Ahh… Shadowcaster… I still have the CD for this game in mint condition. Shadowcaster is a First-Person Action/Roleplaying game developed by Raven Software in 1993 in floppy format and 1994 in CD format, published by critically-acclaimed developers/publishers, Origin Systems (who are perhaps most famous for the “Ultima” series, as well as the “Wing Commander” and “Crusader” franchise). Its game engine, which was written by id Software’s John Carmack, is notable for bridging the gap between Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, as it was more evolved than Wolfenstein but less advanced in some ways than Doom, finding a comfortable middle-ground suited to its design.
In the game, you play as Kirt, a human who one day discovers that he has shapeshifting powers and is told by his grandfather that he comes from a parallel world where good and evil beings of his kind fought in a great war for centuries. Now being his homeworld’s last hope and just in the nick of time, Kirt’s grandfather uses his power to send Kirt back to his world (while being assaulted by a powerful monster, where the outcome of Kirt’s grandfather is not immediately made certain). Now you have to stop the demons of evil once and for all while learning about your heritage and gathering the obelisks needed to teach you how to shapeshift into various mighty beasts.
The game is primarily action-orientated, but features minor role-playing elements such as the ability to use magic, rejuvenate, and increase in levels by gaining experience points, which makes the hero stronger. While the controls of the game aren’t too different than any other FP game, the game does possess many features and a variety of shortcut keys that can make the game feel somewhat confusing and clunky, but the game is rather enjoyable once everything is learned and comes with a great map as well as other noteworthy features, such as scaling the play-area to different sizes to accommadate slower computers, the ability to save on a whim, and even the ability to jump, float, and go into water.
The game is also one of the very few FP or TP3D titles to use a shapeshifting hero whose powers are central to completing the game either through various special powers needed for traversing and solving puzzles or due to unique character traits. Generally speaking though, it isn’t drastically different from other FP games of its kind, but was executed rather well and has very crisp visuals and refreshing ideas for a game of its time. The game also has a nice soundtrack, though the overly triumphant victory tune for defeating an enemy tends to get in the way. The CD version of the game comes with CG movies in place of the few story-related cutscenes and a few extra areas, though the standard cutscenes are arguably better.
This is a video of the game in action, opting not to go to a few places to show more of the game. Kirt has some really lethal fists. Enjoy.
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