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After the Awakening, magic has been re-discovered, and human beings have accepted the existence of those they thought to be fantasy creatures. Mega-corporations and cyberworlds had to give space to elves and Native American shamans. Jake Armitage was a seemingly ordinary data courier, assassinated by a hit squad in the year 2050 in Seattle, Washington. Miraculously, his true story began after his death. A mysterious figure approached Jake and cast a spell on him; after that, he woke up in the morgue.

Jake doesn't know what happened to him, he doesn't even remember his own name. He is contacted by a shamanistic Dog totem with a cryptic message about his mission. Wandering through the large city where monorails, computers, and street gangs armed with automatic weapons co-exist with orcs, dwarves, and vampires, he begins to unravel the mystery, gradually learning about dangers awaiting him around every corner, and his own past.

Shadowrun is based on the pen-and-paper role-playing game of the same name, more specifically on the novel Never Deal with a Dragon by Robert Charrette. It is entirely different from the Genesis adaptation of the same license. The game is a skill-based RPG with action-oriented combat. Most of the time Jake uses firearms; he can also learn magic spells, primarily with defensive and support capabilities. The player can hire "deckers", temporary party members who can aid Jake in battles, and to whom the player can assign basic commands or let them be controlled by the AI.

Karma points are awarded to the player for successfully eliminating enemies. These act like experience points in other RPGs and can be manually distributed by the player. The player can increase the character's basic parameters (such as hit points or charisma), as well as have him master various skills. These include firearms, computers, negotiation, leadership, and others.

Jake can also use his cyberdeck to access cyberspace known as the Matrix, for plot-related purposes or in order to obtain money. Represented by an icon, Jake moves through the cyberspace, fighting programs that protect data from intruders. Jake's success in these endeavours largely depends on his computer skill.

Dialogue with non-playable characters plays an important role. Most quests involve Jake exploring various locations in Seattle and gathering information from people. Conversations are topic-based; often it is necessary to learn about a particular topic from a specific character and then choose it in a conversation with another one to obtain the necessary information.


Shadowrun SNES Junkyard
Shadowrun SNES Viewing Seattle from a monorail car
Shadowrun SNES On a ship
Shadowrun SNES Talking to a helicopter pilot

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User Reviews

License to be a Neuromancer patrick quinn (7) 3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars
Have some iced tea, chummer. Adzuken (854) 3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars
A neglected masterpiece! xroox (3957) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
In my opinion, one of the all time greats!!! Tarzan Dan (29) 3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

Critic Reviews

Total! (Germany) Jul, 1993 1.25 out of 6 95
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Sep, 1993 11 out of 12 92
Super Play (UK) Aug, 1993 85 out of 100 85
Immoral Gamers Dec 04, 2008 8 out of 10 80
Megablast 1993 80 out of 100 80
Power Play Apr, 1993 74 out of 100 74
All Game Guide 2007 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
RPGFan Jul 07, 2000 68 out of 100 68
Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) Apr, 1993 26 out of 40 65 Apr, 2007 5 out of 10 50


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1001 Video Games

Shadowrun appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Genesis version

Sega sub-licenced the Shadowrun IP from Data East. Due to a number of factors, the Genesis version was completely different from Data East's SNES version.


Be aware that this trivia section contains spoilers!

The plot of the game is heavily based on the first Shadowrun novel by Robert N. Charrette, Never Deal with a Dragon, first published in 1990. The similarities include:
  • a protagonist who starts as a decker but discovers he has shaman powers and is attuned to the totem Dog.
  • Aneki's corporation trying to launch an AI to take over the Matrix (in the pen-and-paper Shadowrun RPG, Aneki is the CEO of a megacorporation named Renraku with similar goals.)
  • A dragon villain called Drake ("Mr." Drake in the novel)
It's also interesting to notice that the plot about the AI was only resolved in the third edition of the pen-and-paper game (published in 1998, several years after the SNES game).


One of the game's characters (in the SNES version), a charming human/fox shapeshifter girl, is called Kitsune. "Kitsune" is Japanese for "fox".

Information also contributed by Pirou Julien
Trixter (9116) added Shadowrun (SNES) on Mar 17, 2003