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Overview

Breath of Fire IV is a JRPG set in a world based on European and Japanese Folklore designed by Tatsuya Yoshikawa. The world is divided by two main factions: the Western Fou Empire and the Eastern Kingdoms. The first is modeled on Eastern Asia and feudal China, and the second on Arabia and Medieval Europe. At the start of the game the two factions are in uneasy peace after years of War, but this is under threat thanks to Military personnel on both sides.

The world is filled with many different kinds of races and humans, all drawn in a detailed anime sprite style. Many of the races are based on real world animals but with human traits.

Gameplay

The game is mainly viewed from an isometric view very similar to Breath of Fire III the player is able to rotate the camera around any area 360 degrees. But is unable to tilt a feature that was in Breath of Fire III. Battles take place in the area the player is exploring, there is no separate battle area in which the characters fight.

Players help Ryu (and in some cases Fou-lu, see below) explore the gameworld, using various methods, to discover their destiny.

System

A battle in the dessert.

In Breath of Fire IV the battles take place in an approximation of the area the player is exploring (much like in the previous title Breath of Fire III), teams of up to three characters fight enemies in a turn based style attacking with magic and physical means to reduce their HP to zero. However the 'back row' contains all the other characters and in place of another action the player can 'swap-out' characters much like in a tag team match; whilst characters are in the back row they regain health and magic power.

Combo System

A combo system, new to the franchise, enables the player to combine spells and actions from different characters to create a more powerful attack. For example if two players cast lighting on an enemy the their spells are combined to create a more powerful electric attack; combining different kinds of spells an also wield devastating results. Some single attacks, having multiple effects can have the same effect as a combo.

Story

Nina discovers Ryu at the start of the game. Naked.

Breath of Fire IV's story starts as Nina is in search of her older sister, Elina, who went missing on a diplomatic mission. As Nina searches towns along the 'great desert' with Cray in tow she happens upon a crater scarred in the ground where an abnormal object has fallen. Investigating more she is confronted by a large Dragon whom transforms into Ryu before her very eyes. Naked. Ryu, remembering nothing of his origins is persuaded to join Nina in her search for her sister.

And so the story begins, and it unfolds the focus is drawn more to Ryu and Fou-lu as the player switches between control of both characters at completely different sides of the world. The struggle between these two characters and there drives are at end and this element creates a compelling and interesting storyline.

Characters

Protagonist: Ryu

Ryu

The player mainly plays as Ryu. Ryu at the start of the game is found naked and with no memory of who is is or where he came from. This is a staple in the Breath of Fire series most of the titles have a similar beginning. Ryu discovers quickly he has the power to transform into Dragons gaining different forms as the game progresses.

Antagonist: Fou-lu

Fou-Lu

The player also takes control of the antagonist, Fou-lu at certain points in the game. Fou-lo is the founder of the ' Western Fou Empire', which he founded centuries ago. Fou-lo is referred to as the God-Emperor, because he seems never to die, and seeks to take over the world and rule it as a god. However he needs Ryu to attain this goal.

Note: Both Ryu and Fou-lu are actually of the same creation. Originally one being summoned from the realm of gods, they were split in a incantation ceremony when it went wrong; cast across the world and misplaced in time.

Nina

Nina

Nina, a white winged human, is the Heroin of Breath of Fire IV and joins Ryu early in the game, sharing her name and subtle likeness with the Heroines of the previous Breath of Fire games; she is a great magic user and is princess to the .

Cray

caption

Cray joins Ryu in his quest and is a member of a cat like race of the Woren tribe. He is of heavy build and carries a large wooden post concentrating on physical attacks and skills. A subplot involves Cray's affection for Nina's sister: Elina.

Ershin

Ershin

Ershin is another of Ryu's supporting cast and is encased in a mechanical suit of protective armor. She always talks in the third person, her attacks are very explosive.

Scias

Scias

Scias, another of Ryu's potential party members, is a wiry merc with a proficiency for swords. Harkening from a dog-like called the Grassrunner Clan, he lives for money.

Ursula

Ursula

Ursula is the granddaughter of a great military commander. Kitsune (fox like) in appearance she is a shadowy character with a great proficiency for guns and speed.

Dragons

Kaiser Form

Dragons, like in the previous Breath of Fire games, are heavily tied to the story. In Breath of Fire IV the world is watched over by 'the Endless' immortal gods in the form of Dragons, whom control the elements and watch over the people. The plot is heavily tied to these beings and as their interactions with the people and the player.

Appearances in Other Games

Ryu and Nina appeared in SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters 2 'Expansion Edition', as cameo guest characters.

Dragon forms and transformations

Both Ryu and Fou-Lu can transform into dragons, for a limited time, in battle, dependent on how much MP they have left. Multiple forms are unlocked as the game progresses, at varying levels of strength and cost.

Breath of Fire IV treats dragon forms slightly differently than Breath of Fire III, moving away from the dragon 'Gene' system, Breath of Fire IV instead has an 'upgrade' system. As Ryu (and Fou-lu as their dragon forms are connected) gain experience they also gain 'game points' and at certain increments the player can ask to 'upgrade' a dragon form to a superior state, this change is permanent. Certain forms do not upgrade, however these forms are already quite powerful.

Another difference from the last game is how the dragon form is displayed and how it's actions are performed on screen. Turning into a dragon form causes Ryu (or Fou-lu) to become a Human/Dragon hybrid, with wings and horns and different colored skin. This form (depending on the form and if the player is currently Ryu or Fou-lu) can cast all the spells and actions that the un-transformed version can with certain additions. One of these additions is breath attacks. Breath attacks cause a full transformation and a summon animation (much like summons in Final Fantasy VII) these attacks cost no 'AP' and can be cast every turn until the either the battle is over or the form reverts.

In order to keep some sort of balance, dragon forms cost AP to envoke and maintain. For example Ryu's first dragon form 'Aura' costs 1AP per level of the player, so at level 10 it would cost 10AP to transform and would cost 2AP per turn (1/4 of the transformation cost rounded down - this is the same for all forms).

Here is a list of Dragon forms and their upgrades:

Ryu

  • Aura - Upgrade: None
  • Wyvern - Upgrade: Weyr
  • Behemoth - Upgrade: Mammoth
  • Myrmidon - Upgrade: Knight
  • Mutant - Upgrade: Punk
  • Kaiser - Upgrade: None

Fou-lu

  • Astral Dragon - Upgrade: None
  • Serpent - Upgrade: Peist
  • Behemoth - Upgrade: Mammoth
  • Tyrant - Upgrade: None
  • Infini - Upgrade: None

Development and translation

Breath of Fire IV was developed by Capcom's Production studio 3 immediately following work on Breath of Fire III. The scenario and overall story arch were written and developed by Makoto Ikehara, who took the game in a 'new direction' leaving the story arch of the previous three games. An extended ending involving the death of 'Yuna' was cut from the final version due to lack of development time.

Cameo appearances of Breath of Fire III character include: Momo, Rei and Teepo. As well as a variety of enemies from previous titles.

Translation

The English translation was a rushed, the North American version was localized in seven months to coincide with a holiday release in 2000, this left small portions of the game un-translated: mainly the title graphic and end credit sequence. This was fixed in the European release.

The skill 'Analyze' which allowed Scias to get detail information and stats on enemies during battle was removed completely to avoid translating the large amounts of text.

Some of the spells and names were changed from English to Korean text for visual effect.

Censorship

In the North American and European versions of Breath of Fire IV certain scenes were deleted, text was altered, to remove light profanity and suggestive images were toned down or removed. Some examples include:

Decapitation scene from the Japanese version.

During a scene in which Fou-lu kills the Emperor Soniel, in the Japanese version he can be seen removing his head with a sword. In the European and American editions this death is off screen.

Two scenes which contained hints of nudity, Nina and Ursula bathing and Ursula removing her pants to prove she was female to sailors; were shortened in the North American Release and removed intirely later completely in a later release along with the European version.

In the Japanese version Scais has a drinking problem, his speech is slurred and wavey. However in the North American and European versions this was replaced with stuttering.

Related releases

Both an Art book and a soundtrack CD were given limited release (both released in August 2000). Mostly available in . With a very limited release as import in English speaking countries.

A novelization of the Breath of Fire IV story was released in 2000 and was written by Yayoi Jourmon

Soundtrack

Disc One

Soundtrack cover

01 - Breath of Fire IV ~ Opening Animation ~

02 - Endings and Beginnings ~ Main Theme ~

03 - Run Straight

04 - The World Beneath Your Feet

05 - It's an Easy Win

06 - 2000 Treasure if You Win

07 - Relessed (Relaxed & Stressed)

08 - Endings and Beginnings

09 - NONONO

10 - Airily

11 - First Emperor

12 - Men of War

13 - Take the Winnings and Run

14 - A Warring God

15 - Tiny Village in the Desert

16 - Gotta Turn it Around, Gotta Turn Around

17 - Under Pressure

18 - Bastard Sword

19 - Working Today, Too

20 - Out of His Mind

21 - Unbearable Atmosphere

22 - Truth and Dreams

23 - Watch Your Step!

24 - Darkness

25 - ...Yet the Merchants Will Go

26 - ~ A Man ~

27 - Sound of a Little Zenny

28 - Brave Heart

29 - Dying Wish

30 - Maybe I'll Even Buy a Sheep

31 - Freefall

32 - How Long Will the Rain Last?

33 - Whirlpools Inside (The Frog's Song)

34 - Flutter (Butterfly)

35 - Shima-shima at Your Back (Buzz Buzz Buzz)

36 - Unfading Ones

Disc Two

01 - Song of the Plains

02 - Echo

03 - Thousand Wings

04 - The Sacred Ground Far Away

05 - Tototon Toton To

06 - What the Samba?

07 - Get the Fish!

08 - I Caught a Big One!

09 - Landscape

10 - Like the Sun, Like the Moon

11 - I'm a Faerie!

12 - Game Over

13 - Prayer

14 - Even Towards Death, Valiantly

15 - Curse

16 - Turismo

17 - Replay

18 - Seagull Flies

19 - Go By Ship!

20 - Pabu-pabu Puka-puka

21 - Pavane for a Dead Princess

22 - Destruction

23 - A God's Beast

24 - A Raging Emperor's Banquet

25 - Dragon's Blood

Music for the Ending

26 - I. A Wing From the Sky

27 - II. Relessed

28 - III. Endings and Beginnings

29 - A Raging Emperor's Banquet ~ Remix ~

30 - Pabu-pabu Puka-puka Song

31 - A Little After the Dream

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