Breath of Fire Advance
Preview - classic 16-bit RPG action on its way to GameBoy Advance
Capcom's RPG series spans several consoles including the Super Nintendo where it kicked off. It's no surprise to this writer that the original BOF game is the first to undergo through translation, but given the series' success, particularly in Japan, I doubt it will be the last. The story is of a land where dragons once lived, and fought through greed, a notion inflicted upon them by the goddess Tyr, who offered them the gift of wishing. Retribution came courtesy of the Light Dragon Clan, whose followers banished Tyr to a tomb in a far off land, never to return, but it came at a cost. Back to the present day, and dark times have returned courtesy of the evil Dark Dragon Clan leader Zog, whose soldiers are pillaging and looting the lands of the Light, in hope of uncovering the six Goddess Keys that will unlock Tyr's tomb and the power of a wish. There's a hell of a lot more, and in classic 16-bit RPG fashion it will take a lot of effort to uncover every nook and cranny. The game's combat system allows for only four characters to take part in an encounter, but during the game Ryu and his eventual partner Nina enlist the services of many others from other clans, including Bo, the Forest Clan fighter whose special talent is archery, Ox, from the Blacksmith clan whose strength is unmatched, and many others. The level of detail in the BOF series' artwork and the daring emotional storylines make for an exciting adventure, and one that certainly deserves to appear on the GameBoy Advance.
Of course the original BOF is quite old now, but then so are Mario Kart Advance and the like. Delving back into the Super Nintendo adventure is like picking up a familiar book. It has lost nothing, and thanks to the team at Capcom carrying out the conversion, will gain improved visuals and animations as well as little gameplay additions here and there. One of the more amusing aspects of some of the other games in the BOF series was the amount of little extra things one could take on. BOF Advance will feature a little fishing subgame for Ryu and presumably more quirky additions here and there. The save game system has also been updated, which is a very thoughtful touch given the stop/start nature of the GameBoy Advance itself. Although there's no link cable action, we look forward to the possibility of its inclusion in BOF2 Advance if it ever happens. Although in actual fact very few GBA RPGs have been officially announced for America (let alone the UK), we foresee BOF Advance proving a very popular import if ever it does. Thanks to the series' reputation in the USA already, we suspect it will do. Release Date - July in Japan