Breath of Fire

Wow! We've stumbled across a week where I get to write about not only a Lufia re-release, but also a Breath of Fire one!

Unlike Lufia: A Legend Reborn, which I have never played, I am a fan of every game in the Breath of Fire series. Capcom's attempt to break into the genre doesn't sport the deepest or most original RPG mechanics, but most fans happily recall them as just being solid games with a wonderful anthropomorphic universe to unfold in.

Capcom is bringing it back to basics when it publishes the first Breath of Fire on the Wii U Virtual Console on Feb. 12. I'm not quite certain if this is the Super Nintendo version or the enhanced Game Boy Advance one, which graciously re-balances experience points, but either way, it's a solid enough experience to give you a feel of where this cultish and awkward series stemmed from.

Capcom's wording seems to suggest this is the Super Nintendo original, so be prepared to duke it out in plenty of random fights, because grinding is a slow ordeal in this one, folks.

Up until now, only Breath of Fire II and Breath of Fire IV had found their way onto digital channels. It was long believed that because Squaresoft, and not Capcom, published the original Breath of Fire in America that Capcom couldn't touch it, but now all the smoke seems to have cleared with the game firmly on its way to the public.

Only Breath of Fire III remains unavailable for purchase from the classic series, but it is unlikely ever going to get a re-release because it failed a Capcom trademark test. Apparently, it is loaded with products and images from a company Capcom no longer associates with, and it is worried that the company will be able to retaliate with a lawsuit in the case of a digital re-publication… or some such nonsense.

Again, it's the same kind of copyright impotency that is blocking a handful of other wonderful retro releases like The Misadventures of Tron Bonne and the Mega Man Legends games.

Breath of Fire V is actually the oddball PlayStation 2 game, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, which has also gone mysteriously ignored as a PlayStation 2 Classic, and Breath of Fire VI? Well, the less said the better. Let's just say I hope you like your Zenonia clones, boys and girls.

Still, in these chaotic days of trademark issues and all around sense of confusion surrounding the ownership of many older games, it's nice that Capcom can still get together the resources to dig out and rescue one that the fans have been asking for for far too long. Check out Breath of Fire in its original console glory on Feb. 12 for the Wii U Virtual Console.