Shadow Warrior (DOS)

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Written by  :  Trixter (9128)
Written on  :  Nov 07, 1999
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars

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Wang Bang! A surprisingly fun game despite outdated technology.

The Good

I'll be honest: When I first picked this up, I expected it to be a lame knockoff of Duke Nukem 3D. I was also skeptical of how it would look and play, given that it was based on 4-year-old engine technology (the Build engine). I was very surprised to find that it is just as fun as Duke Nukem 3D and completely stands on its own as a really fun game to play.

The Build engine, being a raycaster, has several tricks built into it that have you occaisionally scratching your head and asking yourself, "How did they do that with a raycaster?" Sections of the floor and wall can move, objects can be moved, and even some sprites can be represented as 3-D using the raycasting technique as a crude voxel engine. Also, mirrored floors, movable sectors, transparent water and sprites, colored lighting, and other tricks have been encorporated into Shadow Warrior to good effect.

The "Lo Wang Speak", while some might find extremely stereotypical and offensive, is just great. Sometimes you just want to bask in its political incorrectness and laugh yourself silly.

At first I was bored with the weapons--katana, shurikens, fists, yawn--but after weilding twin Uzis to the sound of "Be proud, mister Woo", a four-barrel shotgun hearing "I like big guns!", and a rail gun proclaiming "Time to get Erased!", I started to take notice. By the time I was summoning zombie versions of myself with a pulsating heart, and using the head of my recently-killed enemy as a fire-spewing weapon, I was totally hooked.

When they say "Interactive Environment", they're not kidding. If you can't kill it, you can use it or smash it. You can pilot a forklift into a wall to break it down, pilot a boat across water, and other fun things. There are so many hidden weapons (and inside jokes/references) that it's fun to just wander around and try everything.

The Bad

Being a raycasting engine, I kept wanting to really look up and down, but due to the limitations of raycasting, it was clear that my "looking up and down" was really "extending my head higher and lower as if attached to a periscope". It's cheezy, and is the only "extra" that I wish they'd left out of the list of enhancements to the engine, since it's not really used anywhere effectively.

Some of the jumping-from-platform-to-platform areas are annoying (as is all jumping-from-platform-to-platform areas).

The Bottom Line

If anything was ever a Wang Bang, this is it. Even if you're entrenched in a best-seller like Half-Life or a beautiful world like Unreal, you should give Shadow Warrior a shot, because they simply don't have the attitude of Lo Wang.