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, entitled Shadow Man: 2econd Coming, was released exclusively for the PlayStation 2 in 2002.
|This section needs an improved plot summary. (October 2013)|
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 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, the voodoo priestess Mama Nettie implants the Mask of Shadows within Michael LeRoi, making him the Shadow Man. Soon after, Nettie has a dream that Legion is preparing to usher in the Apocalypse by using five serial killers known as 'the Five' as his heralds and claiming the Dark Souls, the immortal souls of damned warriors, to create an immortal army and send it into Liveside - the land of the living. Michael is forced to travel to Deadside and collect the Dark Souls and take them into himself in order to stop Legion from claiming them.
According to a prophecy left behind by St. Michael, a previous Shadow Man, Michael cannot stop the Five without his Shadow Man powers. The Five are hiding in Liveside, where Michael's Shadow Man powers do not work. After traveling to Deadside, collecting all of the Dark Souls, and passing the trials set by the gods of Deadside, Michael assembles a magic knife called the Eclipser. Returning to Liveside, Nettie uses the Eclipser to "release the shadow into the land of men", giving Michael his Shadow Man powers in Liveside and exhausting Nettie's powers, sending her into a deep sleep.
Michael travels back to Deadside and finds the Asylum, eventually finding the "Dark Engine" which powers it. Michael finds his long-dead brother Luke within the Dark Engine but is unable to follow him. Michael also finds several paths back to Liveside which lead to the hiding places of the Five. Michael defeats the Five and finds Jack the Ripper's diary in the process, which includes 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, who impersonated Luke in order to lure Michael into the Engine.
It is revealed that Legion created the prophecy so that a Shadow Man would gather the Dark Souls and come to confront him, where Legion would then claim all of the Dark Souls at once and use them to power the Engine, allowing him to create his army and send it into Liveside. Using the enhanced powers the Dark Souls grant him, Michael gives Legion all of the Dark Souls. Overcome by the combined power of all of the Dark Souls, Legion dies and the Asylum collapses around him. However, Michael is now stranded in Deadside and drained of most of his powers, but embraces his position as the Lord of Deadside.
- Michael LeRoi/Shadow Man: Mike (Redd Pepper) is the character that the player takes control of throughout the game. A voodoo warrior, Mike is haunted by the memories of his dead brother.
- Mama Nettie: Agnetta, or Mama Nettie, is the powerful voodoo priestess who created the Mask of Shadows and controls its bearer. Hundreds of years old, she lives in the body of a young woman who betrayed her. She cannot travel to Deadside. She gives various forms of advice.
- Jaunty: After being kidnapped and slain by occult students, Nettie convinces Jaunty to work for her in exchange for a new body, which manifests as a snake with a skull for a head in Deadside. Jaunty is very familiar with Deadside and gives Mike much valuable information as well as advice when visited throughout the game.
- Thomas Deacon: Mentioned only in the first game, Deacon is a devout detective who provides Nettie with information about 'the Five'. Deacon has a physical appearance in the game's sequel, 2econd Coming, where he meets his end at the hands of Asmodeus.
- Milton Pike (born July 4, 1952): A member of the group of serial killers recruited by Legion known as 'the Five'. Known as the 'Video Nasty Killer' for sending police recordings of his crimes. He also served in the Vietnam war and the United States Army Special Forces. Not long before the events of the game Milton was apprehended by FBI agents after an intense gun battle and incarcerated in the fictional Gardelle County Jail in Texas, which is where he can be found in the game.
- 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. He also worked as a DJ for a short period of time before being imprisoned in Gardelle County Jail.
- 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. Through several implications in his in-game dialogue, it appears that Avery was molested as a child by his own mother, whom he later killed. Part of his MO is to leave the skull of a canary with a written poem rolled up inside at the scenes of his crimes. As such he raises canaries at his home. He used the bodies of his slain victims to create "furniture" and a "decorative" river of blood for his hideout, a condemned hotel located at the fictional Mordant St. in the Queens borough of New York City.
- John G. Pierce/Jack The Ripper: Another of 'the Five'. An architect by trade, John G. Pierce is hired by Legion to construct the Asylum - a place for killers and murderers to flee once the apocalypse arrives. It is initially believed that the Jack the Ripper appearing in the game is a copycat of the original killer, but when the player obtains Jack's diary it is revealed that the Jack appearing in the game is the original Jack, having spent the last 100 years constructing the Asylum. Jack is characterized as a spineless coward, as he instantly submits to Legion's instruction and rule when asked to take his own life. John G. Pierce is a fictional character invented for the purposes of the game as the real Jack the Ripper has never been identified.
- Victor Batrachian (born April 8, 1961): Born to a wealthy banker in Geneva, Switzerland, Victor is the leader of 'the Five', known as "The Lizard King". Victor was quite a brilliant student, and by the end of his education 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. By the time the events of the game begin, he is awaiting punishment on death row in Gardelle County Jail, where he incites a massive riot that overtakes the entire prison. He has the power to make a person's head explode and then reanimate their corpse, thanks to the power granted him by Legion.
- Legion: Legion is the main antagonist of the game and its final boss. It is never stated exactly what Legion is in the game, though it is implied that he is a demon and he himself states that he is a God. "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. Legion also quotes and paraphrases this passage himself on several occasions throughout the game and, with increasing regularity towards the end of the game, and refers to himself as 'we' or 'us'. The last few words of the passage, "for we are many", are also used as a sort of mantra by 'the Five'. Legion appears as an aristocratic man of between thirty and forty years of age wielding a cane-sword. However, most perturbing of all is Legion's mouth, which seems to be constantly bleeding.
||This section contains instructions, advice, or how-to content. (October 2013)|
The game is divided into fifteen levels, which the player can warp between at will once a level has been visited. Distributed among the levels are 120 Dark Souls which the player can collect to increase their Shadow Level (maximum of ten). The entrance to each level is blocked by a Shadow Gate that cannot be opened unless the player has obtained a certain Shadow Level; restricting the player's access to certain levels until a sufficient number of souls have been obtained. A minimum of 95 Dark Souls are required to reach Shadow Level 9 and complete the game, though reaching Shadow Level 10 gives the player access to an additional weapon called the Violator - the strongest weapon in the game. The player must also assemble a large inventory of items to aid them in exploration, such as armbands that allow the player to climb blood waterfalls.
Many of the levels take place in Deadside, but a few of the levels take place in Liveside. In Deadside, Mike can stay underwater indefinitely without drowning and use the voodoo-themed weapons that are accumulated throughout the game. Mike cannot use these abilities in Liveside unless an item called the Eclipser is assembled. Mike also cannot confront the serial killers in Liveside until the Eclipser has been found.
The game's combat revolves around the use of firearms. The player collects several magical weapons throughout the game as well as a machine gun and shotgun to be used in Liveside. The player can use Mike's default weapon - the shadowgun - to make enemies drop health power-ups when defeated. Some of the game's weapons have secondary uses as exploration tools. The player can wield two weapons at once and strafe around enemies while maintaining a weapons lock and line of sight on an enemy.
In theory the player can play the game's levels in any order they want; exploring areas at their leisure as long as they've collected enough dark souls. However, the limited number of dark souls and the placement of shadow gates forces players to visit and complete levels in one specific order through much of the game.
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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- "Shadow Man for PC". GameRankings. 1999-07-31. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
- "Shadow Man for Nintendo 64". GameRankings. 1999-07-31. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
- "Shadow Man for PlayStation". GameRankings. 1999-09-30. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
- "Shadow Man - IGN". Uk.ign.com. 1999-08-24. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
- Sunu, Steve (2013-09-17). "‘Shadow Man’ game returns with digital distribution | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment". Robot6.comicbookresources.com. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
- "News - Release: Shadow Man". GOG.com. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
- byjoshzilla. "Shadow Man for download $5.99". GOG.com. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- GOG.com (2013-11-15). "Bonus! More Mac Games on GOG.com!". cdp.pl.
- "News - Now Available - Shadow Man". Store.steampowered.com. Retrieved 2013-10-19.