Shadows of the Damned is the oddest, the most bizarre game I have played in a long, long while. What is it? Think Resident Evil 4 or Dead Space on acid and filled to the brim with crass humour. And it is fucking amazing.
The over-the-shoulder gameplay is nothing special today and this game brings nothing new to the table, but what’s there works fine. You shoot a demon in the face, you shoot a demon in the face as long as you line up the laser sight with said face. Enemy variety is quite sufficient, considering the game’s lenght of around 7-8 hours. The game also features the mechanic of darkness. In the darkness you slowly take damage and enemies are invulnerable. To repel the darkness you shoot goats heads with candles on top of them hanging from nearby walls. You can also upgrade your weapons and health with red gems you find either through exploration or from Christopher, your obligatory salesman. Weapons also receive updates through the story that adds or changes the weapons functions. For example, your “shotgun” gains the ability to fire four skulls, its ammunition, as a charged shot. Just remember, do not waste all your red gems on the machine gun that shoots teeth. The game will fuck the gun up and make your pin-point accurate full-auto demon killer into something god-awfully bad that is only good for boss battles. And not because it does more damage, no, but because the last update adds a lock-on feature. Against mobs, totally useless. Go with the Boner.
Where this game shines is its over-the-top, rather immature world. The kind where if you think something a character said or did is a dick joke, it is. Somehow reminds me of Bulletstorm. You play as Garcia Hotspur, whose middle name may very well be Fucking as he proclaims at least twice during the game. He is almost every stereotype of a hispanic man rolled up into one. Also, he wears a purple jacket and is voiced by Steve Blum, so the connection to Bulletstorm is obvious. His sidekick is an ex-demon-turned-floating-skull-that-turns-into-weapons named Johnson, pun intended. The chemistry between these two characters is excellent and is one of the better parts of the game. Also, the checkpoint marker in the game is a flying eyeball that when you go near it, it shits a flaming, smoking turd. You can see it is a bit immature.
The game begins with Garcia’s girl being kidnapped by the lord of Demons, Fleming. Garcia and Johnson go to Hell itself to get Paula, Garcia’s girlfriend back. In Hell, Garcia discovers that Paula is being killed over and over again, while Garcia is unable to help her. During the course of the game, Paula gets ripped to shreds, crushed under a huge bell, eaten, shot and drowned. And she wears quite enticing lingerie the whole time. One could say something about something, but honestly, this is a game and in the game they are in Hell. Shit happens. Oh yeah, spoilers, but turns out Paula is a demon herself and she was Fleming’s concubine before escaping and being found in a dumpster by our intrepid hero. In the end though, Garcia gets her back, even with her being demonic and all, but Garcia realises that there will always be demons after them. That sums up the story.
Now, I do have some issues, like the afore-mentioned machine gun fuck up. The final boss has adds. For the love of god, don’t put adds in final bosses! If you can’t make the boss itself challenging so you have to throw in extra mobs, go back to the drawing board. Nobody likes adds. Another thing is that ammo is in quite short supply so you’ll be running around a circle during some boss battles, picking up the regenerating ammo pick ups. Other than that, the game is ridiculously easy. I got through the game with using only sake, the weakest of the health restoring boozes. I only died on the parts where you actually have to run away from Paula, since touching her is instant death.
So, to finish up, Shadows of the Damned is a lot of fun if you can laugh with it, because if you can’t get over yourself while playing it, you’ll absolutely hate it. It also featured the most “interesting” way ever to get across a chasm. You walk on a giant, topless girl. Both up the front, through a type of “valley” and down a very shapely back. I actually got stuck on her buttocks. Nearly died as it was in the darkness, but oh what a death it would have been.