More like “Breath of Fresh Air” III…except without the three part, since I didn’t much care for the first two.
Let me tell you a little story. The year was 2001, and people were living large, fast, and in complete fear of the sun being swallowed whole by the Pegasus dragon Axwexler. George W. Bush was sworn into the U.S. Presidency and began his 16-point plan to seek revenge against George Washington and Abe Lincoln by driving the United States of America deep into the 7th circle of Hell. Gas prices were soaring due to a nationwide shortage, leaving the average American with little else to do but fart into their gas tank, praying to Satan that it would work. It did.
And there was Meteo X, whom at this age was in the throngs of puberty. His build was taller, his hair was hairier, and all 19 of his testicles had dropped. Off. He found himself in an awkward stage where girls refused to wear underwear and all he could think about was “Good lord! Do we have to hose these girls down to get them to BATHE once in a while!?” and with his awkwardness came some trouble. He was getting taller and heavier, but his knees had failed to catch up, leaving him crippled at the slightest gust of air. One time, he cracked too hard and had to spend four days at home unable to walk. Just before his accident, Meteo’s friend, Steven Coy (whom eventually became the object of Timothy McVeigh’s affection) lent him an odd copy of Breath of Fire III. It was a puzzling object—300% rectangular and with more used condoms than the Boys’ Brigade. Meteo worked for hours to get it to fit inside his PlayStation, but eventually it fit!
Meteo turned it on at 10:30 and played it until everyone else got home; in that span of time, Meteo worked with the game and got familiar with it. The basic gameplay was very reminiscent of the RPGs of old, and Meteo enjoyed that thoroughly. The graphics and animation surprised Meteo, for even though the game came from a company known for putting hard work into their 2D graphics and animation, it was still a sight to see. The soundtrack wasn’t quite as impressive. It was such an expansive soundtrack that the obvious focus was more on quantity and functionality than quality, and only the odd track would stick out from time to time. Up until dinner time, when the family would feed on a human leg Meteo Xavier, Sr. found in the trash out by Arby’s, Meteo played through several scenarios and was curious what the next installment held. Later that night, Meteo, with a total lack of anything else to do while he recuperated, stayed up until 1:00 a.m. playing more Breath of Fire III.
The next morning, Meteo made a desperate attempt to clean up and take care of his body functions, which lead to what the family favorably remembers as “The Toilet Shower,” and with half a roll of toilet paper sticking out of his ear and a bucket of mop water on his bad leg, Meteo crawled over to the PlayStation to begin another round. Breath of Fire III was getting addictive now. Every scenario was different but felt like an RPG scenario should feel. Every dungeon had a plethora of puzzles that would satisfy a Zelda veteran, but some of them were unnecessarily frustrating, and Meteo often had to crawl across the desert of fiberglass carpet to reference GameFAQs. There was a LOT to do, with lots of secrets and stuff, but it never got overwhelming; it never felt like it was TOO much to do, thanks to a well-designed overworld system and excellent sense of balance.
The Master system was a great addition, in Meteo’s opinion, which offered a lot of sidequest-style challenge in tracking them down and getting them to train you. More often than not it was rewarding to have them, as they taught badly needed skills that helped him win the difficult boss battles. Meteo also smiled at the Dragon gene prospect, which allowed him to track down Dragon genes hidden in the corners of the world and combine them to make a multitude of Dragon forms. It was awesome. Meteo didn’t understand if the developers just got lucky with this title or actually remembered how to put together a kick-ass RPG that FELT like a kick-ass RPG, but Meteo bent down and thanked Axwexler—who responded by dropping a meteoric fang oozing blood through the roof, nearly crushing Meteo and damaging the PlayStation.
After Meteo and his family had that fang for dinner, Meteo crawled back to his room, frustrated by the recent event. In his frustration, he swore the game off entirely, citing that every time the plot needed to move forward, he had to wait for some poorly written events to happen first. Example: In order to get a boat to cross a body of water, Meteo had to help some nerd beat up a guy to get a girl, then fix the lighthouse, then help out fairies so he COULD fix the lighthouse only to have the boat NOT show up and have to walk through a damn volcano instead. There were several instances of this, which just seemed like filler to make the game longer. Meteo also raged at how useless it was trying to get skills from enemies, which was the battle “feature” of this game. It works like Blue Magic, except it’s really ineffective and time-consuming. You have to WATCH the enemies every round and wait for them to use a technique someone can recognize before you get it. Finally, as Meteo X, Sr. thrashed Meteo to bed, Meteo lamented the lack of a dungeon map, which would’ve cut down the frustration factor by 30% at least.
But even with these frustrations, Meteo could not get Breath of Fire III out of his mind. The game begged too much of him, and Meteo reached the limits of his self-control. He stole the mighty Moonshadow Crystal from the mysterious sorcerer Salithor, who was rumored to control Axwexler. Although Salithor would easily rewind time to Meteo’s pre-infancy and personally abort him for this action, Meteo revived the PlayStation console and jumped right back into the game. It was just as good as when he left. He played all day, and even though the game continued with frustrating minigames and puzzles, and the story took a complete turn at the halfway mark that really took out the sense of conflict that drove the story to begin with, IT WAS STILL FUCKING AWESOME. Breath of Fire III never loses its balance and never runs out of stuff to do.
In four days, Meteo made it through all 50 hours of gameplay, which was no small accomplishment for a man who could only masturbate if he was standing on his head and looking directly at the sun. He was just short of beating the game, and the epic struggle of why Gods and Dragons fight was just about to come to a satisfying close, when the sky grew dark and smelt of dead corpse cunnilingus. A black shape moved across the shadows and Meteo became paralyzed. The shaped gained a human form and Meteo recognized him immediately:
…oh wait, no.
It was none other than Salithor! The blackest of white sorcerers!
“Meteo Xavier!” cried the omnicrone. “I have come to exact revenge for your EGREGIOUS error! I can see all throughout time and space, and nowhere, I FUCKING MEAN NOWHERE, has there been a stupider, more bleedingly ignorant individual in history! You’ve made the biggest mistake in creation by stealing the Moonshadow Crystal from me, and even those who burn in hell for eternity will not envy your fate! Prepare for pain, immortal!”
The wizard began chanting a monstrous incantation, and the great Dragon of the sky Axwexler swallowed the sun and began to barrel down to Meteo’s house. Meteo’s paralysis was also a functioning homing essence for Axwexler so that the Dragon would not miss his target. All seemed lost…until Meteo looked at the screen of the game he was playing. A similar situation was playing out, in which Ryu had to make the biggest decision of his life: to give up and let fate do its course, or stand up and fight—for the whole world rested squarely on him. It was only a second, but to Meteo it was a lifetime, a lifetime of weakness about to justify itself.
With a burst of kiai, Meteo shook off his paralysis, stood on his broken leg and defied the great sorcerer. They battled, with large explosions and ridiculous amounts of energy flying back and forth. They fought like Breath of Fire III, with enormous, flashy attacks and strategy, where the odds were certainly against him and he had to put EVERYTHING HE HAD into the fight. Meteo finally got Salithor were he wanted him and unleashed a desperate attack, and the whole world depended on whether this attack connected or not.
In the flaming aftermath, Meteo stood exhausted against his opponent, an opponent who had been hiding this whole time. Salithor’s true identity was revealed. He was Steven Coy. Steven, weak as a gnat, laughed at Meteo in all his lunatic irony, for this was a plan he had right from the beginning, to lend Meteo the greatest RPG Capcom would ever make, which would lead to his entrancing and undoing. Meteo stood aghast—these last blissful days playing Breath of Fire III were a lie? A game THIS good was meant for nothing more than evil? The dragon was bearing down; time was running out! And all Meteo heard was laughter. Laughter. Laughter. Laughter.
But Meteo again looked back at the screen; the decision had still not been made. Would he give up, or would he stand tall? Meteo then realized it wasn’t even a decision at all. The answer was clear as day. With his last ounce of strength, Meteo grabbed Steven Coy and hurled him into Axwexler. The force of the throw was enough to combust the evil dragon carrying the sun and a tremendous light burst forth. The light of the sun. The light of eternity. There would be no more darkness. The energy gave forth by Breath of Fire III strengthed Meteo beyond every fabric of weakness he had. He returned to the game and played out the ending. The ending was a disappointment, but Meteo never had this much fun in a four-day period ever again.
He still plays this game today, and even though he must still look up GameFAQs for how to cut fucking Sashimi or whatever, the game never grows old and never loses its shine.