Shadow Complex is a 2.5D side-scrolling action-adventure platformer developed by Chair and Epic and published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade) on August 19, 2009. The game is known for expanding the concept of Metroidvania (namely its inspiration, Super Metroid), in which players must explore a large open world in order to progress.
Set in the near future (in the same universe as Orson Scott Card's 2006 novel Empire), players control of Jason Fleming, an "average Joe" out on a hike with his new girlfriend Claire. While exploring a deep cavern, they encounter a mysterious underground base and Claire gets kidnapped by mysterious soldiers. Now Jason must explore the secret base, possess new high-tech weaponry (including the Omega Armor, a powerful prototype exoskeleton), and uncover the secrets of the Progressive Restoration (a far-left extremist group bent on "liberating" the United States).
The game is the last of the five games to be released as part of the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade 2009 promotion.
- Is This a Joke?
- Claire has been captured!
- Find the Interrogation Room
- Get to the Helipad
- Find Mr. Sweet's Laboratory
- Find a Way to Escape
- Where's the Omega Armor?
- Shut Down the Factory
- Steal the Omega Armor
- Find First Component of the Omega Armor
- Go Back to Claire
- Get Claire and Escape
- Rescue Claire!
- Guns - Guns have unlimited ammo. You find your first gun early in the game and throughout the game will upgrade to more powerful automatic weapons.
- Grenades - Grenades are found at the beginning of the game and are used by firing them out of the currently equipped weapon.
- Foam Gun - Can be used both to immobilize enemies and to create platforms to jump on.
- Missiles - Dumb-fire missiles for taking down bigger enemies and doors.
- Flashlight - The player starts with the flashlight, which is used to determine what weapon to use on a given object. Grenade doors will glow green, Missile doors glow red, Foam doors glow purple, and Friction Dampener objects glow blue.
- Climbing Gear - Found very early in the game, as they introduce the player to upgrades, and gives Jason the ability to climb up ledges and wall jump.
- Thrust Pack - A jet pack that allows the player to Double Jump and boost slightly when swimming.
- SCHCA Mask - A mask that lets the player swim underwater indefinitely.
- Omega Armor - Powered exoskeleton that adds more damage resistance and a ground pound ability.
- Hook Shot - Allows the player to grapple all over the environment to access and discover new areas.
- Thrust Boots - Additional thrusters that allows the player to Triple Jump.
- Friction Dampener - Allows the player to run (at extreme speeds) across the surface of water, straight through enemies and crates, and along walls and ceilings.
- Fusion Helmet - Makes the player invulnerable to all enemy fire while standing still or moving slowly.
- Health Upgrades - Increases maximum health by 100.
- Armor Upgrades - Makes the various armor types more effective with each upgrade.
- Grenade Packs - Increases the maximum number of grenades available to the player.
- Foam Packs - Grants the player more foam capacity.
- Missile Packs - Expands the maximum missile capacity of the player.
- Passkey Components - Allows access to the Fusion Helmet.
- Gold Bars - When all gold bars are obtained, the player gets access to a room at the beginning of the game containing gold versions of every single weapon. These weapons give the player XP bonuses when used. The room can be accessed on new playthroughs on any difficulty.
There are two achievements tied to collectibles. One achievement requires players to get 100% of the collectibles and beat the game, while the other requires players to finish the game with no more than 13% of the collectibles.
Experience Points and Multipliers
While strictly not an RPG, Jason gains experience points by exploring the environment, defeating enemies, and acquiring upgrades. In turn, attributes like accuracy, precision or stamina, are increased automatically. A unique attribute of Shadow Complex's XP system is the idea of XP multipliers. If the player performs certain actions (head shots, melee attacks) a multiplier is added for every successful move, increasing the overall XP reward. Shadow Complex also rewards the player for defeating larger enemies like bosses by exploiting their weaknesses or attacking them in clever ways. While all enemies can be defeated simply by continuous shooting for extended periods of time, the game "knows" when this is taking place and gives less XP.
Additionally, uncovering squares of the map grants more experience than killing enemies. However, acquiring collectibles grants the most experience of all. This means that there is more incentive to explore and play through the game multiple times.
Embracing Metroid and other similar games' traditions of speed running and sequence breaking, Chair has endeavored to add multiple achievements for these feats. The most difficult feats are not in the form of achievements, but rather in the form of "master challenges" that exist only within the game - a way to give achievement lovers more easy achievements while also giving the hardcore players a standardized set of goals.
- 7 to 12 hours for most players.
- Over 100 hidden items to collect.
- Leveled-up characters can carry over to multiple playthroughs.
- Challenge rooms are included to hone the player's skills, all with accompanying online leaderboards. In each challenge room, the player can earn a bronze, silver, gold or platinum medal, depending on how well they have completed it.