Shadow Complex offers an immersive and fun game play experience, but slow frame rates deter from enjoyment.

User Rating: 9 | Shadow Complex X360
The video game market today is a little short on old-school fun. Most of the market is dominated by first-person shooters- namely Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Aliens Vs. Predator, and the like. I do agree that these shooters are brilliant, but they don't contain the charm and personality that some 80s arcade games had. That day has finished- Chair Entertainment and Epic Games has released perhaps one of the best shooters of all time, Shadow Complex.

2.5D games have existed for a while. They're games that are set in 3D graphics environments, but are played like a 2D/side-scroller game. Shadow Complex doesn't do much to try and reinvent the medium, but instead takes all of the stuff that worked from previous games and combines them into an all new experience. The game borrows much from Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night, and any fans of those games should check this one out.

In Shadow Complex, you play as Jason Flemming, who, when back-packing with his new girlfriend Claire, get's involved in a military conspiracy, started by a militant group called the Progressive Restoration. Claire gets kidnapped, and you have to wander around the base, picking up futuristic upgrades, guns, and parts of a rather fantastic battle suit, in your attempt to try and save Claire and find out exactly what is going on. The story is written by famous comic-book scribe Peter David, and is a prequel of sorts to the novel Empire by Orson Scott Card.

You start as a rather simple character with not many abilities- a flashlight, and the ability to jump around a bit. However, as you progress through the game and pick up new weapons that get more sophisticated as you play as well as parts to a really cool suit, the potential for destruction exponentially grows. I guess you could say it's a superhero game of sorts- you can run at hyperspeed and boost your jumps. However, the game does fall a bit short by the fact that you rarely come across a unique villain- Most of the people you'll be facing are the same henchmen, and when you do finally find a worthy villain, they all do the same thing.

One of my favorite parts of the game, that perhaps should be put in a bit more, are the 3D turrets. You can occasionally play in a turret, which transports you into a 3D gameplay environment where you have to take on waves of enemies. It's pretty sweet, but is let down by the frame-rate drops. It happens a few times in the game, but it doesn't deter gameplay.

And when you've finished the story, it doesn't end there- there are a number of challenge levels in the Proving Grounds segment, which contains the aforementioned levels and tutorials. They're sort of like "survive as long as you can", but they have potential replay value, and will have players coming back for more to beat their original score.

All in all, Shadow Complex is a pretty sweet game. It doesn't tire you out, and I found myself playing it every chance I had. It could have been amazing- it's not, but it's getting there. If Epic Games and Chair Entertainment ever decide to make a sequel, I'd suggest them to try and do something new with the game- perhaps more challenge levels, a multiplayer option- who knows. But I'll be there to buy it when it comes out.

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