Nightdive Studios, developer behind Blood: Fresh Supply and the upcoming System Shock remake, recently released Shadow Man: Remastered, an updated version of the cult-classic originally developed by Acclaim Studios and published on PC, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Dreamcast in 1999. I was immediately excited to give this a chance, especially given the fact that I was never able to play the original after hearing so much about it.
With a wide variety of upgrades made to bring this game into the modern times, it seemingly had much to offer. But seeing as the original game is 22 years old, how does this remaster hold up in the year 2021?
This third-person action game opens up with infamous Jack the Ripper being introduced to a being simply called Legion. After Jack the Ripper apparently has failed in finding a mysterious power. Legion convinces him to kill himself, and in return, promises Jack the power he has long seeked.
After those events take place, we are sent to present times. We take on the role of Michael LeRoi, or better known as the titular Shadow Man. A voodoo priestess named Nettie performs a ritual to bind him to a mask of shadows, and after a brief conversation, sends him on his way to claim the power of Dark Souls.
This is a very concise summary of the plot, as it builds up more throughout the story, and is also greatly elaborated on within the comics.
As I stated earlier, I never played the original Shadow Man, so all of my opinions are based solely on this remaster.
The gameplay mechanics are so much smoother than I anticipated, almost reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, both in gameplay and graphic style. I’ve played a handful of 90’s games in my days, to put it lightly, so I’m familiar with the base movements, such as timing out any jumps or switching camera angles quickly, even as the enemies move slowly.
Combat is both fast-paced and slow. While enemies are quickly moving and at times, waves will swarm around you so you have to think quickly, they also die slowly. The most basic enemies take three hits with the Shadow Gun to kill, but even once they’ve taken the hits, they die painfully slowly.
With the vast amount of improvements made to the game, Shadow Man: Remastered does hold up well in terms of a retro game. I could easily see anybody who enjoys action adventure games, with a terrifying horror aspect, enjoying this game in the modern times.
The developers updated the controls, lighting, auto-targetting, and numerous quality of life changes that greatly improved the game.
The biggest drawback is the linear storyline of the game. While it does do a great job of adding in a fast travel system using a specific teddy bear, it’s easy to lose track of your objective quickly, especially when you have to backtrack to previous locations so often to do something that might’ve been missed earlier, or you start a plotline only to find out you’re unable to complete it at this point of the story. Then, it becomes a bit of a chore.
Overall, Shadow Man: Remastered does a wonderful job of bringing a game from over two decades ago into the modern times. Available for $19.99 on Steam, the game definitely delivers enough content to be considered worth the price.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Dark Souls