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Breath of Fire III
Developer – Capcom
Publisher – Capcom, Tommo Inc.
Release date - September 11, 1997

Breath of Fire III
is a role-playing video game developed and published by Capcom. It is the first game in the franchise to feature three-dimensional graphics and voice acting. The title was developed by director Makoto Ikehara and features a unique jazz-inspired soundtrack by company composers Yoshino Aoki and Akari Kaida.

The story takes place in a fantasy world where humans live alongside anthropomorphic creatures, and centers the story on Ryu, the last of The Brood (a race of people who can transform into powerful dragons), as he searches the world to uncover the mystery of his people and reunite with his surrogate family. Ryu's journey takes him into adulthood where he is joined by a number of other characters who aid him in his quest.


The main characters in Breath of Fire III are Ryu (voiced by Tomoko Takai as a child and Kappei Yamaguchi as an adult) and his companions, a group of adventurers with their own distinct personalities and skills that help move the story forward. Ryu's story is presented in two parts, which involve him as both a child and adult, and his struggles to find his place in the world, as well as his lost friends. As a member of the ancient Brood race, he is a human with the ability to transform into powerful dragons, a power he doesn't fully understand at the beginning of the game, but begins to piece together as time goes on.

He is accompanied on his quest by several other playable characters, including Nina (voiced by Kyoko Hikami), a winged princess from the Kingdom of Wyndia and powerful magician; Rei (voiced by Syusuke Sada), member of the cat-like Woren tribe and skilled thief; Teepo (voiced by Yoko Matsui), an orphaned rogue and longtime friend of Rei's with no memory of his past; Momo (voiced by Kaori Saito), daughter of a famous engineer and inventor who wields a SniperCannon ; Garr (Garland in the Japanese version, voiced by Yukihiro Fujimoto), an experienced warrior and member of a group known as the Guardians who serve the goddess Myria; and Peco (Pecoros in the Japanese version, voiced by Ai Kamimura), a plant-like creature who resembles an onion with limited speech and a connection with nature.

The cast is rounded out by several supporting characters including Balio and Sunder, brothers and horse-men who act as mercenaries to a powerful crime lord and frequent adversaries of Ryu. Their boss, Mikba, is the head of a criminal organization with the ability to transform into a demon. Deis [n 1] returns as a powerful sorceress who knows the secrets of the past. Myria, an ancient Goddess of Destruction, serves as the central antagonist once more, though her motives have changed, and she is instead set on preserving the lives of humanity, whom she protects with an over-zealous matron complex, by ordering the death of the dragons centuries ago. Most of the master NPCs are removed from the plot, but Deis serves as one later on in the game.

Other masters in the game include the strong giant woodsman Bunyan whom Ryu, Teepo and Rei run afoul of shortly after the game begins, and Mygas, a traveling wizard who is camped outside of McNeil village who has run out of money. The party will also meet the self-doubting master of non-lethal combat, Durandal, who is turn provides the party with the skills to impress Hondara, the benevolent Urkan priest who despises violence. Fahl, the tipsy barkeep from Genmel and friend of Balio and Sunder will become one after those villains are defeated and if they have fought 30 battles without resting. A strange fishman named Giotto teaches skills once the party reaches a high-enough fishing level. Once Ryu and his team fix Rhapala's lighthouse situation and meet the fairies, the errant fairy Meryleep will turn up at a secluded pond asking for her flower jewel which was stolen by a crow. The party can also use Peco to communicate with Yggdrasil trees, which serves as yet another master. Near the end of the game, the dragon spirit Ladon will offer to communicate with Ryu in a similar fashion.


The game begins in a chrysm mine in a far corner of the world, where a rare and powerful mineral is being harvested from the fossilized remains of dragons. When a large deposit is cracked open by dynamite, a preserved baby dragon emerges and is attacked by the frightened miners and defends himself quickly killing everyone who rushes into fight the dragon. The miners manage to surprise the dragon and knock him unconscious and placed him aboard a train to be taken away for study. On the way out of the mine, the dragon jostles his cage off the train and falls down a hill on the outskirts of a large forest, where he transforms into a young boy before again losing consciousness. He is found by a wandering thief named Rei, member of the cat-like Woren clan and fellow orphan who believes him to be just another abandoned child. Taking him to his home in the woods, they meet Teepo, Rei's longtime friend and partner-in-crime, who agrees to let the boy into their thieving operation, and find out that his name is Ryu, the only thing he can remember. The team commits several crimes, and come into favor with local village when they kill a Nue that is terrorizing the village.

Shortly afterward, they steal from the town's corrupt mayor and re-distribute the money to the village. The mayor, however, is secretly a member of a large crime syndicate. The mayor contacts two hitmen, the horse brothers Balio and Sunder, to seek revenge, who proceed to burn down the trio's home and violently attack, beat them easily and leave them for dead. Awakening a short while later, Ryu finds himself in the care of a woodsman named Bunyan who had found no trace of his friends. Believing them to be alive, Ryu travels to the city of Windia where he meets Nina, child daughter of the King, who helps him escape Balio and Sunder, who are now on his trail.


Breath of Fire III is a traditional console role-playing game that requires the player to accomplish story-based objectives while battling enemy creatures in a number of fantasy environments. Presented from an overhead isometric viewpoint, the player may rotate the game's camera in any direction around the central character, as well as tilt it up or down to see over or under impeding objects. When traveling through the game's environment, each character can perform a unique special ability that allows the player to solve puzzles or destroy objects, as well as gain access to otherwise hidden areas. As the first PlayStation Breath of Fire title, the game uses three-dimensional graphics for scenery, buildings, and other objects, while still retaining two-dimensional sprites for characters.

The game introduces a number of new features to the series, including the Master System, which allows any of the game's playable characters to apprentice under specific non-player characters known as masters, which allows them to learn new skills and influence their statistics. An additional feature, the Fairy Village, gives the player the ability to influence the growth of a small town of faeries, which in turn gives them access to special items or in-game features such as mini-games and a sound test. While journeying on the world map, players may set up camp, which can replenish a character's health by resting, as well as allowing them to speak directly to any member of their party. Other series mainstays such as fishing return with a new, expanded interface and point allocation system that keeps track of what fish a player has caught and their size.

Battles in Breath of Fire III occur randomly when a player travels through hostile areas or dungeons during the course of the story. Using a turn-based strategy approach, the game allows a player inputs commands at the start of each combat round, which are then carried out in accordance with each character's "agility" rating. A player may choose to attack, defend, cast magic spells, use items, change equipment, or flee from battle entirely. While previous Breath of Fire titles allowed groups of four characters to participate in combat, Breath of Fire III restricts the party limit to only three, yet offers a new "formation" system that allows for characters to be arranged in certain patterns for tactical benefits. Battles are won when all enemies are defeated, yielding experience points that go towards gaining characters' levels, which in turn leads to higher statistics and new skills.


Breath of Fire III was developed by members of Capcom's Development Studio 3, including director Makato Ikehara and producers Yoshinori Takenaka and Hironobu Takeshita. The game was the first in the series to feature three-dimensional environments, which were used in conjunction with hand-drawn character sprites designed by series artist Tatsuya Yoshikawa. Yoshikawa created multiple designs for many of the game's characters during production, with some in-game character sprites such as young Ryu and Teepo and adult Nina not matching their final promotional artwork. Before its release in Japan, Breath of Fire III was preceded by a promotional trailer that appeared on a demo disc of Resident Evil 2 that came bundled with the Japanese version of Resident Evil: Director's Cut. Capcom USA announced in August 1997 that the title would receive an English localization in North America, with the release date originally set for January 1998, which would eventually get pushed back to the following March.

In June 2005, Capcom announced that it would be porting Breath of Fire III to the PlayStation Portable handheld system alongside a similar port of Mega Man Legends, with both to be released the following August. The port features a new title logo graphic, and was re-programmed to make use of the handheld's native 16:9 widescreen display. An expanded version of the title's fishing minigame is also included, which can be shared with another PlayStation Portable owner using the system's GameShare function, with the Japanese release including a full-color fishing guidebook as a bonus. An English version of the port was later made available exclusively in Europe in February 2006, which contained the same translation as the original PlayStation release.


The music of Breath of Fire III was composed by Yoshino Aoki and Akari Kaida, two members of Capcom's internal sound team who also provided the vocals for the title's ending song "Pure Again". While previous games in the series used more traditional orchestral compositions, the soundtrack to Breath of Fire III features a unique jazz-inspired motif that focuses on instruments such as piano and xylophone. In September 1997, Capcom released the Breath of Fire III Original Soundtrack published by First Smile Entertainment, which features 31 select songs from the game across a single disc. A complete musical selection for the game would not be made available until March 2006, when the company released the Breath of Fire Original Soundtrack Special Box boxset containing music from the first five games in the series. Capcom had originally intended to use the theme song "Machi" (, lit. City) by rock band Sophia for an opening animation that was to be included in the game but later discarded. The song would later appear in the game's television commercial in Japan, and would be released as a single in July 1997 by Toy's Factory.

In December 1997, Capcom's released the Breath of Fire III Drama Album, a radio drama which features re-enactments of scenes from the game performed by new and returning voice actors. Some characters, such as Momo, Garr, and Peco, are re-cast, now voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi, Akio Ōtsuka, and Yukiko Matsuura respectively, while Kappei Yamaguchi now performs as both child and adult Ryu, and Kyoko Hikami returns as the voice of Nina, who also sings the album's image song, "Harmonica". The album also includes new voiced roles such as Tomohiro Nishimura as Balio, Takehito Koyasu as Sunder, and Sayaka Narita and Omi Minami as Bambi and Bimbi, a team of reporters created especially for the album.

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