Breath of Fire

Fire spell

   The Game Boy Advance is gathering steam as a haven for handheld remakes of classic games, and Capcom has decided to tag along with its conversion of the original Breath of Fire. Though a few tweaks have been made, for the most part it's the same solid RPG released here in 1994.

   And it is a solid RPG. The story begins when a dragon village is attacked and destroyed, leaving the child Ryu as the sole survivor. Trapped in human form, he must travel the world to hunt down his attackers and avenge his clan. Along the way he'll meet seven other party members: Nina, the winged princess of Windia; Gilliam (Bo), a wolflike hunter; Dank (Karn), a thief treasure hunter; Manilo (Gobi), a mer-merchant; Deis (Bleu), a powerful magic-using snake woman; Builder (Ox), who is literally a hulking ox; and Mogu, a mole man. In addition to helping Ryu out in battle, each party member has a special skill useful on overworld screens. Builder can smash through weak walls, Gilliam can use his bow to shoot animals, and Mogu can dig.

   The battle system is mostly a matter of attacking, healing, and magic. One thing that separates Breath of Fire from the rest of the pack is Ryu's ability to change into a dragon. Whenever he finds a shrine, he can enter and face a one-on-one trial to gain a new set of dragon forms to use in battle. Another interesting twist, once Dank joins, is the party's ability to use Fusion. With this power, all party members in battle combine to form one super-powerful character, whose nature depends on which characters are in play at the time.

   New to the Game Boy Advance version is the ability to swap items between players using the link cable and the ability to save at any time, which should be helpful for quick games on a handheld system. It's not certain yet whether the game will be released in the US, so series fans should cross their fingers and hope for good news at E3.

Preview by Nich Maragos, GIA.
Breath of Fire
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Genre Traditional RPG
Medium Cartridge
Platform Game Boy Advance
Release Date  07.06.01
Breath of Fire Game Boy Advance unveiled
E3: 15 screenshots
8 large character portraits