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The third game in the long-running Eastern RPG series Breath of Fire, released on the Play Station 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 typical Magic World, 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.


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).
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Caer Xhan.
  • Akari Kaida
  • The Alcoholic: Fahl, one of the masters. Arguably Garr, whose bio states he likes liquor. He is also encountered early on in Fahl's bar and an NPC notes that he goes there often.
  • All in a Row
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: There are chests of drawers on more than one occasion.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit
  • Audio Adaptation: Breath of Fire III Drama Album, which has Nina as the Narrator, talking about her adventures with Ryu pre-Time Skip to two original characters.
  • 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...
      • Awesome Yet Practical: A couple of other gene combinations are not only far more useful and easier to maintain, but still quite Badass in their own right. The Warrior/Trance gene combo, for example, nets the Myrmidon form, which can dish out about as much pain (even against the final boss) as Kaiser form, while Shadow/Trance (noticing a commonality here?) nets Tiamat, the game's premier mook-masher (high HP, a non-elemental breath weapon, immune to status changes, and since it combines your whole party, it protects your team!) The AP costs for these 2 forms? Both together still cost just over half of Kaiser form.
  • Back From the Dead: Myria, from the first game.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Garr.
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button: Steal the apple off the GooKing if you want it to stay and fight. Though you may regret it if you're not prepared enough... They have a chance to drop the Goo King Sword if you manage to survive, though.
  • 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 Minigame: One of the possible jobs one can give to the Faeries. Includes a "Guessing the Number" and "Guessing the Minor/Mayor Number Order".
  • Bilingual Bonus/Theme Naming: All McNeil ghosts are named after business concepts. Similarly, all characters related to the port city of Raphala have their names based off types of fishing bait.
  • Biological Mashup:
    • Ryu's "Hybrid" dragon form can take on four different appearances which takes characteristics and skills based off his teammates.
    • Stallion, Balio and Sunder's merged One-Winged Angel.
  • 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 I 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.
  • Can't Drop the Hero
  • Cash Lure: You can catch the fish man merchant Maniro by baiting your hook with a gold bar.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Rei's infamous "Doesn't this just beat all?"
    • Nina's very insistent that Ryu "is not a bad dragon".
  • 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.
  • Convection, Schmonvection
  • Cross Counter: Performed, by all things, a pair of fairies on each other when they get tired of the other one calling them dummies.
  • Death Mountain: Mt. Glaus, Mt. Myrneg, Mt. Levett, Mt. Boumore...
  • Demoted to Extra: Deis, still an important NPC, but this time only helping as a Master.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Steel Beach.
  • Door to Before
  • 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).
  • Dummied Out:
    • 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 burried 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.
  • Elite Tweak: The Masters system.
  • Evil Eye: There's one skill named that way, which paralyses the victim.
  • Extra Turn: The EX Turn option, which grants those with a high Agi stat a second turn.
  • Fishing Minigame: As expected. It was also made an special mode in the PSP port which unlocked never-published concept art.
  • Five-Man Band: Fits to a tee.
  • For Science!: Momo at times.
  • Four Is Death: The Guardians.
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Rei and Momo. As noted, Garr is a Barefoot Cartoon Animal.
  • Get on the Boat: Later in the game you get to sail the Inner Seas with Raphala's ship.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Sin City, a woman says she sells "everything that's not in the menu."
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: Makes up a lot of the game's boss gallery.
  • Gravity Barrier: A notable egregious one. One of the teleporters leads very close to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon and PAST the Desert Of Death, but you can't step out of it due to a crate blocking out the stairs...even thought the characters could as easily jump down the damn machine!
  • Green Hill Zone: Most of Yrall Region, inclduing the game's starting point, Cedar Woods.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Fairy Village.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Most famously, Balio and Sunder's first encounter. There's also Garr's fight at the contest.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Desert of Death.
  • Inevitable Tournament: The Arena/Genmel "Contest of Champions".
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Royal Sword (you have to fish for whales to trade for this one!), or even better, the Goo King Sword.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Teepo has Ryu go through one.
  • Justified Save Point: The main method of saving is a journal found during camping.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Deconstructed. A mysterious cloaked man hires Ryu, Reeve 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.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: The Dolphin boss speaks in a Kansai regional accent in the original Japanese and was even called the Kansai Dolphin. This got turned into a Crocodile Dundee-esque Australian accent in the English version.
  • Last of His Kind: Played up with Ryu. Later he finds out Dragnier still houses a few extra survivors, although they've all relinquished their powers and the only one who hasn't performed a Heroic Sacrifice to transfer the power of Infinity to Ryu.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Mt. Zublo.
  • Lighthouse Point: Raphala's Lighthouse, which is filled with all sort of monsters and ghosts.
  • Locked Door: A few throughout the game, mostly containing items. Fortunately, Rei's a Master of Unlocking.
  • Lost World: The Lost Shore.
  • 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.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Palet.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mentors: All Masters in theory, but Bunyan fills this role most explicitly, even before he becomes a Master.
  • Mr. Exposition: Both Deis and Jono.
  • 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.
  • My Greatest Failure: For Rei, it's failing to protect his "family".
    • 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.
  • Non-Human Undead: There are zombie dragon bosses.
  • Novelization: Breath of Fire - Childhood Chapter, focusing mostly around the first half of the game.
  • Now Where Was I Going Again?: Party members will remind you where they were heading to when talked in the camp.
  • 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.
  • 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 Deis[1] 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 Backstory).
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Thanks to the Lava Men who give out more experience after being attacked with fire, Mt. Zublo can become one. However, better come prepared, because one too many can mean instant death.
    • Earlier, Tar Men provide a lot of experience for Ryu if he takes the plea of a previously met NPC Tar Man to "not freeze us" to its logical conclusion.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Durandal's skills are only useful in two specific circumstances. First, training Beyd. Second, earning Hondara as a Master.
  • Point of No Return: The moment you step into the Black Ship, at least for a good while.
    • Briefly, Momo's tower.
  • Port Town: The cities of Raphala and Kombinat. There's also Parch and Dock.
  • Power Copying: Becomes a series' staple with the Skill system.
  • 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 Seven Hundred 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.
    • There's the Kyrie spell, naturally learnt by one member as well as taught by one of the Masters, and a great help on a certain difficult boss.
  • Robot Buddy: Honey, Momo's robotic pet.
  • 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?
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Deis as she's first encountered.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The "Influence" Skill marks one target which all low-Int enemies will attack until death.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The Desert of Death.
  • Sidetrack Bonus: Going on alternate paths in the Desert of Death nets you a few good items.
  • Shout-Out:
    • 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".
    • There are two enemy Shout Outs to fellow Capcom franchise Resident Evil. Two of the late-game enemies are named Plant42 and Yawn. The latter, however, is Lost in Translation as the enemy was renamed Foul Weed.
    • Rei's "I meant to do that" leap across the roof of McNeil Mansion should look familiar to fans of The Castleof Cagliostro.
  • Space Station: The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the Orbital Station Myria.
    • Actually the Station only hovered above a city.
  • Sprite Polygon Mix
  • Stock Scream: Surprisingly, the sound effect of Myria's Venom spell is the Howie Long scream slowed down. You can clearly hear it in this sped-up video.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Deis' theme sounds suspiciously like Survivor's Eye of the Tiger. Falling Green is a dead ringer for Chrono Triggers Secret of the Forest. The Game Over theme is basically Chrono Triggers Windy Scene's first notes repeated over and over.
  • Time Skip: At the halfway point.
  • True Companions: Ryu, Rei and Teepo.
  • 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.
  • Tutorial Failure: Good luck finding your way through the desert by following the in-game instructions.
  • Underground Level: Dauna Mines.
  • The Un-Reveal: 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.)
  • Vice City: The aptly-named Syn 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.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Ryu, as well as Rei once he gets the Weretiger command.
  • Warp Whistle: There are teleporters scattered all over the world, which allow an easy way to reach different areas at once.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Myria, although somewhat open to interpretation.
  • 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.
  • World Tree: The main Yggdrasil (who doubles as a Master) and the several minor ones spread all over the world.

Notes

  1. though the latter name is itself a feminization of "Deus," Latin for "God"
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