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Shadow Complex review

How to hide an old school platformer behind the appearance of a modern shooter? Shadow Complex is the answer. The game combines the reasons we love what gaming industry produces now and what we loved it for back in Golden Era.

Based on Orson Scott novels, it also reminds of game classics like Castlevania or Super Metroid. The scene is the city of the future, close to new apocalyptic scenario. To stop the fanatics wishing to set America on a new Civil War, you are on the mission over and under the ground.

Gameplay 8/10

In fact, it’s an action game. Not strictly a shooter, because it takes more than shooting to fulfill your missions. Adventures are taking all of you.

Your character is Colonel Jason Flemming, trying first of all to rescue his girlfriend Claire. But as he tries to rescue her from enemies in the mountains he discovers a secret hidden complex stuffed with modern electronics and full of soldiers. What’s cooking there? You’ll have to cross many platforms to reveal the mystery.

The tools you can use are far more than simply weapons. Use the flashlight for lighting dark underground section. Foam Gun lets you build your own platforms to access inaccessible spots. And you’ll need all of that to get through numerous underground levels.

There is a tutorial that explains how to use your character’s movements and equipment. But the game requires some inventiveness on where and how to use it. For example, while your character only can move in 2D, the enemies live (and die) in 3D, so they can appear virtually from anywhere, and you should be prepared.

Graphics 10/10

Though it’s not 3D in terms of action, the environment is fully three-dimensional.  The platforms (so dear to old gamer’s heart) are formed by urban landscape elements, like fire ladders and balconies, cars and waste containers, and they look natural and logical.

2016 remaster preserved the style but made it more elaborate. The total experience is similar to reading a decently drawn graphic novel, this time being interactive. The only thing it lacks for complete similarity is bubbles instead of subtitles; the rest of esthetics hits the point.

Replay Value 10/10

What Shadow Complex inherited from Golden Era is its endless tries. You may adjust the level of difficulty to face new challenges. And even after you’re through with the main mission, you can explore Proving Grounds to find the way out of some mystery rooms.

You can replay some episodes to up your score, if your place in the global leaderboard matters.

Controls 6/10

Though the game is playable with keyboard and mouse, you only get the complete experience with the Xbox controller. Gamers stuck to K&M can find a little solace in the Options where one can customize the controls. You can reassign the keys, activate mouse auto-aiming and set it up the way you like.

In the beginning you can see the complete instruction on controls, but learning it while playing works better.


This game is like an old wine poured into new wineskins, so the entire flavor is preserved. No matter if you prefer modern shooters or old time classics; if you adore action games, this one is a must for you.

Reasonable system requirements (though greater for remaster edition) allow you to run this game even on machines made in late 2000s. But what you really need to enjoy this game entirely is an Xbox controller; keyboard-and-mouse playing is not half of the fun you get playing it right.


  • Platformer mechanics with some new features added
  • Great graphics (especially in 2016 Remaster)
  • Additions to storyline
  • Reasonable price.


  • Requires a controller for better experience
  • 3D appearance is deceiving
  • Some elements (like enemies stealing in from behind) may confuse.
Replay Value

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