Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Shadowfire'

Rating:5 User: Matt_B

This was a great game that marked a significant step on the evolution of the adventure genre from text input games to point and click. It's not exactly Monkey Island, but everything is controlled by a pointer and icons and there are graphical representations of your characters as well as status displays and a map to tell you what's going on.

Your mission is to command the Enigma team, a group of six specialists, aboard a spacecraft owned by their arch enemy General Zoff. Zoff has kidnapped a character by the name of Ambassador Kryxix and is busily interrogate him; you need to rescue Kryxix, as well as capturing Zoff and his spaceship. Time is of the essence as Kryxix holds some dangerous secrets.

The game is straightforwards to start with, using icon control for all functions; they're fairly intuitive, although there are a few screens to get through for some things but the game isn't too hard to get into. It's a difficult game to master though, as Zoff's guards are pretty tough; some of them will take all six members of the Engima team to beat. Zoff himself is a very slippery customer and, should you track him down, it'll require a bit of lateral thinking to capture him.

The Enigma team all have different capabilities and specialisms. Some, like Maul and Syylk are basically just firefighters. Leader Zark is a translator and the only character Kryxix will listen to. Torik is a scout and moves quickly through the map; he's weak, but fast enough to get out of any fights he gets into. Sevrina, featured on the cover, is capable of cracking any locks and, until you equip the team with a set of keycards, is indispensible. Finally, Manto is the most essential member of the team as he manages the teleport capability with which you can transport people back and forth between your assault ship and the enemy spacecraft.

All in all, it was a radical game at the time and still holds up well. Once you've completed it, there's some replay value as there's no set order to the objectives and plenty of places to explore with a few special items tucked away. Denton Designs gained a reputation for attention to detail here with great graphics and slick finishing touches that they maintained with many of their following games. To top it all off, there's a stirring and catchy tune from Fred Gray on the title screen.