Shmup Review: Exceed 3rd Jade Penetrate: Black Package

The Exceed series is one of the biggest and best known series of doujin shooters. Released at C77, Black Package is the latest one from circle tennen-sozai and is a remake of the 3rd game in the series Exceed 3rd Jade Penetrate. Thanks to an English patch available on the net I was able to understand the cut scenes and get a idea of the story. I wont go into much detail, you control a young girl called Reim who is fighting in a tournament to be top dog of the land. With each stage boss been another girl taking part in the tournament. Including your more powerful older sister whom you fight on stage 5.

 You control Reim with 3 or 4 buttons, 1st is the tap hold for normal / focus fire, 2nd button for the bomb, The 3rd button fires your special weapon which is a homing shot that you can fire every time you fill a meter up by grazing bullets. The 4th fire button slows your movement down. As you can choose in the option menu weather to or not automatically slow down when you enter focus fire. Having an extra button for this gives more control over the auto slowdown. As you play through the game you can collect the occasional bomb and also D power ups that adds an option in the form of a dragon that follows your trail, just like the options in Gradius. You can have up to five of these and even if you die you’ll keep them for the rest of the game.

 There are 5 stages, each stage been quite long before you face the end of level boss. Which unlike the rest of the stage the boss fights seem to copy more from Touhou. With cut scenes before you fight and once you do fight the bosses use the spell card system. That is to continuously fire the same bullet pattern until you fully deplete the bosses life bar whereas it’ll start firing a new bullet pattern (spell card). The game also features an extra stage that you can enter if you’ve 1CCed normal or hard difficulty with the autobomb feature turned off, plus defeat the extra stage boss when you first encounter her in the middle of stage 4 and without bombing or getting hit.

 Black Package by design encourages players to stay in the top half of the screen and get as close as possible to the enemy due to the closer to the target you are the more powerful your weapon is. If you are quick enough you can destroy an enemy before it shots, but be warned as although enemies wont harm you by touching them, unlike some bullet hell shooters they will fire even if you’re next to them. Players who don’t want to point-blank and stay at the bottom of the screen, can get overwhelmed by the enemy. Luckily players can make up for the weakness of the main weapon by grazing bullets and firing the special weapon that is fuelled by the grazing action.

 The scoring mechanics compromise of three aspects. Bullet grazing, Bullet Cancelling (that is any bullets an destroyed enemy has onscreen converts into score). And the most major of the three, destroying enemy as quickly as possible. This works as a multiplier. Destroy enemy one after another fast enough and the multiplier raises, die or be too slow destroying enemy and the multiplier decreases. So for gamers want a high score, memorising the game and positioning yourself to destroy each of the enemy as soon as they appear onscreen is a must. Also highscorers had best learn to score well in the final and extra stages as its these levels that a large chunk of points are earned.

 Overall I really enjoyed playing Black Package, I found the difficulty to be slightly easy for a doujin shmup, even with the noob friendly autobomb feature turned on it's not as easy as Blue Wish Resurrection Plus or from what I hear the original Exceed 3rd, but also nowhere as difficult as Radio Zonde or Hellsinker or a Cave shmup. One of the reasons of Black Package been easy is that there is no end of stage score tally or even a tally at the end of the game. So gamers aren’t awarded for hoarding their bombs so are free to just bomb past the difficult sections instead of relying on skill. Still those playing for skill will find a more challenging game due to needing to get so close to the enemy especially if they play in hard mode as it adds suicide bullets (killed enemies shoot out bullets).

 For those of you who play for score its worth noting that ill soon be setting up a leader board over at the shmups11.org forum so please post your scores over there. Please note that the english patch for the game is made for v1003 which has some problems with the replay feature, Versions 1004 and 1005 fix this but I have no idea if the patch will work with these versions. Averall the game is well worth playing and is a very forgiving shmup 4 out of 5.


Gun Girl: Freeware Review

I’ve been on a bit of a platform binge this month. Allot has to do with the fact that recently I was without a desktop PC and was forced to use a Laptop, Which, due to the small screen size I didn’t play any shmups on it, just indie plat formers. Anyway, one of the games I played at that period was Gun Girl. Like the other couple of games ive covered this month Gun Girl has been out for awhile and is quite well known in indie gaming circles. Still those facts doesn’t make it not worth covering in my blog. I played it so I’m gonna write about it! That said, I will be moving onto lesser known games soon.

 For those who don’t know (and couldn’t be arsed watching the gameplay video, GG is a freeware run ’n gunner that has all the hallmarks of a great game. A hot chick as your avatar, zombies, guns, heavy metal, plat forming fun and best of all Bruce Willis, who you encounter repeatedly as you progress through the game. He’s there to flesh out the story and tell you what you need to be doing next. In GG the dead have risen and the world has turned to pot. Its your task as one of the few remaining people alive to escape from where you currently are and hunt down who ever is responsible for this mess.

 Playing Gun Girl I quickly discovered that this game is more of a plat former then a shoot ‘em up, as many of the more common enemies like the zombies are easy to take out and are in the game just as a nice relief from the plat forming (blowing zombies away is always great fun). Later in the game some new enemy types are introduced and the shooting aspect of GG gets more challenging and more akin to a Mega Man game. The platforming also starts off abit too simple for my tastes, but unlike the shooting it doesn’t take too long for the plat forming to get to a more enjoyable level. Similar to I Wanna Be The Guy your character is able to double jump over the loads and loads of spikes that make up most of the traps you must traverse over which now and again I found myself accidentally missing a double jump due to gun girl controlling badly. Well to be fair she controls very tightly in everything else except the double jump which didn’t seem to like it if you jump while moving left or right and continue to press the same direction on the controller. I found she double jumped a lot better if I stop walking and jump.

 As you see straight away in the video there are boss fights which are allot of fun and well done. The later Bosses are very hard to beat with the end of game boss been a real tough cookie to kill. The second to last boss is unlike the others. As you must run from a massive one-eyed demon, who’ll kill you if he touches you, so you must make you way across some tricky plat forming which is ten times harder since you must do this as fast as possible and with a buggy double jump. It is this level that I can imagine many people will of given up on the game. I almost as well, but I found out by myself that its possible to cheat and make short cuts in one or two areas where its possible to jump on to blocks at the top of the screen and miss some of the normal route out. Its worth nothing that you can just run to the end of the level as you must still trap the boss in each of those spike traps to kill it.

 Like I said before the game is a bit on the easy side at first but you will find if you stick with it that the game gets very challenging in the later stages. And that’s just not the boss fights either, although the bosses are by far the most challenging thing in the game. Thank fully like many difficult indie plat formers nowadays. Losing all your lives and starting all over again doesn’t happen due to the fact that even though you can run out of lives and get a game over, you can restart at the beginning of the stage, which is the same as losing a life in the game. The only difference is that you lose any cash (used to buy ammo and med kits) and other collectables that you collected in the level you are playing.


 So if you like your plat formers to be have something extra then just jumping while the jumping still a challenge. Then I highly recommend giving this game a play. Even if you like your games to be abit tamer then I still say its worth giving it a go, as long as you don’t mind possibly giving up when the difficulty gets too hard. Its worth noting that there is a sequel will be out soon, looking at the you tube videos Gun Girl 2 improves on the original in every way. Best of all is that instead of there just been the odd zombie to kill, you must shoot your way through hordes of them. Which is something that is sorely missing from the original. A link to the site for Gun Girl 2 is HERE, a link to download the first game is found there also. 3 out of 5


Love, Love +, Love Custom: Freeware Game Review

 Here is another masocore triology of platformers called Love (classic), Love + and Love Custom. All three are nearly the same as each other just with changed levels. Because of that I’ll be mostly writing about classic Love. Programmed by Fred “Trunks” Wood who is one half of the creative talent behind the web comic The Wild Adventures of Trunks and Soto. He is currently at collage studying game design. Given that Love is his first project, it will be interesting to see what games he’ll make in the future.

 The aim of Love is simple, get to the exit of each of the 20 levels without fully depleting your stock of 100 lives. A hundred lives may seem like a hell of allot, but they don’t last long with all of the tricky jumps you need to perform to reach the levels exit. Since you will be dieing so much the programmer has been kind enough to give you a button that lets you create a respawn point anywhere you like as long as you’re not in mid air. This feature can be a double edged sword if you create a spawn point in a trap or next to one making you lose many lives in quick succession due to there been no invulnerability after dieing. I can see this frustrating players but I think it add a element of risk and strategy that I very much like. Also how some of the stages are designed you might find yourself setting a spawn point in a dead-end trap with no way of getting out. Luckily you can both kill yourself and reset your spawn point to the start of the level with a press of a button.

Here is one of the 5 hidden screens found by pressing a
direction on the d-pad while changing between levels

 You will of noticed that the graphics are very simple, with only a colour palette of 2 or 3 colours in a level and a stick man as your avatar. The simple graphics go hand in hand with the simple gameplay of there been no enemies to fight or dodge, it's just pure and simple jumping. Games like this that are simple with no frills are in my opinion like electronic marmite. Either you’ll dismiss the simplicity as primitive and boring. Or if yor're like me, you will take the opposite viewpoint, appreciate the game for what it is: That is a game that while simple still retains at it's core enjoyable playability and good game design making a very fun and addictive little plat former. Titles like this, Jill Off, and the shmups Nomltest and Arcanacra all have it. To further improve on the simple style of Love, Fred Wood the programmer has enlisted the help of music artist James Bennett to provide the tunes and very good tunes they are. They’re a mix of blip, synth and funk, each song fitting very well to the theme of the level that it plays in. This shows Fred Woods talent as a indie game maker. As its ok to have simple looking graphics in a video game as long as there is a style to it, but good sounds and music are must and given that they stick to the flavour of the game as a whole can make for a enjoyable experience, more so then a game with good graphics and bad sounds.

The simple graphics you will either love or hate, kinda like marmite spread

 Love Classic is a great game but what about Love + and Love Custom? Well Love + is a still beta with only 10 levels made up mostly of refined stages from the classic version. Other changes include your character having slightly altered jumping especially on spring boards which don’t jump as high and are smaller in size. All the changes make for a harder game then the original which is in most aspects is a good thing. Although I do hope Fred Wood still uses some of those more powerful spring boards found in the classic game as it was allot of fun bouncing high into to air even if it was easy to bounce from spring to spring most of the time. The third and final game Love Custom is a different kettle of fish as it’s a simple tool that allows you to create and play you're own maps. It works by taking 3 picture files, one for solid platforms, one for springy surfaces and the other as traps where touching it means death. I haven’t made a stage myself and can’t as of yet find anybody else’s work on the net and the only example is the single stage included in the game, but it does look relatively easy to use all you to ensure are that all 3 pictures fit together properly. I really hope many people catch the map making bug and provide allot more content to jump through. The lack of stages between all three games is the only thing Love is lacking at the moment.

Like Mighty Jill Off, Love is freeware and a fun little game you can spend hours enjoying. Just remember to press Alt-Enter to get full screen in the classic version since the game in its original resolution is very small. 4.1 out of 5  Download the Love games at this site.

Mighty Jill Off - Freeware Game Review

 Hi chaps sorry for my absence for over a month which was caused by my PC biting the dust. Well I’ve bought a new PC and am back. First I would love to cover some indie platformers, this review been Mighty Jiff Off a tower climbing game by Auntie Pixelante aka Dessgeega. If you look at the video and screenshots you might remember the character looking very much like Bomb Jack which is a fun 80s arcade game (that had some great 8bit computer ports) and also Mighty Bomb Jack which took Bomb Jack and put him into a NES platformer. Instead of Bomb Jack, Auntie Pixelante has changed Jack into Jill, a rubber suit wearing dyke who enjoys S&M and licking her queen's boots! Hehe that’s quite a transformation, that with the games introduction makes the game very much tongue in cheek. (or boot)

 The object of the game is quite simple, climb to the top of the tower as quick as you can where your queen is waiting for you with open arms and err rope and whip. The controls are just like Bomb Jack where you can jump very high and if you tap the jump button Jill will use her cape to glide slowly down. Using glide you can dodge all the traps that fill the tower. Those been fire and spikes plus the games only enemies, that are spider like monsters that you encounter first as statues that if you get too close will turn into spider monsters that slowly home in on you. I like the graphics especially the limited colour palette that makes the game look just like an old NES game. The retro feel is further pushed across by the game's music that is a simple blip tune that fits well with the game's style.

 The game is known as a masocore (look up this definition) but I would say that Jill Off is a masocore lite due to the game been relatively easy. Things change if you reach the top of the tower in under 12 minutes (or donate a dollar to Dessgeega to get a code) you'll get to play Jill Off Harder which is a second tower that is much harder then the first one. He you will need to make pixel perfect jumps and will very much frustrate the player. The game is even more frustrating but in a bad non-masocore way due to there been a bug in the second tower. If you die in one area of the tower it will respawn you half way in the floor with no option but to quit the game and start from the beginning. And by that I mean the first tower as you need to climb the first tower under 12 minutes just to play Jill Off Harder every time you start that game. Also like most of the games I’ve reviewed there is no joypad support so JoyToKey or Xpadder will be needed. (If your a Windows 7 user like me, to use the free version of Xpadder you'll need to run it in compatibility mode otherwise the program wont run.)

The game has been out for quite some time now and if you haven’t yet played it you owe it to yourself to give it a go and see how quickly you can climb the towers. I can make the first tower in under ten and half minutes, and Auntie Pixelante can make both towers in about 8 or 9 minutes. So what’s 10 to 20 minutes of your time? Nothing that’s what. So there’s no excuse not to play. 3.9 out of 5.

 PS There is a mini game you can download from the same page as Mighty Jill Off. Its a simple game that only uses the jump button (along with the glide feature). Here you must try to stay alive as long as possible to entertain the queen.


Gaming Journal: Why Gradius 1 is so damn good

If your a old hand at Gradius then this article isn't for you, what I’m writing this for is for people who like me until very recently knew what Gradius is and had even played it once or twice, but other then that dismissed Gradius as old hat, a shmup that for someone who mostly plays modern manic verts, Gradius is a old style horizontal that contains all the things I hated about old shooters, that is no auto fire, speed ups, check points and last but not least cheap deaths, either by the enemies or the scenery. Cheap deaths are the one thing most hated by people who play modern shooters. For those who don’t know what “cheap deaths” are, What I’m talking about is how the games designed, when you a playing a shmup good game design would be no matter how hard the game gets, everything should be doable even if its your first time playing that part. If you're playing a shmup, are playing well and haven’t died yet, then all of a sudden the walls come crashing down or that enemy you let passed shoots a bullet at you after it’s off the screen. These sorts of things a called my many shmuppers as “cheap deaths” traps that you cannot avoid with having experienced it beforehand. Cheap deaths are what makes a shmup usually an old style horizontal, a memorizer as much of the difficulty lies in knowing exatly what lies ahead as the taxing your bullet dodging skills. As I mentioned before there is a large part of the shmupping comunity that plays only modern verts and genrally stays well away from the old school horizontal memorizer.

 Anyway I’m here to tell you guys that cheap deaths and all the other hated design features are not only ok in a game like Gradius, but nowadays I actually welcome them, only in hori shmups mind you, in verts especially manic I still think cheap deaths etc (apart from maybe check points) are a bad idea. You see in the past I’ve been playing Gradius and its hori cousins wrong, it’s no use playing a memorizer casually now and again  like I would any other vert danmaku. No the best way to play them is for completion be it 1CC, 1LC or whatever the important thing is to spend enough time that all the cheap deaths etc don’t matter anymore. You see unless you’re shmupping skills are god like, if you were to try to 1CC any moderately difficult shmup vert or hori, it would take you at least a week or two by that time you will have memorized the stages, bullet patterns and best ways to score, so weather the game has cheap deaths or not it really doesn’t matter anymore.

Stage 1 of the NES version

With this new understanding I found Gradius (in my case the NES version) a lot more approachable. You will probably know this since it’s well documented, that like Xevious for verts, Gradius was for the hori, introducing many aspects that make up memorizer type horizontals. Before Gradius all horizontal shmups played like Defender or Scramble (which was Konami’s previous shooter to Gradius). This makes Gradius a good place to start for anyone wanting to bust his hori 1CC cherry, since although Gradius NES is hard and the arcade original version is even harder, it’s not as hard as some of the later and more sophisticated hori memorizers that are classics. Anyway after a few credits of the game I got sick of always dieing at the stage 1 mid boss the volcano, I thought it best to read a strategy guide of the game. It’s a rule of mine to find out what make a particular shmup tick that I’m attempting to complete, it makes the game so much easier, although I think it’s good to read up on a shooter, I’ll stop at watching videos unless I'm totally stuck. A video can spoil shmups for me as its fun to try to work out routes myself, it’s like looking at the answer page of a crossword.

The boss at the end of most stages, you must "shoot the core"

It was interesting to find out that the NES version had hidden extras the other versions did not that is the hidden score and 1ups and the warps. The warps are that if you fulfilled certain requirements like destroying 10 moahs in stage 3 you would enter a warp where you had to dodge lots of flying moah heads and totally miss the next stage. This warp trick would have been very useful for anyone playing on the original console as a way to make practicing the later stages easier but for me on a emulator I saw it just cheapening the game so I rarely used them.

After playing for a couple of days I found easily get passed the first couple of stages, all I needed to do was to make sure I collected enough power ups so that I was fully kitted out with options and a shield. Even though the rank (difficulty) goes up the more weapons you have, been fully powered up makes the game so much easier but also makes the game allot harder if you die, this is funnily enough called the Gradius Syndrome, this makes the game practically a 1LC with some parts of the game nigh on impossible to get past fully powered down, stage 6 been the worse. This isn’t just a Gradius thing though, but Gradius brought to the genre of horizontal shmups R-type is another classic that excels at it. So while its ok to have a lapse or two of concentration while playing a danmaku, playing a hori you do need to be on the ball all the time, and considering many horizontals have more levels then the average modern vert, playing a hori is a test of endurance as well as a test of skill.

 Stages 2 and 3 including the famous moah heads

Trying to clear stage 3 was the first big hurdle I came across because of those infamous moah heads that fill the screen with projectiles, its quite a challenge and one that took a while to get past and I was playing the NES version, the arcade original is much harder as the top and bottom of the screen loops around and there is a extra row of moahs at the top of the screen. This is chopped off in the NES version and makes the top row the safest route most of the time. I found that it’s easier to swap from the laser weapon I had used in stage two over to the double shot in stage 3. Although clearing the bosses is easier with the laser, using the double with the missile (the ground hitting bombs) allowed me to hit the moahs above as well as below, although It does make activating the warp cheat easier since 10 destroyed moah heads activates it, something I would rather not but found myself doing a few times since it makes getting passed the moahs easier. Passed the moahs the stage 3 mid bosses are imo the hardest in the game if you like me most of the time not using auto fire. These ships called mothers would move across the screen one at a time releasing indestructible projectile babies of itself that are tough to dodge. If you are fully powered up the rank really makes a difference here increasing the number of mothers you had to get passed, the shield is certainly your friend here.

Stage four is not too difficult if powered up, it’s a repeat of stage one but upside down with the volcanoes at the top of the screen. Just make sure you have the double or option power ups so you can destroy any stray rocks at the inverted volcano. Stage five and things are easy as well, There’s a lengthy pre-stage, by pre-stage I mean the beginning of the stage where you can shoot those lines of enemies that give up power up icons, this makes the pre-stage area the part you try to collect enough power ups to get yourself kitted out to tackle the rest of the stage. Apart from the popcorn baddies at the pre-stage, stage five enemies are all meteors with tentacles that fire shots at you. If you have the laser its easy enough to destroy the arms or the whole thing, or if you let 2 or more of them onscreen at one time the slowdown kicks in making dodging the bullets easy work, just watch out for when it suddenly speeds back up. Onto the penultimate stage six that can be quite easy or granite hard depending on how powered up you are. The pre-stage is very short making weather you died in the previous level a key factor. What makes this stage so tough are three things; first is that the level is filled with a web / net like substance that similar to the stage to balls that you must shoot to get past. Unless you have all your options you wont be able to dodge very well making the other things trying to kill you so much harder. The second hurdle is these amoebas like baddies that fly towards you and are hard to kill without the laser or auto fire, and third are the turrets at the top and bottom of the screen that fire many shots at you that are hard to dodge with the netting filling the stage. When you get to the boss you had better of collected enough of the many power ups to have at least the shield even better lasers and options arranged above and below you because the boss shoots random bullets at you similar to a volcano. The odd bullet will hit you making this a race to destroy the boss before your shield gives up.

The tunnels of the last stages (arcade version)

The last stage is another level that suffers from the Gradius Syndrome as you are flying in a narrow tunnel inside the baddies base. Here many Duckers those walking turrets move quickly from the left side of the screen to take you out if you play like you would a traditional shooter staying to the back to shoot what’s coming in front of you. Here and in many other parts of the game it’s better to stay at the centre of the screen, watching for sneak attacks from behind as well as been able to pick of the turrets as soon as they appear to the right making sure they don’t get a chance to fire.

This gives your shield a bit of breathing space as the trick here (and elsewhere) is always have an idea how much power your shields have. If they get low then if you have another shield ready to replace it, then its best to fly into bullets so you can quickly fire up a replacement shield and collect enough power ups to buy another asap. That method makes the game allot easier then just letting a shield nearly run out and get hit by a quick succession of enemy bullets before you get chance to press the B button to start the replacement shield. When I got passed the long winding tunnel I enter a large area full of turrets and bullets to dodge, it is here where I came across these gates that quickly closed on me thereby making me crash into them the first time I encountered it. It was a baby puncher as well since it was my last life and took me a length of time before I had managed to get that far as to nip passed the gates before they closed on me.

The are different ports of Gradius, here is the arcade (left) and PCE (right) versions

After the gates you come across the last boss, a brain that doesn’t fire it just sits there and explodes after a few seconds. Gradius’ last bosses are famous for been a push-over, the total opposite to R-type’s last bosses. Although the jury is still out on weather I would call it a boss as it’s more of a cutscene then a boss due to me not having to shoot just wait until it blows. After that you are show a picture of vic viper flying away from the enemy base in its destruction (another staple of the series) and a message spelling congratulations then you restart (without power ups) from the stage one of the game only this time the game is harder then before. This feature is a throwback to earlier shooters like Space Invaders and Galaga that looped on forever and were played for score. With Gradius the game gets harder and harder for the first ten loops and after that stays the same until the game ends after the 256th loop. This allows those who want to take Gradius further then a 1CC or 1LC and play for score or just to see how far you can get. Having loops also changes the game into one hell of an endurance test albeit with a pause button. Atm I’ve only played Gradius for a simple completion but at a later date I plan on playing again only for score as the Shmups forum has leader boards up for Gradius and some of it’s sequels.

I do hope that my rather lengthy journal has made you guys who only play verts to possibly go and give horizontals a try, even better if its Gradius since there’s so many sequels to the game, plus all the different versions of just Gradius alone. Check out this FAQ site and read up about the different versions. Also check out Hardcore Gaming 101 they have a good article about the Gradius series, also check out the Parodius series there, it’s a cute wacky spin off of Gradius and is a lot of fun in itself.


Crescent Pale Mist Review

Having seen a couple of video of the ACT game Crescent Pale Mist I was so impressed with the 3D graphics and seemingly great beat em up gameplay that I played the game as soon as I could. After getting hold of the game and patching it up with the English patch from RomHacking.net I got straight into it. The first parts of the game especially the boss battles I really enjoyed but I soon noticed nagging faults that would later on wreak the game for me. I'll get into why later on.

In CPM you are a witch who has come to the demon realm to stop the source of the poisonous pale mist that is seeping into the human lands. Of course things aren’t gonna be easy with the witches who live there all trying to stop you.


As I said before the basics of CPM is that it’s a beat’em up but instead of been able to walk in all four directions like in Streets of Rage your movements are like been on a train track, where normally you may move left or right but at certain places you can jump forwards or backwards to another track. Having this game mechanic can make a level seem like a maze at times especially as the levels are quite bland with not that many landmarks to beg your bearings from. Although I will add that at times there are some really enjoyable platforming especially when im hunting for the many secrets that the game has hidden.

The controls while taking a bit of time to get used to are ok for the most part but my biggest gripe is that your character takes too long to change directions after an attack which resulted in me accidentally attacking in the wrong direction many a time. You have a few differing attacks, your normal sword attacks, a weak throwing dagger that you can also use to teleport past magical barriers that block your path. And then you have your special attacks. Of these you have to basic attacks, one that spits magical daggers at enemies and another more powerful attack that shoots magical swords. Each of those two attacks have 2 strengths 1 weak that takes energy from a self replenishing bar and a much stronger attack type that uses up your reserves of pale mist. Pale mist can only be replenished by attacking enemies and collecting the white pale mist orbs before they disappear.

At the end of the stage you will fight bosses in a special area that allows you to fly which changes the game from a beat’em up and into something more like a shmup akin to Orange Juice’s Sugari. It’s these parts of CPM which are the most fun for me and can be challenging if you don’t have a good grasp all the controls and what you can do with them.

Negative Aspects

As I said at the beginning of the review CPM has its faults, big enough to be game breaking for me personally. Firstly is that your normal sword attacks is way underpowered making killing off even the weaker enemies and grind if you need to use your sword to create pale mists either to heal your health or to use later in special attacks. The stronger enemies are best taken out using specials but even using pale mist attacks some of the baddies are way too overpowered needing you to run away several times to grind weak enemies for health, those damn onion monsters of stage 3 come to mind while mentioning this.

The other major gripe I have is that along with the enemies (at least in normal mode) taking too long to kill the stages themselves are way too long with no save points so if you die you have to start from the beginning. It was this that broke the game for me that along with another gripe of the game freezing and crashing on me every now and again. After numerous attempts to get past stage 3, and it taking 30 to 60 minutes to get to the end of stage boss. I have thrown the towel in on trying to finish the damn thing before I write about it. That’s not to say it will crash for everyone who plays it but its worth keeping in mind.


Crescent Pale Mist by the doujin circle Classic Shikoukairo and if you can forgive the long levels and don’t get plagued by crashes has the charms of a fun action game, especially the boss battles and the sections of platform jumping. For me personally I will revisit CPM at a later date and hopefully if I can get things to run more stable I should be able to enjoy myself without pulling my hair out. 2.2/5 (add another 1.0 if it didn't crash so much)