Breath of Fire II heats up the New Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console!

Nov 24, 2016 // Patrick Kulikowski

Happy Thanksgiving! Vying for more legendary JRPG goodness after the original Breath of Fire’s 3DS debut? Here’s something to be thankful for: Breath of Fire II is now officially out on the New Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console!

The phenomenal 1995 sequel to Capcom’s flagship RPG series costs $7.99 USD on the eShop. Breath of Fire II remains my favorite RPG of all time, so keeping in the spirit of Throwback Thursday with our previous Breath of Fireand Mega Man X3eShop posts; let me rattle off a few reasons why this Super Nintendo classic is so near and dear to my heart.

1)      One massive plot upgrade, coming right up!

Breath of Fire II takes place hundreds upon hundreds of years after the events of the first game, and the world has changed drastically. New anthropomorphic clans like the doglike Grassrunners, armadillo Shell Clan, catlike Woren, amphibian Creeping Clan and more have emerged in an already diverse population. The dragon clan’s numbers have dwindled and in its place a new religion known as the Church of St. Eva has sprouted and gained a massive following.

The protagonist, Ryu Bateson, is a distant descendant of the previous game’s dragon warrior hero.  Haunted by a traumatic childhood experience, he’ll befriend a number of companions while proving his best friend’s innocence and searching for his long-lost father and sister. He just might even uncover a sinister threat to the world in the process.

From the above description I bet you can tell this sequel kicks things up a notch in terms of the story, and man its crazy good! Be prepared for an interesting meld of whimsy and intensity – for every humorous moment you’ll find yourself in, there will be an equally dark and oftentimes heart-wrenching one.

2)      A lovable cast of characters

Like its predecessor, Breath of Fire II is home to a diverse and colorful cast that’s chockful of personality.

  • Bow , despite his mischievous thievery, is Ryu’s lifelong buddy. This trusty doggo’s crossbow is essential for the hunting mini-game.
  • Katt is a fierce feline fighter who’s fast in combat and can break obstacles in the environment using her staff. What she lacks in defense and spell abilities is made up for by her ferocity and strong will.
  • Rand Marks, like Ox in Breath of Fire before him, is the burly brawler of the group. Not only is he a great healer in battle, but he can roll armadillo-style on the world map, allowing you to quickly get around without random encounters. Pro tip: don’t crash.
  • Nina Windia, a descendant of Princess Nina from the first game, is an exiled, winged magician boasting powerful offensive spells. Putting her in the front of the party allows her to save the group from dungeon pitfalls.
  • Sten Legacy is a monkey in both senses of the word. Despite his initial immaturity, he’s a useful character whose Dhalsim-like long arms let the party cross wide gaps in the terrain.
  • Jean , aka “Ekaru Hoppe de pe Tapeta”, is a French-speaking frog prince who will crack you up with his comically poetic and carefree attitude. Plus he can change into a jumbo frog to carry you around the world map! Press ‘A’ to croak (not even kidding).
  • Spar is a genderless plant-person who can communicate with plant life, walk through the dense woods of the world map and eventually morph into several different plant-based creatures.
  • There’s one more character whose identity is a secret . I’ll leave you to figure out who this mystery person is, *wink wink*.

3)      “The colors, Duke, the colors!”

The game easily remains one of the prettiest sprite-based games on the SNES. There’s an incredible attention to detail, particularly within the game’s battles. Battle backgrounds are massively diverse and intricately detailed; take Mt. Fubi’s cavernous walls with slim streams of water seeping down them, for instance. Every character and enemy is smoothly animated, from the intense snarling of a two-headed man-wolf to Nina’s dramatic spell conjuration.

There are a lot of cool effects that can occur from the magic you cast in battle, as well. For example, Spar’s “Nature” skill can cause surrounding cacti in the desert to explode, dealing extra damage to enemies. An intense fire spell used in a dense forest, on the other hand, causes the backdrop to go up in flames.

The game’s music, composed by Capcom alumnus Yuko Takehara, is equally colorful, containing a rad assortment of orchestral, rock and ominous church organs. Mega Man X fans will feel right at home with the game’s rockin’ battle themes! Speaking of which, you can grab the first three Breath of Fire soundtracks on the Capcom Store !

4)      TownShip

As if upgraded fishing and hunting mini-games weren’t enough, you’ll eventually get the chance to hire a carpenter to build your very own customizable town. Custom town-building was a very revolutionary idea for a Japanese RPG back then! After unlocking this segment of the game, the player can roam the world and carefully select people from all over to reside in up to six houses within your town. Some of these non-player characters can open up shops with special equipment and items, while others can unlock hidden locations or teach you secret spells!

5)      Transform your party!

Your custom town hub will house a special building in which your other characters, barring Ryu, can fuse with special Shamans discovered throughout the world. Specific shaman combinations can beef up your characters’ stats and drastically alter their appearance, giving you access to new skills and functions!

6)      Solid life advice.

‘Nuff said.

Excited yet? Now it’s your turn to experience the magic of Breath of Fire II. Take a second deep breath [of fire] and grab the SNES classic on the Nintendo eShop on your New Nintendo 3DS  and/or Wii U eShop for just $7.99.

And like before, I’d love to hear your favorite moments from this game. Did you play it first on Super Nintendo or Game Boy Advance? Or perhaps you started on the Wii or Wii U Virtual Console? Let’s hear it in the comments below!

Finally, here are a few other recent classic Capcom games on the eShop: