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|Designer(s)||Brian Raffel, Steve Raffel|
|Release date(s)||1993 (floppy); 1994 (CD)|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
|Distribution||floppy disc, CD-ROM|
ShadowCaster is a first-person/role-playing video game from 1993 developed by Raven Software. It was released by Origin Systems after Electronic Arts acquired them. A CD-ROM version was released in 1994, featuring two additional levels with new monsters, and replacing text boxes with FMVs and spoken narration through CD-DA audio tracks.
The player takes the role of Kirt, a human with powers of shapeshifting. Among other forms, Kirt can become a huge cat-like animal, a floating tentacle-wielding gazer, and a dragon. In the beginning of the game Kirt finds out that he is not in fact human, but comes from a parallel world where there was a war raging between shapeshifters for centuries. Kirt, and his grandfather, are the last of their kind, and now the evil ones have found them. Kirt's grandfather opens a portal back to the homeworld, and that is where the story begins. Kirt's mission is to stop the demons once and for all, but first he will need to awaken his innate shapeshifting powers, which is where the obelisks come into play. Going up to one of these and touching it will unlock a new form, and the first is the cat form. Few video games have made the concept of shapechanging the center of their gameplay; Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap is an earlier example of this, while The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and Kameo: Elements of Power are later ones.
The main character of Kirt was based on the name of the game's software developer, Kurt Schallitz, and included his brown leather jacket. The face of Kirt is actually that of Raven Software's owner, Brian Raffel.
Kirt - The default character. All abilities are weak, but has some fighting skill and is the only form in which magic rejuvenates. Health also rejuvenates but slower than magic does.
Maorin - The first form the character collects, and the most useful early in the game. Maorin is a large four-armed cat like creature with superior fighting skills and the ability to see things invisible to others. It drowns quickly however.
Caun - A leprechaun like creature who is a poor fighter, but can heal quickly, jump over obstacles, fit in smaller spaces and unleash a swarm of insects (needed to unlock a particular door). Also has a shield spell and a light spell, and can magically reach out and take objects which are far away.
Opsis - A hovering eye with tentacles that can use spells effectively, such as fireballs and cold blasts. Moves very slowly in the air.
Kahpa - A decent fighter that can breathe underwater. Has a sonic and an electrical attack. Both are supposed to be extra powerful in water.
Ssair - A hovering dragon with no legs with better attack (but weaker defense) than the Maorin. Can breathe fire and use its tail as a weapon. Very fast flier, and real Ssair, who are normally hostile, will ignore Kirt when he is in the form of one.
Grost - A man made of stone that is an excellent fighter with strong defense that can also punch through certain walls. Can cause earthquakes and paralyse his foes with a mere touch.
The ShadowCaster game engine, a successor of the Wolfenstein 3D and a predecessor of the Doom technology, was written by id Software's John Carmack and licensed to Raven Software. Carmack wrote the ShadowCaster 3D engine during his technology research after id completed Wolfenstein 3D. The engine features diminished lighting, texture mapped floors and ceilings, walls with variable heights and sloped floors. The engine was "about half as fast as that of Wolfenstein" but fit the exploration of ShadowCaster rather than the fast paced action of Doom.