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While very young, Aarbron was kidnapped and enslaved by the Priests of the Beast Lord. He grew up on drugs made to destroy his own will and turn him into the Beast Messenger, a powerful creature serving Maletoth, The Beast Lord himself. He did his job, until one day he noticed a man about to be sacrificed in a ritual, his face triggering ancient memories. As the sacrificial knife descended into the man's body, Aarbron recognizes his father's face. As his father dies in the altar, memories of his childhood and tormented past at the hands of the Beast Lord emerged, and as feelings of hate over his captors took over him, he swore revenge and fled the temple, knowing the road to avenge his father and redemption would be hard.

Shadow of the Beast is a side-scrolling platformer. The player has to navigate through several areas filled with enemies and traps, collecting keys and activating triggers than open new areas or give Aarbron the means to overcome a sub-boss. The number of moves the player has at disposal is limited: duck, jump and only two attacks: punch and a flying kick. While most enemies die with just one hit, the player must time each attack accurately. However, there are also traps of objects that cannot be destroyed, and these require the player to jump, duck or move according the sequence. The player has only one life with 12 hit points that can be replenished by collecting some objects hidden in the level (like an off-route location or a under a megalith), which also contributes to the difficulty level.


Shadow of the Beast Genesis The Japanese version includes a sound test and the ability to choose between 6, 12 or 18 hit points
Shadow of the Beast Genesis Walking through a forest
Shadow of the Beast Genesis Hit those pillars to replenish your health
Shadow of the Beast Genesis Title screen

Promo Images

Shadow of the Beast Magazine Advertisement Page 73
Shadow of the Beast Magazine Advertisement
Shadow of the Beast Magazine Advertisement

Alternate Titles

  • "シャドー・オブ・ザ・ビースト 魔性の掟" -- Japanese spelling
  • "SotB" -- Informal Name
  • "Shadow of the Beast: Mashō no Okite" -- Japanese Mega Drive title
  • "Beast" -- SMS/Genesis/Amstrad CPC/ZX Spectrum in-game title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A good port of an interesting game Luis Silva (13595) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
A lesser-known, yet classic platform. Jango (7) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

Critic Reviews

Games-X Nov, 1991 5 out of 5 100
Mean Machines Dec, 1991 82 out of 100 82
GamePro (US) Nov, 1991 4 out of 5 80
Micro News Dec, 1991 15 out of 20 75
Retro Archives Apr 24, 2018 15 out of 20 75
Play Time Feb, 1992 70 out of 100 70 Oct, 2003 6 out of 10 60 Aug 31, 2009 5 out of 10 50
Video Games Feb, 1992 37 out of 100 37
Power Play Feb, 1992 34 out of 100 34


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Cancelled SNES port

There was a SNES port of the Amiga version, Super Shadow of the Beast, developed by IGS, shown on the Summer CES 1992, but it never made it to the shelves. There is a ROM floating around the net, and according to some sources it's completely playable. The main differences seem to be in difficulty, level design, and graphics.

Cheat code

The C64 version's cheat code is an anagram of the game's title, other than the number of spaces.

Genesis port

Like with Gods, another well-known Amiga game, the Mega Drive/Genesis port had the difficulty level increased when the refresh rate was increased from 50 Hz to 60 Hz (to match the NTSC console) without changing how long each frame was displayed, making the game faster. However, as the PAL console runs slower, the speed matches the original Amiga version more closely.

The Japanese Mega Drive version of Shadow of the Beast, while essentially based on the original Genesis port, has a number of differences. It was released by Victor Musical Industries, which had previously published the PC Engine version (developed by Psygnosis for VMI). As a result, Victor borrowed some elements from the PC Engine version (like the larger character and the more balanced gameplay) and transplanted them into the Mega Drive one. Some backgrounds (like the trees) were also retouched to lessen the tiling pattern look of the Genesis version. There is also a bit more blood in some places.


According to the Amiga game manual, it took:
    Fact Box -
  • Total Size: 350 screens
  • Total Memory Used: 3.5 megabytes
  • Graphics Data: 2.2 megabytes
  • Music and Sound Data: 850 kilobytes
  • Music Sample Rate: 20 kilohertz
  • Screen Update: 50 times a second
  • Max. no. of Colours on Screen: 128
  • No. of different monsters: 132
  • Maximum Sprite Size: 220 by 150 pixels (over half the size of the screen)
  • Levels of scrolling: 13 outside 2 large areas inside
  • Project Duration: 9 months

SNES version

There are a number of differences in the SNES version:
  • Some blood effects were removed.
  • Some enemies were completely removed or redrawn, e.g. the flying skulls.
  • The graveyard level is now inside a castle and the cross-like power-up looks like a magnifying glass.
A detailed list of changes can be found on (German).


In 1999 a soundtrack with various Amiga game composers under the name Immortal was released. Aside from various Amiga themes, it primarily holds the entire Shadow of the Beast game soundtrack.

Shadow of the Beast tracks include:
  • Intro
  • Eerie Forest
  • The Cavern
  • Beast's Stronghold
  • Underwater
  • Game Over


Shadow of the Beast was named #76 overall among the “150 Best Games of All Time” by Computer Gaming World Magazine (15th Anniversary Issue--November 1996).
  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #76 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
  • EMAP Golden Joystick Award 1990
    • Winner Best 16-Bit Graphics.
  • Power Play
    • Issue 01/1990 - #3 Best Sound in 1989
    • Issue 01/1990 - #2 Best Graphics in 1989
Information also contributed by Garcia, Kaminari, Luis Silva, Martin Smith, optrirominiluikus and PCGamer77

Related Web Sites

Tibes80 (1567) added Shadow of the Beast (Genesis) on Jan 05, 2003
Other platforms contributed by MetalHead (141), Bock (175), Martin Smith (76065), Mark Papadakis (36), Terok Nor (31132), cafeine (151), quizzley7 (21704) and Jeanne (76265)