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Video Game / Shadow Warrior (2013)

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"You Got Wang!"

A reboot to the 1997 video game 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 the MacGuffin being a Cool Sword), with Lo Wang now capable of doing devastating combos and using Ki Manipulation 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.

An expansion to Viscera Cleanup Detail about cleaning up the first level after the events of the game was released 11 Oct, 2013.

A sequel, Shadow Warrior 2, was released for PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2016.The third installment, Shadow Warrior 3, was released on March 1, 2022.

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  • 11th-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.
  • Action Bomb: When flying demons enrage they hurtle themselves at Wang while spinning in a ball, exploding on impact.
    • Mothers create small explosive sacs that either sit around as mines or roll toward Wang until they detonate. The Mothers themselves explode when killed and will curl up and roll at Wang at high speed when enraged to explode.
  • 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.
    • The entirety of Chapter 15 is non-combat, instead focusing on plot development and the relationship between Hoji and Wang.
  • Adaptational Heroism: A very downplayed example, but in the original game Zilla was just a bad guy without any redeeming traits or characterization. Here, he's still a bad guy, but seems to have some respect for Lo Wang, as well as claiming at one point that Zilla Industries has invented a lot of things that benefited humanity (which is technically true, even if he had them invented for completely self serving reasons.)
  • Adaptational Personality Change: In the original game, Lo Wang was a loudmouthed and crude Dirty Old Man of a ninja with a weird sense of warrior honor, whose dialogue consisted mainly of martial arts cliches delivered in the most stereotypical manner possible. Here, he is a younger man, a Deadpool-esque Anti-Hero and mercenary who speaks plain English and whose dialogue tends more towards the Deadpan Snarker end of the spectrum.
  • A.K.A.-47: Only a couple instances.
    • Zig-zagged with the Tosainu Type 13. While it's an oversized version of the Chiappa Rhino 60DS revolver, it's so heavily customized that it almost counts as its own weapon at this point. Its costumizations are a katana-styled grip, an 8-round cylinder instead of 6, and re-bored to fire .455 Webley rounds instead of the typical .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, or 9x21mm IMI.
    • The Zilla Industries PDW is a straight-up 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Ameonna's tears not only bring life to the Shadow Realm, they can also empower mortals. After drinking a vial of black tears Zilla is able to stand and his minions are stronger.
  • The Atoner: Hoji becomes this after learning that he was responsible for Ameonna's fate, the Shadow Realm's current state, and Enra's invasion.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Wang is a ruthless assassin looking to live out a superhero fantasy and Hoji is a petty Jerkass out for revenge, but Zilla is a Corrupt Corporate Executive that sold out humanity to demons and Enra is a demonic tyrant unleashing Hell on Earth. In the end, Hoji turns out to be much blacker than he seems as he doomed the Shadow World out of heartache and spite and Enra turns out much grayer as he was trying to prevent said doom. Enra even sacrifices himself in the end to make things right.
  • 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 himself, who loved his sister so much that he turned against Enra and turned the Shadow Realm into a hellscape as revenge against him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Wang manages to save the world from being devastated by the demons. However, Hoji has sacrificed himself by touching the Nobitsura Kage, Zilla is still at large and Enra allows himself to be killed to awaken Ameonna, who finds her siblings and her lover all dead.
  • 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 range with powerful strokes that slice through the air itself.
  • Bond One-Liner: Wang will occasionally belt out a one-liner after killing enemies.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: In the Zilla Labs, Wang will have to find a scientist who can grant him access to a door locked by a retinal scanner. That is, until he finds the scientist dead, so he takes the guy's head with him instead.
  • Boss Arena Recovery: The outer walls of the Ancients' boss arenas periodically spawn random ammo and health packs throughout the fight. The biggest danger of collecting it is tripping one of the more powerful ranged attacks.
  • Boss Rush: Right before fighting Zilla for the last time in Chapter 16, Wang enters a courtyard where he faces off against two Berserkers backed with Mothers. When they die a wave of lesser demons, sword demons, and shield demons spawns. After them two Warlords, two Shamans, and a Berserker appear at the same time. And just to make it interesting the Shamans will be spawning skeletons and resurrecting all the non-boss enemies from the last two waves.
  • 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.
    • Gozu, whose armor has a bull motif, turns into this during the second phase of his fight when both of his arms are destroyed. He charges at Wang in an attempt to crush him, leaving his chest vulnerable briefly while he's reorienting.
  • 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 PDW is wiping out a second one, much like the Uzi 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.
  • Charged Attack: An upgrade for the crossbow allows you to charge the attack by holding the trigger.
    • An upgrade for the rocket launcher allows it to fire two or all three rockets from its clip simultaneously depending on how long you hold the trigger.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Heroic mode does not allow manual saves and only auto-saves at the beginning of each chapter. A death can wipe out an hour or more of progress.
  • Complete Immortality: The only thing that can kill an Ancient is the Nobitsura Kage. Even Xing, who was beheaded by Gozu, is still alive.
  • Concept Art Gallery: New artworks can be unlocked by completing stages.
  • Cool Car: Wang drives a rather snazzy black sports car but ends up having to leave it behind in the second chapter.
  • Corporate Samurai: Lo Wang acts as a messenger and sometimes mercenary for Zilla Enterprises. Zilla himself notes that Wang likes to style his life on the samurai code.
  • Cosmic Keystone: Ameonna's Tears are what keep the Shadow Realm alive. The Nobitsura Kage is another type, being the only thing which can kill an Ancient.
  • Crazy-Prepared: 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. However, these changes between flybys no longer happen as of version 1.5 on the PC.
  • 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.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Following Wang's betrayal of the Kyokagami twins, the radio comes on as one of the twins starts expounding on how she's going to have Wang skinned, slowly, stuffed, and mounted on all fours. The radio cuts out before she explains what exactly is going to be shoved in his corpse's mouth.
  • 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, accepting that he cannot stop you and sacrificing his blood and soul to revive Ameonna and the Shadow Realm.
  • Deadly Gas: The sealed labs in Chapter 12 release a poisonous green mist when opened. Wang has to acquire a gas mask before he can enter them.
  • 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.
  • Defiant to the End: Doubles as Dying Moment of Awesome for Hoji. When Hoji grabs the Nobitsura Kage and tosses it to Lo Wang force-choked by Enra, fully knowing that the mere touch of that weapon will kill him soon after
    Hoji: Oh, I don't mind dying. What I mind is dying for you.
    Enra: What are you doing?!
    Hoji What I was born to do. Break the rules!
  • Degraded Boss: Warlords, Shamans, and Berserkers each appear first in a boss fight arena. They later appear regularly as enemies but are no easier to kill.
  • 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.
  • Developer's Foresight: Lo Wang has animations that play if you try to reload a fully-loaded weapon.
  • Disco Dan: The game take place in presumably modern times, but Wang has a 80's style mobile phone and a Grimlock statuette.
  • 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.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lesser demons can become so terrified that they drop to their hands and knees and pound their head into the ground until they die. All so they don't have to fight you.
  • 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 lesser 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 in 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.
  • Enemy Chatter: The yakuza will curse at Lo Wang while police will make radio reports. Both grow increasingly frantic as more of them die with special lines when there's only one surviving member.
  • Enemy Summoner: Shamans can generate an endless stream of skeleton demons and resurrect dead demons in addition to their projectile and frontal cone attacks.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Everything you need to know about Lo Wang is on display as he's driving: Big ego, tastes that aren't mainstream, immaturity, lack of respect for anyone other than his boss, and no hesitation when considering violence as a solution.
  • 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.
  • The Exile: Hoji was banished from the Shadow Realm two hundred years ago, though he has no memory of why. Near the climax it's revealed he poisoned Ameonna, thus stopping the rain vital to the Shadow Realm, and then created a Whisperer which Enra viewed as an abomination. For these crimes he was banished.
  • Exploding Barrels: Barrels, casks of TNT, and jerrycans are liberally scattered throughout the levels, even in residential zones. After one shot they'll catch fire and explode a few seconds later. Some barrels will lift off like a rocket before exploding.
  • Eye Beams: Gozu will use these if Wang is on the far side of the arena from him. They hit hard and move fast, so the best option when they come out is to get close to him.
  • 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.
  • Gameplay Grading: Your performance in larger battles is rated when the last enemy dies on a five shuriken scale. More shurikens results in a better karma bonus for the fight. Aside from that, each chapter receives a score on your overall performance including the percentage of available cash you collected and your average battle ranking.
  • 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.
  • Golem: The Whisperers are ceramic golems created by the Ancients to act as couriers and modeled after their sister, Ameonna. They're powered by sacrificing all their memories of Ameonna and embedding them into its core. Late in the game Enra compels Hoji to build a Whisperer of Wang so he'll forget about him and accept Enra's rule.
  • 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"
  • Grimy Water: Chapter 7 takes place in a building partially flooded with water contaminated by a shipwreck, requiring you to drain the water to proceed.
  • Ground Punch: The warlord will slam both of his hands into the ground if Wang is too close, dealing damage for several feet around him. The berserker does something similar if Wang is close behind him.
  • 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).
  • Hand Cannon: The game's standard "pistol" is actually a pretty massive revolver called the "Tosainu" and is noted to be one of the most powerful ever made with it being chambered in the stout .455 Webley rounds.
  • Harder Than Hard: Heroic difficulty warns the player when chosen about the dangers. Auto and manual saves are disabled aside from saves at the start of each chapter, meaning the entire chapter must be completed on one life. Enemies have more health and hit harder than on Insane, the highest of the normal difficulties. And it cannot be run in EX mode, meaning Wang has no upgrades and cannot acquire them all due to limited resources.
  • 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.
  • He Was Right There All Along: On first entering the Shadow Realm Wang walks through a long corridor and onto a large platform surrounded by lava. Finding nowhere to go he turns around revealing that the massive pillars he walked between were Gozu's legs.
  • 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 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 giant 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 - someone who will believe any goddamn idiot thing made up on the spot.
  • 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 bald look.
  • 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.
  • Interface Spoiler: In the final level, when you first defeat Xing's armor, not only did you only have to attack one weak spot, you can tell you only damaged its health bar a tiny amount (not to mention you Never Found the Body), making it pretty obvious that it will return. This is also true the second time you fight it, as it is left with half health, making it obvious that you will fight it a third time.
    • A minor one occurs with the sword. When you get the revolver, you're taught about upgrading weapons with money, but the sword's upgrades are locked. As you acquire other weapons, the sword remains as the only weapon that doesn't tell you about its upgrades or allow you to purchase them. This makes it not so much a surprise when you get the first upgrade as part of the plot, and further that the other two legendary swords are simply part of the true Nobitsura Kage, since they must be upgrades to a single weapon.
  • 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 Manipulation 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 crackles with demonic power requires several special moves to be slain. It can also teleport, and heavy metal plays as you fight it.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Hoji has no memory of why he was exiled. This is a result of his creating a Whisperer of Ameonna, which sacrificed all his memories of her and his actions against her which led to his exile.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: During the two fights with Zilla pulling out a weapon other than the katana will have Zilla shouting you down and refusing to reappear until you switch back to the katana.
  • 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 as an Ancient Xing 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. The second game has him getting a new lease on life thanks to Zilla's Chi technology.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The reason behind most of the plot... Hoji and Ameonna fell in love, which caused her to stop crying. As her tears are the source of the Shadow Realm's vital rain, this caused a drought. The two were discovered and separated, with Hoji's face being cut off as punishment. Driven mad by losing her and the intensity of the feelings she had awakened in him, Hoji came to hate Ameonna and Enra. He poisoned Ameonna to sleep eternally, not caring what happened to the Shadow Realm, and sealed his memories related to Ameonna in a Whisperer.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The large fuck-off revolver is named "Tosainu". The Tosa Inu is a very large, extremely aggressive breed of Japanese dog, which is considered by most professional dog handlers to be unmanageable and useful only for tearing people you don't like into giblets. It's even referenced in it's Flavor Text.
    • Ameonnanote  literally translates into "Rain woman" which makes her name both this and Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • MegaCorp: Zilla's business empire is massively successful and worldwide.
  • 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: Hoji acts as your guide and advisor, explaining the backstory and mechanics of bosses.
    • Missing Mission Control / 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 Plus: 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).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mizayaki's decision to keep his sword out of a power-hungry human's hands and his subsequent capture of Wang kicked off the demonic invasion as Enra was no longer willing to wait once Zilla's part of the bargain seemed in jeopardy.
  • 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.
  • Notice This: Containers and item pickups flash white periodically to catch your eye, even in dark areas. Plot progression items and doors you need to head through flash orange instead.
    • In many places literal spotlights are trained on the objects or doors you're looking for.
  • Number of the Beast: Blink and you'll miss it, but the code for Wang's emergency apocalypse armor is 6-6-6.
  • 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. (Sadly, without the Jiggle Physics)
    • Owning the remastered version of the original game gives you Lo Wang's Katana from said game.
  • 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.
  • Pinned to the Wall: A kill with the crossbow will blow the enemy back and will pin them to a wall if one is close enough. This gives a "Nailed" modifier to your score and counts for an achievement.
  • 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.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The plot might have turned out a lot differently had the villains bothered to talk to the other characters (bonus points with the villains being the only ones with enough memories of important events to even do so). For instance, if Enra had bothered to give his side of the story in the first three-quarters of the game, he might have convinced Lo Wang that Hoji was a villain long enough to complete his plan, especially since it's not exactly untrue. Zilla might have won if he didn't try to treat Lo Wang as a traitor for managing to pull his off job even better than what he was hired for, which only happened because Zilla decided to stop supporting him to begin with after blaming him for Mizayaki being unwilling to sell the sword. In other words, Enra and his brothers die because he didn't tell anyone why he was invading, and Zilla lets that invasion grow out of control because he doesn't keep Lo Wang in the loop or tell Mizayaki what was at stake until it was too late.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Lo Wang collects comic book art, listens to 80s rock and likes to drop references to video games and movies.
  • Power Crystal: The Whisperers and battle armors of the Ancients are powered by ki crystals. Destroying the ki crystals damages the boss and reduces their available moves.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Shadow Realm is nourished by rain which comes from Ameonna's tears. Thus, when Hoji makes her happy her tears cease and the land suffers.
  • Power Tattoo: Upgrading Wang's powers grants him new tattoos. Fully upgraded, they cover his entire torso and both arms.
  • 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: The protagonist is a foul-mouthed manchild who revels in the gore he creates, every vehicle and electrical machine explodes brilliantly, and your sidekick is a wisecracking demon. You're out to save the world and your job, no matter how many demons you have to literally reduce to chunks in the process.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Hoji, the one responsible for the Shadow Realm's devastation and consequently the invasion, vows to make the situation right. Soon after he sacrifices himself to help Wang by grabbing the Nobitsura Kage, an act fatal to Ancients, and returning it to him.
  • Retcon: In the original game, Zilla sends his men to kill Lo Wang soon after Lo Wang resigns. The 2013 reboot, however, has Hoji and Enra pit Lo Wang and Zilla against each other because both Hoji and Enra have their own conflicts against each other.
    • 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, once a possible Big Bad who had a hand in the current state of the Shadow Realm, has accepted his state as a disembodied head and decided it's as good a reason as any to completely avoid his family's squabbles.
  • 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.
    • One of the Ancients you defeat was guarding a gate leading to something or somewhere Enra wanted sealed away. With the Ancient gone and the seals broken by you, whatever it is might come through.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Spin Attack: Circle of Iron spins a full circle with the katana. On lower difficulties this can one-shot any regular demons surrounding Wang as the blade is positioned perfectly for decapitations on standing enemies.
  • 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 or himself so long as he can get revenge for her making him feel so intsensely and Enra taking her away.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Entering a deep body of water is instant death, accompanied by Lo Wang's death scream and blood splattering over the screen.
  • 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.
  • Swipe Your Blade Off: Pressing the Reload key while using the katana allows Lo Wang to clean the blade with his hand. Purely aesthetic, as this does not do anything else other than removing the blood from the sword.
  • 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.
  • Take Over the World: Xing wanted to rule the Shadow Realm, but was used by Hoji, defeated, and beheaded.
    • Zilla reveals during your second fight with him that he plans to use the completed Nobitsura Kage to defeat Enra and rule both worlds.
  • Tele-Frag: After Hoji's second portal nearly drops them off a cliff, Wang starts chewing him out. Hoji points out the other option was possibly appearing several feet underground. Wang withdraws his complaint.
  • 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 during Lo Wang's first Cutscene Boss fight with Zilla. Lo Wang just slashes Zilla, injuring him, when he stupidly stands still and tries to charge up some kind of power attack. This is also possible in the updated version where he is an actual fight, as his charging for attacks is a great opening.
    • Also averted with demons when they go berserk. This process involves floating into the air while crackling with energy and their skin changing color, but they're completely vulnerable being unable to move or attack.
  • Turns Red: Demons regularly do in combat, making them faster, more aggressive, attack more often, and have more health. The ability wears off after a certain amount of time or can be removed with a chi ability. Regular demons literally turn red with black skin and red claws while the fireball-spitting demons turn a dark green.
  • Twincest: The Kyokagami twins refer to each other as "love" and "my sweet", which suggests at least something non-sisterly going on between them.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: Aside from the opening cutscene and end credits.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Zilla, in his first boss fight, generally fights with wide swings, using the same attack pattern every time he goes on the offensive, and has a charge attack that he trips in when you dodge it. That said, he's been empowered by the Big Bad.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The most efficient way to kill an enemy is with a headshot, but why stop there? Slice their legs off with your katana, then set them on fire while they're lying helpless on the ground. Blow off their arm and, while they're clutching their stump, knock them on the ground and tear their torso apart with a shotgun blast. Ignore the enemies screaming in agony as they burn or pound their head into a bloody pulp to escape you and turn a mini-boss into a porcupine with crossbow bolts.
    • It says something that letting an enemy bleed or burn to death earns you a "Merciless" modifier while putting them out of their misery gets you "Merciful".
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you kill the harmless little bunnies in the game, there's a chance you summon the Demon Bunny.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: After losing his hand in the duel, Zilla stumbles away from Wang while he's fusing the Nobitsura Kage and is picked up by a helicopter piloted by the Kyokagami twins. Wang wants to stop him but agrees to help Hoji instead. Come the sequel, Zilla is as powerful as ever.
  • 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?
  • You Have Failed Me: Zilla has a clear cut policy on what happens to traitors and failures. Incineration of people is even mentioned by his automated tram system.
  • Your Mom: One of the fortune cookies reads "Your mom says hi".
  • You Will Not Evade Me: The warlord's left arm allows him to shoot out grapple that temporarily stops Wang from moving before dragging him across the room to the warlord. This is doubly dangerous as other demons can wail on Wang while he's trapped and the warlord will immediately follow up the move with a ground pound.
    • On the other hand, this can lead to Hoist by His Own Petard, as nothing prevents you from charging Divider of Heavens before getting grappled, and then ramming your katana through the warlord's face on impact. Or just using the shotgun's altfire. Either works.