Dark Messiah of Might & Magic

A first-person action game with RPG elements in which the player can brutalize their foes with might, magic, or both. Or kicking.


Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is a first-person spin-off of the long-running Might & Magic franchise. The story follows Sareth, a wizard's apprentice, in his attempts to retrieve the "skull of shadows", an artifact found near the beginning of the game. The game was developed by Arkane Studios, makers of Arx Fatalis and later Dishonored.


Dark Messiah's gameplay mixes first-person melee combat with RPG elements, similar to the Elder Scrolls series. A variety of weapons are available, including swords, staves, and bows. Each weapon or armor type has several variants with different enchantments that enhance their properties.

Much importance is placed on using the environment in combat. Throwing or kicking enemies against spike beds, off cliffs, into fire, or into breakaway supports are among the most effective strategies.

Later, the player earns demonic powers that grant added strength when using melee, but slowly siphons health as a consequence (as well as frightening nearby friendly NPCs, which can cause mission failure).

Up-close and personal melee combat
Up-close and personal melee combat

Dark Messiah also features a skill system similar to those found in other RPGs. By accomplishing missions or reaching specific points, the player earns skill points which may then be used to unlock and develop new skills and techniques. The points can be placed into three categories:

  • Combat
  • Magic
  • Miscellaneous

This allows the player to specialize their character to their personal needs. There is no way to max out all skill trees in a playthrough, even by completing optional mission objectives, so specialization is encouraged.

The game has up to four multiple endings, though all choices appear only in the last two levels. The first choice relies on completing an optional objective to purge Sareth of his demonic abilities, and the second is immediately after the final boss on whether to join or destroy the soon-to-be-awakened lord of darkness.

Dark Messiah also has an inventory system. Items can be picked up from dead enemies, looted from crates, given, or pickpocketed, similar to many other RPG releases.

Combat Skills

Melee Combat

  • Level 1: Flurry of Blows - Allows Sareth to deliver an unlimited number of Fast Strikes in a flurry.
  • Level 2: Charge - A powerful attack to stun enemies. (Sprint Power Strike)

Shield - Sareth can now use a shield to block enemy attacks like arrows and flame arrows.

  • Level 3: Break Parry - Enables Flurry of Blows to sometimes break enemy parry.

Leaping Attack

A powerful strike that will knock the enemy off balance. (Jump Power Strike)

Whirlwind Attack

A rotating attack that hits several enemies at once, killing most of them on the spot. (Crouch Adrenaline Power Strike)


  • Level 1: Allows the player to zoom in when using the bow.
  • Level 2: Gives the player a steadier grip on the bow, making shots more accurate.
  • Level 3: Allows the player to reload more quickly.


  • Level 1: All attacks with a weapon do 2 Damage.
  • Level 2: All attacks with a weapon do 3 Damage.
  • Level 3: All attacks with a weapon do 6 Damage.

Critical Hit

  • Level 1: Gives a 2% chance to do double damage on each Power Strike.
  • Level 2: Gives a 4% chance to do double damage on each Power Strike.


Allows the player to stock more Adrenaline and in fact two Fatalities (instant kills) in a row.

Magic Skills

Dark Vision

Allows Sareth to see in the dark.

Flame Arrow

Cast a magic fire projectile. Cast and Hold to guide the projectile. Deals fire damage.

  • Adrenaline Effect: casts multiple projectiles at the same time.

Fire Trap

Sets a magical trap that the enemy can't see. Explodes when an enemy is near. Inflicts fire damage.


Sprays a non-lethal ice-cold substance that freezes an enemy for a couple of seconds. Creates a slippery pool of ice if it hits the ground.

  • Adrenaline Effect: permanently freeze a creature.

Lightning Bolt

Create a lightning projectile that will electrocute the target enemy. Bounces off walls. Deals electrical damage. Cast on enemies standing in the water to enhance the damage!

  • Adrenaline Effect: creates a chain of Lightning that will jump from the main target to any nearby enemies.


Send out a ball of fire that will explode on contact, hitting the target enemy and all nearby creatures. Cast and hold to guide the projectile. Deals fire and area damage.

  • Adrenaline Effect: instantly kills the target opponent.


Throw flames in front and set enemies on fire. Deals fire damage over time.

  • Adrenaline Effect: deals extra damage.


Grab and move objects from a distance. The more mana, the heavier the objects that can be lifted.

  • Adrenaline Effect: allows Sareth to grab living creatures and massive objects.


Heal wounds and regenerate Health.


Charm a hostile creature and get it to fight alongside Sareth for a limited time.


Create a magical shield that will block physical attacks and magic projectiles for a short period of time.


Weaken an enemy for a short period of time.

  • Adrenaline Effect: permanently shrinks targeted enemy.

Miscellaneous Skills


Allows the player to use stamina-based skills such as sprinting, swimming and kicking for a longer time before having to rest.


Raises the player's maximum Health and also effects the kind of armor the player can wear.

Poison Resistance

Makes the player almost invulnerable to any kind of poison.


Increases the health regeneration rate of the player.


Highlights hidden items and secret areas if the player remains still for a moment.

Magic Affinity

Greatly raises base maximum mana.


Allows the player to creep up on enemies from behind and stab them for a quick kill.


Allows the player to pick locks on doors and chests.

Mana Regeneration

Increases the Mana regeneration rate of the player.



WeaponDamageSpecial TraitsSkill Requirements
Short Sword2
Long Sword3Melee Combat 1
Naga Silksword3
  • Adds 2% chance of Critical Hit.
Critical Hit 1
  • Adds 30% of damage dealt to the player's health.
Strength 3
Superior Naga Silksword6
  • Adds 4% chance of Critical Hit.
Critical Hit 2
Earthfire Sword6
  • Adds 6 damage points (total of 12) to enemies vulnerable to fire.
Strength 2
Cleaver7Strength 2
Sword of the Dragonclaw9
  • Adds 9 damage points (total of 18) to Undead creatures.
Strength 3


WeaponDamageSpecial TraitsSkill Requirements
  • Can be thrown at enemies whenever:
  1. the player performs a Power Strike.
  2. the enemy is fleeing.
  3. the adrenaline meter is full.
Poison Kriss2
  • Poisons enemy when dealing a Power Strike with the weapon charged.
Stealth 3
Daggers of Frost2
  • Freezes enemy when dealing a Power Strike with the weapon charged.
Stealth 2
Gutting Kriss4
  • Adds 4% chance to Critical Hit.
Stealth 2
Lightning Daggers4
  • Adds 4 damage points (total of 8) to enemies vulnerable to lightning.
Melee Combat 2
Daggers of the Dragonfang7
  • Adds 7 damage points (total of 14) to Undead creatures.
  • Glows when Undead creatures are near.
Stealth 3


WeaponDamageSpecial TraitsSkill Requirements
Wooden Staff1
Combat Staff2Melee Combat 1
Staff of Reflection2
  • Launches a lightning bolt when dealing a Power Strike with the weapon charged
  • Press the "Parry" key to capture any magical projectile cast at Sareth to charge his staff.
Magic Affinity 1
Soulreaver Staff2
  • Steal's enemies' Mana upon any successful hits.
Magic Affinity 3
Staff of the Firelord3
  • Adds 3 damage points (total of 6) to enemies vulnerable to fire.
Melee Combat 1
Staff of the Dragonbone7
  • Adds 7 damage points (total of 14) to Undead creatures.
Magic Affinity 3

NOTE: Staffs are slow weapons and don't really inflict much damage, but can be quite useful when fighting packs of enemies, seen that they can easily stun or knock down enemies.

Misc. Melee

  • Club -- deals 1 damage.
  • Pickaxe -- deals 2 damage.
  • Axe -- deals 2 damage.
  • Hook -- deals 3 damage.


WeaponDamageSpecial TraitsSkill Requirements
Rope Bow1
  • Arrows fired with this bow spawn a rope when they hit a wooden surface.
Poison Bow2
  • Creates a magical poison cloud around the target.
Archery 2
Bow of Winter's Breath2
  • Freezes target when a charged arrow is fired.
Archery 2
Long Bow4Archery 1
Elven Bow5
  • Adds 3% chance of Critical Hit.
Critical Hit 2
Bow of Fiery Rage7
  • Adds 7 damage points (total of 14) to enemies vulnerable to fire.
Archery 3
Bow of the Dragonhorn8
  • Adds 8 damage points (total of 16) to Undead creatures.
Archery 3

Shields & Armor


NameHit ResistanceSkill Requirements
Orc Shield60Melee Combat 2
Wooden Shield120Melee Combat 2
Stonehelm Guard's Shield180Melee Combat 2
Black Guard's Shield180Melee Combat 2
Orc Buckler240Melee Combat 3
Vampire Knight's Shield240Melee Combat 3
Earthfire Shield
  • Indestructible.
  • Increases the player's protection from fire attacks.
Melee Combat 3
Lightning Shield
  • Indestructible.
  • Electrifies enemy upon any successful block.
Melee Combat 3

Robes & Armor

NameArmor ClassSpecial TraitsSkill Requirements
Wizard Robe1
  • Adds 10 Mana points.
Magic Affinity 1
Arcane Robe2
  • Adds 20 Mana points.
Magic Affinity 2
Chainmail Armor2Endurance 1
Master Thief's Outfit2
  • The player makes no sound when he/she moves.
Stealth 3
Plate Armor3Endurance 2
Shadowsteel Armor4
  • Adds 10 Health points.
Endurance 3


  • Ring of Arcane Brilliance -- adds 10 Mana points.
  • Ring of the Weaponmaster -- adds 2% chance to Critical Hit.
  • Ring of Phoenix -- if the player's health reaches 0, the ring prevents death and restores health.
  • Ring of Might -- adds 1 damage dealt point.
  • Ring of Regeneration -- slowly regenerates the player's health.
  • Ring of Fire Protection -- increases the player's protection from fire attacks.


Common Enemies

A Necromancer
A Necromancer
  • Black Guards -- run of the mill evil hired mercenaries.
  • Zombies -- the weakest of all the undead minions.
  • Ghouls -- these undead creatures are a lot harder to kill than Zombies, see that they are feral and incredibly agile.
  • Necromancers -- masters of dark magic.
  • Necrolords -- this class of Necromancers will promptly summon the dead to their aid and use ranged magic.
  • Orcs -- fearsome warriors that fight with honor; they are resistant to fire based attacks, but are weak to lightning.
  • Facehuggers -- flying octopus-like creatures that attack in groups and use lightning-based magic attacks.
  • A Vampire KnightA Vampire Knight
  • Goblins -- small weak creatures that fight in packs, hoping to overwhelm their victims; they are somewhat resistant to fire, but not to lightning.
  • Spiders -- these agile venomous arachnids come in various sizes; they're weak to fire-based weapons and attacks.
  • Vampire Knights -- the most skilled members of the Black Guard; they are quite fast and skilled.
  • Lich -- powerful Necromancers that have become undead, they can hide themselves with invisibility magic.
  • Cyclops -- big and slow, but powerful enough to pose a considerable threat; strong against fire magic, but weak against lightning. Their weakness is the eye.
  • Pao Kai -- ancient blind dragons that use powerful lightning-based attacks to stun their opponents; they're generally too strong to be killed without the some external assistance.


Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is divided into 9 Chapters plus a Prologue and an Epilogue.



  • The Gate of Stonehelm


  • The Gleam of a Cold Knife


  • Dead Man's Trail


  • Across the Sea of Blood


  • The Temple of the Spider


  • The Altar of the Skull


  • Fire In the Blood


  • In the House of Ashes


  • City of Flame



Dark Messiah features a Multiplayer portion that was developed independently, by Kuju Entertainment. Many people have drawn parallels to it and the battlefield franchise. Two playable factions exist: Human, and Undead. The two teams compete on a large map, vying for strategic positions.


The original score for Dark Messiah of Might & Magic was composed by Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan.

Track No.Song TitleRunning Time
01The Gates of Stonehelm01.28
02Crawling from the Deep02.37
03Redskull Island01.20
05Avatar of the Goddess04.55
06The Dark Messiah01.40
07Dark Revelation02.18
08Leana's Theme00.58
09Wings of Destruction02.42
10Summoning the Soul-Dragon01.31

PC System Requirements

As displayed on the back of the box.

  • Operating System : Windows XP (will sometimes work with Vista, but it's not guaranteed)
  • Processor : AMD Athlon, Pentium IV 2.6 GHz (3 GHz Recommended)
  • Memory : 512 MB RAM (1 GB Recommended)
  • Video Card : 128 MB DirectX 9 - compliant video card (256 MB recommended)
  • Sound Card : DirectX 9 compliant sound card
  • DirectX : DirectX 9 or Higher
  • DVD Drive : 4x or faster
  • Hard Drive Space : 7 GB free
  • Peripherals : Windows compatible mouse and keyboard
  • Multiplayer : Broadband internet connection with 64kbps upstream or faster.