Review by DHouston

Reviewed: 03/06/02 | Updated: 03/06/02

A nice action game, just lacks some variety

Shockman is an action game in the likes of games like Ninja Spirit, Legendary Axe, Power Blade, Shatterhand, Ninja Gaiden, El Viento, etc. In such games, you control a character and your goal is to get to the end of a stage, overcoming all types of obstacles and enemies. At the end of the stage is a boss you must defeat to proceed.

At first glance, Shockman appears to be a MegaMan-type of clone, but it is not such a game.

The story of Shockman is thus. Two cyborgs, Arnold and Sonya, have been given cyborg bodies by a scientist. The cyborgs have fought against an invading army and won (apparently). Now it is time to get their human bodies back, but lo and behold, another army invades and kidnaps the scientist. So now Arnold and Sonya must rescue the scientist and stop this invading army.

The story of the game is done pretty well, and there is more to it than mentioned in the manual. You'll get cued in on this at the end of Stage 1. The story plays out in story scenes after various stages.

Let's give it the rundown:

Graphics: These are done quite well for the system the game is on. It looks like an NES game, but with sharper contrasts and more details. The graphics are quite adequate for the game. Not the highest point, but not disappointing.

Music: Depends on your taste, but I was extremely pleased with the music. Real upbeat kind of stuff. Of course, 8-bit music kind of grates, but the music does an excellent job of keeping tempo with the game, which gets pretty furious at times. Now the sewer stage is a real sleeper, literally.

Control: Excellent. Shockman controls as expected for an action game. No problems here.

Gameplay: Great. Definitely gives justice to the ''action'' in ''action game.'' Enemy forces are pretty constant. If you aren't worrying about moving forces, environmental factors are the order of the day. Some of the longer stages have moments of little action, but it is made up for somewhere along the line.

Now what is the problem with the game that gives it less than 10? Character variety. You get to use one of two characters (or both if playing two players), Arnold and Sonya. The problem is that both characters play exactly the same. Both control the same and have the same weapons. Some difference between the two would have been appreciable and could add to replay value.

Ok, there is one difference. The two characters have a different ''smart bomb.'' I put this in quotes because it really is not a smart bomb as the term is commonly used. You won't use this weapon enough to appreciate it anyway, as moments to replenish your supply is few and far between (read as: exactly 4 times throughout the whole game).

One other problem is the lack of weaponry. You only have one weapon throughout the game, and it doesn't change in any way. You can charge it up for more power and a bigger shot, but that gets a bit old after a while. Legendary Axe stuck you with one weapon also, but at least there was some flashy effects to go with it.

The game does have some high points going for it. The best of these points is the fact that the game is two-player simultaneous. It seems such games are a rarity these days.
Not to mention, playing two player opens up a secret technique to help you battle the opposition.

The other good point is the hilarious credits. After the tough final battle, it is a great relief to laugh it all off.

Shockman is a decent title to have in your collection. It gives a good romp for its money, and having the addition of simultaneous two-player play (a rarity these days) is a definite plus. It doesn't break new ground, but definitely puts a nice warm nostalgic feeling on the old one.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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