Shadows of the Damned

Daaaaaaayumnmmmmn, Son!

Shadows of the Damned is… well, it's something else.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: September 4, 2011
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There aren't a great deal of video game designer/producers who have a "distinctive" style that is readily apparent even to more casual gamers. If there is one though, if might well be Goichi Suda, or, as he is commonly known in the videogame world, Suda51. The honorable Mr. Suda has brought us a series of unique titles like No More Heroes and Killer7 that feature off-beat gameplay and off-beat stories that usually don't hold back in eroticism, punk-rock sensibility and WTF-style narrative twists. When you see the name Grasshopper Manufacture (his studio) on a box, you know you are in for… an experience.

When Shadows of the Damned was announced as a collaboration of Suda51 and Shinji Mikami (himself quite the auteur having fathered the Resident Evil series as well as God Hand and the recent Vanquish), gamers "in the know" were pretty excited to see what the duo could produce. The final result was a pretty off-the-wall game that falls pretty far on the Suda51 side of the fence, but with a clear stamp of influence from Mikami. It's unquestionably not for everyone, and it absolutely isn't something you will want to play in front of your kids (or your nieces or nephews or neighbors kids), but there is no denying it's an experience.

SotD is a Third Person Shooter very much in the vein of games like Resident Evil 5, except now you can finally move and shoot at the same time. You take on the role of Garcia Hotspur, a Mexican demon hunter who's girlfriend has been absconded by a really bad demon which you simply cannot stand for. Suda51 fans will appreciate the nods to both the lucha libre life, as well as the name Garcia, staples of his games. Garcia explores a setting that feels very Resident Evil inspired (although no police station!) as he traverses a very linear path through villages and buildings dispatching the demons and chasing the girl.

Coming along for the ride is a fast-talking skull named Johnson (a fellow who could be related to Morte from the seminal Planescape: Torment) who has the fantastic ability to morph into a variety of ballistic weapons like a pistol, shotgun and machine gun. You can clock the other demons with your torch too, but it really isn't all that effective compared to dealing some real damage with bullets. Your weapons will upgrade naturally time throughout the course of the game, but they can also be upgraded through a light RPG system where you spend "gems" to increase the power, ammo capacity and reload time of the guns, as well as your own health.
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