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220px-Phantom Brave cover

Phantom Brave

Phantom Brave (ファントム・ブレイブ, Fantomu Bureibu?) is a tactical role-playing game for the Sony PlayStation 2 video game console developed and published by Nippon Ichi Software. It was released on January 22, 2004 in Japan, on August 31, 2004 in North America and on February 4, 2005 in Europe. The game shipped in two "editions"—Normal and Special—the Special edition coming with a free soundtrack and shortened instruction manual.

An expanded remake for the Wii console, titled Phantom Brave: We Meet Again was released on March 12, 2009 in Japan. A North American release by NIS America was originally set for June, but due to manufacturing delays, it was released on August 14, 2009. In addition to the Wii game disc, NIS America included a DVD which contains various art work, and both animated and non-animated sprites.

Nippon Ichi Software confirmed that they also planned on porting the game to PlayStation Portable with added features under the title Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle. Siliconera teased gamers with a "puzzlehunt", giving them the quote "Maybe that means thank you?" This puzzlehunt eventually came to be the announcement that Phantom Brave is headed to North America and Europe. While US players got both PSN and UMD versions, players in Europe only got the PSN version.

PlotEdit

220px-Phantom Brave Cut Scene

Phantom Brave Cutscene

The protagonist of Phantom Brave is a 14 year old girl named Marona. Having lost both of her parents at a young age, Marona lives on Phantom Isle in the oceanic world of Ivoire with a phantom named Ash. While he was still alive, Ash worked alongside Jasmine and Haze (Marona's parents) as a Chroma, a sort of bounty hunter or adventurer-for-hire. On an assignment that brought the trio to the Isle of Evil, a fragment of a malevolent being known as Sulphur attacked the group, mortally wounding them. Using the last of his life energy, Haze attempted to revive the party after the battle; however, there was only enough life left in him to bring Ash back as a phantom. Haze and Jasmine's dying wish was for Ash to watch over their then-infant daughter Marona.

As far as the game is concerned, Marona is the only one able to see Ash in phantom form. This is primarily because of her unique ability known as "Chartreuse Gale". This ability not only allows her to see and interact with phantoms, but temporarily bind their souls to various objects to grant them a temporary body, referred to in-game as "Confine". Using this power she can summon Ash and other phantoms to the world of the living to aid her in her own endeavors as a Chroma, similar to the work done by her late parents. Because she possesses the ability to see and speak with the dead, many assume that she is either controlled by or cooperates with evil spirits, and are afraid to even interact with her, much less employ her for Chroma work. Also, in the early portions of the story people who offer Marona employment would rescind any rewards upon completion once they discover that she was the fabled phantom Chroma.

As she continues her Chroma work, Marona's path eventually crosses with that of a man named Walnut. Walnut prides himself on his status as a Chroma Oxide, one who secretly follows a Chroma on their mission and steals the reward for their work. Walnut regularly tries to meddle in Chroma-related matters involving Marona, but is rarely successful. As they continue their work, Ash and Marona also meet a sickly young girl named Castille. Confined to a bed or her wheelchair for most of her life, Castille has been unable to go out into the world or make friends. However, after helping Castille's family on an assignment, Marona decides to be her friend and leaves behind a Putty, a mischievous spirit found on an earlier assignment, to keep Castille company when Marona is unable to do so.

As the game progresses signs of Sulphur returning to Ivoire in full force are more apparent. Earthquakes increase in frequency and monsters plague the land, with lesser forms of Sulphur known as Wraiths appearing to attack Ash and Marona several times. At one point Marona and her rival Walnut end up teaming up, and it is revealed that Walnut is Castile's older brother who's been stealing money to try to pay for Castile's hospital bills so that she can be cured of her sickness. Ash and Marona meet more people who are aware of these signs and are making preparations to battle Sulphur, if necessary. Among these individuals are Raphael, a renowned knight known as one of the Nine Swords of Ivoire, and Sprout, a renegade soldier whose family was killed by Sulphur many years earlier. Sprout seems to side with Ash in this fight, but Sprout is bent on the destruction of Sulphur at all costs, no matter the means used.

As preparations for the final battle are made and Ash and Marona return to the Isle of Evil, Raphael is found possessed by Sulphur, and so Ash and Raphael engage in a duel. Raphael is injured, and entrusts Ash with Heliotrope, his sacred sword, for use in his battle against Sulphur. At the center of the island lies a portal from which Sulphur is fully entering the world, and upon the heroes' arrival to this point, they expect to engage in combat with Sulphur immediately. However they are intercepted by Sprout. Having gone mad from his own power, Dark Eboreus, and by Sulphur's influence, Sprout attacks Ash and Marona. When he loses to Ash he kills himself with his sword Shiva in an attempt to kill Sulphur within him, but Sulphur materializes anyway. Ash and Marona finally battle it out with Sulphur, but in spite of the duo's best efforts, Sulphur is merely weakened and is still attempting to enter into Ivoire. At that point Walnut appears and says fairwell to Castile, sacrificing his own life to seal the portal between Ivoire and Sulphur's domain and effectively saving the world.

GameplayEdit

As in other tactical role-playing games, battles take place on an isometric board. In Phantom Brave, Marona dispatches her phantom allies by confining them to things such as trees, grass, rocks, and flowers. Different objects give different kinds of stat bonuses, making it advantageous to confine certain characters to certain things. A Soldier, for example, often benefits from the type of stat bonuses found on a rock, while a Witch does not. Up to 14 phantoms can be dispatched during a battle, but they only last for a particular number of turns. The number is based on class. A Witch lasts three turns, while a Soldier lasts eight. While a high confine is desirable for continuous use of the character, a low confine is often wanted for stealing purposes, or for 'bomber' units. The phantom known as bottle mail lasts for 3 turns and has a 100% steal rate making him/her an invaluable ally.
150px-Phantom Brave Battle

Phantom Brave Gameplay


A battle sequence.Unlike most tactical role-playing games, whose game board contains a grid used for movement, Phantom Brave has a gridless system, in which each character can move a certain number of dm in each turn. The terrain also has traction and bounciness characteristics, which affect how long characters continue to slide along after they stop moving and how high they bounce when they jump down from a ledge. On slippery surfaces, it's possible to make the characters "ice skate" by moving very short distances (consuming few dm) and letting them slide to their destination.

Also unlike most TRPGs, the board does not have barriers on the edges. Combined with the hold and throw system inherited from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, characters can be thrown or hit off the field and sent O.B. (out-of-bounds). O.B.'d characters are gone for the rest of the map. When an enemy is O.B'd, the levels of the remaining enemies rise, so the player can trade many small problems for one large one. If the enemies HP is zero when thrown out a level up to other enemies is not granted. Example : Ash uses berserker and kills enemy, in the process the enemy is O.B.'d. This situation does not give other enemies a level up. (The last enemy on the map cannot be thrown O.B.)

Another unique feature for character development is the fusion system. All characters and weapons accumulate mana whenever they kill an enemy. This mana can be spent to fuse two characters together, an item to a character, or an item to an item. Fusion increases the level cap of the beneficiary by the level of the consumed item or character. By spending mana, the player can improve equipment percentages (stat bonuses given to characters who equip the item or character) and confine percentages (bonuses to characters confined in the item on the field), and transfer skills to the beneficiary. In Phantom Brave, weapons have a much greater effect on stats than the characters, so mastering the fusion system to create super-powerful weapons is essential to conquering the extra maps. Also unlike most role-playing video games the max level is 9999.

There are Random Dungeons. While on Phantom Isle, a Dungeon Monk can be asked to create a Random Dungeon. Some characteristics of the dungeon can be seen before creation, including the type and general number of enemies present, the floor conditions, and if the use of equipped weapons is restricted or not. Dungeons also have titles, which are applied to every enemy in the dungeon and change (usually improve) as floors are cleared. These titles can later be removed and placed on player characters or weapons. Random Dungeons take the form of a linear series of floors. The failure title is a good example. By giving a dungeon this title new beginners can beat hordes of high level enemies pretty easily. Unlike in Disgaea, where to descend to the next floor one may merely move a character to a certain panel, in Phantom Brave one must defeat all the enemies present to continue. Occasionally, a floor may have a special named layout (for example, "Self-Styled God" floors have a stronger enemy in the center of a terraced layout). These floors occur randomly and confer an extra bonus upon completion. To leave a random dungeon, one must either clear every floor, or use a Dungeon Monk's Return skill (which costs money proportional to the current depth).

While not in battle, Marona can return to her home - Phantom Island - where she can summon new phantoms to aid her. Phantoms actually populate the island as non-player characters. Many classes have a utility on the island - Merchants sell things, Healers heal and resurrect, Dungeon Monks allow the player to go to random battle fields, Fusionists fuse characters and items, Witches order spells and Blacksmiths fuse mana with weapons to either level them up or to awaken hidden skills the weapon can use. Also on Phantom Isle one can obtain the changebook which allows you to switch "main" characters.

As Marona and her group of Phantoms advance through the chapters, her ability to create Phantoms grows. The player starts off by being able to make a small amount of Phantoms, but as time goes on, one will be able to create more powerful Phantoms, such as fenrirs and zombies.

Phantom Brave has a series of extra maps following the main storyline. These maps feature cameos by some members of the Disgaea cast as enemies; after defeating them, they join the player's side as "phantom doubles". While the first couple of extra maps can be completed immediately after the main story, the later extra maps are very difficult and require a large amount of time to be spent leveling characters and fusing weapons for characters before they can be completed.

CharactersEdit

  • Marona Voiced by: Sandy Fox

The main heroine of the game; Marona is a young 14 year old girl whom has the ability to see and communicate with phantoms, a set of abilities collectively known as "Chartreuse". This power enables her to make a living as a Chroma; a kind of adventurer-for-hire, despite being at such a young age. She lost her parents when she was five, but Ash, a friend of her parents and a former Chroma-turned-phantom himself, came back to protect Marona after the demise of her parents and himself.

  • Ash Voiced by: Lex Lang

The main hero of the game and the player's avatar, Ash is the phantom of a young man who protects Marona. When he was alive he worked alongside Marona's parents as a Chroma, and after having died along with with them he found himself stuck between life and death thanks to the efforts of Marona's father. He has since sworn to watch over and protect Marona, feeling that he owes Marona's parents for being the only one to "survive" their unfortunate demise. Although he is usually careful and well intentioned; if overprotective of Marona, he is sometimes known to frighten the unwary when he accidentally speaks aloud while concealed in his phantom form.

  • Bijou

A werewolf who impersonates Raphael of the White Wolf Army early in the game's story. He later returns in the Sand region under the influence of Sulphur, which fuels his impersonation into a belief that he really is Raphael. After he is defeated for the final time he is shown to be a member of the Raven clan, the Fighting Beasts, under Drab. Bijou, along with many other characters that show up in the original game's story, is a playable unit in the Wii and PSP exclusive side story "Another Marona".

  • Walnut

A Chroma Oxide, a person that makes a living by waiting for a Chroma to near the completion of their assigned job but then finishes up the last bit remaining and takes proof of their work in order to steal the reward. Willing to do anything and step on anyone to achieve his goals, Walnut at first appears to be a nothing more than a selfish bad boy who steals for his own gain; but throughout the game it is revealed that he is the older brother of Marona's newfound friend Castille, and that the money he's been "collecting" has been getting put aside to pay for an operation for her. It is revealed that Walnut's power, referred to as "Burgundy", is, in fact, the same power utilized by the legendary Scarlet the Brave when she first defeated Sulfer thirty years ago, and is fueled by burning the wielder's soul. Walnut joins Marona and company a playable character in "Another Marona", a side story that is exclusive to the Wii and PSP versions of the game.

  • Castile

Castile is a young wheelchair-bound girl whom becomes friends with Marona as the game progresses. Early on in the story she is kidnapped by minions of Sulphur but she is rescued by Marona and Ash. She and Marona become best friends. According to an after-game bonus map in Makai Kingdom: Chronicles of the Sacred Tome, Castile eventually recovers from the sickness that keeps her in bed and becomes healthy enough to fight alongside Marona while searching for signs of her brother Walnut's whereabouts.

  • Sienna

Sienna is a beautiful and elegant businesswoman who happens to own Phantom Isle, the home of Marona. She is very generous and polite to a fault, but her calm demeanor seems to hold a few secrets. Even her assistant, Murasaki, seems utterly clueless as to Sienna's true motivations, or what it is about Phantom Isle that makes it so important to her. Besides Phantom Isle, Sienna owns an immense Bottle Mail factory. It is later revealed that she was the legendary hero Scarlet the Brave before she was severely wounded in her battle with Sulfer, and that she gave up being a famed warrior to live a calm life of relative obscurity.

  • Sprout

An incredibly fierce and powerful 85 year old man whose family was slain by Sulphur's hand many years before the game's main storyline. Despite once being the famed wielder of a holy sword he has sworn to kill Sulphur and avenge his family, turning to the use of dark powers in order to achieve his revenge. He is the former mentor of Raphael, and one of the warriors known as the 9 Swords of Ivoire. His signature technique is the power "Dark Eboreus. He joins the player's party in "Another Marona" as one of many characters who were unplayable in the original PlayStation 2 game.

  • Raphael

Leader of the White Wolf Army, a group of Ravens (teams of proffesional demon slayers), Raphael is one of the warriors known as the 9 Swords of Ivoire. He is first seen in the quest to find the rainbow bird, an unusual battle in that it does not result in a "Game Over" if lost. His signature technique is Heliotrope Blade. Raphael, along with a number of other characters, fights by Marona's side in the Wii and PSP exclusive side story, "Another Marona".

  • Count Malt

A dignified old Scrabbit with a mustache that sends Marona on a search for Scarlet the Brave.

  • Sulphur

The story's main antagonist and powerful demon that periodically threatens the world of Ivoire. He doesn't appear until the final battle of the game, but his presense plays a huge role throughout the storyline, the very thought of his return causing chaos and widespread panic across the all of Ivoire. His presense possesses a number of characters throughout the game. After the main game is completed, Sulphur somehow returns to Ivoire in a bonus map on the Island of Evil. Although Marona and Ash are successful in defeating him once more, it was a mystery as to how he could have returned. The answer to the question wasn't revealed until an optional map in the PS2 game, Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, which revealed both how Sulfur came back to Ivoire and Walnut's fate after the final battle.

"Another Marona" Characters These characters were originally introduced in Phantom Brave: We Meet Again for the Nintendo Wii (and it's PSP port, Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle), in the new campaign "Another Marona".

  • Carona

The Marona of an alternate reality, she shares the same phantom-related Chartreuse powers that the original Marona has, in order to avoid confusion amongst the people of the game's world she goes by the name 'Carona' instead. Whereas Marona is both carefree and optimistic, Carona is usually serious and quite the pessimist, although she does show a twisted sense of humor similar to the main casts of the Disgaea games. Her goals and intent are both unknown and she mostly keeps to herself. Carona appears in Ivoire just after the mysterious spreading of a veil of darkness that claimed the lives of all of the peoples of Ivoire, save Marona.

  • God Eringa

A powerful character that appears alongside Carona, this bearded Eringa claims to be god. He entices Marona and company to work in his interest under the proposal that if they can defeat Sulfer within a certain number of days that he will revive all of the people who were felled by the darkness that swallowed Ivoire. During the final battle of Another Marona it is revealed that he is the fabled Merchant of Death and was responcible for the spreading darkness that killed everyone.

Other Characters In addition to those previously mentioned, four characters that originate from the Disgaea series; Laharl, Etna, Flonne, and Vyers, become playable characters upon completing certain post-game content as well.

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