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Breath of Fire IV

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Breath of Fire IV
ブレス オブ ファイアIV うつろわざるもの
Breath of Fire IV Utsurowazaru Mono
BofFIVLogo
Developer(s) Capcom
Publisher(s) Capcom (NA/EU/JP) PS
SourceNext (EU/JP) PC
Release date(s) PlayStation:

April 27, 2000 (JP)
Nov 28, 2000 (NA)
Aug 21, 2001 (EU)

PC:

May 30, 2003 (JP)
Sept 10, 2003 (EU)

Playstation Network:

July 6, 2011 (JP)
Aug 16, 2011 (NA)

Platform(s) Playstation
Personal Computer
Playstation Network

Breath of Fire IV is a role-playing video game developed by Capcom, and is the fourth game in the Breath of Fire series. It was originally released for the Sony PlayStation home console in Japan and North America in 2000, and the PAL region in 2001. The game was later ported to Windows-based PCs in Europe and Japan in 2003.

Just as in previous games of the series, Breath of Fire IV follows the adventures of a young man named Ryu, heir to a lost civilization's ability to transform into powerful dragons, who must team up with several other skilled warriors to combat an awakened immortal emperor from ascending to godhood and destroying the world of man. Like Breath of Fire III, the game utilizes a mix of two and three-dimensional computer graphics and turn-based battle sequences.

GameplayEdit

Breath of Fire IV is a traditional console role-playing game with an overhead, isometric viewpoint. The game's camera can be manually rotated by the player up to a full 360 degrees in some instances, though unlike Breath of Fire III it cannot be tilted up or down. The game environment is rendered in full 3D, while character are present as two-dimensional hand-drawn sprites. While moving about the world, players can interact with computer-controlled characters and objects, gain knowledge on the world around them, and gather clues on how to advance the story. Each playable character is given a special "field skill" that can be used to destroy obstacles or solve puzzles outside of battles, which occur randomly in hostile areas or dungeons.

CombatEdit

BoFIVScreen

Combat Screen

Battles take place with teams of three characters against any number of enemy opponents. During these combat sequences, the player can choose which characters will perform an action in any order, as well as switch in any available reserve characters from the back row. While positioned in the back row, a character may not participate in battle, but may regain lost health or magic every combat round, as well as become unaffected by any attacks. Battles are won when either all enemies are defeated or all characters in a player's front row are out of health. Each battle yields experience points that go toward earning levels for each character, which in turn grants increased statistics and new skills.

New to Breath of Fire IV is the Combo System, which allows certain spells or skills to be cast in a specific order to gain bonus damage or other affects. Casting two ice spells in sequence, for example, will produce a stronger ice attack, while a fire spell followed by a wind spells with instead create a new explosion-based attack. Combos may also automatically occur in single attacks that have more than one effect.

PlotEdit

SettingEdit

Like previous games in the series, Breath of Fire IV takes place in a fantasy world inspired by both classical European and Japanese folklore. A number of races resembling humans and anthropomorphic animals populate the land, which carries a predominate medieval and sword and sorcery theme. The world itself is divided into two distinct cultural halves: the Western Fou Empire, modelled after feudal China and East Asia, and the Eastern Kingdoms, with areas resembling both Medieval Europe and Arabia. While both cultures remain at an uneasy alliance following years of turbulent war, the actions of several military officials threaten to once again pull the world apart. Watching over humanity are the Endless, immortal godlike beings who take the form of dragons and control the elements that sustain the world. Much of the plot deals with the central characters' interaction with the people and Endless who inhabit the world. Throughout the game the player will play as Ryu and occasionally play as the game's antagonist Fou-Lu. Fou-Lu is the first Emperor of the Fou Empire and is referred to as a god Emperor. He seeks to rule the world as a god, however, he needs Ryu to accomplish his goal.

StoryEdit

The story of Breath of Fire IV begins with a search team consisting of Nina, princess of the Kingdom of Wyndia, and Cray, leader from the plains-dwelling Woren clan, who are scouring towns along a great desert for information on the whereabouts of Nina's older sister and Cray's love interest, Elina, who went missing several weeks earlier on a diplomatic mission. Happening upon a crater left when a strange object landed from the sky, Nina confronts a large dragon who transforms before her eyes into a young man. Remembering nothing other than his name, Ryu, Nina surmises he must have amnesia and persuades him to help her search for her sister. Meanwhile, across the world in the western Fou Empire, the ancient Emperor Fou-Lu rises from his burial chambers, declaring that it is now his time to re-take the world. In his vulnerable, newly awakened state, he is attacked by Yohm, a general in the modern Fou army who is privy to Fou-Lu's long-prophesied resurrection, and aims to kill him before carrying out his plan. Fou-Lu is defeated in the struggle, and escapes by jumping into a nearby stream.

Elsewhere, Ryu and Nina travel to a town blighted by an evil miasma known as "hex" to continue their quest, where they meet Ershin, a mysterious robot-like armor who leads them through the poisoned side of town. Re-uniting with Cray, the team makes their way west to gather more information. Travelling across a large dam, they narrowly escape a flood and make their way to the town of Kyria, where an eccentric mayor has set up traps everywhere to route out intruders. Transversing through a nearby wooded area where a monstrous boar lives and then onward through a cavernous tunnel, the group arrives in Synesta. Obtaining a lead to Elina's whereabouts after detaining a nearby thief, they travel to a sand-flier wharf to the north containing a ship that can travel over great distances of desert, and set off for the western border.

The story shifts back to Fou-Lu, who has awakened after his ordeal with Yohm and finds himself in the care of a man named Bunyan. After recovering, Fou-Lu departs down the mountain only to find Yohm and his soldiers blocking the path. After a struggle, Fou-Lu is once again defeated and is forced to flee by transforming into a dragon and flying away, declaring that he must find his "other half", Ryu, and re-unite with him before the Empire finds him first. In his injured state, he loses control of his body and crashes into the forest below.

By this time, Ryu and his friends have arrived at the border town of Kyojin, where they meet a Fou Empire captain named Rasso who attempts to block them from entering the gates. Quickly escaping past the guards, the team make their way north where the meet Yuna, an Imperial scientist who knows of Elina, who captures and returns them to the Eastern Lands with accusations of breaking the pre-war peace treaty by trespassing in their lands. The group is detained in the town of Ludia and Cray is set to stand trial for on their behalf, with Ryu, Nina and Ershin breaking him out of captivity with the help of Scias, a tall, dog-like mercenary who joins their cause. Determined to clear their names and find Elina, they travel past a swamp and through a volcano to arrive in Wyndia, where after an audience with Nina's father, the king, the group continues west. After seeking the Wind Dragon at the top of an ancient temple, the group learns of Ryu's heritage, and the danger he would be in should he and Fou-Lu ever meet. Moving to an Imperial town along the western border, the team meets Ursula, daughter of a high-ranking Fou Empire official who joins the group to keep an eye on them. As the team moves west, they find that they need a ship in order to proceed with their journey, and after Ursula and Nina pass a test of manhood in order to qualify for passage across the ocean, their quest continues.

Meanwhile, Fou-Lu has awoken in a small farming village and is being cared for by a woman named Mami. Learning that a supposed "god" on the outskirts of town is threatening villagers, Fou-Lu goes to investigate, finding only a massive rock golem formed by prolonged exposure of rock and plant life to nearby dragon gods' presence. Defeating him, Fou-Lu returns to the village to find it under attack by Yohm's men. Using herself as a shield, Mami allows Fou-Lu to escape into the mountains. As he makes his way to the Imperial capital in an attempt re-claim his throne once and for all, he is bombarded with a large amount of poisoned energy from an Imperial hex cannon that uses human sacrifices as the catalyst to create unstable destructive power.

Making their way to a small island, Ryu's team rests until the tides change and proceed south through a thick jungle. Making their way to an Imperial town, the group finds several refugees under attack from Fou-Lu's guard dog Won-qu. Making their way to a hidden Fou government temple maintained by the mad scientist Yuna, the team navigates through several floors of thick hex and gigantic structures resembling human organs until reaching the top area where they find Elina, and are horrified to discover that the entire grotesque structure is attached to her lower body, the combined appendages and dark magic now giving her god-like powers at the expense of her humanity. Putting her out of her misery, Cray stabs her with a magically-endowed knife and vows to make Yuna pay for his crimes at any cost.

Later, a deranged Fou-Lu arrives at the current Emperor's palace and kills him after a short altercation, assuming his position as head of his former empire. Ryu and his team travel to the Emperor's pagoda to stop him, and find Ursula's grandfather holding off several monsters charging the palace area. Dying in the struggle, Ursula's grandfather tells his granddaughter to stop Fou-Lu with her new friends, and restore the empire to its former glory. She agrees, and the group makes their way to the palace's inner sanctum, where Ryu personally confronts Fou-Lu and questions his motivation to destroy humanity after they have done so much for him in the past, recalling his time with Bunyan and Mami. After an intense battle, Fou-Lu comes to his senses and merges with Ryu to form a powerful being. With the remaining dragon gods of the world deciding to now leave life in humanity's hands, they remove their presence from the planet. With Ryu's godhood now gone, he rejoins the group as a mortal, and they leave the palace together.

DevelopmentEdit

Breath of Fire IV was developed by Capcom's Production Studio 3 shortly after their work on Breath of Fire III. Series scenario writer Makoto Ikehara once again developed the game's script, deciding to take the series in a new direction after the previous three-game story arc. Though the game takes place in an alternate world, several references are made to past games in the series, including cameo appearances by the characters Momo, Rei, and Teepo from Breath of Fire III, and recurring enemy monsters from earlier titles. Because of a hectic programming schedule, some planned features of Breath of Fire IV were not included in the final version of the game, including an extended ending sequence involving the death of Yuna.

The English language version was marked by a very rushed localization process. Due to Capcom USA's financial difficulties at the start of the new year, Breath of Fire IV was produced for North America in a period of only seven months, and released just in time for the 2000 holiday season. The result left a few portions of the game untranslated, including the title graphic and ending credits sequence, with only the former being corrected for the PAL region release the following year. One of Scias' skills, Analyze, which would giving the player detailed statistics on enemy monsters during battle, was omitted completely to avoid translating the accompanying dialog. Some spell and dragon names were rendered in Korean rather than English to give them a more exotic feel, a procedure that was not used in the original Japanese version.

CensorshipEdit

The English translation of Breath of Fire IV was censored in several ways during its translation from the original Japanese version. Some instances of harsh language were toned down for North American and European audiences, as well as a few frames of suggestive animation during dialog or story sequences. A scene involving Fou-Lu decapitating Emperor Soniel is cut from the end of the first royal palace sequence, with the English version having him instead killed off screen. A scene with Nina and Ursula bathing in a pond as well as a scene involving Ursula dropping her pants to prove her womanhood to skeptical sailors was removed entirely from in the North American and European versions. References to Scias' alcoholism are also absent, with some of his slurred speech patterns being replaced with a stutter. All instances of editing were brought to the attention of Makoto Ikehara, who detailed them in an interview in the Japanese art book The Graphics of Breath of Fire IV in August 2000.

Versions, derivative works, and merchandiseEdit

In May 2003, Breath of Fire IV was ported to Windows-based PCs in Japan by SourceNext. This version, though identical to the PlayStation release, contains a filter for sprite smoothing on 2D visuals, as well as shorter load times. The PC version was released in English for European audiences the following September. On November 1, 2004, a java-based mobile phone mini-game, Breath of Fire: Fishing Teacher (ブレス オブ ファイア 竜の釣り師), was released for DoCoMo Foma brand cell phones in Japan by Capcom's mobile division Tomcat.

Three officially licensed manga were produced for Japan by Enterbrain Company, including two four-panel parody comics and an anthology comic, both released in 2000. An official novelization of the game's story, Breath of Fire IV: The Unfading Ones - The Arukai Dragon - was written by Yayoi Joumon and released in 2000.

Most recently, an official manga adaptation (written by Hitoshi Ichimura) under the title Utsurowazarumono: Breath Of Fire IV (うつろわざるもの―ブレス オブ ファイアⅣ) has been serialised since November 2007 in [Comic Blade Avarus], with a compilation of the first five chapters (from November 2007 to March 2008) published by [Mag Garden] in May 2008 in book format. The Comic Blade Avarus manga adaptation (which is a pure "graphic novelization" of the game) is still being published in serial format as of the September 2008 issue and is officially being produced under supervision from Capcom.

AudioEdit

Like Breath of Fire III, all voice work of Breath of Fire IV was left in its original Japanese. Kappei Yamaguchi and Kyoko Hikami reprise their roles as Ryu and Nina respectively, with additional voice work by veteran anime and video game actors such as Kumiko Watanabe as Ursula, Unshou Ishizuka as Scias, Inuko Inuyama as Ershin, and Isshin Chiba as both Cray and Fou-Lu. Each character's voices appear only in combat and in the opening animated sequence, which was also left in Japanese for the English language release.

GalleryEdit

See AlsoEdit

  • For a list of Breath of Fire IV Characters, see here
  • For a list of Breath of Fire IV Locations, see here
  • For a list of Breath of Fire IV Dragon Forms, see here
  • For a list of Breath of Fire IV Abilities, see here
  • For a list of Breath of Fire IV Enemies, see here
  • For a list of Breath of Fire IV Items, see here
  • For a list of Breath of Fire IV Production Staff, see here
  • For a list of Breath of Fire IV Regions, see here
  • For the complete story of Breath of Fire IV, see here
  • For box art, images and artwork from Breath of Fire IV, see here

External LinksEdit

Official Site

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