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Shadow Legend
(Random Projects)


"Generation after generation of demon slaying"

The first warrior was a great battler, able to defeat Dorigon and his ancestor Darkstar, thus bringing peace to the fourteen worlds. A generation later, the first warrior's son Rynn was born. This son must carry on the tradition and bring down Darkstar like the generation before him.

But Rynn is only twenty-five. Darkstar has gathered power from two human generations, making him the strongest wizard ever to rely on evil energy. What kind of adventures await Rynn before his final showdown with Darkstar? A battle of secrets and magic awaits you.

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
The flavor of Shadow Legend's graphics are a lot like those of the early SSI Dungeons and Dragons games during the PC RPG market's first years. There's a tileish look that's strictly enforced, and the hero takes sprite steps from room to room, occasionally bumping into various enemies here and there.

Shadow Legend is healthy in the sense that the graphic tiles vary from part to part. In the beginning of the game you'll see a lot of forests, but as you keep travelling you'll find ice caverns, mountain passes, and all other types of terrain. The graphics aren't so spectacular though, so it's the gameplay that helps get you into the game.

The thing I liked most about Shadow Legend's graphics are the various animations that take place during battle. When you move the hero Rynn into an enemy, your various attacks and magic spells all activate animation tidbits. If a monster tries to torch you, you'll see Rynn burn. If you try to heal, you see the light rays come down and heal your body. In terms of the flashiness, the sequences certainly aren't Final Fantasy calibur, but the smoothness and quickness of these animation sequences really help to give Shadow Legend a well-rounded feel. 

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
The SB sound effects really compliment the game and give it a sort of Dungeons and Dragons feel that no other QBRPG had. It's the ending music that hurt Shadow Legend's sound/music score initially because it used the same tune from another QBRPG, Distant Promises.

As a result of the previous review, Random Projects did a little extra research and found out who really composed the piece that was used in both games so that credit could be given to the composer. Of course, there is no true replacement for good, original music... but the combat sound effects do make up for the familiarity of Shadow Legend's music library. Every spell and attack in battle is backed up with a sound effect, which help to make combat that much more exciting. And with a pretty long quest ahead for you would-be forest dwellers, every detail counts.

Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vvvv
(Very Good)
The game's high point. At first glance, Shadow Legend looked like it was just going to be another typical RPG with some towns, a couple of stores, a princess to save, and a castle to scale. But a couple of rooms later, we realized something particularly different about this "typical" RPG that already squelched our premonitions: this game has no towns.

Suddenly it became clear that Shadow Legend has absolutely nothing to do with anything we've ever experienced in an RPG before. Unlike most RPGs, Shadow Legend relies entirely on your survival instincts. There isn't some weapons store where you can pump up your character; you have to find your own tools. There isn't an Inn to sneak into whenever you're running low on energy; you have to find life-restoring water or be overwhelmed by an army of lizards and shadows. 

In this very immersive universe, Shadow Legends forces you to be very involved. Battling to gain the experience to fight Darkstar is but a fraction of your true quest. Often you'll find closed passageways, which will force you to search for keys, scurry about for hammers to break open walls, master new spells, and find secret rooms hidden behind fake walls.

The end result? The gameplay of this game is a formula where you have to do a lot of battle, find a lot of items, do a little bit of thinking, and participate in an adventure. And that's fine enough for me.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
One way towns benefit a game is that they allow the story of the game to develop as the player continues on through the quest. Shadow Legend doesn't share in this luxury since it has such an emphasis on the action. However, the game does come with an introduction that pretty much sets how much of the adventure will be like. A basic idea is implanted into your head. "You are the heir of a demon-slaying group of warriors." It's very Simon Belmontish.

What I didn't like about the execution of the game's story is the fact that it shows up everytime you start up Shadow Legends. After the first time I read it, I had a pretty good idea of Shadow Legend's plot is like. But there's no way to skip the intro! This intro, which takes about thirty seconds and doesn't come with any cutscenes or graphics, makes playing Shadow Legend somewhat discouraging if you're always getting killed because you have to see the thirty-second intro over again after each Game Over.

Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
(Very Good)
Although the world of Shadow Legends is huge, not all of it needs to be visited for you to solve the game. In fact, playing the game after beating it rewards you with weapons, armors, and items gallore. This sense of rewarding the player for being a little more patient is what makes Shadow Legend's replay value so great.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
The challenge factor in Shadow Legend relies primarily on your patience level. If you try to rush the game, then the game will defeat you. But with a combination of steady battling and item searching, Shadow Legend is relatively easy to master.

The critical part of Shadow Legend is the use of secret passages. Random Projects wasn't kidding when they said that Shadow Legend is full of them; there were two secret passageways at the very start of the game! It comes to a point where finding these fake walls becomes a bigger challenge than battling the enemies.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
(Very Good)
When you first play Shadow Legend, you'll probably be fooled by the game's subpar graphics, thinking that you're playing just another town-to-town roleplaying game with very little interactivity. Of course, this couldn't be further from the truth... in punctuating on puzzle and survival elements Shadow Legend has refreshed both QB's RPG and Adventure genres.

With so many secrets to discover, I found myself playing the game immediately after beating it because I wanted to backtrack to some of the rooms I felt I haven't fully investigated!

What else can I say? Sure, Shadow Legend may not have the graphics or sound to compete with the SNES RPG look that makes up a majority of the Internet's QBRPG titles. But the kind of fun factor created by Shadow Legends is a rare breed indeed. All in all, this game is a lot of fun and it whole-heartedly deserves recommendation.

Players 1 player Genre: RPG/Adventure Game
Rating To solve: 8-10 hours Final Rating: 20/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tip
wTo play Shadow Legend, run "SHLEGEND.EXE" and follow the installation instructions.

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