Game Republic may not have the best track record, but Dark Mist shouldn’t be fall under the radar. It’s not another Genji: Days of the Blade. It’s more like Legend of Zelda: Light Bow. Dark Mist puts players in the role of Altemis who explores mazes and shoots funny little purple creatures with beams of light. Altemis’ basic attack is a rapid burst of short range arrows mapped to the square button. He also has three specials you can rotate through with the shoulder buttons. The Split Star (green) shoots a spread shot of arrows, the Meteor Flare (blue) acts like a grenade and the Lightning Comet (red) is a piercing arrow. The Split Star is useful for crowd control, but the Meteor Flare is my favorite tool out of the three.
In the early levels you have to fight floating eyeball turrets that remain still while firing black globs. The Meteor Flare is a perfect weapon to use against them since the blue blast remains on the ground for a few seconds. The Lightning Comet is useful when you have a straight line of enemies to hit. A single red arrow cuts through enemies and continues on its trajectory. After you press triangle to use one of Altemis’ special attacks you have to briefly wait for his power to recharge. Altemis can increase his special shot stock by beating enemies and collecting the crescent moons they drop.
While you’re exploring the labyrinths a dark mist clouds each room. If Altemis happens to touch the mist the screen darkens and enemies become difficult to see. To remove the mist you have to shake the controller, which makes Altemis do a spin attack that dissolves some of the mist. You end up shaking the Sixaxis controller a lot because the mist constantly creeps on screen. Altemis’ shaking attack also damages any nearby enemies and neutralizes any projectiles headed his way.
I half jokingly called Dark Mist, Legend of Zelda: Light Bow at the beginning because Dark Mist feels similar to the original Zelda. Dark Mist has top down mazes and familiar level design where you have to often backtrack to obtain keys. The difference is Dark Mist is more action packed, you’re constantly running and gunning through areas. The longer you stay in a room, the more mist appears and the more Sixaxis shaking you have to do. The scoring system also encourages players to keep shooting. When you’re not hitting any enemies the multiplier slowly drops and if you want to see your score on the leaderboards you do not want this to happen. Alternatively, you can ignore points and casually explore the dungeon. However, netting a high score is the main challenge of Dark Mist because you explore the same mazes over and over again. After pressing through with unlimited continues you know what route to take, which is why a random dungeon generator would have been a perfect addition to the game.
With that note aside I’m pretty pleased with Dark Mist and the 800 yen I spent on it. I don’t feel any regret about buying it when the purple creatures taunt me by dancing over Altemis lifeless body. They really cheer and clap if they kill you.