Hold onto your calculators and abacuses, Koei fans -- Brandish is not a historical strategy game. It will, however, transport intermediate RPG gamers into an epic quest.
Down and Deadly
This engaging 3/4-overhead-view adventure is an RPG with action game play. As the hero Varik, you must find your way out of a mysterious underground kingdom overrun with monsters.
ProTip: Don't let me game's rotations confuse you. Display the map periodically and align Varik according to its layout to get your bearings.
There's plenty of mind-bending maze wandering in Brandish, and the game sets you up for a tough journey. In fact, the game's five stages consist of 38 areas. Vicious traps like Pits and Warps drop you into unknown locations or snap you back to earlier levels. Fortunately, the automap is easily displayed.
If the scenery doesn't sap your hit points, the monsters will. Fifty-five beasts and bad guys are locked underground with you, and they aren't too happy about it. If you get past the regular troops, seven boss monsters and the head honcho await you.
- Monsters mean treasure's somewhere nearby.
- Use the adjustable Game Speed feature to hasten your getaways until you're ready to fight aggressive boss creatures.
At least your arsenal's respectable, if standard, RPG fare. You swing a variety of swords, cast an array of slick magic potions, or just toss your fists. The combat system's a simple single-button- press attack (a la Zelda) that's more fun than it sounds once you get caught up in the dungeon quest.
You can purchase and find a variety of gear. Sledgehammers and steel balls are among the esoteric equipment that comes in more than handy. A sure-handed inventory system keeps everything at the ready.
- In the Ruins areas, it pays to have many sledgehammers.
- You can buy some very useful info in the Tower with 5000 gold pieces.
Brandish sports adequate though average graphics. The characters are tiny, and the &- overhead-view dungeon guarantees miles of dead wall space. The graphics also slip on the sometimes-confusing behind-the-character view.
The game rotates the scenery around you whenever you turn; the automap, however, is always aligned one way. To use it effectively, you often have to display the map, move a few steps, then redisplay the map to figure out which way you're headed.
- Use the limitless swords as a main weapon. Save the stronger swords for bosses.
- There are springs in the Ruins areas and other locations that restore your hit points.
- You can rest (press R and L simultaneously) to restore hit points, but be alert. Monsters cause more damage than usual if they attack while you rest.
Brandish This Game
The sounds are practically nonexistent. The effects are minimal, and you may have nightmares about the sweet but repetitive music. Despite some shortcomings, Brandish has a fine story to tell. You could be lost in this maze for days.
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Brandish is a dungeon crawler with plenty of creatures to defeat and many weapons, armor, and other treasure to collect and top-down view action RPG and adventure hybrid series developed by Nihon Falcom. It was published by Koei, released in 1994 in Japan and a few months later (around 1995) in North America. Originally released in 1991 for the NEC PC-9801 and FM Towns home computers, it was later released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and PC Engine. You can also use magic spells. The camera rotates automatically according to your movements. You also have the ability to jump forwards.