Brave Fencer Musashi
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|Brave Fencer Musashi|
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing game|
Brave Fencer Musashi (ブレイヴフェンサー 武蔵伝 Bureivu Fensā Musashiden?, literally "Brave Fencer: The Legend of Musashi") is an action role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) in 1998 for the Sony PlayStation. The game involves real-time combat in a 3D environment, and features voice overs for most dialogue. Brave Fencer Musashi was scored by Tsuyoshi Sekito, a former Konami employee.
The story follows Musashi, a young swordsman who is summoned to a parallel world to defend Allucanet Kingdom from the Thirstquencher Empire. His journey is primarily focused on obtaining the Five Scrolls which are able to enhance the powers from his sword Lumina, and searches for them while interacting with people from Allucanet and a nearby village. The game was originally conceptualized in 1997. As a departure from Square's previous role-playing games, it brought the team several difficulties. Nevertheless, the game received positive critical response and got a sequel in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 under the name of Musashi: Samurai Legend.
The player controls Musashi, who fights a variety of enemies using his swords Fusion and Lumina and searches for five scrolls which will increase Lumina's strength and grant him new abilities. There are also several minigames and puzzles scattered throughout which must be completed to advance the plot. The game features an in-game clock and day-night system that affects the townsfolk and some of the creatures in the field (namely, the Minku - creatures from whom Musashi can obtain berries to increase his overall health stat), as well as forcing the player to pay attention to Musashi's fatigue rating that goes up over time with lack of sleep, which as the name implies will have a deteriorating effect on his combative ability. The player can either go to an inn to recover Musashi's health or make Musashi sleep outdoors without a full recovery and with danger he may be attacked by enemies. To pass time, the player may also opt to collect the various action figures -which resemble more detailed models of nearly all the characters and monsters- available at the town toy store which stocks new items at the start of every chapter. Along the way, Musashi obtains parts from the Legendary Armor which allow him to perform actions such as climbing or performing double jumps.
The two swords he uses have varied abilities and uses. Fusion, which resembles a katana, is the more utilitarian of the two, used to chain rapid combo hits but has can also be used to absorb Bincho energy (an MP equivalent) or absorb the enemy's skill. The other sword is Lumina, which cannot be effectively used in combos by itself; its real strength lies in Scrolls obtained through the game which imbue Lumina with various elemental properties. Lumina is primarily offensive but thanks to the five elemental scrolls it gains new skills that facilitate the platforming. The two swords are often used in conjunction with certain techniques which are granted by various rescued townsfolk.
- Musashi: A young fencer summoned by Fillet to save Allucaneet Kingdom. He has a short temper and is generally impatient, yet will go to great lengths to help others. He must finish his quest before the binchotite runs out of energy, which will kill him. Although physically short, he has nearly superhuman strength (demonstrated in-game by his lifting of various large and heavy objects about ten times his size), and as the title gives - he is very skilled in the art of swordsmanship. A twist at the end of the game makes it apparent that this is the same Musashi summoned in ages past when the Wizard first wreaked havoc. However, it also raises the question as to why he would seem oblivious towards a majority of the information recorded about the Wizard of Darkness and the Crest Guardians.
- Fillet: Princess of Allucaneet, kidnapped by the Thirstquencher Empire. She appears to be spoiled, and is quick to anger as well. She can perform "hero summoning", which allows her to draw in heroes from other worlds for a short time. While her parents were away on vacation, the Thirstquencher empire attacks and kidnaps many of the castle's servants, forcing her to summon Musashi.
- Colonel Capricciola/Jon (Colonel Vodka in the Japanese version): Mysterious treasure hunter & owner of Leno, a sweethearted dog, who often finds himself in trouble. In actuality, Jon is the prince of the Thirstquencher empire and the rightful heir to the throne. He poses as Col. Capricciola to get his chance to exact revenge on Flatski for killing his family. Towards the end of the game, Jon is shot in the back by Rootrick and is mortally wounded in the process. His last words are to Musashi telling him to look after Leno. He is later crushed to death during the Wizard of Darkness' rampage.
- Kojiro: Musashi's archrival. He was summoned by Fillet the second time she performs the Hero Summon. He despises Musashi, blaming him for a past accident (that left a scar on Kojiro's forehead). Seeking revenge, he refuses to help Fillet in order to pursue a duel with Musashi. Topo, seemingly attracted to Kojiro, uses him as part of her plan to rob the village. Kojiro is defeated in battle when he first encounters Musashi on the beach. He appears later to challenge Musashi to a third rematch, only to be absorbed and fused by the Wizard of Darkness - which inadvertently gives him that final rematch in its second transformation.
- Thirstquencher Empire: Originally a peaceful monarchy until Flatski took over.
- Flatski (Tequila in the Japanese version): Leader of the Thirstquencher Empire. Flatski usurped power from the previous rulers of the Thirstquencher Kingdom and transformed it into an empire. He wishes to collect Lumina and the Five Scrolls so he can revive the Dark Wizard, whom he wishes to use to take over the world. He speaks with a German accent. At the end of the game, Flatski successfully revives the Wizard of Darkness but is stepped on and crushed to death by the Dark Wizard during his rampage.
- Rootrick (Bordeaux in the Japanese version): Second Lieutenant of the Thirstquencher Empire. He is the least powerful and respected member of Flatski's armies and possesses little intelligence. As the muscle of the empire, he is ordered to kidnap the princess, which he does with great success. He is later revealed to be Flatski's son. In the English dub, he has a Southern accent, despite his father having a German one. At one time he challenges Musashi to a climbing contest. The winner, would gain the first scroll that Musashi encounters. Musashi wins and strikes Rootrick with Lumina, supposedly sending him off the cliff to his doom. He later reveals that he survived the fall, when he returns and manages to deal Jon a fatal blow. After the Wizard of Darkness is released and starts to rampage, Rootrick's fate is left unknown. It is quite possible that he was destroyed in the crumbling tower during the Wizard of Darkness rampage.
- 1st Lieutenant Bubbles & Captain Gingerelle (Liquer and Brandy in the Japanese version): Bubbles & Gingerelle are sisters who serve as assassins, mercenaries, and spies for Flatski. They are extremely competitive in everything, both vying for the top spot under Flatski/Tequila. While not busy fighting, they compete in beauty contest in a neverending struggle to find who is the most beautiful. In a recent contest, Gingerelle won over Bubbles, causing a rivalry between the two fueled with jealousy, particularly on Bubbles part. Both sisters seem to also love/have a crush on Cappriccola. Towards the end of the game, Bubbles accidentally turns Musashi into a Bincholoid crystal. Gingerelle, angry at her younger sister for losing Lumina by her actions, dashes off to tell the Emperor of her failure. Bubbles, now nervous, runs off to prevent her from doing so. Neither sister is seen again.
- Ben, Topo, and Ed: Members of Flatski's special forces called "Leader's Force". All three claim to be the leader, though Capriccola seems to officially hold this position as he berates Ed and Ben for losing the bell they stole, and for failing to torch the village. Ben is the muscle without any intelligence, whatsoever. He seems to have an endless supply of weapons at his disposal. After losing his duel to Musashi, he stands at attention and allows Musashi to continue on his way; it's likely he died while standing, in reference to Benkei. Ed is the brains of the trio, and schemes of ways to make "Leader's Force", namely he and Ben, rich. Ed seems to possess magical powers that he can use in battle. When Musashi duels him at the end of the game, he wins and Ed dies in the process. Topo secretly dreams to become a pop icon with her dancing and karaoke. At one point, Topo teams up with Kojiro, in a scheme to dopplegang as the princess and steal money from the villagers. She encounters Musashi at Steamwood and runs away leaving the money behind. Topo later challenges Musashi to her version of a duel: a dance contest. When she loses to Musashi, her legs cease to work as she apparently dies soon afterwards, using her last ounce of strength to lead Musashi to Fillet and Cappriccola.
- The Crest Guardians: These creatures protect the crests of the five elements (Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, and Sky) in order to prevent the revival of the Wizard of Darkness. Musashi however, believes them to be enemies and destroys them.
- The Wizard of Darkness: He is a demon (also known as Dark Lumina) and was sealed within Lumina itself by the 'ancient' Musashi, unbeknownst to everyone in modern times. Musashi (and Flatski) unintentionally released him when Musashi mastered the Five Scrolls and traded Lumina for the Princess. Upon its freedom, the monster kills Flatski, then Jon shortly thereafter, and absorbs Kojiro. As a result, Dark-Lumina gains a "Must Kill Musashi" mentality and changes into a reptilian form. He is soundly defeated after taking yet another form and once again is sealed back inside Lumina. The Wizard of Darkness's voice sounds similar to Lumina's telepathic voice, which Musashi first hears after absorbing The Earth Scroll. This makes it apparent that it was the Wizard himself who communicated with Musashi and urged him to destroy the Crest Guardians in order to free him.
A boy known as Musashi, reincarnated from the legendary Brave Fencer Musashi who saved the Allucaneet Kingdom from a monster called the Wizard of Darkness 150 years before, is summoned to the Allucaneet by its Princess — named Fillet — to save it from the invading Thirstquencher Empire. Musashi is given the blade Fusion, and is charged with the task of obtaining Brave Fencer Musashi's sword — Lumina, the Sword of Luminescence — before the Thirstquencher Army does. Although Musashi has no intention in saving the kingdom, he agrees to do so in order to return to his homeland. After Musashi recovers Lumina, he finds that most of the people from the Allucaneet, including Fillet, have been kidnapped by the Thirstquencher Empire. In order to rescue all the residents from Allucaneet and defeat the Empire, Musashi starts searching for the Five Scrolls, items representing the elements able to highly expand Lumina's powers.
With help from the treasure hunter Jon, Musashi finds the Earth Scroll and defeats its crest guardian to expand Lumina's powers. After the guardian's defeat, half-vampire and half-zombie creatures known as Vambees appear in the village. While searching for a way to stop the Vambees, Musashi finds the Water Scroll and defeats it crest guardian in the basement where the Vambees come from. While Musashi searches for the next Scroll, Fillet summons Musashi's rival, Kojiro, who uses her as a hostage to challenge Musashi. When finding the Fire Scroll, Musashi defeats Kojiro and rescues Fillet. Musashi then searches for thieves from the Thirstquencher Empire and makes his way to the next crest guardian. It is then revealed that Princess Fillet is actually one of Thirstquencher's thieves disguised and that the real Fillet is still in their hands. Musashi then continues his journey and finds the Wind Scroll and defeats its crest guardian in an ants' nest.
After finding the fifth and final Scroll, the Sky Scroll, Musashi discovers Thirstquencher's base, a floating ship known as the Soda Fountain. Musashi attacks the base and defeats the Sky Guardian. Thirstquencher's leader, Flatski, forces Musashi to give him Lumina in exchange of the Princess, and frees the Sky Crest. However, this unleashes the Wizard of Darkness, who was in fact sealed within Lumina. Musashi recovers Lumina and defeats him. After returning the Princess to Allucaneet Kingdom, Musashi returns Lumina to the place where he found it.
Executive producer Hironobu Sakaguchi stated that the idea for the game first came up in February 1997. The original idea for Brave Fencer Musashi was having Miyamoto Musashi fighting in an alternate world from where he belonged. While the game conceptualized as an action oriented, Musashi was originally meant to be a wanderer. However, he was later changed to an itinerant Samaritan in order to have him interacting and helping other characters. The story was made with the idea During development, the team used an action base which was crucial to the game's fighting mechanics. Director Yoichi Yoshimoto was focused on the game's fully polygonal aspects that were a departure from Square's previous works. For this game, the team worked to move polygons in real time and how lights affected their appearances.
When developing the characters for the game Sakaguchi did not have a positive opinion of how popular would the game become. However, after the staff designed the graphics and the gameplay, he was surprised by the work, commenting that it was more interesting. Characters were illustrated by Tetsuya Nomura but were designed by Koji Matsuoka. When the game was localized for an English release, translators had to change alcohol-based names with soda-pop names due to problems with rating boards. This made several jokes be lost in translation. The game's title was changed from "Brave Fencer Musashiden" to "Brave Fencer Musashi" in order to avoid confusing players with the titular character's name.
Brave Fencer Musashi was originally released in Japan on July 16, 1998. It was re-released on June 29, 2000 as part of Square's Millennium Collection along with merchandise including postcards, a combination camera and cellphone strap, a handy strap, and keychain fobs. Another Japanese re-release was for the PlayStation Network on July 9, 2008. In the North American market, it was packaged on October 31, 1998 with the PlayStation 1998 Collector's CD Vol.2, which contained a demo of Final Fantasy VIII. A Japan-exclusive mobile phone incarnation titled Musashi: Mobile Samurai was also released in 2005.
The game's musical score was composed by Tsuyoshi Sekito. It is his first composition work with Square. The Brave Fencer Musashiden: Original Soundtrack was released by DigiCube in Japan on July 23, 1998. It consists of 78 tracks spanning two compact discs in a boxset that also features a small mini-artbook with selected pieces from the game.
Brave Fencer Musashi sold approximately 648,803 copies in Japan during 1998, making it the 17th best-selling game of the year in that region. The game was given a 32 out of 40 by Famitsu magazine.
After finishing the game, the Square staff thought about releasing a sequel but were delayed by an unknown inconvenience. A PlayStation 2 sequel, titled Musashi: Samurai Legend was developed by Square Enix and was released in both North America and Japan in 2005.
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