is a 30-something ex-park ranger, living a simple but comfortable life in 1980s Canada with his wife and daughter.And then the Shadows came
is a 2D Cinematic Platformer
utilizing the Unreal
engine released in August, 2012 on Xbox LIVE Arcade
. With a focus on navigating the ruined city of Seattle
and avoiding the shambling undead (rather than out-and-out fighting them), the player leads Randall through the streets, city, suburbs and sewers, all the while fleeing from the hordes of "Shadows" and the men of the sinister "New Law"
Deadlight contains examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Seattle apparently has one,
- Action Survivor: Randall is pretty fit, all things considered, but he's not an action hero. More than 2 shadows at once tend to cause problems unless you've got plenty of extra ammo and steady aim.
- Advancing Wall of Doom/Lead The Target: The Helicopter's gunfire acts like this, always hitting just behind Randall's fleeing legs.
- Alternate History: Beginning with an alternate end to the Cuban Missile Crisis (one where JFK allowed Russia to store its nukes in Cuba), concluding with a zombie apocalypse in 1986. It's possible that the Shadows are the result of Communist Russia being up to no good, but there's no real answers.
- An Axe to Grind: Randall's main weapon. Useful for both "opening" locked gates, and smushing troublesome Shadows.
- Armies Are Evil: The surviving US Armed Forces in Seattle have set themselves up as "The New Law," basically a military junta out to loot the ruined city, rape any women they find, and kill anyone who resists. The "safe point" they're hosting is trap to lure in exploitable survivors.
- Bad Ass Beard: Randall's.
- Boom, Headshot: On the rare occasions you have a gun, and the ammo to use it, this is the only way to take out a Shadow.
- Daylight Horror: A run through the suburbs of Seattle in broad daylight through the gardens and houses would be lovely, typically, but for the hordes of undead on Randall's tail the whole time.
- Dead All Along: Randall's wife and daughter.
- Dwindling Party: Strange version: Randall is chasing after his group of survivor friends which sadly gets smaller the more of them he finds.
- Dying Like Animals: The New Law are boars and also weasels.
- Easter Egg: Throughout the game you can collect identification cards from some of the bodies that litter the levels, ALL of them are from well known serial killers...
- Escort Mission: Used and inverted—at one point you're being escorted to safety by the Ratboy.
- Expy: Randall's name *, his roof-hopping, his stealthiness, his growly voice, his noir-like monologues, his multiple B&E's, his constant gathering clues and trying to solve mysteries, his antisocial nature and other borderline delusional psychological problems, have caused many to identify him as Zombie-Survivor!Batman. The diary makes him seem even more like Forest-Ranger!Batman.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Repeatedly.
- Meaningful Background Event: Shadows feeding on other people, helicopters flying in the background, a car flipping over, buildings in the background with shadows trapped in them (you can see them in the windows), writhing body bags etc.
- Not Using the Zed Word: They're not zombies, they're Shadows. Since everything in the foreground is in blackness, this is actually a pretty appropriate name to give them.
- Oh Crap: Randall mutters one whenever something abruptly gives out from under him, or when a sufficiently hefty gang of dead break down any nearby barricades.
- Off with His Head!: If you get a particularly lucky hit with an axe... pop! There's even an achievement for it! The quickest way to get it, of course, is to take a swing at a child Shadow.
- Scenery Gorn: Buildings on fire, wrecked cars etc.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Not much information is given, but they have the characteristics of a Type F* merged with a Type P*.
- Safe Zone Hope Spot: "Safe Point"
- Short Range Shotgun: While the shotgun can kill multiple Shadows in a single blast, you have to be lucky and have the high ground to reliably do so. While psychologically satisfying, the pistol is a superior weapon.
- Shout Out: The mysterious dungeon master is nicknamed the Ratman.
- Every single achievement is named after a song from the 80s. The title drop (see below) may be an indirect shout-out to another 80s song, "Invisible Sun."
- The LCD games are layered shout-outs: they resemble Game & Watch games physically, have graphics reminiscent of Tiger Electronics LCD games, and reference Guitar Hero, various rhythm games, and the Cthulhu Mythos in their themes.
- Stock Shout Out: The Ratman's dungeons are, according to the narration, based on Dante Aleghiri's Divine Comedy. It's lip service, though, since none of the puzzle areas resemble Dante's Hell beyond an abundance of spikes and the dead.
- Super Drowning Skills: Randall can't swim. So if you put him in more than 5ft of water*, glug glug glug...
- Surreal Horror: The flashbacks and nightmares become more vivid and, well, nightmarish as the game goes on.
- Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Pistol ammo pickups always top you off to the maximum of 13 (19 with a full cylinder). There are also infinite-use pistol ammo refills, usually near a lock you'll need to shoot out or right before you're about to get up to your neck in zombies.
- Tactical Suicide Boss: Or rather tactical suicide mooks. While zombies are difficult to put down in groups, they are still rock-stupid animated corpses. Stand on the other side of a pit and whistle—the Shadows will trip over themselves and to their doom just to get to you.
- Useless Useful Spell: Well, tool—while the slingshot is invaluable during the Ratman's puzzle gauntlets, you'll be carrying that thing to the end of the game even though it's only useful during and immediately after the Ratman's dungeon.
- Not completely useless, you can distract zombies with it.
- Wall Jump: While Randall is unusually spry in general, his wall jump almost nudges him into Badass Normal territory.
- What You Are in the Dark: The moral of the story, as well as an indirect Title Drop. "There's no such thing as darkness. There's only light we can't see." The title drop comes from Randall's deceased wife and daughter guiding him through his quest.