Review by Psycho Penguin

"Not a good start to the Breath of Fire series"

I am a huge fan of role playing games. Ever since I first played Mystic Quest many a years ago (okay, one) I have been a huge fan. I have always seemed compelled by unique story lines, great battle system, and overall fun factor that a lot of role playing games offer. Only a few role playing games that I have played up to this point have I not liked. The original Breath of Fire was one of them. The game had a pretty terrible fun factor in my opinion, and just was not very good and fun to play. Sure it had its good points but I was really let down by the whole experience.

I don’t know what it was about the game, but I could just not find a way to enjoy it much at all. I think the main problem I had with this game is the fact that it is a very tedious game playing experience. The battle system is one of the most terrible battle systems I have ever seen in a role playing game, which definitely does not help. I have always been a huge fan of battle systems in role playing games, and if the role playing game I am playing does not feature a good battle system, then chances are I am not going to enjoy the game much at all.

I have yet to figure out why I enjoy part two so much better than the original, but I think it comes down to two things: battle system and menu system. I have never really been a huge fan of the battle system or menu system in the Breath of Fire series, period, but the simple fact remains that the original Breath of Fire has terrible battle systems and menu systems. I really did not enjoy the menu system in the game, as it was hard to find out exactly what you wanted to do next, since the menu system uses rather tedious logos and icons instead of words.

The story line in the game is fairly interesting, and one of the few good points of the game. Unlike the story line in Breath of Fire 2, it never drags along, as you are always kept on the edge of your seat as to what is going to happen next. This is one of my least favorite elements of Breath of Fire 2, so I was pleased to see that the story line in the original Breath of Fire was interesting, and not tedious. It did have its share of flaws, since the character development was kind of terrible, but this simple fact remains. I liked the story line in this game.

Graphically, I was not expecting much from Breath of Fire, since I had heard some bad things about the graphics in the game from some friends of mine. So, when I first booted up the game, I did not know what to expect from the graphics. Would they be decent enough to provide a decent role playing game experience? Since graphics never really mattered to me when it came to role playing games, would I even care if the game really looked terrible graphically?

Fortunately, I was rather impressed with the graphics in the game. I am not saying that this is the greatest looking role playing game of all time, because it is not. What I am saying is the fact of the matter is that the graphics in the game are actually pretty decent and do not detract much from the game play experience at all. The only problems I found with the graphics in the game were the menu and battle system graphics. I really did not like how Capcom/Square Soft decided to use logos to represent the different commands instead of words. The logos are not designed horribly, but I did not like them.

Otherwise, the graphics in the game are pretty good. I liked the backgrounds in the game a lot, especially during the world map and various towns of the game. I liked how the towns in the game were well varied, especially the fact that some of the towns are based on hills, so you have these huge, expansive towns with windmills, etc., while other towns are based near the water. The detail in some of the backgrounds is phenomenal, although I did expect a little bit more.

Character and enemy designs in the game are average. I did like how there were a variety of enemy designs, as I have never been a huge fan of games where they will repeat the same enemy several times in a row, only with a different color or something. Now, this game does feature repeating enemies, but it is not too big of a deal. I also liked the character designs, especially the design of Gobi (the fish) and Ox (even though it was kind of hard to tell them apart).

I have never really been a huge fan of the music of the Breath of Fire series, and this game is just more fuel to add to the fire. I really despised a majority of the music in the game, as I felt it was rather annoying. The one theme I could absolutely not stand in the game was the battle theme. I have always been a supporter of battle themes, and I have enjoyed a lot of battle themes in role playing games, because the fact is if the game does not feature a good battle theme, you are not going to want to replay all the battles. And I was really annoyed by the battle theme, which is a shame. More terrible music is featured in the over world map, some of the towns, and more. I did like the boss theme in the game, however.

Sound effects in the game are top notch, and I did like a majority of sound effects featured in the game. As you may expect in a role playing game, most of the sound effects during the game come from battles themselves. Therefore, you will hear a lot of sound effects during battle, and only a few outside of battle. Some of the sound effects you will hear outside of battle include the sound of you walking inside a town or door, and the sound of you gaining an item from a treasure chest. The sound effects in the game were average, they were certainly not anything special.

Now, I will talk about the control in the game. One of the main things I liked about the game was the fact that it featured solid control. I especially liked how you can access menu commands with the touch of a button. For instance, let’s say you wanted to get to the status menu quickly. If you put the status menu on L button (in the menu screen, you can change the buttons around), you can then access the status menu by pushing the L button instead of pressing select or start and then going to status menu. I thought this was a really good idea that was implemented well.

However, I did not like the menu system featured in the game, at all. It is one of the worst menu systems ever featured in a role playing game, in my opinion, and I really could not stand it. One of the biggest complaints I had about the menu system was the fact that it used logos instead of words when it came to various commands, menus, etc., but I also had other problems with it. Another main problem I found is the fact that the game abbreviates key item and weapon names so you cannot figure out what they are. It really got annoying after a while.

Another thing I could not stand about Breath of Fire was the battle system. Simply put, this is one of the worst battle systems I have ever played in a role-playing game, ever. It is simple horrible. I did like how innovative Capcom tried to be (for instance, every time you hit an enemy a HP meter would show up, and the amount of damage you hit the enemy for would be removed from the meter), but I felt those innovative ideas could have been used in better ways. Also, the battle system also features those pain in the ass logos, which I absolutely hated.

The game did have some more terrible points, as well. I was really annoyed by the fact that the game refused to tell you how much experience points you needed to get to the next level. Yes, the game will literally not tell you how many experience points you need, only how much you have gained so far. I was rather fed up with that aspect of the game, as you will end up walking around forever, not knowing how much more battles you needed to get into before leveling up. Also, I hated the saving system of the game, as you had to use the dragon shrines, and they were only featured in towns and some dungeons.

You will not want to replay this game much, at all. I will tell you why right now. Number one, the battle system is the working of the devil. I really hated the battle system in the game, and the terrible battle theme almost made the battles too much to stomach. I was really fed up with the battles in the game, but I did beat the game anyways. Ever since I completed the game, I put the game in a box with all of the other games I will not play any time soon. I put that box in my bedroom closet, and the box is still there, even to this day. I seriously doubt I will be playing this game any time soon, that is for sure.

This is one of the more challenging video games I have ever played. Rather, this is one of the more challenging role playing games I have ever played. I was really annoyed by the challenge level of this game, as it is challenging for about two reasons. One, the simple fact you have to put up with the battle theme and the battle system make the game a challenge in itself. Number two, it takes a long time to build levels, and the bosses are quite challenging, so it takes like a year just to beat them. I do like a challenging game, sure, but not when it is like this.

Overall, I am not a big fan of this game, at all. Simply put, it is one of the worst role playing games I have ever played, in my opinion. I was really fed up with this game quickly, because of mainly the battle system. The annoying battle theme certainly did not help, of course. I did like the game’s graphics, and I think that this game did have some serious potential to be a classic role playing game, but somebody screwed up somewhere, because this is truly a horrible role playing game.

Good Points
-This review is not as long and tedious as a King Broccoli review.
-I did like the graphics in the game.
-The sound effects in the game were pretty good.
-The story line never seemed to drag on, like its sequels did.

Not So Good Points
-The battle system and menu system is the work of the devil.
-The music in the game is simply awful.
-The weapon and item names were abbreviated too much, making them unreadable at times.
-There are too many innovative ideas that went horribly wrong.

I Run Down the Ratings… SMcFadden Style!
Storyline – 7.3/10
Graphics – 8.2/10
Music and Sound Effects – 1.3/10
Gameplay and Control – 1.7/10
Replay Value – Way Below Average
Challenge – Way Above Average
Buy it? – Nope, but give it a rent if you can.
Overall – 1.6/10
The Last Line: It’s good enough to get a 2, but nothing higher than that. This was a rather disappointing game.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 08/26/00, Updated 07/16/01


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