Built upon the foundations of the Amiga original, Shadow of the Beast returns to the world of gaming under the helm of Heavy Spectrum Entertainment. But is this a return to glory, or simply a failed rememberance?The world of Shadow of the Beast follows the individual called Aarborn, who was kidnapped as a child and turned into a monstrous servant by his captivators. After a close encounter where Aarborn is faced with someone from his past, memories of his human life returns to his mind, and Aarborn embarks on a quest of vengeance to destroy the world that took his life from him.
A prominent issue within the narrative of Shadow of the Beast is that the game relies heavily on visual storytelling, and whilst this gets the point across somehwat, a lot of its messages and details are lost in the fray as a lot of the context is dependent on reading information outside of the main game, which is a shame considering there is some interesting content available that is simply lost on players throughout the main game.The game does contain dialogue to a certain extent, albeit most by enemies, but these otherwordly languages are subtitled in the same language, with players having to spend points to unlock English subtitles in order to get the fullest out of the main game, which is frustrating considering the amount of time and points you’ll be spending on gameplay upgrades alone.
On paper Shadow of the Beast has a pretty solid and detailed premise, but the sheer fact that so much of it is lost during gameplay is such a shame considering the work that has been put into it. The world of Aarborn is fascinating, but if you don’t unlock most of it you’ll finish the game without ever learning a thing about it.Within the contents of Shadow of the Beast it can be said that the presentation is the aspect of the game that’s been paid most attention to, as the game features a wide array of interesting designs and well-designed environments, though sometimes what limited in visual variation. The main presentation of the game is solid, and everything feels grounded within the reality that Heavy Spectrum has set up in this reimagining of the Amiga original.Despite its solid nature, Shadow of the Beast often feels constrained in the sense that it feels like the world is quite limited in what it can achieve. Gameplay is sometimes interrupted by cutscenes that briefly interrupt the side-scrolling nature of the game, though camera work does seem to vary quite a bit in quality throughout these sequences.