#256 Shadowrun

Posted: 17th April 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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948th played so far

Genre: Action/Role-Playing
Platform: SNES
Year of Release: 1993
Developer: Beam Software
Publisher: Data East

I’ve always been curious about the Shadowrun universe. Not enough to play a paper and pencil RPG with it, but there’s something about the cyberpunk universe that’s interesting, with a dystopia that seemed prescient. Yeah, I backed the recent RPG entries that were funded through Kickstarter – they’re on the list of games to play once I finish this list.

In 1993 and 1994, two earlier, console based RPGs were released based on Shadowrun. The 1994 version for the Sega Genesis (which I tried as well) is possibly technically more proficient and interesting, but felt fairly grindy early on to stay interesting. The SNES version is the one that’s actually on the list, and while there are some arguments on which one is best, I’m curious to see where it ends up going.

Our Thoughts

I ended up being quite amazed by this game. There’s a lot to do in the world, as divided as it is in the area, with a lot of NPCs walking around while following the proper RPG tradition of hiding secrets for later character growth everywhere. I followed a guide, since the game has enough obscure options that it’s really useful to have some idea of what to do (I doubt I would have found my first gun without it). Part of the reason for it is that with the game being dated, finding items can be a pixel hunt looking for small drawers and other bits when you still need them to progress. The game looks good beyond that, but it means that those details tend to get lost.

As part of the guide, to be able to progress further the start of the game can be a bit grindy. You get free healing in your apartment while there is a room next door that you can repeatedly enter to respawning enemies. Taking them out slowly levels your stats which lets you improve your skills – gunplay focused at the start as you don’t have your magic yet and it takes quite a while before you’ll get a deck to hack the different computer systems. It’s an unfortunate thing, but in the end it didn’t take too long, it gave me a chance to get used to the combat system and the rest of the game flowed quite smoothly as I explored the first neighbourhood.

Again, there’s a lot to do here, between finding out what’s going on and finding the people you need. The conversations use keywords, which leads to that unfortunate tendency to have to try every word in case someone has something to say. A guide helps here too, but when you hit it there’s so much detail to the world that it gets really interesting.

Final Thoughts

It’s in a way interesting to see an action RPG in the western style on a console known for its JRPGs. This marries the two, reducing the complexity of western games like the Ultima series while having a more open ended play than the Final Fantasy series on the SNES. I still recommend using a guide, but with it you play something that’s still a lot of fun – and yeah, I think it’s better than the Genesis installment.