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Brave Fencer Musashi - Review

Unrequested Writing

By: JKA2545


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 8
   Music/Sound 6
   Originality 7
   Plot 7
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 7
   Visuals 8
   Difficulty Very Easy
   Time to Complete

22 Hours

 
Overall
number
Criteria

Title Screen
 

   1998 was a pretty stale year all around for RPG's. Final Fantasy 8 was due a year later and a new Dragon Warrior game was the dream of idealists everywhere. That's why it was such big news that a playable demo of Final Fantasy 8 was being released, packaged inside a game nobody expected much of. I'll be the first to admit that my purchase was influence greatly by the demo disc, but when I got through that, I found that I had a real gem of a game in my hands that proved extremely fun and eventually turned out to be better then Final Fantasy 8. That game is, of course, Brave Fencer Musashi.

   Brave Fence Musashi is based on a Zelda-type battle engine with a short hero name Musashi. The battle system is innovative and fun to learn. Firstly, he has a sword named Fusion. It isn't extremely strong offensively, but Musashi can use it to learn the abilities of other enemies. This ability is called into play MANY times during the game, and paves the way for many of the games sidequests. There are so many different abilities, it takes a long time to get bored of it. Secondly, you have Musashi's real firepower: An enormous sword named Lumina. This is much slower then the fusion, but can hit for enormous damage. The battles within the game force you to use both swords repeatedly, as well as run, jump and dodge your enemies. For me, it almost never got boring.


Pointy
Pointy  

   Brave Fencer Musashi used voice acting. I've NEVER been a fan of voice acting in video games, and unfortunately this was no exception. At first, I thought they were pretty amusing. Musashi's voice is high pitched and is definetely feminine, and most of the supporting characters have cartoony voices. They mostly fit with the cartoony theme of the game, but within a few hours I couldn't stand them. Luckily, they weren't really at the forefront of the game, and so it didn't take away from the experience much. The music in this game is an entirely different story. >From fast paced adventure themes to slow, forboding battle themes, the music never disappoints. And even better, if you pop the game CD into a CD player, you get to here the major theme of the game in 3 tunes, going from regular to fast to ridiculously fast. Great fun!

   My friend started playing it one day and told me it was a Zelda clone. I completely disagree. While it uses some elements from the Zelda series (And why not? Miyamoto is a genious), Musashi is a very original game in its own right. The sword system is like nothing I've ever seen. And Musashi has full movement. So it combines the best elements of a 2-D platformer into a completely 3-D world, with a wonderful range of movement to boot (I've NEVER seen Mario do a double jump!)


Toys, toys, wonderful toys!
Toys, toys, wonderful toys!  

   The game has a very involving plot, and it can be very childish. At times, plot is in short supply in favour of more dungeon hopping. But by the end of the game, you'll be glad you listened to all the snippets if information. It all comes together wonderfully, and has some major shocks right near the end. Good, but not perfect. But since the entire game was based on a Japanese legend, it obviously couldn't be completely americanized in the translation. Although complete localization was near impossible, I didn't see anything that would confuse a regular resident of the United States or Canada. Perhaps it can broaden your horizon.

   The world Musashi inhabits was breathtaking at the time. At the time, Zelda 64 was about to be released, and it looked great. But as I went through BFM, (Please don't flame me!), I thought it looked better then the 3-D Hyrule. The people's faces are more detailed then they needed to be, and the fights looked pretty great. It was an immensely colourful world, filled with beautiful scenery, creatures and, yes, even some beautiful waterfall effects. While not completely high tech, it was still beautiful CG animation.

   The funny thing is, as I'm writing this review, I'm replaying Brave Fencer Musashi (I bought FF10, but forgot to buy a memory card!). It's like Chrono Trigger: After I played it, it took a special place in my head. As time went by, I wanted to play it more and more. It's not something you need to devote a day to, it's just an hour

My god, it's 3...flying...blueberries??!!
My god, it's 3...flying...blueberries??!!  
or 2 of good, clean fun. The game has a few mini quests as well, that took me some extra time to complete. They were pretty fun, especially collecting action figures based on the major characters in the game.

   This game is not a hard game by any means, and you'll finish it within 20 hours. The mini quests add another few hours, and provide some good clean fun. Brave Fencer Musashi is a solid game in all respects and is worthy of your time. While not the best game ever made, it is extremely fun and won't disappoint.





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