Shadowcaster CD Review – PC Format

I’ve not played any WC Saga in a couple of days but will be putting that right straight after I post this. Today it’s a very brief review of the CD version of Shadowcaster from the July 1994 PC Format. Most magazines I read back at that time would do these short reviews of CD versions of games since they had usually barely changed from the original. It really should have mentioned the extra levels that were added but the score is generous enough:-

Shadowcaster - PC Format Review

Since the review was so short, from the same magazine here is an EA advert for their forthcoming CD titles (half of which were Origin games):-

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I’ll also give quick mention to the first part of a Matt Chat Youtube video with the Fat Man aka. George Sanger who should be a familiar name to Origin fans since he did the music for Wing Commander, Savage Empire and Ultima Underworld among many other games. It’s definitely worth a watch.

Shadowcaster Review – PC Format

Wing Commander Saga is still on hold as the weather this week has been far too good to be inside playing games. This review is taken from the December 1993 PC Format:-

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I could have done with reading this particular review before I played the game myself. I’d only seen the marketing and screenshots and was expecting another Underworld. I still liked the game enough to finish it but the waiting around referred to in the article does get a bit much. If you aren’t careful in the combat, this is the sort of game where you could read a book or watch a few movies during the pauses while you heal up.

I’m not entirely sure but I think I might have picked Shadowcaster up originally not long after it came out when I returned Privateer. Returning Privateer seems like sacrilege now but in my defense it simply wasn’t playable with the stated minimum specs and the price tag was a small fortune to me at the time. One of the main appeals of Shadowcaster on the other hand was just how smoothly it ran in a large window on a student grade PC.

Wing Commander Academy Review – PC Format

After all the Underworld posts yesterday, I’ll rein myself back to an entry a day again for the moment. If you still want more Underworld, I’d strongly recommend having a look at the anniversary page over at the new home of Ultima Aiera (www.ultimacodex.com). There is an interview with Dan Schmidt (including a handful of questions from yours truly), design notes, concept art by Warren Spector and plenty more besides.

I’ve not started Wing Commander Saga yet so I’ll get back to some magazine scans today. These all come from the October 1993 PC Format. First is a review of Wing Commander Academy. It didn’t bowl the reviewer over and I can only agree in this case. It was a product that a lot of people had asked for to be fair but in my opinion it really could have done with coming out at least a year earlier if it was to find a large market:-

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This lack of timeliness is especially apparent when you see a 2 page advert for Privateer in the same issue, not that my PC could actually cope with Privateer when it came out. WCA did have that in its favour but it was still a poor option compared to any of the existing Wing Commander games or mission packs if you didn’t already own the lot. I’m sure I’ve got a proof and the negatives for this Privateer advert or at least a variant on it around here but I’ll save them for another time:-

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Not content with having a 2 page ad, there is also a full page for Shadow Caster:-

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Shadowcaster Demo

Happy new year! There could be several updates today as it is far far too wet and windy to step out the front door and I’ve nothing on until tonight. I could use some of the time to tidy my house up but I’m not sure it’s come to that yet.

I’ve still got a handful of demos left to try. I’ll start with the Shadowcaster demo which I’ve uploaded to here. This gets its own unique level definitely making it worth playing in it’s own right.

The quest for the demo is to restore the crown of the obelisk’s brother-in-flames. This is a little cryptic but basically means put the red pyramid on the obelisk in the lava region.

I’ve got the 3 most advanced creatures available to morph into, making the early stages a breeze as I crush the hordes of skeletons that come out to stop me. Instructions are built into the game and come up at the bottom of the screen as I play which is a nice touch for a game from this era.

I’m led down a path to these walking eyeballs and have to slot an hourglass I picked up earlier into the hole behind them.

This opens up access to a watery area. Things get tougher here as I have to morph into the frogman guise to swim through the underwater caverns. With no weapons to help me out, the fish in here manage to do me a good deal of damage and I’m forced to run and recuperate. This slow health regeneration was always one of the problems in Shadowcaster, where you have to park up somewhere safe and go and do something else for 10 minutes while your hit points come back. It’s particularly slow here without the Faun to morph into, but it does give me a chance to write the post up to here while I’m waiting.

I’m not able to save so I don’t take any chances, and only go back in the water when I’m back up to full health again. I’m less sparing with my various powers this time and use them to dispose of 4 or 5 fish. I soon find myself running out of mana and I’m still being chased by more fish. Running out of mana would mean transforming back into Kirt and presumably instant death by drowning so it’s another retreat and wait.

Fifteen minutes later and in a slightly tidier room, I go back in again to clear the place out. I’d like to say that I managed it but having taken out another 3 fish, there are still two waiting for me round a corner and I don’t have the mana to take them out. I do find a fire wand which initially looks like it should help but it won’t work underwater. It’s another lengthy wait and more tidying up….

The next attempt finally does the job and I find this chain to pull which opens up the wall behind it allowing me to swim up and into the next area.

The new area is full of more tribal eyeballs which I’m invulnerable to in my granite form.

I find a shruiken along the way which is needed to take out the moving target behind this wall of fire. This allows access to a teleport taking me to the final fiery realm.

My granite man guise is still invulnerable to the larger creatures here but my task is made a little harder by the streams of lava. I have to fly over these in another form while taking some damage, then quickly swap back to kill everything off.

There haven’t been any alternate paths in the whole demo so I soon get to the end and fix the obelisk. Other than the waiting I quite enjoyed playing through this. I dare say I could have dashed through the water section easily enough if I’d known where I was going but I didn’t want to risk having to start again. My house is looking somewhat more presentable again, so it got me started on a much needed job at least. If you don’t mind a little break in the middle, the demo is an excellent one showing plenty of what the game has to offer. Less fish might have been an idea though.