Shadow Man: 2econd Coming
Shadow Man: 2econd Coming is the third-person action adventure sequel to Shadow Man, and was published by Acclaim Entertainment and developed by Acclaim Studios Teesside. It was released on March 2nd, 2002 as a PlayStation 2 exclusive, unlike the previous
game, which was a multi-platform release. It came out at the height of Acclaim's financial downfall, also thanks to its absurd marketing campaign and the overwhelmingly negative reception from fans of the first game due to many problems with it, although critical reaction from the press was still mixed. This was also Acclaim Teesside's last game before their closure, shortly after its release. Many of its staff had been relocated to Acclaim Cheltenham before the eventual closure of that studio following Acclaim's bankruptcy in 2004.
Why It Sucks
- The game has taken a lighter and more cartoony approach than its predecessor, which was renowned for its horror themes and incredibly dark and disturbing tones, which was also the reason why the first Shadow Man was given a 15 rating by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in the UK (note that all BBFC ratings work like the US AO rating, in that they are legally binding age limits rather than advisories). This game was given a 15 by the ELSPA (The British gaming rating system used at the time). Mike's and Nettie's designs also got changed drastically. Mike in his Shadow form now looks like a skinned zombie and in his live form he looks like a mix of Blade and Luke Cage, while Nettie looks somewhat younger and is oversexualized.
- A very paper-thin and disjointed story, which is worse than the previous game. Especially if considering the fact that the game was supposed to feature 6 Grigori Sephiroth as said during in-game cutscenes, not 4, unlike the final product, which gives players the impression that the game was "rushed and left unfinished", which was possibly due to the severe financial woes Acclaim had at the time, and that Acclaim also did not have much of the production budget left to finish the game.
- Voice acting is significantly duller than the first game, especially on Mike's part. Nettie's voice also has changed drastically.
- Lame and lackluster boss battles: always before you face a boss, your new Teddy Bear spawn point becomes unlocked, that even when you die, you can respawn right in front of the boss and continue fighting him until you defeat him. This also includes the final boss, where unlike in the previous game, instead of getting a game over and a bad ending once you are defeated by him, you simply spawn back right in front of him and continue fighting him until you defeat him and beat the game. However, a sound clip of the unused Bad Ending has recently surfaced on YouTube . Another sign of how the game was rushed and left unfinished. This not only takes away all the challenge from the game, but also makes collecting the Cadeaux for increasing Health and Voodoo pointless.
- The gameplay was heavily changed from the first game. One of the worst changes is that even when being in Liveside, Michael will still be in his Shadow form, unless he will go to a specific place, where he can turn back human, though once he will leave it, he will still return to his Shadow form after some time, which is pretty annoying, since in his Shadow form he can't do some things, like pushing heavy objects. The other change is that in some parts of the game combat aspect is heavily fighting-oriented than shooting-orieted. You don't even have Michael's notorious Shadow Gun from the start and acquire it only later in the game. The fighting itself can be problematic when it comes to certain enemies, for example, the worm creatures in the first level, which are hard to hit and kill Michael pretty quickly (even though you can just avoid them).
- Unsatisfying ending.
- As a marketing campaign, Acclaim (famed for their absurd PR stunts) offered to pay family members of the recently deceased to put cards advertising their game on gravestones. Oddly this failed not due to Acclaim seeing any kind of sense (in fact, they actually received offers), but because they discovered that under British law the ads had the same legal status as billboards and would each require planning permission from the local council even if they could find people who wanted to do it.
- It was released exclusively on PlayStation 2, while the original game was released on multiple platforms. Also, if you will decide to play the game, you will need to have a PlayStation 2 and a game copy, since it is impossible to play the game on emulators normally due to a glitch that messes up all the environment textures (it can actually get so bad that character models can get messed up too and the game may even crash the emulator). The move to make it a PS2 exclusive seems pretty strange too, considering that PS1 version of original Shadow Man was negatively received.
- The music is pretty decent for the most part. The music track that plays during the end credits is very touching.