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From the Silver Screen to the Dustbin

THE SHADOW (1994)_ SNES

From the Silver Screen to the Dustbin is a collection of articles looking into Video Game tie-ins to films, TV, and other properties that did not get released.

The first entry is “The Shadow”. An unreleased SNES game based on the 1994 comic-book film of the same name.


TS_Cover_Prototype
Mocked Up Box Art

WHO KNOWS WHAT EVIL LURKS IN THE HEARTS OF MEN?

THE SHADOW KNOWS!

TheShadow_SNES_003

The Shadow is a character from the era of comic and pulp magazine where the solution to crime was always hot lead. In the 1990s there was a renaissance of Superhero films thanks in part to 1989s BATMAN, so nearly every hero with a comic book was getting their own film (except The Crimson Clown). But towards the mid-to-late 90s, the flops started coming.

Hard!

The first of these was The Shadow, released in 1994 and starring Alec Baldwin.

The Shadow (1994) Poster

The Shadow is an American ex-soldier called Lamont Cranston. Mr. Cranston set himself up as a drug kingpin in Tibet after World War I but was given a chance at redemption by some Tibet Monks. The Monks believed that he still had good within him, so taught him how to hypnotize others; bending their perceptions as to appear invisible or to have given himself a garish rhinoplasty. You may recognize this as either beautiful sage spiritualism or suicidally naivety on the Monk’s part. Nevertheless, after his training was complete, Mr. Cranston returned to New York to shoot holes in crime as… The Shadow!

TheShadow_SNES_001

To tie in with the film, Ocean (a terrible games company that should’ve had their grubby fingers kept away from licenses) created a video game that was never released. It is strange, as the game is pretty much finished and all there was left to do was clean up some of the graphical effects (for example rain puddles appear above character sprites). Plus, it was advertised for the SNES in the gaming press along with a port for the SEGA Mega Drive.

The Shadow (1994) Print Advert

So what game did they make? A Platformer? A Point-and-Click crime-solving Adventure? Nope. A Beat ‘em Up. A Beat ‘em Up in the same vein as Final Fight or Streets of Rage. You move from left to right beating up thugs, Mongolian warriors (see the film to understand the f&%k why), and gangsters. At certain points, you get to fire The Shadow’s trademark dual pistols but only when encountering armed enemies, a la Capcom’s The Punisher. In addition to this, there is also a driving section where you shoot other motorbikes from your own s*@tty steampunk bike. Each of the game’s eight-levels end with an enemy that has a slightly bigger health bar than the rest, and attacks that decimate half of yours. 

TheShadow_SNES_002

Pretty standard, but done in a way that was unusual for Ocean. This game is actually good/playable. Not for us to use a tortured analogy in any way (but we will, you can’t stop us!), Most Ocean games are like eating Wheatabix, a sub-par cereal that covers your dietary needs and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. This game is as if you poured out a bowl of Weetabix, but instead of cereal that tastes like cold sick, the box was full of coupons for your favorite cereal.

WHY WAS IT NOT RELEASED?

To be honest, the game is good. So why wasn’t it released? 

Well, the film cost $40 Million to make. It made back $32 Million in the states. We are not licensed accountants (but we do practice, offers welcome!), but we’d say their assessment of this been a flop was fair. Admittedly, it did make $48 Million at the end of its global theatrical run but the damage had already been done.

It’s a shame because most ‘released’ games in the Ocean oeuvre deserve to be f@#ked in the bin over this one.

The SNES prototype can be found quite easily on the internet, Blast Processing recommends you find it and enjoy!

RELEASE INFORMATION

PLATFORMSSNES / SEGA Mega Drive (Advertised)
DEVELOPEROcean
PUBLISHEROcean
RELEASEDUnreleased / Cancelled

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