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SNES REVIEWS: Shadowrun - Destructoid

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Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I am an Iraqi-Saudi living in Saudi Arabia.
-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Seeing as my top 10 games of all time would change depending on the day you ask me, I am just going to put in Random games I don't think are in anyone's top 10 list:

-Blood Will Tell
-Mega Man Legends 2
-Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
-Donkey Kong Country 2
-Suikoden 2
-Some weird game in the PS1 that caused my grandfather to kick me out of the house because it had me giving a girl an orgasm by massaging her feet.

Six is as good a number as any, so here is that:

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For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:

http://www.ign.com/top/snes-games

I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

This is going to be another legacy review from the forum I first started this task, so I am still embarrassed about showing it here. Still, this is actually one of the best of the lot, and the first one I put in real effort in.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

[b]77- Shadowrun:



[/b]Since this game is deeper than the last two games, I would first go into general information about the gameplay and plot, as well as an analysis of the impact of the game.

Here goes;
[b]
General View:[/b]

Shadowrun is an action RPG. However, it takes place not in a fantasy setting of Celtic lore, or the usual JRPG universes. It is basically one of the first games that abandon the standard RPG universe for a dark steam-punk Neo Seatle. Yes, the game takes place in the alleyways of crime ridden Seatle.

Right from the start, you get that this games is different from any that preceded it. You delve into a in intriguing plot from the standpoint of a dead character (who survived a shot to the head). It is a game that inspired RPG creators to aspire beyond the tradition and look for ways to expand the genre.

Gameplay:

There are four branches in the game, exploration, combat, customization, and hacking.

First, exploration is basically moving from screen to screen, looking for the next goal, and interacting with NPC's and the environment. In interacting with the environment, you hold down the A button (or B depending on the version) to get a hand on screen that acts like a cursor, as you move the hand on the environment, anything of interest produces a green label in which then you get close to and examine and/or pick up. Few things in the game are not needed for you to either examine or pick up, therefore a keen eye is needed to pick up all the labels. Most off the time, the things you need to look at are obvious, but sometimes they are not.

Interacting with NPC's is where this game is very different from other RPG's. You get a chance to talk to the NPC's and ask them about "key words" you get from other NPC's. Basically, you are like detective who jumps from place to place to pick up clues on where to go. Hence, knowing your exact goal needs patience as well as common sense. The Doctor would know about curing your head injury, but he would not know about the guys who wanted to kill you.

Second, combat is a matter of hitting the B buttoon, aiming the cursor at the bad guys and then bashing the B button until they are dead. You can also hit the X button to use magic in the same way. I foun that the basic tool of survival is being well upgraded, and well experienced. Some situations though require some strategy, and death is certain until this strategy is discovered by you, which is immensely satisfying.

Third, customization. You get Karma points from killing a number of bad guys, which you then use to improve your different attributes. You also get money which you then use to buy upgrades. The karma point system might sound impressive, but on actual use, it is very basic. While money will be drained on buying the latest upgrades, without which you have no chance on beating the game.

Fourth, hacking. You got that right, in this neo world, you get the ability to hack computer to open doors, get secret information, and steel money. while you are hacking an entirely different gameplay mechanic is employed. You walk around as a sprite inside the circuits in a mines-like game. You get updates on the statues of the Anti-Virus (IC's) near you as you move in to try and avoid them, or destroy what is in your path. Hacking provides a different feel to the game and is defiantly a plus.

Shadowrunners:

There are a number of shadowrunners in the game who you can employ to help as mercenaries. This function requires you to micro manage your party very well to get the maximum out of it, but is a costly endeavor since a lot of money and Karma needs to get into this business for you to reap the rewards.

Well, that was a basic explanation of the game, here is what I thought of it;

The Fun Factor:

I really enjoyed my time in Shadowrun, the whole story was good. The gameplay was shallow but some intense moments made me utilize my full critical thinking. Exploring neo-Seattle was cool at the beginning despite feeling limited at the end. Shadowrunners provided a fun experiment although I quickly discovered they are useless to my playing style.

Ultimately, Shadowrun never rises above the 'good' label. And while it was exciting and cool at the beginning, it was not so near the end where I would easily blast into everything I saw.

Score: 5

Challenge:

This is a game of two halves, the first off which I treed carefully, afraid of every stray bullet, and afraid of every troll.
it was a tense feeling, waiting for a barrage of enemy fire to end me. It was also really cool. I felt a sense of satisfaction at winning a difficult battle, a sense of triumph after finishing a practically difficult stage.

The late second half however, when you are upgraded enough to destroy every moving thing in Seattle is like a training practice. I now get the feeling of Chelsea when they played against Wigan. I felt it was unfair to the enemy.

Despite my late terminator statues, the early feeling of stress and alert gives this game a:

Score: 7

Style:

Everything from the setting, to the grumpy "busy business man" walking in the street, and the different locations gives this game a unique setting among its peers. Despite the small budget of its developing company, Beam did their best at creating a plausible world.

They should have tried more with the music though, the SNES is home to some great music from Mario to Final Fantasy and Chrono Cross. Shadowrun simply recycles 7 different tracks and use them throughout the game. And only one of those tracks stand out. The sound effects are also horrible, as well as the dead sprites.

The sound effect of your last gun, which is called a cannon is the same sound effect of your first pistol. And every dead enemy looks the same when they are dead, even the giant Troll Decker who turns into a white human being. Those are two examples of inconstant design issues in the game.

All in all, an excellent setting is brought down by poor music, cardboard NPC's, weird sound effects, and generally bad design issues in the game. I understand the low budget cost, but some issues are just too silly to frak up

Score: 7 (the setting is that cool)

Playability:

Although you will need an hour to get used to the slow cursor like control scheme, it will soon grow on you. However, the combat cursor's speed will get you killed a number of times before you earn your god-like strength. That however do not derive from the game's fluidity much.

The issue most will face with this game is its bad graphics, which are bad even for SNES standards. And the bad sound effects. After a while, the stupid combat music made me want to finish combat faster than usual, which is good I suppose.

Score: 5

Lord Spencer's Score:

The game has a lot of historical significance. It supposedly even influenced the Matrix trilogy. In fact, this game is one of the first game to abandon 90% of RPG's traditions and succeed. And being a western RPG, Shadowrun made it look possible that WRPG's compete with the at the time much stronger JRPG's. This game opened up the potential of the RPG genre, which in turn led to games like Fallout. In fact, you can see the similiarities between the first Fallout and this game

For that, this game deserves an:

Score: 8

Overall: 5/7/7/5/8: 32/50

I swear I am not doing this on purpose, but so far, my rating are agreeing with IGN's list.

Anyways, that was everything I had to say about this awesome game. A force run that uses all the known glitches makes this game shortish. I would suggest that RPG fanatics pick up this game, even if only for experiencing a game that changed gaming.

Tips on the game: (don't look If you don't want any spoilers/no tip will spoil the plot of the game though)


1- Always buy the most expensive weapon/armor available, anything lower is a waste of money.
2- Don't buy the UZI.
3- Buy the implants from the doctor who sells them.
4- Upgrade Body, and Firearms at the beginning.
5- Don't upgrade Firearms past 7, it becomes useless afterward.
6- Only upgrade Negotiation, Charisma, and Leadership if you plan on hiring Shadowrunners.
7- Look closely for key items.
8- The Catacombs under the Mansion is an excellent place to get Karma.
9- Maxing out the Heal, Invisibility, and the Freeze spells is very important.
10- Save often.
11- Hacking will cost you hp, be prepared.
12- Freeze works well on a certain Dragon.
13- Magic is more important than Body late in the Game.
14- Max out the computer skill as soon as you have it.
15- You can sell you stuff by selecting "give" in the menu and then clicking the shop guy.
16- If you get beaten easily by the enemies, either you did not upgrade, or you are going to the wrong place.
17- Listen to the hints given by important NPC's.
18- Use powering up places wisely.
19- Money is scarce, don't waste it.
20- Have fun.


Well, that is it for my first RPG in this gaming run. The next game would be a Zelda like game by Enix.

#76, Soul Blazer. Hope it is half as good as Zelda.

*****************************************************************

For previous entries in the SNES reviews, see:

90- Blackthorne
78- X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse

Thank You for reading
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