Shadow Complex was one of the first Xbox Live Arcade games to jump up and down shouting ‘Hey, look at me!’. A slick side on action adventure game which features Nathan Drake, I mean whatshisname, stumbling upon an underground complex… a shadow complex. Here he must save his girlfriend so he can crack lame jokes, and thankfully he happens to have a knack for kicking ass.
Shadow Complex is much like a Metroid game. You start with the bare bones in abilities and weapons, but as you explore the shadow complex you find upgrades which slowly turn you into a badass. Many areas at the start are blocked off because you don’t have the right power, so backtracking comes into play. It isn’t the lame backtracking either, it’s the optional stuff which tends to lead to new areas and you feel the pleasure of returning more powerful. From standard pistol shooting to running across lakes, the powers you find really make the adventure a satisfying and super cool journey of evolution.
Combat is the second thing you’ll be doing the most of and it delivers thanks to the slick transitions and options available. Running in aiming and shooting is one thing, but you can also shoot at the background fodders making the flat two-dimensional movement have a sense of depth. As you upgrade you have the options to rush up to an enemy and smack them flying, with a close up animation which doesn’t feel jarring this is a particular highlight when charging into a room. Unless you’ve been charging too much and you end up rushing into the enemies, frying them into particles. Which is even more awesome. Combat is never frustrating and giant robot boss battles actually feel exciting.
It’s a great game which doesn’t let up. The core mechanics work without any hitches and the visuals offer some gorgeous forestry and shiny complexes. The only faults come from those times when you just haven’t a clue where to go next and the rather hammy story about nuking America or something like that. It doesn’t really matter though when you can run on water and punch a guard all the way across the room. Nothing really matters when you can do that.