The visual quality is far ahead of the original, but the result still looks old-fashioned. Especially the very angular geometry with what feels like five polygons per clenched fist causes involuntary laughs already in the intro. When the painted mouth texture on Jack the Ripper's mouth moves, it inevitably reminds us of puppet theater, the YouT...
Shadow Man Remastered
- Jun 30, 2021
The visual quality is far ahead of the original, but the result still looks old-fashioned. Especially the very angular geometry with what feels like five polygons per clenched fist causes involuntary laughs already in the intro. When the painted mouth texture on Jack the Ripper's mouth moves, it inevitably reminds us of puppet theater, the YouTube channel Surreal Entertainment or first attempts at animation programs. The ultimate villain and his assistants want to conjure up an apocalyptic invasion in the realm of the living with the help of dark souls and a nasty machine in the realm of the dead. But Mike's voodoo friend Nettie has kindly implanted him with a shadow mask with superhuman powers.
The search for the dark souls is presented in the form of an action-adventure, which essentially mixes elements of a 3D platformer with those of a shooter. Using his deceased brother's teddy bear, Mike can switch between the realms of the living and the dead at any time. He hops and climbs through the wasteland, through rotating axes and diabolical torture constructions, dives through blood lakes, opens coffin gates, and shoots all sorts of tortured horror creatures. Gradually, new powers and weapons are added, such as a shotgun or shots that can be recharged in the afterlife, especially since scattered "cadeaux" additionally fuel the collecting instinct. As before, recognizing hidden objects, gate switches and the like can be quite tricky. Alert players should therefore have enough time and patience to bite their way through. After all, you aren't given any cards or markers to help you out yet.
If you switch to the original controls in the menu, you'll quickly notice that the problem hasn't decreased at all: Then the hero simply aims in the running direction - more or less like an armed vehicle. Fortunately, Nightdive Studios implemented a more contemporary camera movement via right stick, which makes life noticeably easier. Many other old-fashioned peculiarities also confuse the beginning, e.g. the awkward inventory allocation when climbing the rope, the lack of visual cues for important operable switches, Mike's strange braking when moving sideways or jumping. Or to put it in a nutshell: Despite small welcome changes, almost every move feels a bit wooden - especially diving with a very tight air supply. So save manually as often as possible instead of relying on save points!
In times of narratively virtuosic adventures, the story does seem rather cheesy and the puppet-like cutscenes almost laughable. It's good that you can't escape the dark voodoo atmosphere and the mystically spherical soundtrack, which by the way sounds clearer recently. Although many things in the year 2021 seem more archaic. A constantly smooth frame rate, clean edges, and less coarse textures make a pleasing difference. The only slightly improved camera movement also provides a noticeable relief in times of the two-stick standard. All in all, this is a decently improved remaster of a hard-to-access adventure that might scare off impatient newcomers but offers retro fans with stamina a pleasant change of pace.