Shade: Wrath of Angels
|a game by||Black Element Software|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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It is only when perched on the porcelain that most of us dare to let the evil within go free, but in Shade it's an essential part of the game. The story is this: the hero of the game, drawn into a shadowy world inhabited by abominable beasts, also plays host to a demon so foul the developers still haven't worked up the courage to put it in the game. As such, the entire game is a moral puzzle (over and above being a time-travelling survival-horror third-person actionadventure'), in that you are free to unleash your dark side whenever you wish. The more you rely on evil, the more twisted and less human you become (much like your average politician). It's distinctive and good-looking enough to stand out from the current glut of horror-action games, and besides this, we can't wait to unleash the beast.
Download Shade: Wrath of Angels
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Back In The veiled mists of time, we hitched a ride to Prague for a first look at Shade: Wrath Of Angels. A third-person hack n' slasher, it involves a main character who could usefully transform at will into an angry, vengeful spell-casting demon - a bit like our editor Dave Woods. Eighteen months on and Czech developer Black Element has been busy using its dark powers to summon a game that, if certain gameplay elements can be banished to hell, could turn out to be devilish fun.
Shade follows the blueprint of such action-adventure franchises as Legacy Of Kain Soul Reaver and Tomb Raider, featuring a mixture of platform jumping, combat and stealth-type sneakery. Set across 31 levels and four different themed time zones - the present, medieval, Egyptian and the disturbing Shadowlands - Shade has the self-titled human/demon hybrid vanquishing mummies, skeletal warriors, undead knights and all kinds of salivadripping nasties.
At your disposal is a range of over 26 weapons including guns, crossbows and various swords that can be upgraded, as well as enemy weapons such as huge axes that Shade can pick up and stab towards the nearest servant of Satan.
Combat is simply a matter of tapping the left mouse-button to produce different attack moves, although by pressing the right mouse-button, the shotgun and crossbow both have rather nifty over-the-shoulder views available for uncomfortably close-up kills.
With a few months left of development, the swordplay in Wrath Of Angels is still a little unsatisfying. You don't get the impression that your supposedly hefty chunk of sharp metal is actually hitting a solid body, even though the sprays of blood and flailing animation of enemies look decent enough - but hopefully this will be sorted before release. The platform elements are coming along nicely however, with Shade automatically grabbing hold of a ledge with both hands if you fall off one, saving your blushes and your (after) life.
Yet it's Shade's clever trick of transmogrifying into a scaly monster of Hades that could prove to be the game's major selling point. Rather than collecting a certain number of souls to transform into a demon - as with recent FPS Painkiller - all you need to do is ensure you have enough magical power (the blue bar in the top-left corner) and hit a key. Instantly, beams of blinding light break your human frame apart and you're reborn as a horny killer, able to cast lethal spells and shoot fireballs at anything in your way.
Graphically, Shade: Wrath Of Angels is no Far Cry, but there's cool lighting, good spell effects and destructible objects that should all display perfectly fine on the meanest of graphics cards, right up to the beefiest of pixel-pushers. Al is straightforward, shall we say, with enemies that lurch blindly forwards and fail to see you if you jump on top of a handy nearby box or staircase.
However, we're keeping our fingers and eyeballs crossed that Black Element is also about to inject an IQ-boosting serum into every monster's digital brain before the game's scheduled October release. We'll have more on Shade: Wrath Of Angels before hell freezes over.