-filled individuals such as myself.
Obviously, the game doesn’t sound good, but somewhere in the unintentional campiness lies a spark of charm. That spark is just enough to capture the imagination and keep you playing, if only to discover the next hilariously stupid thing someone says.
Here’s what you should do: