|Developer(s)||The 3DO Company|
|Publisher(s)||The 3DO Company|
|Series||Might and Magic|
Shifters, alternatively known as Shifters of Might and Magic, is a 2002 role-playing video game, published and developed by The 3DO Company for the PlayStation 2. Set in the fictional Might and Magic universe, it is a direct sequel to the PlayStation 2 incarnation of Warriors of Might and Magic.
Within Shifters you play as Alleron, the lead character from Warriors of Might and Magic. Within this game Alleron must defeat a horde of flesh and metal invaders who are replacing the villages with steam-powered cities. Unlike the previous game, Alleron has gained the power to shapeshift and can assume 24 different creature forms, such as a humanoid ram and griffin like creature etc.
Alleron travels through six different worlds in which he must do battle with members of a specific race. Often, these areas end in boss battles, although not always. Along the way, there are many "secret" areas that are accessible only to particular forms, such as areas blocked off by bars or grates (which can only be accessed in Genie form after having cast the Gaseous Form spell.) No matter the choices of forms, however, the main game is always completable.
Throughout the game, Alleron encounters large green shards that grant him new forms. Of the six possible forms in the game, Alleron can only choose four. The beastial form is always the first form that Alleron obtains.
The grunt form of the Beastials is the Iron-Hoof Warrior, who has the characteristics of a ram. Upon acquiring this form, Alleron obtains the Lloyd's Sanctuary spell, which can instantly transport him back to the nearest safe hub (although it likely does not work in the first area.)
The shaman form of the Beastials is the Spirit Claw, which is the only explicit female form of the game and has the characteristics of a jaguar. When Alleron upgrades to the Beastial Shaman, he (or she) obtains the Minor Healing spell.
The Beastial Mage is the Silver Raptor, which has the characteristics of an eagle (however the wings are made of metal and therefore this form cannot fly. If Alleron chooses this form then he obtains the Channel Runes spell, which lays a mine of elemental energy that explodes if an enemy steps on it.
The Beastial Warlord is the Tusklord, which has the characteristics of an elephant. With the Tusklord form comes the Channel Protection spell, which increases Alleron's defense considerably better than his innate Bless spell.
The Deadspawn are long-dead servants of Phath-Ral, a name that never comes up in the actual game itself. For some reason, the ancient mage Sekhotep has been disturbed from his long slumber and has not only stirred the rest of the Undead, but has cursed the city of Muq'Abar with a horrible plague. Whenever Alleron is in an Undead form, poison (which usually comes in the form of a bright green gas) has no effect on him. This is a considerably useful form.
The grunt form is a simple, brittle-looking zombie who wears a tall hat and wields a sword.
The shaman is a floating faceless being wearing a turban. He has a unique war cry. If Alleron upgrades to the undead shaman, he obtains the Absorption spell, which is arguably the most useful spell in the game. It steals health from a target (in the form of a glowing fireball) and grants it to Alleron when he comes in contact with said fireball. When venturing through the Undead world, it is wise to target the shamans before any other enemies. Although this form floats, Alleron cannot fly while in any form; he can only jump.
The mage is a floating half-skeleton wearing a cloak, and can also be heard very clearly from a distance. If Alleron chooses the Undead mage form, he obtains the Raise Dead spell, which brings any dead creature (but does not work on Automata) back to life (supposedly one time only.) This raised creature will follow and fight to the death for Alleron. Alleron can raise any number of creatures at a time (although this seems not to work so well while actually in Undead form,) but more creatures makes it harder to run around. There is a glitch with this spell where if Alleron raises a creature from the dead, then loads a new level and returns to the level where he raised the creature, that creature will respawn as an enemy and Alleron might have to fight it again. If said enemy dropped an item the first time it was killed, it will drop the same item subsequent times as well.
The warlord form looks similar to the grunt form, but he wears a cloak and a dog that represents an Egyptian dog. He also wields two swords. With this form comes the invisibility spell, which makes invisibility potions null.
The Kreegan are a nightmarish, alien-like race. If Alleron chooses this form, he obtains the View Past spell, which can only be cast while in Kreegan form. This spell is useful for seeing events from the past, and even obtaining items that would otherwise be unobtainable. This spell usually has some sort of reward if cast near a dead human character if said character was found dead and could not have been saved.
The grunt form is an eyeless beast with a mouth within a mouth, who moves around by rolling. Whenever one is killed, it likes to jump up in the air for some reason.
The shaman form is a floating blue winged creature without legs, who moves around by gliding. If Alleron upgrades to this form, he obtains the Bend Time spell, which is arguably one of the most useful spells in the game. Bending time slows down time for everything except the caster, which allows Alleron to easily break enemy attack patterns or give himself enough time to get away and recover.
The mage form is a purple floating creature with a huge head and is arguably one of the most dangerous characters in the game. It moves around with a weird glide, as it has to stop and push itself forward with each flap. If Alleron chooses this form, he obtains the Summon Kreegan spell, which is much like the Raise Dead spell except no dead creature is required. Alleron will simply summon a Kreegan warlord out of nowhere and that warlord will follow and fight to the death for him.
The Kreegan warlord is a large blue creature that runs around on all fours and has six bony spines sticking out of its back. Choosing this form grants Alleron the Silence spell. However, this spell is not recommended. Although it prevents enemies from sounding alarms and hearing Alleron approaching, it does not prevent any characters from spell-casting as the manual says. Besides, the Kreegan mage form essentially grants the Kreegan warlord form with it because of the Summon Kreegan spell.
The genies (or Djinn) are beings of pure magic. While they at first come off as trustworthy friends of the people of Muq'Abar, a rogue band of genies have been plotting against the humans and have taken the sultan hostage. If Alleron chooses the Djinn form, he obtains the Gaseous Form spell, which can only be cast while in Djinn form. This spell temporarily allows Alleron to pass freely through most bars and grates (typically good for finding shortcuts and secrets.) However, the Gaseous form does not prevent Alleron from dealing damage or taking damage while in combat.
The Djinn grunt is a chubby blue genie who wears a turban and wields a sword. His legs are semi-transparent.
The Djinn shaman is a red, muscular genie who carries a weapon that somewhat resembles a bladed boomerang. Contrary to the manual, this form does NOT grant Alleron the Imprison spell (in fact, that spell is not in the game at all, nor is it listed in the manual.) Rather, this form grants Alleron the Nuke spell, which is pretty useful at a distance. However, the Nuke spell will damage and knock Alleron back if his target is too close. Also contrary to the manual, Alleron retains the Nuke spell even if he upgrades to the Djinn mage or warlord form.
The Djinn mage somewhat resembles Jafar from Aladdin, except instead of legs, he seems to have some sort of tornado that continuously kicks up dirt. If Alleron chooses this form, he obtains the Fascination spell, which befuddles enemies in a radius, causing them to temporarily stand defenseless in place.
The Djinn warlord is a deep blue figure with broad shoulders and a whirlwind in place of legs. He wields a long bladed staff and takes a considerable amount of damage. If Alleron chooses this form, he obtains the Roaming Eye spell, which is good for first-timers who do not know the layout of the game so well. This spell generates a magical eye that the player can temporarily steer to stake out remote areas.
The Hybrids are failed experiments at controlling humans with magical technologies. The process has instead resulted in these beings going insane and trying to destroy all that is human. Alleron can resist the madness if he chooses this form, and while in Hybrid form, he can jump higher than usual.
The Hybrid grunt looks like a huge blue muscle man on steroids and wields an axe. He has wires coming out of his shoulders and into his head, a smokestack emerging from his back, and his feet have been replaced with some kind of metallic claws. There are far more of this form in the Hybrid area than any other. Enemy Hybrid grunts are water-aligned, but if you morph into one, you become earth-aligned. This is one of many discrepancies in the game.
The Hybrid shaman has had his entire lower half removed and replaced with a massive set of mechanical legs. He also has a smokestack coming out of his back. If Alleron upgrades to this form, he obtains the Major Healing spell.
The Hybrid mage is a short and particularly annoying enemy. Almost nothing human remains of this creature, as his arms have been replaced with mechanical claws, and his entire lower body has been replaced by four short insect-like legs. He wears a cloak and has two loopy antennae sticking out of his back. If the Hybrid mage is an enemy, he is earth-aligned, but if you morph into the Hybrid mage form, you become water-aligned. With this form comes the Mind Drain spell, which drains spell points from enemies in a radius and grants a portion to the caster.
The Hybrid warlord is a large, muscular being with a metal mask, a smokestack coming out of his back, and one arm replaced by a mechanical linkage that ends in a spiked mace. His feet have also been replaced by metal boots. With this form comes the Haste spell, which temporarily increases Alleron's speed and makes speed potions null.
The Automata, or "Mechanical Men" are auto-functioning robotic beings who were designed both to replace the failed Hybrids and to defend against Hybrid attacks. While in Automaton form, Alleron can access Wireworks ports (in the form of large wheels) to teleport himself from one port to another. This teleportation always comes with an animation of travelling down some pipe, and some ports place Alleron in immediate danger.
The grunt form is the Iron Servant, who is a simple humanoid robot wielding a large pipe as a weapon.
The shaman form is the Steam Guardian, a slightly taller and more slender humanoid robot who wields a wrench. In the game manual, the graphics for the Automation shaman and mage are swapped. With this form comes the Remote Scramble spell, which when cast on an Automaton enemy, causes it to temporarily fight for Alleron. Why a robot designer would grant this spell to its creation is beyond normal comprehension.
The mage form is the Steam Titan, a large purple robot with large arms and knees that bend like a bird's. It runs around on all fours, but walks on two legs when not on alert. If Alleron chooses this form, he obtains the Seismic Variation spell, which causes a small earthquake that damages and knocks back enemies.
The warlord form is the Blade Weaver, a large silver robot with two large blades for arms. With this form comes the Active Defense System spell, which when active, causes any enemy to hits you to receive as much damage as they deal. This also means that attacking enemies cannot immobilize you with combo attacks.
The reception of this game was mixed. Gameinformer gave the game a 6.8 out of 10, GameZone gave it a 5.9 out of 10, PSX nation gave the game a 5.0 out of 10. they all criticized the camera controls, the enemy AI and said that it was too easy. Game Vortex, however, noted that all enemies would attack at once making it somewhat difficult. Game vortex overall gave the game a 60 out of 100 claiming the visuals where nice and that the game play was solid, but left much to be desired for.