Shadowman (October 26, 1999 prototype)

Shadowman is an action / exploration game. The character, Mike, traverses a real-time 3D universe, boasting a dark atmosphere, with quite a lot of freedom. All of the classic elements of this genre of a game are present.

Shadow Man, aka Mike Leroi (Michael), is dressed in the beautiful, sinister clothes of the eponymous superhero from the 1992 comic book, in which a tortured Rastafarian Highlander rises from the dead. He swims, jumps, shoots, climbs and chases after five reincarnations of serial killers.

Everything takes place in a superbly presented, voodoo atmosphere which encompasses not only the story, but also the elements down to details such as weapons of black magic. Mike can hold a weapon in each hand, such as a pistol, stick, torch, etc.

Mike must follow his destiny, as it takes him through the oppressing maze of a Texan prison; the vast halls of the World of Souls; the nooks and crannies of New York speak-easies in the Prohibition era; the scary White Chapel tubestation in Victorian London and seventeen more random locations.

It reportedly took the Iguana developers TWO YEARS to piece together a scenario for this Tomb Raider voodoo doll.

Shadow Man was critically acclaimed for its dazzling visuals and sold over one million copies across all its platforms, making it one of Acclaim's greatest hits.

Voodoo Child - Slight Return

Shadowman Asset Dreamcast

In Shadow Man, you play as Michael Leroi, a cab driver from Louisiana whose gambling problem led him to drop out of university and move to Chicago. One night, his passenger was shot while in the backseat of his cab because Chicaco; to Michael's fortune, the deceased commuter happened to carry a suitcase filled with banknotes. He nicked $20,000 from his customer's dead body, but he didn't gamble that money; he saved it for his brother Luke's surgery. Good lad!

Shadowman Dreamcast prototype logo.jpg

It turns out that it was not really his fallen passenger's money, anyway. You'll never guess who it belonged to... The Mob! Shocking, I know.  Had he been to the cop shop, chances are this honest taxi driver would have had to return his ill-acquired twenty grand. So instead, he wisely put himself and his family under the protection of the dodgy local bookmaker, as one in his position would do. In the end, though, they all got slaughtered for it except for Michael, who fell into a coma and lost all recollection of this sordid affair. Happily ever after...

Hold on, this terrible story is not over yet. It has barely begun, in fact. No sooner had Michael woken up from his long opiate-induced sleep, the dodgy bookie showed up to the hospital to collect his debt and as retribution, changed him into a zombie slave. How ludicrous! Gambling? Turning vulnerable working-class people into zombie slaves? Give me a break! Against all odds, somehow, somewhere, Mama Nettie, a voodoo witch on her death bed, blew magic powder and cast a spell on the damn bookmaker, whose gang she had upset with her home-grown, all-natural herbal business, which the plot summary doesn't disclose. Anyway, she trusted Michael with some ancient African mask, and that's where Mike Leroi allegedly got his Shadow Man superpowers from... Yeah, man!

Dreamcast prototype Shadowman Freeze Effects Sega.jpg
Dreamcast Shadowman prototype Mike.jpg
Dreamcast shadowman beta scene.jpg
Shadowman Dreamcast prototype main title.jpg

The specifics of this build:

  • The "Press Start Button" message appears at the Acclaim logo. We only see it in the main menu in the retail.

  • On the copyright screen, you can read the prototype build's version number and date; i.e. "Test version 018 (build 20:50:15, Oct 26 1999, audio lib 8.2)".

  • The main menu lacks the "Secret" option. The "Cut Scene Review" option is instead "Review Movies" in the final version.

Sega Dreamcast Shadowman beta main menu.jpg
  • The menu selection's option highlight is blue instead of yellow.

  • "Test Level" is a cut option that allows you to choose the level to play. I will come back to this in detail later.

  • Going through the options menu, we notice that the "Shadow Display" should be named "Shadowmeter".

  • By selecting another language, French, a large number of the various options remain in English. The translation is not yet in effect everywhere. Check for other languages.

Debug Menu :

What defines the charm and main interest of this prototype is obviously its Debug Menu. An earlier, similar build to this had been unearthed recently in the Hidden Palace Project Deluge . Many players could never finish Shadow Man; it must be acknowledged that the game is difficult. Its non-linear style of progression had led many black magicians to get lost or stuck. The debug menu finally allows you to see the end of the game.

At the main menu, the "Test Level" option allows you to select the level of your choice among the 20 existing ones. Five other maps correspond, for example, to the environments of certain scenes that are impossible to explore normally:

  • Intro Level : Launches the intro video of the game as if starting a new game.

  • Assault Course : This is a cut level. It's comparable as a test map to Shenmue 2 and its Map 0 . This level looks like an obstacle course.

  • Profile Level : On some emulators, this is a crashing level entry. There's nothing special, though. The player spawns in the dark. You can interact with the inventory, here.

  • Iguana Asylum Scene  : When entering this level, Mike falls into the void endlessly. We can briefly see an iguana, the logo of the development studio.

Shadowman Debug Menu Dreamcast map test.jpg
Shadowman Dreamcast prototype whit debug menu, Acclaim Swamp Scene.jpg
  • Acclaim Swamp Scene  : You start in a small area that is certainly located in Louisiana, with a 3D Acclaim logo.

Before choosing the level, the "Level option" menu allows you to configure the game. For example, whether or not to allow it to load objects, enemies, etc. The options inside here don't seem functional.

By going through the "Shadow Meter Settings" option, we can add ammunition for the shotgun, and increase our power and life bar. Other adjustments are also possible.

Shadowman Sega Dreamcast Test Level Debug menu.jpg

The different powers that Mike acquires during the adventure (ex: climbing, swimming) can be configured with the "Gads" option.

During a game, it is possible to access three Debug Menus by going to the pause menu.

Debug Menu 1 :

We find " Level Option " and " Gad " which are explained immediately above.
 

Invicibility : Self-explanatory.

Freeze Enemys : It should freeze the enemies (not functional).

On Touch Kill : Kill enemies with one hit (not functional).

Infinite Ammo : I wonder...

Show PVS Boxes : WORK IN PROGRESS.

WORK IN PROGRESS = I don't understand the option, maybe it doesn't work.

Shadowman Dreamcast prototype debug menu.jpg
Acclaim Shadowman Dreamcast prototype debug menu.jpg

The Debug Menu 2  :

  • Freeze Weapon : When activated, no projectiles or effects will fire from the selected weapon.

  • Freeze Effect : Some effects, such as bullet holes, do not disappear. Be careful, this option can cause the game to crash; it will restart on its own.

  • Wireframe Mode : Wireframe display mode, which doesn't seem to work.

  • Shadow Meter Settings : As explained above.

  • Use Primary Weapon as any Weapon : WORK IN PROGRESS

WORK IN PROGRESS = I still don't understand the option, maybe it doesn't work.

Debug Display Option :

  • On Scree-Stats : Displays system information.

  • Event Debug : WORK IN PROGRESS

  • Baddys Debug : Not working, blue lines should appear on the ground (see Deluge project build).

  • Weapons Debug : WORK IN PROGRESS.

WORK IN PROGRESS = You get the picture :)

SHADOW MAN (Oct 26, 1999 prototype).jpg

You can download the Shadow Man Dreamcast build below

SHADOW MAN (Oct 26, 1999 prototype)

Shadowman prototype Dreamcast Debug Menu 2.jpg
Acclaim Shadowman prototype Dreamcast Debug Display Option.jpg
Shadowman Dreamcast beta Debug Menu.jpg

The other normal Shadow Man Dreamcast prototypes:

SHADOW MAN (Nov 26, 1999 prototype).jpg

Other Shadow Man prototypes for other consoles:

SHADOW MAN (Aug 06, 1999 PSX prototype).png
SHADOW MAN (Oct 05, 1999 PC prototype).png

This prototype  Shadow Man PC is the Unreleased version from Nvidia . She was considered lost until now. It is an enhanced version of the Nintendo 64 game. It was said to release with even better lighting, higher poly count models, and higher detailed levels.

The PS1 prototype is in Italian. I could not test the PC build, you must have a PC with a GeForce-256 graphics card.

More than 200 prototypes, documents, press kit have been dumped or scanned, you will find them in free download in the "Releases de prototypes et documents"