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One, two, three, four, five, s- hey! Where's our hero?
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The fourth game in the long-running JRPG series Breath of Fire, released on the PlayStation in April 2000 in Japan and November 2000 for North America.

Nina, princess of Wyndia, departs with her childhood friend Cray to search for her missing sister Elina, who's also Cray's fiance. Along the way, they stumble upon Ryu, who doesn't remember a thing besides his name: Not who he is, or why he's stranded and stark naked in the middle of the desert.

Running parallel to Ryu's story is that of Fou-Lu, an ancient emperor who awakens in his burial tomb halfway across the world in the Fou Empire to reclaim the throne that he left behind 600 years ago. Unfortunately for him, those involved no longer want to give the power up to anyone, not even to an ancient god-emperor and founder of the empire.

As the story progresses and our heroes travel all over the world, it becomes clear that Ryu and Fou-Lu's destinies are intricately entwined and key to Ryu's memories.

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There exists a character sheet for the series. Place any character-related tropes there.

Re-released as "PSOne Classic" in August 2011.


Provides Examples Of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Just like III, the level cap is 99, even though the game can be finished in the 30s-40s range.
  • Achievement System: The later Masters have final tasks that requires extensive knowledge of the game's mechanics to fulfill. These range from a high combo count (Kyrik; 70+ hits), mastery of the Fishing Minigame (Gyosil; 9,500 points) and especially one about inflicting massive damage in a singlenote  hit (Bunyan; 12,000 damage).
  • Adaptation Distillation: The manga adaptation, mainly because it averts the Heroic Mime. Arguably still, something is missing in IV when it doesn't go with the soundtracks.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The Grand Finale in the manga, when Ryu fuses with Fou-Lu, but like in the game's Good Ending he is the dominant persona; Nina remarks that his hair is now the same (color) as Fou-Lu's white, while in the game he became blond.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: The manga adaptation of IV, again. Arguably a case of Adaptation Expansion resulting from a double-dose of Adaptation Distillation, in fact (from both the original Breath of Fire IV and Expanded Universe material from its official artbook).
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Assuming Fou-Lu in IV is considered a villain (as opposed to Yuna), he'd qualify in the "good ending". He recognizes he was blind to the importance of humanity, and Ryu realizes all Fou-Lu wanted was to separate mortals from the gods, and always felt guilt for Mami's death.
  • All in a Row: This is how the party runs on the field map. In battle, they're in a triangle formation.
  • All There in the Manual: This is pretty extensive; huge amounts of background info only appear in the artbook. note 
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Masters in comparison to the previous game are a mixed bag: you don't need Level Grinding to learn their skills anymore (meaning you can shuffle between Masters for their stat bonuses without resetting the Master's level requirement), but the new varied requirements are very daunting for everyone except the most invested players. For that matter, you can remotely change Masters any time the player sets up camp, allowing for faster Min-Maxing adjustments. However, you still need to personally visit them to learn their skills.
    • In the previous game you have to either consult a Master or check the list in camp to remember their stat bonuses and penalties. Here you can actually see them in a character's status screen.
    • Another point to the Master learning system is that in the previous game, they don't personally tell you if you have finally learned all their skills (you have to consult your Master list in the camp for that). Here the Masters will actually commend you as soon as you finish their final task.
    • For skill learning in general, the Skill List is now an actual checklist that tells you how many more skills you need to find whether from monsters or from the Masters.
    • Unlike III, where the Fairy Village is only visited through certain portals on the overworld, the Village portal, like the Master list, is available in camp.
    • AP-restoring items in previous games are extremely rare and cannot be bought from regular shops. Here you can actually buy Wisdom Seeds (restores 30 AP) once you unlock the shop in Fairy Village.
    • Concentration Points, introduced in this game, allows characters to recover their AP while in the back row. While the recovered AP doesn't carry over between battles, this is a godsend for longer boss battles.
    • The Guard command, aside from the obvious, now takes over for the previous game's Examine command in learning enemy skills. Meanwhile, Examine itself (now working as an Enemy Scan) doesn't use up a turn. Also, Examine actually has a short blurb showing if that enemy has a learnable skill (highlighted in blue).
    • Meryleep, the Fairy Master of III, will only appear when you throw a rock into her pond, which is a tedious process especially because you have to visit her multiple times. Njomo, Meryleep's counterpart in this game, doesn't have such requirements, and you can talk to her as soon as you find her.
  • Ancient Tomb: The Emperor's Tomb, a.k.a. the resting place of Fou-Lu for over 400 years.
  • Assist Character
    • Both Nina and Ershin have an ability that has a chance to trigger when they're in the back row, supporting the front line characters: Nina will heal the front party, while Ershin can independently attack in anyone's (even an enemy's) turn. Those with the Finale passive will also attack even when they're in the back row.
    • All of the Fairy Magics involve summoning the troops from your Fairy Village to aid your party in various ways.
  • Bag of Sharing:
    • Part of the North Chamba dungeon has Ryu and Nina split up from Ershin, staying on the rooftops while she explores the miasma-infested lower levels, respectively. Later, both Nina and Ershin have a rather brief scenario apiece where she is separated from the main party. In all these cases they manage to share inventory.
    • Averted with Fou-Lu's segments, where he has his own inventory. Which makes things a bit harder, since he can't buy anything and healing items are incredibly rare in his areas.
  • Battle Theme Music: Two, actually (for the Eastern and Western continents respectively).
  • BFS: Myrmidon is big already, but his sword dwarfs him. And it grows even bigger when he attacks!
  • Big Bad: The man responsible for almost everything behind the scenes, including Elina's abduction, is actually Lord Yuna.
  • Big Damn Fire Exit: Fou-Lu's escape from the burning forest.
  • Big "NO!": Cray, after seeing just what Yuna did to Elina.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Names rendered in kanji were renamed to their Korean hanja readings for international versions. The puns still stay intact. Also, both the original Japanese name Master and the Dub Name Change to Ershin count (in fact, the reason for the Dub Name Change was to preserve the Bilingual Bonus — in another language; the original Bilingual Bonus was in English).
  • Bleak Level:
    • North Chamba, the first major dungeon of the game, is a Hex-infested town. Miasma pollutes the ground that the party has to travel on the rooftops, and all the Random Encounters are either ghosts or undead (including the Boss, Skulfish).
    • Chedo, the Imperial Capital and the second-to-last dungeon of the game, right outside The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. By the time Ryu and company make it there, the city has been ravaged by A-Tur's monsters on Fou-lu's command, leaving most of it in ruin.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Fou-Lu has this in an overt bloody Vomit Indiscretion Shot after getting hit by the Hex Cannon. It's implied this may be actually a bit of Fantastic Radiation Poisoning.
  • Block Puzzle: All of which would obviously require Cray.
    • The player must place barrels in a certain position in order to block a passageway and capture Stoll the thief.
    • The first task you are given in Marlok's Wharf involves moving barrels and vases in specific squares.
    • Ice Peak sees the party guiding some snowballs to make a shapeshift bridge to the exit as well as some items.
    • The first puzzle you encounter in Fou-lu's Tomb, where you have to remotely guide three colored blocks leading to a bead (which acts like keys in this dungeon); a second set of colored blocks are needed to reach Ursula's Electrifier.
  • Body Horror: Elina is kidnapped, turned into an artificial Endless by Yuna, and used as the engine for the Hex Cannon.
  • Bonus Boss: Angler, a mutated fish monster in North Chamba. It is far from the most difficult opponent, and defeating it reveals a new fishing spot.
  • Bonus Dungeon
    • En Jhou Ruins, where you find the Flawed Gene that grants Ryu's Mutant transformation. You can skip this dungeon altogether if you have gathered ingredients for shisu or had an NPC from Koshka craft a special urn.
    • Mukto is an optional area just outside the exit to the Ancient Tomb. It only has a few rooms, but the things of note here is the rare Dragon Tear accessory in the final room, and the Rider, the game's most infamous Boss in Mook Clothing.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • Trunked and Trean, Random Encounters in the Abandoned Village. They don't actually attack, but are rather damage sponges where you can practice combos. They drop Ivory Dice and Cray's best weapon, the Nunchaku, respectively.
    • A very Unique Enemy in the Ancient Tomb, the Chopam, has 10k HP, invincible in the first two turns, and flees after the fourth. If you actually manage to defeat it, it will drop Ershin's best weapon and armor, the Mass Driver and Chopam Plate, respectively.
    • Rider, the most powerful enemy in the game, which is a bane for low-level runners due to its powerful attacks and absurd Healing Factor. Fortunately, it is only found in an optional location.
  • Bowdlerize: The game is known for taking out a number of violence/profanity references in the Western versions among the others, some of which Breath of Fire II had got away with back in the SNES days. This may have been done to avoid getting higher than a "Teen" rating in the ERSB.
    • Several scenes were removed from the North American version: one where Ursula drops her pants to prove she's a woman, a scene in which Fou-Lu decapitates Soniel — which itself was only shown in Japan via a Gory Discretion Shot/black-on-red Shadow Discretion Shot, a filler scene where Ryu spies on the girls while they bathe, and another where he accidentally grabs Ursula's breast.
    • Scias is a literal Drunken Master in the original Japanese game, which was changed to having a severe stuttering problem in the English localization.
    • Nearly every spell, weapon or ability with the words "Death" or "Hell" or making reference to demon names was changed in the international localization. For example, Fou-Lu's Serpent dragon form from "Hellblizzard" (Japanese) was changed to "Waterspout" (international).
  • Broken Bridge: The crater that stops you from heading back to Cray and the wrecked Sandflier, the Dam and many other things. They end up becoming unbroken later though.
  • The Cameo:
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Subverted. While Ryu does have to remain in your party while outside of battle, you're not required to have him in the front row once you've obtained than 3 characters in your party.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The "Blitz" skill consumes 25% of the user's current HP to inflict damage. The "Disembowel" and "Deathbringer" skills cost 10% of the user's maximum HP, even when they fail to work. (Maximum HP can be restored, but only at a genuine Trauma Inn; resting at camp or Fairy Village won't do.)
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Some of the NPCs in the game have prominent roles before becoming Masters: Lyta, Marlok, Khan, Stoll, Bunyan, and the Abbess. In the Ludian region there's a sign pointing to a fishing spot, written by another Master that you won't meet until MUCH later, Gyosil.
  • Chain of Deals: Various characters will exchange "Ball" items (Lead Ball, Copper Ball, etc.) throughout the game. This becomes useful when apprenticing under Marlok, who rewards the player with new skills depending on which ball the player has acquired.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Of note, the sole Breath of Fire-related Comic-Book Adaptation ever licensed outside of Japan (in Cantonese, French, and Italian though not yet in English).
  • Combination Attack: Combining certain elements together when using combos creates a combo-only spell depending on the level of the spells used.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The player party has to do combos to use certain high level magics, while the enemy never has to and can use it from the get-go.
  • Conlang: The PabPab language in IV (which is also used as a Cypher Language in a sub-plot).
    • Per Word of Capcom the PabPab language is largely comprised of combinations of English prefixes and Japanese suffixes — thus counting as a potential Bilingual Bonus for speakers of both English and Japanese.
  • Convection Schmonvection: You explore the inner cave network of a volcano named Mt. Glom, and there's magma seeping through the walls and floor, but your party isn't affected at all.
  • Cooldown Hug:
    • Nina to Ryu during his Unstoppable Rage.
    • A straight (if mild) example earlier with Fou-Lu and Mami in the same game, a bit more explicitly in the manga. Fou-Lu tells of his past and starts to go into a rant on how meeting the wishes of mortals is impossible — and Mami tells him she's clueless about this but can't stand to see him sad. Cue Cooldown Hug and Fade to Black in the game, Cooldown Hug and scene change in the manga.
  • Crapsack World: Thanks to the Forever War that's currently in a truce, everyone's pretty miserable, the Empire hexed quite a few locations with the Carronade which are still being fixed or only just finished being fixed and almost every town you go to has a lot of visible wear and tear on it. In short, there isn't anywhere that's really all that happy.
  • Critical Hit Class: The Master Njomo's passive, Pique, will ensure that all reprisals are criticals.
  • Creepy Cockroach: Giant roaches appear as enemies in the early and middle game. The fact that they are drawn more realistically than in the previous games make them a little bit unsettling.
  • Cthulhumanoid: The octopus-headed wizards Bollor and its Palette Swap Rollob (or is it the other way around?) in Fane of the Sea God.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • One mid-game boss, "Ight", is a Seemingly Hopeless Boss Fight, unleashing powerful attacks that can wipe the floor with you in a single turn. But the moment Ryu is knocked out, he instead transforms into the Kaiser dragon, and kills the boss in two turns flat. In other words, both sides took a curb-stomping in the same fight.
    • Any monster that comes up against Fou-Lu in a random battle will most likely experience this. Even giant dinosaurs are a very minor inconvenience.
  • Dead Hat Shot: How Fou-Lu discovered that Mami was the human ammo in the Carronade — specifically by seeing her hair-bells fall out of the sky shortly after he himself had been Hex Nuked. Quite possibly one of the most tragic Dead Hat Shot moments depicted, in fact, because it's also the point Fou-Lu goes Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds and decides Humans Are the Real Monsters. And yes, the manga turns it up to a major Tear Jerker that involves Ryu as well.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Sandflier Valley is obviously filled with wrecks of Sandfliers. The Cove in the Salt Sea is a ship version.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Mami's death is the Despair Event Horizon that throws Fou-Lu to being a full-blown Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds; the death of the Chek summoners is the Despair Event Horizon that throws Ryu into a Heroic BSoD that unleashes the Kaiser Dragon.
  • Down the Drain: The party infiltrates an Imperial base via an aqueduct, which the Empire normally uses to keep the Carronade from overheating when fired.
  • Dragons Are Divine: The dragons are essentially immortal gods, which were summoned by mortals to act as the world's protectors.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: Dragons are the YinYang. Literally.
    • This is not counting the "Static Heaven" Bagua in the final stage, nor is this counting designs in Fou-Lu's clothing. Suffice it to say that IV is about as subtle as a brick.
  • Dramatic Wind: Various characters' battle sprites, including their victory animations.
  • Dream Land: Fairy Village resides here. Also Deis' dream levels.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • From Master to Ershin (to preserve a Bilingual Bonus).
    • Literally all of the NPC dragons with the exception of Deis also suffer this (in an unusual variation in which the Dub Name Change consisted of changing their names to Koreanisations of what type of dragon they were).
  • Duel Boss:
    • Nina vs. Joh, the first boss in the game.
    • Every boss fight which Fou-Lu faces.
    • And the short battle between Ryu and Fou-Lu during the game's climax.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Two bosses in the game are elemental creatures that came to life when they absorbed the power of a god. One is a golem that lives by the sea, another dwells in a volcano.
  • The Empire: The Fou Empire, created by the God Emperor Fou-Lu some 400 years ago, which has been in a Forever War with the eastern continent which has multiple nations on it.
  • Evil Weapon: The Hex Cannon/Carronade. Even as it annihilates the souls of the unfortunate persons used as ammo (who are, of note, literally tortured to insanity first) and corrupts the targeted land and persons, it empowers and simultaneously corrupts those who use it. It's also a literal Fantastic Nuke.
  • Exact Words: Scias was told to merely "watch over Ryu and friends"; his employer never said anything about stopping them with whatever scheme they cooked up.
  • Exposition Cut: Pretty much constant in the first section. Nina explains the situation established in the opening cutscene to Ryu when they seek shelter in a cave for the night using this trope, then they explain things in the same way to Cray when they return to the crash site, then they explain things to the Woren elders when Cray is arrested.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The Empire's Hex Cannon, or Carronade. It is explicitly powered by a "sacrifice", using all the nightmares, terrors, and fears of a person tortured to insanity as ammunition.
    • The city of Synesta is said to be (mostly) purified of the magical radiation by the time the game begins, being seen as a rebuilt town with only a few monsters still lurking underground.
    • The town of Chamba was not so lucky; a team of Purifiers (who must wear full suits of magical armor to protect them from its effects) estimate that the majority of the town will remain utterly uninhabitable for "at least a year". In other words, the player never gets to see Chamba in its proper glory.
    • And then there's General Yohm's order to use the Carronade against Fou-Lu himself: The revelation that they used Mami to power it was The Last Straw that pushed Fou-Lu over the edge.
  • Fight Woosh: Normally a blue circular swirl, but also color-coded to indicate when one side gets a free turn at the start of battle.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: With Fou-Lu representing water and Ryu representing fire.
  • Flying Sea Food Special: Skulfish, the first boss in the game. Flyfish are also seen above the clouds when the party visits the Wind Dragon.
  • Foreshadowing: In Wychwood, some faeries attempt to play tricks on the party, resulting in one fairy receiving a headbutt from Ershin. This surprises the fairies, who claim mortals shouldn't be able to see them. Ershin, we eventually learn, is indeed no mortal, but rather an Endless named Deis.
  • Forever War: The conflict between the Fou Empire and the Alliance in IV. The two continents have been in a Cold War that has lasted 600 years, punctuated by four world wars and the incipient threat of a fifth.
  • A Forrm You Are Comfortable With: The Endless have vaguely humanoid avatars that they use to properly speak to Ryu.
  • Full-Boar Action: Bilbao and its ilk are huge electric boars.
  • Gaiden Game:
    • Two separate sidestory games in IV's universe exist (Breath of Fire IV - The Sword of Flame & the Magic of Wind and Breath of Fire IV: Faeries Light Key) along with two other Gaiden Games: A Spin-Off of the fishing game from IV (Breath of Fire: Dragon Fisherman) and a "Great Dalmuti"/"Millionaire"/"President"/"Asshole" game featuring characters from IV (Breath of Daifugo).
    • Unfortunately, due to the platform and carrier these were released for (Japanese smartphones using Qualcomm's BREW OS, and most of these being an exclusive to NTT's DoCoMo mobile phone network) these are, to a one, No Export for You and likely to remain so permanently.
    • Of note, Breath of Daifugo and Breath Of Fire: Dragon Fisherman were co-releases with a Street Fighter Gaiden Game (a Solitaire port) and the BREW-phone version of Mega Man 2 respectively, whilst the sidestory games were released at the same time as the Comic-Book Adaptation; adverts within Comic Blade Avarus and the volumes published by Mag Garden included adverts for the Gaiden Games.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Played for Laughs early in the game. Right from when you first control her, Nina can use her wings in her field ability. Ryu is somehow not aware of this until Nina falls from a cliff and he jumps in to rescue her, and learns she didn't need saving at all.
    • Despite being able to transform since shortly after being introduced (specifically, the same time Fou-lu wakes up), Ryu's Dragon transformations go unnoticed for a long while. This includes the battle against Ymechaf at the top of Kyoin Tower, where Rasso was the one who realizes the truth. For that matter, he also notices this even if you didn't use Meditate in that battle. The fairies even call him a Dragon and give him the nickname of Dragon Boy.
    • It is possible to win against Seemingly Hopeless Boss Fight Ight without the Kaiser Dragon, like in an extreme low-level run. The Kaiser Breath attack will be weak, but it will still be automatically used upon transforming, so Ight's shield will be destroyed, leaving Ight vulnerable to the rest of the party. Once the battle is over, however, the scene where Kaiser goes on a rampage still plays out.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: You primarily face them on the Western Continent during a part where you're trapped on an island while the tide's in and you can't get past.
  • A God Am I: Several minor bosses get empowered by the Endless, it results in them thinking that they're gods themselves. Ryu's party and Fou-lu each face one over their respective scenarios (golem-like monsters that were transformed by the Sea and Mountain Dragons, respectively).
  • Global Currency Exception: Like the previous game, you barter with some of the Manillo merchants using fish instead of the universal Zenny. Those Manillo further have a point card system which can also be used to trade a different set of rare items.
  • Golden Snitch: In the chicken-herding minigame, you can corral multiple chickens for points, but the player's main target to progress in the story is the brown-colored rooster Tak, who awards you a bigger point yield. Once Tak is captured the game ends.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • General Yohm's suicide after finally conceding to Fou-lu. The camera swerves around in just the right angle to obscure his body, and there was no trace left either.
    • The Japanese PSP's depiction of Fou-Lu's decapitation of Soniel, specifically via a "washi screen" variant showing a black-on-red silhouette. However, this ended up getting removed in the international version.
      • Subverted in Bloodier and Gorier fashion in the manga adaptation. (In comparison, Elina's death scene was actually depicted less graphically in the manga.)
    • Cray killing Elina.
  • Green Hill Zone: The green forested areas around Ludia, Worent and Wyndia.
  • Guide Dang It!
    • ALL but one of the Evocations (that one exception being the Wind Dragon which is obtained as part of the plot) have obscure hiding locations. This is especially true for the Sea Dragon.
    • Naturally, to use Njomo's Fairy Magic, you need to have one or more Troop houses in the Fairy Village. What the game didn't tell you, is that one Fairy Magic, War Shout, also requires a Music Shop to even use. Once you see the animation for this attack it would make a lot of sense, but again, this is something that you still need to look up.
    • Four of the characters have Secret Art melee skills that they can use at the end of a combo.
  • Gusty Glade: The caves beneath Wyndia have strong gusts of wind pushing you around.
  • Headless Horseman: There are two of them in this game. One's called "Horseman", the other's called "Rider".
  • Healing Factor
    • An enemy called Trunked regenerates 15,000 HP per turn, but is (quite fortunately) harmless, existing solely to practice combo attacks on. There's an even "stronger" variant, Trean, that regenerates 30,000 HP per turn.
    • The Rider regenerates 20,000 HP per turn. It is the most powerful enemy in the game.
    • The Dragonne boss cannot be killed until it stops regenerating its HP.
    • Characters apprenticed under Momo will recover 10% of both HP and AP if they're in the back row.
  • Heroic Mime: Averted in the manga and novelization for purposes of character development.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Fairy Village. It can only be found by people who the Fairies take there personally.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: A grim variation. If you take Fou-Lu's offer to merge with him, Ryu becomes absorbed and then the Infinity Dragon is summoned to battle the rest of your party. Only here, you're controlling the Infinity Dragon, leaving you with maxed stats and overpowered moves to waste your former allies with. After you're finished with them, the bad ending plays. Also subverted in that it's possible to let them defeat you via hacks, but that immediately leads to a standard Game Over, turning this whole thing into a lose-lose situation.
  • Hot-Blooded: The Woren tribe. Cray tries to suppress his urges, as his position as leader requires a cool head.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The various atrocities that Fou-Lu witnesses gives him this viewpoint.
  • Immortal Breaker: The Dragonslayer is the only weapon that can kill the nigh-immortal dragons. It gets used twice: once to kill Fou-Lu, and once to kill Elina.
  • Interface Spoiler: Talking to your party in the camp can help give you some idea of what to do next. Doing so at one particular point, however, can spoil a major plot point: Ershin's usual way of ending her statements ("...says Ershin.") instead comes out "...says Deis.") Oops.
  • Interspecies Romance: Between Cray, a Woren (a tigerman) and Elina, a Wyndian (a winged woman). Njomo, a Fairy, had a human husband.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Kahn is a good example. He is defeated multiple times by the party, shot off of the mast of a ship by Ursula, and his lack of fighting skill is pointed out by Una and Zig's crew. He recovers quickly from each defeat, though, and can even become a master to the party later in the game. Appropriately, his special ability gives his apprentices a chance to survive fatal blows in battle.
  • Item Crafting: The blacksmith in Mt. Glom will forge various armors for Ershin from various combinations of scrap.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: The tower of Pung'tap. And if that wasn't enough, the party learns that they have to catapult a gondola even higher up in the sky to meet Wind Dragon Puh Ryong.
  • Jungle Japes: The jungle around the Pabpab village.
  • Karma Houdini: One of the game's most infamous aspects is that the villain who was to blame for nearly everything bad that happened, apparently was never punished. There is a bit of background behind this, which can be read in the main entry. note 
  • Keep It Foreign: The Dub Name Change of Master to Ershin. note 
  • Kill the Cutie: Mami. Even worse, she is captured, broken by Cold-Blooded Torture, and ultimately killed by being used as Human Resources in a Fantastic Nuke that is Powered by a Forsaken Child (with connections to the target).
    • The manga adaptation turns this Up to Eleven in a major borderline Stuffed into the Fridge moment. Including Mami's literal last words being "An-chan", a term roughly equivalent to "dear" which she uses as an affectionate term for Fou-Lu, and the sound of her hair bells after the Carronade fires making it very obvious what happened...
  • King in the Mountain: Subverted to the point of deconstruction. In essence, Fou-Lu would have been the Fou Empire's prototypical King in the Mountain if The Empire had kept up its end of the bargain. Instead, Fou-Lu's entire storyline in the game can be best described as "What Happens When a Country's Government Sees the Return of Its King as an Unwanted Revival". It goes poorly for all involved.
  • Leaked Experience: It is actually split evenly between the characters after battle.
  • Literal Split Personality: Ryu and Fou-Lu thanks to a botched summoning by the Fou Empire's predecessor, and resulting in the god they called forth not only being split in two but the half that became Ryu being temporally displaced six hundred years in the future.
  • Low-Level Advantage: You'll get better stat bonuses from later Masters if you keep your levels down early in the game.
  • Love Hurts:
    • This is pretty much what the Hex Cannon relies on in order to inflict damage — the closer the sacrifice that was loaded into the cannon is to the intended victim, the greater the damage it causes.
    • Cray spends most of the game searching for Nina's sister and his love interest, only to kill her to end her misery as she's literally one with the building the Hex Cannon is in.
  • Magical Eye: Though not technically evil in this case, the Dragon Eyes are depicted as actual non-human, draconic eyes and the people who possess them are fated for either great good or great evil. Ryu is depicted as having Psychic Powers as a result.
    • Depicted much more blatantly in the Comic-Book Adaptation of IV where the Dragon Eyes are explicitly depicted as Hellish Pupils; Fou-Lu and Deis have them constantly, and Ryu gets them when his Dragon Eye activate. This even goes to the extent of Rhem having Hellish Pupils when she is "ridden"/possessed by Deis, as well as an Affectionate Parody in the "behind the cover" 4-koma comics included in the manga.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Try to have Ershin buff her Int. and AP quickly (through Rare Candy or Masters like Rwolf and/or Njomo). After a certain point, she will get access to all level 4 elemental spells, which would make her one of the best spellcasters in the game. (Recovering AP, meanwhile, is no problem for her, since from the start she has a steady CP growth.)
    • Coward's Way (Stoll's final skill) is like the Chicken Knife of Final Fantasy fame, whose power increases depending on the number of times you escaped from battle. The Fairy Magics also grow in power every time you use them, because it also levels up their barracks.
    • The Rusted Sword from the Endgame+ turns into the Slayer once you kill 1,000 enemies with it.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: If someone was downed in battle and didn't get revived, they would be brought back with 1 and have their max health reduced. Also, there's a move called Disembowel which inflicts HP to 1 at the cost of reducing the user's maximum HP until the next time they rest at an inn.
  • Meaningful Name: Ryu is constantly referred to as the "Yorae Dragon" by the other Endless. Following with the localization convention of transliterating Japanese kanji into Korean hanja, 如來 (yŏrae in earlier romanizations, yeorae using the Revised Romanization method) is the Korean translation of a Pali word, Tathagata. It is a word used by Gautama Buddha to describe himself and other buddhas in lieu of personal pronouns. It roughly translates to "One Who Has Thus Come/Gone," describing how the Buddha has broken from the endless cycle of samsara (or impermanence) to attain nirvana. This relates to Ryu's final act in the story after he absorbs Fou-Lu: He breaks the power of the Endless (save Deis), rendering them into mortals and freeing them from an endless life of passive observation.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Mami's bells she wore in her hair. In fact, the very incident that causes Fou-Lu to Go Mad from the Revelation was seeing Mami's bells fall from the sky after he was at ground zero of a Hex Cannoning.
  • Mercy Kill: Elina pleads to Cray to end her miserable existence, and he has no choice but to comply.
  • Metal Detector Puzzle: An early mini-game where you had to find buried parts to repair your sand-ship with. The mini-game could later be revisited to dig up various materials with which you could craft special pieces of armor for Ershin, and abusing this can lead to a Disc-One Nuke for her.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Pretty much all the NPC dragons/Endless fall into this category; justified in that each dragon is the Physical God of a specific element or force.
  • Mook Commander: The platypus-like Wakwak enemies would sometimes space out and do nothing, but another type of Wakwak could command the grunts to attack you, with the "Command" skill. Even with it, Wakwaks are basically still Goombas. The skill itself could also be used to counter "confused" status.
  • My Greatest Failure:
  • Never Grew Up: The entire town of Chek, with the possible exception of the Abbess.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Yuna, Soniel and Fou-Lu, in a Projected Man when he first appears to Ryu. Depicted in the official artbook, and especially in the manga.
    • The cover for Volume V of the manga has fun with this in giving both Fou-Lu and Ryu matching Nice Hats.
    • All this is a remarkable example of Shown Their Work. note 
  • Non-Malicious Monster: In the beginning of the game, during a surprise encounter with the Sand Dragon, Nina comments that dragons don't usually attack people, but Cray interjects that even if it doesn't mean any harm, they mustn't let the Dragon hit them.
  • No Romantic Resolution: The manga, for all its worth in giving Ryu an actual character and eventual development, it severely tones down the one thing that it was clear in him as a Heroic Mime: His interest in Nina as the game progressed. The Good Ending in the game made him come back after sending The Endless back to their world solely for his love for Nina, the manga however, doesn't touch upon this subject and Ryu comes back for friendship, in fact, Nina wasn't directly mentioned by him during the sequence.
  • Nominal Importance: Important characters to the plot are recognizable from their in-game portraits when you talk to them.
  • No Name Given: The last evocation you find in the game comes from the Rock Dragon, literally "the Nameless One".
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: Your party members will remind you where to go when you talk to them in a camp.
  • One Steve Limit: Deis specifically asks Ershin to call her by her real name, instead of calling her "Ershin".
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • Entering the Great Plains forces you to use only Ryu. In the Great Plains, there's a Temple where a lot of Nut enemies are found. Nut Enemies are weak, incredibly hard to hit, but are weak against Fire Spells. The Burn spell costs 1 AP and is capable of killing most of them with 1 shot. Since Ryu is by himself, he gains far more XP per battle than is possible for a very long time with a full party since XP is split by the number of people traveling with you normally. Sadly, only Ryu can be leveled this way.
    • In S. Sinchon you can battle the Bot enemy, which its XP increases each time it is hit with a combo attack while its body is in its default state. While it assumes a damaged form, it takes 3 rounds to return from its broken state, the process can be repeated for a maximum of 65535 XP per bot. Since it can appear in a group of 3 bots, you can score 196605 XP in a single battle. And if you wish to power level a single character, you either use Marlok's Monopoly skill or kill all PCs safe for the one you wish to level. Don't forget to heal the bots though.
    • Orochi in the final dungeon would grow stronger (and have a higher experience yield) each time it is hit with a physical attack. Wail on it with weak melees and heal when necessary to eventually reach the experience cap.
  • Permanently Missable Content: In Chiqua late in the game, the Merchant Fu Chuman will ask you to fetch one of three rare items in order to get directions. One of these "items" is the Flawed Gem; if you give that to him instead of the other two (a Koshka urn or the ingredients for shisu), you'll have to say goodbye to Ryu's Mutant transformation.
  • Physical God: Fou-Lu, the other dragons, and Ryu.
  • Power Copying: How you learn most of the customizable skills that you can't learn from Masters. Party members defend and once the enemy uses it and a party member gets an ! above their head, they learn the skill.
  • Powerful, but Inaccurate:
    • Ershin's Risky Shot guarantees a critical hit if it connects, but only has 40% accuracy.
    • The Master Una grants this as a passive trait thanks to her Will ability Wild; anyone apprenticed to her will hit harder but less often.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Scias if his health gets dropped to critical and he actives his Glass Cannon mode.
    Scias: You will feel my blade...
  • Recurring Element: Regarding the Masters. Like the previous game, the first Master is a Walking the Earth spellcaster (Mygas and Rwolf), a thief who required the total number of items in your inventory in some way (D'lonzonote  and Stollnote ), a Fairy (Meryleep and Njomo), Ambiguously Evil (Fahlnote  and Marloknote ), someone who asks you to have a high score in the Fishing Minigame (Giotto and Gyosil), a Laughably Evil Boss (Emitai and Khan), someone who subtly hints that you obtain another Master (Hondaranote  and Sister Lytanote ), and lastly, one with a Gotta Catch Them All! requirement (Ladonnote  and Bunyannote ).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Played very straight with Ryu (red, and your typical Hot-Blooded hero) and Fou-Lu (a calm, calculating Anti-Villain).
  • Ring Out: One minigame where Nina fights one of the Shikk sailors by pushing each other over the mast of a ship.
  • Role-Reversal Boss: In the Bad Ending Ryu and Fou Lu (both of whom the player's controlled at various points) fuse into a dragon, with the final boss fight being against the rest of the player's own party.
  • Royal "We": Used by the Emperor Soniel of Hesperia, as appropriate. Also by Fou-Lu, though for him it's partially justified in that his soul is split in two, the other half being Ryu, so he's sort of two people at once.
  • Sand Bridge at Low Tide: Done backwards, our heroes walk onto Saldine island, then find themselves stranded at high tide.
  • Save the Princess: Deconstructed, rather harshly. When you finally find the princess, she's far beyond saving...
  • Scary Scorpions: Scorpions are early game monsters encountered in the desert around Sarai and they're huge.
  • Secret Art: Four of the playable characters (the only holdouts being Ryu and Ershin) use a special attack exclusive to them if they use a melee skill at the end of certain combos.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Deis trapped in Ershin's armor.
  • Shameful Shrinking: Ursula and Scias try to hijack a sandflier (long story). The merchant who owned it is Marlok, who gave the party a dressing down (before deciding to lend them the money to buy their own), causing the members of the party who did it to shrink.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Your starting point.
  • Ship Tease: The manga adaptation has this in spades (not surprisingly, seeing as it was in a manga magazine geared towards young adult women), particularly regarding Fou-Lu x Mami.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Plenty of the game's population.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Ice Peak and its surroundings.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Happens no matter which end-game you pick; it's just a matter of whether you decide that Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Most enemies are sprite-based, but some of the bosses use 3D models.
  • Stone Wall:
    • Two types of enemies found at the Abandoned Village, the Trunked and the Trean, have a TON of HP and defenses and HP regeneration, but will not attack the party. The perfect punching bags for practicing Combos.
    • Chopam in the Ancient Tomb is invincible in its first two turns.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Dragonslayer. A certain part near the end of Act 3 required the group to find and use it.
  • Third-Option Adaptation: The manga's rendition of the good and bad endings.
  • Third-Person Person: Ershin. This becomes justified once it is revealed who "Ershin" really is. "Ershin" is what the suit of armor calls Deis.
  • Title Drop: The manga's long Utsurowazarumono - Breath of Fire IV title, Utsurowazarumono can be translated as The Endless or The Unfading Ones, so anytime Ryu, Fou-Lu and the other Endless are mentioned in story it also doubles as this.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Princess Elina, who pretty much devoted her life to finding a way to end the war and promote peaceful coexistence between the continents, and consequently, was well loved by the people in the east. She was chosen by Yuna as a sacrifice because of this.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Mami's bells in both the game and the Comic-Book Adaptation.
    • The Comic-Book Adaptation actually manages to elevate them to a frank Cradle of Loneliness. In Chapter 19, Fou-Lu is depicted cradling Mami's bells whilst giving a very feral smile; in Chapter 25, Ryu even points out that Mami's bells have become Fou-Lu's "most treasured possession", which begins the progression from the Bad Ending to the Good Ending.
  • Trapped in Another World: Occurs in spades and is arguably a major theme of the game with the Endless, who were summoned to this world against their will. The dragon gods have accepted their lot in life, the others are not that pleased.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Poor Fou-Lu. First, the Empire doesn't want him to reclaim his throne, so they send General Yohm to pursue and kill him. Repeatedly. A cute boar he befriends makes a sacrifice of itself to open an escape path for him, while the only person in the world he may have had any love for is taken prisoner by Imperial forces, then tortured and used as living ammunition for the Carronade, before Fou takes a direct hit from the Empire's magical superweapon. No wonder he wants to Kill 'Em All.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Ryu gains the ability to transform into a dragon early on in the game, but it takes him seeing Captain Rasso massacre a village full of innocents (and forcing him to duel with a monster shortly afterwards) for him to unlock the more powerful transformation.
  • Tree Top Town: The Pabpab village resides in trees, since it's in the middle of a swamp.
  • Twin Telepathy: Ryu and Fou-Lu are implied to have this to a limited extent in IV (though for the most part this is only explicitly noted at the game's end).
    • Very explicitly depicted in the Comic-Book Adaptation of IV; in fact, it's actually a major plot-driving force in the manga.
  • Underground Level: There are heaps of these.
  • The Unreveal: Instead of giving the party actual money to buy a sandflier, Marlok gives them a cash bond. How much the bond is worth is never actually stated in-game (all the sandflier merchant says about it is that it has "many zeroes"). This is possibly because the game doesn't want the player to think they can grind enough Zenny to buy the craft without Marlok's help.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Both played straight and subverted:
    • Fou-Lu in Sonne, who is portrayed by Mami as her brain-injured cousin Ryong. No matter her cousin has horns in one of the few towns in the game not comprised of Beast Men. The landlord is in fact the only one who mentions something amiss.
    • Played straight and subverting the prior occurrence at the same time when Ryu returns to Sonne later in the game, where Ryu is greeted as if he were the missing "Ryong", despite the fact Ryu has blue hair and no horns and a definite lack of Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe. Either Sonne is a village full of psychic farmers, or they possess ridiculously strong facial recognition abilities (in the artwork Ryu and Fou-Lu share the same face, but this is hard to see since they have vastly different expressions and features).
  • Unwanted Revival: Fou-Lu. Though technically he never died (he's immortal), General Yohm explicitly states upon first meeting him that the Empire finds his resurrection "inconvenient" and that they'd rather him "rest a little longer" in his tomb.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Quite a few of them, not counting the ones that are literally useless to begin with (like "Bad Back", "Distract" or "Feign Swing").
  • When Trees Attack: There's monster trees as a random encounter and if you attack them with fire, they become even more dangerous to fight.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Ursula in a particularly hilarious scene wherein she and Nina are discussing phobias. It turns out Ursula is extremely phobic of bugs...Even sea lice, which are completely harmless. Merely seeing one is enough to cause Ursula, normally quite the Type A Tsundere, to scream like a cheerleader.
  • Womb Level: The path leading to Princess Elina.
  • The Worf Barrage: The first Dragon Summon you obtain is ineffectual against the first Boss Battle you have to face shortly after this.
  • Wutai: The continent of Hesperia is based on Asian cultures.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Fou-Lu constantly speaks in this manner in conjunction with the Royal "We".
    • In a backhanded salute to this, the manga adaptation of IV apparently has Fou-Lu speaking in what amounts to Ye Olde Butcherede Japanese, as opposed to the original Keigo.

Alternative Title(s): Breath Of Fire 4

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