Shadow Man (video game)
North American Nintendo 64 cover art
|Developer(s)||Acclaim Studios Teesside|
|Release date(s)||Nintendo 64 & Microsoft Windows
Shadow Man is an action-adventure game developed by Acclaim Studios Teesside and published by Acclaim Entertainment. It is based on the Shadowman comic book series published by Valiant Comics. The game was released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation and Dreamcast. A sequel, Shadow Man: 2econd Coming, was released exclusively for the PlayStation 2 in 2002.
In 1888, Jack the Ripper – lamenting the fact that his ritualistic murders have not unlocked a mystical power that he believes to exist – prepares to take his own life. A man named Legion appears and tells Jack that the power he seeks does exist and offers to share this power with him if Jack constructs an insane asylum for like-minded killers in Deadside – the land of the dead. Proclaiming "for we are many!", Jack takes his own life.
In the present day, Michael LeRoi becomes the latest Shadow Man – an ancient lineage of voodoo warriors who protect the world of the living (known as Liveside) from threats crossing over from Deadside – after the voodoo priestess Mama Nettie bonds the Mask of Shadows to him. Soon afterwards, Nettie has a prophetic dream that Legion is preparing to usher in the Apocalypse by claiming the Dark Souls – the immortal souls of damned warriors – and using them to create an immortal army and send it into Liveside. Nettie also reveals that Michael cannot stop the Five – a group of serial killers recruited by Legion – without his powers and that the Five – who each have a Dark Soul within them – are hiding in Liveside, where Michael's powers don't work during the day. Michael then travels to Deadside with the use of his dead brother's teddy bear, which serves as a link between both worlds.
After collecting all of the Dark Souls in Deadside and passing trials set by the gods of Deadside, Michael assembles a magic knife called the Eclipser. Returning to Liveside, Nettie uses the Eclipser to enable Michael to become the Shadow Man in Liveside during the day by causing an eclipse, exhausting Nettie's powers and sending her into a deep sleep in the process.
Michael then returns to Deadside and finds the Asylum as well as the Dark Engine which powers it. Michael then finds his long-dead brother Luke within the Dark Engine as well as several paths back to Liveside which lead to the hiding places of the Five. Michael defeats the Five and claims each of their souls in the process. During this time, Michael finds Jack the Ripper's diary, which contains instructions on how to shut down the Dark Engine. Michael shuts down the Engine, finding Luke and giving him back his teddy bear, only to find that Luke is actually Legion in disguise; Legion impersonated Luke in order to lure Michael into the Dark Engine.
Legion reveals that he sent Nettie the dream so that Michael would be forced to gather up all of the Dark Souls and confront Legion, enabling Legion to claim all of the Dark Souls at once and use them to power the Engine, creating his army and sending it into Liveside. After an intense battle, Michael gives Legion all of the Dark Souls, whose combined power overwhelms Legion and kills him, destroying the Asylum as well. However, Michael is now stranded in Deadside but embraces his position as lord of Deadside.
- Michael 'Mike' LeRoi/Shadow Man: Mike (Redd Pepper) is the character that the player takes control of throughout the game. An immortal voodoo warrior and the current Shadow Man, Mike is haunted by the death of his younger brother Luke.
- Mama Nettie: Agnetta, or Mama Nettie, is an immortal voodoo priestess who created the Mask of Shadows and chooses its bearer. Hundreds of years old, she lives in the body of a young woman who betrayed her. She gives advice to Michael throughout the game.
- Jaunty: Jaunty is a human who, after being kidnapped and slain by occult students, was resurrected by Nettie in Deadside in the form of a top hat wearing snake with a skull for a head and as a dwarf in Liveside. Jaunty is familiar with Deadside and gives Michael valuable information and advice throughout the game.
- Thomas Deacon: Deacon is a devout detective who provides Nettie with information about the Five.
- Milton Pike (born July 4, 1952): A member of the group of serial killers recruited by Legion known as the Five. He is known as the 'Video Nasty Killer' for sending police recordings of his crimes.
- Marco Cruz (born March 13, 1968): Another member of the Five. Called the 'Repo Man' by police due to his modus operandi of gaining entry to people's homes under the guise of a repossession agent, Marco preyed on couples in and around the Death Valley and Mojave Desert areas.
- Avery Marx (born January 18, 1973): Another member of the Five. Known as the "Home Improvement Killer" because of his MO of cutting off the power to his victim's homes before stalking them in the dark wearing a pair of night vision goggles.
- John G. Pierce/Jack The Ripper: Another of the Five, John G. Pierce is an architect who was hired by Legion to construct the Asylum within Deadside after first committing suicide and has spent the last 100 years constructing it.
- Victor Batrachian (born April 8, 1961): Victor is the leader of the Five, known as "The Lizard King". Victor was a student who held a Ph.D. in forensic psychiatry and was a licensed General Practitioner. He committed several murders throughout Europe and America, taunting the authorities with letters signed 'The Lizard King', but was eventually captured, tried and convicted for his crimes in the US.
- Legion: Legion is the main antagonist of the game and its final boss, who appears as an aristocratic man wielding a cane-sword whose mouth is always bleeding. Legion quotes and paraphrases the passage "And he asked him, 'What is thy name?' And he replied, 'My name is Legion, for we are many'." (recognizable as Mark 5:9 from the Christian Bible) on several occasions throughout the game with the last few words of the passage, "for we are many", used as a mantra by the Five.
Shadow Man was met with mixed to positive reviews. Aggregating review website GameRankings gave the Dreamcast version 76.09%, the PC version 75.97%, the Nintendo 64 version 73.26% and the PlayStation version 53.96%.
Shadow Man was re-released on September 17, 2013 on GOG.com, available for downloading for Windows, (with a version for OS X subsequently added), and later on Steam, available for downloading for Windows and OS X.
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