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Video Game / The Legend of Dark Witch

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The Legend of Dark Witch (Majin Shoujo in Japan) is a digital-exclusive game developed by indie group Inside System and translated into English by digital publisher Circle Entertainment. It was released worldwide for the Nintendo 3DS eShop in 2014, Steam in 2015, and the Play Station Vita in 2015 (Japan) and 2017 (North America and Europe). In 2019, an enhanced version was released for the Nintendo Switch and Steam; the Steam version of this port is named The Legend of Dark Witch Renovation to differentiate it from the prior Steam release.

Syega crystals give magical power to the land's people, but someone stole all of them. Zizou, the titular dark witch, sets out to find the culprit and the Syega crystals, exploring 2D stages and battling bosses along the way.

Gameplay is similar to 2D Mega Man games, as Zizou moves in horizontal stages, jumps and shoots, and gains bosses' powers. However, it also has features that make it unique. You can enhance Zizou's ability with Tres crystals, which powers them up à la Gradius — but taking damage causes you to drop Tres you've gathered, so the game encourages you to use them when you collect them. Zizou can even enhance boss abilities for extra power.

The Legend of Dark Witch is the first entry in what would eventually become a series. Other games in the series include:

  • The Legend of Dark Witch 2 (3DS and Steam)
  • Dark Witch Music: Rudymical (iOS and Android)
    • Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical (Expanded version for Nintendo Switch)
  • Brave Dungeon (3DS)
    • Brave Dungeon + Dark Witch's Story: Combat (Enhanced port of Brave Dungeon that includes a card battle game for Switch)
  • The Legend of Dark Witch 3 (3DS)
  • The Legend of Dark Witch Connect! (iOS and Android)
  • Brave Dungeon: Seigi no Imi (Switch and Steam)

Being a Mega Man clone, each boss uses a certain weapon as well as having a weakness to some of them, so in order:

The Legend of Dark Witch contains examples of:

  • Achievement System: The "Playing Levels", which rewards players with Pura Syega to spend on the Syega Shop.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The game makes very little effort to hide the fact that it is inspired by the classic Mega Man games.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The start of each stage (justified in that magical teleportation leaves a slightly unstable field of presence for a little while before things settle in), the Blackout Basement in the seventh stage, and the final boss arena.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Sticks out since Zizou has two-tone bangs. The only time that the white side of her hair faces the camera is in her idle stance.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Tres crystals can amplify Zizou's abilities.
  • Animal Motifs: Butterflies are used to represent Tres. Fittingly, the final boss gains butterfly wings in her One Winged Angel form.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The second playable character is Riva, the game's Big Bad.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Blad's stage is an abandoned prison that gives off this sort of vibe.
  • Blackmail: In the second character's story, this is how Zizou ultimately wins. When it becomes clear that Riva won't be beaten into submission, Zizou simply threatens to expose her as a thief.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: CIRCLE Entertainment's translation, while far from unintelligible and certainly better than their work on fellow eShop title Demon King Box, feels like a rough draft. Spelling and grammar errors are all over the place, along with some confusing character names, even within menus. It's certainly not helped by the amount of Engrish from the Japanese version that was retained, such as the aforementioned "Playing Level" menu.
    • The Steam version tries to remedy this; among the game's testers were western fans who reported several translation errors to the game's director.
  • Boss Rush: What Mega Man-like game is complete without one?
  • Call-Forward: Renovation adds a DLC stage with Day as the boss. It seemingly takes place right after things go sour with the Magic Lion Corps, as Day is fresh off of crossing the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Chromosome Casting: Every single named character is female.
  • Continuing is Painful:
    • Losing a life erases all of your built up Enforcement Slots.
    • Getting hit at all makes continuing more difficult. Whenever the player takes damage, a certain percentage of Tres is lost from the Enforcement Slot meter depending on the difficulty.
  • Deflector Shields: Collecting all of the Pura Syega adds an extra ability onto the Enforcement Slot gauge that enables a single-hit barrier upon activation.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Blocking. It is essentially Street Fighter III's parry transplanted into a platformer.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Singer Yuuki Tedokon provides the voices of Zizou and Klinsy, and also performs the second character's ending song.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This game noticeably doesn't feature things that were added in later games:
    • For starters, there's no capacity meter, meaning you can simply spam your shots with impunity. The Renovation release adds this feature in.
    • Another would be both the player and bosses lacking Revenge Magics to use.
    • Pure Syega is different in how it works in this game: each stage has two Syeganote  which upgrade a certain ability depending on its colour. Come the sequel, stages now has four Syega each which can be used to upgrade any ability.
    • There's also no After Story to flesh out the cast.
    • There are six starting bosses, only one normal level after the starting stages, and a final stage that consists of the Boss Rush and final bosses. The other mainline games have eight starting bosses, four normal levels after the starting stages, and a final stage. Also, this game's starting bosses are mostly unaffiliated with each other, unlike Ich in 2 or the former Magic Lion Corps in 3.
  • Embedded Precursor: The Renovation version includes an option to change the style to that of the original game in the Museum via buying it in the Syega Shop.
  • Final Boss: Riva in Zizou's story, Zizou in Riva's story.
  • Final-Exam Boss:
    • The second fight with Riva very quickly turns into Bullet Hell if you do not know how to deal with each enemy she summons.
    • The second character's final boss is Zizou. She is a more traditional Final Exam Boss in that her repertoire consists of attacks from the previous bosses.
  • The Ghost: One of the concept arts mentions that Zizou has a sister who insisted that Zizou investigates the missing Syega crystals. This is the only time that her sister is mentioned. Said sister finally appears in the third game.
  • Guide Dang It! / Pixel Hunt: The "Pura Syega" crystals in each level, which raise your Enforcement abilities' level caps. The crystals are invisible and have fairly small hitboxes to boot. The less said about Verri's Pura Syega, the better...
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: The first fight with Zizou amounts to her jumping up and down and firing easily-dodgeable shots. After she is downed once, she admits that she was holding back and promises to use "a fraction" of her power. She opens the next fight with Al's and Sola's Desperation Moves.
  • Insult Backfire: Riva's death threats usually fall flat, but Klinsy's reaction is this.
    Klinsy: "Umm...This is a library. I usually stay silent."
  • Interface Spoiler: The Records menu has the name of bosses not initially available on the stage select screen: Verri and Riva at first, Zizou immediately after clearing the game the first time.
  • The Legend of X
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The final stage's theme, due to it mainly being a hub for the Boss Rush.
  • The Lost Woods: Verri's stage, the Forest of Dreams. In going through it, the player encounters a spacetime distortion that doubles as a Blackout Basement.
  • Monster Town: Papelne's stage, Ports-math City, is a town built and inhabited by beastfolk.
  • Nerf: Renovation implements the Capacity Meter from The Legend of Dark Witch 2. While it's not likely to significantly change how normal stages are played, it shuts down an infamous method of breezing through Zizou's final boss. In the original game, filling the screen with Bound Rings with the assistance of the fight's ever-regeneratng Slot meter reduced the hazards to Riva's rotating shots and the HedgeHogger enemies. Capacity makes it nigh-impossible to keep the screen filled with rings.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is hard enough on Easy, but Normal and Lunatic remove health drops, give enemies more health, and raise the Enforcement Slot damage penalty from 25% of the gauge to 50% and 100% respectively.
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts: The one-liners between the versus screen and an actual boss fight are completely untranslated.
  • Not-Actually-Cosmetic Award: Obtaining Playing Levels unlock concept art, which isn't all that useful in terms of gameplay. Then you finish the game and find out that each achievement gives you currency for the New Game Plus shop.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: One of the New Game Plus options, Dangerous Mode, applies this to your character. You gain five times the Syega for clearing the game with this mode activated.
  • Palmtree Panic: Stoj's stage, Belfer Islands.
  • Power Copying: Zizou gains bosses' powers upon their defeat, and can enhance them with Tres crystals.
  • Rule of Cool / Rule of Funny: The infamous fire-breathing, body-builder snowman enemy. One such finding itself in Verri's stage.
  • Sequel Hook: The second character's story ends with a vague note that "something else" was going on during the Syega crisis. This is probably referring to Germa's schemes, which is likely the reason why Riva was stealing Syega in the first place.
  • Sequential Boss: Both final bosses are fought twice, with Riva going One-Winged Angel and Zizou taking the kid gloves off.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Riva's story. See the entry for Blackmail above.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Al's stage, The Silent Ice Roads.
  • Spell My Name With An S:
    • Both Sola and Sora are used in the character's Battle Intro.
    • Blad's name appear as such throughout most of the game except for the notes her stage's theme in the unlockable Sound Test where her name shows up as "Vlad".
  • Spiritual Successor:
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: The start of the eighth stage is a straightforward corridor with no music and several essentially-harmless enemies to help build your Enforcement Slot meter...and then comes the Boss Rush.
  • Temple of Doom: Riva's stage. The "look" part is obvious, the "trap" part isn't. The stage's description in the sound test all but outright states that the Boss Rush is part of the temple's defenses.
  • Turns Red: Bosses add a Desperation Attack to their repertoire at 50% health. At 25%, they add another attack and begin to move faster.
  • Victory by Endurance: Riva's second form cannot be damaged by your weapons. Instead, her HP slowly drains while she summons other monsters to do her bidding.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Just like Dr. Wily, Riva grovels at Zizou's feet upon being defeated.