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Breath of Fire III

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Released: 1998

Genre: RPG

Format reviewed: PlayStation

Publisher: Capcom

Developer: Capcom

Submitted by: Gareth Chappell

Breath of Fire III follows the path of a boy named Ryu. The story goes that an ancient legend speaks of a powerful Dragon Clan that suddenly vanished without explanation. Far from having disappeared completely, the remains of the Dragon people have formed into ore that can be used as energy. One day, while miners are excavating the ore, they come across a small dragon imprisoned in the mine and a new legend begins.

While the story and world of Breath of Fire III are reminiscent of the titles that preceded it, most other things have changed. Battles are still turn-based but the interface now comes in the form of a "+" shape. simply pressing left, right, up or down to selects from the options available. This streamlined interface really helps the flow of battles.

Furthermore, a number of other unique features have been put into place, most notable of these is the way random battles occur. Wandering around dungeons holds to the standard formula of random encounters. However, while working your way around the BoF III world map there are no random battles whatsoever. This allows you to explore the map without fear of being attacked. Should you wish to level up characters, exclamation marks appear on the map and pressing the attack button will initiate an encounter.

A good RPG needs a strong story and Breath of Fire III truly excels at this with events unfolding at a breakneck pace. That's not to say the game's a breeze, indeed there are a number of situations which require players to swallow their pride and beat a retreat. Thankfully, the title is balanced enough that sections are not replayed continually and determioned players will get through.

The inspired plot, the endearing and differant characters and general sense of genius really helps to push Breath of Fire III towards greatness. In fact the only real downside to it is that one day you'll finsih it. Breath of Fire III is one of the finest role-playing games ever made, and absolutely essential for anyone wanting to lose themselves in a different world for weeks.