Shadows of the Damned is a third-person, over the shoulder shooter, developed by Grasshopper Studios and published by EA. It is the latest joint project between Goichi "Suda 51" Suda and Shinji Mikami who had previously teamed up for Grasshopper's bizarre on-rails shooter Killer7. In December of 2009 Akira Yamaoka, sound designer for the Silent Hill series, signed on to be sound designer for Shadows of the Damned, which was announced during the 2010 Tokyo Game Show.
In several interviews the style of the game has been described by Suda 51 using terms such as "punk rock" and "road film". He has said that many settings have been explored extensively, but not enough games have gone to Hell and that he wanted to do a very "punk rock" interpretation. The game's humor and overall themes are heavily sexually suggestive.
Garcia Hotspur (Garcia "Fucking" Hotspur to his enemies), a demon hunter, must venture into Hell with his partner Johnson, a loud-mouthed skull with the ability to shapeshift, in order to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend Paula from the demon lord Fleming.
The game opens with Garcia walking up to a wounded demon who after a small conversation taunts with the phrase "Is Paula 'Hanging in there?'". Panicked, Garcia kills the demon and rushes home to find Paula has hanged herself. A demon inexplicably bursts out of her back, and after a brief attack by demons the demon lord Fleming comes to take Paula to his castle in hell. After a short conflict with Garcia, Fleming escapes through a portal into hell with Garcia in pursuit.
Throughout the game little tidbits are spoken about the demon's world in conversation between Garcia and Johnson and the world is fleshed out through these conversations and observations of posters and other things. As Garcia and Johnson fight their way through the realm of the damned they encounter several demons bestowed with special privileges and powers by Fleming due to Fleming's interest in them(such as three girls with the ability to permanently kill anyone, demons included). The characters of these demons are not explored by traditional means. Instead, there is an optional (though obvious) storybook for each which Garcia or Johnson will read out loud that gives their back story. Along the way Garcia encounters Paula several times. Each time, she is either being tormented, trying to kill Garcia, or is actually a demon in disguise.
After much fighting Garcia and Johnson eventually reach Fleming's castle and climb to the top to battle him. Garcia finds Fleming eating a leg which is revealed to be Paula's. Fleming uses this to taunt Garcia and bait him into shooting him. After Garcia fires a shot, Fleming opens his cloak to reveal that Garcia has shot Paula. After they fight and Garcia has defeated Fleming all seems well. However, Paula begins to strangle Garcia. The camera switches to Garcia's point of view as Paula opens her mouth and closes in. After a quick fade to black Garcia wakes up in a room with a large amount of baby head doors and a 6 white winged Paula who screams at him for her suffering. Two of the wings become red and Garcia must find the correct door and attack those wings to get Paula to go with him. After accomplishing this, Garcia is following Paula as she flies down a long hallway engulfed in darkness. Garcia is able to pursue because Paula is creating light, but all of her wings have become red. When Garcia destroys all these wings Paula falls in a hole and Garcia jumps in after her. In the hole the two find themselves trapped as the darkness closes in. Paula has returned to normal and they profess their love each other as the protection and health bar drains. Before the final bits of the health bar are gone, the screen goes black.
The screen comes back on in Garcia's apartment. Paula is just waking up on Garcia's bed as he enters the room. After a brief conversation there is a cut to the two of them eating caprese salad (a favorite of Garcia's) and burgers. As the two plan a trip, and a potential move to Mexico the phone rings. Garcia answers and it becomes clear that it is a demon who called him. Garcia is coerced by Paula (by holding a knife to his throat) into hanging up. At this point, a large amount of winged demons are amassing at his window. Paula screams and seemingly changes into a more demonic form. Credits roll as Garcia prepares to fight the demons.
After the credits there is a small scene of Johnson wearing headphones and performing a (terrible) Shadows of the Damned themed rap.
Garcia is the protagonist of Shadows of the Damned. He is a demon hunter of Stereotypical Mexican descent who has set out to invade Hell in order to rescue his girlfriend, Paula. Garcia's body is heavily tattooed, with one of the most meaningful being a tattoo on his neck which is an oath to Paula, which reads "I would kill the world before it did you harm". Garcia is not a good reader, but he has a good heart, and he won't let anything stand between him and Paula. Voiced by Steve Blum
Paula is Garcia's girlfriend who has been abducted by demons and brought to Hell. Garcia originally found her unconscious in a dumpster behind a supermarket. He brought her home, but she did not speak for a long length of time. One day during dinner, the phone rang. Paula breaks her silence and begs Garcia not to answer it. Garcia ignores the warning and goes to answer it, but before he can reach the phone, Paula rips the phone from the wall and dashes it to the ground, crying as Garcia comforted her. Their relationship blossomed from that point onward.
Johnson is a big-mouthed, skull who accompanies and aids Garcia throughout Hell. He is able to transform into many useful things such as various guns, a torch, and a motorcycle. Little is revealed about Johnson over the course of the game. Once a demon in Fleming's legion, he was cursed, stripped of his flesh and banished before meeting Garcia. Voiced by Greg Ellis.
Fleming is the main antagonist of Shadows of the Damned and the unopposed Lord of Demons. Fleming is responsible for kidnapping Paula and is seeking revenge against Garcia for killing large portions of his legion. Fleming has the ability to bestow powers on other demons as he sees fit. From the times he opened his cloak it is revealed that he may not have a physical body, or has the ability to make it vanish. Fleming enjoys opera and the smell of burning flesh.
Christopher is a half-demon half-human. His favourite food is the white gems you will find around the game. You can give(feed) him white gems in exchange for red gems, ammo, or alcohol, which he will vomit up. Voiced by Cam Clarke.
Shadows of the Damned features 3rd person shooter gameplay from an over the shoulder perspective similar to that of the more recent Resident Evil games. The main difference is that Shadows of the Damned enables you to move while shooting and perform a dodge roll. Technically, Garcia does not carry any weapons at all, he "equips" different kinds of tools by having Johnson shapeshift into them. His ammunition, however, is real; Johnson cannot form bullets, so Garcia will need to acquire ammo from the world around him. Johnson's forms include a machine gun called the "Teether", a shotgun called the "Monocussioner", a pistol called the "Boner", a torch which does not have a clever name, and a bitchin' motorcycle. Demonic upgrades are available for Johnson to allow him to transform into more powerful versions of all three guns. Some enemies can not be defeated by simply shooting them and require special tactics such as first firing a Light Shot, or exposing and damaging a weak point. Throughout the game you will find three kinds of different coloured gems.
Red gems - Used to upgrade weapons damage, reload speed, or capacity. They can also be used to upgrade the Garcia's health or the torch.
Blue gems - Garcia will insert blue gems into Johnson. These will enable him to turn into a new weapon or a more powerful form of a current weapon. Only obtainable from boss fights.
White gems - The currency for Shadows of the Damned.
Aside from the shooting there are also puzzle aspects to Shadows of the Damned. Some doors will have baby heads (newbie demons) keeping them shut. They require Garcia to find a certain item in the level and then feed it to the baby head to unlock the door. Also, at some points the world will be completely enveloped in darkness. When this happens enemies will not be able to be defeated and Garcia's health will gradually drain. In order to remove these effects Garcia must find a goat head and shoot it with a light shot to banish the darkness. The game has been described by Suda51 as containing about 20% puzzle elements and 80% action.
The game also features a few poorly-thought out levels that are in the form of a sidescrolling shooter with a paper visual theme. In these levels Garcia can move in all directions, but only has access to the basic pistol weapon, the Boner. Other weapons can be found as temporary power-ups, including a grenade launcher weapon he does not normally have access to. When Garcia is damaged in these levels he will gradually lose his clothes and eventually his skin. The enemies here do not shoot back, instead they will jump out of bushes or fall from the sky and try to come in contact with Garcia.
All guns can be alternate fired to perform a "Light Shot" in order to remove darkness from enemies or light goat heads and lamps.
Torch - A melee weapon with the ability to remove the darkness from enemies. Can be charged to unleash a devastating attack.
Boner - A basic revolver, the Boner is the most reliable form in Johnson's arsenal. Red laser sight. Uses demon bones for ammunition. What did you think the name meant?
Hotboner - Upgraded form of the Boner. Alternate fire can be charged to fire a "sticky payload". An orb with a large light sphere around it will stick to whatever it comes in contact with. It can then be shot to cause an explosion of light.
The Big Boner - Special form of the Boner, only available during turret sequences. This ten-foot revolver fires powerful explosive shots.
Teether - A basic machine gun weapon, uses demon teeth as ammunition. Blue laser sight.
Teethgrinder - Upgraded form of the Teether. Fires a large amount of teeth at double the rate due to its large number of barrels.
The Dentist - Upgraded form of the Teether. Can lock on to targets to fire homing shots, but shots move at half the speed of the Teethgrinder's, making it inferior.
Monocussioner - A basic shotgun weapon. Uses demon skulls for ammunition. Green laser sight.
Skullcussioner - A significantly more powerful shotgun.
Skullfest 9000 - A "shotgun" that fires skulls as a projectile attack instead of being hitscan. Primary fire can be held to allow you to fire up to four skulls at once.
Skullblaster - The ultimate shotgun, with a special attack: when all four skulls are loaded, if primary fire continues to be held the four skulls will combine into one large skull that will roll and bounce before exploding. This is used towards the end of the game in several annoying mandatory puzzle sequences.
Shadows of The Damned received mostly positive reviews with scores ranging from 4/5 or 8/10 and above. A lot of reviewers praise for its humor, combat, boss battles, and weapon upgrades. However, a few criticized for it linearity and slow start.
Creative Producer Shinji Mikami revealed to CVG in July 2012 that the game wasn't what Goichi Suda had originally envisioned it to be.
"[Shadows of The Damned] became a completely different game. That was a bit disappointing. I think Suda was unable to create the scenario he'd originally had in his head, and he rewrote the scenario several times. I think his heart was broken. He's such a unique creator, so it seems to me that he was not quite comfortable with making this game. The game was nothing like Suda had planned, which is rather sad. Mind you, if we'd made it as he originally planned, it probably would have sold even less, but it would have been very unique.
Akira Yamaoka is the sound designer for Shadows of the Damned. The band "The Damned" is featured on the first track.
|Song Title||Running Time|
|01. Shadows of the Damned Theme (Featuring The Damned)||7:12|
|02. Shedding Stars||1:31|
|03. Walk it Off||1:37|
|04. Last Stop, Windows Up||2:56|
|05. This Way Comes||1:50|
|07. Smile for a Broken Dawn||2:09|
|08. Showdown at High Moon||1:47|
|09. Cold Turkey||2:21|
|10. Broken Bones Broken Promises||2:53|
|11. Dropped Off Between Stops||2:36|
|12. Clawing at the Veil||2:43|