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Space Shadow was made by Bandai in 1988 for the Nintendo FamilyComputer. The story takes place in the future when humans colonize new planets. As the communication to the planet Nordbar is interrupted earth sends out 5 inspectors to find out what happened. 5 places are visited. 4 of those conclude in a boss fight, followed by a final boss fight at the end of the game.
All 5 levels look exactly the same and just differ by the enemy types, the bosses and the background during the boss fights. The player uses a full automatic machine gun with a limited stock of ammunition. Furthermore the player has a limited number of grenades. Killing enemies with the machine gun will cause them to drop items, such as ammunition, grenades or damage upgrades. Therefore it is wise to save the grenades for the final boss fight as it shouldn’t be risked to miss out any upgrades. The game ends, when the player is out of health, time or ammunition. Therefore the player should take care on efficient usage of the resources and must pick up as many items as possible.
The game has to be played with the Bandai Hyper Shot as it needs the additional button for the release of grenades and its d-pad to walk past cleared screens. The game supports the build in speakers of the gun and the rumble function, but those features are optional.
Enemies take quite a lot of hits before they die and the screen flashes violently as the game tries to detect hits. I feel that the flashing is more cruel than in other NES games and I found it to be disturbing. Furthermore the other screen flashes which happen when the player gets hit or a grenade explodes seem to distract the game from proper hit detection. Nevertheless I really like the game. It plays really different to most other light gun games as its focus lies much more on precision and strategy than speed and action. I think the music is very pleasing, especially at the title and end screens. Interestingly the game lacks a score system and shows the remaining resources instead upon conclusion. The difficulty of the game is more on the easy side once the player comes up with a strategy against the final boss and learned its pattern.
The artwork is beautifully drawn and captures the mood of the game very well. The slogan “very super exiting computer game & a bodily sensation system electric weapon” now seems silly but considering the cruel translation tools available back in the late eighties I really appreciate the effort.
For the translation of the game’s story my acknowledgment goes to porti from the circuit-board.de forum and to Michael Reber.