Game Review: Shadow Man Remastered – The Horror Update (Xbox Series X)

Based on the Shadow Man comic book series published by Valiant Comics, Shadow Man was an action-adventure game developed and published by Acclaim. It was released in 1999 on PC, Playstation, N64 and Dreamcast. A remastered edition by Nightdive Studios saw the light of day in early 2021 on PC before arriving on modern consoles in January 2022.

A remastering that did everything possible to improve upon the original. A list that includes 4K resolution, improved shadow mapping, per-pixel lighting, anti-aliasing, and missing content put back in. It really is one of the most impressive examples of a remastering without it straying into remake territories.

This isn’t a review of the complete game though, we already did that, and you can read that here. Instead, we’re going to talk about its most recent update, in particular, the new mode/difficulty setting – The Horror.

An unexpected update to the game that went further than just adding a new difficulty. Not only fixing and improving upon many minor issues, it also added additional content that makes the game easier to navigate in places, a new weapon, new enemies, a new boss, new secrets and new achievements.

If you thought you had saved the world, think again, The Horror awaits.

So, what can you expect with re-entering The Horror? Firstly, expect to be challenged in a way that you’ve never been before in Shadow Man. There is no ‘breezing’ through the game without dying a lot here. Not only does Shadow Man take double the damage but there are more enemies, more traps and obstacles that are faster now. If all of that doesn’t sound difficult enough, enemies will also no longer drop Lifeforce (health) for you to pick up.

Reach Shadow level 5 and enemies get more health and take less damage from the Shadow Gun. Which already deals less damage, forcing players to be more reliant on voodoo weapons.

The Horror of it all continues though as enemies are more aggressive, have extra attacks and actions, and can no longer recoil from attacks. Nowhere is that more prevalent then when battling a chainsaw wielding foe. Where fighting multiple is guaranteed death.

This forces you to be defensive. There is no brute-forcing your way through the game now. Any single enemy has the capability to kill you on their own and they will, a lot. Which is why, taking your time in an area to clear out all the enemies is key to beating The Horror as enemies only respawn if you leave the level. Clear out the enemies, collect everything possible before moving on. Again, the temples will be the experience that convinces you to play this way as the Sisters are some of the most frustrating fights you will have on this difficulty.

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What is also key is to not try to do everything as you don’t need every soul and weapon to get to the end boss. You need 95 out of the 120 dark souls available and all five retractors. However, while it isn’t necessary, getting enough Cadeaux to increase your health and getting both Violaters is advised. The Horror caps Violater ammo at 250, even with both guns, so to get the full 999, you need to get all the ammo upgrades from the Playrooms. Done by collecting the Accumulators that are hidden within the Five’s levels. Having the Violaters with max ammo will make all the boss battles a lot easier. Especially as they some of the hardest parts of this difficulty.

The Horror forces you to play the game differently and that’s no bad thing, especially for those who have become pros at it. While the Shadow Gun is still an important weapon, voodoo weapons are more important than ever. A new one, modelled on the skull of a Trueform, can be picked up early in the Experimentation Rooms, and will become a key tool for many players. In addition, whereas most of the secret cheats don’t change gameplay, there is one that allows you to use Lifeside weapons in Deadside and is well worth utilising. Especially as some bosses, in particular, the final boss, are bullet sponges and you’ll run out of ammo in your Violater before he goes down.

Speaking of bosses too, do not attempt to take on the Five, Yort, or the new boss, the Seraph Queen too early. All will need to be beaten if you’re going to finish The Horror (although, technically, you can avoid Yort but you won’t be able to access the Cadeaux alters). You want to be at your strongest and with the greatest number of weapons possible. All bosses have their own unique challenge so pick and choose who to face first.

Oddly, Batrachian is probably the easiest to deal with first, whereas Marco Cruz is a nightmare because his bullets ricochet, and Jack is a bullet sponge. It’s here, that Shadow Man’s quick save and quick load options become key. Just be careful to not accidently save right before you die!

The sense of satisfaction that comes with completing The Horror is immense though, even if some of its challenges might seem too much. It’s extremely tough and extremely frustrating, but it’s not unfair (aside from some new trap areas that are just horrible). If you’ve wanted a reason to go back and play the game again, there is no better one than this new difficulty.

The Horror, The Horror… we embrace it.




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  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

Shadow Man Remastered - The Horror Update (Xbox Series X)
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