Written by  :  Ace of Sevens (4474)
Written on  :  Jul 10, 2006
Platform  :  Dreamcast
Rating  :  3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars

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Resident Mario

The Good

Shadow Man has a wonderfully creepy atmosphere. It starts on a great note with a very well-acted introduction and keeps this up through the whole game. Everything from the art direction to the the excellent music fits together perfectly. It also has a great feature where you can go back and watch any cutscene you've seen.

The game is also far longer than I expected. Most licensed based action games are lucky to get to twelve hours. This will quite likely take in the realm of forty your first time through, at least if you try to find all the dark souls.

The Bad

Despite it's many good points, no one would mistake Shadow Man for anything but a port from a previous-generation system. While the textures were largely upgraded from its PlayStation roots, the animation and models weren't, so the characters look a bit like blocky puppets in many of the cutscenes. The controls are also a bit kludgy, having clearly been designed for a system with more buttons. Many actions are mapped to the d-pad, for instance.

My main complaint is the combat. It isn't at all challenging, so it become rather tedious to have to clear out the levels each time you're searching them for that last soul or last couple cadeaux. The puzzle challenge is about right, though. I manged to find everything except for 13 cadeux and I think i could do that and get that last piece of life with a little more work.

The Bottom Line

Think of an M-rated Super Mario 64. This game is all about collecting Dark Souls, which don't seem very different from the stars in Mario in practice. You gather a certain number of souls, then you can open up the next area. You also gain ability upgrades to access new areas. Gameplay is mainly of the platforming/navigation puzzle variety, again, like Mario. It's a matter of finding the dark souls and figuring out how to get to them.