As an example of the game's subversive humour, the main character's name is Lo Wang. Wang is actually a slang term meaning penis. Consider the possibilities when Lo Wang says to a bunch of geishas "so, you want to wash Wang or you want to watch Wang wash Wang?"
Also at one point in the game it is mentioned that Lo Wang has a brother, Hung Lo, continuing the same style of humor.
On August 30, 1997, Shadow Warrior was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.
On September 9, 2005, 3D Realms finally released the Shadow Warrior add-on pack "Wanton Destruction", nearly eight years after its completion! It was discovered on a lost CD by the former president of Sunstorm, the add-on developer. The full story, plus links to download the add-on, are here.
Despite their note, it is possible to play the add-on with JonoF's Win32/Linux port without having the original DOS version installed. Either run the setup, and search for a WT.GRP file on your hard drive (it'll be in a temp folder), or use an archive program to extract the file from the setup EXE without running it. Nevertheless, 3D Realms offered a token of good faith by reducing the price of the original game to $10.
Soon after the release of the game, an add-on pack by the name of Wanton Destruction was announced, but ultimately cancelled. In September 2005, Anthony Campiti, from the Sunstorm company, which was developing the expansion, found the code back and passed it on to 3D Realms. Owners of the original v1.2 registered version can now download it for free. It contains 12 new missions and 4 multiplayer maps.
Shadow Warrior has a feature that wasn't present in any of the other Build games, it supports voxels. Voxels are kind of like 3D pixels (i.e., cubes), and 3D objects constructed out of voxels don't have the ugly, blocky look that polygons give them. Ken Silverman finished a rudimentary voxel engine just in time for Shadow Warrior, and it was added to the game. You can enable voxels in the options menu, and it makes all game objects 3D at the expense of a lot of memory.
Apparently, 3D Realms had plans to release 3 add-on packs for the game but poor sales of Shadow Warrior drove them to shelve the project. However of the three packs at least one ("Twin Dragon") was practically complete, and it can be found around the net for free. It includes a brand-new 13-mission single player campaign, 3 deathmatch maps as well as new weapons, sounds and enemies.
On April 1, 2005, 3D Realms released the full source code, based on the 1.2 version, under a restrictive GPL license. The data files can be used for entertainment and education purposes, but they remain licensed/copyrighted and are not to be redistributed. There is no official support, but the company has opened a new dev forum on their website.
3D Realms releases Shadow Warrior, which is the last of many Build engine games by 3D Realms and many licensees. Build was the foundation for the following eight games, in order of their release: Witchaven, TekWar, Duke Nukem 3D, Witchaven II, Powerslave, Redneck Rampage, Blood and Shadow Warrior. The Build engine is undoubtedly one of the most prolific and successful engines ever used in the game industry.
Believe it or not there were 2 actual novels based on Shadow Warrior. You Only Die Twice
by Ryan Hughes, & For Dead Eyes Only
by Dean Wesley Smith. Both were published by Pocket Books.
In the Seppuku Station level, head to the snack area (enter into the station via the door that has to be opened with the gold key, go down the luggage chute directly across from the door, and head into the conveyor on the left immediately exiting the first chute). Look at the little fliers all over the column in the room, and you'll see one of Lina Inverse of "Slayers" fame!
In the Bath House stage (level 12), you're treated to a nice display of explosions just before the level starts. Lo Wang makes a comment when they end about how it looks like something Duke Nukem would do.
Shadow Warrior was criticized across the board for it's crudeness and offensive stereotypes but there is evidence that at least one decision was made to show some taste. In the Master's Dojo, there is a picture of four Hentai girls (naked anime women) but only three of them can be found throughout the level. The graphics of the missing girl are still in the data files where she can be seen plunging a sword into her belly (presumably at the feet of her dead master). Someone evidentially realized that the sales gains from gratuitous naked women would probably be offset by the controversy over gratuitous naked women killing themselves and cut the image at the last minute.
Shadow Warrior was in development way before Duke Nukem 3d hitted the shelves, but as evidenced by pre-Duke adds it originally was a much more "serious" game. Duke's success as a politically-incorrect, off-the-wall shooter prompted a re-focussing of the game's content.
So was Lo Wang created (originally you were an avenging angel kind of character), the story and levels were rewriten, and the weapons were modified (originally you had one Uzi, and trowed only one shuriken, plus your arsenal included a crosbow, a lightning-throwing gauntlet, and an asortment of spells instead of Lo Wang's renowed arsenal).
Shadow Warrior version 1.0 was first released on May 13th 1997.
In one level, Lo Wang comes across a female character chained to the wall that bears a striking resemblance to Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider series. He utters, "I guess she raid her last tomb!"
In Great Britain this game was partially censored: they took out the ninja star weapon (Shurikan) and reduced the gore levels.
Shadow Warrior uses the same Build engine as Duke Nukem, but has some additional enhancements over that version, like transparent water, "colored lighting" (not really), and reflective floors (which look really cool, actually).
Some of the "Lo Wang Speak" and inside jokes are incredibly off-color. Whether or not this makes the game more funny or more offensive is up to you.