Tag Archives: Musashi

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH: Brave Fencer Musashi

games I regret brave fencer musashi

In Brave Fencer Musashi, you could purchase action figures from a local store. They came in actual plastic packaging, and you could either leave them in the packaging or take them out and “play” with them, which basically resulted in watching them animate some stilted way. There were special action figures earned for rescuing all 35 palace members, opening every chest, or beating the game at a certain level, but there really wasn’t a point to the action figures. Just things to collect, look at, and store in your collection, boxed or unboxed. Something I clearly should have done with my copy of this game–keep it. Also, if I remember correctly, my copy came with a playable demo of Final Fantasy VII.

The story in Brave Fencer Musashi follows a young, cocky swordsman named Musashi who is summmoned to a parallel world to defend Allucaneet Kingdom from the Thirstquencher Empire and rescue Princess Fillet. His journey is primarily focused on obtaining the Five Scrolls, which enhance the powers hidden within his sword Lumina, as well as interacting with people from Allucanet and a nearby village. It’s a light-hearted coming-of-age tale brimming with puns, most based around food, and so I loved it as a wee one and miss it dearly as an adult regretting all the games he traded in. I mean, really, name me two other videogames rocking this many food-based puns, and I’ll give you the world.

It’s an action RPG, with combat happening in real time. The in-game world also plays about in real time, too, with a day/night cycle in place, which affects the time when stores in the village are open for business. In combat, Musashi has the ability to steal the special attacks from enemies and use them as his own, which is a fun rabbit hole to go down in that I remember going around to every enemy I could find, just to see how he’d use their powers. Naturally, some are better than others. Without those special moves, you are just using simple combos with your sword and the occasional special sword after gaining some of the Five Scrolls. It’s not a terribly difficult game, though I do recall some of the boss fights frustrating to the point of controller-shaking.

For some reason, I remember the village the most. I was so used to stores in my RPGs just always being open, ready to sell me stuff and buy my junk. Not quite so simple in the Allucaneet Kingdom, as the stores are operated by men and women, and they all live lives. They sleep and go for walks and open shop at specific hours, which one will quickly need to learn to stay alive. Such as the Breadshop/Bakery, open from 7 am to 7 pm and closed on Thursday. Or that the Toy Shop is open from 12 pm to 8 pm and closed on Wednesdays. It really felt like, to me, a real, operating village instead of something static and the same every time you visited like in Wild ARMs or Suikoden. As a kid that only barely understood schedules from school, this aspect blew my mind.

Recently, at Tampa Bay Comic Con, a man was selling a bunch of old videogames, and I saw Brave Fencer Musashi on his table for about $40, sitting next to a high-priced copy of Suikoden II. I looked on with a smile, but only that–I couldn’t do the deed. Maybe one day it’ll come to PSN as a digital download, but $40 is probably a bit too steep for me. Until then, I guess. Oh, and don’t bother with Musashi: Samurai Legend; it’s not the follow-up you are looking for.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.

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JUST BEAT: Musashi: Samurai Legend

musashi_samurai_legend_cover

Developer/Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PS2
Genre(s): Action Adventure/RPG
Mode(s): Singe player
Rating: Teen
Time clocked: About 22 hours

The Basics
Though claiming to be a sequel to the charming and fun action RPG Brave Fencer Musashi that was released for Sony’s PlayStation in 1998, Musashi: Samurai Legend is anything but a trite re-imagining of what was once charming and fun. The story starts off with Princess Mycella summoning a hero from another world in order to help save hers. That hero—hapless and helpless as he is—turns out to be Musashi, who takes on the training of Yoda Master Mew in order to rescue the princess back from the evil hands of President Gandrake. Also, he needs to collect the legendary five swords along the way.

The Good
If anything, as an action RPG, Musashi: Samurai Legend does offer a solid amount of action. Each spot on the world map offers tons of enemies to slice apart or learn techniques from, with also a splash of platforming and puzzle-solving thrown in for good measure. Musashi himself can learn a number of special attacks, but it’s mostly hacking and slashing and occasionally blocking for him as he pushes forward. Some sections really offer a lot of action with never-ending spawn points for enemies.

The Bad
As I recall, Brave Fencer Musashi was somewhat linear…but never to this extreme. You can’t get lost in this game, and there’s only a pinch of retreading familiar grounds (which are handed to the gamer so stupidly that there’s no point in even feeling proud when you remember you can now access a certain area thanks to your new “walk-on-water boots”). One task dropped upon Musashi’s feminine shoulders is that of rescuing 28 lost villagers…don’t worry, you’ll get them all as just about every single floating blue orb hosting a stolen soul is right along the main path. Way to make it challenging, Square Enix.

Also, every time you rescue one of the Mystics, you must carry her from the end of the level back to the beginning. While fighting off hordes of enemies. This, my readers, is complete bullshit and will most certainly have you grinding your teeth at the screen. The game is very repetitive in that sense, and even the boss battles become nothing more than “learn the pattern, attack here”. A little more variety and branching would’ve been appreciated, as would’ve the day/night cycle from the previous entry.

The Fugly
Where to start?

First, Musashi from Brave Fencer Musashi dressed the part of a traditional samurai, which made sense given that that’s what he was. Here, Musashi has changed up his style to be some sort of California surfer/drug addict supermodel with no money for a haircut. Is there a reason gamers need to see his midriff?

Second, the writing. It was either the writing or the voice acting, but since the voice actors are only reading what is written in their script, I went with the former. It’s bad, people. Overtly bad, especially when it tries to lighten the mood. Musashi attempts to sound tough, comes off cheesy. The Mystic of the Void tries to sound seductive, comes off cheap and whorish. Master Mew dramatically attempts wisdom and being wizened, sounds like a dying cat.

Third, the graphics. They’re not terrible, really. Not by PS2 standards at least. They’re just…so odd. Soft lighting, with thick brown outlines for everything, and no one seems to have noses. Think Dark Cloud 2 and every Impressionistic painting created. It’s like a re-imagined cel shading technique that, while colorful, really could’ve been a lot more. It seems most of the money was spent on the fully animated intro, which is ham-fisted and replete with words like legendary and power and fate.

The Overall Vibe
I will not lie. I got this game for $4.99, and when you pay that price expectations cannot be too high. Still, I was looking for something a little deeper, a little more fun and punny like Brave Fencer Musashi. The game’s not terribly tough or deep, and beating it allows one to start a new campaign+, which means nothing to me. I have no idea why someone would need to go through this more than once unless they really missed collecting digital playing cards of enemies and such. I won’t be going back.

4 out 10