LGR – Shadow Warrior – DOS PC Game Review

[LGR Theme] [fizz, sip] Aahhh! Kung fu movies are pretty much awesome. First-person shooters are awesome. 3D Realms… is awesome. Why not mix all of that into one
delightfully over-the-top game? Do that and you’ll get something
a lot like Shadow Warrior, on of the three games made by 3D Realms which uses the Build engine. LO WANG:
“Ha ha! You no mess with Lo Wang!” [swoosh] “Hooya!” First, a little history. In 1996, Duke Nukem 3D was released by 3D Realms. It was a huge success. So they quickly got to work on making the exact same thing once again. A first-person shooter with a near-
superhuman and hilarious protagonist– LO WANG:
“Whooo want-a some Wang?” linear levels with lots of interactivity, weapons that are completely insane
and plenty of so-called adult content like sex, gore and language. The next two projects were Blood and Shadow Warrior. Where Duke 3D made fun of American action heroes, Blood was a parody of horror movies and Shadow Warrior recalls
Eastern kung fu and samurai movies. But for whatever reason, Blood
ended up being bought by Monolith once it was pretty much completed, and Shadow Warrior was released,
but quickly disappeared from the public eye and the planned expansions for it were never released. So is this admitted Duke clone
any good, yesterday or today? Well, the short answer is yes. [large explosion] LO WANG:
“Holy cow!” “Look like Duke Nukem! Ha ha ha!” LGR:
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Shadow Warrior puts you in the shoes, or sandals, of super-awesome megawarrior-
turned-bodyguard Lo Wang. Yes, that is his name. Lo Wang. His employer basically rules Japan
already but decides it’s not enough and decides to take over the world. So Lo Wang quits and has to fight off all the evil forces that
are overtaking the Earth trying to kill him. It’s the exact same formula as Duke Nukem, and it looks and plays almost exactly the same. However, where Duke 3D left off,
Shadow Warrior ups the ante a little bit. So let’s start off with the weapons. The selection here is very unique, to say the least. You start off with shurikens and a samurai sword, but quickly amass an arsenal of uzis, a riot shotgun, grenade launcher,
sticky bombs, rail gun, rocket launcher, tactical NUKE– COMPUTER VOICE:
“Ready.” “Warning.” LO WANG:
“Son of a bitch!” LGR:
–and several others. You can even use certain enemy
body parts, like a head which shoots fire and a heart which will spawn
a crazy clone of yourself. And almost all of these weapons
have alternate modes, which was pretty unique at the time. Like the riot gun which can
shoot multiple consecutive shots, and heat-seeking missiles and
nuclear bombs for the rocket launcher. Somehow there is just a visceral thrill to many of these weapons that’s unlike most games. It just FEELS good to kill things with these weapons. Most of this is due to the insane flying gore
going everywhere and the death animations which are dependent on a weapon, unlike Duke 3D where enemies mostly died the
same way no matter how you kill them. Slice open an enemy with a sword
and see its body tear apart. Speaking of enemies, the selection is quite varied. Everything from generic walking demon things to generic flying demon things to generic translucent demon things to… okay. Maybe they aren’t the greatest,
but they are fun and tough to kill. And there’s an occasional
dominatrix thrown in to spice things up. The bosses are massive. Massive disappointments. You get a red reptilian freak thing that shoots skulls, and a giant sumo wrestler that shoots farts. Real classy, 3D Realms. The rest of the additions to the game
are the graphics and level aspects. The level design itself is really just as good as Duke 3D,
if not a little more creative, especially in the later half of the game. It’s linear but still interesting. Tons and tons of hidden places and secrets. One of particular note is the room with Lara Croft. LO WANG:
“Heh heh. She’s raided her last tomb.” [gunshot, woman screaming] LGR:
And in addition to awesome levels, you can also man turrets and vehicles, like boats, tanks and assault guns. There’s even one level where you
can use your remote control car to locate a key. There’s also the option to have 3D objects, uh, kind of similar to those in Quake, for items like weapons,
keys and switches on the wall. This is nice, but it makes the rest of the game look dated. Things look bad enough with the textures used, especially in the first half of the game.
Most of them are just ugly, really low-resolution, brownish, greenish, weird, nasty-looking textures. Another thing I really hate about the levels are the platforming sections. Thankfully, there aren’t too many
levels that actually use these sections, but when they happen, they seriously suck and stop the action dead in its tracks, often dying and dying over and over. There are also some puzzles to solve, but these aren’t as bad as
jumping around and balancing acts, and there’s only a couple of these. Bottom line: platforming does not belong in a shooter, especially not one based on the Build engine. The sound effects are pleasant and enjoyable with plenty of ambient noises
and deep rumbling explosions which really, really help the atmosphere. And of course, all the Lo Wang speak is great. LO WANG:
[singing] “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream.” “Woo! I think my dinghy hanging out!” LGR:
There’s plenty of movie references to things like Hard Boiled by John Woo as well. “Be proud, Mr. Woo.” There is also a set of music tracks on the CD in the form of CD audio, instead of Sound Blaster or AdLib-generated music. The songs do help with the atmosphere a little bit, especially the ambient tracks, but mostly they’re just stereotypical,
Asian-infused, cheap-sounding rock. There are 28 levels in the game and it took me about 6 or 7 hours to get
through the whole thing in normal difficulty. So, yes, the main game is kind of short, but there were actually two expansions
made by other companies: Twin Dragon and Wanton Destruction. These never actually saw the light of day commercially, but they were released later online for free, so you can find them pretty easily. I haven’t played them really to any extent yet, so I can’t comment on those. So, at the beginning of this, I said that Shadow Warrior was, in short, good. And I stand by that. It is a good game. I enjoyed playing through every last bit of it. It’s not great by any means, though. At the time it came out, the gaming world
had moved on to Quake and things like that. So it really kind of looked dated, and honestly, Lo Wang just isn’t as
fun as Duke Nukem, I don’t think, although he is just as humorous. And when it comes down to it,
I just prefer the locations and creatures and almost everything from Duke 3D. The game is quite enjoyable for its unique attributes, but once you finish it, you’ll
probably just move on and think, well… that was kind of fun. And… that will be it.