Breath of Fire II (ブレスオブファイアII 使命の子 Buresu obu Faia Tsū: Shimei no Ko, "Breath of Fire II: The Destined Child") is the second main game in the Breath of Fire series of RPG games. It was produced by Tokuro Fujiwara and developed by Capcom for the Super Famicom and released in Japan in 1994. Capcom subsequently released the game in North America in 1995, and licensed it to Laguna for European release in 1996. Illustrations for both versions were done by Tatsuya Yoshikawa.
Breath of Fire II was later ported to Game Boy Advance and re-released worldwide. The game has been rated by the ESRB for release on Wii's Virtual Console; Nintendo of Europe's website mistakenly announced it for release on July 27th 2007, but was released two weeks later on August 10th 2007. The game was released on the Virtual Console in North America on August 27th, 2007.
A direct sequel to the original Breath of Fire, Breath of Fire II expands on the themes, mechanics, and aesthetics of its prequel. It is set in the same fantasy world, 500 years after the original Breath of Fire, and features a new group of highly unique characters, each of which hails from a clan that differs from ordinary humans. The main character is a boy called Ryu, just as in the original Breath of Fire, but has a different background and appearance. New characters called Shamans are introduced into the gameplay, each with their own elemental alignment, and up to two at a time may be fused with party members to grant them new forms and abilities.
Ryu begins the game as a young boy, the son of a priest in the town of Gate. When his sister Yua goes missing, Ryu's father (Ganer) asks him to fetch her before she gets into trouble. Ryu's search eventually leads him to the wilderness outside Gate, where he finds Yua napping beneath the head of a sleeping dragon. Acting on Yua's advice, Ryu follows suit and falls asleep under the dragon. When he awakens, his family has disappeared, and no one in town recognizes him. Later that night, a young orphan named Bow decides to loot the church. Finding nothing of interest, he decides to accompany Ryu on his way to another town.
Many years later, Ryu and Bow are living in Hometown, performing odd jobs for the Ranger's Guild. After an item is stolen from the home of a wealthy man, Bow is falsely accused of the theft and forced to flee. With the authorities out looking for him, Bow is left with little recourse but to go into hiding, leaving Ryu to find the real thief.
- Ryu Bateson - Ryu's name translates to "Dragon". In conjuction with Nina's name, it translates into "Dragon Fire". He is a descendant of the Dragon Clan. His power to use Dragon transformations was awakened after a botched fusion attempt. He is the rumored "Destined Child" that will destroy the evil God. He can be played in two different stages of his life. At the beginning of the game, he can be played in his child form for the first two battles of the game. After this, the game advances 10 years and he is then played as his adult form. Like his predeccesor, he wields a sword in battle and can fish out on the field. Unlike in the first story, he does not wield boomerangs in addition to swords. His dragon transformations no longer last for an entire battle or until canceled. Instead, dragon magic now consumes all of his AP and must be refilled before he is able to use the powers again. This was done because the developers felt that the dragon powers from the first Breath of Fire were too powerful. Ryu is also not limited to one romance option this time around. Both Nina and Katt show interest in him. However, much is left ambiguous with only strong implications disappointing many fans. In addition, because of the events surrounding Katt, some fans believed she served more as a distraction to add complications and drama to the relationship between Ryu and Nina.
- Nina - Unlike Katt, Nina is quiet, shy, well-mannered, elegant, and occasionally lacks self confidence. Because of this, it can be difficult to tell if she is interested in Ryu. There are several hints throughout the story showing her strong emotional bond to him. However, she has trouble revealing her true feelings towards Ryu. According to Wyndia legend, a child born with black wings will bring misfortune to the kingdom. The child must be killed, as mandated by law, even though she is of royal blood. Unable to kill their beloved daughter, the King and Queen told the country she was dead and sent her off to the Magic Academy in Hometown, forbidding her to come back. Later in the game, she discovers that she is a descendant of Nina from the original game. Unlike her ancestor, this Nina does not use curative spells nor wield swords. She uses rings to attack and enhance her destructive magic power in battle. Nina's special ability in her normal form restores AP which enables her to cast magic almost indefinitely. In her shamanized form (when fused with Seny and Spoo), her Will ability is replaced by a new ability: Banish. Banish makes foes immediately flee from battle, though it can fail on rare occasions. This ability obviously does not work on bosses as well, and should serve as an excellent tool for the party to conserve their strength making way through dungeons. In one of the endings, Nina becomes extremely emotional upon realizing she is about to lose Ryu; this contradicts her reserved nature as she reveals that next to Mina, Ryu is the most important person in her life. Furthermore, she confesses that she is unwilling to let go of what she feels for Ryu even if he intends to force her into doing so. This only occurs if she is the one to run back looking for Ryu.
- Bow (Bosch in Japan) - An anthropomorphic dog, Ryu's best friend since childhood. He is a skilled thief who wields a crossbow in battle. Shortly after the game begins, Bow is framed for a robbery and the adventure begins as the player must find the real thief and prove his innocence. The player eventually does find the real thief and Bow is able to rejoin the party. On the field, Bow can use his crossbow to hunt meat for the party. His Fusion form is that of a heavily armored creature who launches cannonballs at the enemy. In this form, Bow's hunting ability is also enhanced because he shoots faster.
- Katt (Rinpoo Chuan in Japan) - A sassy young competitor at the Coliseum, wielding battle staves, and is a great fighter. Katt is a member of the Worren tribe/clan and possesses great agility and attack power. She is a member of the Woren tribe, and very much a loner. Despite being a loner, she is shown to have great respect for Ryu. Opposite to Nina, Katt is extremely boisterous, flamboyant, and cocky. In unique situations involving the use of Katt and Nina, Katt is often more brash and loud. It is possible that at some point, she may have even harbored romantic feelings towards him. Her feelings towards Ryu become questionable when she decides to run off with Tiga as she eventually reveals that she is in love with the male Worren after witnessing his death. Katt can hunt animals with her staff, but loses this ability should she fuse with Shin and Sana or Seso. In her shamanized form, she gains the Keep ability which causes her to hold off on attacking or doing anything else for one turn, following up with a guaranteed critical hit the next turn. If she is the one to go looking for Ryu in one of the endings, she becomes more rash as she tries waking up Ryu.
- Rand Marks - Rand is a traveler, unlike the other members of the Shell Clan. He works at the Coliseum when Ryu first meets him, and helps him save Katt's life. He has a problem with his authoritarian mother, which is one of the reasons he ran away from his home in FarmTown. He is one of the elders in the group and tends to feel as if he should look out for the well being of his party members.
- Sten Legacy - A once famous soldier of the monkey-like Highlander tribe. Sten joins Ryu's party after pulling a practical joke on Ryu in his attempt to go on a date with Katt and Nina. This annoys Nina and angers Katt, resulting in Katt beating him senseless after Nina discovers that Ryu was hidden underground because of Sten's foolishness. He regains his bravery after a visit to his hometown.
- Ekkal Hoppa de Pe Jean - The prince of Sima Fort who is transformed into a giant frog by a witch's spell. Like in the classic fairy tale, the spell can be broken only if a fair maiden were to kiss Jean. Katt or Nina can be used to see different outcomes of this scene; both ladies become extremely uncomfortable in this situation. He speaks with an exaggerated French accent. Jean joins the party after Ryu and the others help to break the witch's spell on him.
- Spar (Aspara Gus in Japan) - An emotionless plant man who can commune with nature, and is held captive by a traveling sideshow. He (It?) joins Ryu's party after they save him from a demon.
- Valerie - Ryu and Yua's mother, who is revealed to be the sleeping dragon guarding the town of Gate. She is a playable character during a brief portion of the game.
- Patty - a mysterious girl with dragon-like wings who is heavily implied to be Ryu's younger sister, Yua.
- Gonghead - Ryu has an unwinnable battle with this creature during his childhood.
- Augus - the manager of the Coliseum Tournaments. Ryu finds himself participating in the tournament when he hears a girl he is looking for may be one of the fighters. Augus speaks to Ryu of the fight and how the girl is to be shot with a poison dart. He is shocked by this and then seeks help from Rand. After the fight, the group goes and confronts Augus in his office, where he turns into a monstrous beast and attacks.
- Bunyan - a woodsman Ryu fights in a maze-like forest north of Coursair, who later appears in the next two games of the series.
- Joker - his gang takes Mina hostage to lure Nina to Mt. Rocko to make her his slave, but he is defeated by Ryu and Katt.
- Nimufu - Nimufu is the witch who put the spell on Jean and turned him into a frog.
- Tiga - a claustrophobic mercenary who falls in love with Katt, but their love is to be short-lived.
- Ray - starting out as a friend to Ryu's party, Ray quickly becomes an enemy because of his devotion to the church. Unfortunately, Ryu is forced to kill him in a boss fight.
- Bleu (Deis in Japan, Breath of Fire III, and IV) - A secret character who reappears in most of the other games as well. Through mistranslations, her name was listed in Breath of Fire and Breath of Fire II as Bleu. Bleu has the highest magic attack power of any character and can restore her health to full by using her Shed ability. She joins Ryu's party after the group discovers her hideout, speaks to her spirit guardians, and approach her in the Magic Academy. Interestingly and most likely for comedy relief, she tends to pick on the Nina incarnations. In fact, Nina is shown to grow extremely jealous when Ryu first recruits Bleu early on in the game, for he seems to become captivated by her beauty and power. This causes Nina to reveal to Ryu (when in her room) that she will study extra hard to become better than Bleu, as she pleads for him to not leave her. Because she is a hidden character, she hold almost no major part in the story.
Like other SNES titles released that year, Breath of Fire II lacks a credits sequence for the game's staff, instead utilizing a "cast roll" for the game's characters, enemies and bosses. The remaining games in the series would return to a proper crediting format.