Shadowman (N64, PS1, PC) :
The Nintendo 64 was often wrongly regarded as a machine for kids, whilst the PS1 was the choice for the older gamers. People complained that there were no decent games for the mature player on Nintendo's machine, and the general cuteness of it's games put a lot of people off...but then along came Shadowman, a game based on a comic by Valiant!
Described by a few magazines as "Zelda's Evil Twin", Shadowman had plenty of swearing and gory, gruesome bits! It saw you play the part of Mike LeRoi, an unwilling latest addition to the line of Shadowmen...a group of Voodoo warriors blessed by the dark gods with supernatural powers, which they used to protect their tribes from threats crossing over from the undead plains known as Deadside.
The latest threat to the world is a chap calling himself Legion, who has gathered up a group of serial killers and built a huge place called Asylum in Deadside, which will enable all manner of nasties to creep over the divide into Liveside. As Shadowman, Mike is able to travel between both worlds, and must collect Dark Souls, evil energy that Legion plans to give to his many minions to make them powerful. As you collect these souls, you gain more power which helps in the fight against evil..
You collect lots of different weapons, some of which have both a Liveside and Deadside equivalent. A cool feature is being able to wield a different weapon in each hand, giving you more ways to battle the baddies! The game does play a lot like some twisted Ocarina Of Time and you can tackle it in a similar non-linear fashion so long as you have the right equipment to make it past certain obstacles.
The boss battles are great fun, and see you making trips back to some nasty, dark Liveside locations...the fight with Avery Marx as he stalks you in the dark with night vision goggles being a personal favourite! All in all, it makes for an atmospheric, freaky game that I personally think is a must-have for any N64 collector..
The game is also available on PS1 and PC, but having never played either of those versions, I can't say whether they're any better or worse....
The game did get a PS2 sequel, Shadowman - 2econd Coming which was okay but not a patch on the first. It seemed to lose a lot of the atmosphere of the first game but I suppose it's still worth checking that out too..which I may just do at some point in the future, right here on the blog!