"The focus of this story, Ryu meets Nina while he is lying unconscious in a large hole in the desert in the eastern continent. His race and native land are unknown. Ryu has a Dragon's Eye, which empowers him with amazing abilities to transform into a dragon and summon dragons."
Ryu was discovered by Nina, lying with no clothing and unconscious in the middle of a crater in the Eastern Continent. Ryu has lost his memories and has no idea of who he is or where he comes from. He decides to join Nina in her search for her sister, Elina.
Ryu travels with Nina and at several moments protects her, the first time he does so is after meeting Rasso the first time, Ryu is revealed to be a dragon by a minstrel after the Dam is flooded to the player. (What is unusual is that in battle no one ever notices Ryu turning into his dragon form prior to this event. The scene with the minstrel serves as a story purpose since combat mechanics do not tend to mingle with certain key elements.)
After reuniting with Cray, Ryu's Dragon Eye causes Ryu, Nina and Cray to have a dream of finding where Nina's sister is, only for it to end just after a certain point (this is believed to be foreshadowing of a later event), Ershin points out that it was Ryu's Dragon Eye that showed them the vision.
As their journey progresses, Ryu learns more and more about himself, including the fact he has a "Dragon's Eye", a gift considered to be extremely unusual. Ryu eventually discovers that he is one of the endless, but that he is not whole and in time will need to join with his other half, who is the first emperor, Fou-Lu. As Ryu travels to the imperial capital of Chedo to face Fou-Lu, he calls upon the help of the various dragon gods that inhabit the earth to share their power with him so that he may become strong enough to defeat Fou-Lu, and become the dominant half of the Yorae Dragon. He eventually succeeds and decides that the world does no need gods. He uses his powers to send all the gods back to the worlds from which they came.
It is interesting to note that this version of Ryu seems to talk to others during some of the game's story scenes, noted by his mouth moving and gesturing with his hands, though no text dialogue accompanies his speech. In some cases, people respond to him, while in others they seem to ignore the fact he was trying to make a point about something.
Ryu is fairly well-balanced in human form, with decent stats for each parameter. This version of Ryu is very much like the first incarnation of the series when it comes to a skill list. He learns no magic or special abilities whatsoever from leveling up, unlike his allies, and this means the player needs to round out his list with moves learned from either Masters or monsters. Otherwise, all he can do is attack with his weapon or evoke one of the dragon gods for assistance (though the evocation system doesn't come into play until much later in the story). This limits his standard combat utility as it is not necessary to transform into dragon form for every battle and is only a waste of his AP. In addition, Ryu's elemental background as a human is fire, so he takes more damage from ice spells and attacks. Also, underscoring them being opposite halves, any skill Ryu learns will also be known to Fou-Lu and vice-versa, meaning each can gain and use abilities that the other can during their levels.
Ryu has the ability to transform into a dragon and have access to special breath attacks and other moves. These forms can automatically upgrade themselves depending on the number of in-game points that the player receives throughout game play. Game points are displayed when any character other than Ryu is selected in the Status submenu.
Upon transforming into a god Ryu's clothes color becomes ligher and his hair becomes radiant gold, not unlike his namesake's Kaiser transformation in BoF III.
Ryu and Fou Lu's Meditate Dragon Forms designed are based off the Warrior Dragon Form from BoF III.
While the game never goes into exactly what the Dragon's Eye does for Ryu, the manga adaptation explains that it gives Ryu limited ability to see the future as well as the ability to see through Fou Lu's eyes. The game manual states that it grants Ryu the power to transform into a dragon.
In his in-game appearance, the white shirt that he wears is a tank top instead of the ripped sleeve shirt with red trim.
In the opening cutscene of the game Ryu's eyes appear to be purple, while both in-game and original art show them as blue.