Crapshoot: Shadow Warrior, the game that tried to out-crass Duke Nukem

Shadow Warrior

From 2010 to 2014 Richard Cobbett wrote Crapshoot, a column about bringing random obscure video games again into the sunshine. This week, who need some Wang? What? Nobody? Dang.

How do you comply with a success sport like Duke Nukem 3D? Obviously, you scale every little thing up. People favored interactivity! More interactivity! Vehicles! Pachinko machines! RC automobiles! Everyone loved the true world areas? There could be extra! Streets! Towns! Restaurants! People made a fuss concerning the sexism! Hah! This time, we’ll attempt comedy racism as a substitute! What may presumably go fallacious? Right?

I actually hate Shadow Warrior, although I am unable to actually say it is a dangerous sport. It’s aged spectacularly poorly, even worse than Duke Nukem 3D, although for its time it was truly fairly good. It’s simply a kind of video games that immediately rubbed me the fallacious manner, with sandpaper, proper from the introduction of its character—a ninja known as Lo Wang, as a result of Japanese and Chinese persons are principally the identical, proper? It’s not even the sport’s pathetic comedy racism that annoys me a lot as the actual fact it was clearly dumped onto the sport due to Duke’s success, turning a wonderfully strong, polished shooter into one which solely appears concerned about getting a response by appearing like a masturbating chimp.

The plot—what little there’s—is that Lo Wang is a former murderer attempting to take down an evil company run by a fiend known as Master Zilla, alongside together with his military of zombies, suicidal coolies (sure, the sport calls them that), killer ape issues and big snake monsters. What made it an fascinating sport for its time although was that after Duke, the group was way more achieved with the Build engine—and Shadow Warrior was the sport that actually put it by way of its paces, for higher and worse.

One of the early puzzles concerned driving a remote-controlled automobile to get a key (a puzzle repeated at first of Duke Nukem Forever with a gasoline cell and extra physics). Very sometimes, you bought to leap right into a bulldozer or comparable engine and discover out why most video games of this period averted letting you soar into autos. The ranges had been stuffed with incidental particulars, like rabbits bouncing round your Master’s temple that will get it on in the event that they obtained shut sufficient. There had been even some genuinely spectacular bits of know-how/design for the time, like a (utterly faked) portal system, voxel primarily based 3D objects, and real-world pop-culture paintings scattered round from earlier than anime/manga turned a giant deal within the West.

Like many shareware video games, the vast majority of the memorable stuff was within the first episode—simply 4 ranges. The full model added 18 extra, plus further enemies and weapons, and all the opposite typical particulars, however whereas I’ve performed it… none of it caught. Some of the issues that surrounded the sport nonetheless did. For starters, within the UK, Shadow Warrior was one of many Great Censorship Blunders. For some purpose, the federal government was petrified of issues like imported Asian weapons again then, so that they had been an automated no-no. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles turned the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. Weapons like nunchucku had been proper up there with headbutts on the listing of unacceptably violent issues. As for Shadow Warrior, it was an 18-rated sport and allowed to maintain most of its ninja toys, together with the default katana and caltrops and machine-guns, however compelled to take away its shuriken weapon in favour of…

look forward to it

…darts. Yes, darts. Regular darts. Because it would not harm to get hit within the face with a fistful of darts. Not in any respect. And they’re a lot tougher to search out in England than imported throwing stars. Thanks, BBFC! Don’t know the way we might ever have survived by way of the 90s with out your vigilance!

(Not that England had a monopoly on this stupidity. There was one other Build sport launched across the similar time as Shadow Warrior known as, merely, “Blood”. It was a horror-themed shooter, and once more, the shareware episode was the very best bit. It was nonetheless offered in shops, and as typically occurred, Wal-Mart and presumably just a few different locations insisted on their very own, household pleasant model with out the gore. In quick, they fortunately agreed to promote a sport known as Blood, however provided that it did not have any blood in it.)

Now issues get actually unusual. What do you do when you’ve got a racist principal character, comedy racism or not, in a silly world the place placing a ‘Titsubishi’ sticker on a bulldozer counts as a joke? What’s that? You fee a novel primarily based on it? Don’t be silly. You flip his direlogue right into a track.

Oh, and then you definately fee two novels.

Game novels are hardly ever carried out properly. Nevertheless, there have been two of them for Shadow Warrior—You Only Die Twice and For Dead Eyes Only. They’re each lengthy out of print, in fact, however nonetheless obtainable in the event you’re prepared to attend a few month for supply. I thought of this some time in the past, as a complement to the Doom novels, however determined that I’d slightly learn Baldur’s Gate 2 once more.

Luckily, you do not have to purchase the guide to get a flavour of this nice work:

“Looks like chicken,” Lo Wang mentioned, turning the hunk of nostril round in entrance of the person. “Chicken a favorite of mine.” Wang smiled, spun the hunk of nostril round slowly in his fingers, licking his lips, then tossed the nostril over his shoulder in order that it landed close to the enterprise males behind the bar. They may preserve it as a memento of their lunch. Maybe even dip it in plastic, mount it on a pleasant plaque, and grasp in over the hearth. Then when telling the story to their grandchildren they may level to the hunk of nostril with pleasure.

The murderer’s eyes had been virtually bulging out of his head. Blood poured from his nostril and down the entrance of his face, spurting barely on the beat of his coronary heart. Wang moved the still-spinning knives nearer to the murderer’s face, then started to decrease them slowly.

“Zilla?” Wang mentioned, staring into the murderer’s eyes whereas smiling and decreasing the spinning knives towards the person’s belt. “Or do I find a piece that look like pork?” Somehow the murderer’s eyes obtained even larger, then by way of the blood he sputtered,

“I don’t know where Zilla is. But Tanaka does.”

Wang backed the spinning knives away barely and the person sighed, which got here out virtually like a gargle due to all of the blood.

“Tanaka?” Wang requested. “He have another name?”

The drawback with the identify Tanaka was that it was so widespread in Japan. Much like Smith or Jones within the United States. Without one other identify the data could be virtually ineffective.

The murderer once more shook his head, spraying blood in all instructions. “Only Tanaka.”

Wang nodded, discouraged. He may inform the moment a person started to talk the reality. This man was doing so. Of that, there was little doubt. But not less than Wang now had one result in Zilla’s location. Now all he needed to do was discover a first identify. Wang turned and began away. “I will let you live,” he mentioned, loud sufficient for the murderer to listen to.

Then, with out turning round, Wang flicked each knives underhand and backwards on the murderer.

Thunk. Thunk.

The knives minimize off each ears of the murderer and pinned the person’s head between the knives.

Wang laughed to himself. “Assuming someone can stop bleeding.”

Wang knew that will not be doable. But the murderer deserved a sluggish, lingering loss of life. He had damaged down and given away his boss. There was no honor in such cowardly motion. Better to die with lips sealed then stay with gap in honor. Wang moved again to the Sushi bar and leaned over to take a look at the 2 businessmen who stared on the nostril on the ground in entrance of them. “You can finish lunch now,” Wang mentioned. “Speak well of me to grandchildren.”

The businessmen each nodded, however did not stand. Wang turned and headed for the entrance door and the busy New York City streets. This time he would go the additional two blocks to China Town earlier than stopping for lunch. And meat first. No soup. Just in case he was interrupted once more by one other group of assassins who wished a bit of Wang.

With prose like this, it is wonderful the Booker Prize went to the rest!

(Although it’s nonetheless higher than Command and Conquer: Tiberium Wars…)

Despite attempting far, far too arduous to get consideration, Shadow Warrior did not promote something like in addition to 3D Realms hoped. There had been three enlargement packs from varied locations, though solely two of them made it out and none of them had been launched commercially. Even at its launch, Build was in an uncomfortable place, being light-years forward of Doom-level engines, however visibly creaking on the seams subsequent to the complete 3D of video games like Quake and Terminator: Future Shock. Luckily, 3D Realms knew this, and it had a Plan.

Shadow Warrior hit the online on May 13th, 1997.

But on April 28th, Duke Nukem Forever had already been introduced. For 1998.

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