I thought I’d kick off a little series of video game articles with one that is very close to my heart – Shadow Man, a 1998 cross-platform horror game.
Shadow Man centers around a man named Michael LeRoi, who becomes a walker-between-worlds - Liveside, the land of the living and Deadside, the land of the dead. LeRoi/Shadow Man must stop Legion, the embodiment of evil in his race to aquire all of the “dark souls” scattered across both Liveside and Deadside. He plans to use them to power a great engine at the heart of a place called Aslyum, enabling him to inflict his undead followers on the people of Earth.
Asylum – an impressive structure devised by Jack the Ripper himself, is based on a painting of The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel (http://bit.ly/LXxA1R). For anyone who doesn’t know, the Tower of Babel was a biblical tower the people of Shinar part-constructed to get a better look at God and heaven. The big man got a little hot and bothered about this and so scattered the peoples of Shinar across the world, giving them (our forefathers, if you believe that), all different spoken languages.
Shadow Man not only features a vast building filled with steam, metal and fiendish traps, but also spooky Victorian trains and even London’s Down Street Station – a disused London underground station (http://bit.ly/XOtku - a great website on these).
You may also like to check out “London By Tube” by David Revill , a brilliant book explaining all of the London tube stations and their origins (http://amzn.to/N6BaGG).
As a PC game but also a Playstation 1 and N64 title, Shaodw Man looks pretty decrepit by today’s standards, but for plot, scope and level design, it still holds its own. I think any deserning urban fantasy, horror or steampunk fan would find it difficult not to appreciate the fiendish world Acclaim Teeside created.