Monday 19 August 2013

Shadowrun Review (SNES)

Shadowrun represents the definitive example of a game in the cyberpunk genre. The plot follows amnesia sufferer of Jake who, after being killed by a gang at the very start of the game he is revived by a mysterious women. Jake awakes in the morgue unaware of who he is and why he was killed. Piece by piece you must uncover just what is going on and who it is that's after you.

A number of things set the tone perfectly in the Shadowrun world. First of all, the brooding soundtrack hangs in the air implying danger is only around the next corner- no over exaggeration as the title contains a number of random events and enemies that may or may not occur. Every street is littered with hiding places for snipers all too willing to pick you off as well.

Shadowrun’s story is set among the streets of a large city run by mega corporations, with different suburbs and areas creating the feel of a varied and diverse cityscape to explore. Something which helps to build the impression of a living city is the number of people who are just going about their everyday business. Market sales men, doorman, business men, bar patrons and just ordinary people moving around the streets are in enough of an abundance to make you feel that there is a lot going on outside of your own characters adventure.

The fact all the seemingly unimportant characters found in the game may be fearful of gangs or aware of magic creatures but still go on about their everyday lives as normal is a master stroke by the developers as without it the city would feelcold and dead. Instead it feels alive, and Gangs and creatures there are in abundance with everything from Orcs to vampires stalking the streets.

Shadowrun is a world where technology and fantasy collide to create a unique adventure where these things are excepted by the citizens as normal. Everyone knows that these creatures exist, indeed most of them work openly in the city, the threat comes from the corruption of the mega corporations rather than any pre-conceived fantasy rule set of how creatures should act.

Shadowrun proves that fantasy and sci-fi settings can sit side by side with spectacular effect. During the game you will be able to enhance yourself with technology to gain skills, as well as ‘jack’ into computers to steal money and information, but along side this sits the fact you can create magic spells and have a spirit guide to lead you through the game. 

Technology is technology and magic is magic, there is no attempt to explain away the fantastical in terms of some tacked on technological babble about viruses or mods. When you see a vampire or a dragon, no explanation is given as to why it should exist, as none is given as to why humans should exist, you just except it and because of this Shadowrun becomes a far more rich and rewarding experience without convoluted plot points placed to explain away every aspect of magic.

Shadowrun represents and original idea executed to perfection, unfortunately it sold terribly and as a result the ideas found in the title where not expanded upon. A great shame as anyone who has the pleasure of experiencing what the title offers will not be disappointed. The recent revivial of the franchise with 'Shadowrun Returns' shows the popularity of the franchise and we hope to see more titles in the future. They will all have to go some to beat this though.

Overall 8/10 

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