reviewed on X360
Priced at 1200MSP ($15 USD) Shadow Complex is one of Live Arcade's premium offerings. Does it have enough content to justify the price of admission? The answer is a resounding yes. I beat Shadow Complex in just under four hours, and I have spent at least three more trying to achieve 100% completion. Much like Metroid, Shadow Complex feels built for speed runs. There seems to be shortcuts to be time-saving shortcuts hidden all over, and the hardcore crowd will have a blast finding and exploiting them. In the very near future, I'm sure threads will be popping up all over the net, boasting player's quick finish times and low completion percentages. I can see a dedicated player easily getting three playthroughs out of this one. I'm sure I'll do it, myself.
Apart from the main campaign, Chair has included 21 Challenge Rooms. Besides being great introductions to the game's arsenal, the challenge rooms are... well, a challenge, boasting the toughest platforming and combat scenarios in the game. You will need crazy precision and timing to get Platinum medals on even the easiest maps. With only 21 maps on offer the mode doesn't last as long as I would have liked, but it adds a couple hours onto the already meaty adventure.
Shadow Complex is probably Live Arcade's best looking title, using the Unreal 3 engine to pull off some seriously cool effects. The lighting is of particular note, using the flashlight in dark room always looks great. Except for when you boot it up, the game never needs to load, which is impressive with a world this big. Sometimes it pushes the engine more than it should, evidenced by some frame hiccups and clipping. The gunfire always sounds quite good, and though the music is sparse, it's fitting. The only issue with the sound is the voice acting, which is generic and instantly forgettable.
Lengthy, deep adventure
If you have read all this and you are still undecided about Shadow Complex, ask yourself a simple question: Do you like Metroid? If you do, you will certainly enjoy Shadow Complex. It is just about the same game, only with less atmosphere and more explosions. For your 1200 points, you will be getting a lengthy, deep adventure that easily ranks among the Arcade's best.
Some cool twists on a classic formula; looks amazing for an Arcade title; tons of incentive for replay.
Seems a bit too familiar at times; frequent issues with aiming; occasional visual bugs.