Retro Gaming with Max Webb – Shadow Warrior (1997)

Foreword: Ladies and gentlemen, meet Max Webb. I’ve known this guy since the day he was born and he’s presently a high school student that has joined our crew as an intern. He’s taken it upon himself to put together a few thoughts regarding the games he plays, giving us insight to young gamers who are looking back into the games of the past.

Shadow Warrior (1997), (2013 on PC)

I was always a fan of older first person shooters like Wolfenstein 3d, Doom and Duke Nukem 3d so when I discovered Shadow Warrior (developed by 3D Realms, the same company that made Duke Nukem 3D) in July 2013 I simply had to give it a go.

The main character in the game is Lo Wang, who starts out as a bodyguard for a company called Zilla Enterprises. During the course of his body guarding duties, Lo Wang finds out that the president of Zilla is planning to take over Japan using demons from the “Dark Side”. Man, I’ve heard of evil company presidents, but seriously, ‘taking over Japan’ as an action item really takes the cake). Being the stand up guy that he is, after finding out this insider info, Lo Wang up and quits his job (good on you, Lo Wang!). The president of Zilla then decides that “if he can’t have Lo Wang, he don’t want nobody, baby” and sends creatures from the Dark Side to fight him proving that hell hath no fury like a president who wants to take over Japan scorned (or something to that effect)

Gameplay, as you’d imagine, is similar to Duke Nukem 3D which came out just a year prior (1996) however Shadow Warrior adds weapons like a sword, and a head that shoots fire balls out of its eyes (it was the 90’s…anything was on the table). Even though the sword is the first weapon you receive in the game, it is still remains powerful later in the game which is why it’s my go-to weapon of choice. In addition to a larger arsenal, Lo Wang also moves a lot faster than Duke Nukem which is undoubtably due to engine enhancements made between 1996 and 1997.

Like a lot of 1990s shooters Shadow Warrior can sometimes be hard to figure out where to go in a level and on more than a few occasions I simply gave up trying to figure it out and looked up a video on where to go. Shadow Warrior has it’s share of memorable one liners and easter eggs that put a smile of my face. Case in point, upon blowing up a jail cell wall I was surprised to see Lara Croft waiting on the other side (in her own cell). Even more surprising is that my character threw out a Nuke-ism saying “Looks like she raided her last tomb”. Later in the game I was able to operate a remote control car that looked like the Mach 5 from Speed Racer to which Lo Wang says “Go Speed Racer Go”. Not hilarious, but definitely smirk inducing silliness.

Because of the weapons and engine enhancements I have to admit that, in some ways, I like this game better than Duke Nukem 3d. Last year (2013) a company called Flying Wild Hog made a reboot of Shadow Warrior which drew parallels to the Duke Nukem game. The difference is that people have warmly received the reboot and have claimed its a lot better than the modern Duke Nukem game, Duke Nukem Forever.

The new shadow warrior is on PC for now, but It is going to be on PS4 so thats what I’m waiting for that to come out, but until then i’ll be playing the 2 expansions for the original from 1997.