Doom in the third person and you'll be close.
by Darwin Chase
19, 2006 - As
an homage to Doom, Shadowgrounds fails to deliver.
Consider it a less-than-stellar tribute and you'll
be in the neighborhood.
for what it is, Shadowgrounds isn't a bad game. Despite
a sprinkling of major and minor annoyances the core
gameplay is decent and the mechanics are sound. It
shouldn't freeze up on you and I detected only a few
minor incidents of slowdown. The story and the gameplay
are unoriginal and the isometric perspective should
appeal to gamers that want a more expansive view of
their surroundings. But a lot of the action takes
place in the dark so the advantages to this view are
best way to describe Shadowgrounds is as an old-school,
third-person, action shooter that is similar to Doom
(but from a third person perspective) with a little
bit of Aliens mixed in. There are lots of alien-infested
corridors to navigate on your space station. There's
lots of suspense as the aliens are not just thrown
at you in swarms. They appear out of the shadows,
pop up from under the floor or from overhead. The
anticipation of the next encounter begins to increase
your heart rate and makes the overall gameplay much
more exciting, but after a couple of hours, the gameplay
settles into a predictable routine. It's advisable
to play this game sporadically over a couple of weeks
as opposed to completing it in a few sittings. The
storyline isn't compelling enough to drive you to
the conclusion. In this game, it's the journey not
the destination that counts.
Tyler is the main character. He's a mechanic on a
space station that is located on Jupiter's largest
moon Ganymede. The station is teeming with workers
having a grand old time until an alien invasion threatens
their very existence. Wesley gathers whatever weapons
he can find and with the aid of some of his co-workers,
he sets out to hunt and kill this menace. These surviving
co-workers will accompany you as AI bots. You will
also be able to access the computer records of other
less-fortunate co-workers when you enter their areas.
This will help you piece together the origins of the
aliens as well as provide you with hints as to what
type of aliens you might encounter and what selection
of weapons would be best to use against them. The
AI teammates holds their own for the most part but
they do tend to crowd around when a fresh batch of
aliens begin an attack making it difficult for you
to use your weapons effectively.
aliens come in a variety of forms from bipedal behemoths
to multi-legged creepy crawly, spider-like creatures.
You can kill them in different ways by using different
weapons and techniques. You will have a flamethrower,
rocket launcher, laser rifle, plasma gun and grenades
at your disposal. These weapons are also upgradable.
The monsters will drop various weapon-enhancing upgrades
which will increase their destructiveness, range,
or initiate secondary weapons systems. As long as
you're pointed in the right direction the weapons
are responsive and accurate enough. You don't have
to be a very accurate aim but you do have to be quick.
Although the attacks are not continual, when you do
stumble upon a nest of creatures they will have a
tendency to overwhelm you. The different weapons and
upgrades keep the gameplay fresh and the fact that
the aliens bleed when you shoot or slice them is just
icing on the cake.
lot of the game is played in the dark with the occasional
flash of lightning or a momentary surge of electricity.
A rechargeable flashlight becomes your best friend
in such a situation and you can actually fire your
weapon while using it. Less powerful creatures will
retreat from the beam so that you can hold them off
with the light and use your weapons on the more powerful
only have a few lives for each level and when you
lose them all you have to start the level over. This
can be a real pain because there are times when you
will respawn at an area where you will find yourself
trapped, such as a room with only one exit that is
being guarded by a swarm or aliens.
co-op mode is not as much fun as I thought it would
be. The relatively slower pace of the gameplay is
more pronounced when you're playing with a friend.
You want things to happen at a quicker pace so the
two of you can avoid having an awkward conversation
between attacks. The game doesn't support online or
LAN play so you all have to use the same computer.
is a decent looking game. The fact that the camera
doesn't have to swing around and zoom in allows for
a lot less processing in the graphics department but
at the same time what we do see here is done well.
The environments display a good amount of detail and
the alien character models are many and varied. They
not only look good but they animate well. The huge
alien spiders are virtually guaranteed to give you
the creeps when you see how they move.
is a fun game in the old-school, third-person shooter
tradition. It's not innovative by any means but if
you're looking for a shooter that's not totally mindless
then you might want to give this one a shot. Pun intended.
Use a devastating arsenal of high-tech weaponry
to dispose of the alien threat. Each weapon has
multiple upgrades that maximize the carnage. Unleash
the flames of the Flamethrower's Fuel Trap, cause
mayhem with the Grenade Launcher's Poison Grenades,
slash and dice the monsters with the Laser Rifle's
Pinpoint Laser - and many more!
and Nasty Monsters
Big, brutal monsters await you. Prepare to face
many different bosses who will do anything to stop
your journey. They are nasty, blood-thirsty beasts
but you shouldn't give in to fear - remember to
use the environment and the lighting to your advantage!
What good are weapons and special effects if you
can't wreak havoc on the environment? Shadowgrounds
lets you go all-out - glass shatters, ground shakes,
trees fall, barrels explode and furniture blows
to smithereens. You can use the environment to your
Lurk in the Shadows
Shadowgrounds uses cutting-edge realistic lighting
and glow technology to light up the battlefield
and create detailed shadows producing an atmosphere
of fear. But the lighting and the flashlight also
affect some aliens' behavior - you can take advantage
of that and can turn the tide in the game of fear
by using your flashlight effectively.
many exciting locations, including a secret military
base and the alien-infested colony New Atlantis
side-by-side with your NPC allies against the massive
security cameras and computer logs to investigate
horrifying sound effects and a thrilling music soundtrack
made exclusively for Shadowgrounds
by Frozenbyte's incredible 3D engine
Player Co-op Multi-Player - 2-4 players can play
the co-operative mode on the same computer to maximize