Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Throat Of Ashes



In case you don't recognise these screenshots, they are from Breath of Fire. Since I don't really have any games here in Finland, I ended up playing some ROMs that I have on my PDA, using a SNES emulator. Because of the difficulty in playing on the PDA, I'm only able to take on RPGs. Breath of Fire is the first one I tackled.

Breath of Fire was developed by Capcom in 1993 and the English version was released by Squaresoft in 1994. I have been playing this game since I got here (though not very much, I have to admit it) and finished it two days ago. It was a pleasant experience. It is a classic game, and worth playing by RPG enthusiasts. Let me tell you some about the game.

The plot is simple and well paced. The characters are pretty well individualised, mostly because of their abilities. Each character has a special skill that they can use on the world map, if they are leading the party. For example, Ryu can fish, Bo can hunt and walk through forests, Mogu can dig holes and so forth. You need to use these skills at specific locations in order to progress through the story, however using them independently will yield you rewards (even huge secrets). NPCs are somewhat even more dull than in most RPGs. They mostly have those typical single-sentence roles, that are completely out of context with world events. One interesting thing however, is the day-night transition. While travelling on the world map, days pass, and when you enter a town, the time of day is reflected in the NPCs' activities. Combat is pretty monotonous, all you have to do most of the time is activate auto-battle, except during boss fights, where you have to buff yourself up with spells first, and then activate the auto-battle. Some of the secrets are pretty interesting, though you have no really big thingy at the end of the long chase after side-quests (e.g. Ruby Weapon). The menu system is poor and unintuitive, which coupled with the fact that the names of items are limited to about 8 characters, makes you want to spend as less time on the menu screen as possible. Add in the fact that the effects of certain items (such as accessories and special armour/weapons) isn't visible, and you've got yourself one hell of a headache.

Besides all the bad parts I've pointed out, the game was pretty enjoyable overall (maybe I see it that way because I have no other games to play here). Some parts were unexpected, and even though sometimes it wasn't clear where to go to progress through the story, I pretty much had fun all the way, except through the battles for the most part, since they became boring. But I ended up playing till the end, since I was curious how the story would unfold. Like I said, RPG enthusiasts should try it (though I'm pretty sure you've all finished it by now), hard-core gamers should beat it (since it's a classic), but everyone else, you might want to think twice before sinking your teeth into it.

1 comment:

dr. Vincze-Nagy AndrĂ¡s said...

Sometimes life can't bless you better than not having too much games on your demand. Only then you can find gems like this. I'm prety sure that there are thousands of games we would love to play, but we simply can't because we have "better things to do". When you are forced to improvise you can find some stuff like this. I loved your review, and I would really like to play this. I simply have better things to do know :)

Maybe if internet dies, and PCs will start to eat people, then we will be able to still find peace in games like this.