Video Game / Shadow Warrior (2013)
My name is Lo Wang. Let's make a deal.

"You Got Wang!"

A reboot/prequel to the 1997 videogame Shadow Warrior. It follows a younger Lo Wang, an assassin at the employ of corporate mogul Orochi Zilla. Lo Wang is tasked with retrieving an ancient sword called the "Nobitsura Kage". However Lo Wang's assignment proves difficult when a demon invasion happens - the demons themselves also seeking the sword, forcing Lo Wang to team up with the banished demon Hoji (who doesn't remember WHY he was banished) to find the Nobitsura Kage before Zilla, repel the demon invasion, and find out the truth behind Hoji's banishment.

The game was developed by Flying Wild Hog of Hard Reset fame. Greater emphasis was put on sword combat, with Lo Wang now capable of doing devastating combos and using Ki Attacks to great efficiency, on top of his arsenal of guns. The game stays true to the tongue-in-cheek tone of the original, while going for a more developed, complex story.

A sequel, Shadow Warrior 2 has been announced, coming for PC, PS4 and Xbox One for 2016. The biggest confirmed additions are, so far, co-op with up to four players and procedurally-generated landscapes.

The Game contains examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Despite starting with The Touch blaring out loud, the game still shows an example of this - the game ends with Lo Wang and Ameonna, Hoji's sister, kneeling by Hoji's slowly vanishing corpse in silence, as the camera circles them.
  • And I Must Scream: Subverted. Xing got decapitated with his head left on a pedestal in a corner of the Shadow Realm for several millennia, but is still alive, being an immortal Ancient. All things considered, he's taking it very well, since he no longer has to deal with his family's squabbles. He's gotten bored of staring at the same wall, though, and asks Lo Wang for a change in scenery.
  • Animesque: The anime bathing girls are back. In addition, the story has a much more anime-inspired flavor to it than the original.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In the end, Enra just wanted to save his world by killing the one responsible for almost destroying it. He lets Lo Wang kill him in order to revive his sister and allow her tears to bring back the rain. He could have sacrificed one of his other brothers whom he used as pawns anyway, but he admitted his defeat and made himself a noble sacrifice in the end.
    • This also applies to the one who kicked off the disaster Enra was trying to fix, Hoji. Literally driven mad by a love for Ameonna that could never be satisfied, he came to hate her for making him feel and hurt so intensely. He lashed out by poisoning her and then sealed away his memories in a Whisperer simply to making the hurting stop. All the deaths in the game can be laid at his feet, but it's hard not to feel some sympathy.
  • Always Identical Twins: The Kyokagami twins are, of course, identical twins.
  • A.K.A.-47: In the remake, the Zilla Industries PDW is an MP7. Lampshaded in the flavor text, which states Zilla Industries was forced to stop distribution of the gun after being sued by a German arms manufacturer.note 
  • Beat Still, My Heart: One of the weapons is a still-beating, blood-spouting heart. It kills any lesser demon around you when you crush it.
  • Big Bad: Enra is the main antagonist of the story, and is responsible for the demonic attacks that get Lo Wang involved, and is even the one behind Orochi Zilla, Lo Wang's primary employer/nemesis in the mortal realm, but the true author of the wrong that led to the game's events turns out to be Hoji, who loved his sister so much that he turned against Enra and turned the Shadow Realm into a hellscape as revenge against him.
  • The Blacksmith: Hoji invented both the armour that ancients use in battle and the whisperers.
  • Black Swords Are Better: The fully-upgraded Nobitsura Kage, which one-hit kills any enemy within rage with powerful strokes that slice through the air itself.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Due to the nature of the Ancients, all of them but Xing and Enra had the hots for their sole sister, Ameonna - but the biggest example out of them all would have to be Hoji, who truly made her happy and loved her so much that he was willing to devastate the Shadow Realm for her sake.
  • Bullfight Elite Mook: Berserkers. They can turn towards you if you dodge out of the way, but they won't stop if you hide behind a wall or tree. They're stunned when slamming into a wall, which is almost required to kill them as everything except their back is bulletproof.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": The experience you gain when killing enemies and finding some secrets is named "karma". The skill points gained when you amass enough karma are "karma points".
  • Call Back: Several of the game's secret areas (usually at least one per level) are built with graphical assets from the original Shadow Warrior (1997).
    • The Alt Fire mode for the Uzi is wiping out a second one, much like in the original game.
  • Captain Obvious: Several of the fortune cookies don't try very hard.
    You will find a fortune cookie.
    You will be attacked by demons.
  • Corporate Samurai: Lo Wang's job (and soon to be former job), doing mercenary work (sometimes quite literally) for Zilla Industries.
  • Cosmic Keystone: Hoji's Sister's Tears are what keeps the Shadow Realm alive.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In the remake, Lo Wang has a huge secret vault beside his house, containing his comic book collection, weapons, arcade machines, and a set of ninja armor.
    Hoji: You have a cave under your house where you keep your battlesuit? Glad to see you are keeping your superhero complex in check!
    Lo Wang: Laugh all you want, but who's the guy with the sweet suit of armor ready to go in case of Zombie Apocalypse? Turned out it was a Demon Apocalypse, still, not a bad time to be a superhero.
  • Credits Gag: A rare non-comedic example. The credits roll endlessly, looping back to the beginning, as the camera does a flyby of the final level... When it departs from Lo Wang kneeling above Hoji's evaporating form, we see his sister looking up at Wang. When the camera rolls back to this staircase the first time, we see Wang kneeling in the same pose above her unmoving body. The second time, Wang is gone, leaving the Nobitsura Kage embedded into the stonework next to the girl's body.
  • Crossover: With the Rise of the Triad reboot; Shadow Warrior gets an Excalibat skin for your katana, and ROTT gets Lo Wang as a playable character.
  • Cutscene Boss:
    • Orochi Zilla is only fought in non-interactive cutscenes, gets his ass kicked both times Lo Wang fights him, and has his arm sliced off to get the final piece of the Nobitsura Kage. He escapes, thanks to the Kyokagami twins. The game's version 1.5 update turns both encounters into actual boss fights.
    • Enra simply allows himself to be slain after you kill Xing, his brother and bodyguard puppet, so that his blood may revive Ameonna and save the shadow realm.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hoji's main job in the game is to deliver the snark, and Lo Wang likes to snark right back. Their Snark-to-Snark Combat is a beauty to behold.
  • Deal with the Devil: Lo Wang's boss, Orochi Zilla, turns out to have made a deal with Enra for the full Nobitsura Kage in exchange for power, youth, and the ability to walk again.
  • Dem Bones: From the cemetery onward, you encounter skeletons among the enemies. They are just a bone version of the base demons, and usually mean that a Shaman is nearby.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The Ancients, the rulers of the Shadow Realm, are immortal, and cannot be killed by any mortal means. The only thing that can kill an Ancient is the Nobitsura Kage, and such is its nature that even in its incomplete form, no being of the Shadow Realm can touch it without dying.
  • Demon Slaying: While killing the beings of the Shadow Realm is definitely not part of Wang's general job description, he finds himself having to step up to the plate and kick demon ass regardless.
  • Dissimile: When Wang has his first fight with the bird-looking flying demons (paraphrased):
    It's like bird hunting, but without the birds!
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Sprinting doesn't allow firing or slashing with the sword, although you can end the run with a kick.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: When you finally assemble all 3 pieces of the Nobitsura Kage, it gains the ability to fire energy slashes through the air whenever you swing it. Each slash is powerful enough to slice multiple enemies into pieces with one swing.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Lo Wang was able to take down an entire army of katana-wielding yakuza at the start of the game, then take apart a couple of demons. And this was before he gained his ki powers.
  • Emergency Weapon: Played With. You certainly do have a katana in case you're short on ammo, but it's a completely viable weapon on its own right, especially when all of its powers are unlocked and in conjunction with the other ki powers you gain. Still, you're given a Quick Melee button when you have a gun up, and you have shuriken as your absolutely last resort ranged attack.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Exaggerated. A single katana slash is all it takes to turn a perfectly undamaged sedan into a fiery wreckage.
  • Evil Cripple: Zilla is wheelchair-bound. He's later cured by Enra and gets some Super Strength in the process, but he's still beaten easily by Lo Wang because the latter is much more experienced in fighting.
  • Fanservice: We have the "Kyokagami" twins, clad in bodytight suits. Some secrets tend to have the original pixelated nude anime babes from the original in them.
  • Fan Disservice: There are plenty of naked women in the reboot! Problem: they're all dead, skinned and impaled on various things, just like everyone else unfortunate enough to get killed by the demons.
  • First-Person Ghost: Played straight and averted at the same time. You can see your legs if you look down, but Lo Wang doesn't cast a shadow and isn't reflected in water. Only once he's reflected in a mirror but it's because of the Important Haircut scene.
    • The legs even clip with the arms if you move while looking down.
  • Firing One-Handed: Wang will do this when charging his ki powers and firing a gun at the same time.
  • Gatling Good: There are several moments ingame in which Wang can use a fixed heavy machine gun against demons (the first time being in the Wang cave).
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The private security apparently hired by Zilla that are encountered rarely throughout the game. Wang wonders why they're there, and later suspects that they're hired by Zilla to try and get his sword (and do some cleanup from the demons), but nothing else is explained.
  • Gratuitous French: In the Wang Cave, the comic book referring to Tintin has a French cover. It is written: "The Adventures of a Young Zombie - Red Planet II"
  • Guns Akimbo: One of the upgrades for the MP-7s allows you to dual wield them, doubling the damage, magazine capacity, and firing rate at the cost of taking up your other hand (no ki powers).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Two. First Hoji saves Lo Wang by throwing the Nobitsura Kage to him, knowing fully well that merely touching it will kill him, all while defying Enra that it will not be his blood to awaken their sister Ameonna. Not much later, when Xing is killed and the last Whisperer is destroyed, Enra surrenders and allows Lo Wang to slice open his throat to revive Ameonna, bringing back rain to the Shadow Realm. See Alas Poor Villain above.
  • Hidden Depths: You have to admit, the "Wangcave" is surprisingly restrained and tasteful given the rest of Wang's... everything.
  • Humongous Mecha: The suits of armour that the ancients wear are a magical version of this.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Let's count: two katanas (when Lo Wang loses the Nobitsura Kage at the end, he simply takes back his own katana) and unlimited shuriken, a revolver, (possibly) two SMGs, a crossbow, a heavy shotgun, a flamethrower, a rocket launcher, ammo for all those weapons, a demon heart and a demon head. Wonder where he keeps it all?
  • I Know Your True Name: Lo Wang demands to know his demon companion's name because he read that knowing it will give him control over him. When he gets it, Hoji is shocked that Wang could pronounce it, stating that he must be the one the prophesies spoke of: A goddamn moron who believes everything he's told.
  • Important Haircut: In a short cutscene, Lo Wang does this specifically because every hero gives themselves a haircut. In his case, he shaves his hair off and settles with a Bald of Awesome.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: Equipping the Serious Sam sledgehammer doesn't change the attack animations. This gets odd when executing Divider of Heavens, where Wang stabs with the hammer.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: It is the game's primary weapon, capable of disarming (literally) enemies and shearing off heads, and as Lo Wang grows in power and skill, it's capable of potent Ki Attacks like a Spin Attack and a Sword Beam. In addition, Lo Wang can find and assemble the legendary Nobitsura Kage, which is designed to kill demons.
  • Kavorka Man: Hoji, prior to his banishment, looked like a hideous, long-nosed clown, but was the one who won the affections of his sister, out of all his brothers. Having his face torn off by his brothers was a slight improvement.
  • Killer Rabbit: Killing too many rabbits spawns a special black rabbit that requires several special moves to be slain. It can also teleport, and heavy metal plays as you fight it.
  • Last of His Kind: Averted. It might seem like this, but it is explicitly mentioned by Hoji that draining the Ki of his brothers is in no way lethal, and that only the Nobitsura Kage can kill them. Still, aside from Ameonna, their sister, only the Dumb Muscle variety of Ancient is still alive, while one of those three might have actually also died when Lo Wang killed his body with the Nobitsura Kage while his head was alive and laying on a rock. All in all, not a lot of them left.
  • Losing Your Head: Xing lost his head to Gozu on Enra's orders after he conspired with Hoji to poison their sister and try to overthrow Enra. But because Xing, like the others, is an Ancient, he cannot be killed by any means except the Nobitsura Kage, and so losing his head is just an incredible inconvenience to him. You encounter his head late in the game, when you journey to the Shadow Realm to rescue Hoji and stop him from creating a Whisperer of you and sacrificing his memories of you, and he proves to be quite the amiable and chatty fellow.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: After leaving the arcade in chapter two, if you check the skyline, you can see what seems to be Godzilla stomping through a distant section of town and then vanishing behind a mountain.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The reason behind most of the plot... Hoji met his sister Ameonna, making her happy, which stopped her crying, and her tears are the Cosmic Keystone of the Shadow Realm. As this began causing a drought, Hoji was found out by his brothers, and punished by them by taking away his face for his actions. This caused him to turn on Ameonna as he saw her as a liar — she had made him believe he could be whoever or whatever he wanted, and had promised to stay by his side, but left him after he was disfigured. And at least the rain was back, but as Hoji ultimately decided, "fuck the rain." He thus tricked one of his brothers into poisoning her, before locking his memories of doing so inside a Whisperer and sending it away, setting the plot of the game into motion as Enra sought to undo Hoji's crime by uniting the pieces of the Nobitsura Kage and using one of Hoji's Whisperers to slay Hoji and reawaken their sister.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: You can pop or slice limbs off and send still-beating hearts and squishy organs flying into the ground. Killing elite mooks guarantees lopped-off body parts.
  • Memory Gambit: Subverted, in that Hoji never planned on getting his memories back, he simply wanted to forget the sadness and suffering he had felt, as well as forgetting the wrath that lead to the downfall of the Shadow Realm. Most of the others just wanted to forget their part in the whole drama, and were coerced into it by Enra.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: In a late part of the campaign, Wang loses Hoji right after Zilla has been empowered by Enra. For the rest of the level and the following one, Zilla replaces Hoji as an off-screen voice, but his lines are mainly made of taunts.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Mezu is by far the most loyal to Enra, and was the one who stopped Hoji's plot to depose him and put Xing on the throne of the Shadow Realm as revenge for separating him from Ameonna. Hoji mocks his loyalty as being of the unquestioning "yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir" variety that Gozu had.
  • Mythology Gag: When Lo Wang reaches his lair, he gives himself a haircut, shaving himself bald, but leaving his beard intact - just like the original Lo Wang. Like the original one, he is bare-chested at this point of the game.
    • The common demons greatly resemble the Uzi-wielding ones from the original - just a bit more spikey.
    • Killing too many rabbits will spawn a Killer Rabbit that's similar to the one from the original.
    • The various secrets areas lying around are directly taken from the original, low-res textures and all.
    • You can also find the original game as an arcade machine in various places.
    • Upon reaching the final level, Lo Wang will shout out "WHO WANTS SOME WANG?!"
    • The original's Riot Gun is implied to be the military version of this game's shotgun, according to its flavor text - the Riot Gun was full auto and had a proper magazine, unlike this game's shotgun.
    • Orochi Zilla escapes yet again.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Orochi Zilla.
  • Necromancer: The Shamans, which can raise both skeletons and the corpses of enemies you've killed.
  • New Game+: EX Mode allows you to start the game with all of your weapon, power and skill upgrades from your first playthrough (except the sword), which can allow you to max out everything for the hardest difficulties. It's also a requirement for getting the Sensei, The Power, and One Man Army achievements (all skills, powers and weapon upgrades, respectively).
  • No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: This occasionally happens to the Nobitsura Kage (or the various katana skins) being replaced by Wang's generic starter katana when transitioning to and from cutscenes.
  • Off with His Head!: You can hand out a lot of these to demons, most often with the sword. With the right skills, you can even use demon heads against more demons.
  • Old Save Bonus:
    • Owning Saints Row IV will give you the Penetrator dildo bat as an alternative to your katana.
    • Owning the remastered version of the original game gives you Lo Wang's Katana from said game.
  • One of Us: In-universe example. The Wang Cave has quite a collection of comics and arcade machines.
    Hoji: Five thousand hitmen in this country, and I have to get the nerd? Where do you keep your porn?
    Lo Wang: This is my porn.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: A dramatic version. Towards the end, Hoji loses his weird nerd lisp and becomes much more morose, serious, and clear. Given that he just became nearly suicidally depressed at finding out what he did, it's probably why he stopped being silly. At the same time, Lo Wang loses his accent occasionally.
  • Plot Armor: Late in the game, you are surrounded by demons while an empowered Zilla is watching you next to the fight area. He is so close that you can actually strike him, but he won't suffer any damage. You don't get to do much to him or the demons before you're dropped into another area.
  • Power Tattoo: Upgrading Wang's powers grants him new tattoos.
  • Product Placement: The reboot has arcade cabinets for Hotline Miami, Serious Sam, Hard Reset, and the original Shadow Warrior, which apparently use Alienware tech. The Wangtastic Features trailer labels this as "Shameless cross-promotion" and "Tasteful product placement", respectively.
  • Rated M for Manly
  • Redemption Equals Death: Hoji dies by touching the Nobitsura Kage, saving Lo Wang and allowing him take out Enra, which in turn revives his sister.
  • Retcon: In the original game, Zilla sends his men to kill Lo Wang soon after Lo Wang resigns. The 2013 reboot has Lo Wang turn against Zilla and implies this is where the two of them became enemies, even though it seems to take place at least 30-40 years prior to the original game based on the difference in Lo Wang's age.
    • Lo Wang has gone from a Dirty Old Man with a heavy accent who'll hit on anyone with breasts and spouts off sex jokes like no tomorrow, to a young, slightly accented man with no interest in women. Especially not ones who might try to kill him.
    (on being asked if he's made it with the Kyokagami twins before, or even has any interest in them) "I prefer my body parts actually attached to my body, thanks very much."
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The only pistol in the game is an eight-shot revolver. It deals good damage with medium accuracy, and can be upgraded to fire faster, culminating in Spaghetti Western-style fanning fire.
  • Running Gag: From the promotional material. No matter how minor it is, Devolver Digital has a division for it.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Xing, partially responsible for causing the mess in the first place and implied to have been the Big Bad at points, is just a head when Lo Wang finds him. After a short Breather Episode of Lo Wang and Xing's head journeying to Hoji's lab, Xing asks he be set down near it, as all he desires is a change of scenery and being away from his brothers' quarrels.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the second-to-last level, Zilla loses an arm and escapes on an helicopter with the Kyokagami twins. When the end credits roll, Lo Wang has solved all matters within the Shadow Realm, but we can be sure he'll have some scores left to settle in the human world.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: You get a double-barreled shotgun halfway through the game. Although the range is atrocious, it can be upgraded to have four barrels.
  • Shout-Out:
    "Eye of the Tiger, Hoji. Eye of the Tiger."
    "He lost at the end of the first movie, you know."
    "But he got the girl."
    • Beside posters and arcade cabinet of Hard Reset, there's another and quirky reference to Flying Wild Hog's previous game. At the very beginning, if you walk down the road on each side, at some point you cannot move further, as the road further down is in truth just painted on a large tarplaulin which has a hole - and through it you see the world of Hard Reset.
  • Sliding Scale of Anti-Villains: Of the Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds kind, Hoji caused the near-destruction of the shadow realm by poisoning his sister/lover out of heartbreak and revenge. Said sister/lover had promised to stay by his side, but left him after he was horribly disfigured as punishment for causing a drought in the Shadow Realm, as her tears of sadness nourish it with rain - and him being with her stopped the tears.
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Hoji's main role is to snark at Wang and his antics.
  • Standard FPS Guns: To be fair, they're quite stylized with a number of upgrades and curious secondary attacks, but in the end, you pretty much start with a melee weapon and finish off your arsenal with a Rocket Launcher, in that order.
    • In addition, you can also unlock the ability to use Demon Heads, which you can use to completely wreck your enemies.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Hoji and Ameonna found love in each other, but they could not be together as her joy would stop the rain. The two were torn apart and Hoji was punished by having his face cut off.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: The loss of the Shadow Realm's rain and its following spiral into destruction is the result of Hoji, driven mad by his love and hate of Ameonna, deciding he no longer cares what happens to the world so long as he can get revenge for her making him feel so intsensely.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Zilla receives those late in the game after being empowered by Enra. The human mooks in the last levels have these, too.
  • Sword Beam: The Wing of Crane skill allows you to do this. The final piece of the Nobitsura Kage makes the basic katana attack do this as well.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: The very first thing Zilla does when he receives Enra's power, which restores his body to its full prime, is to kick his wheelchair away.
  • Title Drop: Every chapter in the game has a title directly taken from a line of dialog in the chapter, right from Wang himself to Hoji and others.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Averted in the 2013 remake during Lo Wang's first Cutscene Boss fight with Zilla. Lo Wang just slashes Zilla, injuring him, when Zilla stupidly stands still and tries to charge up some kind of power attack.
  • Turns Red: Demons regularly do in combat, making them more aggressive, attack more often, and have more health.
  • Twincest: The Kyokagami twins refer to each other as "love" and "my sweet", which suggests at least something non-sisterly going on between them.
  • Voice of the Legion: The empowered Zilla and his late-game mooks gained an echoing deep voice.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The cause of the demon invasion? Enra searching for all three pieces of the Nobitsura Kage to ensure his realm does not die, and avenge his sister's death. But did he and his minions really have to subject countless humans, civilian and otherwise, to unspeakable deaths?