SHADOW OF THE BEAST
...and we don’t know just where our bones will rest. To dust, we
Beyond being a bold fashion statement, rose-coloured
glasses can make us remember things being better than they actually
were. A good example is Psygnosis’ Amiga showcase Shadow of the
Beast. Lavishly packaged, with lavish artwork, a lavish
soundtrack and lavish graphics, it was more tech demo than game. But
it was, undoubtedly, lavish.
This rebirth makes many wise
decisions – like inserting engaging gameplay. But it also tries too
hard for that lavishness – sometimes successfully, sometimes
You still play as the beastly warrior Aarbron, so
you still come before ‘aardvark’ in the dictionary. You still scroll
left and right into lavish scenery ripping anything that has the
temerity to attack you to lavish shreds. There’s now an elaborate –
and cool - system of attacks, defences and super-combo thingies.
These include ‘rage chains’, which briefly go rhythm game as you belt
out beheading ballet.
There are also power-ups to be
purchased. Nab the right talisman and bolster Aarbron’s abilities.
Or buy stuff like an emulated version of the original, its
soundtrack and more. Noice!
You’ll get hints of sluggishness
in battles as mini-animations play out, but nothing too drastic.
Then you’ll hit platforming sections and uh-oh. Despite requiring
pinpoint accuracy, things here are as controllable as epileptic jelly in a bouncy castle during an earthquake. You will die. Sure
you have unlimited continues, but sacrificing innocent souls – as
you’ll have to - locks out certain game parts.
as all get-out initially, SotB strives to break that
infatuation the further you progress. Like a painful
do-it-again-and-again level that’s essentially completely black.
Seriously, it makes Disaster Area’s spaceship look like a Mardi Gras
float. Just. Plain. Dumb.
Combining shades of the original,
its distant cousin Altered Beast,
God of War shavings and
some Journey vibes,
SotB ’16 is still a decent experience. But it could have been