Gameplay & Story
This is one of my fav games of all time, it basically does what Tomb Raider & Soul Reaver does, but far better (though it came out a bit earlier as Soul Reaver). You are the Shadow Man, cursed and immortal voodoo warrior and traveller between Liveside & Deadside to save the world (but there’s a bit more to it than that). You get to do everything, from killing zombies and other undead creatures to solving puzzles, exploring huge levels, backtracking to get new items, once you get power ups (in the form of tattoos, that let you scale walls, walk on lava, swim in boiling water), etc…
Most of the game you will play in Deadside, which is basically hell; and a twisted world it is, the creators of this game really did their best to make it a nightmarish experience with a lot of psychological horror involved. It is a voodoo themed game, so there’s also some magic involved as well and the voodoo/horror combo works surprisingly well.
You get stronger by absorbing Dark Souls (120 of them to be exact), which are hidden throughout the game and in bosses. You need those to unlock new parts of the game, in the form of Shadow Gates which require you to have a Shadow Power from 1 to 10 to be opened. The game is very well balanced, if you want to open say the 5th Shadow Gate but you only have a Shadow Power of 4, you obviously forgot something somewhere. The Shadow Power meter also acts as your magic gauge, if it is depleted you need to go looking for magic skulls to recharge it. You need magic to light a torch to go into dark places, break certain walls, teleport, etc…luckily magic skulls can be picked up in certain places in the game.
It’ll keep you busy for at least 35 hours if you don’t use a walkthrough, to say this game is big, is actually an understatement, every time you think you’re at the end, it just expands again…
You also get loads of weapons to find/unlock and you can hold something in every hand so at some point you can run around with not one, but TWO shotguns or machine guns and blow everything away, there’s also a bunch of magical items that have one or two uses going from a torch, drumstick, teleport, explosions,…
Controls are spot on, run, jump, grab ledges, push objects, you have a button for every hand so you get to equip 2 items or weapons at the same time. Collision detection if very good for a game this old
If you’re into exploring for hours and hours on end, this is for you.Graphics
Though dated, it still holds up very well today, specially in VGA. It is a very dark game and is best played in a dark room. Everything looks polished and well designed, but at the same time it is very twisted and warped (a bit like running through a nightmare). Mind that though it doesn’t look like it at first this is a horror game, and a very clever one too. Though most of the time you kill off undead stuff & monsters, all the water in the game (rivers, pools and such) is blood, there’s literally blood everywhere. Enemies explode, blood & pieces fly everywhere, there’s rooms that are completely covered in the stuff, while other rooms are very clean, except for a few bloody letters on the walls.
There’s a level that is literally one big rotting building, with decaying corpses and swarms of flies everywhere…Enemies vary from zombies to things that are made from a male & female torso sewn together, crawling around on their hands, creatures that have human bodies with pieces of dog sewn on them, humanoid things with hooks and saws attached to their bodies, all very nasty looking, reminding a bit of Hellraiser. Enemies in the Liveried are all homicidal maniacs, you even get Jack the ripper as a boss.Sound/Music
Again spot on, varying from soundscapes to absolute silence, tribal drums in the temples, eerie piano, the sound of screaming babies & crying women in the asylum, that sort of thing. There’s enemies that vomit on you, again great sound there. It all adds to the atmosphere of the game. All the weapons sound great, growling enemies, explosions, dripping of blood, etc…Replay
It’s not something you go back to every month, because it is so long, but you also won’t complete it 100% the first few times you play it through (unless you use a guide), there’s just so much to find, do and unlock in this game.Overall
As this is one of my fev games of all time, I can’t help but give it a 9. it is totally balanced and long enough to give you a run for your money.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYKfzb1h95s
We are SEGA generation.