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  -Part 1 :: [02.17.04]
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"'Why?' Scruffy asks, ignoring the fact that his audience's attention is fading fast. 'Because it reminds us of the humiliation we suffered at the hands of a certain man.' No comment on that."
     -Sam, Suikoden IV Part 1

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Breath of Fire III : Part 1
By Ryan
Posted 02.17.04
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Breath of Fire III, originally released in Japan as "Capcom jumps on the Playstation Bandwagon," is a horrific cocktail of excessive punctuation, poorly disguised sexual innuendo, random exposition, and more drugs than you can shake a stick at. Seeing as how I've been unavoidably benched for the past few ... err ... months, I've enlisted Ben's aid in recapping this monster. That's right folks, now, in addition to providing gay men with small penises an outlet on the message boards, VGR now also provides all the hot ManxMan writing action aforementioned non-endowed men can handle in the recaps. You can thank us later, but for now, on to the game.

Capcom wisely decided against the idea of opening the very first Playstation edition of a Breath of Fire game with flashy, yet recycled, FMV clips featuring an angsty, mysterious teen with hair spiked to high heaven and his four or more busty bimbos fan service companions kicking various forms of ass. Instead, after watching "Press Start" flash ten or so times under the fabulous BOFIII logo, the words "Dauna Mine" appear across a darkened screen and we hear the sounds of a mine cart rumbling along in the background. Oooh, an opening movie with a plot! My favorite!

The words onscreen soon disappear, the screen becomes lighter, and we are able to see the visually impressive duo of DooRag the Mole and Overalls the Wolf pumping a mine cart down the tracks. Capcom plays the "2-D sprites in a 3-D environment" card for all it's worth here, as our two heroes sidle around a bend in the tracks and continue to merrily pump along. DooRag reads the script and decides to open some casual dialogue. "A dragon...? I don't know about this..." he whines. "C'mon...It's really high-quality stuff!" Overalls counters, as if the mine is filled to the brim with pure Colombian Cocaine instead of something relatively unexciting like coal or salt. I love it when videogames connect the dots for me.

The mine cart turns another corner and goes through a dark tunnel, giving the mysterious person who wrote Dauna Mine across the screen earlier another chance to practice providing subtle exposition. "When magical beings die, their bodies slowly transform into the ore known as chrysm," MysteryExposition!Man writes. Everything gets lost in translation these days. Good thing we've already figured out that "chrysm" is just the local street name for cocaine. The screen brightens once again (way to mix up the lighting effects) and we rejoin our characters, both of which are now off the mine cart, just in time to see them stop in front of an elevator shaft and spout more dialogue to each other. "The dragons tried to destroy the world..." DooRag randomly exposits, as if Overalls is too dumb to remember something as important as a malevolent force bent on killing everybody running amok and, well, killing everybody. I know it certainly happens to me all the time. Overalls proves to DooRag that he still knows what's what by slurring, "Yep...Fought a huge war... THE war..." The fact that Overalls recognizes what DooRag is saying totally renders this little exchange pointless. Damn it all, I'm getting a headache already, and I haven't even pushed any buttons yet!

Hi ho, Hi ho... It's off to death we go...

This totally unscripted and not-for-the-benefit-of-the-audience-goddammit conversation is cut short by the sounds of the elevator rumbling up the shaft. Insert your own joke concerning the words "rumbling" and "shaft" here. "I sure wouldn't want to meet a dragon..." DooRag mutters nonchalantly as they enter the elevator, unknowingly sealing his fate to meet and be killed by a dragon before we even catch sight of the main character. Way to go, slick. The only thing we have left to see now is how much else these two can randomly exposit before being messily slaughtered. As such, I'm not even going to bother giving them more creative nicknames, or even use their real names. See how lazy I am? Almost as lazy as the fine folks at Capcom, who commissioned this little movie.

The elevator heads down the shaft, *snicker*, and the screen once again goes black. Cue MysteryExposition!Man. "Even the legendary dragons, whose might shook the world have in death become a source of energy in the form of [crack]." Riiiiight. Big, drug-induced, Circle of Life thing going on here. If Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa prance onscreen and start singing, I'm going to throw my controller at the TV. The screen--wait for it--lights up, and we once again rejoin our now-doomed characters. This is OMG so exciting!

Overalls takes it upon himself to continue the conversation from where it was stopped when he and DooRag got on the elevator, leaving me to assume that they spent the entire ride down standing stock still with their thumbs jammed up their asses. "Well, even the baddest beast..." he begins, "...dies in the end like everyone else." DooRag finishes. Aww, how cute. They finish each other's sentences and everything! This sort of thing makes me want to go write a bad fanfic about how they got it on in the elevator. Oh, wait a second, no it doesn't. Besides, my inbox is still full, what with that KOS-MOSxShion fanfic I have yet to write.

ME!M decides not to even wait for the screen to go dark this time before slapping a cryptic "No one knows how or why the mighty dragons became extinct..." on the screen. Either he's getting just as impatient as I am, or the lighting person gave himself an epileptic seizure. I'm hoping for the second one, myself. In the background, the camera pans to show a huge dragon that has been completely transformed into green crack. The CrackDragon is covered with various miners chipping away at its magically delicious exterior. Overalls and DooRag walk silently into a huge hole in the side of Crack Dragon's neck as ME!M provides us with his final thoughts for the scene. "This tale is dedicated to the dragons." Well no shit, Sherlock. I just thought all the dragon-related conversation and the name "Breath of Fire" were an elaborate plot to make me the most knowledgeable person about dragons on the face of the earth. Jesus H.

Screw Toad Licking...

With the opening movie over, I press start and finally get to name the main character. His original name is Ryu, but I decide to change it to Alf because he totally has the little Alfalfa "hair poking up into the sky" thing from the Little Rascals going on. The new, colored version, not the old one. That, and I want all you folks at home to be able to separate Ryu the Third and Ryu the Fourth in your minds, as they are (supposedly) separate people in the continuity of the series.

After tempting me with an agonizingly small bit of gameplay, the game makes us rejoin DooRag and Overalls. Dammit. They are standing next to a small mountain of purple crack ore with a cute looking baby lizard inside. They must have stumbled upon this veritable mother lode before any of the other miners could, because they are the only people in the scene. "OK, explosives are set!" DooRag says cheerfully, delighted with the prospect of having so much crack all to his smarmy little self. Instead of sharing DooRag's joy, however, Overalls reads the script and says, "What is this? An egg or something?" DooRag, even happier now that he has the chance to wax intelligent, nods and sighs: "You see ones like this every so often." As if he deals with dragons everyday. Even though he was just crapping his pants over the mere idea of one three scenes ago. Whatever, DooRag.

DooRag walks away from the egg and bends over with his ass facing Overalls. "C'mon, let's get to work already..." he says in what I assume is his most seductive voice. I don't even want to know what kind of "work" he's talking about, but fortunately for me, it doesn't seem like Overalls wants to know either. So instead of getting it on with DooRag right there in front of God and everybody, he does the only logical thing TO do at a time like that. He lights his backpack on fire.

Magically, as I'm led to believe with these crappy sprite graphics, the fire on the backpack jumps to the explosives around the crack mountain and a fantastic explosion ensues, complete with cheesy Photoshop lens flares and light effects in three dimensions. After the smoke clears, the baby lizard, who is (duh!) unharmed, sits up and lets out a cute little squeak. Fangirls around the world promptly start drawing super-deformed fanarts of the "lizard" to put on their crappy amateur fansites. Cue the "Oh shit somethin's goin' down!" music. Overalls, eager to break the Guinness record for consecutive punctuation on the Playstation, says, "......What the...?? I...It's still alive!!" Spoken like a true master of the English language, Overalls. Hope to see you around the VGR forums any day now.

DooRag, his exposition skills exhausted and now left with nothing to say, slaps at the lizard in an exceedingly masculine fashion. Lizard doesn't like that, so we enter battle mode. I'm in control of "Whelp," which we should all know by now is really a baby dragon. One fantastically painful looking "Whelp Breath" later, Overalls and DooRag are Kentucky-fried bodies on the ground. Whoops. Whelp wanders over to their charred bodies and relieves DooRag of the "Bent Sword" that was burning a hole in his pocket. Literally.

Anybody got some gum? A tic-tac?

Whelp spends the next few minutes wandering around like a homeless drunk as I try to get the hang of moving a 2-D sprite in a 3-D map, and eventually happens upon a helpless miner. "Gulp, A d...dragon?! A...alive?! Are you really a dragon?" he asks, and because I know I'm already on the negative end of the moral scale, what with the merciless slaughter of the innocent miners and all, I decide to answer truthfully. This causes him to run away screaming. I just can't win with these people, can I? Whelp tries to chase after him before he falls into a mineshaft or something and I have another innocent life on my conscience, but instead I run smack into two more miners. "Ha! I'm not afraid! Let's get it!" one yells bravely. Five seconds later, both are steaming corpses. Apparently, Whelp counterattacks with the Whelp Breath of Death too. That's pretty handy. The next few miners I meet are cowering like the manly mining men they are and I don't have to brutally slaughter them to make my way to the entrance of the mine. That was awfully considerate of them.

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