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Shadow of the Beast Review

‘Shadow of the Beast’ is like any other 2D action game; You play as a character, punch enemies and solve puzzles to complete the stages. But ‘Shadow of the Beast’ was one of the first games to take this genre somewhere else. The music is haunting, the game play is difficult beyond reason and the game is immense.

Those of you who don’t know a lot about ‘Shadow of the Beast’ wouldn’t of known that the game was originally released on the Amiga and labeled as impossible to beat. The game is huge and there are endless amounts of mutant enemies to punch and kick your way through. The Mega Drive version is the most faithful port to the original. Yes there aren’t as many enemies, yes it is a little bit easier and yes the music and sound isn’t as good as the Amiga version but if you can’t be bothered with those ridiculous loading times and overly long introductions that you can’t skip you might as well buy this version.

The game has a simple concept; you play as a kidnapped child who after years of enslavement has been deformed into a half human, half goat-like creature to serve the beast master. One day you discover your past and therefore decide you will seek your revenge on the monster hoard and claim back the persona you once had. This means you have to take on hundreds of monsters on your own. The engine is simple but effective and sets the pace for the game. But once you start playing you encounter the first of a few problems:

You do not start the game by running to the right. This confused a lot of people who played ‘Shadow of the Beast’ including me. Going right leads you to a well with a locked door and an endless plain jammed with every freakish mutant you could ever want to come up against. Running straight into this onslaught means certain death. That is why you need to start the game by turning left. Annoying, I know but you will never stand a chance of beating the game that way.

Unfortunately going in the other direction does not make this game any easier. Without knowing the correct routine to solve the puzzles and know what you’re going to face next, the game will instantly become your worst nightmare. Yes this version is a little easier than the original but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still incredibly hard.

On the better side of things the game takes place in a beautifully rendered world which doesn’t seem to end. The game really is massive; you should feel lucky you don’t have to wait for sections to load like it did in the original! Once you begin to learn the scheme of things you can really enjoy the action and the fantastic landscapes because without knowing the game just becomes irritating and frustrating to play.

You could always do what a lot of us have done before and just use the invincibility cheat to see what the game ends like but I strongly suggest that you don’t bother. When you complete a game this hard you expect some sort of congratulations and a big fanfare and credits. When you complete ‘Shadow of the Beast’ you are presented with one congratulations message and then the game restarts. No credits, no fanfare, disappointment. You’ll be asking yourself ‘I just beat one of the hardest games in existence and this is all I get?!?’ ‘Shadow of the Beast’ is a game left uncompleted. This way the game maintains an aura of mystery and stays the scary epic that we all remember it as.

In conclusion, ‘Shadow of the Beast’ is a fantastic action-adventure that you will continually revisit out of enjoyment and for nostalgic purposes. It is one of the first games to take a scarier approach to gaming and it boasts one of the best soundtracks ever written. Just give it a chance instead of running full-speed into a game that needs a little more thought than others.


Written by Sonic Yoda on 30/3/06

Box Artwork


Instruction Manual


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