Ah, the SNES. One of the most successful consoles ever made, boasting an incredible games catalogue with classics such as Super Mario All Stars, Donkey Kong Country, Mario Kart, Pilotwings, Starfox, Kirby’s Dream Land, F-Zero, Earthworm Jim, Mortal Kombat, Yoshi’s Island and Super Metroid (to name just a few). It was also home to the Golden Age of roleplaying games (RPGs), with classic after classic being released every year – so why not join us for a stroll down memory lane with a list of 10 SNES RPG series you must play before you die?
Maybe you’ll rescue a maiden or fight a goblin or two along the way…
10. Breath of Fire
Dragons tend to get a pretty poor deal in the fantasy genre. Almost always classed as the villain for the simple fact of hunting food, claiming princesses and gathering gold (which is the modus operandi of every single RPG hero ever created), they’re rarely given the chance to do much more than show up, breathe fire ineffectually at the hero’s fire-resistant armour for a while, and then die dramatically in a shower of sparks and exp. Which is what makes Breath of Fire so refreshing – you actually get to control a dragon for much of the game’s combat.
Not unlike Zelda, each Breath of Fire game features an almost identical protagonist who nonetheless is supposed to be a different character every time, within an overarching timeline. Ryu, the blue-haired hero (with the extremely useful ability to shapeshift into a dragon), is invariably aided by a series of companions on his quest. The Dragon system provides the game with an interesting dynamic, and really makes this title stand out.
Apart from that, however, it’s pretty much business as usual, following the standard RPG formula to the letter. That’s not to say that the game is underwhelming – it’s never less than entertaining, with a decent difficulty level, a wealth of sub-games to break up the monotony (fishing, anyone?) and a cast of characters you’ll care about enough to see through to journey’s end. Having said that, the game rarely excels, and could perhaps be seen as on a par with the Bond movies within the action genre of films; you know exactly what to expect, you know it will be competently delivered and you’ll go home satisfied afterwards – to think about something else. Breath of Fire can hold its head up high within the genre, and is well worth checking out if you haven’t tried it yet.
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This article was first posted on January 8, 2013