GVN Review: Brave Battle Saga: Legend of the Magic Warrior (Sega Genesis)

Brave Battle Saga: Legend of the Magic Warrior
Sega Genesis
Developed by Chuanpu

Brave Battle Saga, or "Barver" Battle Saga if you prefer, is a turn based RPG from a company you never heard, nor did it receive any official release outside of Taiwan, China and other various parts of southeast Asia.  It received a fan translation once it began circulating as a rom in the mid 2000's.  Eventually like tons of other Genesis games that never got an official Stateside release, it found itself a physical release as a reproduction cart.

Brave Battle Saga came out when the heavy hitters in RPGs were coming out on the Super Nintendo, like Secret of Mana, Breathe of Fire and Romancing SaGa and Final Fantasy.  Brave Battle Saga  ripped off most of those games and was heavily influenced by others.  You can most definitely see this as you play through the game.  The combat system is similar to Breathe of Fire's, the world map is set up and explored just like Secret of Mana, plus the temple entrances.  The sprites are even modified from various games to look "original" in Brave Battle Saga.

However, Brave Battle Saga does manage to pass as a genuine game that could have easily been released stateside as a major RPG contender for the Sega Genesis. Despite all the pirated content, there's enough original content to make this game feel fresh and exciting during your play through.  The game's story holds up nicely, although a bit fast paced, the combat is actually well done, the world map is loaded with secrets tons of monsters, and interesting people that within minutes you will forget you're playing a top quality pirated game.

Graphically, Brave Battle Saga is probably one of the best looking games on the Genesis.  It can easily contend with other great looking games like Phantasy Star 4, Castlevania, Gunstar Hero and many others. If not for the Genesis small color palette, you'd actually think this was a Super Nintendo RPG. The game world is bright and colorful filled with nicely detailed landscapes and animated terrain. The character and enemy sprites are nicely detailed, big, and well animated too.  Especially the boss sprites which can take up a good chunk of the combat screen.

The game's music on the other hand is so-so at best. The combat music is decent with a nice upbeat tempo to make you feel the rush of combat, but the music for everything like towns, the over world and dungeons are just generic sounding.  Sound effects like combat impacts, opening treasure chests and activating switches of course all sound like they were ripped out of another game.  One puzzling issue that sometimes arose is part of the audio, usually the bass line, just disappears along with the sound effects. Usually this can be fixed by a simple reboot but its very annoying to play a game and suddenly have half the music disappear.

Brave Battle Saga actually plays better than expected for a game that is heavily "inspired" by other games.  The combat engine is an active time battle system akin to the Final Fantasy games on the Snes and beyond.  At the beginning of the game, the bar fills rather slowly compared to other games.  Regardless, even when the bar fills, the enemy is always attacking in turns when yours picking your actions.  There is an option in the menu that lets you disable being attacked while picking your actions but it doesn't work.

The magic system is rather interesting in that you can purchase your magic for any one of your party members.  There are obvious members that are more adapt at casting spells due to having more mana for casting and doing more damage but it does give you options in combat like more designated healers in case someone goes down.  The amount of spells are of course divided into the generic types like your elemental spells, a few summons and some healing/white magic assortments. For the most part, all the healing and assistant spells do what they are advertised to do.  The more powerful damage spells however are all multi enemy attack spells that deal low damage unless there is a lone target.  The same spells could be cast by the enemy and they can deal twice the damage you would dish out.

The rest of the game plays out like any other RPG's in the past.  However in the case of Brave Battle Saga, there is a ton of back tracking and revisiting that you don't normally do in most RPG's.  Sure you might have to revisit Narshe a couple of times in FFVI, but you will revisit the several city a few times here.  Weather its for story, buying a spells that you didn't know you needed, or having to get armor for a new team member that joined a few towns back.  This isn't as bad as it seems however because the game already moves at a fast pace and the towns aren't actually that far apart from each other.

The story is a really big jumbled mess at the beginning. Your hero has been kicked out for allegedly killing a fellow town member and then suddenly you are running to various temples saving relics from some evil empire, along the way you are trying to quell an ice dragon from letting a volcano erupt and saving a town from a plague. The game's plot and side stories are bouncing all over the place to be honest, at times it makes sense, then it turns around and flips it on you for a moment.  Also because of the games flow, the pace of the story made me feel like I was being rushed.

Overall, once you get past the obvious flagrant pirated imagery, hit and miss audio and a confusing story, you will find a solid and enjoyable game in Brave Battle Saga.  The combat is competent enough with some decent strategy needing to be applied, the exploration of the over world allows for secrets to be discovered. The game is beautiful to look at in motion with huge enemy sprites in battle and lots of detailed various environments to check out.  If you every need a new RPG experience on your aging Genesis, and you aren't preoccupied with Pier Solar, definitely give Brave Battle Saga a chance. You won't regret it.

+ Nice Graphics, lots of vibrant colors, huge battle sprites. Almost Snes quality
+ Fast moving RPG
+ Exploration rewards you with secrets caverns and treasure
+ Combat is fast pace and engaging
+ The game last around 25-30 hours. Standard RPG length.
- Audio is generic
- Sometimes parts of the audio track/sound effects disappears for no reason
- Story made me felt like I was being rushed

Overall Score: B

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