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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shadow Master

Shadow Master

Shadow Master was developed by HammerHead, and published by Psygnosis for the Sony PS, and Windows. It was released for the PlayStation video game console in January 1998 in Europe and December 31, 1997 in North America The PC version was released on February 28, 1998 in America, and February 1998 in Europe.

How it was in 1998? 

WARNING: If you get frustrated untying knots in your shoelaces, don't bother reading this review. Instead, buy a hamster, make cute little costumes and teach it tricks.The "Shadow Master" is a rotten-to-the-core alien dictator who invades your solar system to plunder valuable resources. Once again, you must save the world. So off you go in a first-person view from inside your heavily armed all-wheel drive buggy to battle evil.You'll fight a never ending onslaught of enemies in 16 levels on 7 worlds. But fear not, you have shields and a powerful array of weapons. You'll use lasers, cannons, projectiles and particle weapons to blast an infinite stream of bio-mechanical: leviathans, metal-clad spiders, scorpions, dragons and other nasty creatures.The missions begin with a verbal briefing from "Control". The man giving you orders doesn't sound too confident in your ability to carry out the mission objective. And for good reason. He knows there is NO "Difficulty" setting in this game and the odds of your success are minuscule.The various worlds where you'll do battle are huge. You're usually confined to a narrow corridor or road where maneuvering your vehicle is restricted. Turning around quickly to dispatch the horde of psychopaths that snuck up on you can sometimes be a problem.You're free to roam around the spacious levels with a few exceptions. One mission has you on rails. So you go where the game takes you which is probably to your death. There are some missions with time limits. You're really pressed for time, so don't muck about and waste time sightseeing.The game screen or HUD is futuristic and contains vital displays. You can look up and down but not behind your buggy. Fortunately, there's a very useful 360 degree radar screen.Beside killing a swarm of creatures you must solve a few puzzles. For example, in order to gain access to an important room, you must find the lock that opens the door. Usually this is hidden some distance from your objective. Once the lock is found, you must solve the combination sequence. After this is accomplished, a helpful video discloses where you must go next.On each level there are numerous pick-up pods: ammunition, rapid fire, new or upgraded weapons, and a recharge for your shields.At the end of each world there's a very tough boss waiting for you. If your shields and weapons are low when you meet the boss, be prepared to bend over and kiss the body part you sit on "Good-bye!".The polygon graphics are exceptional. Visual treats include: a variety of highly detailed creatures; well done lighting effects; awesome explosions with debris flying everywhere; beautifully rendered scenery; and a lot of enjoyable FMVs. Objects do not distort or break apart up close.The game has QSound Virtual Audio and it doesn't get much better than this. When a creature screams, you'll spin around to look behind you. The explosions, weapons firing and all other sound effects are very good. The voice acting is above average. The techno rock and complimentary soundtrack is very entertaining.The control is well implemented. Playing with the standard digital controller is good. Using the Dual Analog Pad is very good. Control with the Dual Analog Joystick (twin big sticks) is excellent.Shadow Master is an average shooter's worst nightmare. The number of creatures attacking seems endless. You can dodge incoming fire but must never retreat or seek cover. When you destroy creatures, they drop crystals which boost your energy levels. The crystals are only available for a few seconds. So it's important that you rush head-first into the maelstrom blasting away and picking up the dropped crystals. The only time you'll take your finger off the trigger is when the laser cannon overheats.Mission success would have been a little easier if you had access to a map. The levels are usually complex and cover a lot of territory. Getting lost and going in circles isn't much fun.The pre-set level of difficulty can best be described as "Totally Insane". The missions are long and very very challenging. You cannot save your progress at the end of every level. If you get killed, you'll have to replay from the last save point. Which means, you may have to repeat a previous level. Replaying levels over and over becomes intolerably frustrating.The manual could have included some additional information. The learning curve is moderate. The replay value is low. This would have made an excellent multiplayer game.BOTTOM LINE: Shadow Master is non-stop exciting action with the emphasis on shooting. Very challenging and may not appeal to everyone. Definitely worth buying if you feel up to the task. You'll get more than your money's worth here. If in doubt, rent first.Graphics: 9.2Sound: 9.2Learning Curve: EasyDifficulty: Very hardControl: 9.2Manual: FairReplay Value: LowFINAL SCORE: 8.4

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