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Shadow: War of Succession

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ToddHoward2010sm (cropped).jpg All of this just works.
― Todd Howard
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Shadow: War of Succession
Shadow - War of Succession cover art.jpg
"This is what making a game without a budget and no knowledge of what you are doing looks like."
Genre(s): Fighting
Platform(s): 3DO
Release: 1994
Developer(s): Tribeca Digital Studios
Publisher(s): Tribeca Digital Studios
Country: United States

Shadow: War of Succession is a fighting game, published and developed by Tribeca Digital Studios in 1994, exclusively for the 3DO.

While it was an obscure game for a long time, it has become much more well known as one of the most infamous Mortal Kombat clones in recent years.

Why It’s Non-Succession

  1. Saying that this game looks hideous is being kind, the backgrounds are poorly rendered, and the character sprites look overly pixelated and slightly blurry.
    • However, worse than everything else, is that the final boss, Shadow King, it's a drawn sprite instead of a digitalized character, and looks uglier than all the other characters, character, and the cherry on top is that he and his stage has a messed-up colour palette.
    • As an extra, when the characters land after their jump, the screen shakes.
    • The game also features an annoying and pointless zoom.
  2. The animations are dreadful, the characters move strangely, with very few frames of animation, and the jumping animations are just laughable.
    • One notorious animation is Riggs's victory pose, which looks ridiculous.
    • It's also clear that the actors didn't have any proficiency in Martial arts, as some cannot even crouch while doing a crouching kick.
    • When grabbing an opponent, the characters don't even come in contact.
  3. The character designs are painfully bad, ranging from generic to ridiculous, just people in military outfits, or a dude like looks like a common thug.
  4. Despite the intro that explains the story looking good, the accompanying text is completely stupid and nonsensical. It talks about the cause of the explosion that happens in it is unknown, despite the intro clearly showing a combat helicopter shooting the place causing it.
  5. The sound design is awful. the characters scream like morons during the entirety of the fight. The voice acting is abominable to the point of being hilarious, giving us gems like"PREPARE TO EAT LEAD, BABY!" or "YOU KILLED ME ONCE, BUT NOW I AM MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU CAN EVER IMAGINE!!!".
    • The voices of the characters outside the start and end of the battle are super distorted, so much that they resemble Arcade sound effects more than screams.
    • While some of the soundtrack is decent, other sounds like it were composed in an old Midi keyboard, worst yet, some of the stages have background noises, however, these aren't background noises, instead, they are part of the song itself.
    • One of the tracks is just 6 seconds of silence.
    • The music is for the most part 30 second loops, but they aren't programed to loop, instead they just cut completely and then suddenly they restart.
  6. The controls are dreadful, the characters are extremely heavy, and the controller does not recognize diagonals, as you must press the individual directions to do the special moves.
    • The controls also have trouble registering something as basic as the down input, this means that you cannot stay in a crouching position for longer than a second, and special moves that use down have trouble working.
  7. The fighting is atrocious due to the following reasons:
    • The characters are unbalanced by default. The game uses a similar system to Mortal Kombat, but unlike any other fighting game in existence, only two characters have all the basic moves, the rest of the characters lack some basic moves, like leg sweeps.
      • To add to the previous point, all characters have projectiles, but some are way better than others, due to range, speed, or hitting low.
      • Teleport moves give a massive advantage to characters as it gives the character a good distance for spamming projectiles.
      • Gabriella is by far the worst character in the game, as her projectiles are slow and she doesn't have a teleport move.
    • There is no recovery time on the moves, which makes the fight strategically impossible, Instead, the fight becomes a button mashing and/or a spamming shitfest, and you can spam special moves like fireballs.
    • The hitboxes are always on, this means that the characters can interrupt attacks from each other constantly.
    • Also, the hitboxes are larger than they should, which means that the characters can hit each other from a distance where they shouldn't come in contact.
    • The character Erica has a sword with an incredibly short hitbox, meaning that her range is way shorter than it should.
    • Throws can be executed from afar, and even while you are in mid-air and your opponent is on the ground, more ridiculous is that with specific timing, throws can be chained into each other.
    • Blocking is useless as chip damage can knock back a character, which leaves them exposed to any other attack.
    • Characters move when using certain attacks, in fact, some move a full body length when using basic moves (for example Gabriella when using an uppercut), this can end in characters fazing through each other, which only makes fighting even more chaotic.
    • Special moves sometimes don't land despite clearly touching the opponent.
    • Anvil can jump endlessly, however, this is completely useless in battle.
    • The game is so poorly coded that in some stages, the game is slower than in others, which translates into the inputs' timing working differently in every stage.
  8. The enemy's A.I. is vicious and brutal, they love to spam moves and juggle you, and due to the poor gameplay, winning a round is mostly luck, unless you start spamming fireballs with a character like Riggs or Anvil.
  9. nothing is stopping you from spamming fireballs like crazy, Riggs for example can have up to 3 on-screen, in fact, it seems to be one of the few reliable ways to win.
  10. The instruction booklet only lists 2 of the special moves for each character, except for viper, as his special moves section only says: unknown.
  11. There is a code that allows you to win rounds by just simply pressing the Left Trigger button (on the difficulty selection screen, press Down, Down, Left, Right, Up, Up and then just select the difficulty).
  12. The characters' movesets are somewhat similar, most of the attacks are simple projectiles or things seen in Mortal Kombat.
  13. When you finish a match, the game says FINISH HIM. However, in this game, there are no finishing moves.
    • Strangely, there is an unused text that says: Finishing Bonus
  14. Some of the endings are really absurd, more notably: Riggs's.
  15. The game only uses two buttons, the other one is only used for special moves, and it is hard to make it work.
  16. The game cuts off before the final boss if you are playing on the easy difficulty.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Some of the music is decent.
  2. You can play as Shadow King in the Arcade mode if you have a second controller, then player 2 only needs to press start while fighting Shadow king, and he will be fully playable, then you must beat player one and you will be able to play the entire Arcade mode with him.


AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
This game/console belongs to the "Severe Zone" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

Shadow War of Succession has been panned by everyone who has ever played and is often called the worst MK clone ever, with many going as far as to call it one of the worst fighting games of all time.

Next Generation reviewed the game and gave it 1/5 stars and stated: "Use the disc as a coaster for your coffee mug - you'll get more use out of it and enjoy it more."

Electronic Gaming Monthly put it on the number 3 on a list of the worst console games of all time.

It was featured in the episode of AVGN: MK ripoffs and said that it was the worst of the bunch.

A supposed developer stated in a now-deleted YouTube comment, that Shadow was actually made by a bunch of people that knew nothing about videogames and didn't know what they were doing, the unknown dev in question said admitted that the game was terrible, but said that it wasn't a failure and they still made money with it if this comments actually come from a developer, is completely unknown and now impossible to verify.

Youtuber scxcr managed to find information of the people who did the photography of the game, I/O360, according to an old resume, which had only 5 employees and later became more well-known for designing websites.

He also found an old trademark document and found that Tribecca Digital hadn't started the process of trademark for Shadow until 4 months before release, the old document also reveals that the game's trademark was never completed, possibly because the company went bankrupt before they could ever finish the process.



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