Hands-onShadow Man: 2econd Coming

We get a chance to play a nearly complete build of Acclaim's new Shadow Man game.

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Acclaim dropped by the GameSpot offices to let us go hands-on with a near-final version of the upcoming Shadow Man: 2econd Coming. The original Shadow Man found a die-hard following among fans who were drawn to the expansive horror-themed adventure's mature subject matter. Shadow Man: 2econd Coming once again places the player in the role of Mike LeRoi, veteran demon hunter, and his alternate ego, Shadow Man. This time, Shadow Man will have to traverse a great number of levels that feature large amounts of hand-to-hand and weapon-driven combat, as well as some challenging item-collection and platforming elements.

An entirely new engine was developed for Shadow Man: 2econd Coming, and it has allowed Acclaim's team to implement impressive real-time lighting effects and smooth combat sequences. When playing as Shadow Man for the first time, you'll notice that his incandescent soul is now clearly visible within his chest cavity, emitting a good deal of light and illuminating surrounding areas. The Shadow Man character is capable of many maneuvers, including strafing and sidestepping, as well as leaps, crouches, and rolling maneuvers. In addition to the basic unarmed attacks, Shadow Man and Mike are able to use a variety of different weapons and voodoo magic spells. The twin main characters' right and left hands can independently control these offensive tools, and a backup weapon can be selected to allow hot swapping on the fly between the choices available.

The fighting in Shadow Man: 2econd Coming is extremely fast-paced, facilitated by the auto-targeting and independent control of the weapons, which allow for combat sequences that are visceral and entertaining. You'll need to collect ammunition for these weapons, as well as other power-ups that add to your life and voodoo powers. Finding these can be as easy as smashing open pots and crates, but it can also be fairly difficult, as some items are hidden as part of puzzle sequences.

There are a ton of new weapons available in Shadow Man: 2econd coming. Mike is capable of wielding a variety of firearms, including a rapid-fire machine gun, a grenade launcher, and a variety of handguns. Each of these guns has a "deadside" counterpart with a corresponding look. The voodoo powers you can use are equally varied, including the ability to sheath your body in flames, toss an exploding skull, or call down a swarm of flies as a blight upon your enemies. The ability to balance your hand-to-hand abilities with firearms, melee weapons, and magical skills offers a great amount of flexibility.

Through in-engine cutscenes and the gritty dialogue, we've been able to ascertain that Shadow Man: 2econd Coming is, like the previous game, definitely not for kids. The game is quite graphic, with suitably disturbing imagery and a fairly constant stream of expletives during exchanges between characters. The story places you in the midst of a plot by a group of evil demons who plan to free their enslaved leader from his imprisonment in a place called the Pit. Bringing this setting to life is a distinct horror feel that has been created by the art team, who used gloomy shadow and multicolored lighting effects and an abundance of smoke and fog for atmosphere. There are a number of levels to explore, and there are several that are based on real-world locations, as well as others based on various interpretations of hell, complete with bone-based architecture, grotesque statuary, and rivers of blood.

Those who enjoyed the original Shadow Man should be looking forward to this all-new game and the challenges it offers. There is an abundance of locales to explore, with six main locations and a huge assortment of sublevels within them. Like the previous game, Shadow Man: 2econd Coming should offer players a lengthy experience. We have a ton of new video and screens from Shadow Man: 2econd Coming, so check it out firsthand and keep your eye on this space for more on this game in the near future.

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