Mega games get mega reviews in a megaly disordered fashion.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Shadow Complex: Proving There Is Nothing Wrong With Copying

By this point in your lives, I imagine that you've at least had a passing glance at Metroid and Castlevania. If you haven't, then that's fine, but I reserve the right to judge you. But whether you have or haven't I suggest you pick this game up ASAP. Why, I hear you say? WELL, LET ME TELL YOU:

Shadow Complex follows cheeky Jason (voiced by Nolan North, no less!) as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend who disappeared while they were backpacking through some caves somewhere (unimportant). He quickly finds out she is being held captive in a massive underground facility full of soldiers, experimental weapons, old mines, underground lakes and giant robots. Before you get all iffy about the fact that a Johnny Normalface is able to take down hundreds of enemies and not die, I should mention: he's the son of a top-tier army guy and was been trained in the ways of secret spydom before turning his back on said profession. There's a touching (read: hilarious) moment when he has a flashback to a chat with his dad before saying "You were right, I guess. Thanks dad". So yeah. without spoiling too much of the story: ex-secret spy trying to save Princess Peach from a faceless enemy in a giant Metroidvania underground complex while also saving the world. Standard gaming stuff, really, but that shit never gets old.

See, it's huge. Each tiny square is a screen. And that entire top area is explorable, too. HUGE.

Now, the game itself is incredibly easy to get used to. The buttons are only run, jump, shoot, and use item/melee. You could probably play this game with a Mega-Drive controller. But that's not a bad thing. This game isn't trying to be complex (despite it's name), it's trying to be enjoyable and you don't need complicated control schemes to do that, you just need A GOOD GAME.While exploring the facility you come across gold bars, security keys, better guns and parts of a super suit, much like Metroid. To find these, you are given a flashlight which highlights doors and vents and colour codes them to the relevant destroy method for your ease of opening. With the upgrades and super suit you're given new abilities to help you unlock more areas, until you're essentially Samus (minus the weird squashed up rolling. That makes no sense). This constant upgrade system stops the game from becoming stale and really makes the game fun. At one point you get gloves that let you super-punch people. Trust me, it's good. There's even a running count on how many people you have made scream. For real, they proper "AEEEIIIIGH!" when they get knocked off drops.

As I said: never fucking get's old. THIS. IS. ACCEPTABLE!

Apart from that, the game is played in 2.5D with you exploring in a standard sidescroller style, but having to sometimes shoot into the background. This is actually rather easy and I haven't had a single bit of trouble with shooting into the back. But if you do, you have unlimited bullets. So no biggee. There are a variety of different areas to explore, and some of them actually change as the game progresses (such as flooding an entire office area). Backtracking is on the most part easy, but there are a couple of nags in that a couple of areas become confusing later on, even with such a simplistic map. But there are guides online everywhere to help you find all the little secrets if you are having trouble. 

Pretty sure spy training doesn't cover this...

For those who complete the game quickly: there's a challenge mode that is genuinely challenging, with multiple different types of challenges and time limits. They're actually pretty fun and give you a hand in the main game by teaching you how to more effectively use your super suit to help you in your journey. The achievements are a hodge-podge of easy and hard, with an achievement for completing the game with no more than 12% of the items (which is ridiculously hard. I suggest New Game +ing it a couple of times first). The graphics are also sweet as, using Unreal 3 and being made by Chair/Epic, and the voice acting is perfect, with a script by a comic book writer.

Run super fast and the background blurs. AND YOU CAN RUN ON WATER AND DISINTEGRATE PEOPLE.

Apart from that, I can't mention too much as it would detract from the game and ruin it. As for downsides: there aren't really any. I mean, it is frustrating collecting all the items for a good 100% completion, but if an item is in the game, then the in game map mentions it. It's just a bit time consuming is all. And that doesn't matter when you are zooming around and rocket punching everyone...


Cliff Notes: Metroidvania in the modern age: sweet graphics, voices, gameplay, exploration...everything is sweet. Genius.
Rating: 9/10 I dropped one because sometimes items on the map are covered by other symbols :<
Friend Recommender: Yes. Of course. Buy it, you tool.

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