Previews : Shadow Complex Hands-On

The terrorists may have the girl, but we have the awesome suits and weapons in this action platformer.

Xbox Live Arcade has a hot account of amateur this summer, and Shadow Complex--an impressive-looking 2D activity platformer set in an all-embracing nonlinear 3D world--wraps things up appropriate afore the kids go aback to school. Donald Mustard of Chair Entertainment, endemic by Epic Games, came by to appearance us what a avant-garde day Super Metroid/Castlevania-inspired bold would attending like with adapted cartoon application the Unreal Engine 3. We additionally had a adventitious to comedy with a examination build, and from our experience, Shadow Complex feels actual abundant like an old-school side-scroller that lets you blend about with affluence of adorned high-tech accessories and fun weapons.

The aperture arena is a bit of a brain-teaser because you comedy as a colonel in the US aggressive who is aggravating to assure the carnality admiral of the United States from terrorists. You're armed with a nice armory of weapons and adequate by appropriate armor that you blanket from the enemy. This acute and anarchic aperture arrangement thrusts you into the bosom of a gun fight, which gives you a adventitious to shoot some bad guys in the face and alike booty bottomward a chopper afore the arena ends. You'll anon apprehension that alike admitting you're arena a 2D side-scroller, you can shoot enemies on a 3D plane. A laser will advice adviser your aim, so you'll not alone accept to watch for enemies up advanced or abaft you, but you'll additionally accept to accumulate an eye out in the background. This abrupt aperture will alone accord you a aftertaste of what's to appear because, unfortunately, you're not activity to alpha the bold with missiles and a appropriate clothing of armor.

Shadow Complex is set in Orson Scott Card's Empire universe, and the calligraphy is bound by banana book columnist Peter David (Spider-Man, Star Trek). The news follows Jason Fleming, a ambler who happened to blunder aloft an underground agitator adeptness while out exploring with his girlfriend, Claire. Unfortunately, Claire gets snatched up by this rogue paramilitary group, which is accepted as the Restoration. As the news unfolds, your primary ambition is to, obviously, go accomplishment Claire, but as you cross added into the enemy's abject and eavesdrop clandestine conversations, you'll apprentice that this biased accumulation is absorbed on ambience up a alternation of contest that will account the United States to collapse into a civilian war. On the ablaze side, though, these terrorists accept a ton of air-conditioned accessory that you can try to steal.

Finding all 120 power-ups in the bold is activity to be a challenge, but anniversary account you do acquisition will admission your abilities by either authoritative you stronger or faster. We didn't get actual far in the bold on our own, but Donald showed us some of the fun being that you'll appear beyond later. One allotment of accessory that we were aloof dying to get a authority of was aggressive acceleration boots, which will let you run so fast that you can cruise appropriate over baptize and run up walls and ceilings. As continued as you accumulate your momentum, you'll abide running. The terrorists accept somehow managed to body an abundantly busy coil in the woods, so there are affluence of places for you to analyze by running, jumping, or swimming. We saw the cream gun in activity at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, but it was fun to see the altered means you can advance foam. You can use it to actualize a belvedere for yourself or benumb enemies with it and again bang them with a grenade. A angle attempt and advance haversack were aloof some of the added advantageous pieces of accessories we saw that would accredit Jason to ascend to hard-to-reach areas. Alike with all these gadgets, some acrobatics are appropriate on your allotment to accomplish these difficult climbs

Initially, you don't alpha off with actual much. You're armed with a flashlight until you acquisition Claire's backpack, which will anon accord you the adeptness to bank jump, so you can agilely ambush from one ledge to another. As you progress, you'll appear beyond assorted weapons that will advice you breach bottomward doors and admission areas that would be contrarily unreachable. You'll accretion acquaintance point by accomplishing aloof about anything. Anniversary time you access a fresh room, annihilate an enemy, or aces up a power-up, you'll accretion XP. Giant automated administration will periodically appear afterwards you, and if you can accomplishment their weaknesses, you'll acquire added XP than you would by application your blaster and plinking them to death. As you level, your appearance will abound stronger, so it's a acceptable abstraction to analyze every alcove and breach to try to acquisition those hidden power-ups. There are additionally 12 gold confined in the game, and we were told that if you can acquisition them all, article "very cool" will happen.

There will be a lot of backtracking, but at atomic you'll be armed with a map that will highlight the areas you've explored. In our demo, Donald zoomed out of his almost-complete map, and the blueprint of the abode was huge. Luckily, there will be abundant array to the abode so that you won't feel like you're alone exploring an underground barn or tech lab. We got a abrupt glimpse at the binding abundance barrow akin in which you can jump in and ride carts from one end of the breadth to the other. Gameplay should aftermost anywhere from 10 to 12 hours on your aboriginal play-through, but affairs are, you apparently won't be able to acquisition aggregate on the aboriginal try. Afterwards you've gone two-thirds of the way through the game, you should accept acquired some candied upgrades, so you can absorb a acceptable bulk of time affronted the accessories like you own the abode and aloof accept fun with it. Afterwards in the game, the shotgun will accelerate bodies flailing beyond the screen, so we're attractive advanced to accepting our easily on that accomplished allotment of machinery.

Donald emphasized that the bold is absolutely about exploration, alternate by combat. With no absolute loading times--except for in the beginning--you're basically chargeless to analyze this 3D apple in a 2D way. At 1,200 Microsoft points, it looks like Shadow Complex could be a abundant way to end the summer. Be abiding to analysis aback abutting ages for our abounding analysis back the bold is appear on August 19

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