Shadow of the Beast
Added to the lair: 3/9/18
Note: Includes Shadow of the Beast I - III
Genre: Action / Platformer
Developer: Reflections Interactive
Year: 1989 / 1990 / 1992
Shadow of the Beast Collection
The time has come to enter the shadow...
Shadow of the Beast has always been an interesting, creative, challenging series, that's worth a look, despite its flaws.
It really can't be overstated how incredible Shadow of the Beast looked in 1989. This is the same year as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES), Phantasy Star II, and Castlevania III, to help put it into perspective. It was literally a system-seller for the Amiga. The incredible 12 layers of parallax scrolling seen in outdoor areas (in the first game) still looks pretty fantastic, even today. The gameplay falls short of the promise made by the visuals, but this improved significantly over time, culminating in Shadow of the Beast 3 which is my favorite in the series. The games are all extremely atmospheric both visually and audibly - with a wide range of strange, alien locales to explore accompanied by some absolutely phenomenal music that really sets the tone.
The games are all quite short - around 30 minutes or less - if you actually know what you're doing, but rest assured that it'll take you significantly longer if you're not intimately familiar with them. You'll die many, many times in the process of learning your way around things. They're all quite challenging. They have fairly large, open levels that can be explored in semi-nonlinear fashion; though, similar to "metroidvania" titles, certain things have to be accomplished in specific locations before you can proceed to others. 2 and 3 even threw in some (occasionally) tricky puzzles to contend with.
The Shadow of the Beast series certainly isn't perfect, but they're worth trying if you're willing to go in with an open mind and you're up for a challenge.
Shadow of the Beast