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Posted on Dec 20, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Dark Messiah – Game Review (PC)

James Lombardi

Although there are different weapon types available, such as swords, daggers, axes, and more, combat is ultimately a game of timing attacks and blocks carefully based on what the enemy is doing. Striking just as the enemy is preparing to attack has a chance to stun him. Sareth also has access to bows, although without magical enchantment, they do little more than annoy the enemies in the game.

 However, the greatest weapon in the game is not a sword. Even the most powerful magical blade is nothing compared to the ultimate killing device in the game. Luckily, it’s extremely common. In fact almost every foe can be killed in someway by it. The weapon is actually the Source Engine itself. Thanks to the physics in the game, the environment can be used to lethal effect. Knock out the supports on a shelf holding up large barrels and take out the enemies below it. Or maneuver the enemy with his back to a bed of spikes sitting against a wall and give him a kick into them. And, of course, the ever popular cliff edge that Sareth always seems to be walking along.


Unfortunately, the environment is overused. Apparently the world of Might and Magic produces millions of beds of spikes, so many in fact that they lie around everywhere. Too many encounters can be resolved by luring the enemy against spikes or to the cliff edge or to a bonfire. Facing three guards? Just run back to the nearest set of spikes – they aren’t far – and kick them one by one into them. After kicking the 23rd Orc off of a cliff, it may seem a bit silly to even bother carrying around that sword.

Outside of the combat, the game is a mix of good and bad. The storyline is fairly interesting. After finding a magical crystal for Phenrig, Sareth’s teacher, he is sent to a distant land to bring the crystal to another mage. To accompany him on the quest, since Phenrig will not be joining, Phenrig summons a mysterious woman who bonds with Sareth and seems to exist only in his mind. Her voice provides guidance – and entertaining commentary – as Sareth unravels a plot that will decide the fate of both him and the world. The story has some pacing issues at times but overall remains interesting and has branching points which result in different endings. Unfortunately, the endings may be the weakest part of the story as they are all too short.


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