Shadow of the Beast

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Shadow of the Beast
Shadow of the beast cover art.jpg
Cover art by Roger Dean[1]
Developer(s) Reflections Interactive
Publisher(s) Psygnosis
Producer(s) Martin Edmondson
Designer(s) Paul Howarth
Programmer(s) Richard Swinfen
Artist(s) Steven Hammond
Composer(s) David Whittaker
Platform(s) Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Mega Drive, Master System, Atari Lynx, FM-Towns, TurboGrafx-CD
Release date(s)

‹See Tfd›

  • EU: 1989
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Single-player

Shadow of the Beast is a platform game developed by Reflections and published by Psygnosis in 1989. The original version was released for the Amiga, and was later ported to many other systems.

Shadow of the Beast was known for its graphics, with numerous colours on screen and up to twelve levels of parallax scrolling backdrops, and for its atmospheric score composed by David Whittaker that used high-quality instrument samples.

Shadow of the Beast was followed by two sequels, Shadow of the Beast II in 1990 and Shadow of the Beast III in 1993, with music penned by Tim Wright under the alias of CoLD SToRAGE. A remake was released for the PlayStation 4 in May 2016, and also included the Amiga original.[2]

Gameplay[edit]

Plot[edit]

A man named Aarbron is kidnapped as a child and corrupted through magic into a monstrous warrior-servant for the evil beast lord Maletoth. The creature's memory of his human life returns when he watches a man being executed, whom he later recognizes as his father. This prompts Aarbron to seek revenge on Maletoth. A long arduous journey ensues, with Aarbron forced to battle his way through both hostile terrain and Maletoth's forces. He eventually confronts one of Maletoth's minions, a gargantuan creature whose only visible body parts are its hand and foot. Defeating the creature, Aarbron is freed from his curse, the titular "Shadow of the Beast", and returned to a more humanoid form.

Development[edit]

Shadow of the Beast was designed by Martin Edmondson and Paul Howarth of Reflections Interactive over the course of nine months, and it was their second 16-bit game after their previous game, Ballistix. Edmondson and Howarth described it as their "most ambitious project to date", and stated that they wanted the game to push both the Amiga and Atari ST to their technical limits. To achieve this, the Amiga version was written first, so that they would take advantage of all of the computer's advance hardware capabilities. The scrolling on the Amiga version ran at 50 frames per second (FPS), the same framerate found in arcade machines, in which they are superior to majority of home computer games at the time with slower framerate. The developers made use of the hardware sprites and scrolling rather than using the blitter, which they felt that the blitter "does not run quite as fast as some people would believe." To get the speed they wanted, the developers employed difficult techniques such as the sprite multiplexing.[3] The game uses up to twelve levels of parallax scrolling,[4] and up to a maximum of 128 colours on screen.[3]

The game was also designed to be as difficult as possible; Edmondson remarked that he liked difficult games at the time and he "used to get frustrated if the game was too easy."[5] The game's cover art was designed by British artist Roger Dean, who also done cover artwork for other Psygnosis-published games.[6] The music for Shadow of the Beast was composed by David Whittaker.[7] Whittaker wrote six main pieces of music, with each pieces contains its own sub-theme, to "fit the changing scenes in the game." The instruments were created using the Korg M1 synthesiser and then sampled at 20 KHz.[3] Ruben Monteiro's arrangement of the game's music was released in 1999, on an Amiga music compilation album Immortal.[8]

Shadow of the Beast was released in 1989 by Psygnosis. It was initialy retailed for £35, and was included with a T-shirt.[7] It has been ported for various other platforms since its original release.[7] It was ported to the ZX Spectrum and the Amstrad CPC by Gremlin Graphics,[9][10] to the TurboGrafx-16's Super CD-ROM² addon and the Commodore 64 by DMA Design,[11] to the Mega Drive by WJS Design,[12][13] to the Atari Lynx by Digital Developments,[14] to the Master System by TecMagik,[15] and to the FM Towns by Tim Ansell of Creative Assembly.[16] An Atari 8-bit version was in development in 1990 to be published by Harlequin, but it was never finished due to collapse of the company.[17] A port for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System titled Super Shadow of the Beast was developed by IGS, and was shown at the 1992 Summer Consumer Electronics Show, however it was not released.[18] The Mega Drive and TurboGrafx-CD versions of Shadow of the Beast were released in Japan on 27 March 1992 by Victor Interactive Software.[19][20][21] The FM Towns and TurboGrafx-CD versions features a soundtrack arranged by Chris Howlett and Ian Henderson of DC Productions.[22][23]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Famitsu 20/40 (MD)[20]
18/40 (TG16)[21]
Dragon 5/5 stars[24]
Sega Pro 90/100 (MS)[15]

Shadow of the Beast and Shadow of the Beast II were reviewed in 1991 in Dragon where both games got 5 out of 5 stars.[24] Sega Pro praised the Master System version for its graphics and sound, but criticised the "awkward" controls method.[15]

In a retrospective article for Digital Spy, Mark Langshaw remarked that Shadow of the Beast "will always be remembered as one of many jewels in the crown of Studio Liverpool." Langshaw however said that the Mega Drive version was considered inferior to other versions, and because of its poor conversion rate, the game ran faster than intended on the North American Genesis console and "went from unforgiving to near impossible."[7] Travis Fahs of IGN considered the FM Towns port a superior version of the game.[25]

Sequels[edit]

There are two sequels for the game: Shadow of the Beast II in 1990 and Shadow of the Beast III in 1993. The former was again ported to a number of platforms.

Remake[edit]

A re-imagined version of Shadow of the Beast was revealed at Gamescom 2013, developed by Heavy Spectrum Entertainment Labs and released by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4 in May 2016.[26] The original Amiga version is included along with the remake.[2]

References in other games[edit]

Graphics from Shadow of the Beast and Shadow of the Beast II were featured in two special levels in the original Lemmings game (Amiga, Genesis, PC, Super NES, and Atari ST versions), called "A Beast of a Level" and "A Beast II of a Level". These references were supported by cameo versions of the title music from each version, in this case both pieces were arranged by Tim Wright.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roger Dean. "Shadow of the Beast". Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Birch, Matt (4 May 2016). "Shadow of the Beast on PS4 Includes the Amiga Original". Playstation.blog. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Psygnosis (1989), pp. 12–14
  4. ^ Reimer, Jeremy (13 May 2008). "A history of the Amiga, part 7: Game on!". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 28 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  5. ^ Birch, Matt; Edmondson, Martin; Dean, Roger (4 May 2016). History of the Beast (video). Sony Interactive Entertainment. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Lien, Tracey (14 February 2013). "The Art Outside the Box: The Story of Roger Dean". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016. The box art for Psygnosis' Shadow of the Beast features reptilian robots walking through a sunburnt landscape. In the foreground, jagged trees frame a window into a mysterious world you could reach into — behind the trees, sienna terrain stretches into the distance where a ghostly forest teases at what lies beyond. 
  7. ^ a b c d Langshaw, Mark (25 August 2012). "Retro Corner: 'Shadow of the Beast'". Digital Spy. Hearst Corporation. Archived from the original on 28 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Immortal 1". Amiga Immortal. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  9. ^ Gremlin Graphics (1990). Shadow of the Beast. ZX Spectrum. Scene: Loading screen. Copyright Gremlin Graphics 1990 
  10. ^ Gremlin Graphics (1990). Shadow of the Beast. Amstrad CPC. Scene: Loading screen. Copyright Gremlin Graphics 1990 
  11. ^ Dailly, Mike (2005). "The History of DMA – Chapter 3, part 5". Mike Dailly. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  12. ^ Reflections Interactive, WJS Design (1991). Shadow of the Beast. Mega Drive. Psygnosis, Electronic Arts. Scene: Title. A Reflections Game Converted by WJS Design 
  13. ^ "Shadow of the Beast (Genesis) overview". Allgame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  14. ^ Williamson, Colin. "Shadow of the Beast (Atari Lynx) review". Allgame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  15. ^ a b c "Pro-Review: Shadow of the Beast (Master System)". Sega Pro. No. 1. Paragon Publishing. November 1991. pp. 48–49. 
  16. ^ Reflections Interactive, Creative Assembly (1991). Shadow of the Beast. FM Towns. Psygnosis, Victor Interactive Software. Scene: Title. Rewritten and Programmed for the FM Towns by Tim Ansell 
  17. ^ Goss, Steve (2002). "Atari 8bit Projects – Shadow of the Beast". JetBootJack.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  18. ^ "Summer CES Special". Nintendo Power. No. 39. Nintendo of America. August 1992. pp. 58–61. 
  19. ^ [セガハード大百科] メガドライブ対応ソフトウェア(ソフトライセンシー発売). Sega. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  20. ^ a b シャドー・オブ・ザ・ビースト 魔性の掟 まとめ [メガドライブ]. Famitsu (in Japanese). Kadokawa Corporation. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  21. ^ a b シャドー・オブ・ザ・ビースト 魔性の掟 まとめ [PCエンジン]. Famitsu (in Japanese). Kadokawa Corporation. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  22. ^ Reflections Interactive, Creative Assembly (1991). Shadow of the Beast. FM Towns. Psygnosis. Scene: Title. Music Arranged and Recorded by Chris Howlett and Ian Henderson at DC Productions Ltd 
  23. ^ Reflections Interactive, DMA Design (1991). Shadow of the Beast. TurboGrafx-16 Super CD-ROM². Psygnosis. Scene: Credits. Music by at D.C. Productions 
  24. ^ a b Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (May 1991). "The Role of Computers". Dragon. No. 169. pp. 61–65. 
  25. ^ Fahs, Travis (5 December 2008). "Die, 16-bit, Die!". IGN. Ziff Davis. p. 1. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016. The [FM Towns] Marty library is sizable, but there aren't a lot of exclusives. It did, however, get superior versions of a number of games. Shadow of the Beast and its sequel got excellent remakes for the FM-Towns, with gigantic sprites and redbook audio. 
  26. ^ Jeffrey Matulef (2013-08-20). "Shadow of the Beast remake announced as PS4-exclusive". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2015-02-09. 
Additional references
  • Shadow of the Beast (instruction manual). Psygnosis. 1989. 

External links[edit]