- Breath of Fire (series)
nihongo|"Breath of Fire"|ブレスオブファイア|Buresu obu Faia is a
console role-playing gameseries developed by Capcom. It originated on the Super Nintendoin 1993 as Capcom's first foray into the role-playing genre. The series is notable for its recurring characters and ambiguous continuity; though each game is its own self-contained story, the names of the two lead characters are, invariably, Ryu and Nina.David DeRienzo. [http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/bof/bof.htm Hardcore Gaming 101 - "Breath of Fire"] . Retrieved on 2008-2-24.]
The story commonly involves an adventurer named Ryu who can shapeshift into different types of
dragons. [ [http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/breath-of-fire-series Breath of Fire" series] . [http://www.mobygames.com/ MobyGames] . Retrieved on 2008-4-8.] Over the course of his journey, he befriends Nina, a girl with wings. At its inception, " Breath of Fire" took place in a medieval-style fictional world, a frequently-seen setting in western role-playing games. Following the mainstream success of Japanese role-playing games in the 1990s, [Kurt Kalata. [http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3581/a_japanese_rpg_primer_the_.php A Japanese RPG Primer] . [http://www.gamasutra.com Gamasutra] (2008-3-18) Retrieved on 2008-3-24.] the series began showing a rise in Asian influences: anime-style characters, post-apocalypticthemes, and an increased emphasis on character development. Despite these changes, the core structure of "Breath of Fire" remains linear and plot-focused.
As of 2003, five "Breath of Fire" titles have been released, with three games being ported to
Handheld game consoles as well as Nintendo's Virtual Console.
The setting of "Breath of Fire" is a fictional world comprised of different
anthropomorphicspecies, ranging from humans to bipedalfelines, fish, and plants. The weakest of these groups is the Dragon Clan, a once-mighty tribe whose members are able to morph into dragons. In-fighting between the "Light" and "Dark" Dragons caused the group to break apart,Prologue: When the Dragon Family was at the peak of its power, a goddess of desire appeared. The goddess, Tyr, granted wishes. The Dragons fought each other for her power. Tyr encouraged the fighting and watched the war between the Dragons escalate. When the world was at the brink of destruction, a warrior stepped forward. The warrior battled Tyr with his 7 companions and locked her up using 6 keys. cite video game|title=Breath of Fire |developer=Capcom |publisher=Square Soft |date=1994 |platform=Super Nintendo Entertainment System ] eventually sliding toward extinction. Although the Light Dragons are consistently depicted as being few in number, the Dark Dragons occupy a large empirein " Breath of Fire". The Dragon Clan is depicted as near-extinct in subsequent games.
The main antagonists of the series are of a decidedly religious nature -- a
demonor demigod-- often masquerading as a monotheistic deity. The plot often involves corrupt or misled religious leaders who are conspiring against the people they represent. The protagonist, Ryu, is the last surviving member of a messianic dragon clan who must the save the humans from their false god.
The theme of challenging or slaying 'god' is not an uncommon one in Japanese video games. [Kurt Kalata. (2007) [http://www.1up.com/do/feature?pager.offset=7&cId=3155815 Clash of the Cultures - The Differences Between Western and Japanese Game Philiosophies] . [http://www.1up.com 1up.com] . Retrieved on 2008-3-21.] However, it was not until "
Breath of Fire II" that such a concept appeared so overtly appeared in a game marketed in the west. The deities in "Breath of Fire" are often presented with some degree of moral ambiguity, with mankind being described as having misused their power in the first place.Mightyblue. [http://www.gamespite.net/toastywiki/index.php/Games/BreathOfFireI ToastyFrog.com: Compendium of Useless Information - Breath of Fire I] . Retrieved on 2008-3-11.] While religion has long since been considered proper to include in Japanese video games, the topic was largely unwelcome in the United Statesuntil the 32-bit Playstationera. Typically, when a game with religious content was ported to an American console, such references were carefully edited out [ [http://www.filibustercartoons.com/Nintendo.php Nintendo Censorship] . Retrieved on 2008-3-11.] (as seen in SNES versions of "Ultima"). The antagonistof "Breath of Fire II" is a fictionalreligion called the Church of St. Eva, visible through the ubiquitous churches scattered throughout the game's towns. As the story progresses, the church leaders are revealed to be in league with a demonwho is channeling believers' prayers into evil energy.
In addition to his dragon transformations, each separate incarnation of Ryu is adept at
fishing, a skill which surfaces in several "Breath of Fire" games as a fish-themed minigame.
Outside of the original "Breath of Fire" and its immediate sequel (which take place in chronological order), there is some debate over the
continuityof the later games. Because " Breath of Fire IV" traces the origins of the two feuding Dragon Clans, some theorize the game to be a prequel, taking place before any of the previous titles. [David DeRienzo. [http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/bof/bof4.htm Hardcore Gaming 101 - "Breath of Fire IV"] . Retrieved on 2008-3-11.] A timeline for the series has never been explicitly stated, and Capcomhas stated that the latest game, "", takes place in an entirely separate universe. [David DeRienzo. [http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/bof/bof5.htm Hardcore Gaming 101 - "Breath of Fire 5: Dragon Quarter"] . Retrieved on 2008-3-11.]
Capcom has not made any official statements regarding further sequels to the franchise. However, in an interview, series producer Takeshita stated that "Breath of Fire" is not dead, but ‘resting,’ and that there are currently no plans regarding production of another gameFact|date=July 2008.
nihongo|Ryu|リュウ|Ryū is the central character of every "Breath of Fire" game. He is one of the last surviving members of an ancient dragon clan and wields a
swordas his weapon. nihongo|"Ryu"|竜|ryū is the Japanese word for "dragon". He's always depicted with blue hair, though it is noticeably harder to tell this in "" as the shade of blue is much darker. His age varies between early adolescence and young adulthood (15-20 years old). A common trait between each Ryu is a proficiency at fishing. In most of his appearances, Ryu never speaks; a joking reference is made to this in the original " Breath of Fire", when Ryu answers "Well, there is one thing." to the King's question of Ryu's reward. Alternatively, the Ryu of "Dragon Quarter" is a talkative individual whose power to morph into dragons was granted to him by an outside source (as "Dragon Quarter" has no actual "dragon clan").
nihongo|Nina|ニーナ|Nīna is a lead female character in each game. Like Ryu, many of her incarnations share similar traits, namely blond hair and wings. Of all her appearances, Nina's first three incarnations are the most identical; all are Princesses, as well as members of the
angelic Fae tribe. There is rarely any explicit romance between her and Ryu, though it is implied in " Breath of Fire II" that the original Nina and Ryu were married. In "Dragon Quarter", Nina is mute and neither a princess nor even naturally winged.
nihongo|Deis|ディース|Dīsu is a blue-haired sorceress with a snake-like lower torso, similar to that of a Lamia. In the American releases of "Breath of Fire I" and "II", her name is switched to Bleu. Seemingly ageless, she appears in both "Breath of Fire" and "Breath of Fire II" as the same individual (unlike Ryu and Nina) [Bleu: My name is Bleu. I'm sure you've heard head my name before? I am the legendary magician! cite video game|title=Breath of Fire II |developer=Capcom |publisher=Square Soft |date=1995 |platform=Super Nintendo Entertainment System ] . Regardless of her long lifespan, she is childish, irresponsible, and above all, lazy. Deis hibernates for several hundred years at a time inside a
temple, guarded by spirits who stand over her. It is left ambiguous whether or not Deis is immortal, or if her hibernation process is actually a form of suspended animation. Upon reawakening, she seems to join up with the heroes on a mere whim. In "Breath of Fire III", Deis first wakes up in fully-human body, but later reappears in her usual serpentine form. [Deis: Were you expecting me to show up naked again? In that form... The one I was imprisoned in... I'm not able to fully utilize my powers, see... cite video game|title=Breath of Fire III |developer=Capcom |publisher=Square Enix |date=1998 |platform=Playstation ] Deis is Myria's sister, as acknowledged in "Breath of Fire III". [Myria: Sister...? Deis: It's for the best, Myria... You went too far in your attempt to wipe out the Brood...Deis also appears in Breath Of Fire IV as the spirit inside of ershin and is still as childish cite video game|title=Breath of Fire III |developer=Capcom |publisher=Square Enix |date=1998 |platform=Playstation ]
Myria (also known as "Tyr" and "Maria" in some English translations) is alternatively referred to as the "Goddess of Desire" and the "Goddess of Destruction". She is a female entity who offers to grant
wishes, but her actual goal is chaos; for thousands of years, she has incited wars. Myria appears in the guise of a little girl, but when threatened, she transforms into a hideous demon composed of various snakes. [Tyr: Let's be friends. Sara: Ryu, use the magic of Agni! She'll reveal her true self! Tyr: I am not! I've done nothing! Sara: She'll fool you with her innocent looks. She's evil, but she'll hide it. Don't be fooled! cite video game|title=Breath of Fire |developer=Capcom |publisher=Square Soft |date=1994 |platform=Super Nintendo Entertainment System ] Myria is the cause of the original split between the Light and Dark Dragon clans, both of which feuded over her power. A legendary hero managed to imprison Myria within a tower and seal her away with five keys. In the original "Breath of Fire", the Dark Dragons conspire to reassemble the keys and release her. Deathevan, the antagonist of "Breath of Fire II", is Myria's spawn. In "Breath of Fire III", she acts as an overzealous mother of all the world's creatures, "protecting" them from the potential dangers of technology and the Brood ("Breath of Fire IIIs nigh-extinct dragon clan). [Myria:"' It pains me... It grieves me, my children... That I must take up arms against you, against the very life I have sworn to protect... But you must understand, Ryu... I can't let you... your power roam free in the world. To protect the lives of my other children I must become unto a Fury... cite video game|title=Breath of Fire III |developer=Capcom |publisher=Square Enix |date=1998 |platform=Playstation ]
Ladon (known simply as "the Dragon God" in the Japanese release) is present in the first three games and records the party's progress. [Dragon God: I'm the Dragon Lord. I protect those who take on the mission of the hero. I'm here to record your journey. cite video game|title=Breath of Fire |developer=Capcom |publisher=Square Soft |date=1994 |platform=Super Nintendo Entertainment System ] In "Breath of Fire" his statue is everywhere and is prayed to by many people. In "Breath of Fire II", there are still quite a number of his statues in each town, but few people still pray to him, preferring to worship at the Church of St. Eva. In "Breath of Fire III" he serves as one of the "masters" of the game, allowing the party members to learn certain types of skills under him. There are only two single statues of him remaining: one in Mt. Glauss, where it serves to travelers, and the other found in Dragnier, the town of the Brood. He appears only briefly in "Breath of Fire IV," in a town of diminutive summoners.
Races and Groups
Creeping Clan: A race of
anthropomorphicfrogs who live in elegant, European-style luxury. They speak in faux-French accents and are uniformly laid-back and narcissistic. Members of this clan range from cooks and bards to professional fishermen.
Dirt-Eating Clan: Anthropomorphic moles who built their world underground and live there quietly. They are renowned for their ability to dig several thousand feet a day. Though small, but deceptively powerful.Capcom (1994). "Breath of Fire" instruction manual.] They make their trade as mercenaries and workers in hazerdous environments.
Demons: They are malevolent creatures sealed within the Gates of Inifinity. However, some demons escaped and have plagued the world ever since and they possess weak-willed and corruptible humans into serving and sending energy to Deathevan. They are probably creatures who were exposed to Deathevan's aura and became evil and corrupted.
Dragon Clan: An ancient race of people who have the ability to transform themselves into dragons. When they aren't transformed into a dragon, they are very similar in appearance to humans. The clan split into two separate clans, the Light Dragons and the Dark Dragons, in a war that took place years before the first game; when their numbers started to dwindle, the clans merged again. Some of the clan members later grew wings because of their prolonged exposure to Deathevan. The clan later came to be known as "The Brood" when they were demonized by the lies perpetrated by the dominant religion and were hunted down nearly to extinction. Ryu is almost always a member of this clan in each game.
Endless: Not so much a race, but a name given to a group of ageless sorcerers. Many refer to them as Gods, as they seem to be immortal and are peerless in their mastery of magic. Deis (Bleu) and Myria/Tyr are the most prominent members of this group. Ryu from "Breath of Fire IV" turned out to be a member of this group, although his skill set in that game is similar to the Dragon Clan incarnations.
Faeries: Faeries exist in the world of dreams. The world of dreams partially overlaps with the real world and, long ago when the world was created, became a kind of "connector." Due to the odd connection, ordinary people can't go to the world of dreams. The lifespan of a faerie is about ten years in human terms. The world of dreams is a tiny, closed-away world, so no matter how many times a faerie dies, it's simply reborn in the same place (though none of the faeries realize this). They're omnivorous, but their palate is far more refined than a human's, so they constantly search for Flanks to eat.
Forest Tribe: A
nomadic group of swift, wolf-like people. They are a clan of hunters who dwell in the forest and revere nature. This clan is very adept at navigating through woods and will never get lost inside them. By the end of the first game, they have largely left the forest and founded the town of Tantar. Bo/Gilliam from the first game is from this tribe.
Grassmen: Grassmen are the longest-living clans. Emotionless and guided only by logic, they travel the world when they are young gathering as much knowledge as possible and transform into wise trees in their old age. Because of their extreme longevity, they often appear in the game as sages and tell people about things that have passed long ago. They remain as the sole source for accurate historical information that is not tainted by the revisions done by religions or Gods. Spar/Aspara is a member of this tribe. Pecoros from "Breath of Fire III" is a close relative.
Grassrunner: A tribe of dog-like creatures. Bow/Bosshu, Scias and Ursula are members of this clan.
Guardians: a race in "Breath of Fire III" created by the Goddess of Destruction. They resemble gargoyles and derive their energy directly from Myria, which means if Myria were to die, so would they. Through the course of history, they became known "Dragon Slayers" when they were angelicized through the lies perpetrated by the dominant religion while the Dragon Clan was demonized. The Guardians were the ones who hunted down the Dragons to near extinction. Some of the Guardians have had doubts about their creator's ambitions, but most of them continued to follow the Goddess' wishes out of blind faith and devotion. When they die, they turn into stone statues. Garr and Geist from the third game are the only Guardians left.
Highlanders: A clan of monkeys who reside in the highlands The people of this clan are incredibly gifted in terms of athletic ability, like quickness and jumping. Their personalities range from irrepressible jokesters to the ever-serious, from one extreme to the other. Sten from "Breath of Fire II" is of this race.
Iron Ogre Clan: A clan of anthropomorphic oxen. Warriors of the Iron Ogre clan are immense and powerful. They trace their mastery at creating weapons and armor back to ancient times. They are also skilled at breaking apart walls and hard rock. Despite their size, they are capable of delicate and subtle work. They are best at crafting weapons, but since they oppose war, they rarely use this talent. Ox/Builder from the first game is from this clan.
Manillo: A race of
bipedalfish who are able to breathe while on land. A clan of traders, they boast that they will one day control the world's commerce. Their trade territory is any place that touches the sea. The Manillo are notorious for their greed. With the use of a special sphere, members of the clan can transform themselves into the "Big Fish". They often appear in the games as merchants and bankers. Although they feature prominently in "Breath of Fire II" and "V", Gobi from the first game is the only playable character to ever come from this tribe.
Pabu-Pabu: A clan that lives in the archipelago to the north of the continent in one of the games. Because their language and culture are so utterly different, no one has any detailed information on their origins. A distinguishing characteristic of theirs is the extremely optimistic outlook they have dubbed "pabu-pabu" or "things will turn out all right." Some theorize that perhaps they, in contrast to the other clans (all of which originated with a summoned god), might be a native clan that was present at the beginning of the world.
Shaman: A clan of people with the ability to fuse with others to increase their powers and alter their appearance. The Shamans from "Breath of Fire II" belong to this tribe. It is also believed that Karn from "Breath of Fire" is from this tribe, although this is merely speculation.
Shell Clan: A race of large bipedal
armadillos. Despite their intimidating stature, they are a humble and pacifistic people, as well as accomplished farmers. Rand from "Breath of Fire II" is from this tribe.
Wing Clan: A tribe of winged people that reside in the Kingdom of Wyndia. During the Goddess War, they fled into the mountains and have remained there ever since. Perhaps as a result, they have a profound distaste for conflict and avoid interactions with other clans. In the earlier games, their older members have the ability to transform into the "Great Bird". However, their wings degenerated as time went on, until a point came when they didn't have wings at all. The royalty of the Wing Clan wore garments that resembled wings. In the fourth game of the series, the clan was known as "the Fae." Nina is invariably from this clan.
Woren: A tribe of cat-people, resembling tigers. They are natural fighters and vary slightly in appearance from game to game. In the Japanese games they are called "Furen". Besides humans, they are the most recurrent tribe in terms of playability: Katt/Rinpu, Rei, Cray, and Lin are all Woren.
Clanless: Normal humans who have either renounced their clan or are of mixed heritage, having diluted their heritage to the point where clan specific powers are lost. In the beginning of the original game it is explained that the villagers of the starting town "renounced the dragon" with the exception of Ryu and Sara.
March 31, 2006, the Japanese record label Suleputerreleased an 11-disc box setof music from every title in the "Breath of Fire" series. [ [http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/bofbox/index.html "Breath of Fire" OST Special Box] . [http://www.rpgfan.com/ RPGFan] . Retrieved on 2008-3-31.]
*moby game|id=-group/breath-of-fire-series|name="Breath of Fire" series
* [http://www.dragon-tear.net/ Dragon-Tear] Extensive fansite with translations and a gallery
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