Side-scrolling, platformer games keep a general formula to work: attack, jump, and dodge. Pick any of the genre and you will find those elements throughout the game. But applying such formula only is not enough to serve the purpose; to add challenge but still accessible to broader audience is. I believe Circle Entertainment have such vision, and thus, published their recent side-scrolling entitled The Legend of Dark Witch.
The Legend of Dark Witch tells us about a region found rich with Syega, a magic crystal full of potential, thus helping people level their civilization up. But one day, all Syega were lost, and the society shut down. Could not let this condition slide, a god, dark witch named Zizou Olympia descended to Earth to find out who was behind this incident.
Without an opening stage you usually find in Megaman series, the game will bring you directly to six different stages with each respective girls bosses. Though the anime-styled characters are cute, what actually impresses me is the sprite. Yes, the sprite is really well-made, with smooth movement – including you, the bosses, and other enemies as well.
When you enter a stage, you can see all but the environment. The terrain is transparent and the background is dark, leaving you on a prep walk before actually entering the stage. Once you make it, the soundtrack changes into the theme of each respective stage – so neat for me. One stage does not need too much time to knock on the boss’ door, so relax. The stage is well-balanced, you only need to learn from mistakes and watch your surrounding, since you cannot replenish your health. Everything else is fine.
Upon defeating enemies, you will receive flying butterflies toward you, named Tres. Tres is a nice system used throughout the game: first it acts as a score, second it can be converted into power. There are enhancements that can be temporarily or permanently upgraded. The temporary one is called Enforcement Slot, and is useful during the stage. Upon receiving Tres, the bar will be filled and you may choose to upgrade slots you prefer. Contact with bullet or enemies (not bosses) will deplete Tres, so be careful. The permanent upgrade is called Growpart, and you can upgrade some vital elements regarding your health, life, Tres, or weapon. You can only do this on the stage select, so remember to upgrade what you need.
The boss is the real challenge. After some idle chat – in Japanese dub – resulted in disagreement, you will fight the girl boss. Here comes the bullet-hell dodging session. Learning the pattern is a must, and what eases your pain is that contact with the boss does not count. Just focus on dodging the bullet-hell, and after several tries, you will (probably) triumph. You will get certain weapon from a boss, and it is effective to defeat other boss – a classic move indeed.
Once you beat the game, you will receive some Syega that can be spent for some miscellaneous or aiding items which help you replaying the game in higher difficulty. There are a lot of achievements, and each achievement unlocked will reward you with something nice. Another thing surprising is that once you finish the game, you will get a new character with totally different attack and movement, so it would be a fresh experience to replay.
The Legend of Dark Witch seems good, but it’s not without flaws. Regarding difficulty, it is hard to keep yourself in full health for boss battle, since no HP replenishing item available. People new to this genre might be frustrated to clear the game in Normal difficulty. Second, I found poor texts, regarding the scenario and other stuff. The last boss dialogue is not neat since in some sentences, they chose to make the font size smaller to fit the dialogue box. You can even find misplaced text in the game manual, or some typos elsewhere.
But everything else is fine. A mix of fun – represented by the character designs, anime style, and the soundtrack – and challenge – yes, the bullet-hell – will keep you playing The Legend of Dark Witch, especially with new character to replay. A $3.99 will not hurt platformer, or even anime fans to purchase in the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Defeat enemies, and take no prisoners!!
- You must check the in-game manual (not in Home screen menu). All information is gathered there, and it is really helpful. I checked it late, and now I know how to block enemy shot.
- Using weapon from bosses depletes the Enforcement Slot bar. While such weapon is effective to certain boss, I chose to use standard weapon since once you memorize the bullet-hell pattern, it is only a battle of endurance. Also, you can use the filled bar to install slots.
- I don’t know whether it is a bug or not, but a weapon called Dia Missile serves other purpose than attacking. When there is no enemy, you may keep pushing Y to shot, and voila! Your Enforcement Slot bar is getting filled. Keep in mind that you can fill the bar and install slots infinitely using this method as long as you leave the bar filled a bit.