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Considered a classic in the video gaming world, Shadow of the Beast has just the right balance of action and graphics to keep you captivated and playing for a long period of time. Originally a three-part videos game series that came out during the late eighties and early nineties, it has since been remading , recently in 2016, to moderate success among gamers and critics alike.
For those of you not familiar with the original story, Shadow of the Beast centers on the protagonist Aarbron, a man who as a young boy was kidnapped and changed into a monster by the evil Maletoth. memory of his childhood was erased, only to be replaced by years of serving his master for dark purposes.
These lost memories return, though, when he witnesses his father being executed and vows to seek revenge on him. That said, the video game focuses on Aarbron’s journey to avenge his father, as he battles rough conditions and eventually confronts Maletoth himself. Players are swept into this simple, but haunting storyline while also assisting the main protagonist in freeing him from his monstrous curse.
All three of the original Shadow of the Beast games, along with the most recent reboot, are perfectly-tuned in their graphics, at once bright and vibrant when need be. The ability to switch off between light and dark depending on the plot’s mood (e.g. when the protagonist is in fight mode or idle) is very well-made, and offers a large, surreal, but almost real world for players to immerse themselves in.
Another big plus to the success of these video games is its iconic and emotive soundtrack. Originally written by famed video game composer David Whittaker, the game’s score is rich in atmospheric lyricism to reflect the character and the storyline’s progression as the player moves through the game. While many music snobs might dismiss the Shadow of the Beast’s soundtrack as merely background noise, fans and players would have to disagree that its musical tracks are complex in instrumental sampling, and through that should deserve the merit as “real music.”
On the other hand, Shadow of the Beast has also received criticism on the technical level. Players and critics alike have complained about the wooden animation techniques (especially for the second game in the series), as well as the difficult to navigate control options within the game it self. The stylistic effect of the games has been likened to those played in arcades, thus deeming it too two dimensional and outdated. Other aspects such as slow loading, no “Save Game” features , and limited options as to where to proceed in the game, have over time given Shadow of the Beasts a mixed reception. Even the most recent reboot of the game encountered a lukewarm response from critics, who did praise it for its efforts to remain true to the original, but also considered it as “playing safe,” rather than pioneering a new legacy of the famed video game franchise.
Despite both its acclaim and criticism, Shadows of the Beast remain as an important part in the video game industry, as it has inspired and produced a new generation of video games like it self.