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Shadow Man is a two-part series of multi-platform action-adventure games, the first released in 1999 by Acclaim Entertainment for the PC and Nintendo 64 (later ported to the Sony Playstation and Sega Dreamcast), and the sequel, Shadow Man 2econd Coming, released on the Playstation 2 in 2002.
In both games, the player takes the role of Michael Le Roi, a member of a long line of 'Shadow Men' - African voodoo warriors charged with protecting our world (Liveside) from the threats of the afterlife (Deadside).
In the first game, Mama Nettie, the powerful voodoo priestess who commands Michael, has a prophetic dream - a dream in which five serial killers, under the command of the evil Legion, bring about the Apocalypse on Liveside. Under Mama Nettie's instruction, Michael travels to Deadside to search for a way to stop Legion and his minions from in initiating the Apocalypse - the End of All Things.
In the second game, Michael returns to Liveside after the fallout of Legion's defeat, only to find a new threat on the horizon - Asmodeus and his Grigori Sephiroth, looking to seize the opportunity to release Asmodeus from The Pit and bring about the Apocalypse as told in the Book of Revelations.
The Shadow Man video games were based on a comic book hero created in 1992 at Valiant Comics, a company later bought out by Acclaim.
Not to be confused with the other Shadow Man.
- Anticlimax Boss: Although the PC version jacked up the difficulty quite a bit, Dr. Batrachian is still this in all versions for deciding to take on an immortal voodoo warrior with naught but a PR-24 baton.
- Armor of Invincibility: Gaining immunity to fire and lava was a major part of gameplay in the original. Surprisingly, you don't have to regain it in the sequel.
- Bag of Spilling: Seemingly justified in the sequel by Shadow Man's entire arsenal being stolen while he was dormant in Deadside... though you have to wonder how that could've been possible.
- Thankfully, his shadow power is still maxed out from the first game.
- The Big Easy: Mike is from here, and the sequel even lets you explore The Theme Park Version of N'awlins (that is, instead of Chalmette or Metarie, there's swampland on the city outskirts).
- Bonus Feature Failure: The ports of Shadow Man had all of their extras gutted out and replaced with concept art you could access after gaining max Shadow Power.
- The two highest-quality versions traded the second Violator for sharper graphics, better music and lighting, larger, more expansive areas to explore, extra dialogue and more background on The Five's prior murders in Nettie's file. A pretty fair trade, considering that unequipping the Shadowgun isn't a very good idea; it never runs out of ammo and finishing enemies with it gives you more health.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Both games end up using the S word a LOT. Gotta love that M rating.
- The PC and Dreamcast versions included some extra lines of dialogue from The Five, one of which includes two F-bombs from the "Video Nasty Killer," Milton Pike.
Pike: Fuck you, motherfucker! I know where you live!!
- This was on the N64, of all systems, and while Conker's Bad Fur Day was hyped as being the system's "mature" game with cursing, this was out quite some time before.
- Collection Sidequest: The Cadeaux, keys, Accumulators... nearly half of the first game was this! Thankfully the sequel toned it down, but it's still present.
- Continuity Nod: While the games usually only relate to the original comics through the general backstory, if you talk to Jaunty after going into the Asylum, he'll mention Tommy Lee (Bones), who was the antagonist of the first four issues.
- Oddly enough, the files on The Five namedrop the protagonist of the pre-Acclaim comics, retconning him into being one of Mama Nettie's informants.
- Cosmic Keystone
- Dead Little Sister: Mike's family.
- Death Is Cheap: Played straight in both games. Dying in the first one just takes you to the first Deadside warp point (aside from the final battle), and dying in the second allows you to respawn at whatever warp point you choose, making boss fights simply wars of attrition.
- Dual-Wielding: One of the main gameplay mechanics of the series.
- Eleventh-Hour Superpower
- Fake Longevity: The first game has many fans, but it's definitely in spite of the insane amount of backtracking you'll have to do.
- Foreshadowing: The Prophecy. It's so accurate because it was planted by Legion.
- Asmodeus, the name of the villain in second game, is mentioned twice in the first. Once in an in game document, the second in the PC version's book of concept art as a Sequel Hook.
- Also, each time you warp, you'll hear Luke's disembodied voice say "Come on, slowpoke!" Turn up the volume and listen carefully to hear Legion's voice echoing behind it.
- Gangsta Style: Used my Mike in the first game.
- God of Evil: Legion claims to be this. In fact, he claims that he used to be the only god, and was able to insert the prophecy into the dreams of The Ancients.
- Which, if true, begs the question of why Legion was so afraid of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark (look it up).
- Good Is Not Nice: Mama Nettie opposes evil, but her methods are pretty amoral. Mike himself can be rather sinister when he changes into Shadowman.
- Guide Dang It: A lot of the Dark Soul locations in the original take a great amount of work to find without a FAQ, but possibly the biggest offender would have to be figuring out how to get to the locations of The Five. The actual method is detailed in-game... in one of the aforementioned locations.
- It gets better fellow gamers! Finding the items needed to enter the rooms are not only guide dangits, but they are mandatory to find in order to beat the game!
- The key thing to remember though is that finding all the dark souls, cadeaux or weapons was not necessary to beat the game. The final shadow door only needed soul level 9- the only door that required all souls contained an extra violator and nothing more. A full life bar of 10 was also not necessary to beat the game.
- Headless Horseman: 2econd Coming features the Dullahan as one of the Grigori Sephiroth, and his head detaches and flies about the arena while his invulnerable body chases the player.
- Incredibly Durable Enemies: Subverted; it doesn't take that much ammo to kill most enemies, but they don't register damage when in their falling animation. This makes it seem like they soak up far more ammo than they actually do. Best to stop shooting them until they've fully dropped to their "vulnerable" position, then resume firing.
- Insult Backfire:
Michael: You bastard!
- It's a Wonderful Failure: Being defeated by either of Legion's two forms results in this.
- Jive Turkey/Uncle Tomfoolery: Blissfully, wonderfully and beautifully averted. Michael LeRoi is an extremely intelligent, well-spoken English major who never acts in a stereotypically "wacky" manner. He even pronounces "damn" with one syllable!
- Large Ham: If you keep a kosher table, it's not recommended to listen to the The Five's voice acting, apart from maybe Jack the Ripper.
- Law of One Hundred: In the first game, delivering 100 Cadeaux to the shrines in the Temple of Life grants you an extra segment for your life meter. You have to collect 500 total. The game has a modicum of fairness in that there are about a dozen more Cadeaux than is necessary to reach the cap.
- The sequel is much better about this, though, as there are only 100 Cadeaux to collect throughout the entire game.
- Letters 2 Numbers: 2econd Coming. Have fun figuring out how to say that.
- Literal Genie: The unnamed Bokor in Michael's backstory. When Michael asked for the Bokor to grant him protection, he didn't say anything about his family.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Legion. So much so that it makes Shadow Man dormant in Deadside until the sequel.
- Ludicrous Gibs: When an enemy is killed using the Shadowgun, they will scream, shout and thrash/spin in the air for a moment before literally exploding into chunks.
- Mana Meter
- Mommy Issues: Avery Marx.
- More Dakka: The MP-909 and 0.9 SMG/GPMG in both games, and the Violator handgun in the first one. If you manage to fully complete the first game's Collection Sidequest, you can use two at once in the N64 version!
- Nothing Is Scarier: The dilapidated tenement, home to Avery Marx. You spend a long gap of time with either a torch or a flashlight, without any supernatural types of enemies coming out to attack you, all the while hearing creepy music and on occasion corpses with tape recorders of victims repeating Mark 5:9.
- Oh Crap: "The Sisters awake!"
- "COME TO MAMA NOW BABY!!!"
- The Other Darrin: Mama Nettie's VA got replaced in the sequel.
- Phlebotinum Overload: How Shadow Man ultimately kills Legion.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Jaunty. His interactions with Mike/Shadowman in both games can be quite entertaining.
- Prophecy Twist: "And Legion took the power of the Dark Souls unto him. The end."
- Scary Black Man: Averted by Mike in the first game, but somehow played straight in the sequel, where he transforms from a skinny, bespectacled guy with a badass voice into a huge, burly, sunglasses-wearing dude with a badass voice. His Shadowman form also changes into a much more gruesome-looking revenant with no skin or organs. With a badass voice. And Glowing Eyes of Doom.
- Shout-Out: Milton Pike drops a lot of references to Apocalypse Now, yelling things like "This is the end, beautiful friend," and "Charlie don't surf!" as you fight him. Hell, a Suspiciously Similar Song version of "The End" even plays his arena after he's defeated.
- "The horror. The horror. I embrace it!"
- While we're mentioning The Doors, Dr. Batrachian would also like to remind everyone that HE IS THE LIZARD KING!!
- It gets even better. Nettie's bar, the Wild at Heart, is named after a David Lynch movie, while the Asylum is clearly inspired by Pieter Bruegel's painting of The Tower of Babel (which is lampshaded by Jaunty), and Legion quotes T. S. Elliot's poem "The Hallow Men". The game is just jam-packed with delicious references.
- Sinister Subway: Jack The Ripper's domain is an abandoned, derelict Down Street Station.
- Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Certain sections of the Asylum are full of these.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: When diving in his human form, Mike needs to regularly return to the surface for air, but when he is the Shadow Man, breathing seems to be optional.
- Take Your Time: Despite Mama Nettie's sayings, you can just go out and just get upgrades and other such things. All while the world is supposed to end by nightfall!
- Tarot Motifs: The Prophecy (or Les Cartes) is a set of tarot cards depicting various important characters, locations and plot points of the first game.
- Temple of Doom: Four of them, even.
- The Unfought: Two of the Grigori Sephiroth in the second game. One, Sammael, appears in the opening cutscene but is not seen at any point after. The second, Djinn, is completely absent. Both have passages in Gehenna that would lead to their lairs, but they're collapsed and inaccesible.
- Trash Talk: One of The Five, Marco Cruz, does this in spades while spicing up it with lots of disco slang. And damn, if he isn't a riot!
- Trick Boss: Two of the five are available to fight right at the beginning. Needless to say, fighting those two will send you right back to Deadside.
- Unwitting Pawn: Both Mama Nettie and Shadow Man in the first game, Shadow Man for both sides in the sequel.
- Warp Whistle: Luke's Teddy Bear.
- A Winner Is You: The ending is very brief for both games.
- Your Head Asplode: Dr. Batrachian's MO involves using some bizarre power to make people's heads explode. Too bad for you that this explosive decapitation doesn't keep his victims down.