Brave Fencer Musashi is an action-adventure role-playing game developed and originally published by Squaresoft in 1998 for PlayStation. It stars the titular Musashi, a young warrior loosely based on the legendary Japanese swordsman of the same name, who has been magically summoned to defend the peaceful Allucaneet Kingdom from invasion by the ruthless Thirstquencher Empire.
The game is notable for its real-time combat, fully polygonal 3D environments and extensive voice-acted dialogue; these features were a significant departure from Square's previous entries in the role-playing genre. The North American version of Brave Fencer Musashi also included a separate disc containing a playable demo of Final Fantasy VIII.
Over one hundred fifty years ago, a gigantic monster suddenly appeared in the nation of Thirstquencher, which neighbors the Allucaneet Kingdom. This creature was known as the Wizard of Darkness, an evil being composed almost entirely of a crystalline substance with potent magical properties called Binchotite. After easily destroying Thirstquencher, the monster began moving towards Allucaneet, seeking the bountiful supply of Binchotite buried beneath the kingdom.
Upon receiving news of the Wizard of Darkness' approach, King Allucaneet ordered the immediate casting of the "Hero Summon" spell. This powerful magic spell is a closely guarded royal secret handed down between generations of Allucaneet's princesses, only to be used as a last resort in times of great crisis. It grants its user the ability to summon a hero using incantations made over a specially prepared Binchotite crystal. The hero summoned to defeat the Wizard of Darkness was a dual-wielding swordsman named Musashi, who accepted the princess' task and set out on a journey to save the kingdom.
Even for a skilled warrior like Musashi, the Wizard of Darkness proved a formidable foe. After a lengthy and difficult battle, Musashi used Lumina, the "Sword of Luminescence" to seal away the creature within a magical ward. He then divided the monster's power into the five elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Sky, sealing them within five crests. These crests became known as the "Five Scrolls," and in the years that followed, they passed into myth along with the legend of the heroic "Brave Fencer Musashi".
Now the peaceful kingdom of Allucaneet has suddenly come under attack from the Thirstquencher Empire, a brutal dictatorship under the rule of Führer Flatski. Several years prior, Flatski and his minions usurped the throne from its rightful rulers before transforming the once-peaceful Thirstquencher into a warmongering Empire fueled by the power of Binchotite. Unfortunately the king and queen of Allucaneet are travelling at the time of Thirstquencher's attack, as if the Empire timed its invasion to coincide with their absence. The invasion begins with one specific goal: to capture the sword Lumina, which still remains within Allucaneet's borders. According to the Musashi legend, Lumina grants extraordinary powers to the one who wields it along with the Five Scrolls.
Unable to repel the surprise attack, Allucaneet's defenders quickly lose ground as the enemy army presses on towards the royal palace. With Thirstquencher's forces at their doorstep, the senior regents of Allucaneet realize that their only hope lies in summoning a hero. Princess Fillet performs the incantations with a giant Binchotite crystal in the palace basement and summons a young boy who claims to be Musashi. However, he shows little interest in Allucaneet's plight until being told that he will be unable to return home until his heroic task is completed. Musashi reluctantly accepts Fillet's request to retrieve Lumina from nearby Spiral Tower, recover each of the Five Scrolls and save the kingdom from Thirstquencher's army.
At its core, Brave Fencer Musashi is a single-player action RPG; Musashi's ultimate goal is to obtain each of the Five Scrolls, which will imbue his magical sword Lumina with the power needed to defeat Thirstquencher Empire's forces and liberate the citizens of the Allucaneet Kingdom. Along the way, Musashi interacts with several of Allucaneet Palace's NPC residents who provide additional support, as well as the townsfolk of nearby Grillin' Village.
The game's characters and environments are rendered in full polygonal 3D, and the majority of Brave Fencer's areas are presented from a third-person perspective using a variety of pre-determined camera angles; however, the player is given limited camera control in certain sections. By defeating enemies over the course of the game, Musashi can gain experience points and level up to increase his base attributes. Players can also collect a variety of helpful items and earn currency called "Drans" that can be spent on goods found in several shops located in Grillin' Village.
Players begin the game equipped with Fusion, a sleek katana capable of fast combo strikes. Fusion can be charged and thrown at foes in order to "Assimilate" Musashi's enemies and gain temporary use of their unique abilities. All Assimilated abilities require "Bincho Power" (or BP) for Musashi to activate.
Like his namesake, Musashi practices a dual-wielding sword technique and also carries the broadsword Lumina on his back once it has been acquired in Chapter 1. Lumina is much heavier than Fusion and is used for slower, more powerful strikes against enemies and bosses' weak points; it can even be charged like Fusion to perform a spin attack. Lumina is also used to rescue Allucaneet Palace's kidnapped residents from crystalline prisons called "Bincho Fields". Once freed, the palace residents may provide additional support for Musashi during his quest, such as teaching the player new combat techniques or crafting special items. Musashi absorbs the energy from these shattered Bincho Fields, which increases his maximum BP.
Lumina's power can be further increased by obtaining each of the Five Scrolls scattered throughout the world. Each Scroll augments Lumina with a powerful elemental spell that can be used both in combat and to overcome certain obstacles. Several pieces of "Legendary Armor" are also located in specific areas, which grant Musashi special abilities such as double-jumping or an increased critical hit rate; however, these artifacts must be appraised before they can be equipped.
Brave Fencer Musashi features a day/night cycle driven by a simulated twenty-four hour clock which governs NPC schedules and some enemies' behaviors. Each day is part of a seven-day week that begins on Monday (the fictional "Skyday" replaces Friday). Time of day is especially important in Grillin' Village, where most businesses and residences are only open during specific hours, some of which may be closed on certain days of the week.
The in-game clock also dictates Musashi's fatigue level, which is indicated by his "Tired" percentage. Over time, Musashi will become increasingly fatigued, and the speed of his actions will suffer as a result. Between 50% to 69% Tired, Musashi becomes unable to run. At 70% Tired, his movement and attack speed are drastically reduced. At maximum fatigue, Musashi will pass out and won't respond until he regains a certain amount of stamina. While asleep, Musashi is still vulnerable to attack from any nearby enemies. Musashi's fatigue can be reduced by consuming certain foods, sleeping at the village's inn, or visiting Musashi's private quarters inside Allucaneet Palace. Musashi can also sleep on the ground, although this only reduces his Tired level to a minimum of 20% unless the L-Quilt is also equipped.
Elusive creatures called Minku can be found at specific locations throughout the world (indicated by their pink-colored dung) between the hours of 10 PM and 5 AM. Minku are harmless, but very fast; if Musashi can catch one, it will drop a rare "Longevity Berry" that permanently increases his maximum HP.
At the outset of Chapter 2, Ribson and Livers invite Musashi to stay at the royal palace while he searches for the Five Scrolls. In addition to his own private quarters, Musashi can enter Allucaneet Palace's dining hall to visit Ribson and any palace residents that have been rescued from Bincho Fields. Scribe Shanky administers the palace's library and will read a number of informative books to Musashi upon request.
|1.||Steward Ribson||The royal retainer who keeps a record of rescued residents.||Palace|
|2.||Butler Livers||Gives Musashi the Rescue List and the Sensor Watch for detecting nearby Bincho Fields.||Palace|
|3.||Clown Weinee||Teaches the "Shish Kebab" technique once Acrobat Sausages is rescued (also requires an Orange).||Palace|
|4.||Scribe Shanky||An eccentric gossip who reads books to Musashi.||Palace|
|5.||Musician Beef-Clef||Plays a gentle guitar tune that fills the palace halls.||Palace|
|6.||Guard Lumpwood||Grants access to Twinpeak Mountain at any time.||Somnolent Forest|
|7.||Seer Bevealy||Informs Ribson on the locations of Bincho Fields and provides hints about the Five Scrolls.||Somnolent Forest|
|8.||Hawker Steakwood||Informs Musashi about Minku and Longevity Berries.||Dead-End|
|9.||Maid Loinette||Teaches the "Dashing Pierce" technique.||Somnolent Forest|
|10.||Musician Pianissimeat||Adds a jaunty flute to the palace's BGM.||Steamwood Forest|
|11.||Soldier Lardwick||Assists during the battle against Skullpion.||Twinpeak Mountain|
|12.||Mercenary Meitlofe||Assists during the battle against Skullpion and offers a clue about Meandering Forest.||Twinpeak Mountain|
|13.||Carpenter Carvey||Assists during the battle against Skullpion and offers a clue about the Gondola Gizmo.||Twinpeak Mountain|
|14.||Knight Lardwick||Assists during the battle against Skullpion and teaches the "Crosswise Cut" technique.||Twinpeak Mountain|
|15.||Shepherd Beefalo||Looks after any Minku that lost their Longevity Berries to Musashi.||Twinpeak Mountain|
|16.||Bailiff Jerky||Teams up with Cook Julienne to plant and harvest rice for making Riceballs.||Restaurant Basement|
|17.||Taster Salmonelli||Keeps the royal family safe from poisoned food.||Restaurant Basement|
|18.||Carpenter Cubey||Provides a clue about the Gondola Gizmo.||Restaurant Basement|
|19.||Weaver Dinneretta||Crafts the Legendary Cloth into either the L-Gloves or L-Quilt.||Twinpeak Mountain|
|20.||Soldier Hanky-Flanky||A lecherous soldier with no redeeming qualities.||Restaurant Basement|
|21.||Knight Brisket||Teaches the "Tenderize" technique.||Lower Mine|
|22.||Cook Mary-Nade||Prepares the rice into Riceballs after it has been harvested by Jerky and Julienne.||Underground Lake|
|23.||Acrobat Sausages||Assists Clown Weinee with his "Shish Kebab" performance.||Steamwood Forest|
|24.||Mercenary Stue||Provides a clue about Meandering Forest.||Restaurant Basement|
|25.||Janitor Sloppy-Joe||Keeps Allucaneet Palace's toilet bowls sparkling-clean.||Frozen Palace|
|26.||Artisan Teebone||Reforges Fusion into a more powerful blade.||Dragon Isle|
|27.||Carpenter Dicey||Provides a clue about the Gondola Gizmo.||Lower Mine|
|28.||Musician Al Forte||Adds percussion and a pan flute to the palace's BGM.||Frozen Palace|
|29.||Knitter Lunchetta||Informs Musashi about Legendary Cloth.||Hell's Valley|
|30.||Chef Julienne||Teams up with Bailiff Jerky to plant and harvest rice for making Riceballs.||Frozen Palace|
|31.||Mercenary Potrowst||Provides a clue about Meandering Forest.||Restaurant Basement|
|32.||Chief Gravie||Allucaneet Palace's soup chef.||Underground Lake|
|33.||Cook Chiffonade||Teams up with Butcher Chops to make Neatballs.||Upper Mines|
|34.||Conductor Scores||Adds a violin to the palace's BGM.||Upper Mines|
|35.||Butcher Chops||Teams up with Cook Chiffonade to make Neatballs.||Frozen Palace|
|36.||Knight Chucks||Teaches the "Desperado" technique.||Restaurant Basement|
|37.||Doctor Tung||Restores Musashi's HP and BP, as well as removing Poison status.||Twinpeak Mountain|
|38.||Knight Rumparoni||Teaches the "Rumparoni-SP" technique.||Upper Mines|
|39.||Alchemist Leanman||Offers "Alchemic Tarts" which restore 10 BP.||Frozen Palace|
|40.||Librarian Brisketta||Translates two of the library's books for Scribe Shanky to read.||Restaurant Basement|
Located outside the walls of Allucaneet Palace, Grillin' Village was originally built as a mining town to support the adjacent Binchotite Mine, but today it simply exists as a residential area. It also functions as Musashi's base of operations and contains many useful resources and NPCs.
- Open every day from 10am to 8pm | Sales every Skyday
A general store that sells various restorative items. Hilda closes the store after the Vambees attack her son Tim in Chapter 3, and it will be inaccessible for the remainder of the Chapter unless Musashi can save Tim by retrieving the ingredients for his medicine. Hilda updates her store's stock in Chapter 4.
|Gel||150||120||Restores 80 HP|
|W-Gel||250||200||Restores 150 HP|
|*C-Drink||500||400||Restores 250 HP, 5 BP|
|S-Revive||3000||2400||Revives Musashi with full HP/BP|
|*Mint||120||90||Reduces tiredness by 50%, 5 BP|
|Antidote||250||200||Cures poison, 5 BP|
|Cheese||390||310||Restores HP/BP (increases with age)|
|†H-Mint||200||160||Reduces tiredness by 90%|
|†EX-Drink||500||400||Fully restores HP, 5 BP|
|Orange||300||240||Restores 30 HP, 10 BP|
|Riceball||320||250||Restores 150 HP, 150 BP|
|Neatball||520||410||Restores 300 HP, 300 BP|
- * Only available before Chapter 4
- † Only available after Chapter 4
Fluffy Puffy Breadshop
- Open 7am to 7pm | Closed Thursdays | Sales every day from 6pm to 7pm
The village's bakery is run by Jam, who bakes the store's bread fresh every morning. Nearly all of the items bought here will spoil if not used within five in-game days, which drastically reduces their effectiveness.
|Rye Bread||80||50||Restores 25 BP|
|Bagel||120||90||Restores 50 BP|
|Scone||150||120||Restores 80 BP|
|Gr-Bread||240||210||Restores 150 BP|
|Milk||70||40||Restores 10 BP and 10 HP|
|Biscuit||300||270||Restores 100 BP; won't spoil|
|Jam Bread||450||420||Restores 300 BP|
Conners' Pawn Shop
- Open 11am to 4pm | Closed Mondays
As the only person in town qualified to identify items for their value, Conners is indispensable for recovering pieces of the lost Legendary Armor. He'll also offer to buy any other identified loot that Musashi can't equip.
|AgedCoin||GoldCoin||Sells for 10 Drans|
|OldPipe||Flute||Sells for 10 Drans|
|RedCloth||E-Undies||Sells for 10 Drans|
|Wh-Cloth||B-Undies||Sells for 10 Drans|
|Helmet||Bedpan||Sells for 70 Drans|
|Shield||Frisbee||Sells for 120 Drans|
|OldCrown||Cakepan||Sells for 150 Drans|
|Powder||Soap||Sells for 180 Drans|
|OddBone||Baton||Sells for 200 Drans|
|Oddhat||PiePlate||Sells for 350 Drans|
|OldBook||Comic||Sells for 400 Drans|
|Armor||LargePot||Sells for 470 Drans|
|OldGlove||A-Gloves||Sells for 700 Drans|
|LrgTool||Pickaxe||Sells for 750 Drans|
|OldSword||Shovel||Sells for 780 Drans|
|Dagger||Penknife||Sells for 800 Drans|
|UsedBoot||A-Boots||Sells for 1200 Drans|
|Bl-Cloth||T-Hanky||Sells for 2000 Drans|
|Rock||Crystal||Sells for 2500 Drans|
|LongTube||BigStraw||Sells for 4500 Drans|
|Cloth||L-Cloth||Crafts into L-Gloves or L-Quilt|
|Bracelet||L-Brace||Legendary Armor piece|
|UglyBelt||L-Belt||Legendary Armor piece|
|OldShirt||L-Vest||Legendary Armor piece|
|Glasses||L-Goggles||Legendary Armor piece|
|RedShoes||L-Shoes||Legendary Armor piece|
Toys! Toys! Toys!
- Open 12pm to 8pm | Closed Wednesdays
The toy store sells action figures that are essentially more detailed models of the various NPCs and enemy types encountered throughout the game. Each figure includes two preset animations, sometimes with audio clips. Their in-store prices will rise over time. Players can choose to leave the toys inside the packaging in order to preserve their "mint-in-box" value, but the figures cannot be interacted with if they remain packaged.
Ed & Ben
- Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
The village inn offers multiple rooms for paid lodging, although Musashi can stay in his own room at the palace for free. More expensive rooms allow lengthier stays, which will restore more HP and BP. Musashi can even speak with other guests staying at the Inn.
The inn also allows players to save the game.
|Room 201||210||100||500||8 hours|
|Room 202||300||250||500||8 hours|
|Room 203||550||500||500||8 hours||Cures Poison|
|Room 204||80||10||24||3 Hours|
|Room 205||-||-||-||-||Speak to Wanda|
|Room 206||-||-||-||-||Speak to Macho|
- Open 6pm to 2am | Closed Sundays
The restaurant has several restorative dishes on the menu, although they must be consumed immediately and are quite pricey compared to other means of health recovery. Once Musashi discovers the origin of the Vambee hordes in Chapter 3, he can access the Restaurant's Basement leading to the underground temple.
Church & Residences
Near the palace gate is a stone church with a well from which cool water can be repeatedly drawn for free. During Chapter 3, Musashi uses a rope to climb down the well and access a flooded section of Grillin' Reservoir. Father White lives inside the Church and can remove Poison from Musashi between 6am and 6pm.
Several other small residences, farmhouses and a windmill are located just outside the main village square, but these buildings cannot be entered. Musashi can only visit the occupants if they are at home by knocking on their front door.
The resting place of the legendary sword Lumina lies only a short distance from Allucaneet Palace and is only accessible during Chapter 1. The tower itself is initially hidden underground, requiring Musashi to activate four switches in order to raise it above the surface. He can then access the tower's interior containing a long spiral ramp leading up to the roof, where Lumina is sealed inside a magic barrier.
The dual forests of Somnolent and Steamwood border Grillin' Village. When Allucaneet and Thirstquencher were once allies, they collaborated to install a massive steam-powered refinery in Steamwood that pumps liquid Binchotite up from underground and processes it into "Bincholon," a refined and safer form of Binchotite with many useful applications as a solid fuel.
While Steamwood is relatively safe, Somnolent Forest hosts several varieties of dangerous creatures, some of which become active only at night. Following the trails of Somnolent eventually leads to Meandering Forest, a maze of trees that's almost impossible to navigate without getting lost. Another path connects to Dragon Isle on the coast, but the way is currently blocked by a large, slimy boulder.
- Musashi: A hot-headed swordsman summoned by Princess Fillet of the troubled Allucaneet Kingdom. He enjoys duels, rice balls and frequent naps.
- Princess Fillet: The tomboy daughter of the king and queen. She casts the Hero Summon spell that brings Musashi to her world.
- Steward Ribson, Butler Livers & Scribe Shanky: Allucaneet's senior regents and Fillet's caretakers. Monitoring the mischievous princess is a constant struggle for them.
- King & Queen Allucaneet: The rulers of Allucaneet and Fillet's parents. Their sudden absence coincides with Thirstquencher's surprise attack.
- Mayor Govern: The leader of Grillin' Village. He has a habit of making Musashi his errand boy, although it's usually to help the town in some way.
- Mrs. Govern: The mayor's wife. She asks Musashi to act as temporary mayor when her husband falls ill during Chapter 4.
- Hilda: Upbeat owner of the Grocery and Tim's mother. She becomes guilt-ridden after Tim is attacked by Vambees in Chapter 3.
- Jam: The daughter of Towst who runs the Bakery. Although her father is the owner, his frequent absence leads to her doing most of the work.
- Hotelo: Owner of the Inn and Mint's father. He volunteers to fetch Aqualin from Twinpeak, one of the ingredients needed for Tim's medicine in Chapter 3.
- Motelo: The brother of Hotelo who manages the Inn in Hotelo's absence.
- Conners: The grumpy owner of the Pawnshop. He appraises any treasures found by Musashi so that they can either be equipped or sold for cash.
- Kurt: A dour teenager who manages the Toy Store. He only gets excited when talking about the latest action figures.
- Tim: A local boy and Hilda's son. His bratty nature puts him at odds with Musashi almost immediately, but he's not really a bad kid.
- Mint: The daughter of Hotelo who is usually playing with Tim in the village square.
- Jon: A vagrant and self-described "treasure hunter". He begs Musashi to free him from the village stockade, and afterward will occasionally offer helpful items and advice.
- Leno: Jon's faithful dog who still accompanies him after his imprisonment. Leno's loyalty made him something of a town mascot and earned him the nickname "Chappy" from Tim. He becomes lost at Twinpeak in Chapter 2 while searching for the stockade key.
- Mannick: The greedy owner of the Restaurant. His search for treasure inside the Restaurant's basement leads to the village's Vambee infestation during Chapter 3.
- Wanda: The Restaurant's beautiful and flirtatious hostess. She flees to the Inn along with Macho during Chapter 3 due to the Vambee threat.
- Macho: A regular Restaurant patron who challenges Musashi to gamble with him for 100 Drans.
- Towst: The owner of the Bakery and Jam's neglectful father. His unhealthy obsession with the Restaurant's porkchops has placed considerable strain on his family life.
- Father White: The village's priest. During the Vambee outbreak in Chapter 3, he becomes locked out of his own Church and asks Musashi for his assistance.
- Wid: A famously cranky hermit who lives in the windmill on the edge of town and keeps odd hours. He gives Musashi the key to Grillin' Mines in Chapter 3 so that he can gather Misteria for Tim's medicine.
- Mr. Lands: The operator of the Gondola running between the palace and Grillin' Village. He's quite listless until the Gondola is repaired in Chapter 5.
- Mrs. Lands: One of the town gossips found near the Church's well during the day.
- Farmer Lacter: An elderly farmer who cares for his ailing wife.
- Mrs. Lacter: A kindly old woman who believes Musashi is her grandson.
- Farmer Grange: A farmer with an enduring love of action figures.
- Mrs. Grange: The second of the town gossips. She finds her husband's obsession with toys childish and has begun reselling them behind his back.
- Farmer McRice: Another farmer in the village. He keeps an eye on the skies to watch for any unusual weather patterns.
- Fores: The haughty administrator of Steamwood who becomes rather useless during a crisis.
- Rootrick: Thirstquencher's Second Lieutenant and son of Führer Flatski. While not especially clever, he is persistent enough to get in Musashi's way.
- Ben: One of the members of "Leader's Force," an odd trio of Thirstquencher agents in which each one believes they are the leader. Ben is a big dumb brute with an arsenal of weapons.
- Ed: The second member of "Leader's Force" with a short stature and pronounced speech impediment. He wields powerful Bincho energy blasts that can fry his enemies.
- Topo: The final member of "Leader's Force" who specializes in infiltration techniques. She is also an avid dancer who loves to bust out her moves on the battlefield.
- Kojiro: Another swordsman from Musashi's world who also happens to be his sworn rival. After being summoned to Fillet's world by a second Hero Summon spell, he immediately abandons her to duel with Musashi.
- Bubbles: The younger of a pair of beautiful sisters and First Lieutenant of Thirstquencher's army. She conducts research into developing new "Bincholoid" soldiers.
- Gingerelle: Captain of Thirstquencher and the elder of the two sisters. She is considered to be the most beautiful woman in the Empire and delights in antagonizing Bubbles.
- Colonel Capricciola: The Führer's right-hand man and a cold, calculating strategist. Almost nothing is known of his past before joining the Thirstquencher army.
- Führer Flatski: The tyrannical ruler of Thirstquencher who usurped the throne from the former Emperor. He seeks the legendary power of Lumina and the Five Scrolls in order to rule the entire world.
Development & Localization
Brave Fencer's executive producer was Hironobu Sakaguchi, the original creator of Squaresoft's successful Final Fantasy series. Its characters were illustrated by Tetsuya Nomura, an artist who became known for his work on Final Fantasy.
In the original Japanese release, the Thirstquencher Empire is called the "Liquor Empire," and most of its officers are named after alcoholic beverages.
|Flatski||Tequila||Liquor made from agave|
|Capricciola||Jean Walker||Refers to Johnnie Walker-brand whiskey|
|Bubbles||Brandy||Spirit distilled from wine|
Reception & Legacy
In Japan Brave Fencer Musashi sold a total of 648,803 copies for the year of 1998. The game was positively received by most critics. Gamespot rated it a 7.7, IGN an 8.5, and Famitsu a 32/40.
In 2005, Square Enix released the indirect sequel Musashi: Samurai Legend for the PlayStation 2 in Japan and North America. A Japanese-only mobile phone game Musashi: Mobile Samurai was also released in 2005. Although the titles share the Musashi franchise namesake, the sequel and mobile phone game both had little to do with the original title.
The game's original score by Tsuyoshi Sekito consists of a box set including seventy-eight tracks on two CDs and a mini art book.