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Shadow Complex: The last liberal is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace. (new OP)

LunkerLunker Registered User regular
edited January 2011 in Games and Technology
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UPDATE:

What's up with the Orson Scott Card controversy? Am I spending 1200 Allards on a crazy right-wing power fantasy?

I wouldn't get my knickers twisted over the story. Like a wise man said, for all of the hooplah about OSC being on board, the plot of the game boils down to:
-SPI- wrote:
Nathan Drake is camping in the woods with his girlfriend when she gets kidnapped by Cobra. So then Nathan Drake turns into Iron Man.

Is it true I can screw myself out of 100 percent items? So where's the point of no return?

Yes, sadly. AFAIK, there's only one single item that's missable, though it's really late in the game. For a general gameplay hint about this point:
Spoiler:
For a very specific description of this point:
Spoiler:
This point also triggers the event setting up the final boss encounter, which makes getting around the map a pain, so if you want all of the items go do that before finishing up this area.

WTF, how do you get XXXX?

Got the blue line blues? Here's a spoilerrific guide to every single power-up on the map:
So what's up with the question mark right next to the spot where you get the first pistol?

Just get everything else first. Trust me on this.

***
ORIGINAL OP:
Does the following picture arouse you?

picture3ssb.png

If so, you might want to keep an eye on Shadow Complex, which drops on XBLA on Aug. 19 for the princely sum of $15, or 1,200 Allards. It's a 2.5D side-scrolling game that lovingly borrows from the Metroidvania formula of nonlinear exploration and adventure. Promises about 10-12 hours of play on the first playthrough (not including New Game+) and focuses heavily on exploration and uncovering new abilities that let you access new parts of the map ... or you can just sequence-break to your heart's content.

Videos are available here (E3 developer walkthrough) and [vidurl= (E3 Trailer)[/vidurl]. Here are snippets from a great preview by Stephen Totilo, which got me even more excited about the game:
[Developer Donald] Mustard said he always wanted to make a so-called Metroidvania game, the kind of side-scrolling exploration-heavy, empowerment adventure rendered by Nintendo and Konami back during the NES to PlayStation eras.

Now he's got one close to completion, a spiritual successor to Super Metroid that runs on Unreal graphics technology. He describes it as a game of exploration punctuated by combat. It's a mostly side-scrolling game of military bases, robots, forests and caves, rich in earth tones and energized by explosions and energy blasts, 120 power-ups — many of them hidden — and a bunch of core power upgrades. A flashlight reveals which boulders can be obliterated only once the hero has missiles, which hatches need a different gadget. A distant corner can only be grabbed once the player's earned a grappling hook.

The game has a "Jason Bailey" Achievement for speed-runners who clear the adventure in two hours — 10 hours fewer than Chair's testers are clearing it their first time through. And, get this Metroid sequence-breakers, it's got an Achievement called Insurgent that rewards players who can figure out how to clear the game while only obtaining 4% of Shadow Complex's items.

And the most Metoidvania thing of all... the map. It's drawn over grid squares. Seven-hundred eighty squares, not counting the skyline. Mustard's team of Metroid-lovers counted squares on the Super Metroid map. That total? Two-hundred fifty five.

ShadowComplex.jpg
Mustard was showing Kotaku some exciting stuff. This included stuff his publicist (who is also his wife and was seated nearby) hadn't seen yet. He couldn't resist. He wanted to show the dark caverns of the game to demonstrate what real 3D lighting effects can do for the dark exploration of a Metroid-style game. He wanted to show battles with medium-sized mechs and screen-tall mechs who are far taller than the height of his hero's generous jumping height. He wanted to show the hidden power-ups he knows how to find, the secret crannies where an extra grenade-capacity icon is sitting.

He showed that his game's got an ability for its hero to run, momentum-based at super-speed... dashing across water, up walls, on ceilings. His hero shoots a foam gun that generates cover, gums joints of enemy mechs or provides the materials that will make, on impact, a missile detonate in a bigger explosion.

The gameplay is a throwback. The graphics are a throw forward. This is modern material: Shadow Complex is one of the rare 2D side-scrollers that takes advantage of being rendered in a 3D graphics engine. It's a The 3D-ness is shown off when Mustard has the game's hero Jason Fleming, man a turret and the sideways perspective switches to what could be a behind-the-back turret-shooting view from a Gears of War game. There's no parallax faking depth effects in these graphics. They're real 3D.

When displayed in the manner of a 2D adventure, as they are in most of the game, the graphics have a depth not seen in this kind of game. The catwalks in the background. That guy shooting from back near the waterfall. They're back there and they can be shot, they can ragdoll over a balcony or fall into the front plane of action.

ShadowComplex2.jpg
Players will earn experience points for their hero in this game, leveling up some of his core abilities and granting, every 10 levels, a special power-up. More XP is earned for defeating enemies in creative ways. But Mustard said that players won't earn all their levels the first time through. The game's designed for an increasingly empowered playthrough each time players re-visit it.

In addition, a Proving Grounds set of 21 unlocked challenges which present puzzles harder than many found in the main game are available from the start. Imagine having to grapple-hook and grenade-toss one's way around a hanging vertical wall suspended over a pit of fire. Or imagine a microcosm of a Metroidvania game with hidden power-ups that's just a few rooms large.


Critical Reception

IGN: 9.4/10
Shadow Complex probably could have used a little more development time to iron out a few glitches and nail down the sometimes awkward aiming system. Even so, it stands as one of the best games yet in 2009. And I'm not just talking about the Xbox Live Arcade. The classic, exploration-heavy gameplay is a winner. Go buy this game.

Giant Bomb: 5/5
Shadow Complex is an incredibly well-made game that finally grabs the "Metroidvania" subgenre and drags it into the modern era instead of relegating it to a land of remakes or portable games. Players that obsess over speed runs and 100 percent completion will certainly find a lot of replayability, but even players who just want to play a game start to finish and move on will find that the quality of Shadow Complex makes it well worth its $15 price tag.

Eurogamer: 9/10
For once the Super Metroid reference isn't a lazy critic's crutch. Epic Games has always declared its intention to resurrect the classic 2D side-scrolling exploration game, once popularized by Nintendo's seminal space adventure, later perfected by Konami's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. So while Shadow Complex's story and setting may be popcorn nonsense, the mechanics they clothe are golden.

...

The result is a glorious 3D reimagining of the Metroidvania style of game, at once reverent of its references, yet also eager to better their achievements. In some areas it meets this tall order, in others it falls a little short. Nevertheless, it's a game that will delight gamers old enough to recognise the classics it celebrates, while captivating those oblivious to its inspirations. Its inevitable success in the coming weeks and months could even kick-start the genre. Drop a stone into this game and the splash may never echo back. Its significance might just be unfathomable.

Post edited by Lunker on
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Comments

  • CherrnCherrn Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I am looking forward to it, but man, if I have to spend the entire game running down dank-ass military base corridors and tunnels, I'll be disappointed. Gameplay looks awesome, but the art design is ugly as sin.

    All creature will die and all the things will be broken. That's the law of samurai.
  • RamiRami Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Cherrn wrote: »
    I am looking forward to it, but man, if I have to spend the entire game running down dank-ass military base corridors and tunnels, I'll be disappointed. Gameplay looks awesome, but the art design is ugly as sin.

    There are forests and swamps and caves too.

    Also the thread title is wrong because the Super Metroid sequel we've been dreaming of is Metroid 4. Or Other M. Still, this ranks pretty highly for something that isn't Metroid.

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  • ThreepioThreepio New Westminster, BCRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I will have one of these. Please put it on my tab, I'll settle up at the end of the night.

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  • MundaneSoulMundaneSoul Registered User
    edited July 2009
    Was I just molested by the OP? I liked it.

    Reginald wrote: »
    Heavy Rain is what Martin Scorsese would see if he played Katamari Damacy.

    Score: 8 out of a possible bacon.
  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Klonoa of the Wind WAHOO!Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    This game is the #1 reason I'm considering buying a 360.

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  • SirUltimosSirUltimos Don't talk, Rusty. Just paint. Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Next to Mario Galaxy and Metroid, this is the game that most excited me at E3. Epic doing a Metroid-stlye adventure? Something about that just seems so right.

  • AumniAumni Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    If I read that right and it has New Game + with stronger baddies I'm sold 300x over versus 200x over.

    http://steamcommunity.com/id/aumni/ Battlenet: Aumni#1978 GW2: Aumni.1425
  • OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Cherrn wrote: »
    I am looking forward to it, but man, if I have to spend the entire game running down dank-ass military base corridors and tunnels, I'll be disappointed. Gameplay looks awesome, but the art design is ugly as sin.

    The art looks solid to me. Mainly in that it's a 3D game with 2D gameplay whose art is actually taking advantage of the fact that the engine is 3D.

    currently playing LoL: Polymath
    a fading melody - my indie platformer for the xbox 360
  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Definitely looking forward to it, although the book it's based on sounds terrible. That shouldn't have any effect on the gameplay, though!

  • SkyEyeSkyEye Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    It's only $15, which is incredible. It was still worth it at the $20 Chair wanted to charge, this only sweetens the pot.

    Steam: Autumn_Thunder - SC2: AutumnThundr.563 (NA) - Hearthstone: AutumnThundr.1383

  • rayofashrayofash Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
  • Brainiac 8Brainiac 8 Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    expected upgrades: Ice gun, plasma rifle, Wave gun, missiles, heavy missiles, bombs, heavy bombs, "Curl" ball, sticky ball....what?!? We're not plagerizing! <img class=" title=":lol:" class="bbcode_smiley" />


    Just kidding guys...guys? :(

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  • OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    SteevL wrote: »
    Definitely looking forward to it, although the book it's based on sounds terrible. That shouldn't have any effect on the gameplay, though!

    The book it's based on is semi-decent. Not great, but readable. Card's worst is still better than a lot of authors out there, and Empire is not his worst.

    currently playing LoL: Polymath
    a fading melody - my indie platformer for the xbox 360
  • Brainiac 8Brainiac 8 Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Orson Scott Card is probably one of my favorite Science Fiction writers out there, he's up there with Frank Herbert for me.

    This game being based on Empire actually sparked my interest more than it was before hand.

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  • ForarForar #432 Already prepping for Toronto Fan Expo!Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    This looks pretty damned... pretty.

    I'll probably wait to hear some testimony from fine PA folks, but consider me eyeing an MS points card all the same.

    Edit: that said, Empire wasn't a particularly good Card book, imo. Ender's Game remains one of my favourite books of all time, but Empire... eeeehhhhh. If the words "left" and "right" were ever used more in a sci-fi book, I'd be shocked. The characters live in an odd version of our world where a political leaning or affiliation is noted like being a seperate race, species or form of life altogether.

  • ImperfectImperfect Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Well shit, I want this pretty goddamn bad actually.

    I'm jobless just now, but fuck it, I can eat beans and rice for a few days to afford this.

  • mrflippymrflippy Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Wasn't there already another thread for this? Or maybe it was just in the XBLA thread.

    Anyway, this looks awesome except that it looks like it uses the "move with one stick, aim in a circle around with the other stick" aiming scheme. For some reason I'm really really bad at using this style of aiming. :(

  • OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Forar wrote: »
    Edit: that said, Empire wasn't a particularly good Card book, imo. Ender's Game remains one of my favourite books of all time, but Empire... eeeehhhhh. If the words "left" and "right" were ever used more in a sci-fi book, I'd be shocked. The characters live in an odd version of our world where a political leaning or affiliation is noted like being a seperate race, species or form of life altogether.

    No, it's definitely not a particularly good Card novel, but it's not his worst. :P

    currently playing LoL: Polymath
    a fading melody - my indie platformer for the xbox 360
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Rami wrote: »
    Cherrn wrote: »
    I am looking forward to it, but man, if I have to spend the entire game running down dank-ass military base corridors and tunnels, I'll be disappointed. Gameplay looks awesome, but the art design is ugly as sin.

    There are forests and swamps and caves too.

    Also the thread title is wrong because the Super Metroid sequel we've been dreaming of is Metroid 4. Or Other M. Still, this ranks pretty highly for something that isn't Metroid.

    Except that Metroid Fusion is Metroid 4.

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  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    OremLK wrote: »
    Forar wrote: »
    Edit: that said, Empire wasn't a particularly good Card book, imo. Ender's Game remains one of my favourite books of all time, but Empire... eeeehhhhh. If the words "left" and "right" were ever used more in a sci-fi book, I'd be shocked. The characters live in an odd version of our world where a political leaning or affiliation is noted like being a seperate race, species or form of life altogether.

    No, it's definitely not a particularly good Card novel, but it's not his worst. :P

    Heh. I think I'd prefer not to read this book at all and keep my good impressions of Card's stuff with Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. :)

    Anyway, I mentioned in the XBLA thread how I was surprised it's only $15. It seemed like all indications were that it would be $20 or possibly even more! I have a ton of points thanks to finding some really good deals via cheapassgamer over the last few weeks.

  • ThreepioThreepio New Westminster, BCRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I noticed yesterday that Card was listed as one of the writers of the dialogue in The Dig™. I'm going to pick up a copy of Empire just so I'm in the loop for Shadow Complex.

    142.jpg
  • RaiekRaiek Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Looks like Mustard has also gone on to say that he thinks a Co-Op feature in this type of game would be a future goal. This was just put up on Kotaku:
    Kotaku wrote:
    Mustard loves the idea of trying co-op as a main mechanic in a Metroidvania kind of game. But he said it was an idea that just didn't make sense to prioritize for Shadow Complex. He imagines that, if he could do it, he'd want players to be able to solve complex puzzles, in concert even if they were located on opposite ends of the game's map. In fact, he said that that would be cool if a Metroidvania-style puzzle required players to be spread that far apart.

    I suggested that the Shadow Complex developers could prototype the idea and offer it as a downloadable expansion to their game.

  • PrincepeachPrincepeach Registered User
    edited July 2009
    Something about watching an otherwise totally normal guy jumping straight in the air up to two times his standing height seems...odd.

  • Mr.BrickMr.Brick Registered User
    edited July 2009
    this looks kinda cool.

    pew pew pew
  • ThreepioThreepio New Westminster, BCRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Something about watching an otherwise totally normal guy jumping straight in the air up to two times his standing height seems...odd.

    Wheaties and milk. Does a body good.

    142.jpg
  • kurokazekurokaze Registered User
    edited July 2009
    Threepio wrote: »
    I noticed yesterday that Card was listed as one of the writers of the dialogue in The Digâ„¢. I'm going to pick up a copy of Empire just so I'm in the loop for Shadow Complex.

    Don't do it!

    :shock: at $15 price. Seems like pure win for gamers, but maybe a bit worrying? Do you think $20 would have lowered sales that much for such a beautiful high-profile game? Makes me think that something must be wrong with it... :x

    I don't know, $15 still seems out of impulse buy territory to me (partly because it's not an even half-point-card) while $10 is within it, but maybe that's what they're going for.

    atehim.jpg
  • AmiguAmigu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    This looks great. I love the 2D Metroid and Castlevania series. They just aren't the same in 3D :(

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    kurokaze wrote: »
    Threepio wrote: »
    I noticed yesterday that Card was listed as one of the writers of the dialogue in The Digâ„¢. I'm going to pick up a copy of Empire just so I'm in the loop for Shadow Complex.

    Don't do it!

    Because it's bad? Or good? Sarcasm on the internet is confusing.

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  • OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Empire is not well-regarded. I don't think it's a terrible book, but I doubt it's in any way necessary for this game, and if you want to read a Card novel there are probably better ones that you haven't read. I recommend Hart's Hope.

    currently playing LoL: Polymath
    a fading melody - my indie platformer for the xbox 360
  • DaveTheWaveDaveTheWave Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Who the fuck is Jason Bailey?

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Who the fuck is Jason Bailey?

    It's a merging of the main character's first name with part of a famous password used in the original Metroid.

  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Bit of a random, unrelated reference though. What does a speed run achievement have to do with "Justin Bailey"?

    "The sausage of Green Earth explodes with flavor like the cannon of culinary delight."
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  • DaveTheWaveDaveTheWave Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I am wholly aware of Justin Bailey.

    I just think that is a lame achievement.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Justin Bailey starts you with 2 hours on your time played clock doesn't it? So you're guaranteed the swimsuit edition ending?

    I mean, it makes sense...

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  • kurokazekurokaze Registered User
    edited July 2009
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Justin Bailey starts you with 2 hours on your time played clock doesn't it? So you're guaranteed the swimsuit edition ending?

    I don't know whether that's true or not, however it causes the Samus you immediately begin with to be 'swimsuit edition.' So there's no real impetus to use it to see that ending.


    Regarding Empire: I have actually not read it, but I've read a large number of Card's books in hopes that maybe this one won't suck ass. These hopes have been dashed repeatedly. Ender's Game is phenomenal, Speaker for the Dead contains much worthy of praise, and everything else with the possible exception of Hart's Hope (which I did enjoy, but I read so long ago that I don't trust that evaluation) and Ender's Shadow (which isn't really good at all but it's kind of neat to see the different perspective on the story, retcon-warts and all).

    His short fiction is pretty decent overall, though, and he has a book on writing F/SF that's considered to be a must-read to aspiring F/SF writers.

    atehim.jpg
  • freakish lightfreakish light Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    So I guess there's no chance of a PC release. I really prefer to do my gaming here instead of out in the living room where everybody who wants to watch TV has to watch me playing XBLA or something.

  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Justin Bailey starts you with 2 hours on your time played clock doesn't it? So you're guaranteed the swimsuit edition ending?

    I mean, it makes sense...

    Justin Bailey just lets you play as swimsuit Samus. It doesn't really have anything to do with the ending, other than the "OMG Samus is a girl" reveal.

    Basically, Justin Bailey is remembered for letting you play as suitless Samus, not for speedrunning the game. Calling a speedrun achievement after it is... well, nice, but totally unrelated

    "The sausage of Green Earth explodes with flavor like the cannon of culinary delight."
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  • CherrnCherrn Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I think they just wanted to evoke something associated with Metroid in an achievement for speedrunning - which is something closely associated with Metroid.

    They could have named it after some other trope, like "ice beam + missile", and it would still have the same effect despite not having anything to do with ice beams or missiles. It's entirely referential; everyone knows where Justin Bailey is from.

    All creature will die and all the things will be broken. That's the law of samurai.
  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Death Groupie Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Can I give MS my $15 now please?

    Oh wait, I can!
    Raiek wrote: »
    Looks like Mustard has also gone on to say that he thinks a Co-Op feature in this type of game would be a future goal. This was just put up on Kotaku:
    Kotaku wrote:
    Mustard loves the idea of trying co-op as a main mechanic in a Metroidvania kind of game. But he said it was an idea that just didn't make sense to prioritize for Shadow Complex. He imagines that, if he could do it, he'd want players to be able to solve complex puzzles, in concert even if they were located on opposite ends of the game's map. In fact, he said that that would be cool if a Metroidvania-style puzzle required players to be spread that far apart.

    I suggested that the Shadow Complex developers could prototype the idea and offer it as a downloadable expansion to their game.

    Never gonna happen, but that would be the greatest thing ever.

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  • LunkerLunker Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Cherrn wrote: »
    I think they just wanted to evoke something associated with Metroid in an achievement for speedrunning - which is something closely associated with Metroid.

    They could have named it after some other trope, like "ice beam + missile", and it would still have the same effect despite not having anything to do with ice beams or missiles. It's entirely referential; everyone knows where Justin Bailey is from.

    I think "Shinespark" could have been a clever Achievement name, but I think the whole Justin Bailey reference is more widely known. I see it as just a direct nod to Metroid's massive influence on the game's design, and reading into it more than that is thinking too hard about it. It's cool that they're specifically building the game with speedrun/low-item percentage runs in mind, even though I personally have never been hard-core enough to really do well under that kind of pressure. :(
    Brainiac 8 wrote:
    expected upgrades: Ice gun, plasma rifle, Wave gun, missiles, heavy missiles, bombs, heavy bombs, "Curl" ball, sticky ball....what?!? We're not plagerizing!


    Just kidding guys...guys? :(

    I chuckled when I read about the flashlight that works as an X-ray beam. :) But it's clear the developers aren't hiding the fact that they're lovingly aping the Metroid formula. Though one of the unique items that I've seen, the foam gun, seems to be really cool: You use it to shoot out this styrofoam-looking substance, and you can use it to either build platforms for you to jump on, or block enemy attack, or even use it as plastique and shoot the foam with a missile to create an even bigger explosion than normal. I'm sure using it to create platforms to propel yourself upward will be key to sequence-breaking the game.

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