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Reviewed: Shadowman
Author: Chris Kim       Date: October 27th 1999
Page: 3

There is no multiplayer option.

Being an action based adventure shooter game, the game is a little bit lack luster on the side of having intelligent creatures. There are many different baddies in the game, all with their own personalities, but all of them have a similar or the same type of attack method. All the enemies just have the tendency to run into the player and attempt to bash Shadowman to bits. Of course, it would seem appropriate that these enemies would be thick headed and dumb because they are well... dead.

Difficulty wise, the game isn't the most challenging game in the world, but the game does seem to lack a bit of direction. For instance, immediately when the game begins at Dead Side, Shadowman just goes on a search for dark souls rampage search... not exactly what would be called the greatest direction in a game. Anyway, the adventuring isn't extremely difficult, navigation is somewhat hard without a map, but hey, then it wouldn't be an adventure game now would it?

Call the FD!
Never Liked Dogs...
Look, I'm Mario

Picking up the controls and hang of the game is rather simple. Control of Shadowman is quite similar to how the controls were for Lara in Tomb Raider. The best control is through a gamepad, as rotation of the player isn't crucial like it is in a first person shooter game. There are four basic controls for Shadowman, movement, firing, jump, and action. Each movement is finely tuned for precision control of Shadowman. The strafe and roll controls are easily used for maneuvering around obstacles and avoiding the line of fire from enemies. Running circle strafes and attack maneuvers are very simple to perform and executed simply. All of the movement controls of Shadowman are very smooth, operational, and responsive. There is a sniper or first person camera also available, but the angle is completely useless because then Shadowman can't move in any direction, making him an open target to attack.

Learning the way around the interface isn't the easiest way to go because Shadowman is also a console game, so the interface has a very consolish feel to it. All menus are navigated by moving arrows up and down, submenus of inventory are a boxed up with arrows as navigation points. It's simple, but addition of mouse would have been nice.

The Power to Open Gates
Cutscenes Around
Trap Doors

Graphically, Shadowman won't make Quake 3 Arena shake in its boots, but the graphics are quite well done. The game takes full advantage of 3D Accelerators, with a broad range of support of different graphical features through Direct3D. The game supports nearly all advanced 3D Acceleration features, with extremely high resolution support, 32-Bit rendering, advanced real time lighting, high resolution textures, and smoothly animated polygonal characters. The world of Shadowman, as stated before takes place in two completely different locations, Liveside and Deadside, each supporting completey unique worlds in terms of graphical splendor. Graphically, in Liveside, the game moves from deserts, subways, to swamps. The correct lighting and shade of color is used appropriately from location to location, with appropriate objects in each locale. In Deadside, where a lot of the game is spent, the graphics really make the environment come to life. The eerie lighting effects are used to perfection to make the game feel as if it were really in a hellish environment. Textures used on the floor are excellent.

Models of the characters and enemies are done to near perfection. They are animated extremely smoothly with many cool looking animations. Be warned, this game is not for the faint of heart, there is a ton of gore and blood in the game. The blood may not be the most realistic looking, but it surely adds to the feel of being an intense game. Characters look smooth, aren't blocky, and have a realistic look to them, they will move fluidly and have many animations that make them feel and look impressive. What really is impressive though, are the graphics that revolve around Michael, the Liveside counterpart of the Shadowman. He is very smoothly animated, crossing hand over hand on the rope or shooting his gun jumping back and fourth between places. One really cool thing about Michael, is how his shirt will move as it would freely in real time, rather than being stuck to his body, the shirt roams freely bobbing up and down and moving side to side.

But not all graphics are great, there are a few problems with textures used in for walls. Few of the textures used in Deadside are rather grainy and seem to be misaligned or misplaced on the wall. The textures are sometimes all appear as if they are cutting into each other or tearing.

Asylum? Maybe...
Nope, Gotham City's Asylum?
"Everyone That Burns Has to Learn From the Pain"

From sound effects, the game really has an impressive touch to it, albeit a bit repetitive. The game doesn't use any 3D sound API for its sound effects, but the sound is rather impressive, and does sound as if it is positional. Audio can be heard from all direction, the sound tends to engulf the player when in a place. Silence is often even the deadliest key to having an effective experience. Players will find themselves trapped by the aureal audio experience from ambient sounds like water flowing in the background, birds chirping, or grass moving. The harsh pitched screams of enemies in the distance can certainly frighten players. The sound isn't merely used for hearing, it is used to actually enhance the feeling and make the player feel there. But even great execution cannot be deterred from the repetitive nature of the sounds. Very often, the sounds of the game will just be filled with rapid firing of guns, sometimes getting a bit annoying. The speech of Shadowman/Michael is very well done and sounds very convincing when interacting with other characters.

Musical experience is something that can't be neglected neither. Shadowman delivers on promise with a pulse-pounding soundtrack, rather than getting the player excited, draws the player into the world with low, creepy toned musical pieces, even being very subtle to the sound.

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Added:  Wednesday, October 27, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 3/5

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