BFM? Not much of a BFD. Review

Brave Fencer Musashi Info


  • N/A


  • N/A


  • Squaresoft


  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now


  • PS


BFM? Not much of a BFD.

Brave Fencer Musashi is one of those games that gives me mixed feelings. There’s a lot of

creative gameplay elements that are refreshing to see, but the story and characters are so

silly and nonsensical it ends up rubbing me the wrong way and detracts from the whole

gaming experience.

Coming off a Tenchu-intensive

weekend session, I sat down with a copy of BFM. This is much akin to

going from an Agatha Christie mystery to something from the Hardy Boys. The

story starts out with Princess Fillet (who talks like your worst Valley Girl

nightmare) of the Allucaneet Empire summoning a hero to help in their battle

with the Thirstquencher Empire. And the hero she manages to summon is none other

than Brave Fencer Musashi, who also happens to be a smart-mouthed punk kid.

Then the princess is kidnapped (gee, what a surprise!) and Musashi begins his

journey to find five sacred scrolls that will help him free the princess. Along

the way, Musashi also needs to rescue kidnapped citizens trapped in green gems.

Some are required to complete a quest and some will teach you special sword

techinques or give you hints.

BFM combines elements

of an RPG and a platformer quite seamlessly and it’s fun to play and easy to

get into. Events center around Grillin’ Village and surrounding areas in the

Allucaneet empire. Although the game takes place in a strict linear fashion,

there are loads of sub-quests Musashi is required to do as well. When you’re

in the village, you play RPG- style; buying and selling items, talking to villagers,

etc. When you venture out on a quest, it’s platform all the way; lots of jumping

onto moving platforms and figuring your way through puzzles. The best part about

this format is that Square abandoned the random battle idea altogether. Although

it makes the game a little easier, it also makes it much less tedious and aggravating.

The best part of BFM is the game’s concept of time. There’s a clock

on the screen that tells you not only the time of day, but also the day of the

week, and you can only visit shops during their normal business hours. You can

also tell the passage of time by the amount daylight, which looks very cool

and includes crickets chirping at night and birds singing at the crack of dawn.

Perishable foods (like milk) will spoil after a certain length of time while

others (like cheese) get better with age. You’ll also notice that all the characters

act differently according to the time, meaning some you can only meet during

day and others only at night. There are plenty of places in the game that rely

on the passage of time, such as an island that’s only accessible at low tide.

Musashi also gets tired, so you’ll have to sleep to rejuvenate yourself and

make sure you’re fully rested before you go into that long boss fight. The concept

of time in BFM isn’t just an eye-pleasing gimmick – it’s incorporated

into the gameplay beautifully and unlike anything I’ve played.

Another innovative aspect of the game is Musashi’s assimilation skills. Much

like the “Enemy Skill” in Final

Fantasy 7
, Musashi can learn his enemy’s special moves. However, these aren’t

just used for combat purposes. Some puzzles require you to learn a skill in

order to traverse a particularly difficult or stubborn obstacle. So if you get

stuck somewhere, go assimilate an enemy move and it may get you out of the jam.

The characters in BFM leave much to be desired. Even Musashi isn’t all that likable of a

character, since he talks and acts like an annoying kid. His supposed “witty” commentary

is only funny to the 10-and-under crowd and just plain stupid to everyone else. All the

female characters, like, talk like Valley Girls, like y’know? Like totally. And they all act like

your annoying little sister; even the Princess, which really didn’t make me want to save her

the least bit. That little teeny-bopper can rot in the dungeon for all I care…(How noble of you – Ed.)

Musashi does have his rare moments as a ‘Dirk the Daring’ type of hero. He’s a

bumbling idiot who accomplishes difficult tasks not because of any particular

intelligence or skill on his part, but because of luck. A million laughs.

A rather unique (albeit puzzling) feature of the game is the toy store. Here,

you can buy action figures of the characters and monsters you encounter in the

game. I have no idea what purpose this serves, but you can purchase a figure,

take it back to your room and examine the blister pack from every angle. Then

you have the option to “open” it and “play” with it. Each figure has signature

moves that it can do and if you’re real lucky maybe you can find that rare Musashi

figure with the Kung-Fu Grip.

The background graphics look good, but nothing especially spectacular. Characters

and enemies are your garden-variety polygonal figures with no additional textures.

Some nice touches include smoke effects that emanate from the source and little

clouds of breath that come from Musashi’s mouth in cold weather. There’s hardly

any noticeable pop-up, which is worthy of note.

Music and sound are top-notch, from the catchy tunes to the clashing of swords and the ice-

scraping sounds coming from penguins bum-rushing you. One interesting note: every palace

musician you rescue will change the palace’s theme music. For example, after the flutist is

rescued, that instrument will be included the next time you visit the palace. Pretty cool.

Brave Fencer Musashi has some cool gameplay elements in it that will

wow the most jaded console gamer, but the formulaic story, annoying characters,

and “kiddie” feel of the game end up distracting the gamer as well as knocking

it down a grade.


Passage of time is awesome!
No random battles!
Successfully combines platform and RPG genres.
Solid gameplay.
Annoying characters/contrived plot
Game has too much of a kiddie feel.