Shadow Complex – First Impressions

Shadow Complex came out on XBLA arcade yesterday, and I eagerly picked it up. I am a few hours into the game and am loving what I have experienced thus far. This is a side scroller in the vein of Super Metroid, and it does a very good job of living up to that game. In the first few hours, I’ve already collected a decent amount of upgrades, gotten a new weapon, and explored a decent chunk of this large underground complex.

The game is running on a 3D engine, with the camera angle always to the side to keep the action moving as a 2D side scroller. However, the level design is full 3D, and sometimes the enemies will be in the background. I was a bit afraid of this idea, since it seemed like aiming would be difficult, but the use of the right stick to point your gun is actually very intuitive. It picks up exactly where the orthogonal controls of Super Metroid left off – the left stick moves you around, the right stick points your gun, and the right trigger fires.

The movement is mostly fluid (I have occasional issues with manuvering around ledges), and the weapon variety is acceptable. I have gotten a pistol and a submachine gun, along with a grenade launcher. The pistol and submachine gun feel very similar except for rate of fire and ammo capacity. I wish the weapon disparity was a little more pronounced, but I’m still early in the game.

All in all, it is doing a good job of being a retro side scrolling shooter in the modern gaming world. At only 10 hours long, I should have it finished within the next few days, letting me get back to Madden. At only $15, this game is a steal.

I will probably skip the second impressions on the game, though, since it is a short game. I will write up a final impressions article once I have finished the game.


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