Review by: Major Mike
Final Fantasy aside, Breath of Fire is one of the longest-running RPG series around, and the handheld version of the first adventure gets decent treatment. Yet despite the re-appearance of the game’s fresh visuals and unique play aspects, the lifeless narrative doesn’t provide the immersive experience that you’d expect.
Breath of Life
Originally released by Square on the Super NES in 1994, Breath of Fire arrives on the Game Boy Advance with enhanced cinemas, but otherwise remains unchanged. You play as Ryu, a lone hero who can also transform into a variety of powerful dragons. During the course of Ryu’s quest, various characters join your party, each with their own personal demons and diversions that involve the entire team.
An RPG’s lifeblood is a strong story, but BoF’s narrative is remarkably uninvolving. You’ll spend a lot of time engaging in mundane tasks—"talk to A, then B, then A again, and then C"—and navigating a series of seemingly endless mazes. Even the turn-based battles lack flair, except for the boss battles. Be prepared to spend a lot of time with this one, but a new Dash feature speeds you through the game and saves batteries.
Waiting to Exhale
BoF delivers a tight visual and audio package. Colorful sprites fill the screen with arresting colors and special effects, while the soundtrack provides decent music accompanied by muted sound effects. Workmanlike controls feature easy menu navigation and responsive character movement.
On the whole, Breath of Fire is an enjoyable RPG that easily kills spare time. Just don’t expect a thoroughly involving adventure on the same level as later games in the series.