Tag Archives: Ample Vigour

Musashi: Samurai Legend 3: The Good Stuff

chugga chuggaIt is against the central credo of this blog to spend three weeks railing against a franchise and its disastrous growing pains, so let’s talk about what Musashi: Samurai Legend gets right.


The enemy design isn’t that bad?

… But they’re basically Heartless rejects…


One unequivocal good change between Brave Fencer Musashi and Musashi: Samurai Legend is that M:SL allows you to “rapid cycle” through your various elemental abilities, and bop between your skills with a simple press of L1/R1. This is great! Both games frequently presented scenarios where you were asked to shift between your various skills, but only Musashi: Samurai Legends does it without requiring a trip to the menu every five seconds. This is clearly a situation wherein the designers identified an issue in Brave Fencer Musashi, and solved that problem for the sequel. This is an improvement, no questions asked.

And… uh… That’s all I got.

How many more nights of Musashi: Samurai Legend are left? Can I go back to Brave Fencer Musashi yet?

Even Worse Streams presents Musashi: Samurai Legend
Night 3

Original Stream Night: October 18, 2022

Random Notes on the Stream:

  • Welcome back! Jeanie is here for the start of learning from the fish lady. Look to last week’s entry for a full explanation/complaint.
  • Jeanie and I more or less discuss the Xenoblade Chronicles franchise as Musashi fights through a generic jungle. For timeline questions, be aware that this conversation occurred just after the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
  • Fun timesAnd then caliscrub and fanboymaster join from the surface of the moon… or somewhere equally echoey.
  • “It’s beautiful that you think I’m paying attention.”
  • “Are you saying all skeletons know each other? Like a racist?”
  • Having now completed the game and looking back on it, The Crimson Gorger is the most interesting boss fight in Musashi: Samurai Legend. That is another point in M:SL’s favor! Two whole points!
  • After conquering the boss and wandering around the mall, BEAT returns from slumberland.
  • Thanks to the announcement of a mobile game for the franchise, Mortal Kombat, its spinoffs, and Shujinko are discussed.
  • Ample Vigour joins as The One is considered. That is also a franchise with a battle pyramid.
  • And then AJvark enters, too.
  • “Paw Patrol: Zero Mission! Finally!” is uttered as we play Musashi: Spirit Tracks.
  • And Screaming Red Skull joins the official chat as Musashi decides to carry around an amethyst.
  • “He’s going to skank too hard and explode his pants. He had to reinforce them.”
  • I miraculously save a gem after losing the fist one. If I lost a second one, I would give up, and the stream would be over. Forever.
  • RWBY and Rooster Teeth are addressed. Rest in peace, Monty Oum, your franchise misses you.
  • You heard it here first: I will never play Playstation 2 N.A.R.C. Somebody please hold me to that.
  • GrossAJVark learns the word “chaste” today thanks to Cammy wearing pants for once.
  • A discussion of the DCUTV “Arrowverse” ensues. I will reiterate here that Star Girl is a pretty good show, and works with the format’s ridiculous formula of “everyone lies all the time” pretty well. Teenagers do be like that.
  • “Hard disagree. Rats are far superior to pigeons.”
  • And then we close with a fight against a giant mechanical spider and anticipating Black Adam, the movie that would kill the DC Universe. If we only knew…

Next time on Musashi: This finale might be a little familiar.

Whistlin Dixie
Eventually something has to happen

Musashi: Samurai Legend 2: Fishy Problems

This does not happenSomething terribly embarrassing happens on this week’s stream of Musashi: Samurai Legend, and I am going to blame it on poor game design.

Go ahead and try to defend yourself, Playstation 2 game from two decades ago!

As is plainly available for viewing on this blog, I played Musashi: Samurai Legend after fighting through six weeks of Brave Fencer Musashi. As that was fresh in my mind, and Musashi: Samurai Legend is ostensibly a sequel, when I hit a roadblock in this new game, I was expecting I would be able clear this obstruction in a manner similar to what I had experienced in Brave Fencer Musashi. In that previous game, the solution to problems always seemed to be to fish some random villager out of a “secret” trap somewhere across the world, and use this new villager’s assistance to then make progress. Unfortunately, that was not the solution here, as apparently access to the next area of Musashi: Samurai Legend was gated behind using the “copy ability” skill that had not been required since the opening tutorial; and, what’s more, this skill had to be used on a friendly NPC, not an enemy. Given it had been something like six hours of gameplay since the last time a player would have had to use this copy skill, we are going to go ahead and call this game design choice “opaque”.

Pew pewAnd the hell of it? I should have expected as much! In Brave Fencer Musashi, hidden villagers were… hidden. There were often occasions where, if you did not search off the beaten path, Steward Ribson would demand thou must-th venture forth and find thine companions again. It would grind the adventure to a halt while you retrieved some anonymous food-themed soldier to be the fourth man in a boss fight gimmick, but it did encourage exploration of Musashi’s world. Now the “worlds” of Musashi: Samurai Legend are little more than monster hallways, so kidnapped mall folk are left scattered along the mandatory path, and often just about as “hidden” as your neighborhood Starbucks (it’s under the giant sign that says “Starbucks”). This is obviously more convenient than having to perform an impromptu treasure hunt like in the previous game, but it also conveys just how little the designers of Musashi: Samurai Legend trusted its player base. They knew you were going to quit this shallow adventure the minute you hit a barrier, and, without the option compelling discoveries, they dropped the concept entirely.

And I still got stuck on the dang fish lady!

But at least I got stuck at the damn mall. At the end of this stream, I am lost trying to find a random villager (that, essentially, does not exist) in an earlier level. But I did not have to waste that time at all! Even though I was jammed, the resolution was available in friendly territory, and I did not have to risk life, limb, and time to move forward. I assumed the answer was elsewhere, but it was right there, and literally as easy as pressing the right button at the right place.

So, hey, Musashi: Samurai Legend may have wasted my time with a silly “puzzle”, but at least it came from a thoughtful place. Gutless, but thoughtful.

Even Worse Streams presents Musashi: Samurai Legend
Night 2

Original Stream Night: October 11, 2022

Random Notes on the Stream:

  • Let’s listen to BEAT talk about his inability to play Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as we start Samurai Legend Musashi for our second night. And we’ve got fanboymaster too.
  • Fanboymaster laments the “diablofictation” of gaming over the years. At least Musashi doesn’t have to sort through annoying loot!
  • After a complete discussion of gacha mechanics and the Xenoblade franchise, we talk about how this volcano dungeon is, at best, inoffensive.
  • PopHey! This stream was right before I officially started uploading the Xenogears streams! That one took a while!
  • BEAT has never seen a full episode of The Simpsons, but we are going to talk about the many guest stars of The Simpsons anyway. And, hey, we finally finished this stupid volcano dungeon! For the first time!
  • And then as Caliscrub arrives, we talk about genre-defying games, like Mr. Bones and Battletoads.
  • And Ample Vigour enters as we discuss how Final Fantasy Type 0 is nonsense from top to bottom. This leads to a wonderful narration from AV as a southern gentleman attempting to describe chocobo wars.
  • Parasite Eve: one of those almost compelling games.
  • As we reenter the volcano, we all agree to like Waku Waku 7. And maybe Bleach: Dark Souls (no relation).
  • Disney killed its 2-D animation trying to appeal to teenage boys. C’est la vie. Let’s fight a lava monster.
  • Please enjoy a bunch of grown men talking about the sexiness of various SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron characters. From an objective perspective, you understand.
  • Away we goAnd then we have the aforementioned solid 20 minutes of futzing around because I have no idea I am supposed to just learn how to cut from the fish wrecking lady.
  • BEAT’s secret twitter origin is ActualPerson84.
  • “It’s not fast. It’s not exciting. It just is.”
  • And that’s about where we quit so BEAT can play Sonic the Hedgehog elsewhere. Have a good one!

Next time on Musashi: I guess there’s an elven village?

Musashi: Samurai Legend 1: Welcome to the Mall

It's legendaryAnd now we have the other side of the coin.

If Brave Fencer Musashi for the Playstation is an example of a game having too many ideas, Musashi: Samurai Legend for the Playstation 2 is the less pleasant opposite. Released at a time when “action games” were either Devil May Cry or God of War, Musashi: Samurai Legend dropped 90% of what made Brave Fencer Musashi memorable in favor of something much more marketable. Musashi was now an edgy (literally! Look at all those angles!) teen instead of a goofy kid. Exploring a “world” was dropped for a series of “levels”. Fixing pipes at Steamwood is now riding a bitchin’ motorcycle. And, importantly, the vibrant town of Brave Fencer Musashi has been transformed into… a mall.

It is the little things that make a community. In Brave Fencer Musashi, there are multiple scenarios where Musashi must “save the village”. On one occasion, it is because Vambis are stalking the streets at night. In another event, the whole village is lit ablaze. And, in a slightly lesser happening, Musashi plays mayor for the day because the real administration has a cold. Giant ants are occasionally a menace, too. In a way, these are all pretty basic videogame scenarios, and they are all something a veteran player has seen before. But these occasions do a lot to flesh out the “realness” of Musashi’s world. And, as you get used to the basics, like the bakery opening at the same time every morning, or the women gossiping about current events by the well, you start to develop a feeling of comradery with this digital community. Sure, it is all pixels and polygons, but it begins to feel like something greater than a series of fetch quests.

This place sucksMusashi: Samurai Legend’s “village” is a mall. All of the residents live at different kiosks, and, when you need their services, you stop by their stall. This entire area could be replaced with the same menu where Musashi selected castle residents in his previous adventure, and next to nothing would change. There is no feeling of community here. There is barely a feeling that neighboring denizens have even met the people that a door over, left alone everybody else in this mall. There is no community here, only living menus.

Oh! And the whole dang thing is apparently floating on the back of some manner of Windfish, which apparently impacts the proceedings not one iota. I guess it explains how Musashi gets from level to level? Whatever! Xenoblade Chronicles took that concept and made it iconic. Musashi: Samurai Legend barely remembers that air whale is even there…

So… yeah. We’re not off to a great start with the game that killed the Musashi franchise…

Even Worse Streams presents Musashi: Samurai Legend
Night 1

Original Stream Night: October 4, 2022

Random Notes on the Stream:

  • It kind of looks like Jet Set Radio, but it’s Musashi! “Enjoy” it with BEAT, Jeanie, and fanboymaster.
  • “This neither looks like Brave Fencer Musashi, nor does it actually play like it. This is a very PS2 game.”
  • Amazingly, this game has a boring motorcycle chase. In its first level!
  • “You sound like if Goofy wanted to be a shonen hero.”
  • May as well note that we hit the mall just as BEAT suggests I should play a Zelda randomizer sometime.
  • Moving right alongSince we’re in the game’s dead mall, BEAT tells tales of dead malls. I actually visited the mall he is describing about five months later. It really is that dead.
  • And Caliscrub arrives just as we finish talking about “the nazi store”. To be clear on this site’s position, the nazi store is really bad.
  • BEAT is proud of his Mountain Dew Alcohol Thread this whole night.
  • AJvark arrives and notes that this Musashi has the The World Ends with You character designer in his corner.
  • “Gorpus? That name sucks. Go back and try again.”
  • PS2 Platforming leads fanboymaster to relay his great dislike of Maximo’s continue/save system. I cannot disagree with him.
  • “You never don’t say someone is a hard matchup for Little Mac!”
  • As we explore what is clearly the Guts Man stage, fanboymaster is asking if I will do another Let’s Play after Wild Arms 3. That question was posed nearly a year ago, and that Let’s Play is still ten weeks away from finishing up now.
  • “Swagger Wagon… why!?”
  • Ample Vigour stops by as we hit the “flying machine rampage” and we talk about… Rachel Ray? Rachel Roy?
  • How to Get Away with Murder is weird. Peacemaker is very good.
  • Do blacksmiths fix glasses? Guess so.
  • Oh, hey, we have another opportunity for Florida Man BEAT to complain about his terrible governor.
  • VrooomThere is a significant discussion on the subject of Dril and his various books while Musashi gets lost in a construction site.
  • Enjoy our impromptu Nut Shack – Love Shack crossover.
  • Let us all envy Tomm Hulett’s unique ability to drive nerds to a homicidal rage.
  • Fanboymaster would like to draw attention to the fact that there is a villain named Glogg.
  • And we finish as I claim I will not play this again… which will be proven to be a lie next week.

Next time on Musashi: The volcano twins.

We know
Yeah… We know…

Brave Fencer Musashi 4: Confusion

Let's fight!Somewhere along the way, game design forgot how to be sloppy.

This week’s featured Brave Fencer Musashi adventure saw our hero venture through the Frozen Palace. If you listen to the stream, you will find that I was using fanboymaster as a living FAQ, because the Frozen Palace and its surrounding environs are confusing as heck. Despite being a “typical Zelda dungeon” with three jewels to fish out of the nooks and crannies of a dilapidated mansion, the Frozen Palace hosts a number of memorable and esoteric challenges. Beating every monster in a room or avoiding taking a hit is pretty straightforward; but some of the rooms that require a hidden copy ability or being thrown around by a yeti are less than forthright. Even getting there is a challenge, as Frozen Palace is guarded by a Lost Woods-esque forest maze that requires properly interpreting three oblique clues and combining them with expert knowledge of a Japanese boardgame. In short, the Frozen Palace is a playable reminder of exactly why strategy guides were so popular in the 90’s.

And maybe there’s something to that. While the standard of “a dungeon” goes back to the early days of gaming, it seems like gaming dungeons became very standardized sometime around the Playstation 2 era. The puzzles you see in Brave Fencer Musashi are nothing unusual, but their seemingly random smattering throughout the dungeon are a product of their time. There are three crystals to find in this ice world, and you actually have to backtrack from one area to another if you want to make progress. That barely ever happens anymore! Everyone knows that when a dungeon has three sections, they are all completely separate, and never the three shall meet. And if you are going to include puzzles in this kind of dungeon, they should all follow the same theme, likely including a development in ability/thinking as the dungeon progresses. You simply cannot have a platform that can only be reached via yeti-hurling, and then never showcase that skill ever again. There should be three distinct yeti challenges! And don’t throw a random “you have to get the anti-spike ability” detour in the middle of it! That will distract the player!

This place sucksOf course, there is a reason game design doesn’t do that anymore. Our brains are much more receptive to carefully segmented, progressive challenges. Human beings universally do not want to master their combat or movement abilities only to be waylaid by some silly challenge that involves (what the hell is) shogi. Worst still, people do not want to get “stuck” on any given puzzle. If the way forward is too oblique or cryptic, then you hit a wall, and time spent googling up a FAQ is time not enjoying the game. While some players in this era claimed that game designers were always trying to build the baddest mousetrap that no player could solve, the reality has always been that developers want to make games people will enjoy. An “unsolvable” puzzle is about as fun as biting into an unbreakable jawbreaker…

But sometimes you can see the appeal of the old days. As a result of the eclectic challenges, the Frozen Palace winds up being a memorable dungeon. All the little trips and pitfalls are remarkable in their risks, and finally clearing the place and banishing a frozen dragon does feel appropriately epic. Even greater/more confusing challenges would appear again in the final dungeon for Brave Fencer Musashi, and that feels reasonably impressive, too.

They might not make dungeons like this anymore… but that might not be a bad thing.

Even Worse Streams presents Brave Fencer Musashi
Night 4

Original Stream Night: September 13, 2022

Random Notes on the Stream:

  • Fanboymaster is here to remind you that Various Daylife was always something on Apple Arcade, and Jeanie is here, too. Our usual angry skeleton is in Europe.
  • Ed and Ben stop by. Uhh… in the game. They’re not real.
  • We’re on the quest for gear! Like… a straight up gear. Not gear you wear.
  • After hunting some random side quest content, Musashi sleeps in the fountain to visit an antique store for goggles. I approve.
  • Oh, this stream was back during the Armed Fantasia Kickstarter, specifically just when they hit “more whistling”. I will support anything that is Wild Arms adjacent.
  • This is hotYou save an entire town from burning down, you get a calendar… Huh.
  • I maintain that this is the first time in this playthrough that I ever saw that rock slug. Anyone want to watch the previous streams again to see if I’m right?
  • Ample Vigour joins us as we find the fire scroll.
  • Important question: Who was the last president that would have sucked dick for peace?
  • And then we chat about the eating habits of Diamond Jim Brady. From his Wikipedia entry: “Luncheon would consist of ‘shellfish…two or three deviled crabs, a brace of boiled lobsters, a joint of beef, and an enormous salad’. He would also include a dessert of ‘several pieces of homemade pie’ and more orange juice.” He was not a slender man.
  • Oh, this is the night we first talked about a sandwich that drove people insane on twitter that I would eventually eat live during the Goat Sim 3 stream.
  • “This is like someone sent a ransom note for themselves. Unless my demands are met, I will be eating this burger.”
  • After talking about Final Fantasy 1 and Wizardry, we discuss how AAA games nowadays overly encourage seeing all their content. That could be the subject of an article here!
  • Stay frostyAs we arrive at the ice palace, fanboymaster presents Way of the Samurai 3 and how you can draw a sword at any time in that game to make talking go away.
  • Let’s review our favorite story-based songs while I get wrecked at the Frozen Palace.
  • Ghostbusters caused a generation of people to have baby bird brain disease and imprint on the franchise like it was their mom.”
  • “As a child, I thought Scooby Doo was a direct insult to my intelligence.”
  • Muhammad Ali and Barack Obama are very alike.
  • Okay, we’re signing off as we examine how joking about raping women in movies was considered okay until… about 2006. Possibly later…

Next time on Brave Fencer Musashi: Brave Exterminator Musashi

Bye bye