- "For a thousand years, the war had raged. Out on the rim of the galaxy, and in the dark vastness beyond, two mighty alien civilizations locked in eternal conflict..."
Set in a distant galaxy, a power vacuum formed in the aftermath of a galactic war leads to an intergalactic overlord, who calls himself the "Shadow Master", to have his army enslave multiple surrounding planets. With the Shadow Master and his army conquering entire worlds, it's up to you, an elite pilot behind the wheels of a weaponized ATV built with alien technology to travel across multiple worlds and wipe out the Shadow Master's armies.
The game is played from a first-person view, through the displays of your mecha, with an onscreen crosshair pointing out where your shots will hit. A smaller, separate indicator appears on the right side, displaying wire-frame models and extensive HUD information depicting the enemy (ies) you're currently shooting at. Unlike other FPS-style games, Shadow Master is surprisingly straightforward and direct - you just keep moving ahead and destroy everything, though the game does allow you to backtrack at times.
And out last hope of salvation, stood against the darkness, alone...
- Airborne Mooks: Giant flying insects and bat-like mechs are among the enemies you encounter. The smallest ones dies in a single blast, though they're considerably trickier to hit because of their speed.
- Ambiguously Human: Because you spend the entire game (including cutscenes!) inside your mecha, and the game never show how you looked like, it's questionable if your character's a human or a Human Alien. Most of your enemies (those whom are not animals) appears be extraterrestrial, and it remains questionable whether humans exists in the game's verse or not.
- Ambiguous Robots: All of the Shadow Master's foot soldiers and humanoid mooks you spend the whole game blowing up. They appear robotic, but displays certain degree of sentience and their mechanical parts could be armour; and if your mech are close enough to them you can vaguely notice organic features on them. The fact that the game runs on Bloodless Carnage (where even animal-based organic enemies blows up into chunks) doesn't help.
- And the Adventure Continues: After defeating the Shadow Master Final Boss, you then embark on a long journey home to a hero's welcome. Which isn't shown, the game ends with a narration before credits rolls.
- Antagonist Title: The titular Shadow Master is the game's Big Bad, an intergalactic space-faring warlord whose armies you spend the whole game battling.
- Arm Cannon: The Shadow Master's basic foot soldiers have cannons and projectile-launchers built into their arms for firing at you.
- Battleship Raid: The level titled "Dreadnaught", where you infiltrate the Shadow Master's heavily-guarded Space Base and fight your way through everything it throws at you to reach the villain's quarters.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: You'll be attacked by giant alien bugs in all the worlds, constantly. Even the ice-based Planet Glasys, somehow.
- City on the Water: The stage on Planet Ocella is set on one filled with enemies, since the entire planet is a giant ocean.
- Derelict Graveyard: The game's opening cinematics shows a massive spaceship graveyard, presumably in the aftermath of one of the raging interplanetary wars that ravaged across the galaxies.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: En route to the Shadow Master's planet, while fighting your way through his army don't expect the local wildlife to be friendly to you.
- Giant Mook: The game throws giant robots as enemies from Planet Halyos onwards, far taller and larger than previous enemies and can tank more hits before going down. Upgraded variants can even take a single grenade hit from point-blank and soldier on.
- Giant Spider: There are alien spider enemies as large as your mech, and occasional ones larger than you.
- Giant Squid: The boss of Planet Ocella is a giant robot octopus, fought in a pool in the center of an arena. It's tentacles are tipped with buzzsaws for good measure.
- The Goomba: The Shadow Master's basic foot soldiers, man-sized mooks in brown armour are everywhere in Planet Silvan, the first world. Their sole cannon attack deals pathetic damage and can be easily avoided, they go down easily in just a tiny handful of shots and they're just there for combat practice. You do face stronger variants in white armour later on, with the red versions disappearing after you reached Halyos.
- Homing Projectile: You can equip homing missiles on your mech to target enemies directly from afar.
- Living Dinosaurs: Planet Glasys have dinosaur enemies, resembling those from earth, despite being set in an alien world, including a rampaging Temper-Ceratops as it's boss. They're probably not yet extinct because of the planet being stuck in an eternal ice age.
- Money Spider: Points and power-ups are depicted as gems and diamonds, which are dropped by both the Shadow Master's soldiers and by the wildlife. Including literal spiders.
- Overheating: Repeatedly using the same weapon, non-stop will cause it to overheat and jam; you'll need to cycle to another weapon once the overheating warning appears onscreen.
- Shield-Bearing Mook: Some of the Shadow Master's foot soldiers are armed with shields, which allows them to take far more hits. None are given to the lowest-ranked, Goomba-variety of enemies in the earlier stages though.
- Single-Biome Planet: Most of the stages are set on planets with a single environment. Silvan is a jungle world, Halyos is made of gorges, Ocella is an ocean planet, and so on.
- Sinister Stingrays: Giant hovering stingray-like robots appears on Planet Ocella as one of the enemy types.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The aptly-named Planet Glasys, which is covered in snow and ice all the time. Much of the stage have your mech sliding and skiiing down slopes while shooting at enemies.
- Spider People: The final stage have gigantic, humanoid enemies with a lower torso resembling a gigantic spider's, who can take far more punishment than regular mooks serving as the Shadow Master's Praetorian Guard.
- Stationary Boss: The Shadow Master himself and the game's Final Boss, oddly enough, is the only boss who doesn't move around, hovering in the center of his chamber for the entirety of the boss battle. However he can Beam Spam lightning bolts all over the place, forcing you to run in circles to avoid getting hit.
- "And so the Shadow Master was destroyed, his empire smashed and in ruins."
"Worlds once enslaced, would now be liberated, Their peoples could again live in peace, free of the oppressor's fist."
"But first, the long journey home to a hero's welcome."