The more things change, the more they stay the same…
Brave Fencer Musashi is a game with somewhat odd pacing. Even though you know you must find the elemental seals/monsters hidden all over the world, Musashi’s quests are often waylaid by sidequests that involve ant squashing, beach dueling, or whatever that bit with the steam was all about. In many cases, these events seem to have very little to do with your overall quest, and you could easily make the argument that these distractions could be cut from the game, and nothing important would be lost. It is cool that Musashi gets to be mayor for a day (well, longer, depending on how long he sleeps in the fountain), but none of that is necessary to the larger arc of Musashi creating a time loop wherein he stows and rescues sacred crests.
So, by comparison, the final chapter of Brave Fencer Musashi is surprisingly focused. There are no diversions, so no hijinks back at the castle or town. It is just one long dungeon, and you cannot leave once you enter, nor backtrack past the most recent checkpoint. It is Musashi against an entire empire, and the infiltration of a flying base is your only option and goal.
But, damn, is it all over the place.
You gain a new “hover” ability before the castle starts, so your first challenge is mastering floating through a game of annoying stick. Then you have your first boss fight against a pretty traditional boss. Then there is a maze filled with tricks that requires you to remember how to read a “key item” calendar you got a few chapters back. That concludes with a boss fight that is basically a test of your jumping skills. Then you fight an entire army’s worth of soldiers, and a unique giant robot mini boss that expects adept usage of scroll abilities. Then there is a boss that is secretly a rhythm game, with gameplay not seen at all previously. Then there is another boss that heavily involves that hover ability from the start of the dungeon. Then a thrilling chase, a boss fight against Godzilla, and then the final boss, which entails using a skill that you have had all along, but has been (marginally) optional for this whole extended finale. And then the game just… ends. Give or take a picture of Musashi with the whole gang (which can only be earned by finding every villager), the ending has very little to do with anything that has come before. The King and Queen return to their kingdom, and the evil empire is banished with nary a word about the sequence of betrayals that led up to the final battle. All over now, go play Einhänder.
And you can almost feel how many of these challenges were intended for different parts of the game. The three members of Leader’s Force were seen elsewhere, but you only battle them here. The hover ability could have had an entire dungeon all its own, but it is relegated to a meager chamber and a boss now. And the finale against a mad god is great… and barely has a damn thing to do with the techno tower you just conquered. It’s as if the last giant chunk of Brave Fencer Musashi is stitched together from significantly disparate pieces, and our final challenge is a mishmash of what didn’t fit anywhere else.
Almost like Squaresoft had to rush to get the final product out the door, and the finale suffered as a result.
Even Worse Streams presents Brave Fencer Musashi
Original Stream Night: September 27, 2022
Random Notes on the Stream:
- Welcome Back! We’re going to start tonight with an explanation of how my dad doesn’t know my name.
- Fanboymaster thinks I am not going to have any trouble with the finale. He is wrong! Jeanie is here too, but she doesn’t make any bold claims about my skills.
- Caliscrub arrives as I describe my current, ramshackle streaming setup. As of this writing, nothing has changed about my setup of “is on floor”.
- Please enjoy watching Musashi sleep for two weeks. Fanboymaster takes this time to explain the full history of the Trails series and its translation licensing.
- And then BEAT arrives to ask if we’ve been to Sylvania.
- “Goggle Boy” arrives in the chat. This has never been explained.
- “Welcome to the Soda Fountain because we are the Thirstquencher Empire so that’s what we’d call it.”
- “That’s pattern recognition, baby.”
- After Ben K dies on his feet, it is time for the worst maze ever. Who doesn’t love their calendar?
- And then some cheating occurs because I am not dealing with this nonsense twice…
- As we make some progress, I talk about Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. Everybody get excited for a New Piccolo! And then a discussion on DBZ Abridged.
- BEAT attempts to insult fanboymaster’s “favorite games”, but is thwarted when Sonic the Hedgehog is named as a favorite.
- Topo’s “Dance or Die” challenge comes very close to dying…
- And then we get to the Tower of Death with BEAT asking, “Do you have rocket shoes?”
- Speaking of death, the “humiliated jackass character” walks up and murders your buddy. It is like if Team Rocket shot Brock in the back.
- Name a videogame where the main villain gains “ultimate power” and doesn’t die.
- I’m told to make the buff wizard the youtube thumbnail. Sorry, I prefer lizards.
- We inevitably sing about feeding a fish three hams while fighting the absolute last boss.
- And now we watch the ending as the King and Queen of Hyrule return. They didn’t notice the hole.
- And we close as Caliscrub “got backbroken.”
Next time on a very different Musashi: A whole new hero for a whole new generation.