Dreams and Reality

So, I never actually beat Breath of Fire 2, but nevertheless, the opening remains high on my list of best game openings.

(The scrolling text part of the opening can be found here)

I'm not sure there's much I can say about the “piques your curiosity” angle. Anybody who's ever played Breath of Fire knows that your main character has to be a dragon, so the “you have dreams about your dead mother when you sleep near the dragon” is very unlikely to go anywhere other than “This dragon is your mother, or at least a blood relative”. However, it's worth noting that when your character does actually take a nap, you get a brief flash of a reptilian eye, and then you wake up in the village where no one recognizes you. It shows a decent amount of subtlety (something usually missing from games) to not show the dream, or even answer the question of whether or not you dreamed about your mother. Likewise, I don't know if some explanation is provided later on in the game (I haven't beaten it, remember?), but for the moment, nothing is offered in terms of explanation for why no one recognizes you, and because your character doesn't speak, you don't make any big protestation of “Woah, where am I? Why doesn't anyone recognize me?” You might find out later what's going on, but for the moment it's not important, because you've absorbed the information of everything that's happened so far.

Regarding the text of the written opening: the writing is fine, nothing to elevate it particularly high or sink it particularly low, but I'm particularly struck by two things. First, the demon that kills you doesn't appear to have any malice, suggesting that it's more out to force you to embrace your destiny than just tear you a new one, which was a nice touch, back in the 90's when it wasn't so common. Second, the fact that the text ends with how reality fades away and the dream takes shape, only to dump you at the title screen, and then the main game. Much like Godot and His Mask, you have no idea what the reality of the situation is, but it's not important. It's very possible (I'd even say I hope that it's the case) that the entire game is, in fact, a dream about your mother that you had from closing your eyes near the sleeping dragon.

And yet, I never beat the game. Tomorrow: Why?

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