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Video Game / Breath of Fire I

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The original game in the long-running Breath of Fire series, released on the SNES in April 1993 in Japan and August 1994 for North America. It was later ported out to the Game Boy Advance in July 2001 in Japan and December 2001 in Europe and North America, with updated Character Portraits, a dash button, graphical upgrades on the menu screen and a trade option between games (complete with a few new items as bonus).

Being the first game on the series, its story is not as ambitious as following sequels: Many years ago, the goddess Tyr (Myria) appeared on the world and staged a terrible war among the Dragon Clan for her own amusement, splitting it into two sides: the Light Dragons and the Dark Dragons. This carried on until a a warrior of the Light Dragons, together with 7 allies, sealed up the goddess using the six Goddess Keys.


Cut to many, many years after: The Dark Dragon Empire has grown in power, and under the leadership of their Emperor Zog, they are waging war against the world while searching the keys to release Tyr. The Light Dragons, who by this point have long since abandoned their dragon powers so they would not be tempted to participate in further bloodshed, are the first on Zog's hit-list, but they are saved from annihilation by the sacrifice of their priestess, Sara. Missing ever since, Sara's brother Ryu embarks on a quest to find her, while gathering allies who are all opposing the Dark Dragons' ambition.

One aspect that is well known about this game is the story behind its localization: At the time Capcom apparently didn't feel like translating such a heavy text-based game, so they handed localization and distribution duties to SquareSoft, with Ted Woolsey involved in the translation. This ensured a somewhat decent translation, albeit with random name changes that obscured connections with its sequels and some details regarding its story lost in the transition.


Place any character-related tropes on the character sheet.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Level 99. You'll probably be around level 40 or so when you reach the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, if you've been grinding and did all the sidequests, and even then you'll be overpowered.
  • Abusive Precursors: The feuding Dragon Clans who brought about the Goddess War.
  • Always Night: The village of Bleak has the Dark Key of the Goddesses, which means their entire town is held in perpetual nighttime. Not that the thieves of Bleak seem to mind at all. In fact, once the Dark Key is taken from the Light Keep and the sun can once again rise on the village, the thieves all seem kind of depressed.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The American release replaced the anime inspired box art with something vaguely resembling Conan the Barbarian.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Nina is introduced with her going on a quest of her own, accompanied by two guards; later on, Gobi splits off from the group to retrieve a Plot Coupon, since at that point, he's the only one who can breathe underwater.
  • Asteroids Monster: Inverted by the SlimeX boss. It starts out as three slime monsters, but when you defeat all three, they merge into one large one.
  • Bag of Sharing: Whenever the party splits up, you always retain access to the entire inventory. Even while controlling an entirely new character.
  • Beast Man: Started the trend for the series. In this game there are:
    • Dragon Clan: Looks human, but can turn into dragons.
    • Wing Clan: Looks human except for the angel-like wings, can turn into giant birds.
    • Forest Clan: Wolf people, hunters.
    • Manillo Clan: Fish people, merchants.
    • Iron Ogre Clan: Ox people, blacksmiths.
    • Dirt Clan: Mole people, diggers.
  • Beneath the Earth: The molemen city of Gramor.
  • Bowdlerise: Minor details, mostly concerning the Side Quests on Auria: One bar patron's hangover is changed to a 'case of the hiccups', while a Dirty Old Man's request for a massage is rendered more or less nonsuggestively.
  • Broken Bridge: Everywhere! Literal cases includes the bridge following Tantar/Tuntar, the bridge from Gust to the west, and the small bridge before Scande. Other examples include a frozen waterfall and an underwater chasm.
    • The worst would have to be arriving at the Big Bad's lair, Scande... Only to find that the one working elevator is broken. Mind you, the Dark Dragons can simply fly up to Zog's tower if they wish, but it's still conspicuous how they don't just fix it themselves.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The desert tomb of Krypt.
  • But Thou Must!: Repeatedly!
  • The Cameo: One can spot Chun-Li in one thief's act in Bleak, and she shows up in the ending if certain conditions are met. There are also Arthur pictures hanging inside houses.
    • There is also an Easter Egg where Chun-Li will appear in the ending credits in the panover of Drogan; but only the SNES version, not the GBA port. To activate this Easter Egg, one must wield the Broken Sword while fighting the final boss.
  • Canon Foreigner: Both manga adaptations add a good number of characters, most notably Bo's entire family in The Dragon Warrior and the Ice Dragon Clan in Princess of the Wings.
    • Canon Immigrant: The two nameless guards on the game were given names in the GBA port, taken from two characters from Princess of the Wings, Sieg and Raifel.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The waterfall in Spring Town.
  • Chain of Deals: Several instances through the game, particularly the Auria arc: You need a ship, and a rich man offers to let you use his if you can get his daughter out of a safe. The master thief who could open the lock is in the Impassable Desert, and someone who has the item needed to enter it wants a Gold Bar in exchange. After grinding and running conveniently placed sidequests for enough money to buy one, you cross the desert and find that the thief in question is in a dungeon surrounded by quicksand that can only be crossed with a magic flute, which the locals agree to give you after you resolve their problem with a monster. That resolves half of the chain...
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Two instances: The robed guy who keeps popping up to help the party is revealed to be Jade, helping you overthrow Zog, while in Tunlan the Nina look-alike ends up being Nina after time travel shenanigans.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The Wyndians' flying ability, which becomes the Global Airship.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Two, under the subtitles The Dragon Warrior and Princess of The Wing. There's also an Spin-Off pseudo-sequel, Breath of Fire Part 2 Little Adventurer, which stars the children of Ryu/Nina and Bo.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The Dragon Warrior manga adaptation, which crams most of the game's main plot into 6 chapters, leaving out several events while meshing together others. Most notably, the existence of the Four Devas (Jade's Quirky Miniboss Squad) is mentioned, but only one out of the 4 (Mote/Sigmund) makes an actual appearance.
  • Creepy Child: Tyr's initial form. The concept art takes it to ridiculous extremes...
  • Degraded Boss: Usually the less important ones (Gremlin, PincherX, the three dragon tests, SlimeX...)
  • Desperation Attack: When low on health, the characters will speed up their attacks.
  • Developers' Foresight: You're "meant" to use the Dragon Heart, a song that is extremely harmful to Dragon Clan members, against Zog. However, it works even better against Sara, the main character's sister, since unlike Zog, she doesn't have a second wind.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: ...Did the party save Ox from near death by kicking the crap outta death itself!?
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Earth Key can be used to deal 30 damage to all enemies once per turn. While insignificant later on, it out-damages your warriors when you first get it and can end most fights in one round.
    • Once you get Karn, you can get the Flame Rapier (a weapon for Nina) in the Winlan basement. Using it as an item will do 90 damage to a single enemy.
    • You can also use Karn to go to Agua and get the LifeAR (second best armor for Ryu) and the IcyDR (very powerful weapon for Karn that can also be used in battle for 60 damage) by checking the two statues at the top. This can be done the very moment you exit Krypt after getting Karn.
  • Doomed Hometown: Drogen (Dragnier), right in the prologue. Also a case of the Doom not actually hitting: While the town is majorly damaged in the prologue, it's still standing, and the residents survive.
  • Door to Before: Most early dungeons have these, only unlockable using a party member's skill, most of the time Karn's.
  • Dub Name Change: Mostly due to space restrictions and Square's handling of the translation. Only among main characters, we have Bo/Gilliam, Ox/Builder, Karn/Danc, Bleu/Deis, Gobi/Manillo, Cula/Cort, Zygmut/Mote, Cerl/Carla, Zog/Zorgon, Jade/Judas and Tyr/Myria. Most of the towns and enemies are also affected.
  • Dummied Out: Two notable examples include the Nanai Bar (who's off-limits during normal gameplay due to guards blocking off the entrance) and the DrWarp (a development item that allows transportation to any location on the game, including within cutscenes and unfinished areas).
  • Easy Amnesia: Being a ancient and powerful wizard, this serves as the excuse for Bleu's low-level: She's forgotten most of her spells during her millennia-long Convenient Coma. This also plays a part late in the story with Nina.
  • Encounter Repellant: The Mrbl3 item completely eliminates all random encounters for a short while, wearing off after a certain number of steps are taken. They're also dirt-cheap and can be bought in the town you start the game in.
  • Endless Winter: The town of Spring is in one thanks to Sky Tower, the SkyKey, and Mote.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Zog's throne room at Scande. Also, the Goddess Tower.
  • "Far Side" Island: Upon blowing up the Dark Dragon ship and jumping overboard, the whole party is marooned on this. And the only way out is to pay Gobi 1000000 GP.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Flying Seafood Special: At first they appear underwater, so it's not so rare... But when they start coming out on dry land, well...
  • The Goomba: Nine times out of ten, your first random battle from leaving Drogon at the beginning of the game will be up against a blue Slime with an HP of 12, and Ryu at Level 1 can defeat each Slime with one attack. Later on, the party may encounter a gold version of the Slime with ten times the HP. Although the P.Bugs have 8 HP, they are more annoying as they may poison a party member.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The Goddess Keys. Nabbing one will result in a triumphant Item Get!.
  • Great Offscreen War: The war in which the Dragon Clan sealed the goddess Tyr/Myria away long ago.
  • Green Aesop: A group of faeries has a young boy locked in their forest for cutting down trees. Helping him works as an Optional Side Quest to rack up some money.
  • The Grim Reaper: Three Mini Bosses: Morte, Mortea and Morteo, the latter of which is named Shinigami in the original. Two of them are faced in the Wizard's tower, while the latter is fought when he tries to claim Ox's soul in the Prima inn.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: The two guards (later named Sieg and Raifel) who escort Nina during her solo time, and the third one (Enon) who guides Ryu afterwards.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game is not very clear at giving the player hints where to go at times; the lack of map being especially bad. Even if you're good at remembering the names of major locations, these names are often given in very easy blink and you'll miss it dialogue boxes that are easy to skim over; or completely avoid by accident.
    • To get Ryu's dragon forms, there are certain items which are required. The game makes no effort in telling you which ones, let alone where they are.
    • Gobi can actually buy several Infinity +1 Sword from random customers. Even better: At some point the set of items you can buy change so if you want them all, you can't just wait to get at the end game with a huge pile of money and then buy them all. (Especially since Gobi's own best weapon can't be gotten in the final set of items).
  • Healer Signs On Early: While you have to go through Camlon castle and the dungeon of Nanai before you get a party member, the second party member that joins is Nina, who is the games best healer. An interesting twist happens in that she doesn't join the party at first: She is controlled by the player, and Ryu is removed.
  • Healing Spring: Drinking off these restores everything.
  • HP to 1 / Chekhov's Skill: The Dragon Heart song that you learn in Tunlan is a song that damages dragons and reduces Ryu's HP to 1. It could be useful later. Like against Zog, or Sara.
  • I Am Not a Gun: The Stone Robot refuses the General's commands to destroy the village of Tantar (it had just destroyed Tantar's twin city Tuntar, but no one was in it at the time). After the General is defeated, the Stone Robot jumps into a volcano to prevent being used as a weapon ever again.
  • I Have Your Wife: The Dark Dragons kidnapped all women on Ox's hometown to force the men into building them a weapon.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: The battle with Sara, now Brainwashed and Crazy. It fails.
  • Immortality Immorality: Tunlan's queen was charmed by Zog into giving the Goddess key in her possession with the prospect of eternal youth.
    • It is also the ambition of the Wizard from Karma Tower.
  • Impossibly Cool Wealth: The town of Auria is literally paved with gold, due to its proximity to the Light Key.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Cort shrinks your entire party to the size of mice. Luckily, there are real mice in the area who are pleased to help Ryu.
  • Inn Security: Played with in Bleak's Inn. Being a town of thieves, it's rather suspicious that it's totally free. If you decide to stay, you'll wake up with your savings stolen. Buying an special item on Auria will catch the Inn owner on the act, who will pay you to avoid any further problems.
  • Interspecies Romance: A minor subplot involves the wedding between the son and daughter of the chiefs of the twin cities of Tantar and Tuntar. The groom and his town are wolf-people, the bride and her town are humans.
  • Invincible Hero: Agni makes any battle, up to and including the final boss, practically impossible to lose. The best strategy for the final boss is to cast the Agni transformation and then use Auto-Battle, only using a Cure if you run low on health.
  • Irrelevant Importance: You can't really dispose of any "key" item, even if those are totally useless afterwards.
    • You can deposit some of them in the bank, however, if you need to free some inventory space.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Mote's stitch is to capture his targets into a dreamworld of his creation. He does this twice (once to Mogu, later to the whole party), and it eventually leads to a Battle in the Center of the Mind.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Mogu comes out quite late on the story, and since he has very little redeeming qualities he tends to be stuck on the back.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Sara, now under Jade's mind control, tricks you into forking over all of the Goddess Keys.
  • Magikarp Power: Mogu to some extent (in the 40s, he gets huge boosts to Str and HP with every level), but by then everyone is so powerful that grinding for those levels isn't worth it.
  • Merchant City: Prima, Underwater City home of the Proud Merchant Race.
  • Mistaken for Spies
  • MockGuffin: The anticlimatic 'Book of Thieves' hidden in Krypt's basement. The logic being: If he's made it that far, Karn is already the world's greatest thief, and therefore doesn't need a handbook.
  • Mysterious Informant: The nameless, cloaked man who periodically shows up whenever your party hits a Broken Bridge. It's Jade in disguise.
  • Multiple Endings: Starts out the trend. Two endings, depending on if you get the last dragon form and use it on the last boss.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Mote's Japanese name, in reference to Sigmund Freud.
    • Another one counts also as a Prophetic Name and Bilingual Bonus in Japan: Jade's original name Judas, in that he'll betray Zog.
    • If you live in a town called Romero, don't be surprised if zombies come out at night, just sayin'.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Stick around in the Nanai dungeon after retrieving the Earth Key. You will be warned "Run while you can, for I am returning..." and the shaking will worsen. After three warnings the screen will white out for an instant reawakening at your last Dragon Shrine.
  • Noob Cave: Camlon Castle.
  • Ominous Floating Castle / The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Obelisk.
  • Our Founder: Camlon is the very first Adventure Town Ryu visits. When he returns after Nina's character arc in Karma, the populace have erected a statue of Ryu in the square.
  • Palette Swap: Like the Slime mentioned above, enemies from the random battles encountered early in the game may re-appear later-on in different colours, and more tougher than their cousins. Most bosses who aren't named characters have at least one palette swap counterpart, whether an enemy or a fellow boss (for example, the Frog, the first boss, has the Toad, who's fought midway through the game).
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The island where Pagoda is found.
    • The Poison Swamp near Scande
    • At one point, Ryu gets separated from the rest of the group. If you carry some Mrbl3 on you, you can use those to skip the nearby town (which forces you to rejoin your group) and go back to the previous town and save at the dragon shrine there, you can use Ryu's Tier 2 dragon transformations to wipe out everything nearby. Since the game divides XP by number of group members, the XP here will be far better than anywhere else in the game, including the aforementioned island. It will only level Ryu though.
    • When you first recruit Bo, head west to where the you can get the Dragon Sword from the well, and you will battle enemies you are expected to fight during the 3rd act of the game. Although some enemies can be seen as demonic spiders at the time, it is a good source of experience points especially when you are soon to face one of the hardest bosses early in the game.
    • You can also do this with Gobi when you first recruit him, but trying to survive battles with him is near impossible at first due to how weak he is when he first joins you.
  • Planet of Hats: Most of the tribes are overspecialized in one job: Gobi's clan is a Proud Merchant Race, Ox's clan is a tribe of blacksmiths, Bo's clan is a hunting clan, etc...
  • Playing Both Sides: Jade.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: Out of the six Goddess Keys, only 3 can be used in-game: The Light and Dark Key switches daytime/nighttime, and the Earth Key mimics an earthquake attack. The Time Key isn't usable in battle, but when Nina uses it, she undergoes her Plot-Relevant Age-Up.
    • The Water Jar. It's plot-related use is to acquire the sacred water from a spring at the bottom of a nearby dungeon in order to cleanse a town cursed with zombies. However, going back to the spring afterwards and filling it up again lets you use it in battle to fully heal the entire party. The only thing that keeps it from being a Game-Breaker is that you have to refill it again after each use, and the spring isn't exactly convenient to get to.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Nina.
  • Plot Tunnel: Once you enter the dreamworld, you can't leave until you defeat Mothro.
  • Power Up Letdown: Karn's second fusion spell combines him with Ox and Gobi to create Debo. Debo is a pretty strong fighter in battle, but aside from the fact that he doesn't have ANY overworld special abilities, he can ONLY be used underwater, and you get the fusion spell AFTER you've already completed the underwater portion of the game.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Poor Cerl.
    • Averted if you revisit the site of Cerl's "death"; you'll see that she and Alan have been reverted to childhood via Timey-Wimey Ball.
    • In The Dragon Warrior manga, Jade gets one as well, paired with a Together in Death with his lover Sara.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The Angel Armor is hilariously abbreviated as AngleAR.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: A good way to crank up the game's difficulty is to never use any of Ryu's dragon transformations (until the final battle, which requires using the Agni form for the good ending) or Karn's fusion spells. Can be taken Up to Eleven by never using Nina's healing spells.
  • Sequence Breaking: After you get Karn, you can open any locked door. Warp back to Romero and head to Agua, and you can go higher up than you've ever gone before. Search the statues for a powerful dagger and suit of armor. You won't see other gear on this level until the endgame.
  • Ship Level: The Dark Dragons' galleon.
  • Shout-Out: The leader of the golden city Auria is named Rosewater in the original, from the main character of Kurt Vonnegut's story "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater".
    • Sieg and Raifel on the GBA port can be seen as one too.
    • Arguably, but the sprite for the various town chiefs is suspiciously similar to Dr. Wily.
    • The town with the zombies is named Romero. Can't get more blatant than that.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: Bo's Japanese name is Gilliam, while the son of his tribe's chief is Terry... Together they form Terry Gilliam.
  • Stable Time Loop: Ryu meets Nina's future self in Tunlan, not realizing it's her. After Nina gets thrown backward through time, the older Nina promptly rejoins once you help her get her memory back.
  • Take Over the World: Zog's a rather typical Evil Overlord.
  • The Three Trials: There are three shrines where Ryu is put to a test before having his dragon forms unsealed. The fourth and final dragon form, interestingly, requires no such trial and is granted instantly, as long as you have all the other forms.
  • Time Stands Still: Cerl places this curse over the town of Carmen.
  • Tragic Monster: Sara is later found under Jade's brainwash, and you're forced to kill her.
  • Trapped in Another World: The fate of those who piss Mote off.
  • Turns Red: Almost every freaking boss has a secondary, invisible lifebar once the first one is depleted, often twice as large as the original. This essentially prevents you from realizing how close you are to killing them.
  • Two Beings, One Body: The special ability of Karn is to merge himself with other party members. Ryu's last dragon form also works like this.
  • Video Game Geography: Type 1 "Toroid".
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: Ryu and his dragon morphs, Karn and his Fusion Dance magic, plus Nina and Gobi get special forms as the Global Airship, or underwater ship in Gobi's case.
  • War Was Beginning: The prologue establishes that the Dark Dragons are bad news.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Though it doesn't seem to affect anyone else in the group, the 'Shock' spell will completely annihilate Ryu almost 100 percent of the time, unless he is protected from it by Wall (a spell Nina learns that reflects magic attacks). This extends even to his dragon forms.
  • Weather-Control Machine: The Sky Key and, by extension, the Spyre where it is located.
  • We Can Rule Together: Jade offers this at one point to the party. Even if you accept, you can't do anything but stand still, as moving will prompt Jade to ask again, and not moving will prompt him to sic some monsters on you to appease his boredom.
  • Wretched Hive: Bleak. Even the Inn isn't safe.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Jade is going to insert the Keys into the Goddess Tower and release Tyr, like it or not.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: As if anyone thought Zog would be the end...


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