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Shadow: War of Succession (3DO) artwork

Shadow: War of Succession (3DO) review

"Possibly the worst game made for the 3DO."

Shadow: War of Succession is undoubtedly one of the worst fighting games available for any system. With awful controls, poor sound effects and generally lazy design, there is little of value to be found in this game.

The game's plot and characters are briefly described in the game's manual, but there is also an introductory cut scene. S.H.A.D.O.W. is a crime syndicate located in New York City. A helicopter piloted by an unknown assailant fires missiles at a large office building, killing the Shadow King, the head of S.H.A.D.O.W. Other members of S.H.A.D.O.W. see this as an opportunity to become the new leader of the organization. The cut scene has early polygonal, 3D-style graphics that are about on par for the time, but one obvious problem with the opening cut scene is that the Statue of Liberty is yellow, rather than its natural green color. Also the premise is a bit hard to believe; an attack helicopter practically destroys a building in Manhattan and the police, as the opening scene states, "refuses to speculate on the cause of the explosion." Fighting games aren't known for having deep plots but this one isn't even plausible.

As is typical with fighting games, there is a single player and two player mode. There are seven playable characters in total and the Shadow King as an unlockable character . Single player has three difficulty levels, and matches are best two out of three. Even on the Beginner difficulty, the game is broken and basically unplayable. Movement and jumping feels unnatural. Collision detection is very bizarre. It's hard to tell what attacks will connect and which ones will not without some practice. Most importantly, it is possible, and rather easy, to continually hit the opponent such that he is almost unable to respond. The computer does this very effectively even on the easiest difficulty setting. After winning two matches, the words "Finish Him" appear on screen, much like in Mortal Kombat. However, the developers didn't actually create any fatality-style moves for the game, so any ordinary attack can finish off the opponent and end the match.

The seven playable characters who are struggling to become the next Shadow King include Gabriella, the Shadow King's former bodyguard. Sasha is a Russian agent, presumably from the KGB. Carlos is an FBI agent who may or may not have gone rogue. Erika is the daughter of the former Shadow King. Anvil is a Navy SEAL whose brother once worked for S.H.A.D.O.W. and disappeared mysteriously. Little is known about Viper. Riggs, the last of the seven, is the former head drug dealer. Riggs has the most interesting back story. He was killed by Carlos, but then made a deal with the devil and was brought back to life, so that Riggs may kill more people. The characters' backgrounds are described in a couple of sentences in the manual, but some of their dialogue within the game hints at it.

Each character has a fairly limited move set. Most can kick, punch, jump, duck, and combinations of the above. In addition they all have a few special moves with certain button combinations. Because of the fast pace of the combat, and how in general the computer is very difficult, it's hard to pull off most of them. A few can be extremely powerful, however. Riggs can shoot a claw-shaped burst of fire. Some characters can't dodge it by ducking and it's also hard to jump over. It's possible to defeat another player simply by keeping a distance and using that move repeatedly. The same is true of Carlos's gun shot attack and possibly a few others.

In the individual battles the characters have digitized sprites and animations, again like in Mortal Kombat. However, there are too few frames of animations for the characters and it looks unnatural. Gabriella and Sasha are good examples of this. Also, in Carlos's idle animation his shadow disappears for a brief moment. The individual stages all play identically but they have different backgrounds. One especially odd looking background takes place on some rooftops, with a huge yellow billboard in the background, with a radiation symbol on it in red and the word "RADIAC" across it. It's so out of place. Remember, the game takes place in New York City. Is it supposed to be an advertisement, or a warning that the area is radioactive? There's no way to know.

Probably the only decent aspect of Shadow: War of Succession is the music, which sounds great, except for the fact that it's hard to hear over the noise of combat. Everyone grunts or groans when attacking or jumping. Some of it even sounds like barking. In a fighting game where players are constantly attacking and moving around it's one horrid, cacophonous noise.

Shadow: War of Succession is simply one of the worst fighting games ever made and one of the worst games released on the 3DO. Even a complete neophyte at fighting games can see how little effort was put into the gameplay.


Bouchart's avatar
Community review by Bouchart (October 30, 2017)

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