Having purchased Shadow Complex quite some time ago, it is quite clear that this is one of the best and highest quality games that have been released on Xbox Live. One of the latest games released by Epic Games, it definitely preserves their status as one of the best game development companies there are.
Shadow Complex starts off with your character and his girlfriend walking through a forest. Basically, things happen, and she ends up wandering where she should not have, “accidentally”, and she is dragged in for interrogation and investigation by a group of high-tech looking guards. You travel inside of this base, through a ventilation system and go in to save her. The story takes off from there, as you get your first fire arm and you go around with your flash light and weapon drawn, ready to dispatch of anyone who gets in your way.
As cheesy as this story may sound to you, there is a fairly interesting twist somewhere at the end. It my be clear to some of you, some where in the middle of the story line progression, but for me, I was caught by complete surprise at the ending. But that is the end of the story, it is a fitting story, but the meat of this game is in its gameplay. This is an old school platforming type of game, sure to instill feelings of nostalgia in the retro-gamers who may play this. There are actually direct homages to some of the classic video games, like Metroid, made within this game.
The platforming and general gameplay is very simple. You are able to dash, jump, climb, hang off of ledges and shoot your gun. The aiming can get a bit awkward at times, because this game has a sort of innovative aiming system. Although this is a 2d side scrolling video game, there are enemies in the background that you will be able to aim at. But sometimes, you will feel as if you are moving the analog in their direction, but you will end up aiming at the floor or ceiling. This can make you look like a complete novice at times, but besides that, the game is solid.
For an Xbox Live Arcade game, it has pretty detailed graphics. The lighting is very good and adds to the over all tone of this video game at times. The flashlight works very effectively when in a dark room or cave, your flash light will give you that narrow lighted area, to guide you to where you seek. The music and sound effects… well, to be honest, if there is music in the game, I have not noticed because it is not something I pay attention to. However, the sound effects are something that is well done, nothing sounds out of place, the sound of your feet hitting the surface changes depending on what you are stepping on. It is well done.
The progression throughout the story is well done. You grow levels as you go on throughout your journey to take down this evil organization, and preventing them from taking over San Francisco. As you grow levels, you get added benefits, such as increased accuracy or increased health capacity. Also, you will find capsules that increase the amount of projectiles you have, and when you get the max amount of capsules, you will have an infinite amount, such as rockets or grenades. You will have to find these capsules in hidden areas scattered across the map, however. You will probably find a majority of them as you progress throughout the story, if you are explorative.
All in all, I would have to say that this is the best, if not one of the best, platforming and side scrolling games available on Xbox Live, and possibly the Xbox 360 as a whole. It only costs you $10 for the whole game, so might as well invest your money into Shadow Complex.