The town of Astholm is protected by a Sapphire, one of the magical stones mentioned in old legends. Generation of honorable priestesses protect the stone, and with it the town. Tonight is the annual Sapphire Festival, and the young priestess Firis is going to conduct the ceremony. But just after the joyous event, the priestess is kidnapped by Gel du Rey, the henchman of the evil Lord Ezelkiel. You play the role of the captain of Astholm's guards. You and Firis have been close friends ever since the childhood. You decide to rescue the priestess, with the help of your loyal guards and friends you meet on your journey.
Just Breed is a hybrid of traditional Japanese-style RPG like Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy, and strategy. During confrontations with the enemies, the battle screen occupies the entire location, and large parties of allies and enemies fight each other in turn-based style, moving on the field to perform physical attacks (melee as well as ranged) or to cast magic spells.
Credits (NES version)
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Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 4 ratings with 1 reviews)
First, this is a NES RPG. An excellent RPG that you can't miss. You explore the field like in any other RPG, but unlike the majority of them, the battles are much different. Basically, all the battles are on the over-world map, and it's divided into squares where units can stay. Battles are turn-based. You can move your warriors on the field, attack monsters from one box away if you're a fighter or from more than one box away if you're an archer, cast spell at monsters, but of course monsters will also attack you and cast spells at you when it's their turn. You start with one army of 2 fighters and 2 archers, to eventually get a mage to complete your 6-people army. Then, you'll discover friends that will also have their own armies, to eventually have 5 friends, so the game has 6 armies in total (however, the storyline doesn't let you have more than 4 at the same time). However, in some places, such as the last dungeon, only your leaders will fight alone, making the battles much harder. One thing that made Just Breed unique to other strategy games is the monsters dens. Each enemy turn, the monsters will appear in the dens until you disarm them. So you have to make your way as fast as possible to the dens to close them if you don't want to be submerged by a million of monsters. This adds a lot of challenge, and is unique to Just Breed. Of course this is just a preview of all the stuff the game features, so I'll let yourself discover how all this stuff is in the game.
The graphics were really good for a NES RPG. Backgrounds are well-done and detailed, and Sprites are small (16x16 pixels), but still pretty much detailed too. In battle, the allies are cyan and the monsters purple. You can click on monsters to have a detailed picture of them, so the small sprites isn't a problem for me. Some bosses are even larger on the field.
One cool thing is the quantity of magic and different weapons in the game. The fighters can have sword, and spears. The sword is usually strongest, but the spear can also attack 2 boxes away. The archers can have bows and boomerangs. The bow is strong, but can attack only if you're on the same column or the same row as the monster, and each bow has its limited range. The first bows of the game can only attack from 3 boxes away, and the last ones can nearly attack a monster on the opposite side of the screen. There is also staff for the mages, and halberds for some of the heroes. There is many spells, and their name is pretty funny (sound from Latin language or something). The advanced spells have more or less the same name, with another termination, so you'll recognize the improved spells. The monsters have more or less the same spells than you have, and some have more but that's pretty rare.
The music is cool too, especially the over-world one that you'll hear for many battles. I found the sound effects funny and all attack have different SFX. The "advanced" spells that are improvement of basic one even have similar SFX than the basic spell, but with more intensity. The sound quality is very good overall (there is 7 sound channels instead of 5) ! The game features nice volume and pitch effects.
This is one of the only NES RPGs where characters really have personalities, so the storyline becomes very interesting ! All characters are really fun and all, there are a lot of jokes in the games, and you'll never get bored to go further and even further on your quest. Also, you can come back on every moment to any beaten stage, unlike many strategy games, so you can level up as you wish.
Last of thing, the AI is pretty much well done. It's not as impressive as the NES Fire Emblem games, because you just fight evil monsters that aren't supposed to have any intelligence, and they made them to be as aggressive as possible, but they're just infamous monsters !
The game is pretty easy during the first two stage, but the difficulty level with surprisingly grow up during the game, and the last few stage are really challenging.
One big problem about the game is the bosses. Many stages with dens are challenging but bosses aren't at all. They're all incredibly easy, long and boring. This isn't really the fault of the game itself, but rather the tactics genre. A single monster, even very strong, can't be hard to beat. Just heal with one or even two characters, and heal with others. The whole set of bosses won't even move. If they do, they'll come back just after their attack where they originally were. That's it. They should really put bosses with more than one part (only the last boss actually take more than one single box on the field, the others one are bigger, but it's just an illusion), or made group of bosses, or something. This tactics system rocks for usual battle, but sucks for bosses. Fortunately, the usual battles are by far challenging enough to make the game interesting a lot.
It's incredibly frustrating to be unable to come back once you enter the last dungeon. You'll also loose all the stuff equipped by your "non-leader" units, without be warned. If you're going to enter in the last dungeon, please don't do the same error than I did !! The game only has two save slots, but use both of them ! Make a copy of your saved game before entering the last dungeon, else you'll regret it !
In the impossible-to-get-out-last-dungeon, you'll have no actual magician with you (since all leaders are 5 fighters and 1 archer), and, even if all of them are able to use magic, you have nobody able to use fire magic left (and of course there is many ice monsters).
Also, you can't pass behind trees and chimneys. That's irritating.
Everything else in the game is cool. Really !
The Bottom Line
Just Breed is an awesome strategy-RPG released on the Famicom in 1992 by Enix, and it really put the console to it's extreme limits. Unfortunately, it was only released in Japan, but an English translation is available for emulation. I even downloaded it two days after the day it came out, because I didn't see it the day it came out. I was unable to pass the third stage without knowing one word of Japanese. Overall, if you have played some popular RPGs, it's pretty much a mix between the Fire Emblem and Dragon Warrior series, and the result is awesome. I don't understand why this game is so unpopular and ignored. Since the original cartridge should be one of the hardest game in the world to get due to it's low popularity and it's low production, you'll probably have to rely on infamous methods and to download the game. But, it's really worth it ! Check it out, you won't regret this !
NES · by Bregalad (937) · 2006
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RPGClassics - Just Breed
Has lists for spells, items,amor etc., a detailed walkthrough and a secrets-FAQ.
- MobyGames ID: 13522
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Game added by Unicorn Lynx.
Additional contributors: Mobygamesisreanimated.
Game added June 2nd, 2004. Last modified September 17th, 2023.