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Video Game: Shadow Warrior (1997)
"Ha ha! You no mess with Lo Wang!"

A First-Person Shooter based on the famous Build engine of Duke Nukem 3D fame, Shadow Warrior had the misfortune of being released in 1997, when the sprite-based shooters were already showing their age. (Compare Blood, which was based on the same engine and released the same year, but is better remembered.)

The player controls Lo Wang, the titular Shadow Warrior, a former employee/bodyguard of Zilla Enterprises... until he found out that Master Zilla was summoning monsters from the netherworld and plotting to Take Over the World. Being a man of honor, Lo Wang quit the corp, but Zilla decided that if Wang will not be on his side, then he has to die. Now, of course, Lo Wang sets out to reach Zilla and thoroughly kick his gluteus maximus - partly to save the world, but primarily out of revenge for the death of his former teacher, Master Leep.

Among the first shooters to contain now common features such as controllable vehicles, alternate weapon firing modes, bosses with more going for them than lots of HP and lower enemy variety with slower pace.

Characterized by crude humor and by gratuitous application of the Rule of Cool.

Two expansions were released, both for free: Twin Dragon in 1998, and Wanton Destruction in 2005 (when the former CEO of the company that developed it randomly stumbled across it on a CD full of add-ons the company had created). In the former, Lo Wang battles his Evil Twin brother, Hung Lo; in the latter, he faces Master Zilla for the last time. A third expansion titled Deadly Kiss, starring Wang's sister Tensi Yoka, was announced in early 1998 but never materialized.

Not to be confused with the former European title of Ninja Gaiden.

The original can be bought with both expansions on GOG.com, and a reboot has been in the works from Flying Wild Hog, the same developer as Hard Reset, and intorduces a robust skill upgrade system, the ability to use Ki Attacks and rendering the humor slightly less racist (but still immature as expected). To prepare people for this remake, they have released the original game on Steam as a Free-To-Play title. In addition, a slightly Updated Re-release with Steam Achievements and OpenGL-compatible versions of the game and its expansions is available for purchase on Steam.

Provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: The Coolies, zombified Chinese villagers who will charge you will a crate of explosives. Even when killed, they will raise as a ghost shortly after.
  • Affectionate Parody: The game has been created as one for "bad kung-fu movies".
  • Animesque: Almost any of the female NPCs you encounter, in contrast to the action movie styled rest of the game. Though the dominatrix ninjas and the old woman in Hara-Kiri Harbor are still rendered in style with the rest of the game.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: A lot of weapons can fit under this category.
    • The Nuke. The blast radius on it is so huge, you can easily kill yourself with it. The trick is to duck behind cover before the nuke makes contact. Even after you master that trick, there aren't really a lot of places or enemies outside of bosses that warrant a nuke to the face.
    • The Grenade Launcher, simply for having an absurd blast radius. It's not a good weapon for direct assaults, but it's perfect for shooting around corners.
    • The Railgun. It doesn't deal as much damage as you'd expect it to, and it seems to constantly miss the enemy, even with auto-aim on. Without auto-aim, there's still the split-second delay between pulling the trigger and the shot you have to contend with.
    • The Guardian Head. Fantastic weapon to use, only hampered by its insanely low ammo count, and the rate at which it consumes it.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: One of the weapons is a still-beating, blood-spouting heart. It summons a clone of you if used.
    • The Rippers, the monster the above weapon is taken from, will rip out your heart if they manage to kill you.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Riot Gun. It has a large ammunition capacity, the ammunition for it is relatively common and fills up just over half of its maximum ammunition capacity each time they are picked up, it deals a consistent and considerable amount of damage per shot with its first fire mode, and its second fire mode is a perfect surrogate for an automatic rapid-fire shotgun, but it's ultimately an incredibly boring weapon to use.
    • The Uzis. Great for mook crowd control, but not as fun or destructive as any other weapon.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The enemy ninjas are distinguished by the color of their pants. The regular Mooks have brown pants, while Elite Mooks have different colored pants that indicate their special abilities and weapons.
  • Convection Schmonvection: In the final level, which is set atop and inside a volcano, Lo Wang has no problem with prancing around pools filled with hot lava.
  • Cool Old Guy: Lo Wang seems to be at "Old Master" age, making him one of the oldest if not the oldest FPS protagonists around. The 2013 reboot has a much younger Lo Wang, being a prequel to the original game.
  • Corporate Samurai: Lo Wang's former job.
  • Cowardly Boss: Episode 1 ends with you facing the Serpent God, who proceeds to fight you with much fanfare... and teleports away after suffering a little damage.
    Lo Wang: HEY! Come back here and finish fight! Ugly, scary, snake... shitface!
  • Diagonal Cut: Ninja + katana = 2 half-ninjas
  • Disc One Nuke: Not even out of Lo Wang's apartment in the first level, you can find a secret area in his house that holds a nuclear warhead, of all things.
  • Dirty Old Man: Master Leep, judging by all the naked women living in his mansion. Not to mention Lo Wang himself...
  • Double Entendre: Mostly related to Lo Wang's last name. Just about everything Wang says is a single entendre, at best.
    Lo Wang: You want to wash Wang, or you want to watch Wang wash wang?
    Lo Wang: Whooo want some Wang?
    • Most fortune cookie messages in the game are also Double Entendres.
      Fortune say: Man stuck in pantry have ass in jam.
  • Driven to Suicide: If a standard mook fires at Lo-Wang for a long enough time without hurting him significantly, they'll eventually feel so dishonoured they'll stick their Uzi's barrel in their mouth and shoot half their skull off but even that is sketchy. At times, it seems like they do it out of sheer randomness, like Lo-Wang approaching them from around a corner.
  • Dummied Out: Some stuff that was left out can be found in the comments of the source code. For example, it was once planned that the player loses health and becomes at least temporarily blind if he has Night Vision Goggles activated while using a Flash Bomb or The Nuke.
  • Elite Mooks: All the ninjas above the regular brown-colored ninjas have significantly enhanced health and a variety of special abilities and weapons based on their color.
  • Fartillery: The Sumo Demons leave an unpleasant gift behind when you kill them...
  • Fanservice: For some bizarre and illogical reason, there are many scantily clad (if they are dressed at all) women dispersed throughout the game.
    • Many players were caught off guard when the women would suddenly pull out a gun and shoot at the player if provoked enough via the use key.
    • The only gal whose nipples are visible commits seppuku. (Probably why she went unused)
  • Far East: The game takes place in a mishmashed Chinese/Japanese setting. The main character, a ninja with a Chinese name, is the most obvious example.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: "Skyline", the last level of Wanton Destruction, is impossible to complete (even with cheats) on the lower two (out of four) difficulty levels as the final boss fails to spawn.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: see Diagonal Cut above. Lo Wang actually says this occasionally when he slices up an enemy.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Both the title character and the hordes of ninja mooks.
    • Averted with one type of ninja enemy, which is always invisible until you kill him. Appropriately, he's the most dangerous of the ninjas for being incredibly fast and capable of killing Lo-Wang in one hit even at max health and armor.
  • High-Pressure Blood: With the bad guys and the rabbits. If there are two or more rabbits in a given area, they will do what rabbits do. Shortly afterwards, one of them will shoot a baby rabbit and a gout of blood from its hindquarters.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Names
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted somewhat. Punching walls will actually hurt you (and may kill you.)
    • Somehow, punching a wooden or straw training dummies restores your health up to 100, like the drinking fountains from Duke Nukem 3D
  • Japanese Ranguage: Played straight with Lo Wang.
    Lo Wang: Row, row, row your boat! Genterry down da stream!
    • Significantly downplayed in the 2013 reboot. He still has a slight accent, but otherwise speaks perfectly normal English.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The katana, unlike most FPS melee weapons, is incredibly powerful and will kill many enemies in one hit. As ammo went fast, it was necessary to use it most of the time.
  • Killer Rabbit: A secret area has the original Rabbit of Caerbannog, cave and all! All the more devious because every other rabbit in the game is completely harmless, so you may not even realize what is attacking you until it's too late.
    • Another example: You come upon several scantily clad or nude girls. Annoy them and they'll whip out an Uzi.
  • Ludicrous Gibs, especially when killing an enemy with explosives.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Orochi Zilla.
  • No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: Not actual cutscenes, but no matter which weapon Lo Wang is holding or whether he wears or not a body armour, any mirror will show him bare chested and wielding a single Uzi.
  • Nuke 'em: The third alternate fire for the missile launcher is a fucking NUKE! It deals massive amounts of damage and has an extremely large blast radius, and finishes off with fallout that sticks around for half a minute and hurts anyone near the epicenter.
  • Off with His Head!: Bizarrely enough, it's a weapon.
  • Old Save Bonus: Owning Saints Row IV will give you the Penetrator dildo bat as an alternative to your katana.
  • Overly-Long Scream: If Lo Wang is falling from a dangerous height, he will scream all the way down. Find a pit deep enough and he will actually pause for breath and then continue shouting.
  • Piss Take Rap: Lo Wang does one in the credits. It's actually made of various voice clips edited together and set to a hip-hop beat, because the voice actor couldn't actually rap at all.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Shadow Warrior in general is Duke Nukem 3D WITH NINJAS AND ANIME!
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Zilla sends his monsters after Lo Wang after Wang quits the corporation.
  • Secret Level: Two of them, actually.
  • Sequel Hook: Zilla escapes when he loses to Lo Wang.
    Zilla: Damn you, Lo Wang! I will rebuild and come fight you again!
    Lo Wang: You are weak as a baby fart, go live in fear.
  • Shareware: As with most early 90s FPS, Shadow Warrior has a shareware episode. Interesting in that, like Rise of the Triad, the Shareware episode was different from the actual product.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: see Boring, but Practical
  • Shout-Out: A secret area in E1M4 is clearly taken from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, complete with a Killer Rabbit. You can also find Sailor Moon in the crew quarters of a submarine, and you can encounter Lara Croft in a tomb, and Wang says "Be proud, Mr. Woo" when he picks up a second Uzi, among other shout outs.
    • Sailor Moon isn't the only scout that appears.
    • A Speed Racer remote control car in the first level. He even (horribly) sings part of the theme song.
    • One of Lo-Wang's responses to cutting an enemy in half is "There Can Be Only One!"
    • A poster for the Slayers anime with Lina Inverse on it can be found in the game, along with posters for other anime, including something by Masami Obari and what MIGHT be Dirty Pair Flash, although the low resolution makes them hard to make out.
    • Two of the Fanservice naked women greatly resemble Sasami and Ayeka from Tenchi Muyo!
    • A secret area in the third level contains the grave of Jackie Chan. According to the plaque, he slipped in the shower.
    • A military facility in Wanton Destruction houses a W.O.P.R. expy.
  • Sociopathic Hero: In the novelizations, Lo Wang will not hesitate to kill most people for the slightest reasons, usually involving matters of the subject's inherent honor. All the more so if they work for Zilla. Something of the opposite of his game iteration, where he specifically left Zilla for killing most people.
  • Soft Water: In Level 3, if Lo Wang falls off the extremely high cliffs, he will die. Unless he falls in water, in which he will take no damage at all.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Duke Nukem 3D. They have the same developer, the same gameplay, and both lie heavily on heavy combat and crude humour.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: The Wanton Destruction level "Skyscraper" is impossible to complete (without cheating) on the lower two (out of four) difficulty levels as a mini-boss fails to spawn. Refer also to Game-Breaking Bug, above.
  • Waterfall Shower: Follow the singing to find a woman doing this. But don't stand too close for too long, or your character's pickup lines will lead her to whip out an Uzi.
  • What Could Have Been: The original conception of the game was much straighter than what we eventually got. The wise-cracking protagonist and lashings of adult humour were only added after the success of Duke Nukem 3D.

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