Fantastic port of a flawed game

Emerald Rocker
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Fantastic port of a flawed game

Postby Emerald Rocker » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:59 am

When I borrowed a Turbo Duo back in 1993, I cycled through many games in the span of two days. While most of those 48 hours became a blur, a few moments stood out; Shadow of the Beast's conceptually simple title screen was one. Grass gorgeously scrolls underneath the beast's feet as clouds pass overhead, and the quiet soundtrack -- initially a simple series of bells -- gradually becomes an epic showcase of strong percussion, evocative wind pipes, and resounding chimes. It's simple but inspired.

Although it has the fast pace of an action game, Shadow of the Beast is an adventure game requiring exploration and a wee bit of puzzle-solving. The beast must discover temporary weapons for boss fights -- such as the Power Fist -- or perish. Some boss encounters barricade the escape route, which means you'll have to start the game over if you're not properly prepared.

These cheap "reboot" moments are part of the reason Shadow of the Beast acquired a reputation for being extraordinarily difficult. Other ports have also been chastised for the snout-nosed hero's inability to fend off his attackers, but this is not an issue in the Turbo CD version. In this version, the beast responds swiftly to button presses, proving that a second set of hands sometimes improves an inspired but flawed original.

Shadow of the Beast is the game that made original creators Psygnosis famous; its melding of artful atmosphere with comforting simplicity inspired many other adventures throughout the 1990s, including the Turbo CD's critically-acclaimed Shape Shifter. It's a pity that this version isn't the one that gamers remember.

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Re: Fantastic port of a flawed game

Postby nullity » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:39 am

nice writeup... now I have to play this game for more than 5 minutes before I can in good conscience cast further aspersions on it.

I think the fruity cooky appearance of "the beast" in the intro sequence always kind of made me go into this game expecting cheese. Great line scrolling and cheese.

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