Shadow of the Beast

Rating: D

Shadow of the Beast is one of the most memorable games that existed on the Commodore Amiga. After winning its fame on that platform, it moved on to the PC and the Sega Genesis. However, though few former Amigans will admit it, it was a game that really sucked. The two things that made this game so popular at the time were the gorgeous graphics and the professional, synth-quality music. Also, the dark storyline was pretty cool, and any game that sports demons and devils is bound to be pretty neat. However, as a playable video game, Shadow of the Beast is terrible.

The biggest problem with this game is that the difficulty level is just way too high, even for advanced players. The enemies are too fast and too many, and, though you can knock out most with only one punch, the hard part is the timing. Yes, the TIMING. Because Shadow of the Beast requires very precise button action. If you punch a moment too late or too soon, forget it, you won't be hitting anything. When you see an enemy running at you (or flying at you at 100 miles-per-hour), you'd better time your one precious blow just right, so that you strike your opponent just as he's at the proper range. Yes, it gets very frustrating and very ridiculous. And what happens sometimes is that you'll feel more like you're playing Dragon's Lair, which also required a lot of memorization of "what happens next" and a lot of percise button pushing. Fun, huh? And what makes it even better is that after five minutes of playing the game, when you're dead, you'll find that you are not given even one measly little "continue" and have to start all over again. From the very beginning. And so you dive right back in again, trying to remember what happens next. Should you crouch then punch the next enemy or try to time your flying kick, and is he coming from the left or right, and at what percise moment will that giant bone come thrusting out of the ground in an attempt to impale you? Crap -- you punched a moment too late and your enemy streaked by and subtracted one point from your health meter. Better luck with the next one. Better luck with executing your next punch, THE ONE PUNCH THAT YOU'LL BE GIVEN TO KILL EACH OPPONENT.


If the Amiga version of Shadow of the Beast had one saving grace, it was the beautiful music. And now, with the Genesis version... Well, I suppose the graphics are still kinda pretty.

Get this only if you are very nostalgic for your Amiga or if you have an Amiga and Shadow of the Beast and for some bizarre reason like playing it but don't want to torture yourself with the 5-minute floppy load times. I'll tell you what this game did for my Amiga nostalgia: it killed it, and only for a ridiculous floppy-based system and its owners who were really starving for arcade-quality games could a game like this have been touted as being something so great. God bless cartridges, and hard drives, and companies that realized how lame it was to try to play a game with nothing but a floppy drive.

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