the writings of a mind

Title: Shade: Wrath of Angels
Genre: Third Person Action
Strap: Copying someone else’s work won’t help you in the long run, young man.

About two years ago, Shade: Wrath of Angels was looking promising. Black Element had built a fine looking engine, and were beginning to implement their ideas therein: a third person fighting game with a magic sword; a gritty, gruff-voiced perspective of an unjust situation, exposition in frequent cut-scenes; and a protagonist possessed by a powerful demon, able to call on his skills for a limited time.

Sadly, the last two years saw the release of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, and Max Payne 2 (Cryo’s The Devil Inside thought of that last bit in 2000). Which leaves Shade appearing, perhaps unfairly, like a feeble attempt to cash in on the success of at least the first two.

However, Shade is not blameless in such assumptions. Your character is given a magical blade, recharged by plunging it into the ground wherever you spot a small patch of misty white wisps... Even his pose matches that of PoP, leaving little room for doubt that the idea was nicked wholesale. (Even if it weren’t, it should have been removed quickly to avoid embarrassment). Sadly, what hasn’t been pinched is a liquid-smooth fighting system or the joyous controls. What exists instead is a clunky mess that doesn’t even include side-step or walking backwards.

The agonizing frequency of cut-scenes, and load points between every other room (even worse: load points midway through incredibly long cut-scenes), leads one to assume that this must be a lazy console conversion. But astonishingly, this is a PC developed title. Quite how it’s in such a state is bemusing.

Perhaps two years ago more generosity would have been shown. But even then the lack of spirit, the absent spark of fun, would still have managed to turn our smiles upside down.

 Prince of Persia’s ugly second cousin. Does not get invited to royal functions.


Tech Specs:

Publisher: Cenega
Developer: Black Element Software
Minimum System: 700Mhz CPU, 128Mb RAM, 32Mb 3D card
Recommended: 2Ghz CPU, 512Mb RAM, 256Mb 3D card
Multi-player: None
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