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.
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)