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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 PC-98 and FM Towns, before being ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and PC Engine in 1994/1995. The first Brandish was the only entry of the series ever released in other countries (with the SNES version being the only English language version available), 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.

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Brandish 2: The Planet Buster was originally released on the PC-98 in 1993, and was then ported to the SNES in 1994/1995. Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan was developed in 1994, again for the PC-98. Both of these sequels again centered on Ares and Dela. All three games would later receive Renewal versions exclusive to the PC-98, featuring gameplay balances, an arranged soundtrack (complete with additional music), and new cover art courtesy of Jun Suemi (see the page image).

A fourth installment, Brandish VT: Fata Morgana Templum, followed in 1996, once more for the PC-98, with its port for Windows computers titled Brandish 4: The Tower of Sleeping God. While it retained the series' gameplay and graphics despite switching from an overhead perspective to an isometric one, the storyline was very different. This is because the fourth game was originally envisioned as a brand new IP known as Victim's Tower, with Falcom retooling it after realizing the interface and basic gameplay were similar to the previous three Brandish installments. The "VT" in the title is a nod to the original concept, with the titular Fata Morgana Templum/Tower of the Sleeping God (a giant tower in the middle of the desert) also known in-game as the Victim's Tower. The fourth game is also notable for its implementation of a Good-Neutral-Evil alignment system and Multiple Endings based on the player's alignment, not unlike the mainline Shin Megami Tensei games.

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In 2009, the first Brandish would be remade for the PSP as Brandish: The Dark Revenant, being fully 3D but retaining the same rotatable camera system of the original; XSEED Games would handle localization of The Dark Revenant for the North American and PAL regions in 2015. Dela would also appear as a Guest Fighter in 2010's Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga, serving as a support character and the game's sole representative for her home series.

2009 also saw the release of a Fan Translation of the second game's Super Famicom version (handled by Synchronicity Translations), with another (this time based on Brandish 2 Renewal and translated by a team led by Gu4n and preta) releasing in 2017. Gu4n additionally worked on a translation patch for Brandish 4, though only the Lawful route of Dee's story is finished and there are no current plans to fully translate the 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.
  • The Archmage: Balcan is both this and Big Good in Spirit of Balcan despite having died several years before the start of the series.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Dela Delon, who went from a comical antagonist in the first two games to playable heroine in Spirit of Balcan on account of her popularity. The Dark Revenant would make her a Secret Character for the same reason.
    • Similarly, Umber and Jinza, who were bosses/NPCs in The Planet Buster, became playable characters in Spirit of Balcan.
    • Garahad was merely a recurring NPC in VT, but the Windows version of the fourth game gave him his own chapter.
  • 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.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Lord Bistall tried to harness the power of his nation's guardian dragon for himself. The guardian dragon granted his wish by turning him into an unholy monster and sinking the kingdom to the underground.
  • 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.
  • Butt-Monkey: One function of Dela is to show the player which traps he will encounter in the next part of the game. That naturally means that she triggers each and every one of these traps and least in the first two games is constantly knocked out, transported away, dropped into pits...
  • The Caligula: Lord Bistall in the first game and King Badorrer in the second game.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Garahad in Brandish VT.
  • Determinator: Ares.
  • Digital Bikini: Dela Delon in the U.S. SNES 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:
    • Lord Bistall from the first game, whose ambition to take the power of the nation's guardian dragon for himself resulted in the massive earthquake that caused the kingdom's destruction.
    • 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.
  • Genius Bruiser: Garahad in Brandish VT.
  • Giant Squid: One attacks and sinks Dela's rowboat in Brandish 2.
  • 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 is a group of ninjas. Jinza, 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.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Ares is this. Despite saving the world multiple times, he has a massive bounty on his head due to getting involved in all sorts of disasters, which he gets mistakenly blamed for. For instance, in the second game, Ares' actions result in the destruction of a kingdom even though he did so in order to stop its mad king from becoming an omnipotent being. Similarly, Ares' murder of the renowned mage Balcan was done at Balcan's behest as Balcan was in the process of getting possessed by an evil deity.
  • Hot Witch: Dela Delon and Mermelada.
  • Japanese Ranguage: While Garahad is the "official" spelling of the character's name, one can assume it's supposed to be Galahad.
  • 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 uses 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 VT).
  • 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 (though the latter game was originally Brandish VT: Fata Morgana Templum, breaking the trend).
  • 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.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": With most cases chalked up to the fact that only the first game and its PSP remake ever made it out of Japan.
    • The series' Hot Witch poster girl is commonly known to English-speaking audiences as Dela Delon. The localization of The Dark Revenant instead gave her name as Dora Doran... which somewhat better matches the katakana from the Japanese release (ドーラ・ドロン). note 
    • Umber. On very rare occasions will you see her name spelled as Umbar (not to be confused with the Middle-Earth port city), while the katakana used in-game (アンバー・ガルシア, Anbā Garushia) suggests her name should've been Amber, furthered by the fact that her theme in the third game is titled "Stay Gold" — indicating some color-based wordplay that was Lost in Translation. Her surname (Garcia) is sometimes given as "Galsia" as well, not unlike the Garcia/Galsia issue in Streets of Rage.
    • The name of the White Magician Girl from the fourth game is a lesser example. Hardcore Gaming 101's article on the game and Gu4n's unfinished translation of 4 opt for Clare while pixiv Encylopedia's entries for both Brandish VT and the character herself translate to Claire. note 
  • Squishy Wizard: Dela Delon in The Dark Revenant.
  • Stripperiffic: Dela Delon and Umber.
  • 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 the 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:
    • Dela's possible Weapon of Choice in Spirit of Balcan.
    • Dee, the protagonist of Brandish VT, also favors a whip.
  • White Magician Girl: Clare from Brandish VT.
  • 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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