Breath of Fire – Definitive 50 SNES Game #23

Click here to view our list of the Definitive 50 SNES games. Links to each video and write-up are included.

23rd on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games is Capcom’s first foray into the world of Role Playing Games, Breath of Fire. This title was released in North America on August 10th, 1994. It was later re-released on the GameBoy Advance.

Although Breath of Fire‘s sequel is now available on the Wii’s Virtual Console, this title is not. It may be caught up in legal limbo because Square localized the game for North America.

This game takes place in a medieval world populated by both humans and anthropomorphic animals. You begin the game with Ryu, a member of the near-extinct Light Dragon Clan. Ryu is in search of his sister, who has been captured by the Dark Dragon Clan. As the game progresses, you can add seven more characters of different animal clans to your party.

Breath of Fire features many of the standard Japanese RPG gameplay tropes of its time. The player is expected to manage a four-person party, balancing the magical abilities and physical attacks of its members. And yes, random battles are frequent. The perfunctory nature of these battles is mitigated somewhat by an automatic battle function which can be selected at the outset of a fight. This instructs the characters to whack at the present monsters until they have been defeated with no additional menu input required.

The game progresses in a rather linear fashion in which the player must travel from town to town, solving the problems of local kingdoms and uncovering information related to the broader story occurring.

None of this is to say that Breath of Fire is a bad game. This title may seem simple, and it is even compared to other RPGs of its time, but it’s an enjoyable and well polished experience that can easily hook you in.

Breath of Fire‘s appearance is truly beautiful. Character models are simultaneously richly detailed and cartoonishly bold. What else would you expect from designs by Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune himself?

Breath of Fire spawned a well known franchise that has gone on to have five entries on various consoles and handhelds. If you find yourself missing the Japanese style of RPGs of yore, check this one out if you haven’t already.