The Capital Building is under attack, the Vice President is dead, and the United States is being plunged into civil war. Where are you? Out on an afternoon hike with that girl you met last night. This is the world of Shadow Complex, based off the Empire series by award winning science fiction author Orson Scott Card.
This assures that nothing is what it seems, including the use of the classic side scrolling gameplay.
In Shadow Complex you play Jason Flemming on a date with your new girlfriend Claire. She brings you to some cavernous foothills outside of town where she used to play as kid. Soon after arriving, you lose track of her. You do spot her quickly enough, but unfortunately she is being dragged off by armed men into some sort of hidden facility. It looks like you have unwittingly stumbled upon a terrorist group’s secret underground base. It’s up to you to save the girl and maybe stop their plans of world domination in the process.
This rescue attempt will not be easy. You’re up against an entire army, and you start off with nothing but a flashlight. On the bright side you are in a military style complex with enough armaments in it to take over a small country – or even a big one. Exploration is the name of the game because, as you uncover more and more of the map, you gain experience and get stronger. To save your lady friend you’re going to also need some serious hardware. Picking up a pistol will help, but you’re going to need more than that to stop these guys.
Over the course of the game you find different guns, grenades, and rockets to take care of any power armour wearing soldiers or giant spider robots you may come across. So keep track of your position on the great in game map and find all the health, body, and power upgrades hidden in every nook and cranny of the enemy base. You’re going to need them.
Graphically, there are some ups and downs. Since your movement is restricted to a two-dimensional plane, the backgrounds you run across are beautifully detailed. However, the character models look cheap and uninspired. The voice work, and the sound design are good despite lacklustre facial animations.
With four difficulty settings and a series of challenge rooms to test your skills, Shadow Complex is totally worth the asking price. Shadow Complex is available for download on the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Marketplace.