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Video Game / Shadow Watch

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Shadow Watch is a 2000 Microsoft Windows video game by Red Storm Entertainment. It is a turn-based tactics game in which the player fights a conspiracy plotting to halt construction of an international space station. It is based on the Tom Clancy's Power Plays novel Shadow Watch.

The player's team consists of six operatives, each of which has a specialist skill. These abilities can be upgraded and characters learn moves after enough experience points are earned.

Missions are somewhat randomised, and the story mode will branch out into multiple paths. The game features a diverse array of mission types, including stealing a package, retrieving a hostage, defending a location and so on. Missions typically have a difficulty and alarm rating, some missions will automatically fail if the alarm is sounded.


In a mission, characters have a certain number of action points (APs). Most actions (shooting weapons, opening doors) cost 1 AP, whereas some moves can consume more. Characters can get injured, and a severe injury will automatically fail the mission.

The music for the game was composed by Bill Brown.

This Video Game contains examples of:

  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Enemies has no other option than this during Defend missions.
  • Badass Crew: Especially after getting better skills.
  • Big "NO!": Rafael, when he dies.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Your team, while being the good guys, will do massacres of enemies during Assault missions with no concerns. The faction who sends you on this missions, however "good" it seems, will never have any qualms about it. Even including the "good" version of Order of Light.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Enemies have no armor and die from a single damaging shot. Your team is equipped with armor and each character can take two damaging hits without dying (third one is lethal). Played ever further with Bear's skills, which can upgrade his armor to withstand up to 2 more hits, and eventually upgrade armor of the rest of the team by one hit for each character.
    Maya: No more metal.
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  • Boring, but Practical: Gennady and his scanner will make every mission in close quarters (and stealth missions) much easier.
  • Church of Happyology: The Order of Light's religious beliefs are described as a mix of Roman Catholicism, Zen Buddhism and Scientology.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Lily and Bear (latter need to learn a skill) can attack in melee, as well as some enemy types. Melee attacks automatically hit and kill enemies/damage characters.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Subverted. Although being hit will knock any character down, wounds do not have any influence on character's performance.
  • Crouch and Prone: Combatants can crouch, halving the accuracy of all shots directed at them, but they can't move (beside turning around). When someone is hit, he gets knocked down and chance to hit him is divided by four, but the person in question can't do anything other than trying to stand up.
  • Cold Sniper: Maya is not an evil character, but she is notably more quiet and reserved than the other characters.
  • Combat Medic: Maya can learn to heal her teammates in addition to being a sniper.
  • Cult: The Order of Light in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Definitely Final Dungeon: The final mission, in which you will face enemies from all plotting factions.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Lily's ultimate skill, halving the accuracy of all shots directed at her.
Lily (after an enemy missed a shot at her): Ducked in time, I think.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: If someone ran during his turn, his accuracy is halved.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Base number of enemies on site is determined by sum of skills of player characters chosen for the mission.
  • Dynamic Entry: Bear can learn how to do this.
  • Elite Mook: Every faction has 2 types of units stronger than their normal mook. One is rarer and is generally more dangerous, the final one is rarest and have a skill mirroring one of playable characters. Examples include:
    • Triad's Goon, who will wreck everyone in melee range
    • Rio's police's Sniper, as restricted in combat as Maya, but also as dangerous.
  • Easily Forgiven: It's pretty easy to do a number of missions against faction who's not exactly evil, and not culprit, yet you will always find your way to the true mastermind and be forgiven for all that killing of many more-or-less innocent troops.
  • Escort Mission: Kidnap and Rescue missions, although the escortee is seemingly incapable of being harmed (Although he can be killed by grenades).
  • Enemy Scan: Gennady's scanner.
  • Five-Man Band: Actually six:
  • Five-Token Band: The team consists of Archer (a black British man), Maya (a Canadian woman), Lily (an Anglo-Chinese woman), Rafael (a dark-skinned Brazilian man), Gennady (an Eastern European man) and Bear (a Canadian man). This actually makes a lot of sense, given that the Corporation was hired to foster co-operation between many different nations - it makes sense that their security force would be suitably multicultural.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In final mission's briefing it's said that if you alert enemies of your presence, you will have limited time to complete the mission before the spacestation gets blown up. Actually, no turn limit will be present.
  • Gentle Giant: Bear, described in his bio as the "heart of the team". Nice guy, a father/brother figure for his teammates. At least out of combat.
  • Heroic Willpower: Downplayed, but is there. Archer's ultimate skill, Iron Will, makes him totally immune to morale effects, allowing him to use the fullest of his increased Action Points without panicking.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Grenades have (in certain situations, like in narrow spaces or places with many obstacles) a little chance of coming back to the thrower.
    • Slightly overlapping with Power Up Letdown, Maya's ultimate skill, Dismay. Enemies who see people die form Maya's sniper shots will have their Action Points immediately increased by 4. Most enemies will be broken (see Morale Mechanic below), but some enemy types may go berserk, and some other may have high enough Morale to remain cool-headed and act normally (now using their doubled number of Action Points)
  • Hollywood Silencer: Lily's Hush Puppy and Archer's silenced MP5.
  • Hot-Blooded: Not exactly in the anime style, but Rafael shows his hotbloodedness rather often. He's even described as the "voice of passion" of the team.
  • Isometric Projection: The levels are presented like this, with characters moving across a 2D plane.
  • Just a Flesh Wound: Or armor hit. Every hit which doesn't result in enemy's death, or damage of hitted character does nothing, besides knocking the combatant down.
  • Knight Templar: The "evil" version of Order of Light is this.
  • Last-Name Basis: Archer.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Lily. She can run from enemy to enemy, silently roundhouse-kicking them into oblivion (higher levels of her Martial skill makes movement integrated into attacking free), her Dash skill makes her free from halving her accuracy because of running, her ultimate Dodge skill halves accuracy of anyone who takes a shot at her. Her weakness is lack of punch of her Hush-Puppy pistol.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Putting the RNG aside, doing a mission stealthily without a help of Gennady (for example, sending in Lily alone, with Infiltration skill, allowing her to start in random place in the map) will require some luck. Even more, with Gennady or not, if there are more guards on the map. And there's a subject of guards who's patrol routes just happen to wander into entry points.
    • Got the Defend mission? Pray that no one of your team get screwed by random placement.
  • Made of Iron: Depending on RNG's mood, anyone can take any number of bullets without any actual efects.
  • Magikarp Power: Maya. Her sniper rifle kills people death on almost every hit (10% propability of target surviving the shot, before a relevant skil is learned), but she can't fire after doing anything else in a turn. Until she learns skills which lift this restriction.
    • A lesser example is Bear. He's fully capable of normal combat, but his shotgun is somewhat underwhelming with its lower accuracy. However, his learnable skills can allow him to later on to ignore cover and achive the same lethality rate as the sniper rifle.
  • Master of Unlocking: Three - Gennady can learn to pick locks, Rafael can learn blow them open with a small charge and Bear can learn to kick them down (or even charge through them with an enemy standing on the other side).
  • Morale Mechanic: Exists in a rather original fashion - it's integrated in Action Points. Every character has a unchanging Morale value (normally lower than Action Points). Certain events, like meeting an enemy, being shot at, seeing a teammate being hit etc. will increase the maximum AP count for that character, simulating stress (works for both parties). If the max AP limit reaches the Morale value, the character will hestitate and lose this turn (unless s/he already acted in this round). If the max AP limit exceeds the Morale value, the combatant breaks, and, depending on the character or enemy type, will run away caring about nothing (may fire back if cornered), try to hide from as many enemies as possible (may also fire at enemies, but it's less likely), or go berserk, attacking enemies recklessly and charging into melee, if the combatant is capable of melee attacks. Archer's skills increase teammates' Morale value and allow him to regain control over panicked characters.
  • More Dakka: Archer's skills allow him to hit multiple enemies by spraying. Some enemies are capable of it, too.
  • Nintendo Hard: Game starts out pretty tame. Still, death of one character means failure, unless you have Maya in team with medical skills. Enemies quickly start to heavily outnumber your team, making Assault missions a big challenge. Accuracy of both your characters and enemies is pretty high, which means getting hit if not playing almost flawlessly. And there are also morale effects, taking your characters out of your control. Thankfully, your enemies are subject to the same rules.
  • Non-Action Guy: Gennady is the only character who does not carry a weapon and cannot defend himself in any way.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Many things beside killing enemies grant EXP, ranging from being on the mission, up to personally completing objectives. Surveillance and Theft missions, which require stealth, grant double EXP for completing them. Additionally, Gennady gets EXP for scanning out enemies.
  • One-Hit Kill: Technically, every killed enemy is this (as non-lethal shots do nothing). Maya may increase chance of killing the enemy to 99%.
  • Optional Stealth: Downplayed. Stealth is very useful, but if you take more characters on the mission, map may be filled with guard to the brim (see Dynamic Dificulty above). Also, killing enemies grant additional EXP.
  • Punch-Packing Pistol: Averted. Lily's pistol has the lowest Power rating of all firearms. At least until she learns the Hollow Point skill.
  • Respawning Enemies: After 10 turns after killing the last enemy, more guards will start to spawn at insertion/extraction points, up to the original number of foes.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Rafael and Bear, when their morale gets broken, go berserk and charge in enemies direction. Especially Bear, who literally kicks the hell outta people while berserking.
Rafael: "You will all pay for this!"
  • RNG: Rather prevalent - highest chance of hitting a target is 99%, the same for killing/damaging him. Poor (or lucky) rolls may make any given combatant soak up many bullets without taking damage. Not so much for hitting, since every shot after a missed one will have its accuracy doubled (but always reduced ro 99%, if necessary)
  • RPG Elements: The characters gain experience after missions and can learn new skills.
  • Schizofrenic Difficulty: Mission difficulty goes all around the place. Check Nintendo Hard above.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted. Bear's shotgun has the same range as every other weapon.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Averted. Bear's Benelli is actually a worse weapon when matched with Archer's MP5. At least until certain skills are obtained.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Every character starts with one unique skill and have nine more to learn. A character can only learn up to seven of them during a single playthrough.
  • Squishy Wizard: Rafael. His grenades can easily take out group of enemies at once, he also have skills allowing him to attack enemies by breaching doors, but he can't use the Cover command (essentially waiting for enemy to attack him as he shows up) and don't have any skills helping him in defense.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Certain kinds of mission require that the alarm not be sounded, necessitating a sneaky approach. Lily and Gennady are particularly well-suited to these kinds of mission.
  • Stealth Expert: Lily. She carries a silenced pistol, can silently knock out enemies with her bare hands and can even make herself invisible to enemies a certain distance away by crouching. One skill she can learn even allows her to infiltrate locations alone and complete missions by herself.
  • Story Branching: The game features a degree of randomization and was marketed as being a different game every time one played it (the manual claims that each campaign can proceed 162 ways depending on randomization and player choice). Even factions' dossiers have random elements. In practice, however, the randomization didn't affect the actual gameplay all that much.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Rafael's only attack is throwing grenades. He can also breach doors explosively, with better skills explosion will hurt enemies on the other side.
  • Super Toughness: Bear and his armor upgrading skills.
  • Tank Controls: Equivalent for a tactics game. Instead of clicking on the map, you have to click on a static control panel, manually turning the character in any desired direction and moving. Although you can move sideways, turning too much will use up an Action Point, unless you done something else in between (it's more efficient to turn 90 degrees, move sideways, then turn another 90 degrees, than turning around 180 degrees at once)
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Notably averted.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The game revolves around the construction of an international space station in the near future.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Archer's Snake Eyes skill. It's supposed to let you check what's behind the door, or around the corner, but it's not working as accurately as someone would expect. For example, it can show that no one is in space where Gennady scanned out someone, yet when you go in there, you may get shot by an enemy standing exactly where he was scanned out, while remaining hidden from Snake Eyes.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Unless you have Maya with medical skills in a team, any of your characters dying means mission failure.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Learning the Bear's Smash Enemy skill essentially means that Bear wondered what could happen if his door-shattering kick was applied to human.
    • Lesser examples are Lily deciding to use hollow point ammo and Bear trying out slugs and flechettes.