Crescent Pale Mist is a 2.5D hack-and-slash, platforming game by the doujin circle ClassiC Shikoukairu that's noted for its fierce hack-and-slash gameplay, high-quality visuals, and for being really hard.It's story takes place in the country of Gasyukal, a country of where people seek knowledge of magic, but are foolish enough to stumble upon a forbidden form of magic considered widely taboo. The country's first use of this form of magic was used by ancient sages that ended up destroying an old and distant country, resulting in knowledge of its existence and destructive powers. Later a war broke out, the country of Gasyukal was at a disadvantage, and they were running out of ideas to hold off the enemy forces. Out of desperation, this is where the second time the forbidden magic was used to even the odds... until they couldn't control it and it backfires on them. This resulted in the country of Gasyukal to be pulled from a rift into an Another Dimension, thus turning the countryside into a forbidden no-man's land known as the "Taboo State". Those that try to investigate the Taboo State later ended up dead, without poisoning or trauma, as well as the doctors who examined the corpses and met with the same fate.Yunou, our heroine of this story, is a magician who is capable of using a deadly and forbidden form of magic known as Pale Mist — the very same Pale Mist that's seeping from Gasyukal — believes there's something more that's causing these deaths. She sets out to seek the source of the Pale Mist and put an end to it, although it's a quest that's easier said than done considering the many dangerous monsters and her former comrades she will confront along the way.Unlike most doujin action-platformers, the player is not limited to a single 2D plane as Yunou can jump from one plane to another and traverse to other areas (although there are times where you can't go back at all). Yunou can take down foes with her "blade" for close-ranged attacks, cast powerful Pale Mist magic like Rowanveld, and a bottomless supply of throwing daggers for good measure. Along the way, Yunou can find items and artifacts scattered throughout Gasyukal to enhance her abilities, provide hints towards her treasure-hunting, and unlock extra difficulties and other features. To make it through the Taboo State, Yunou will have to utilize every trick she's got under her Detached Sleeves.The game was first released on PC in Japan on March 30th, 2006, it was then later localized by Rockin' Android as a downloadable game for PlayStation 3 via PlayStation Network on November 9th, 2010 with psuedo-High Definition visuals, redrawn character art, online leaderboards, PlayStation Network Trophies, and a few gameplay tweeks. As of late, there has been no announcements from Rockin' Android themselves to port the game onto other platforms, although during an interview with Neocrisis, the game's developer Shikou has stated that he wishes to see the game released through Xbox LIVE.The doujin circle's website can be viewed here (Japanese) and Rockin' Android's English PlayStation 3 homepage for Crescent Pale Mist can be viewed here.
Crescent Pale Mist features trope examples of:
100% Completion: While not a requirement by any means, there's lots of things to uncover from enemy drops and searching through areas.
2½D: Yunou can jump between different parallels to explore different areas. Word of God in Neocrisis' interview with the developer has it that the reason for making Crescent Pale Mist a 2.5D game oppose a 2D one felt that a straight 2D game would restrict the heroine's agility.
Action Girl: For a magician, Yunou can certainly use her magic to kick some serious ass.
Anti-Frustration Feature: In the PlayStation 3 version, there are warp points in certain areas of a level to save you time if you make a wrong move while clearing a gap or jumping off walls, however the opportunity to use them are timed.
The Arch Mage: Kurow, as he's hellbent on unlock the secrets The Forbidden, even it means sacrificing the country's inhabitants to do so.
Art Shift: The character art was originally given a traditional hand-drawn artstyle in the original PC version. Keiko Sakurai redrawn all the characters with a typical anime/manga artstyle in Rockin' Android's English version.
Awesome but Impractical: The Hand-made Rosary, it upgrades Yunou's Rowanveld to the powerful Rowanbanish. The probelm is that it uses up 70 CP, making it difficult to use early on in the game and it sacrifices Rowanveld's rapid-fire capability.
Awesome yet Practical: The Inhuman Blade item, contrast to Hand-made Rosary as it rises Rowanveld's damage output without sacrificing Rowanveld's functionality or raising its CP cost.
Ax-Crazy: Narju. She harbors great jealousy and hatred against Yunou and her ability to control Pale Mist, and she would go through great lengths to personally see Yunou killed. She even sacrificed Elshiria and leaves Yunou to deal with Sage Gasyukal in an attempt to kill her.
Beware My Stinger Tail: Teranoias can swing its tail at you and it has a sharp bone at the end of it. Said tail blade can be hacked off for the Obsidian Tail Blade, although the tail blade is tough and immune to your Rowanveld attacks.
Boring but Practical: Farming Pale Mist wisps to gain stat bonuses from non-boss enemies that you haven't already defeated in the area (and hopefully don't put too much of a fight) by using blade attacks, which may increase the odds of survival on the later stages (especially on higher difficulties).
Boss in Mook Clothing: Oh lordy, does this game manages to hide away insanely-powerful enemies waiting to destroy you when you least expect it or what?
Boss Rush: An unlockable "Boss-Only" mode can be played after finding the Mysterious Button artifact, which lets you go through the entire game just by fighting the bosses alone. In the PC version, after getting the Artifact, press the Pause button at the title screen to access Boss-Only mode; the PlayStation Network version changed this to an unlockable option in the main menu.
Bullet Hell: Many bosses and some enemies are capable of unleashing a danmaku of bullets at Yunou, especially on the harder difficulties. Thankfully the skills of a master Touhou player is not required here.
Chasing Your Tail: Aside from Teranoias and Dagneiv and also Sage Gasyukal, boss battles are generally a chase against your opponent.
Checkpoint Starvation: The only checkpoints in each Chapter of the game are the ones before a boss battle.
Combat Tentacles: Dagneiv, Chapter 3's boss. Thankfully Yunou can sheer them at a safe distance with her knives.
Combos: Comes naturally for a hack-and-slash game.
Continuing Is Painful: Die at any point of a Chapter and you lose any-and-all chances of enemy drops as well your high-score.
Easy-Mode Mockery: If the player plays the game Easy, enemies will not drop any obtainable items at all, Treasures will never appear, and certain areas and shortcuts will be restricted in some Chapters of the game.
Eldritch Abomination: Dagneiv (Chapter 3's boss). Other enemies such as the Devil Eyes qualify as well.
Fake Longevity: Collecting a lot of useless junk like a potato, evil spirits in a jar, and cool-sounding stuff that turns out be there for collecting stuff like Abyss Garb (no, it's not a usable armor), just for the sake of 100% completion.
Also in the original PC game, you have kill 8,000 or more enemies just to unlock the penultimate difficulty. We're not making this up...
Gameplay Grading: Your overall score at the end of each Chapter is broken up into three categories: Clear bonus, bonus points for the Chapter and how quickly you beaten it; Technical, based on your remaining PM and highest combo count; and Penalty, deduction (or bonus) depend on difficulty and how many times you continued.
Goomba Springboard: Yunou can jump off some non-boss enemies after launching them in the air to access higher areas.
Guide Dang It: For starters, there's no map system, which immediately makes things frustrating once the player is lost during Chapters 3 and 4 considering they're most maze-like Chapters of the game. Thankfully the developer posted videos on his YouTube for shortcuts for Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 to make what really seems like a long level into a short one.
There's also the matter of getting 100% Completion for finding all the items and artifacts scattered in the game. It's a good thing the fan translator who once made the English patch for the PC game still have a chart for finding them, which can be seen here. Although take note that there are mistranslated names for some of the items.
A guide for Rockin' Android's PlayStation 3 version for finding all the items in the game as well as getting the PSN Trophies for the game, which can also be useful the PC version, can be viewed here.
Hard Mode Perks: On Hard mode or higher, Yunou can equip items found throughout the game. And you might need them. You also get a higher score bonus on the harder difficulties.
Homing Projectile: Some enemies and most bosses are capable of firing homing projectiles.
Nintendo Hard: Let's start with the fact that there's a chance of running into the Boss in Mook Clothing when going blind during your first run of the game. Next add getting sent back to the very beginning of a Chapter once you die if you don't make it to the checkpoint prior to fighting the end boss of the Chapter. Add some boss battles that can be outright brutal and you have this game's difficulty.
Power Crystal: Yunou can find a Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Aquamarine, Garnet, Amethyst, Opal, and Diamond as equipable items, although the Philosopher's Stone is needed to unlock their abilities.
Power Floats: Usually during a boss battle (excluding the boss battle with Kurow), Yunou and a few other humanoid characters do this. In Yunou's case, she can only fly while in an "Area Magic Saturation" location.
Power Glows: When Yunou uses special moves that builds up her CP gauge like Rowanveld, Yunou will begin to glow in a blue aura once it hits close to her CP Limit, then changes to red when her CP is dangerously close to her CP Limit. While her Yunou's aura is blue, her attack doubles at the expense of 25% of her defense; when red, her attack triples but cuts her defense by 50%.
She also glows green while guarding with Endurance and glows yellow while recovering from an attack with Emergency Evasion.
Random Drops: When it comes to enemy drops, there's always a chance that you may or may not receive a prized item from defeating an enemy. That Thief's Dagger may come in handy...
Razor Wind: Yunou uses this to attack enemies at close range albeit not using an actual sword.
RPG Elements: Collecting the Pale Mist wisps expelled from striking an enemy with Yunou's "blade" attacks instead of using them to attack them can steadily level-up her stats. Killing certain enemies can also lead to stat bonuses for Yunou.
There's also items and artifacts in the game that enhance and/or penalize Yunou's abilities. Sadly you can only use them Hard mode or higher.
Scoring Points: Part of the game since you earn points for your performance in each Chapter. Although it wasn't too practical until Rockin' Android added online leaderboards to the game.
Sequence Breaking: It's encouraged to anybody looking to aim for high scores on each Chapter. See Guide Dang It above for shortcuts for Chapters 3 and 4.
Shoot 'em Up: Boss battles in the game plays similarly to a shoot 'em up since they can unleash a barrage of bullets, and like a Bullet Hell shooter, each boss have multiple phases and attack patterns that become increasing more difficult to defend against. Yunou can also shift her movement speed by holding down the Jump button to speed up or the Endurance button slow down.
Smash Mook: The Gargoyles and some of the Pumpkin and Onion enemies will dive bomb into Yunou.
SNK Boss: Soray in Chapter 5 is undeniably cheap (arguably moreso than the final boss), especially when turning red.
Sound Test: A "Music Room" option can be unlocked if you beat the game after obtaining the Music Room Key artifact. It's beneath the entrace to leading into the Final Bosses Corridor in Chapter 6.
Smart Bomb: Sort of. There's an item called Ancient Dragon's Whistle that lets you perform a Capacity Burst by entering Down, Up+Special (or vice-versa) that can clear the screen of most projectiles, which comes in very handy for certain boss battles. It costs 100 of your CP Limit to use it but it refills to its original amount slowly.
Spread Shot: Yunou's Midnight Ripper technique lets her spam daggers in a fan-like spread.
Sprite/Polygon Mix: The characters and enemies are done in 2D sprites while the game's levels and particle effects are rendered in 3D.
Throwing Your Magical Swords Always Works: Yunou's Rowanveld. It arguably deals more damage to enemies than Rowanveld PM (especially thanks to Inhuman Blade) and it breaks enemies' Endurance. It can be powered-up to Rowanbanish, while it's powerful, it sacrifices its rapid-fire capabilities and eats up more of your CP.
Turns Red: Guaranteed to happen during a boss fight.
Upgrade Artifact: Some can enhance Yunou's equipable items. For example, the Hermit's Honey can raise Royal Jelly's stat bonuses from +1,000 Max HP / +25 Max PM / +25 Max CP to +10,000 Max HP / +100 Max PM / +100 Max CP.