Sunday, November 16, 2014

Game Review: The Legend of Dark Witch

2D Action Shooter; 3DS eShop; Flying High; 2014
OKAY! THIS IS THE LAST INDIE GAME I REVIEW IN A WHILE I PROMISE! I'm coming close to what I believe is near the end of Project X Zone, and I'm also coming to what I HOPE is the end of Xenoblade Chronicles. PXZ isn't that bad, but Xenoblade has taken up nearly 100 hours of my life. Anyway, now it's time to talk about a game that can be best described as Mega Man crossed with Gradius.

Just like the Mega Man Stage Select screen, except with more adorable.
Syega. A crystal like substance that allows humans to use magic. By using Syega, a new age of prosperity has been achieved. However, suddenly all the Syega is disappearing, and this catches the attention of a god, Zizou Olympia the Dark Witch. Zizou descends to the mortal realm to investigate this disappearance, and it doesn't matter how many people she'd have to beat up until she gets her answers.

The story isn't much to write home about, it's solid enough to carry the game through to the end, but despite that there is a lot of care given to it. Each boss not only has a reason to be in the game (even if some are rather flimsy) and they are all given voice actors and complete pre-battle dialogue scenes (though a lack of post-battle dialogue does make it hard to determine if you are actually getting anywhere... or if you are actually KILLING your opponents). And while the localization isn't as bad as it was with Demon King Box, there are a few spelling errors, grammar issues, and the fact that for more lengthy dialogue the font decreases in size to fit it all within a single dialogue box. Overall, it's okay for what it is.

How does a Fire Breathing Snowman work?
Legend of Dark Witch is what happens when you combine Mega Man with Gradius. When you start a new game you are immediately taken to a Mega Man-esque stage select screen where you can chose to fight any of the 6 Robot- I mean, Girl... Masters? In any order you choose. From there you enter their stage, and proceed to run Left-to-Right, shooting every enemy you see. This is where the Gradius part of the game starts to kick in as, unlike Mega Man, a lot of the stage challenge comes less from difficult platforming, but rather dealing with waves and waves of enemies. Each enemy defeated drops butterfly like things called Tres, which you collect automatically. Tres is not only used for currency to power up Zizou between stages, but is also fills your upgrade gauge. Once it's filled to a certain threshold, you can spend that gauge to improve that aspect of Zizou, ala Gradius. But be careful, if you get hit, you will lose a portion of your upgrade gauge, giving this system a "Use it or Lose it" mechanic. And finally, after you beat a boss you, just like in Mega Man, collect that boss's weapon for your own use. And yes, each of the bosses are weak to one of the other bosses weapons.

Oddly enough, most bosses just stand in that spot throughout the entire fight.
Of course this game isn't without it's faults. Just like in Gradius, when you die you lose all of your upgrades and have to start over again with nothing, which makes dying in the middle of a stage really frustrating, especially since the Speed upgrade is freakin' necessary to get anywhere and dodge some attacks. Speaking of dodging, some enemies are almost impossible to avoid getting hit by, at least for the first time, since there are some enemies who cross the entire screen in only a split second, and there are others who have a dying attack that will almost certainly catch you off guard the first time it happens. This wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that there is no Health pick-ups in the ENTIRE game. The Health you start off with is the Health you have to get through everything with before you die. The Bosses weapons are also kind of weird. Not only do you gain no Tres whenever you use one, but you have a limited number of shots with each one before you go back to your normal shot. How many shots do you get? F* if I know. Sometimes I can fire 5 shots of one weapon, but then I can only fire 2 of that same weapon. And since there isn't any kind of gauge I can tell to indicate my "ammo" supply, I have no idea how many I can use. Also, You don't get contact damage from bosses. That's not a negative, it's just weird.

The Legend of Dark Witch is an interesting little game. It takes concepts from two very different yet popular games, and for better or for worse seamlessly mixes the two together while still creating something uniquely it's own. It's not flawless by any means, but it has more going for it than it has detracting from it. Also, it has two playable characters. And it's only $4. That's pretty good price for a Mega Man clone of this quality. The Legend of Dark Witch comes recommended.

Until Next Time.

-Crescent, I can't be the only one who is hearing Mega Man III "Get Weapon" theme playing.

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