🕹️ New release: Lunar Lander Beyond


aka: Shadowcaster CD
Moby ID: 550
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

Living in a peaceful land with a man he called grandfather, Kirt has always thought he was just an ordinary human. One day, following a storm, the old man told Kirt that he was the last of The People - an ancient race that possessed the ability to shapeshift into magical creatures. Kurt's parents and the rest of The People were slaughtered by followers of the outcast god Malkor - former renegade shapeshifters who got corrupted by his promises of power. Now, Malkor's minions are after Kirt, and he must recall the techniques of his race to defeat evil.

ShadowCaster is a 3D first-person fantasy-themed action game with light role-playing elements. Utilizing an engine similar to that of Wolfenstein 3D, the game adds to it the abilities to jump, swim, and (under certain circumstances) fly. The game's stand-out feature are Kirt's shapeshifting abilities. Throughout the game, he will be able to transform into magical creatures, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, which must be taken into account during combat and exploration. These include a four-armed cat who can see invisible things; a leprechaun who can fit into tight spaces and unleash a swarm of insects; a dragon who can fly, breathe fire and attack with his tail, and others. Some of Kirt's forms can use magic, which requires magic points to cast.

The CD-ROM enhanced version features enhanced redbook audio narration, two new levels, and 3D rendered cutscenes.


  • כוחות האופל - Hebrew spelling
  • シャドウキャスター - Japanese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

46 People · View all

Lead Programming
Additional Programming
Music / Sound Programming
Graphics / Artwork
Music Composition, Arrangements & Conversions
Digital Sound Effects
Audio Direction
Cover Art
[ full credits ]



Average score: 78% (based on 17 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 28 ratings with 2 reviews)

Interesting but unbalanced

The Good
The graphics - fairly advanced for their time. Based on the ID software engine introduced in "Wolfenstein 3D", but with enhancements to permit players to "jump", "fly" and "swim". Levels one (an outdoor garden with views of distant mountains or clouds) and four (shrouded in mist and fog) are particularly appealing. I liked many of the color-cycling animation effects. The beasties are well done.

The music - particularly on level one, where it fits the graphics perfectly to aid the illusion of being outdoors in a garden.

The Bad
The waiting - although the box cover promises "fast action", after many of the battles I literally picked up a book and read while waiting for my character to recover enough to continue. This is by far the most annoying thing about this game.

The puzzles - I did not finish this game the first time I tried it. I killed everything on levels one and four all right, but while I recognized what I had to do next I couldn't figure out how to do it. Several years later I had the bright idea of looking on the Internet for a walkthrough to this game. As of 2002, Raven Software still maintains a page on this game, which has links to a couple of walkthroughs. Aha! There is a level two, and that's where what I needed was. As I continued through the game, I had further need of outside assistance. Perhaps three or four times altogether. None of the puzzles are particularly difficult once you know what to do, but the ones where I got stuck were all of the "you see the solution or you don't" variety. I hate that (partly because I feel so stupid when I find out the answer).

The character development - what there is of it. During the course of the game you acquire six alternative bodies with various capabilities (seven counting the human one you start with). The problem here is that each time you acquire one, the next level is so obviously tailored to require what that body can do, and after that the body is almost never used again. The only exception is levels 24 and 25, which were added to the CD-ROM edition of the game and require at least five of the seven forms to successfully negotiate.

The endgame - only need one form for that. It's over pretty quickly and fairly simply, considering the time spent leading up to it.

The plot - this is a kill-everything-that-moves game apparently built around the idea of showing off what the engine can do (which, admittedly, can be fairly impressive). Tacking on a thin plot in an attempt to "motivate" the action is, if not pointless, definitely a secondary consideration. What's motivating is to see how far you can get.

The bugs - I have a vague memory of this game running fine on a 386DX-40 the first time I tried to play it. I don't know if it's the Pentium-100 system I used this time that upset it, but I got frequent driver errors that indicated the game was trying to write to the CD-ROM. This happened during all the cutscenes, and while the game usually recovered, I have the feeling I never got to see the complete scenes. Once my character died and the game froze, but the music kept playing - longer, richer and with more variety than I ever heard before or since.

The Bottom Line
Although I understand this game was nominated for someone-or-other's RPG Game of the Year at the time of its initial release, I think it's better viewed nowadays as a not-quite-totally successful experiment in extending the capabilities of 3D game engines. It's pretty good at graphics and game environment in general, but purely as a game, its various parts do not meld together into a satisfying whole. It might have been improved if more time had been spent on balancing during its development. If all the levels had been like levels 24 and 25 (again, added after the initial release on disk), this might have been a much better game.

DOS · by anton treuenfels (34) · 2002

A very solid game indeed.

The Good
This game is an underdog which somehow disappeared unnoticed. I used to have the floppy disk version and now have the CD-ROM version as well. It has a delightful 3D engine - though a small viewport (can be made fullscreen) it's incredibly smooth on a 486 and has depth cueing which adds so much to the overall atmosphere of the game it's simply unbelievable. The game itself is quite fun and challenging and what music there is is actually quite good.

The Bad
I never got very far in the game - don't know, maybe it's just me. Lack of proper sound effects and not much music take away from the atmosphere of the game, and the story is somehow vague.

The Bottom Line
A great game some love while others hate.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4538) · 1999


Subject By Date
Does the game ShadowCaster support keyboard controls? And Wan Feb 1, 2017
How It looks, screenshots, details, etc RaVeN RaVeN (32) Mar 12, 2014



"ShadowCaster was done in 1992-1993. We started off doing it for EA and it was to be Black Crypt II. After we had the game designed, EA bought Origin and felt that we should take advantage of the Ultima World and make it some type of Ultima game. We started to turn it into an anti-Paladin Ultima game. Then it was decided that perhaps we should make it into a Bard's Tale spin-off. But that too fell by the wayside, and finally we came up with the idea of morphing a character into different types of creatures that had different abilities. We licensed a pre-Doom engine from id and we were underway with ShadowCaster. I must add that I really loved the concept for ShadowCaster, but hated the story and the name, and wish I could go back and redo it!" - Brian Raffel

Extra Levels

You can find the solutions of the two new levels added in the CD-Enhanced Version of Shadowcaster (Level 24 and 25) in the "shadowin.pdf" file in the "docs" directory of your Shadowcaster CD. They are added as an addition to the Shadowcaster clue book.


ShadowCaster used a heavily modified version of the Wolfenstein 3-D engine, licensed from id Software and written during the summer of 1992. The original ShadowCaster was published in 1993; this makes it the first commercial game released with classic "2.5D Doom engine" improvements (distance fogging, non-orthogonal walls, textured ceilings and floors) before DOOM itself came out.

Secret Credits

In the Lava Tunnels (Level 21), after you receive Grost (the final MetaForm), if you backtrack to earlier in the level, there is a wall near the hourglass that only the Grost can break down. If you break down this wall, there is a "Royal Book" behind the wall. When you first pick this book up, you can read the game credits (Producers, Testers, etc) from it. Once you read through it once, there does not appear to be a way to read it again.


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  • MobyGames ID: 550
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Trixter.

PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Indra was here, formercontrib, Crawly, Rik Hideto, himemsys.

Game added December 8, 1999. Last modified February 7, 2024.