''VideoGame/MightAndMagic: Dark Messiah'', also known as ''Dark Messiah of Might and Magic'', is a first person hack and slash with major RPGElements by Arkane Studios. It is in a few ways a bit of SpiritualSuccessor to Arkane's previous work ''VideoGame/ArxFatalis'' (Itself one of ''VideoGame/UltimaUnderworld'', though Dark Messiah has little relation to either of the UU games.). It takes place in the same world as the ''Heroes of Might and Magic V'' reboot.

The game stars Sareth, a young student of a mage called "Phenrig" trained in both [[MagicKnight magic and martial arts]]. After a short training mission where a magic crystal is acquired, Phenrig sends Sareth "half a world away" to locate an artifact known as the "Skull of Shadows" ([[ArtifactOfDoom Sounds pleasant]]), the crystal being a key to the Skull, with the help of fellow wizard Menelag and his apprentice/niece Leanna. Before Sareth leaves, a woman called "Xana" is fused to his spirit by Phenrig to advise him and provided running commentary.

The game is built on Creator/ValveSoftware's Source engine and it makes full use of the engine's physics component. Objects in the world of appropriate size, can be picked up and thrown at foes to disrupt them, while strong blows, or the game's dedicated "kick" attack", can knock enemies around (this is particularly pronounced with Goblins and Undead due to their lack of bulk), pushing them into traps, bottomless pits or each other. Magic is similarly more than a rocket launcher. Spells allow you to freeze the ground, throw ''big'' things around with telekinesis, light your enemies on fire and be a general badass.

Arkane Studios was announced to be working on another "[[http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/58649 immersive first person RPG]]" in 2009 before their acquisition by [[Creator/{{Bethesda}} Bethesda Softworks]], which has since been revealed to be ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored}}''.

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!!Provides Examples Of:

* AllWebbedUp: Spider lairs in Dark Messiah have loads of webbed corpses.
* AntiVillain: The Orcs aren't evil, just territorial, and have every good reason to keep you from taking the [[ArtifactOfDoom Skull Of Shadows]].
** [[spoiler:Arantir is honestly trying to stop the prophesy from being fulfilled. Which, if you opt to do and release your demonic father, ends up making him the lesser evil.]]
* AntiAntiChrist[=/=]TheAntichrist: [[spoiler:Sareth, depending on your choice.]]
* ArrowsOnFire: If you hold down the attack button to keep your bow drawn, you can set the arrow alight using fires in-game, such as torches. This allows you to deal fire damage and/or set barrels of oil on fire.
* ArtificialStupidity: The AI doesn't recognize that walking through a burning puddle of oil is a bad idea.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The inferno spell does tremendous damage to a foe standing right in front of you, and blinds you while it is being cast so that you can't see if the foe has stepped back out of the fire. With practice this needn't be a problem however.
* BackStab: You can pull off stealth kills once you raise your Sneak skill high enough. UselessUsefulSpell is averted here, this technique works on the FinalBoss.
* BadDreams: Two of them, one where you dance with Leanna and then stab her while Arantir watches, and one when you remember your first meeting with Xana [[NightmareSequence in a different way]]. Depending on your choice, the dancing dream can also be DreamingOfThingsToCome.
* BettyAndVeronica: The game presents you with two strongly contrasted female companions in the form of the blonde, goody-two-shoes mage Leanna and the exotic, sultry, and ObviouslyEvil Xana.
* {{Cap}}: You can only hold 20 of an item at once. This really only becomes an issue with food rations (which all food becomes when picked up) and mana potions for non-pure mages.
* BigNo: Performed by Leanna, if you choose to [[spoiler:release your dad]].
* BladeLock: Known as "Contests of Might" in-game, but it's there.
* CharacterClass: Averted, the game uses a point buy system for abilities. Played straight in the multiplayer though.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Xana, [[spoiler:as every other succubus in the series]], frequently suggests that Sareth betray his allies, even when they are technically on her side. [[spoiler:She will even betray the ''Demon Sovereign'' if Sareth chooses to leave his father sealed.]]
* CombatPragmatist: Sareth frequently uses his environment to his advantage (there's a reason why some dub it The Adventures of Sir Kicksalot Deathboot in the Land of Conveniently Placed Spike Racks).
* DarkMessiah: Averted. The "Dark Messiah" is not a MessianicArchetype with morally questionable goals, but a demon/human hybrid that will free the demons from their prison; he is not a dark saviour, he is the saviour of the dark. [[MultipleEndings Potentially, anyway.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Sareth eventually starts responding to Xana's "advice" this way.
** Xana also has her moments, mostly where Leanna is concerned.
* DracoLich: [[spoiler:The final boss is a Spectral Dragon that Arantir summons to deal with you.]]
* DemonicPossession: [[spoiler:A benevolent version is used by Xana when you are ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice.]]
* DualWielding: All daggers come in pairs.
* DuelBoss: One Orc challenges you to one on the stipulation that you don't use magic. If you don't follow the rules, you will have to face his 4 henchmen along with him, but given the single Orc is already insanely powerful (one of the few foes that can survive a finisher on normal) with no traps around, it's in your best interest to do so unless you are a pure-mage and can't win the fight normally.
* EscortMission: Leanna is subject to a few, but thankfully she 1: has her health on screen, 2: can be told to stay put, 3: heals herself (and you!), 4: Isn't an awful fighter in most of them, and the one she is outclassed in you've killed most of the enemies before starting the escort.
* EmergencyTransformation: See DemonicPossession
* EvilFeelsGood: So Xana promises. Sareth seems to agree if you use his SuperpoweredEvilSide much.
* FakeKillScare: [[spoiler:Leanna appears to be killed by Arantir. However, you get the chance to rescue her from his lair later in the game.]]
* FighterMageThief: However due to the classless point system, hybrids are fairly easy and practical.
* {{Flynning}}: Sareth's wild flailings bear almost no resemblance whatsosever to actual bladeplay if Flurry of Blows is the player's primary way of attacking.
* GameplayAllyImmortality: Averted. Allied soldiers and mages rarely fight alongside you, and when they do they only have about as much health as the basic enemy Mooks. When Leanna follows you around as a partner, she only has slightly more health than a basic Mook and dies all too easily if she gets mobbed by two or three enemies at once.
* GodivaHair: Xana, [[spoiler:in demon form]].
* GoodParents: [[spoiler:Sareth's demon-lord father is actually pretty good to his son, assuming that you don't decide to rebind him into his prison. A bit like [[StarWars Darth Vader and Luke]], without the dueling.]]
* GoombaStomp: Though it doesn't come up much, the player can damage enemies just by landing on them.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: [[spoiler:Sareth is thrown into a spike by Arantir in the middle of the game.]]
* HardWorkHardlyWorks: Lampshaded by the FinalBoss, who wonders who will win the duel: a twenty-year-old MagicKnight or someone who trained for centuries.
* HeroAntagonist: [[spoiler:If you opt to be evil, then Arantir ends up as this as he's trying to prevent the calamity that you're intending to bring about.]]
* HornyDevils: Xana.
* ICanRuleAlone: [[spoiler:By sticking with Xana the entire game, Sareth has the option of leaving his father trapped in Sheogh so he can rule Ashan with the Skull's power.]]
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: "I do this for the sake of Ashan." -- said by [[spoiler:Arantir while he is killing Sareth]].
* InfinityPlusOneSword: Light Elemental weapons are the most powerful in the game (and also have the added benefit of doing extra damage to undead, the most common enemy type encountered), but since your character is [[spoiler:a half-demon hybrid who's also carrying around a demoness in his head]], you can't actually use them until the last chapter where you can [[spoiler:purify yourself at the temple of the world's CrystalDragonJesus, who also is good enough to provide you with a Light Elemental weapon, in case you didn't manage to find any before]].
* [[PunchedAcrossTheRoom Kicked Across The Room]]: A key gameplay mechanic. Your ability to kick enemies off of ledges into spikey objects or off of cliffs can make for a much simpler and easier way to fight your enemies than using weapons or magic. If you're paying close attention, you may notice that your kicks are context-sensitive; kick a person when there's nothing to knock him into/off of, and he'll just stumble back a bit. Kick a person when they're in close proximity to a deathtrap, and they'll fly back up to ten feet into whatever trap that happens to be behind them.
* KillItWithFire: Enemies die quickly once they've been set on fire. There are multiple convenient fires to kick enemies into and even more oil jars which will create a small puddle that can be ignited with any attack that generates flame, including the multiple flaming weapons.
* MagicKnight: Actively encouraged and an explicit ability of Sareth in the manual. Melee skill is so bloody cheap to purchase and the skill (fast mana regeneration) that makes pure-mage really viable are ''really'' late game (25 points total to obtain)
** The same is true of pure fighters. It is very easy to run out of healing until you have the late-game hitpoint regeneration power, but the heal spell is very cheap and mana does regenerate.
* MagicSkirt: Leanna has one of the shadowy variety. Blatantly obvious in the opening to chapter 5 where she sits in-front of you and you see right down it.
* MauveShirt: [[spoiler:Duncan, the surviving guard from the orc attack on the temple]] reappears a few times and [[spoiler:his cousin]] is an important character in the final level. [[spoiler:Duncan is pretty much doomed to die after telling you about said cousin, as he has low health and there are a few enemies he will rush. You ''can'' save him with major effort, but his AI was not programed for the possibility, and runs around in circles afterwards.]]
* MissionControl: Xana, with the odd variation in that she's '''inside you'''.
** MissionControlIsOffItsMeds: The further you get, the more blatantly evil Xana gets.
* MultipleEndings: With little variation in-between each. [[spoiler:There are four ending cinematics depending on whether you cleanse Sareth of his demonic heritage, and whether you imprison or release Sareth's father. Leanna can be killed at several points (whether by your hand, by accident, or left for dead in the lair of a GiantSpider), but she will eventually attack you if you try to play both sides.]]
* MultiMeleeMaster: Sareth can fight with swords, staves, or daggers. And of course, his mighty boot.
** Swords are most plentiful and the most powerful weapon of the game is one. They can be paired with a shield.
** Staves do less damage, but provide better defense when blocking and provide a higher chance of knocking an opponent down and are therefore often useful when mobbed by enemies.
** Daggers always come in pairs. They do the least damage, but are the only weapons that can be used for stealth kills and a fleeing or stunned enemy can be taken down with a one-hit ranged kill by throwing the dagger.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: Phenrig describes fairly mundane things with absolutely delicious quantities of [[LargeHam ham]].
* NeckLift: Orcs can do this to you if you aren't careful, lifting up Sareth and then hurling him backwards a good distance away. If you're unlucky enough to have a particularly high dropoff behind you when this happens, well...
* NoGearLevel: Sareth's horse is startled away at the start of chapter 1, taking everything he found in the prologue with it. Given you get far more than what you found in the prologue (which is a short sword, 2 health potions and maybe a bow) before you have any use for it and Sareth kept the plot coupon on his person, this just makes the intro a bit more cinematic. A strange example occurs in chapter 7, where you can't even use your spells (which are treated as inventory items by the game, complete with taking up space) until you get your stuff back, nor can you pick up any items (they are stored in your taken backpack, and you still can't even hold one in your hands). Thankfully both enemies you meet before getting your stuff back are conveniently in front of a fire and bottomless pit and you can still kick, [[spoiler:plus you just got access to a "demon form" ability that doesn't need weapons]].
* ObviouslyEvil: Xana.
** The Demon Sovereign isn't a slouch in the "look evil" department: GlowingEyesOfDoom, plus [[TinTyrant red spiked armor]].
* TheReveal[=/=]TheUntwist: After you acquire the skull you've been seeking for the whole game, [[spoiler:your EvilOverlord demonic father reveals himself to you and explains how you were his UnwittingPawn.]] That said, if you'd been paying attention to the cutscenes and Xana's dialogue or even just read the manual, you probably saw this coming.
* ScrewedByTheNetwork: Arkane had mod tools ready to release when Ubisoft said "no" for no reason, dooming the game to obscurity.
* ShieldedCoreBoss: The FinalBoss. It's [[spoiler:Arantir]], who summons a [[spoiler:skeletal dragon]] to fight you and remains invulnerable as long as it lives. After defeating it, he's open for a few seconds after which he summons it again.
* ShoutOut: The Master Thief's armor you can acquire towards the end of the game is embossed with a "G", a reference to Garrett from the ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' series (which the game's stealth gameplay strongly resembles), and must be reached with use of rope arrows, one of the signature tricks of the ''Thief'' games.
** The [[KatanasAreJustBetter Superior Naga Silksword]] bears a striking resemblance to Connor's sword from [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Franchise/Highlander Highlander]].
* SpiritualSuccessor: As mentioned above Dark Messiah is one to ''Arx Fatalis'' (indeed, a few file names, primarily basic weapons, use "arx"). Additionally, Dark Messiah borrows the "marked secrets" system of early First Person Shooters, complete with the ability to find more powerful than standard weapons/armor early, while missed equipment is sitting out in the open a few levels down the line.
** As a combat focused shooter engine driven melee combat game with no shortage of VideoGameCrueltyPotential, the game feels an awful lot like the last two games of the VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga.
* {{Stripperific}}: While Leanna's outfit isn't the ''worst'' example out there, it is still effectively the "wizard robe" armor minus the pants, 3/4s of the mantle and the sleeves.
** Xana doesn't wear much either. [[spoiler:And her true form doesn't wear anything at all.]]
* SquishyWizard: Let's just say that if you choose to play an all-mage build then make sure you can quickly reach the heal spell.
* SuperpoweredEvilSide: After TheReveal, [[spoiler:Sareth can take on a demonic form, courtesy of Xana. In this mode, you cannot cast spells or use special abilities, but you can drain an enemy's health to restore your own.]]
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Arantir is very fond of telling Sareth how pathetic he is.
* TomatoInTheMirror: Though not all that shocking.
* {{Unwinnable}}: Your health doesn't regenerate, and healing items are both finite and relatively scarce. Even worse, the basic healing potions only restore a portion of your health, and the special items that restore you to full health are very rare and usually only found in secret areas. As a result, if you do poorly in the first few levels, it's quite possible to end up in a situation where you don't have enough health to make it past the next area, and the healing items nearby aren't enough to help you get through. However, after the first few chapters you acquire an ally who will heal you to full health after every battle, and then a ring that (very slowly) regenerates your health over time. There's also an upgrade that causes your health to regenerate, but you won't be able to purchase it until very late in the game.
** Averted if the player takes the time to explore the levels, as Full Health Potions and Magic Mushrooms can be found early on, both of which fully restore the player's health. The Magic Mushrooms also fully restore the player's mana.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Put it this way... hacking the limbs off of your enemies is the ''least'' imaginative thing you can do. To put it ''another'' way, it sure is convenient how the game starts placing throwable, fragile jars of oil around the levels just as you start getting access to [[PlayingWithFire fire spells]].
* [[spoiler:VillainProtagonist: Potentially, [[MultipleEndings depending on the ending you go for]].]]
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler:Though it is really hard to agree with him given he murders and imprisons civilians while laying waste to everything in his path, Arantir is out to stop you from fulfilling the prophecy and [[SealedEvilInACan seal Sheogh forever]] while he's at it, which is a good-ish thing.]]
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Phenrig disappears from the plot after the tutorial, despite being Sareth's foster father [[spoiler:and implicitly being aligned to demons]].
* WreakingHavok: The primary function of telekinesis and kicking.

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