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Video Game / Crescent Pale Mist

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Crescent Pale Mist is a 2½D Hack and Slash / Platform Game hybrid by the doujin circle ClassiC Shikoukairu that's noted for its fierce hack-and-slash gameplay, beautiful 2.5D visuals, and for being really hard.

Its story takes place in the country of Gasyukal, a country of where people seek knowledge of magic, but were 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 Play Station 3 game via PlayStation Network on November 9th, 2010 with updated graphics, redrawn character art, online leaderboards, Trophies, and a few gameplay tweaks. On January 2015, the game has been greenlit for a Steam release with added features such as Achievements and trading cards, however, it seems unlikely this will come to pass as the game has been stuck in Steam Greenlight limbo for years since. The game was also delisted from PlayStation Network five years after its release along with other games published by Rockin' Android.

The doujin circle's website can be viewed here (Japanese) and Rockin' Android's English for the game can be viewed here.

Crescent Pale Mist features examples of:

  • 2½D: Yunou can jump between different parallels à la Guardian Heroes to explore different areas. The developer stated in Neocrisis' interview the reason for making Crescent Pale Mist a 2.5D game oppose a 2D one felt that a straight 2D game would have restricted the heroine's mobility.
  • Action Girl: For a magician, Yunou can certainly use her magic to kick some serious ass.
  • Aerith and Bob: The main characters have names like Yunou and Vizet while a few of the enemies have plain-sounding names. One set of names that particularly stands out is the the Evil Garnet armor trio in Chapter 2, which they are named Ben, Jon, and Mike.
  • After-Combat Recovery: After defeating Elshiria, Yunou gets full HP before fighting Narju in Chapter 6.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Narju's boss battle in Chapter 2 and Chapter 6.
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Some of items and artifacts are food.
  • Animated Armor: Living Armors and their variants, walking suits of armors animated by the Pale Mist that attack with a lunging attack and sometimes magic. Some of them don't even have heads.
  • 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 and comes with a penalty against your stage time.
  • An Ice Person: Narju uses ice-elemental magic.
  • 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 an anime/manga artstyle in Rockin' Android's English version.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: At least three of the game's boss will make Yunou look like a dwarf by comparison.
  • Auto-Revive: The Elixir when equipped will revive the player if they have been defeated, but It Only Works Once per playthrough.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Handmade 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, making it impossible to take advantage of any shortcuts.
  • 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. Her notions of being a hateful sociopath was expressed even further in Rockin' Android's version of the game thanks to the new character portraits. She even sports a Slasher Smile in Rockin' Android's version of the game.
    Narju: "Being dead tends to limit your travel options!"
    Yunou: "I'll tear that twisted smile from your face!"
  • Background Boss: Sage Gasyukal, the game's Big Bad and Final Boss. Sage Gasyukal is too powerful for you to start unleashing Rowanveld hell, so you have to destroying the magic orbs surrounding it, its hands, horns, the Philosopher's Stone (optional, but makes the battle easier), and the Power Crystal on its head before attacking Gasyukal itself.
  • Beam Spam: Elshiria's specializes on this, especially during the late stages of her battle, although it is not limited to her.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Some of the ghost enemies resembles this.
  • 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.
  • Blob Monster: Slimes and their variants.
  • 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 of the game, especially on higher difficulties.
  • Boss Bonanza: At the end of Chapter 6, players face off in back-to-back boss battles between Elshira, Narju, and finally Sage Gasyukal.
  • 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.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Yunou can throw an endless supply of daggers at her enemies, however, using a Teleport Dagger consumes 1 PM for each one tossed.
  • Bullet Hell: Many bosses and some enemies are capable of unleashing a hailstorms of bullets and projectiles at Yunou that can fill the screen, even moreso on harder difficulties. Thankfully the skills of a master Touhou Project player are not required here and many attacks can be canceled out by your own attacks.
  • 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. Dying at any point before reaching the boss results in starting the entire level over.
    • Chapter 6: dying at any point during the later two bosses past Elshiria means starting back at Elshiria's boss battle.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Three of the bosses have limbs or body parts that can be destroyed, often resulting in the bosses losing one of its attacks and sometimes may drop an item.
  • Combat Tentacles: Dagneiv, Chapter 3's boss. Thankfully Yunou can sheer them at a safe distance with her daggers.
  • Combos: Striking enemies multiple times in succession will build a combo which counts towards your stage's score bonus.
  • Continuing is Painful: Die at any point of a Chapter and you will be denied of any enemy drops you haven't collected for that Chapter as well your high-score.
  • Crystal Skull: One can be found as a useless item in the game.
  • Cute Witch: Vizet, especially in Rockin' Android's localization.
  • Deal with the Devil: Narju uses Elshira to enter a dimensional rift linked to where Gasyukal Sages resides in order to gain more power for herself, however, El ended up vanishing into entirely different dimension, so she instead offers Yunou as a bargaining chip to Sage Gaskyukal to enter the Sage's dimension.
  • Dem Bones: Teranoias, the game's other Warm-Up Boss. Wights and later variants are skeletal mages that fire a barrage of magic or a pillar of mist.
  • Double Unlock: The gemstone items, which not only have to be found hidden among most of the game's stages, but their effects can't be activated unless you find the Philosopher's Stone.
  • Downer Ending: In the post-credits cutscene, despite Yunou efforts in stopping those using Pale Mist in the Taboo State to prevent it from seeping into the rest of the world, she couldn't convince her former comrades from pursuing the dangers of its powers and feels guilty that her desertion lead to another war that took many innocent lives. Narju also gets away with using those who died in the war that lead to Elshiria creating the Pale Mist Orb and taking it for herself and using El to gain entry into the dimension where the Gasyukal Sages dwell and successfully earned the Sage's favor to enter their world in her mad pursuit for power.
  • 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.
  • Evolving Title Screen: When you first start the game with a fresh save file, the title screen is is blue. Once you slay more and more enemies as you play through the game however, it steadily turns red.
  • Fake Longevity:
    • Most of the game's stages past Chapter 1 are labyrinthine and expansive, and without knowing or using the shortcuts, they can sometimes take up an hour to get through.
    • Collecting a lot of useless junk like a potato, evil spirits in a jar, and cool-sounding stuff that turns out meaningless like the Abyss Garb, just for the sake of item hunting.
    • Also in the original PC version, you have kill 8,000 or more enemies just to unlock the penultimate difficulty.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Elshiria gets banished to another dimension devoid of life, thanks to Narju.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: Subverted. In Chapter 6, Narju, being the Amazing Technicolor Battlefield attendant that she is, takes you to another dimension just before game's final boss.
  • Flash Step: Yonou can use the Pale Mist in conjunction with her daggers to instantly warp to where ever the dagger hits.
  • Flechette Storm: Yunou can throw daggers for ranged attacks, throw them in a fan-like spread, or use them to warp to an enemy or certain objects.
  • Fragile Speedster: Yunou, who has low base HP and fairly weak physical attacks, but she has the ability double jump, jump from wall-to-wall, and use her enemies to reach places after launching them in the air. Items, however, can also make her into a Glass Cannon or even a Lightning Bruiser.
  • 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.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: The humanoid bosses will generally try to avoid Yunou and keep their distance from her as much as possible unless they attack.
  • Go for the Eye: Dagneiv, a tentacled monstrosity that has huge eye as its weakpoint.
  • Goomba Springboard: Yunou can jump off some non-boss enemies after launching them in the air or knocking them back to access higher areas or dash even further.
  • 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 levels 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 original PC version 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 (how much you can use depends on the difficulty), but enemies are even stronger. You also get a higher score bonus on the harder difficulties.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Yunou conjures magical blades for her basic attacks and her default Rowenveld has her conjuring even bigger magic swords that she shoots at her enemies and convert Pale Mist wisps into a barrage of magical swords, while the other characters generally use magic or a lance in Soray's case.
  • Homing Projectile: Some enemies and most bosses are capable of firing homing projectiles.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Subverted at the beginning, as Vizet introduces her name to Yunou before fighting her. After Yunou returns to the entryway after having dealt with Sage Gasyukal, Vizet properly introduces her full name to Yunou as Vizet Lapitel.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: You start out with the standard difficulty levels when you first start playing the game (Pumpkin Knight, Magic Knight, and Sacred Knight respectively as the Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulties), and upon meeting certain criteria, you can unlock the two Harder Than Hard difficulties, Terror Knight (Fear) and Knight of Nightmare (Planeriel).Tip 
  • In-Series Nickname: Elshiria L. Gasyukal (Chapter 6's boss) is sometimes referred to as "El".
  • Instant Runes: Vizet, Soray, Narju, Kurow, and Elshiria have magic runes appearing behind them as they attack.
  • Interface Screw: Can be invoked (and encouraged) during boss battles; by pressing the Zoom button, players can either zoom the screen out to get a better view of their surroundings and their opponent, or zoom in to intentionally limit screen visibility but get an attack power boost as a trade-off.
  • It's Up to You: Yunou is the only one with complete and total control of the Pale Mist magic, and really the only one that stands a chance in the Taboo State.
  • Karma Houdini: Narju, who goes out of way to kill Yunou out of jealousy of her abilities to use Pale Mist, takes advantage of Elshiria who created the Pale Mist Orb after using those who died in the war and steal it for herself to amplify her own magical powers, and then uses Elshiria as a bargaining chip to enter the dimension of the Gasyukal Sages, then strikes a deal with Sage Gasyukal of offering Yunou and her natural capabilities of using Pale Mist magic to him as an entry fee into the Sage's dimension after El ended up lost in between dimensions, which he then obliges and allowed Narju entry into their world, escaping from any punishment for her actions and free to continue her lust for power.
  • King Mook: Almost every non-boss enemy type has one super-powered golden mook worthy of being a Boss in Mook Clothing.
  • Knockback: Both the player and most enemies are knocked back when taking damage, but using Endurance can mitigate how far they can be pushed back. There are certain enemies and gigantic bosses won't flinch at all dealing damage to them.
  • Launcher Move: Yunou's Rising Slash move (Down-Forward+Attack) will propel some enemies upwards, allowing you to bounce off of them with a jump.
  • Life Meter: The HP gauge, in both counter and gauge display.
  • Magic Missile Storm: Yunou's Rowanveld PM is essentially this. When Pale Mist are around her, pressing Special (or Down, Down+Special) will unleash a storm of magical swords against her foes.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: Yunou, and she also doubles as a Badass Bookworm being a former researcher of Gasyukal Research Alliance.
  • The Magocracy: The Gasyukal Research Alliance, whom have been studying various forms of magic until Pale Mist and the potential it has piqued their fancy, leading to Yunou's defection from the nation.
  • Mana Meter: The CP (Capacity) gauge, although there are two different values that comes into play: Max CP and CP Limit. The Max CP, the blue portion of the CP gauge used for non-PM spells, is your overall maximum CP; CP Limit, the red portion, is the area of the gauge you should try to avoid building up CP from your attacks (or some enemy attacks that forces your CP to raise), otherwise you'll trigger a Magic Leak Burst that cuts your HP by half.
  • The Maze: Chapters 2 through 4, although the Chapters 3 and 4 proves to be a worse case of this.
  • Mr. Exposition: Kurow, who fills Yunou in on why the country has been taking advantage of the Pale Mist seepage situation.
  • Multiple Endings: A different post-game monologue can be read for each difficulty after beating the final boss.
  • Named Weapons: Soray's lance is named Brutius. There's also two of Yunou's equipable items, Excalibur and Brunhild.
  • 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.
  • No-Sell: Some of the stronger enemies can either be immune to certain damage types (e.g. blade, dagger, Rowanveld) that may also bounce off of them, or simply not flinch when attacking them. Using Endurance will also makes the user resist attacks to a degree and reduce knockback.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In the Planeriel ending, players are greeted to seeing Elshira after she was banished to an empty void thanks to Narju using her to fulfil her deal with Sage Gasyukal.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Teranoias, Vizet's skeletal dragon familiar.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: The game's Tutorial Mode have Yunou and Vizet teaching the players how to play the game while being completely Out of Character from the game's main story.
    • Pixelated Sprites: In the original Japanese PC version, players are instructed by pixelated versions of Yunou and Vizet during the game's tutorial.
    • Super-Deformed: Keiko Sakurai made chibi-fied versions of Yunou and Vizet for the game's tutorial in the PlayStation 3 version.
  • Palette Swap: Although some of the enemies Yunou encounters also have some minute appearance changes too.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: There are some areas in almost every Chapter of the game where you can beat up weaker enemies for Pale Mist wisps.
  • Petal Power: Just look at the pretty cherry blossoms as Elshiria tries to annihilate Yunou.
  • 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.
  • Power-Up: And Colour-Coded for Your Convenience, too. Red power-ups boosts Attack, green boosts Defense, blue raises her Maximum HP, and white contains a treasure. Yunou can only retain her HP bonuses after each Chapter; Attack and Defense bonuses resets after clearing the Chapter.
  • 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 are 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.
  • 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...
  • Respawning Enemies: In some areas of each Chapter of the game, there are sections of the map where slain enemies will respawn after leaving and returning to that area. Pale Mist wisps from respawned enemies won't boost your maximum HP but other stat areas can still grow.
  • 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.
  • Smart Bomb: There's an item called Ancient Dragon's Whistle that lets you perform a Capacity Burst by entering Down, Up (or vice-versa) + Special that can clear the screen of most projectiles and damage some enemies, which comes in very handy for certain boss battles. It costs 100 points of your CP Limit to use it but it refills to its original amount steadily.
  • Smash Mook: The Gargoyles and some of the Pumpkin and Onion enemies will dive bomb into Yunou.
  • 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 entrance leading into the Final Boss Corridor in Chapter 6.
  • Spice Up the Subtitles: In the fan translation of the PC version, Yunou sometimes says "damn" in frustrating situations and called Vizet a bitch when dealing with her familiar.
  • 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.
  • Sword Lines: With Yunou's blade attack. By default it's white, but equipping the Obsidian Tail Blade changes it to black.
  • Trick Boss: At the end of Chapter 2, Yunou runs into Soray who reluctantly fights her and promptly gets beaten by her. Narju, fed up with Soray's reluctance towards killing Yunou, decides to sweep her away into another dimension so she can try and kill Yunou herself.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Yunou's Rowanveld attack, which she conjures large and powerful magical swords that she throws at her enemies. It arguably deals more damage to enemies than Rowanveld PM (even moreso with Inhuman Blade equipped) and it breaks enemies' guard. It can be powered-up to Rowanbanish, although while it's powerful, it sacrifices its rapid-fire capabilities and eats up more of your CP.
  • Turns Red: When most bosses are reach closer to defeat, they begin pulling off more powerful and deadly attacks against the player.
  • Updated Re-release: The PlayStation Network version revamped the graphics with redrawn character art, colorized plane jumping points to ease exploration, added warp points to make some of the game's platforming less frustrating to beginners, and online leaderboards.
  • 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 / +250 Max PM / +25 Max CP to +10,000 Max HP / +1,000 Max PM / +100 Max CP. Others can modify Yunou's abilities, such extending Fear's duration, no defense penalties during blue/red aura, or the raise the damage output of Rowanveld.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Kurow in Chapter 4. Unlike other bosses, his arena is not a Magical Saturation Area, meaning you're forced to fight him with limited vertical mobility while he's free to fly away and spam deadly spells that can wreck Younu's HP or forcibly build her CP to potentially trigger a Magic Leak Burst or weaken her defense.
  • Wall Jump: One of Yunou's key abilities as you'll need to jump off walls to reach higher places.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Vizet and her familiar. Vizet's attacks have easy to read patterns and some of them can be canceled out with a well-timed strike or Fear, while Teranoias has some easily telegraphed attacks with huge startup and a very obvious weakspot to focus the player's attention to when attacking it.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Happens to Elshiria when Narju offered her to Sage Gasyukal.