This is a game that has broken Xbox Live Arcade download records, download the trial version for yourself and see why.

User Rating: 8.5 | Shadow Complex X360
With the Summer holidays drawing to a close, and Microsoft's Summer of Arcade promotion being over since the middle of August, I think it's time I gave Shadow Complex the glowing review it deserves.

Shadow Complex is a 2.5D action-adventure Xbox Live Arcade title, with the main character Jason Flemming being able to move side-to-side in the vein of classic side-scrollers through fully 3D environments carefully created with the Unreal 3 engine used in Gears Of War 2 and more recently Batman Arkham Asylum. It's a title that borrows a lot of elements from the Metroid/Castlevania serieses, however I have to admit, none of those titles have ever held my interest for any length of time.

The reason Shadow Complex is so successful is because it takes the addictive elements of Metroid/Castlevania - the huge maps with various inaccessible areas that can only be accessed with items obtained by progressing through the story, and combines them with an immersive storyline, solid gunplay and crazy gadgets - all traits I would expect from a full retail title, not a £10 Arcade title.

The graphics are some of the best I've since in an XBLA title, the controls are excellent, though some aspects do take some getting used to - crouching and dropping a grenade being a prime example of this. The production values are very high with little to no texture pop-in, something that is very noticeable in some Unreal engine-powered retail titles... They know who they GEARSOFWAR are...

The storyline is simple enough - the "girlfriend gets kidnapped" trail is a motorway in the world of gaming storylines, but it soon becomes clear that there is more to it than it appears on the surface, however I can't go into this without making obvious what the developers want you to figure out by playing through the game. The gameplay has you navigating Jason through rooms filled with hazards and platforms to waypoints marked on your map, be it to a new item allowing you to access secret areas, or to fight a boss, or to trigger a cutscene to further the storyline. Again, quite simple but addictive and satisfying, something which should become apparent just by playing the trial version of the game.

Also included in your £10 are the proving grounds, which are essentially obstacle courses in which you race the clock to complete them, with your times being recorded on Xbox Live leaderboards.

After listing all of those positives, the only negatives I can think of are the file size (around 850MB which might count out 512MB memory unit users, and possibly 20GB hard drive users), and that the aiming can sometimes be difficult when the game puts enemies in the 3D plane rather than the 2D plane that you usually navigate through.

This is a game that has broken Xbox Live Arcade download records, download the trial version and see why.