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Platform:  Dreamcast
# of Players:  1
Developer:  Acclaim
Publisher:  Acclaim
Features:  VMU
Ratings:  Mature
Memory Req.:  
Shadowman... on Dreamcast. That aching in my groin cannot be natural, but it just feels so nice... oh, wait... I mean... uhm. Yea

What can I say (other than making any more lewd comments)? Shadowman was a great game to begin with on the N64 (it sucked on the Playstation), but it had its problems with slowdown, glitchy character models, and some wacky collision detection. But in the end, the gameplay shined through. This time around, however, the power of the mighty Dreamcast has eliminated almost all of these problems while boosting the visuals into high-res. and moving them at 60 frames per second. Iguana has also added lurid CD audio, new lighting and surface effects, and made the game substantially more difficult (they actually just put more enemies in the game... that's not a bad thing).

While the game merely served to impress on the N64, Shadowman astounds on the Dreamcast. The action and exploration elements simply purr with the DC's power. The bone chilling environments are taken to previously unsurpassed levels of detail and complexity. Textures are clean, crisp, and clear and not even a trace signature of draw-in can be found in Shadowman's vast stages. Character models move with profound fluidity. DC has breathed new life into an already great game.

One of the most endearing qualities that Shadowman possesses is its unique visual style. The simple geometric shapes used to construct each character model give off an awkward, abstract, and intriguing feel to the already warped experience. The level design is also phenomenal. Every location you go in Shadowman's world teems with an undeniably organic, almost fleshy tone. The walls practically breathe.

When I mentioned that the visuals only added to the "warped experience," I was alluding to the story. Shadowman has one of the best plots and some of the best character development in the history of videogames as I know it. If you want to get the best experience from Shadowman you must read every tidbit of information pertaining to the story in the manual and in the game. Believe me, it makes this already hallmark title infinitely more enjoyable.

I don't want to give away too much, but I'll summarize the plot as best I can. You are Mike Leroi, the latest in a lineage of supernatural demigods, called the Shadowmen, whose sole purpose is the protection of earth from the dark forces that emanate from the realm called Deadside. Deadside is the place where everyone goes when they die.

As expected, a great evil has discovered a way to pave its way from Deadside to Liveside (our world, dummy). It has drafted the five most ruthless (and often tactless) modern serial killers and utilized their malice along with a number of other "Dark Souls" to bridge a gap between the two realms. This unholy alliance, formed by the demon Legion, is known as "The Five."

As both Mike LeRoi and his ethereal counterpart, Shadowman, you must stop the rift from opening and releasing Deadside's inhabitants on to Earth. You must prevent apocalypse.

Now, I have nothing but love for this superb game, but like its N64 cousin, there are some flaws. The worst is the fact that whenever the music switches between areas, there's a short, but slightly obnoxious pause in the gameplay. There are still some collision detection problems though, for the most part, they've been dealt with.

Shadowman is a milestone for the horror-adventure genre. It has been from the beginning. By combining elements from the best titles in its class, Shadowman excels at providing the player with what can only be described as a... really... cool game. Or whatever.

Robert Cirkeljirque

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