At other times, you need to pass through demon pube gates – yes, you read that right - unlocked by destroying power sources revealed when submerged in darkness. And each of the game's memorable boss battles cleverly employs light and dark to complicate the standard glowing weak-spot formula.
In isolation, there's nothing novel about these mechanics. But Shadows' coup de theatre is the convoluted mayhem of combat, where pulling off headshots is of secondary importance to your ability to respond to ever changing dynamics by chopping and changing tactics at breakneck speeds.
It's ironic, then, that for all this diversity, the game's latter half descends into monotony, despite the introduction of a couple of mini-games to break the incessant combat. The first is a simple sniping section where you shoot giant demons lurching towards you along restricted paths. And the second is a quaint 2D side-scrolling shoot-em-up in a wood-cut animation style. There's also a one-off spatial puzzle that involves revolving bridges to navigate an intelligently designed room. But these additions arrive too late, and are all too brief and rudimentary to alleviate the game's primary focus on combat.
Shadows' strengths and weaknesses both lie in its preoccupation with combat. There are few games able to rival the intensity and intelligence of its gunplay, but there will also be few gamers, I suspect, satisfied with its punishing relentlessness. And with no multiplayer, co-op or additional difficulty levels to extend the experience, the real horror lurking in Shadows' hell is that it doesn't quite live up to its devilish flashes of imagination. ®
More Games Reviews
|Child of Eden||
Shadows of the Damned
Citation needed (and not just a link back to the front page of ElReg, for preference!)
>"the more sexual, visceral imagery of Lovecraft "
Can you provide references quoting any of this supposed imagery? I've not read all of his books by any means but as far as I've read so far, he's certainly no HR Giger. His imagery is sinister, macabre, twisted, perhaps occasionally a bit visceral, but sexual? That old prude? I have yet to see any evidence of it. His books relied on tension and atmosphere, not full-out gore guts and tentacle sex.
3/4 of Shakespeare's plays fit that description. The existence of a feature is not the only thing that matters - the use and quality of that feature are also important.
Duke Nukem played with a turd; my dog played with his turds - my dog was still a better way to spend my time than DNF
"skull sidekick [snip] (with) a propensity to spew knob gags" - so Morte? [http://shrines.rpgclassics.com/pc/planescape/characters.shtml#morte]
Shadows of the damned: Mediocre graphics, knob jokes, linear gaming - 70%
Duke Nukem Forever: Mediocre graphics, knob jokes, linear gaming - 40%
DNF didn't even get bonus points for having multiplayer?