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Video Game / Brandish

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Brandish is an Action RPG series by Falcom, which currently consists of four main games. It is notable for having a rotatable "camera" despite having entirely 2D gameplay, thus allowing the player to do things like circle strafing, hit and run attacks, and other typically-3D techniques.

The original game was released in 1991 for the SNES, and it was the only one ever released in other countries, and with great alterations at that. Its story starts with the protagonist, Ares, being ambushed by the mage Dela Delon, who aims to avenge her evil wizard master, killed by Ares in the game's backstory. While battling, one of Dela Delon's spells breaks open the ground, sending them both into a deep labyrinth. Now, Ares must figure out a way to escape.

Brandish 2: The Planet Buster was originally released on PC-98 in 1993, and was then ported to SNES in 1994. Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan was developed in 1994. Both of these sequels again centered on Ares and Dela. Brandish 4 or Brandish VT: Fata Morgana Templum, followed in 1996, but while it retained the series' gameplay and graphics, the storyline was very different.


There was also a 2009 remake of the original game for the PSP, known as Brandish: The Dark Revenant, which is 3D, but retains the same rotatable camera system. 2009 also saw the fan translation of the second game.

The series provides examples of the following:

  • Always Over the Shoulder: And with sprite-based graphics, no less! The trick was loading four versions of each map that switched as you "turned."
  • Amazonian Beauty: Umber, a muscular wrestler who fights in a revealing outfit that basically looks like a sling swimsuit with a tubetop.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The backstory of the setting in The Dark Revenant. The once flourishing nation of Vittoria came to ruin when its king Lord Bistall attempted to harness the power of the nation's guardian dragon for himself. The land sank deep into the earth, becoming a giant underground dungeon in the process.
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  • The Archmage: Balcan is both this and Big Good in Spirit of Balcan despite being dead several years before the start of the series.
  • Ascended Extra: Dela Delon becomes playable in The Dark Revenant and Spirit of Balcan. Similarly, Umber and Jinza, who were NPCs in The Planet Buster, become playable characters in Spirit of Balcan.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: God Badorrer and Apeiron's fights are accompanied by heavy-hitting tracks with emphasis on shredding.
  • Badass Normal: Ares.
  • Bag of Spilling: Applies to Ares at the beginning of each game. Justified in The Planet Buster where Ares gets beaten up and loses the Planet Buster at the beginning of the game.
  • Beam Spam: God Bistall's second form in The Dark Revenant uses this.
  • Bifauxnen: Mauve in Brandish VT is a mild example.
  • Black Magician Girl: Dela Delon.
  • Breakable Weapons: Combined with a limited inventory.
  • Breakout Character: Dela Delon has become the signature character of the series and features on many front covers, despite only being playable in Spirit of Balcan and a secret mode of The Dark Revenant.
  • The Caligula: King Badorrer in the second game.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass and Genius Bruiser: Garahad in Brandish VT.
  • Determinator: Ares.
  • Digital Bikini: Dela Delon in the SNES U.S. version of Brandish. Her original outfit gets a one-piece bathing suit that covers most of her skin.
  • Disappears into Light: Happens to God Bistall in The Dark Revenant.
  • Dub Name Change: In the SNES port, Ares is know as "Varik", and Dela Delon as "Alexis". The latter was due to Character Name Limits.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You
  • Evil Overlord: King Badorrer from the second game, who rules his nation with iron fist and hopes to become a godlike being with the power of the sword Planet Buster.
  • Evil Sorceror: Plenty throughout the series. The wizard Dinque from the first game and Big Bad Gaua from the third game are some notable examples.
  • Godhood Seeker: The motivation of most villains in the series.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Always an option.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: One of the bosses in the first game are a group of ninjas. One of the playable characters in Spirit of Balcan is a ninja master.
  • Gratuitous Russian: The Japanese cover of Brandish includes the backstory written out in Russian for some reason.
  • Great Escape: The goal of Dark Revenant. Most human NPCs you meet throughout the game are either adventurers who came to the underground labyrinth in search of treasures or unfortunate souls who fell into it by accident (like Dela and Ares). Due to abundant number of traps and monsters in the dungeon, many have given up on escaping and are content to act as shopkeepers, selling what they found to others who still intend on going. Also, this is your initial objective in the second game as you start off thrown into a jail.
  • Heroic Mime: Ares is a silent protagonist.
  • Hot Witch: Dela Delon and Mermelada.
  • Karma Meter: Present in Brandish VT where every character except Mermelada and Garahad will get different endings depending on their karma at the end.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Mermelada from the fourth game.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Ares use a shield to block enemy attacks.
  • Magic Knight: Ares is a swordsman, but can also learn magic.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Again, Dela Delon. Also Umber (Brandish 3) and Mermelada (Brandish 4).
  • Noble Top Enforcer: Karl Kares from the second game cares about soldiers under his command and compliments Ares' skills, expressing strong desire to fight Ares on even terms. He later opposes Big Bad King Badorrer when he finds out what the mad king is trying to do.
  • Numbered Sequels: Brandish 2: The Planet Buster, Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan and Brandish 4: The Tower of Sleeping God.
  • One-Winged Angel: The final bosses in every installment go through this after their first phase, except for Bistall - he's already in his One-Winged Angel form when you encounter him.
  • One-Word Title: The first game was titled Brandish.
  • Pit Trap: Lots, to the point where one expendable item is dedicated solely to finding them.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Dela Delon's role in the first and second game is to generally try to get in Ares' way and accidentally trigger a trap, thereby hinting the player how to avoid it. Garahad in Brandish VT fulfills the same role.
  • Regenerating Mana
  • The Rival: Dela Delon to Ares.
  • Sitting Sexy on a Piano: Dela Delon in the cover art for Brandish Piano Collection.
  • Squishy Wizard: Dela Delon in The Dark Revenant.
  • Stripperiffic: Dela Delon and Umbar.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The sword Planet Buster that Ares gains at the end of the first game. It leads to the plot of The Planet Buster where an evil king tries to become a godlike being using the power of the sword.
  • Villain Has a Point: Gaua, Big Bad of the third game, justifies his summoning of the dark god Apeiron by stating that there has to be absolute fear in order to keep people in line. Given how villains of the previous games, Lord Bistall and King Badorrer, tried to become godlike beings in their arrogance and caused huge calamities in the process, his reasoning actually has some merit.
  • Wallet of Holding
  • Whip It Good: Dee in Brandish VT. Also, Dela's possible weapon of choice in Spirit of Balcan.
  • White Magician Girl: Clare from Brandish 4.
  • You Killed My Father: Master in her case, but this is Dela's primary reason for hunting down Ares, in addition to a massive bounty on his head. It is revealed in the third game that while Ares did cut Balcan down, it was at Balcan's request as Balcan was getting possessed by the same evil power that possessed the mad tyrant whom Balcan and Ares took down earlier.


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