The third game in the long-running Eastern RPG series Breath of Fire, released on the PlayStation in September 1997 in Japan and April 1998 in North America. It was later ported into the PSP system and released in August 2005 in Japan and February 2006 in Europe, with no North American release. As typical for the BoF series, several characters from the earlier games are reinvented here.The game takes place in a Standard Fantasy Setting, except that it has humanoid animals co-existing peacefully with humans. There are also some machines, though their origin is a mystery. A long time ago there also existed a race of dragons, but they were killed off for some forgotten reason; only their fossils remain, turned into crystals which are mined to power machines.The story begins when a dragon whelp turns up alive in a mine. It escapes and takes the form of a boy named Ryu. The first part of the game is about Ryu trying to survive and find friends; among those he makes are Rei, a goofy thief tigerman; his orphaned sidekick, Teepo; the Rebellious Princess Nina; the ditzy scientist Momo; and the gargoyle-like Garr. The second part has the (now older) Ryu and his friends investigate why the dragons were killed.The game is mostly remembered for introducing some of the trademark game mechanics on the series, including Ryu's dragon gene system, which allowed the player to mix and match several different "genes" (crystals) in order to create a variety of dragon forms; The Masters, certain NPCs who after fulfilling their requirements granted those under their tutorship stats bonus as well as new techniques; and the Skill system, special master/enemy spells that could be learned and used by any party member. Most of these gameplay elements were later refined in Breath of Fire IV.There exists a character sheet for the series. Place any character-related tropes there.
This game provides examples of:
Actual Pacifist: Durandal, one of the masters, styles himself as one. He teaches two skills (Feign Swing, Unmotivate) that have no effect, and one that can't deliver a killing blow (Backhand).
Arranged Marriage: One quest in the first part of the game deals with this. The Guildmaster of Rhapala wants his daughter Shadis to marry Zig, the big, strong sailor he's chosen to be the next Guildmaster, and has set him the Engagement Challenge of fixing the guild lighthouse. However, she's in love with the guild's bookkeeper, Beyd, who's smart and kind but is too weak for anyone in the Guild to take him seriously as a leader. Accordingly, the party takes it upon themselves to teach Beyd to fight so he can fix the lighthouse before Zig does. Zig challenges him to a duel for the right to go to the lighthouse, which will mean the right to marry Shadis. Beyd wins, but is too badly beaten up to go fix it; nonetheless, beating Zig proves that Beyd has the chops to lead the guild.
Art Shift: the final scene of the game ditches the in-game models and depicts the characters in their concept art appearances (see the page picture).
Authority Equals Asskicking: Usually averted; enemy leaders tend to be crooked cowards, rather than boss-worthy. Played straight with Balio and Sunder, who are Co-Dragons to the mysterious leader of the Sin City gang and far stronger than Ryu and his friends (they're only defeated when Garr steps in). Double Subverted with the boss man himself, who makes a Run for the Border when he hears that Rei is after him, but when caught at the border gate, proves to be a transforming boss and takes Rei down with one shot.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Chain Formation - yes, it gives you insane speed, but it shoots your defense to hell, meaning that if you're not going to kill your enemy in one turn, you'd better be prepared with tons of healing items.
Kaiser form, while insanely powerful, will guzzle your AP up so quick you'll barely get any use out of it, especially if you use the Infinity/Trance/Radiance gene combo to get it at maximum power; this costs a staggering 53 AP just to initiate, and another 27 each turn; that's 80 AP just for a single turn in a game where, late-game, most players will barely have over a hundred for Ryu! On the other hand...
Bishonen Line: Both subverted and played straight. Ryu's dragon forms get more and more monstrous, yet his ultimate form, the Kaiser, is...himself, colored gold. Subverted when he uses the Kaiser Breath attack, which turns him into a gigantic dragon.
The Berserker: The "Berserk" skill, which dramatically increases the target's strength and removes control of it for three turns, after which he just dies. There's also the enemy Berserker who uses said skill, and both Ryu and Rei get transformations which turns them into this.
Betting Mini-Game: One of the possible jobs one can give to the Faeries. Includes a "Guessing the Number" and "Guessing the Minor/Major Number Order".
Bilingual Bonus/Theme Naming: All McNeil ghosts are named after business concepts. Similarly, all characters related to the port city of Rhapala have their names based off types of fishing bait.
Black Comedy: You are forced to carry out the Mutant Plant's Driven to Suicide wish. You have to turn the conveyor belt on to feed him into the magma. Instead you can switch it on backwards carrying him away from the magma. He complains about it as if you hit the wrong floor button in an elevator!
Boss Bonanza: In the Myria station. There are plenty of new bosses. But given how some of the bosses are inside some segments of the station itself...it might not qualify specially in the end where you get to the inner laboratory where you face the Experiments which are mostly a Boss Rush per Capcom's tradition but they included a few new ones (including a Dodo bird, still the crowning moment of funny is when you have to face Rocky X 5 Giant Rooster, considering it can still inflict you the Egg status, Ovum spell).
Boss in Mook Clothing: The Archmage and Berserker, probably the best known examples on the whole series. The GooKing may also count, specially when it's angry.
Boss Rush: Present in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in a labyrinth-esque area. If you don't care about the treasure, you only need to fight 2 of them, the first of them being a group of the first bosses of the game which do single-digit damage to even moderately-leveled party and who go down in a single hit.
Bragging Rights Reward: The Archmage and Berserker drop the best dagger and shield respectively. Unfortunately, they're incredibly marginal upgrades and by the time you can kill these two you're probably already at the final boss and can eat her for breakfast.
Broken Bridge: A literal broken bridge connects Yrall Region to Dauna Hills and the road leading to the Urkan region was destroyed by a volcano which you have to detour inside the volcano. Both roads becomes accessible after the Time Skip.
The Cameo: Following in Breath of Fire II's tradition, though obscured due to the translator's ignorance. From Breath of Fire there's Mogu, Bo (named Gary from his Japanese name Gilly, which is short of his Japanese original Gilliam) and Ox (his Japanese name is Builder, which the translator changed into Worker). From Breath of Fire II we have Bow (not referred by name, though) and Jean (under his first name Ecarl/Ekaru). Ladon (the Dragon Lord/God of previous games) appears also as a Master. One can also spot Chun-Li and Sakura from Street Fighter watching from among the crowd in the contest.
The Chosen One: Ryu later discovers he's one. Dragnier has it foreshadowed that the one to come from the other side of the ocean through the transportation machine would be the one to face off against their greatest enemy Myria.
Continuity Nod: Mostly to the first game. The most known being the mural seen at the intro and in Dragnier.
Cross Counter: Performed, by all things, a pair of fairies on each other when they get tired of the other one calling them dummies.
Darker and Edgier: While the game is relatively light-hearted overall, there are quite a number of horrifying events happening to, and around, Ryu. The game dwells on the ethics of genocide, life after death, religion and faith, and morality, and while it does so without feeling too heavy, the terrible nature of said acts are only barely glossed over. Try not to think about them too much: it won't end well for you.
Double Consciousness: Rei has a moment where a ghost like apparition of himself walks out of his body and he talks to it. Seems he is torn between his easy life as a highwayman and his quest for philosophical knowledge of why world destroying power exists. There really is no comparison between the two and he tries to come to terms with the fact things aren't as simple as he's used to.
Nina has the experience where she is torn between her duty as a princess and gaining valuable experience through exploration as well as working towards being her own person instead of just doing what she's told to do.
Momo's moment is more determination to find out the secrets of the machines while wondering what her father would do if he was alive and in her place.
Dub Name Change: We have Babadel/Bunyan, Zurusuru/Loki, Garland/Garr and Pecoros/Peco, just to name a few. There are plenty of enemies, items and other stuff whose names were changed.
Duel Boss: Not as prominent as in II. Normally, Ryu fights these, but not always (and the Hall of Fire plays with the trope to no end).
A few unused spells are found within the code, though only one actually has both effect and animation intact.
There's a healthy amount of unused text buried in the code. Among them an alternate version of the Balio and Sunder ambush, one hinting at Rei being member of the Mafia and another where his Weretiger ability is hinted at very early during the story.
His Weretiger ability is obliquely hinted at relatively early. At Mt. Glaus, when he goes off to kill the Nue, he mentions that only he can use a certain ability, which is why Bunyan sent him off alone since he tends to attack his allies in that form as well.
Early-Bird Cameo: Both Myria and adult Teepo are seen almost at the start of the game.
Balio and Sunder entrust a captive Ryu and Nina to the barman (later master) Fahl. When the two kids make their escape, they seem to fail to notice that someone else in the bar is watching them, deep in thought. note for those who haven't played the game or don't remember the scene, it's Garr
Face-Heel Turn: See that picture up there? Did you notice Teepo isn't in it? There's a reason for that.
Filler: the episodes centering around the Rhapala region (training Beyd, fixing the Lighthouse and helping the fairies). Yes, they have some significance after the Time Skip, but they really have no bearing in the overall scheme of things. Garr even laments why they have to do all these things just to find a way to Angel Tower.
Just Like Robin Hood: Deconstructed. A mysterious cloaked man hires Ryu, Rei and Teepo to break into the mansion of their town's corrupt mayor, steal his ill gotten gains, and return them to their rightful owners. The townspeople are furious that the trio not only stole from their mayor, but implicated all of them in the crime by giving them the stolen goods. Not only that, but the mayor manages to have the last laugh by hiring Bario and Sunder.
However Karma catches up to Loki after the Time Skip when Rei mauls him to near death, McNeil gets arrested by Wyndia for smuggling, and Mikba (Leader of Syn City: Balio and Sunder also serve him) is killed by Ryu and Co
Last of His Kind: Played up with Ryu. Later he finds out Dragnier still houses a few extra survivors, although they've mostly relinquished their powers, and the only one who still had them then performed a Heroic Sacrifice to transfer the power of Infinity to Ryu.
Luck-Based Mission: The Fishing Mode in the PSP version. As bad as it can be to hook certain fish, try doing it under a time limit while shooting for a certain score. It's even worse when the fish decide to all swim out of range.
The Mafia: Main enemies in two of the game's arcs.
Magikarp Power: Peco. He starts out at Level 1 with no skills or stats to speak of, but has a very high stat growth, and by this point in the game there are plenty of Masters he can train under to customize his growth the way you want it. He also shares the highest Reprisal rate in the game with one of Ryu's dragon forms and posesses innate HP regeneration, both of which you can easily take advantage of.
Mana Potion: One item reduces AP costs when equipped, and using the Transfer skill on yourself restores MP.
Martial Pacifist: Hondara. Before he'll allow you to study under him, you first have to learn how to fight without killing, which you accomplish by learning the otherwise useless moves of the Actual Pacifist mentioned above. The Urkans as a whole seem to lean in this direction...except in the very, very rare event that they go to war. Then the gloves come off.
Maximum HP Reduction: If someone was downed in battle and still down at the end, they would be brought back with 1 hp and have their max health reduced. The game also has the Mandrake healing item that's cheaper to buy than most other healing items and heals you to full, but likewise causes you to lose some of your max HP. Also, the game contains a move called Disembowel which inflicts HP to One at the cost of reducing the user's maximum HP.
There's also the Desert Of Death, where you also lose a percentage of your max HP if you keep walking when you're thirsty: unlike the previous examples which capped the cumulative HP loss to 50% of max or so, your max HP can drop even further this way.
All above examples of max HP loss can only be cured by sleeping in an inn, sleeping at the always-available free tent doesn't cure it and neither do any of the items.
Mentors: All Masters in theory, but Bunyan fills this role most explicitly, even before he becomes a Master.
Mood Whiplash: the hilarity that was happening after Deis was finally freed from her prison was suddenly interrupted by a Deliberately Monochrome flashback showing the war—no, massacre of the Brood, with a couple of dragons' corpses and a whelpnote which might actually be Ryu since Deis seems to approach it with a particular interest visible.
Morality Kitchen Sink: Ryu and co. are good people (as Nina says, Ryu is "not a bad dragon"), and most of the enemies they fight are either dangerous monsters or simply villainous scum. However, some monsters are either just hunting for food (for themselves or their cubs), or attack humans because it's their nature and cannot help themselves, some of the intelligent enemies have their own reasons for fighting Ryu and his friends, and there are a couple of cases where Ryu and his friends have to kill good people because that's what's necessary to complete their quest. Myria, the Big Bad, is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's fighting to protect the "lands of life" from desertification, from the wars that unrestricted technological advance might cause, and from the world-threatening power of the Brood. But Ryu may not be interested in staying locked up on Myria's station, and as Yggdrasil points out, the life that she's protecting is getting awfully tired of the gilded cage that she's built.
Mr. Fanservice: Tell me you've never noticed Rei's agile glutes when his back is to the screen in battle.
Multiple Endings: As expected: one Bad End and one Good End. It is, interestingly, entirely possible to debate which is which.
Must Make Amends: Garr, the traitor who helped wipe out Ryu's race under Myria's command. Later, he plans on bringing Ryu to Myria, to question why the goddess issued those orders. He ends up defending Ryu from Myria himself.
Somewhat subverted in that Teepo becomes an enemy you must kill later in the game.
New Game+: Barely. While you can save a "Clear" data of your game upon winning (and the ability even do so is a Guide Dang It since you need to wait at the otherwise uneventful The End screen for several minutes), all you get out of it is a few fishing-related items.
One-Winged Angel: If you are against an human/humanoid character, expect him/her to transform just before the fight.
Overrated And Underleveled: Garr gets so much praise during the story as the former champion of the contest, who single-handedly defeats groups of three and who can Death Glare Balio and Sunder shitless. Yet once he joins you, he's barely above the player in stats/level.
This may be justified as a case of holding back: when Garr joins the party, he fully intends to take Ryu to Angel Tower and kill him to wipe out the Brood once and for all. He wouldn't really want to show off all his best moves up until that point, lest Ryu be prepared for him. He is ultimately much stronger at that point as well, though Ryu still wipes the floor with him.
Our Gods Are Greater: There are several beings referred to as gods, or who are otherwise of equal power (Myria and Ladon for the first, Yggdrasil and Deisnote Though the latter name is itself a feminization of "Deus," Latin for "God" for the second; Ryu as the Kaiser may also count). None of them are omniscient or omnipotent, however (and Myria thinking of herself as such is what drove much of the Back Story).
Climbing Mt. Myrneg for the first time prevents you from going back to McNeil for hours.
Leaving Wyndia will lock you out of the city for hours.
Once you complete Angel Tower, you won't be able to return to quite a lot of the world map that you've already explored for a while.
Getting on the Black Ship is a one-way trip. Once you get to the other side, though, which takes months, you'll almost immediately find a teleporter and go right back, much to the consternation of the rest of the party, who become quite upset at having wasted so much time that they will now have to waste again getting back.
Crossing the Desert of Death is treated this way, though again you'll find a teleporter that lets you return to the rest of the world.
Port Town: The cities of Rhapala and Kombinat. There's also Parch and Dock. Parch is more like a fishing village though, so it's had to say if it actually exports anything.
Pressure Plate: One of the puzzles in Momo's Tower consists on turning all the colors of the floor tile the same by stepping on them.
Really 700 Years Old: Deis, of course. There's also Elder Dragon Jono who comes from the time of the Great War, and so does Garr, seeing as he fought in the aforementioned war. Jono even remarks that Garr is "every bit as old as I am".
Revive Kills Zombie: An amusing example on a random encounter: A group of zombies led by one ZombieDr, who casts an all-healing spell on his team. Oops.
Schizo Tech: A major plot point. Still, there's the small issue of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon being a Space Station... Betcha didn't see that coming, did ya? Fully justified, though: Myria wanted to keep the world in perpetual stasis to prevent any of her "children" from coming to harm, which is also why she wanted to wipe out the Brood. Any technological advances could jeopardize her efforts.
Stallion's design and signature attack (as well as the animation for it) are a straight one to Ultraman. Strangely enough, these were removed on the PSP port, turning Stallion's white skin into brown, and changing the attack's name.
Though a Dummied Out spell, there was one which would have apparently stopped time. It's name? ZA WARUDO! There's even unused voice clips of the whole cast shouting it.
The original names of Kukuys (Kukurusu) and Doan in the Japanese version are a reference to the Mobile Suit Gundam episode "Cucuruz Doan's Island".
Took a Level in Badass: After Ryu first encounter Balio and Sunder, his attack animation changes from terrified flailing to confident striking, reflecting his period of toughening up after his life starts to suck.
Tsundere: Cadis the faerie. The other two faeries present in the party's first visit of the village seem to be like that too, but they don't really interact with the party much. Also, the Shipmaster Shadis to the Bookkeeper Beyd.
Tutorial Failure: Good luck finding your way through the desert by following the in-game instructions.
The Unreveal: We never find out why Ryu had a prophetic dream as a boy (but never again) or whose voice warned him not to kill in Dauna Mine. (Fan speculation is that it was the spirit of his dead mother, who may have been the female ghost in the mine.) For that matter, we never find out why Ryu is still alive, when all the other remaining Brood lost the ability to transform (it's implied in a cutscene that Deis was responsible somehow, though).
Vice City: The aptly-named Syn City. The English translation doesn't even try to hide it by sometimes referring to it as "Sin City".
Video Game Geography: Type 1 "Flat and Rectangular". The world does expand beyond the areas you visit, but most of it is unreachable due to mountains or other stuff blocking the path.
Wham Episode: The Angel Tower, where Garr's true identity and motivations are revealed.
The game is full of tragic moments, though it's so long between each that it's easy to miss that it's a main theme of the game. However near the end the protagonist is reminded of several of them before making an important choice.
Your first encounter with Balio and Sunder.
World Tree: The main Yggdrasil (who doubles as a Master) and the several minor ones spread all over the world.