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A First-Person Shooter based on the famous Build engine of Duke Nukem 3D fame, Shadow Warrior had the misfortune of being released in 1997, when the sprite-based shooters were already showing their age. (Compare Blood, which was based on the same engine and released the same year, but is better remembered.)

The player controls Lo Wang, the titular Shadow Warrior, a former employee/bodyguard of Zilla Enterprises... until he found out that Master Zilla was summoning monsters from the netherworld and plotting to Take Over the World (of course!). Being a man of honor, Lo Wang quit the corp, but Zilla decided that if Wang will not be on his side, then he has to die. Now, of course, Lo Wang sets out to reach Zilla and thoroughly kick his gluteus maximus - partly to save the world, but primarily out of revenge for the death of his former teacher, Master Leep.

Among the first shooters to contain now common features such as controllable vehicles, alternate weapon firing modes, bosses with more going for them than lots of HP and lower enemy variety with slower pace.

Characterized by crude humor and by gratuitous application of the Rule of Cool.

Not to be confused with the former European title of Ninja Gaiden.

Provides examples of:

  • Animesque: Any female that appears, in contrast to the action movie styled rest of the game.
  • Awesome but Impractical: A lot of weapons can fit under this category.
    • The Nuke. The blast radius on it is so huge, you can easily kill yourself with it. The trick is to duck behind cover before the nuke makes contact. Even after you master that trick, there aren't really a lot of places or enemies outside of bosses that warrant a nuke to the face.
    • The Grenade Launcher, simply for having an absurd blast radius. It's not a good weapon for direct assaults, but it's perfect for shooting around corners.
    • The Railgun. It doesn't deal as much damage as you'd expect it to, and it seems to constantly miss the enemy, even with auto-aim on. Without auto-aim, there's still the split-second delay between pulling the trigger and the shot you have to contend with.
    • The Guardian Head. Fantastic weapon to use, only hampered by its insanely low ammo count, and the rate at which it consumes it.
  • Beat Still My Heart: One of the weapons is a still-beating, blood-spouting heart. It summons a clone of you if used.
    • The Rippers, the monster the above weapon is taken from, will rip out your heart if they manage to kill you.
  • Boring but Practical: The Riot Gun. It deals a consistent and considerable amount of damage, but it's ultimately an incredibly boring weapon to use.
    • The Uzis. Great for mook crowd control, but not as fun or destructive as any other weapon.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: In the final level, which is set atop and inside a volcano, Lo Wang has no problem with prancing around pools filled with hot lava.
  • Corporate Samurai: Lo Wang's former job.
  • Cowardly Boss: Episode 1 ends with you facing the Serpent God, who proceeds to fight you with much fanfare... and teleports away after suffering a little damage.

  Lo Wang: HEY! Come back here and finish fight! Ugly, scary, snake... shitface!

  • Diagonal Cut: Ninja + katana = 2 half-ninjas
  • Disc One Nuke: Not even out of Lo Wang's apartment in the first level, you can find a secret area in his house that holds a nuclear warhead, of all things.
  • Dirty Old Man: Master Leep, judging by all the naked women living in his mansion.
    • Not to mention Lo Wang himself...
  • Double Entendre: Mostly related to Lo Wang's last name. Just about everything Wang says is a single entendre, at best.

  Lo Wang: You want to wash Wang, or you want to watch Wang wash wang?


  Fortune say: Man stuck in pantry have ass in jam.

  • Driven to Suicide: if a standard mook fires at Lo-Wang for a long enough time without hurting him significantly, they'll eventually feel so dishonoured they'll stick their Uzi's barrel in their mouth and shoot half their skull off.
    • Even that is sketchy. At times, it seems like they do it out of sheer randomness, like Lo-Wang approaching them from around a corner.
      • Startled To Suicide?
  • Fartillery: The Sumo Demons leave an unpleasant gift behind when you kill them...
  • Fan Service: For some bizarre and illogical reason, there are many scantily clad (if they are dressed at all) women dispersed throughout the game.
    • Many players were caught off guard when the women would suddenly pull out a gun and shoot at the player if provoked enough via the use key.
    • The only gal whose nipples are visible commits seppuku. (Probably why she went unused)
  • Far East: The game takes place in a mishmashed Chinese/Japanese setting. The main character, a ninja with a Chinese name, is the most obvious example.
  • Half the Man He Used To Be: see Diagonal Cut above. Trope Namer: Lo Wang actually says this occasionally when he slices up an enemy.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Both the title character and the hordes of ninja mooks.
    • Averted with one type of ninja enemy, which is always invisible until you kill him. Appropriately, he's the most dangerous of the ninjas for being incredibly fast and capable of killing Lo-Wang in one hit even at max health and armor.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted somewhat. Punching walls will actually hurt you (and may kill you.)
    • Somehow, punching a wooden or straw training dummies restores your health up to 100, like the drinking fountains from Duke Nukem 3D
  • Katanas Are Just Better : The katana, unlike most FPS melee weapons, is incredibly powerful and will kill many enemies in one hit.
  • Killer Rabbit: A secret area has the original Rabbit of Caerbannog, cave and all! All the more devious because every other rabbit in the game is completely harmless, so you may not even realize what is attacking you until it's too late.
    • Another example: You come upon several scantily clad or nude girls. Annoy them and they'll whip out an Uzi.
  • Nuke'Em: The third alternate fire for the missile launcher is a fucking NUKE! It deals massive amounts of damage and has an extremely large blast radius, and finishes off with fallout that sticks around for half a minute and hurts anyone near the epicenter.
  • Overly Long Scream: If Lo Wang is falling from a dangerous height, he will scream all the way down. Find a pit deep enough and he will actually pause for breath and then continue shouting.
  • Recycled in Space: Shadow Warrior in general is Duke Nukem 3D WITH NINJAS!
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Zilla sends his monsters after Lo Wang after Wang quits the corporation.
  • Shareware
  • Shout-Out: A secret area in E1M4 is clearly taken from Monty Python and The Holy Grail, complete with a Killer Rabbit. You can also find Sailor Moon in the crew quarters of a submarine, and you can encounter Lara Croft in a tomb, and Wang says "Be proud, Mr. Woo" when he picks up a second Uzi, among other shout outs.
    • Sailor Moon isn't the only scout that appears.
    • A Speed Racer remote control car in the first level.
    • One of Lo-Wang's responses to cutting an enemy in half is "There Can Be Only One!"
    • A poster for the Slayers anime with Lina Inverse on it can be found in the game.
    • Two of the Fan Service naked women greatly resemble Sasami and Ayeka from Tenchi Muyo!
  • Sociopathic Hero: In the novelizations, Lo Wang will not hesitate to kill most people for the slightest reasons, usually involving matters of the subject's inherent honor. All the more so if they work for Zilla.
  • Waterfall Shower: Follow the singing to find a woman doing this. But don't stand too close for too long, or your character's pickup lines will lead her to whip out an Uzi.
  • What Could Have Been: The original conception of the game was much straighter than what we eventually got. The wise-cracking protagonist and lashings of adult humour were only added after the success of Duke Nukem 3D.