For the longest time after Shadow of the Beast came out I thought there was something wrong with me.
This was the game to own if you had an Amiga. Not having the luxury of owning one when this game came out, I figured it was my role to be envious of Amiga owners who could play it. All the magazines were gushing about it. The screenshots were stunning. It all looked so…big. Polished. Far beyond what we were used to thinking what a video game looked like at the time. All those levels of parallax scrolling! The music! The box art!
And yet…I just wasn’t fussed about it.
This was the first time I really couldn’t get what the hype was about. Was it me? Was I just jealous that I didn’t own a machine capable of such awesome 16-bit graphics? Maybe I was just growing out of video games?
Or maybe, just maybe, the game was a bit crap.
Come on, you can admit it now, the game was a bit crap. It was slow and boring and the combat was comically simple and you never really knew what you were meant to be doing. It just wasn’t any fun. Underneath the slick exterior was a simple maze exploration game made artificially hard by cheap deaths and unfair collision detection.
I did like checking out all the conversions that came later, it’s always interesting seeing how a technically ambitious game gets fit into less powerful hardware. The Lynx version had nice sprite scaling, the Master System version was pretty average and they even managed a C64 conversion for the C64GS. It was pants.