Shadows of the Damned came out earlier this summer. Players are Garcia Hotspur, a demon hunter with a lust for killing demons, armed with his wise cracking partner Johnson, a floating skull who turns into Garcia’s weapons. The lord of hell, Fleming, kidnapped his girlfriend. What else is a good boyfriend to do but travel to hell and rescue her? The story is bizarre in the way of its crude humor and over the top action found in all of the developer’s, Suda 51, games. The plot may be simple, but the comedy and quirkiness of the narrative and characters will keep gamers immersed.
Shadows of the Damned is a 3rd person shooting game. Garcia has 4 weapons at his disposal, which, along with other stats, can be upgraded via red gems scattered around hell. He wields a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, and a torch for melee combat. With these in hand Garcia will take on a variety of ghoulish demons, each with their own traits and weaknesses. The combat is slow paced, causing tension like a Resident Evil game. The combat isn’t Shadows’ strong point, but it’s fun enough, albeit somewhat repetitive.
The story is great, but what’s a good story without a background to flesh it out. Shadows’ Hell is strange, built around a rich, inventive lore that’s both funny and intriguing. For example, strawberries are actually ground up tongues, baby heads guard gates, floating eyes poop to save game progress, and the eccentric list goes on. This is a world players will either laugh, or scoff at.
That said this game isn’t for everyone. It feels like a good B-Horror movie, which isn’t for everyone. The combat clearly took a backseat to the story, which may make gamers shy away from it already. In some points, the game racks up in difficulty for arbitrary reasons as well. And the game’s story falters near the end of game leading up to a lackluster ending.
Shadows of the Damned was made for a specific audience, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It could have used some more polish here and there, but it’s a valiant effort. If gamers liked previous Suda 51 games then this will not disappoint them. For others unfamiliar with Suda 51, be cautious for this trip to hell may seem a little odd for some.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on September 16, 2011 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.