SHADOW OF THE BEAST : MASHŌ NO OKITE
©1992 Psygnosis Ltd.
©1992 Vixtor Musical Industries, Inc.
Release : 1992-03-27 (¥7200)
Released in America as
SHADOW OF THE BEAST
( TGXCD1018 )
Shadow of the Beast is a side scrolling action/adventure game developed by
DMA Design and published by Victor Interactive Software. The hero
rather normal life is turned upside-down when he finds himself turned into a
monstrous beast. During a dark and stormy night, a mysterious horseman known as a
beast-mage leaps out of the forest and curses the inhabitant of a modest
cottage house. The owner suddenly wakes up and soon realizes his horrible
fate - he is now an horrific looking beast and he embarks on a journey of personal
and mad revenge, in a desperate attempt to regain his stolen human form. The
consequence of his misadventure has one unexpected twist - he now has beast powers
and can run farther, jump incredible highs and throw powerful punches and kicks
with ease. There are also special attacks but they don't really follow any traditional
formulas, instead they only exist in the sole purpose to defeat bosses and to allow
the player to move forward in his quest. As a matter of fact, they hardly qualify
as special attacks as they simply disappear after fulfilling their purpose.
Players can progress through the game in any way they see fit, however they will
need to solve puzzles and complete tasks in a specific order - Shadow of the Beast contains
many dead ends and this is where the true challenge of the game really lies.
This port of the game has some surprising differences from the original
Amiga version. It is interesting to notice that this port was developed
by DMA Design, the people behind Lemmings and
Grand Theft Auto (Reflections created the original game). It
features some enhancements not found in other versions, such as a (nearly)
exclusive animated introduction sequence (also available, I believe, in the
Japanese FM Towns version). The storyline was also slightly
changed - the original game had the beast changed into a monster-looking
creature during childhood, here the main character meets his fate as an adult
(the text at the back of the case even describes the original story and not
the one told during the game's introduction sequence).
Controls in this version are also a little less rigid and the game is overall
much easier. Finally, and not the least, the soundtrack was entirely
rearranged by D.C. Productions Ltd.in beautiful CD-quality.
Shadow of the Beast was first released in 1989 for the Commodore Amiga
(picture on the left).
The game was a major hit and was ported to many other systems such as the
Commodore 64 (1990), Amstratd CPC (1990), Atari ST (1991),
Sega Megadrive (1991), FM Towns (1991), Atari Lynx (1992),
Sega Master System (1992) and PC Engine (1992).
Two sequels follow - Shadow of the Beast II was released for the
Amiga (1992), Sega megadrive (1992), FM Towns/Marty (1993),
Atari ST (1994) and Sega CD (1994); whereas
Shadow of the Beast III was exclusively released for the Amiga in 1992.
Teaser text from the American version:
Kidnapped as a child by the evil
Beast-Mages, you have been
transformed into a creature of fearsome
power, agility and strength. In this
guise you faithfully serve the Beast
as its cohorts of many years as
their warrior messenger. Until one
day you discover an awful secret - the truth
about you past... a truth that drives you wild
with anger and sends you on a trail of bloody
revenge against your master. Now the time
has come to enter the shadow of the Beast!
Your task is to fight your way through
several different regions in order to reach the
heart of the enemy's stronghold where you
will face your ultimate adversary. Along the
way you will encounter an awesome array of
monsters and traps. Be ruthless, be
quick... for only the strongest and toughest
can hope to survive.
Prepare to live by your wits, relying on
split-second reactions and
ingenuity. Combat the diabolical
creatures. Dodge the deadly
plantlife. Overcome the devious
traps, find and use the long-lost
artifacts. Feel the adrenalin
pumping as the tension becomes
almost unbearable... Prepare to enter the
Shadow of the Beast!
Game Staff (Copied from the end credits) :
Based on an Original
Amiga Game by
Animation Player by
Intro graphics by
End Sequence by
D.C. Productions Ltd.
Special Thanks to
A Piece of Lime
He Never Gives
I Do For Him
If At First You
No Dragons Were
A DMA Design
Click on picture to enlarge|
A special Debug Mode is available at the beginning of the
game. At the title screen (picture on the right), press II, I, I
and II. The amount of life energy should change to
99 and the main character should now be invincible.
You can also now press Select at anytime during the
game to freely move the character around each area.
The game features a couple of horrid dead ends. Inside the large
Tree, make sure you have collected the two keys before you leave.
In the Castle, head left and collect the wrench. Then after that,
make sure you pick up the gun before you reach the end of the level.
Add your Pov here !
Shadow of the Beast is a mixed bag. I've always been impressed by the
excellent technical craftsmanship behind the game - a smooth and impressive
parallax scrolling infused with a breathtaking color palette and baffling large
enemies on screen. The soundtrack is also incredible and possibly the best
incarnation of David Whittaker's work. The arranged tracks and enhanced
CD quality here are far superior to earlier ports of the game. So what's
wrong with Shadow of the Beast ? Actually, what bothers me is the
ambiance of the game but I can't quite put my finger on it... nothing feels
really connected, enemies appear without any context and their design is
inconsistent (this was also the case with the original game). On another
hand this port is the easiest to play, despite the really cheap and unfair
deaths the game throws at you - forget a key or a wrench and the game is
over ! (I remember the original Amiga
version to be a lot more difficult and painful). All in all, fans of the
original game will certainly dig this port whereas others (like me) may find
it tricky to get into. One of the best port of Shadow of the Beast,
no doubt about it, but still an average and undercooked experience in my opinion...