Complex is Simply Great
Much like side-scrolling games such as Super Metroid, Contra and other games I loved as a kid, Shadow Complex starts as a small, fun little game and unfolds into a massive experience. The game has all the ingredients to be a winner: addicting level design, unique gadgets and weapons, fun bosses and a good storyline. Overall, the game is one of the best on XBLA right now.
The gameplay in Shadow Complex is fantastic. The player doesn't start out as a super-spy or anything out of this world. He's a regular guy named Jason on a hike with his girlfriend...until he loses her in a cave. As he slowly acquires weapons and skills, Jason becomes more powerful and capable, but never too strong to bowl over enemies. As the hunt for his girlfriend continues, he quickly learns that he must stop an anti-government organization from taking over the US.
Shadow Complex is part puzzle, part shooter, and part strategy. Unlocking doors or learning how to get through walls is what the game is all about, and it does so beautifully. Weapons are a blast - especially a foam gun, which can be used to freeze enemies, build bridges, glue explosives...and more.
Sound in Shadow Complex is fun. The story is nothing ultra deep, but the voice actors are serviceable and do a great job with what they are given. But story is not the game's strength.
The graphics, for a $15 downloadable game, are stellar. At times the 2D sidescroller will switch into a 3D mode, and it really adds dimension to the game. Other animations to melee enemies are great, and "punting" small robots is a fun addition as well.
Overall, Shadow Complex is more than worth checking out. It will take you a good 6 hours to play through the main campaign, and the game comes with other challenge packs and fun extras. Finding 100% of the items, which is an achievement, might take you another 4 hours.