788th played so far

Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Chair Entertainment/Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

At the point when this game was released, it felt like the Metroidvania (Metroid and Castlevania, referring to their large worlds with backtracking to find all the secrets as you unlock more powers). They’ve becme a lot more popular in the last decade, especially in the indie sphere, but I’ve not seen them in this list as much. Shadow Complex is an XBLA game that seems to have gotten there early. As I want to play our XBLA games (if only to prevent hardware failure making life difficult), it feels like a good one to tackle.

Our Thoughts

Shadow Complex‘s start feels promising on its own. Rather than arriving in a space ship or as a vampire hunter, you’re a (relatively) normal man trying to save his girlfriend as she’s been kidnapped after exploring some caves. You find a big high tech underground base that you explore. It’s more stealth focused – while there are times to attack, avoiding and indirectly taking out enemies happens as often. Not as much as Mark of the Ninja, but there’s some of that feeling of exploration. It’s a decent setting that makes sense and feels more down to earth – sort of – even if the plot follows some pretty standard beats.

The base looks really good too. It’s of course somewhat stylized, but aside from it being big, it feels deep. Obviously this is a 2D game in gameplay, but the rooms go deeper (which you get to experience in a handful of first person shooter bits) and it makes the base look gigantic. It really creates a sense of scale (and possibly explains why the enemies keep respawning). There’s quite a variety in the rooms as well, with some of the first person shooter bits and some large scale battles as well as other options. It’s a place where I kept wanting to play another room, just to see what came next.

Final Thoughts

Shadow Complex is a fun, good looking game that gives you a big world to play in that rewards exploration. The setting isn’t as outlandish as other metroidvanias, nor is its powerset, but playing as a normal person actually works really well.