Shadow Complex review

  • Blowing things up
  • Nods to Super Metroid
  • Giant robot battles
  • Moderately short length
  • Being immobilized
  • Moronic enemy leader

It’s almost uncanny how easily a romantic hike into the rocky mountain wilderness with your new girlfriend can turn into an explosive, power suit-fueled rumble through the secret underground complex of militaristic revolutionaries on the verge of launching a massive coup against the US government. Yes, appearances can be deceiving. As fresh as Shadow Complex looks and feels on the surface, it’s really a cleverly disguised homage to the SNES heydays of a certain armor-clad bounty huntress. We most heartily approve.

As the game’s reluctant hero, Jason Fleming, you’ll seek to save your girlfriend and stop the plot to overthrow the government being hatched by her captors. You’re saddled with a gimpy pistol and a flashlight from the get-go, but by the end of this fast-paced 2D adventure platformer, you’ll be swinging from the rafters, face-punching burly brutes across the room, diving deep underwater, leaping impossibly high with the aid of thrusters, and laying waste to the enemy compound from the inside out with high-powered weaponry. The game’s blood-spilling action is balanced by strong exploratory elements and frequent plot updates. In addition to acquiring the hot tech needed to thwart the armed resistance, your physical abilities are creatively honed though an experience system that levels-up gradually as you take down enemies and access new areas of the base.

Shadow Complex blends old-school side-scrolling gameplay with a gorgeously 3D visual flair powered by the beefy Unreal Engine 3. You’ll venture through lush forest landscapes, dark tunnels carved deep into the earth, air ducts brimming with technology, and cavernous warehouses packed with automated assembly lines and giant killer robots. It all provides for some marvelous sight-seeing opportunities. Enemy soldiers and their large, robotic counterparts are creatively worked into the environments as well. At times troopers will come spilling out toward you from the scenery itself with guns blazing. During these moments, you can shoot at odd 3D angles to take down opponents in the background. This adds another dimension of depth and further illustrates just how impressive the presentation is for a downloadable game.

Much like the classic game it references, Shadow Complex is rife with color-coded doors that can only be opened with specific equipment gained at different points along your travels. Following objectives laid out on the map leads you directly to these key items and advances the plot, yet there’s a ridiculous amount of power-ups to uncover and secret areas to explore by trailblazing. A straightforward run through can be completed in under five hours, but you’ll want to take your time to fully explore every brilliant nook and cranny to extend the fun. The already high replay value is bolstered by challenge missions that can be tackled at your leisure. Chair Entertainment has substantially raised the bar for downloadable games to come and helped us rediscover a long lost love in the process.

Aug 17, 2009

More Info

Release date: Aug 19 2009 - Xbox 360 (US)
Aug 19 2009 - Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Microsoft
Developed by: Chair Entertainment, Epic Games
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Violence, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • lovinmyps3 - August 24, 2009 8:40 p.m.

    Played the trial game last night... FU*KING AWESOME!!! I'm definately getting this one!
  • AceDynamo - August 22, 2009 7:20 a.m.

    AGAIN...DON'T BE CHEAP ON YOURSELVES PEOPLE!! It's 15.00 BUCKS!! It is worth every penny! Trust me. Im a Hardcore Gamer and i would not lie! The game is only short to people who only care about getting thru a game just to say i beat it, and then dog it for how short it was. I can't stand gamers like that! There not worthy to see what games such as Shadow Complex really has to offer! Its deep exploration, pin-point controls and the game is fucking goregeous!! Seriously real gamers... don't cheat yourself and miss out. You'll regret it. I just hope gamers alike start apprieciating what these quality gaming developers do for us. Then we have a tendency to complain about something thats 15 bucks thats actually worth it. Then when they say fuck us for not supporting their hard work, we go back and start complaining about those 60.00 dollar games. Please don't fuck this up people because we can cause our own demise. Please support this game. If this is the only DLC support you do all year, get this game and roll a fatty and emese yourself in a game like never before! (BY THE WAY...I DO NOT WORK FOR ANY OF THE GAME DEVELOPERS OUT THERE). i just believe you should give credit where credit is due people. And they scratched our backs for offering a game like this for 15.00 bucks! I hope there is a DLC in the future for this game. HINT: A blood pack with more exploration.
  • CreeplyTuna - August 20, 2009 2:46 p.m.

    looks great but 1200G? really? for 5 hours?
  • Fiin - August 20, 2009 10:11 a.m.

    Really really fun game, if you are in the 30ish age bracket like my old arse, its gonna take you back to early NES days, its alot like Metroid and other early sidescrollers. Definatly worth every one of the 1200 pts (reasonable price imo), good fun, good controls, millions of secrets. Need more of these on XBLA and less Turtles in Time.
  • REZNIK - August 20, 2009 4:20 a.m.

    this game is really good, I have not beat it all the way through but I still want to collect every achievement for this game because it is just that awesome!
  • jack0827 - August 19, 2009 10:03 p.m.

    I just played the demo for this game and am more impressed by this game than I have been by a game in a very long time. Get this game asap if you are not crazy.
  • purpleshirt - August 19, 2009 6:20 a.m.

    okay, this is great and all, but what the fuck happened to enders game? Empire was great, but common ITS ENDERS GAME! null g combat? yes please.
  • garnsr - August 18, 2009 4:19 a.m.

    Can't wait can't wait can't wait can't wait.
  • likedamaster - August 18, 2009 1:49 a.m.

    Good score. Good read. Btw, Happy birthday me! Yay! Aug.17th, 19... well, the rest is "nunya"!
  • Crankr - August 18, 2009 1:47 a.m.

    I actually heard very little about Shadow Complex and just thought it was a shooter.
  • Zienzile - August 23, 2009 8:36 p.m.

    I agree with you Ace, I was playing this game and got excited about what else Xbox 360 has to offer. I appericiate games like this and would love to see the day when we can get any game we want through dlc.
  • AceDynamo - August 22, 2009 7:03 a.m.

    I feel that this is the beginning of something beautiful in gaming history. Shadow Complex is THE BEST DLC game that i have ever played!! Stoners beware!! This game will suck you right in, and you'll have dreams about actually being in it. I kid you NOT! To any gamer, should i say REAL gamers do not...i repeat...DO NOT GO WITHOUT PLAYING THIS GAME!! Only on the the greatest system ever made...XBOX 360 my friends, has started something BIG! For 15.00 freakin' BUCKS!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! So much love has went into this game! This was definitely the Developers baby! THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART...YOU SUPER AWESOME GAME DEVELOPERS for making such a game affordable to anyone! 60.00 bucks is steep at times, and you guys gave in consideration of our gaming pockets!! A NEW ERA OF DLC IS COMING... I CAN FEEL IT! AND SHADOW COMPLEX IS DEFINITELY ONE OF THE BEST STARTS I HAVE SEEN! Please people don't pass this one up! you'll regret it. Peace.
  • sklorbit - August 19, 2009 8:51 p.m.

    im a little confused about this game... people keep saying its made by epic but i thought that it was just using the unreal engine. when this game was announced though cliffy b was the one who talked about it. someone explain 4 me
  • JohnnyMaverik - August 19, 2009 1:13 p.m.

    A 9 O.o hmmm....
  • Fluxnard - August 19, 2009 4:42 a.m.

    It reminds me of games I used to play as a kid, which is a good thing.
  • FETALJUICE - August 18, 2009 5:21 a.m.

    Dammit, I can't wait for this to come out on Wednesday! I've been waiting for this game ever since it was announced.
  • moonwalk_mafia - August 18, 2009 3:47 a.m.

    Anyone who complains about a summer gaming drought has obviously never heard of this game! Def a title im gonna strive for 200/200 on
  • drprofessor - August 18, 2009 3:15 a.m.

    I'm really excited for this game. I have 29 xbla games and this seems like it's going to blow them all away. *crosses fingers*
  • doublekillz - August 18, 2009 12:17 a.m.

    OH MAN, now this is for sure a must download! I can always rely on Gamesradar for reviews....... Well Most of the time! ^_^

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