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Reviewed: Shadowman
Author: Chris Kim       Date: October 27th 1999
Page: 2

Being a conversion from a comic book, many people will already have knowledge of the backdrop and historical background on Shadowman. Exactly what Shadowman turned into is a crime fighting, pulse pounding, action oriented 3D Third Person action adventure game that involves a lot of combat and maze searching. The game packs a lot of finding and searching through several huge worlds, which are sure to keep even the most advanced and best adventurers playing for days to solve the whole game. The game also adds a ton of great pluses on the side with an original graphics engine, which is sure to please just about any graphical junkie, some of the best sound effects and music in a videogame, and simple to use controls.

Into the Caves of Darkness
Help Me God!
Jumpy...Jumpy

For thousands of years, the Shadowmen have protected the world from deadly predators switching from the Liveside to Deadside in the form of deadly spirits. Michael LeRoi, a student, doctor, taxi driver, and now hitman has become the newest Shadowman, protecting the innocent from the malevolent forces of evil in the form of Dark Souls coming from Deadside, possessing mortal human bodies. Then Michael gets in trouble with a mafia group, he is on the crap list of some big mafia dudes and is planned to be killed. Well, he pays his way through to save himself, but the insurance he buys doesn't cover his family, only he survives while the rest of his family is brutally beaten and murdered to death, including his little brother Luke. Well, that's pretty much the backstory on Shadowman, for the current story, Michael LeRoi meets up with Nettie, a voodoo priest that gives orders and commands to Michael on what to do as a Shadowman as a debt of her services of protecting him. Five Dark Souls from the Darkside have transferred into Liveside and taken over mortal bodies, only problem is that these five Dark Souls are also the souls of five evil psycho serial killers. Michael must then convert back and fourth between the Liveside and Deadside trying to find and destroy these Dark Souls.

Bloody Water, Bloody Body Parts...
Walkin' On the Deadside
This is My House!

With the mind of being a crossover game of both the living and dead worlds, appropriately called Deadside and Liveside, Shadowman puts Michael LeRoi as the Shadowman who is the protector of the world from the crossing over of dead Dark Souls from Deadside. As the Shadowman, Michael must very often switch over between the worlds, oddly enough using a Teddybear that belonged to his younger brother Luke, who had been killed earlier, providing the link between the Liveside and Deadside worlds.

Traveling between the worlds, Michael will meet many different forces from evil demons, zombies, to wild dogs, and psycho humans. These enemies, which Michael will encounter vary in shape, size, and form, some being more vicious and dangerous than others. One of the coolest parts about Shadowman are the really awesome enemies and baddies. Taking place in the different places not in this dimension, specifically Darkside, out of this world enemies will be encountered. The way that they move and attack and simply astounding, the enemies have such a look that makes them appear from a mutated Frankenstein movie. The variety in monster types is great, others with a simply unique monster type never seen before in any other game before. Some really huge butcher type characters that simply burst, or flying demons with dashing boulders, or a clawing screech of a monster hurling boulders at shadowman.

Combat with enemies leaves a bit to be desired though, all the combat simply involves running several circle strafes around the enemy and rapidly firing a weapon at the enemy. This method of fighting is simply the easiest and almost only way to go about combat, even though it might be repetitive, it is still fun to attack. With the shadowgun, after attacking an enemy with enough attack, they will start to shake violently and then burst suddenly into a pile of guts and blood. There is also a sniper or first person camera that can be used, but this angle is pretty useless because the player is stuck in that position and cannot avoid on coming fire from other enemies.

Damn Fish
Oh, Poor Baby
Blast 'Em!

Onto the involvement of adventuring and finding the way around the world of Shadowman, being a very large place to explore combining two worlds into one, traveling can be rather difficult because a map of travels is not included. That isn't too large of a worry though, as finding the way around isn't too difficult. Players will spend a lot of their time traveling around the Deadside looking for more Dark Souls to increase their shadow powers just to progress onto the next stage. Without enough shadow power, they will find that they can't even complete tasks from the Liveside. It tends to turn into a scavenger hunt. The game also lacks a bit of direction, leaving the player to fend for themselves as what to do and where to go. Sure, this might be called non-linearity, but not having any idea where to go or what to do can be quite frustrating. But the locations are so intricate, that sometimes it won't matter.

Players will travel through vast worlds with plenty of detail, walking, running, or swimming to accomplish various tasks. There is a decent variety of swimming underwater and travel on foot. Going through various rigid terrain like a subway or the rocky hills of Deadside will sure keep the player jumping and hot footed while playing. There are several hazards on the way as well such as weak bridges that collapse on contact, deep murky water, or even lava which will burn the player to death on contact.

The design of the worlds is good, it's not the most astounding in the world, but they are adequate. They will lead the player in the right direction as in terms of finding out what the next crucial step in solving the mystery might be, but there isn't really enough character interaction with other NPC's to really develop a huge story. Most of the traveling will involve just Shadowman alone combating thousands and thousands of enemies, which when traveling to Deadside and Liveside, will spontaneously reincarnate and battle again in the same spot that they were killed.

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Added:  Wednesday, October 27, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 2/5

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