Amstrad Action


Shadow Warriors
By Ocean
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #59

Shadow Warriors

As quiet as a breeze and quick as the wind, a lone warrior slinks through the shadows with only one thing on his mind: to rid the streets of the bad guys that make the America what it is today.

But it's not street punks that are the problem this time. An Oriental demon has gone and possessed the strength of the biggest, baldest warrior around. He's brought a few friends with him, too - it's ghoul city.

Shadow Warriors

Shadow Warrior has a mission. He's out for vengeance, and anyone/thing who stands in his way is going to die.

Shadow Warrior is a beat-'em-up with a difference. There's none of this pull-down-and-left-simultaneously-while-pressing-Fire-for-the sweeping-back-kick business. SW can look after himself, and can take out the bad guys with only the slightest guidance from you. Push the joystick in the direction you want to fight and press Fire. The Ninja then launches into a series of punches, kicks and death-dealing blows with various other parts of his anatomy.

And he has a few other tricks up the sleeves of his polyester and viscose pyjamas, too. He can jump pretty darn high, for a start. Spectacular, but not necessarily that useful, as he lands in the same place again. However, being a Ninja with a vice-like grip has its advantages. He can grab hold of lamp posts in mid-flight, swing over the top with a couple of forward somersaults, land on the other side of his adversary and kick his brains out.

Shadow Warriors

Shadow Warriors follows the same format as so many other walk-along-and-beat-the-enemy-to-a-pulp games. Shinobi, Ninja Spirit, Double Dragon, Ninja Warriors, they're all basically the same. Do in the dudes on the street, and meet a real mean mutha at the end. There's no exception in the scenario, so a couple of gameplay twists have been added instead. The backgrounds are slightly more interactive than the norm.

As well as the standard platforms that you can walk on, there are also overhanging features that you can grab on to. Useful for getting out of trouble quick and, in later levels, it provides a novel way of getting across the road. The control system, too, has been greatly simplified. No longer do you need a brain the size of a planet to remember all those complicated joystick commands and actions. To fight, just press Fire and left or right, and you're instantly converted into a one-man killing machine.

The simplified fighting system is really, erm, over-simplified. It becomes a fighting game without the fight. Whoever gets the first punch in wins. As soon as you start your attack, you become a spinning ball of fury, and anything on the receiving end doesn't stand a chance. If they make the first move, though, then it's rare that you recover in time to avoid the big KO.

Shadow Warriors

Normally, this isn't a problem. Go into attack mode as soon as you see your enemy, and he'll blunder blindly into your path. Get two on screen and things get a bit more tricky. The crafty blighters try and manoeuvre themselves into a position where there's one on either side of you.

You have a side-on view of the action. Your main man can move into and out of the screen to a limited degree. His high-powered jumps can get him on top of buildings, or he can grab on to overhanging surfaces and swing around until he gets bored up there. When the side of the screen is reach, it flicks to the next section. This breaks up the action a bit, but scrolling would have been preferred.

It's fairly easy to progress. As long as you manage not to be caught between two guys, then wiping the floor with them becomes a formality. When the ghouls appear on screen they are motionless, but they're not easy targets - kick and punch them as much as you like, they won't bat an eyelid. As soon as they do come to life, a few well-aimed blows and they're dead meat.

Shadow Warriors

The end-of-level guardian poses no real problems. Deal with him the same way as you would any other. He gets up a few times more, but get in the first kick and you'll get him every time.

Graphics are colourful and clear. Your chap dons the standard Ninja suit while the baddies dress slightly more casually. The backgrounds that interact do it well, and overall it's thumbs up. Sound is rather a different story. Limited in the extreme, it consists only of crude 'hitting' noises.

Shadow Warrior enters an already well saturated genre. It's better than some, but not as good as others. The lack of control over the fighting moves isolates the player from the action somewhat. It's not that it's a bad game. It's just that it doesn't offer anything that hasn't been seen on the CPC so many times before.

Second Opinion

Shadow Warriors

Much easier than most fighting games initially because you don't have to learn the moves. Soon, though, you realise you don't have to learn anything...

First Day Target Score

Fight your way to Level Two.

Green Screen View

Tends to clash in places.

Verdict

Graphics 80% P. Crisp, clean and mean.

Sonics 20% N. What sonics?

Grab Factor 75% P. A darn sight easier to control than most fighting games.

Staying Power 66% N. Fighting is repetitive.

Overall 68% Seen it all before.

Trenton Webb

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