Yay clownsThis upgrade could have been an email.

Brave Fencer Musashi does have a leveling system. For reasons that are opaque to even the biggest fans, Musashi will randomly level up across his adventure, and gain greater health points or the ability to fell a mushroom in a single slice. But, despite BFM’s obvious links to its RPG ancestors, Musashi will never learn a new skill or ability through leveling. Slashing, jumping, and claiming enemy abilities are all their own separate lane, and a +1 to the attack stat will never lead to a new fencing technique.

If you want to try something new, you have a small handful of options. Acquiring the legendary items expands your moveset, but in Zelda-esque, vaguely required ways. In other words, earning the ability to climb walls is great, but it is lessened somewhat when you realize that climbing is the only way to enter the next plot-mandated dungeon. Similarly, unlocking each elemental crest leads to new ways to explore the world, but that bubble shield or self-tornado is required roughly seven seconds after you feel the magic. So, while these abilities could unmistakably be seen as upgrades, when they are noticeably compulsory, they feel about as special as doing your taxes.

So if you want something truly special, you’re going to have to rescue a few people.

Watch out for mamaResidents of the Allucaneet Kingdom have been captured by the Thirstquencher Empire, and you have to free them when you discover them sleeping soundly in crystals scattered across the land. Puncture a bincho field, and its trapped denizen will be teleported back home, so you can visit them at the castle at your leisure. Some bincho buddies are required for the larger plot, but many of these citizens are wholly optional, and have no real impact on anything if you rescue them or not. But every one of these 40 people (does Musashi count when he gets binchoed?) does something for Musashi… even if their uses are not immediately obvious.

And let’s be honest here: the whole process is incredibly clunky. Selecting “unknown” people from a list is complicated before you get into situations where brothers are displayed with the same last name. You never have any idea if a person is going to teach you an effective technique, require a random item to proceed, or be as useless as that shepherd telling you how many not-rabbits you’ve thumped. And while it is easy to claim every character has a “purpose”, some perform actions like “refills HP”… when you’re three feet away from your health-restoring bed anyway. Thanks, Dr. Tung! You’d be more useful as a friggen’ vet…

But there are fun abilities to learn here. All of your extra sword techniques are gathered from the rescued soldiers, and many of your new friends will perform useful actions like expanding the local shops’ inventories. You will be able to read new things in the library, or increase the power of your magical sword. There are even “new” legendary items to be obtained, and that will increase your power to take a really nice nap (it’s a long story). All sorts of abilities and upgrades that would appear in later action-adventure games can be found by being friendly to the local population.

Yay knightsAnd those upgrades? Inevitably, if Brave Fencer Musashi were released today, they’d be a dumb ol’ skill tree. Secret detection, skill upgrades, or a magical ability to sleep longer? It would all be part of some wannabe sphere grid, and you’d be pumping Bincho Points (BP) into the branch you would like to see upgraded. It would be as simple as calculating some mathematics after every dungeon and then pressing X, and that would be that. No townsfolk involved, just a simple series of bars to fill up.

But you would lose something from not having to acquire an orange for a bunch of clowns.

Streamlined is all well and good, but before that was the standard, there was more personality to be found…

Even Worse Streams presents Brave Fencer Musashi
Night 5

Original Stream Night: September 20, 2022

Random Notes on the Stream:

  • When did “new game” stop being the default? Jeannie and fanboymaster are here to discuss the future of the past.
  • Now we must deal with that goddamned steam nonsense again… This cannot end well…
  • And I fail my initial steam run, as I inevitably must…
  • Let’s talk about our favorite third-party controllers and memory cards. My MadCatz green machine for the N64 is nostalgic…
  • Hooray! I finish with two hours (minutes?) to go!
  • Caliscrub comes in and notices the sad face that is the fire scroll.
  • “Let’s go eat pea soup and complain about our husbands.”
  • GrossMusashi is trapped in a bincho crystal! …. And now he’s not.
  • Let’s talk about Final Fantasy 13 Versus truthers.
  • After a little over an hour of doing side quests, it is time to get back to the main quest and squash a giant ant.
  • Yes, I very distinctly remember Body Harvest. It is the ultimate giant insect game of the era.
  • Let’s name our favorite repetitive platforming trials! The Last Guardian is fanboymaster’s immediate choice.
  • Fanboymaster describes how Monkey Hero is impossible to emulate as we rescue townsfolk hidden way too deep in a giant ant colony. They are going to have some terrible dreams tonight.
  • And then I get to enjoy a Turbo Tunnel that is very reminiscent of my terrible raft journey. At least this one has checkpoints!
  • I miss using my Playstation 1 off brand arcade stick. I just did a search, and I cannot find information on it online. I will have to take a picture of that some time…
  • It’s nice that they stick a memory box immediately past the terrible death tunnel.
  • Earthworm Jim: Was it any good? Or was it just pretty? This is the question as we fight Queen Slug-For-A-Butt.
  • As fanboymaster talks about the Trails series and how it has a giant scope, we reach the final chapter of Brave Fencer Musashi.
  • WeeeeOur viewers want one thing: Deptford, and a FAQ to find all the minku.
  • Would Brave Fencer Musashi be better if you could keep a “stock” of different abilities for different situations? Yes. Duh.
  • The Mama Minku has very angry eyes, but a sadistic smile… as she stomps me into the ground…
  • And now let us rest until Sky Day for the final dungeon next week!

Next time on Brave Fencer Musashi: Musashi saves the world after sleeping for two weeks.

I don't like this mouse

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