Review: Shadow of the Beast 2, featuring high-quality backdrops and animations
Having freed yourself from the service of the Beast Lord, you enjoy a moment of triumph. Your monstrous Beast Messenger form is gone and your human body has been returned to you. Sadly, your victory is shattered all too soon. From your homeland, word reaches you that your baby sister has been taken away by Zelek, Maletoth’s mage, and that she is to be used to replace you as the Beast Lord’s messenger. Angered and remembering what you had to endure, you return home to begin the quest of finding your sister and bringing Zelek’s life to an end. When it comes to gameplay, Shadow of the Beast 2 offers up more of what the original did. Like the first game, various items will be needed to get by certain areas and you have to get and use the keys, weapons, objects and such in the proper order to get to the end of the game. If you don’t have what’s needed at a given time, you’ll be stuck and have to start over. So keep that in mind. An addition over the first game comes in the form of a basic inventory system. Where the Shadow of the Beast featured an “immediate use” system for things like potions and weapons (pick it up and you use it right then), this sequel allows you to hold onto four items at a time and choose when to use/switch them. This makes it rather nice in terms of holding onto things like health potions and such, but with only four spaces and the need to hang onto secondary weapons for a short while, it does result in some health potions still being wasted… and health in this game is like gold. This sequel, like the first game, is hard. In fact, it’s harder in some ways. You can die in a matter of seconds, on top of the “do it in the right order” gameplay. Where the first game had yo u get hit and then gave you a moment or two of invulnerability, enemies now run into (and through) you, draining you of life steadily as they touch you. There’ll be more than one enemy on the screen at a time in spots as well and they’ll come at you from all sides. In other words, this game’s out to kick your ass in a hurry. However, unlike the first game, this one has difficulty settings that you can use. It only takes the game from hard to slightly less hard even on the easiest setting, but at least it’s there. Where the first game allowed you to only punch most of the time, the sequel gives you a spiked ball on the end of a chain to use through most of the game, allowing your attacks to have a greater reach and hit multiple times. But it can only be used straight in front of you, so you’ll be in for a fight when enemies are closing in on all sides. More puzzles are in place this time around to impede your progress as well. Some are rather devious, while others rely on what various characters you meet have to say. As a result, you’ll have to think more in this game than in the one before it. And make sure you collect everything. If you can pick it up, it has a purpose. But don’t let this stop for downloading this great Commodore Amiga classic. In particular, the music for Shadow of the Beast 2’s game over sequence was of such notable quality that some fans were known to die in-game for the sole purpose of hearing the backing track again.