Brandish (game)

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Brandish
Brandish Coverart.png
North American SNES cover art by Nobuteru Yūki
Developer(s) Nihon Falcom
Publisher(s) Nihon Falcom (PC-9801, FM Towns, PlayStation Portable)
NEC (PC Engine CD-ROM²)
Koei (SNES)
Director(s) Yoshio Kiya
Producer(s) Masayuki Kato
Programmer(s) Yukio Takahashi
Artist(s) Isutoshi
Tsuyoshi Matsumuro
Hidekazu Suzuki
Composer(s) Falcom Sound Team JDK
Tenmon
Mieko Ishikawa
Series Brandish
Platform(s) PC-9801, FM Towns, SNES, PC Engine CD-ROM² (Brandish)
PlayStation Portable (Brandish: The Dark Revenant)
Release date(s) NEC PC-9801, FM Towns
  • JP October 25, 1991
PC Engine CD-ROM²
  • JP June 17, 1994
SNES
  • JP June 25, 1994
  • NA February 1995
Brandish Renewal
  • JP October 3, 1995
Brandish: The Dark Revenant
Genre(s) Action RPG
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution Floppy disks, CD-ROM, ROM cartridge
UMD (PSP remake)

Brandish (ブランディッシュ?) is an action role-playing video game by Nihon Falcom. Originally released in 1991 for the NEC PC-9801 and FM Towns, it was later ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and PC Engine CD-ROM² (TurboGrafx-CD) in 1994-1995, including an expanded re-release titled Brandish Renewal. The only English language version of the game is the SNES version, which was published by Koei in Japan in 1994 and in North America in 1995.

Brandish was the first title in Nihon Falcom's series of the same name. It was followed by three sequels: Brandish 2: The Planet Buster, Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan, and Brandish VT / Brandish 4, originally released between 1991 and 1996.

A complete remake of the original Brandish featuring 3D graphics was released for the PlayStation Portable in 2009, titled Brandish: The Dark Revenant (ブランディッシュ~ダークレヴナント~?).

Gameplay[edit]

A comparison montage of gameplay screenshots from the SNES version (above) and the PSP remake (below)

Brandish is a top-down view dungeon crawler game. The game was an early attempt at using fairly sophisticated mouse controls in a real-time overhead action RPG, where the player can move forward and backward, turn, strafe, and attack by clicking on boxes surrounding the player character.

Brandish: The Dark Revenant turns the antagonist Dela into an optional alternate player character. Since Dela is a magician, she plays differently than the protagonist Ares the warrior.[2] The game's "Dela Mode" is shorter (lasting about 10 hours as compared to some 20 hours with Ares) but harder than the main scenario.[3]

Plot[edit]

A long time ago, the small kingdom of Bythol (Berimya in the SNES version's English localization) was built around a lofty tower, which pierced the sky. The inhabitants of the city, guarded by a mighty Dragon, lived in peace and abundance. However, King Bistall (Berebus), the ruler of Bythol, desired to expand his kingdom. He ordered the scholars to research the Tower. Soon, one of the scholars brought a tome written in an ancient language from the tower to Bistall, which they started deciphering. As they were deciphering the tome, some scholars feared that they might be laying their hands on the forbidden knowledge of the ancients. When the scholars deciphered the tome, it read, "The Great Guardian of Bythol, the Dragon, and the Essence of Power lies in the top of the Tower; the one who possesses the Essence will possess all." Undaunted by the otherwise ominous words of the tome, Bythol decided to make this Essence of Power his own. He secretly organized an army, which soon seized the Tower and raised their swords against the Dragon. Even the Dragon could not resist the power of Bistall's army. But as Bistall grasped at the Essence of Power, the Dragon gave up its own life to destroy it. The Essence, losing control, transformed the King into a hideous monster and sank the entire kingdom of Bythol, including the great tower, under the ground. All people on the surface of the earth forgot about Bythol and the Tower in its center, and a thousand years passed.

A mysterious swordsman, known as Ares (Varik), is pursued by a sorceress named Dela Delon (transliterated as Dora Doran in The Dark Revenant to match the katakana and renamed Alexis in the English SNES version) who seeks revenge for the murder of her master. When Dela catches up with Ares and attacks, her magic causes the ground beneath them collapsed and both fell into the cursed Ruins of Bythol. The player assumes the role of Ares and must escape from the dangerous ruin, with the vengeful Dela constantly in pursuit.

Characters[edit]

Release[edit]

Cover art of the PSP remake Brandish: The Dark Revenant (artwork by Jun Suemi, first used for Brandish Renewal)

Originally released by Nihon Falcom in 1991 for the NEC PC-9801 and FM Towns home computers, Brandish was later released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and PC Engine CD-ROM². The PC Engine version was published by NEC and features CD quality music as well as vocal dialogue and narration. The PC-98 version was re-released as Brandish Renewal in 1995, with some new music and hard drive support.

The best-known version in non-Japanese markets is the SNES port, which is the only English language version of the game ever released. It was published by Koei in 1994 in Japan and a few months later (in February 1995) in North America. Due to the Nintendo of America's policies at that time, the game was regionally censored in its depiction of Dela's revealing outfit and the plot got considerably altered.[4]

Remake[edit]

The 3D remake titled Brandish: The Dark Revenant was developed and released by Nihon Falcom in 2009 only in Japan.[5] Its limited edition includes a calendar and original soundtrack CD. The game was considered for a North American release by Atlus[6][7] and Xseed Games.[8] The Dark Covenant was given a budget price re-release in 2010.[9]

Related media[edit]

Brandish Storybook (ブランディッシュ・ストーリーブック) (ISBN 978-4944000142) is a novelization of the game, co-authored by Katsunori Inoue and Suzuki Noriyuki and published in 1992. The story is told from the perspectives of both Ares and Dela. Another novel, Brandish Ares: Yobisamasu Unmei (ブランディッシュ・アレス 呼び覚ます運命?) (ISBN 978-4893661463), is a prequel for the game, originally published in 1993. It was later made available for free (in Japanese) at Falcom's official website.[10]

Several soundtracks with the music from the game were also released, including Perfect Collection Brandish (KICA1102) and Falcom Neo Classic (KICA1114-5) in 1992, Falcom Special Box '93 (KICA9012-5) and Falcom Ending Collection 1987-1992 (KICA1132-3) in 1993, Brandish Piano Collection (KICA1153) in 1994, Falcom Special Box '96 (KICA9026-28) in 1996, Falcom Classics (KICA1201) in 1997, and Brandish ~The Dark Revenant~ Original Sound Track (NW10102800) and Brandish Original Sound Track ~FM TOWNS & Renewal~ (BR-OST-FR) in 2009.[11]

1995's audio drama CD Drama Brandish Gaiden (CDドラマ ブランディッシュ外伝) features voice acting by Yasunori Matsumoto (Ares), Kikuko Inoue (Dela), Junko Iwao, Yūko Mizutani, Kyōko Hikami, Yūko Miyamura, Minoru Inaba, Ryōtarō Okiayu, Yuri Amano, Kaori, Jūrōta Kosugi and Masako Katsuki (the cast is different than in the game's PC Engine CD-ROM² version). The drama was released as a part of Falcom Special Box '96 and Falcom Special Box '97 (KICA9029-31).

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 67.50% (SNES)[12]
Review scores
Publication Score
Game Informer 4.75/10 (SNES)[12]
GamePro 16.5/20 (SNES)[13]

The SNES version of Brandish was not very well known or popular in the West because of its late release, when the SNES market was beginning to fade off in anticipation of the Sega Saturn and PlayStation. Furthermore, it was published by Koei, which was known at the time for their strategy wargames and not role-playing or action games. Nevertheless, the game received mostly positive reviews in the American video game magazines. GamePro gave it a score of 16.5/20, stating that "despite some shortcomings, Brandish has a fine story to play."[13] VideoGames gave it a score of 7/10, commenting that with its relatively weak graphics, Brandish "goes for a solid gameplay over flash."[14] However, Game Informer gave it a much lower score of only 4.75/10.[12] In 2003, a retrospective review by Marc Golding of HonestGamers awarded Brandish four stars out of five, recommending it for fans of the genre.[15]

Legacy[edit]

The game proved popular enough in Japan to warrant two direct sequels exclusively in Japan that continued the saga of Ares and Dela. The first one was Brandish 2: The Planet Buster, originally released for the PC-98 in 1993 and ported to the Super Famicom (SNES) in 1995 (like Falcom's later Ys V, the game was released in "normal" and "expert" difficulty versions). The next sequel was Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan, originally released for the PC-98 in 1994. None of these were officially released in English; Brandish 2, however, received a fan translation in 2009.[16]

Brandish 3 was followed by Brandish VT, originally released in 1996, and renamed Brandish 4: The Tower of Sleeping God (ブランディッシュ4 眠れる神の塔) when it was re-released for Windows in 2007.[17] This final game follows a similar gameplay format with completely different storyline and characters. Dela also appears in Falcom's 2010 Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga as a support character.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brandish Revived With A PSP Remake". Siliconera. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  2. ^ "Brandish: The Dark Revenant Turns The Tables With A Bonus Character". Siliconera. 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  3. ^ "Delving Into Brandish: The Dark Revenant". Siliconera. 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  4. ^ "Delving Into Brandish: The Dark Revenant". Siliconera. 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  5. ^ "Brandish: Dark Revenant (Japan Import): Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  6. ^ "Brandish: The Dark Revenant (PSP) - PlayStation Universe". Psu.com. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  7. ^ Tsang, Alan (2008-12-02). "Brandish remake headed for the PSP". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  8. ^ "Are Xseed Publishing Falcom's PSP Games?". Siliconera. 2010-03-21. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  9. ^ "Three Falcom PSP Games Get Super Prices". Siliconera. 2010-10-24. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  10. ^ (Japanese) "A serial novel "BRANDISH ARES"". Falcom.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-09. [dead link]
  11. ^ (Japanese) "Brandish Music". .oninet.ne.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  12. ^ a b c "Brandish for Super Nintendo". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  13. ^ a b GamePro 68 (March 1995) page 120.
  14. ^ Video Games The Ultimate Gaming Magazine 76 (May 1995) page 87.
  15. ^ "Brandish review (SNES) by Marc Golding". Honestgamers.com. 2003-09-02. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  16. ^ "Finally, Brandish 2". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  17. ^ (Japanese) "''Brandish 4'' official website". Falcom.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  18. ^ "Brandish Sorceress Guest Stars In Ys vs. Sora No Kiseki". Siliconera. 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 

External links[edit]