Breath of Fire II

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I quickly learned that Breath of Fire II's reputation for having a terrible translation is 100% warranted. In fact, it's so poor that it's fascinating. I'm sure that every translated game out there has its own little quirks, flaws, and mistakes, but Breath of Fire II has translation quirks, flaws, and mistakes of nearly every category possible.
Clyde Mandelin

The second entry into the long-running and popular Breath of Fire Japanese Role-Playing Game series. It was released for the Super Nintendo in December 1994 in Japan and December 1995 for North America. It was later ported to the Game Boy Advance in December 2001 in Japan, April 2002 for North America and June 2002 for Europe. It includes updated Character Portraits, a dash button, upraded graphics for the menu screens, a trade option between games (with a few bonus items) and a re-balancing of Exp/Money given by enemies.

Ryu Bateson seems to have the ideal life as a young child. Sure, his mom is missing, but his sister Yua and father Ganer love him very much. However, that all changes when, after saving his sister from a rampaging monster, he goes back into his hometown of Gate only to realize that no one remembers not only who he is, but who his father or sister are (the two of them have disappeared, natch). After spending the night at the local church's orphanage with his new friend Bow Doggy, he decides to flee his hometown for greener pastures.

Flash forward 10 years where he and Bow are now Rangers, working to protect the people of HomeTown from various monsters. One day, they get a mysterious call from a princess of Windia that will change their lives...

There are two things that stand out most about this game. The first is the terrible, terrible job that Capcom did translating it from the original Japanese (all kinds of butchered names exist). The second is the fact that despite this being the '90s, when Nintendo of America's censorship policies were in full swing, this game got away with having numerous and explicit references to both religion and death. The Big Bad is a deity, for crying out loud! It's pretty much the opposite of what happened with Breath of Fire IV.

There exists a character sheet for the series. Place any character-related tropes there.


Tropes used in Breath of Fire II include:
  • Absurdly Spacious Toilet
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In some events, you take control of Sten, then Nina and then Ryu's mother Valerie.
  • Anyone Can Die: Particularly if you're in the Church of Saint Eva. Tiga, Claris, Ray, Rand's mother and potentially Ganer all bite it in that area.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The deserted hunter's lodge contains a diary, with this summation: Do NOT go into the woods.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Averted by the Death spell; unlike most SNES JRPGs, this one is Simple Yet Awesome since it works on a majority of non-boss enemies (but has a pretty simple animation).
  • Badass Preacher: Ray.
  • Berserk Button: You do NOT mess with Ryu's friends. EVER.
  • Big Bad: Deathevan.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Eichichi's Punny Name.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: A famous exponent, to boot.
  • Bookcase Passage: The hidden entrance to Bando's crypt. A sharp blow from Katt's stick reveals it.
  • Bowdlerise: Nimpho Mani was Romanized as Nimufu Mani.
  • Broken Aesop: There's a touching scene with Katt/Lin/Rinpoo (depending on translation), where she explains to Tiga that people don't just fall in love at first sight. Then it turns out that Ganer and Valerie, Ryu's parents, fell in love at first sight.
  • But Thou Must!: Petepe sinks your boat, leaving you with no way out of Sima Fort and therefore no choice but to save Jean.
  • Can't Catch Up: It takes roughly half the game to clear Bow's name, by which time he'll be far behind everyone else in exp when he rejoins.
    • To be fair, he can catch up: it'll just take some time grinding him (and it's well worth it too, as he becomes the party's best healer).
    • Pretty much everyone compared to Ryu. Since you Can't Drop the Hero, he will almost always be higher-leveled than the rest of your party.
    • Since this game avoids Leaked Experience, anyone who you don't use will remain at their original level. This isn't a problem in most cases, even when the game forces you to use a particular character, because you always have at least your other three "mains". Except in two cases, with Sten and Rand. Sten will have to fight a tough boss (albeit with little HP) and go through a short dungeon on his own. The game forces you to use him before then long enough so that he should barely survive. Rand, however, is a completely other story. If you've never used him, he'll be around level 7 or 8 when he will have to solo a very strong enemy with high HP and strength. Be ready to grind a few hours to get Rand up to par!
  • Cash Lure: You can catch the fish man merchant Maniro by baiting your hook with a gold bar.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Arguably the TownShip itself, for a role it will play in the true ending of the game.
  • Clear My Name: Bow. Infamous for being one of the longest Fetch Quests in JRPG history. Humorously, this plot culminates in rescuing Jean, after he's jailed for impersonating the Prince. Yes, that's right, it's a Clear My Name within a Clear My Name!
  • Cloudcuckooland: Sima Fort. The resident are so laid back, they don't even care if there's a coup d'état.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Each of the Shamans' hair color corresponds to their respective element.
  • Confessional: A selectable option at every St. Eva church. The priest's response changes according to Ryu's current mission.
  • Controllable Helplessness: Used to initiate the Moment of Awesome in the YMMV tab.
  • Cooking Duel: A literal example.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Rather than showing up the development staff, the credits lists the names of every single character in the game, even minor NPC and town dwellers, some times in full-name basis. This is also so full of Shout Outs to Western culture that it counts as Bilingual Bonus for the Japanese.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Big Bad is one.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: It is simply implausible that anyone could take out Ryu so easily in a one-on-one fight, and then die like a chump not two hours later. Unless you're Tiga.
  • Death Mountain: Mt. Fubi, Mt. Rocko and Mt. Maori.
  • Demonic Possession: Several boss characters. Most are humans who were corrupted by power or greed.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Katt wearing a nun's habit.
  • Dub Name Change: Plenty, mostly due to the Blind Idiot Translation as it seems the translator doesn't even knew how to render names right (Rand Marks instead of Land Marks). Other cases are due to space restrictions (Jean and Spar), making up new ones (Katt) or, randomly, because they wanted to adhere to Breath of Fire I's translation (Bleu, some magic spells)
  • Duel Boss: More than a few. Ryu gets a couple, though one (Tiga) is unwinnable and the other (Barubary) is optional. Nina, Rand, Sten and Bow (optional) get theirs as well.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The worst ending shows the silhouette of the Big Bad, far before he normally appears.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Infinity is an underground variant. Specially seen in the game's intro.
  • Fantastic Voyage Plot: A wizard shrinks the party in order for them to enter the body of Tunlan's Queen, who is growing obese due to the demons inside her.
  • Flashback Effects: Scenes from Ryu's past are Deliberately Monochrome. The game itself begins in black and white, but abruptly turns color when young Ryu enters the woods.
  • Foreign Queasine: The frog-people's culinary, with its use of worms, roaches and flies. Ryu gets to taste some... with predictable results.
  • Free-Fall Fight: Sten and Trubo battle on a collapsing bridge as it plummets.
  • Fusion Dance: There are six recruitable shamans. Most of the party members can merge with up to two of them at a time.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: As stated above, numerous - and explicit - references to both death and religion. Even more bizarre that Nintendo allowed this, yet denied the SNES version of Final Fantasy II/Final Fantasy IV from using the word holy.
    • In the ending credits, Eichichi's full name is given as A. Titi Efcup and Nimufu's full name is given as Nimufu Mani.
    • Father Manson.
    • Killing the Gold Fly in the dungeons of Simafort prompts it to say "Damn...", at a time when swearing in video games was extremely rare (if not outright unheard of) in North America. Same for the "battlefield of hell" remark in Highfort, though it's slightly more understandable, given that it was using "hell" in the sense of a place.
      • Unfortunately, the Virtual Console fell victim to the Gold Fly's "damn" quote getting changed "darn". It is possible that it was an oversight because "darn" is used everywhere else.
  • Giant Mook: Any Random Encounter on Monster Island counts as one. This also presents the debut of the series-recurrent GooKing enemy (or K.Sludge as its named in this one).
  • Glamour/Mass Hypnosis: Evrai seems like a utopia full of happy citizens. Try to leave, however, and they're revealed to be muttering, brainwashed puppets.
  • Glass Cannon: Katt. She can't take much physical abuse, but she can dish it out better than any other character in the game.
  • Global Airship: The Great Bird, and later Township.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The entire point of the St. Eva scam.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Averted by Nina ("black" bird wings) and Patty (dark bat wings). Played straight by various demons.
  • Guide Dang It: Finding the guy who teaches Ryu's second-tier dragon spells isn't terribly obvious.
  • Half-Dressed Petting Zoo People: Katt, Tiga and Bleu / Deis.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Ryu and his sister: their father is human, but their mother is of the Dragon Clan.
  • Hand in the Hole
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Oh sweet mother of God, YES. Sten fakes us out of one, then Nina gets robbed of hers by Mina; later, Tiga and Ray go down for your sake, followed by Rand's attempt only for his mother to switch places with him, and Ganer is more than willing but it depends on you; time later, it's Valerie's turn so you can progress; and finally, Ryu has two different situations: one in which everyone is willing, but he must not sacrifice a friend, and the last one in the bad end where he takes up his mother's place.
  • Holy City: Evrai. You may never want to leave!
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first battle with Barubary.
  • Human Resources: There are several ancient machines powered by draining life energy. One under Evrai, in which Ryu's father has been imprisoned, one in Highfort, which the princess must be rescued from, and one under the Township, which Ryu's father insists on powering if you rescue him, allowing Township to fly.
  • I Have No Son: Windia's royal family has disowned Nina. Her mother refuses to acknowledge they're even related. They were supposed to kill Nina because of a prophecy about a black winged royal bringing destruction to Windia. Instead, they sent her to HomeTown when she was a little girl, and they faked that she was dead to ensure that she would be safe.
  • I Have Your Mom: The Church of St. Eva, after Rand's mother refuses to donate her land.
  • Inevitable Tournament: The contest in Coursair.
  • Informed Deformity: It would make a lot more sense if Nina's black wings were actually... you know, black. This might be explained by 1) with the 8-Bit engine, if they really were black, they'd likely just look like a shadow following her, and 2) you meet Nina around the same time you meet Patty, so the color change was so you wouldn't mistake one for the other.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Witch Tower and Sky Tower.
  • Japanese Ranguage: The cast lists at the end of the game is filled with blatant misromanizations of proper English words. Apparently, lumberjacks in in this game are called "ramberjacks".
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: The arc about entering Gandaroof's dreamworld.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The trope that sets the plot into action. Later, you get to meet the guy who fired the laser.
  • Last of His Kind: Katt thinks she's one, as she's not saw any other around. Tiga later explains to her that there are very few of them scattered all over the world.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: When you enter CotLnd, Tiga decides to fight Ryu because he thinks there's something going on between him and Katt.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Patty is actually Yua, Ryu's sister.
  • Lost Forever: Building up the TownShip community requires previous planning, as there are only 6 available houses, each one with their corresponding tenant. Since it only takes speaking to the tenant to make him/her join, it is quite easy to talk to the wrong NPC and have a house with an important one occupied forever.
    • There's also the Great Bird, lost very close to the end, which also leaves Ryu's Infinity+1 Sword out of reach.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • Most of the Punny Names and Theme Naming.
    • Gandaroof should've been Romanized as Gandalf.
    • The "A" in "A. Sludge" stand for "Atomic", which might explain why most of the monsters in the island where you fight them are giant.
  • Lost Superweapon: Highfort. Surprisingly for a JRPG, Shupkay fails to reactivate it.
  • Love Triangle: Trubo hates Sten for abandoning the Princess, who loves him. Made more complicated by the fact Trubo pines for the Princess, himself.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Missing Mom: She's around, she's just not able to do much...
  • Mobile Menace: Teleportation is the only possible explanation for Habaruku serving as both leader of the St. Eva church and priest of a tiny backwater village on another continent. For ten years.
  • Multiple Endings: There's a bad ending where everyone gets killed, and the demons win, a bittersweet ending where the world is saved, but Ryu sacrifices himself to seal the entrance to the underworld, and the good ending where Ryu's sacrifice is avoided by his father, who plummets Township onto the underworld's entrance, sealing it under thousands and thousands of rock. You can only get the good one if you don't kill a certain person during a boss battle.
  • My Religion Right or Wrong: Ray knows that the Church of St. Eva is bad, but fights you anyway out of loyalty to his adopted father.
  • Nerf: The original allowed you to stay in dragon form indefinitely after an initial outlay of AP. In this game, the dragon transformation is a one-off deal, and it consumes all your AP with it. The damage the dragon forms deal also relies on how much AP Ryu has at the time of casting. Somewhat mitigated by the fact Ryu can cast the dragon forms multiple times if the player constantly replenishes his AP.
  • Noble Demon: Barbaroi/Barubary. If Ryu decides to face him one-on-one, he will praise him for his honor and courage. Win, and he'll give the location of a useful accessory.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. Breath of Fire II is the only game in the series to include bathrooms in every house, and even two instances where the bathroom is the dungeon.
  • Noob Cave: Mt. Fubi.
  • Optional Party Member: Bleu/Deis is not necessary to finish the game. That said, she's an absolutely badass mage with a skill that recovers her HP for free and she likely starts several levels above your other characters, so it's probably wise to pick her up.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: The Dragon Tear.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The fake Jean looks nothing like the real one. Subverted in that his subjects don't really care, thus the fake Jean can get away with being thinner and handsomer.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Church of St. Eva. Probably one of the earliest examples of a video game using a religious organization as an antagonist force.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Monster Island.
  • Planet of Hats: Nobody speaks a word in Tunlan, instead communicating via flute music.
  • Plotline Death: Tiga and Claris.
  • Power-Up Food: Biscuits (a fairly easy item to make) will permanently boost one character's stats by +1 per biscuit. If one doesn't mind grinding to get the proper ingredients, you can max out your party's stats, regardless of level, by the game's halfway point.
  • Punny Name. Alzheimer (Aruhamel), Aspara Gus (Spar), Eichichi (chichi literally means "udders"), Land/Rand Marks (Rand) and Nympho Mani (Nimufu) were Lost in Translation. Algernon and Town Ship made it in.
  • Relationship Values: It also measures how close are the characters to Ryu. Subverted in that it barely has any impact in the storyline. It allows Ryu (and by extension, the player) to figure out the feelings of the person he's talking to, which can be useful to get some nice upgrades from a (very shy) recruitable NPC.
  • Religion of Evil: Played with the Church of St. Eva. While it's secretly bad to the bone, its believers (and many of its puppet preachers) genuinely believe it's so good and noble as they were told.
  • Required Party Member: You need Sten to get to Highfort. And Katt to enter the Whale and CotLnd.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: It doesn't matter if you think you're God: if you kill his friends in front of him, Ryu will bring you down no matter how many explosions you throw at him.
  • Saintly Church: The Dragon Clan and their religious beliefs. There's something very Book of Revelation-y about the story, with the people ignoring the benevolent deity and worshiping a demon who poses as one.
  • Shout-Out: The tenants are full of these: the fortuneteller is named after Whoopi Goldberg, the old guy Barose/Burroughs from the dreamworld is named after a character from A Nightmare on Elm Street, artist Salvador is named after Salvador Dali, etc...
    • Kilgore Trout is a fictional character created by Kurt Vonnegut of Slaughterhouse Five fame. Kilgore and Trout are the feuding rich folks in Home Town.
    • The Gargoyle enemy sprite bears a striking resemblance to Firebrand.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming:
  • Storming the Castle: The Grand Church of Evrai.
  • Theme Naming: All the tenants who sells weapons are named after gun manufacturers (Heckler, Beretta, Kalashnikof, Remington). Obviously, the translator never figured this out...
  • Tournament Arc: Coursair's battle tournament. Subverted by Augus, the crooked manager, into a Blood Sport.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Sets the record for sheer number of Trauma Conga Lines in a single game in the franchise, damn near being a Trauma Conga Limbo Party in and of itself with most of the cast.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Ryu and Patty's parents. Their mom is a hot young winged woman who can turn into a gigantic dragon and their dad, while not necessarily ugly, is a normal old human.
  • Underground Level: The Dry Well of Capitan.
  • Under the Sea: The Upa Caves.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Infinity.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: Terrapin.
  • Warmup Boss: The giant Roach.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Averted when Rand's mother sacrifices herself to save him.
  • Where It All Began: Ryu's hometown Gate is where the final dungeon is located.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Baba"?: Ryu gets a lot of flak for his alias.
  • Wise Tree: Gandaroof the Great Wise Tree. There are also several "minor" trees around the world.
  • Womb Level: Grampa the Whale and the Queen of Tunlan.
  • Wrench Wench: Eichichi (a.k.a. Gigi). Has massive breasts and finds machines… stimulating. Probably would be Ms. Fanservice too, if the sprites in this game were large and detailed enough.
  • You Can't Go Home Again