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Video Game / Shadowgrounds

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Shadowgrounds is Top-Down Shoot 'Em Up developed by Frozenbyte software (creators of Trine) and originally released in November of 2005 in Finland and Germany, making its way to the rest of Europe and North America in the ensuing months. It became available on Steam in May of 2006.

It is the year 2096. The place is a terraformed Ganymede, site of the small but successfully colony of New Atlantis and a highly secure military facility. You are Wesley Tyler, former security officer who now works as a mechanic at the local repair station following a major accident at the plant he used to work at. He's hard at work one night fixing a truck, but after a mysterious power outage, Tyler takes his two technician friends to the nearby power facility. Two dead technicians later, Tyler's landed himself in a full-on Alien Invasion.

The player proceeds to rescue survivors, acquire successively bigger and nastier guns and attempts to find out the truth behind the alien attack.

The game could be played alone or cooperatively.

A sequel, Shadowgrounds: Survivor, was released in 2007 and tells the story of several other people trying to survive the same invasion: IGTO Space Marine Luke Giffords, Pest-control worker Bruno Lastmann, and IGTO Special Forces Sniper Isabel Larose. As the name might suggest, it added a Survival Mode to the proceedings.

This game provides examples of:

  • Always Night: Apparently, Jupiter's light is insufficient.
  • Apocalypse How: Class X-2. The second occurrence was stopped at the last minute.
  • Anti Matter: "Gifted" to us by the aliens, who did not at the time realize the danger it posed.
  • Anti-Villain: The aliens are basically atoning for their mistake of giving antimatter research to other alien races, and only attacked Ganymede when communications broke down.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • If Brutes lose sight of the player for more than a few seconds, they'll fall back into their normal patrol route. It's a very handy way to eliminate them one at a time with Railgun shots to the back, then retreating when the other Brutes come looking for revenge.
    • There's also some really odd things that don't draw aggro from enemies, such as shining your flashlight in the room. Hell, you should be standing inches from an enemy, flashlight pointed right at them, and they won't notice you as long as their back is turned. They apparently can't see through windows, either.
  • Benevolent Precursors: Played with. On one hand, the aliens spread the knowledge of anti-matter throughout the universe to help other races. However, this was before their research into anti-matter destroyed their homeworld and the majority of the alien race. To prevent this from happening again the aliens are willing to wage war on lower races before they can destroy entire systems in their use of anti-matter.
  • Cat Scare: Happens to a scientist who thinks the aliens are breaking into his secured lab, when it's only his hamster.
  • Checkpoint: If killed, you return a safer location within the level.
  • Computer Virus: A virus was uploaded to the ISERcom systems, and gets purged by rebooting the mainframe.
  • Cutscene Drop: Only a few inches.
  • Deadly Gas: The Grenade Launcher's Secondary Fire shoots a gas grenade.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The bosses.
  • Deflector Shields: On some enemies, though they really just act like more health. Certain weapons such as the flamethrower will go right through them.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Tyler's Paralyzing taser from the Plasma Rifle upgrade. It has a very small range and reach but will paralyze all but bosses, even Shielded Brutes, excelling in taking care of enemies which generally comes in small numbers. With good aim one can take care of the toughest enemies only with the taser and a pistol.
  • Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Played straight with humans, and justified with enemy weapons being surgically attached.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: Functions as a motion tracker.
  • Energy Weapon: The Laser Rifle, as well as the Lightning Gun. The laser rifle fires distinct bolts of energy which are significantly slower than bullets. Unless you use the alternate firing mode.
  • Evolving Weapon: Collect randomly-dropped "Upgrade parts" to buy upgrades for weapons. Each weapon has unique upgrades, but one of them is always a Secondary Fire.
  • Exploding Barrels: Often in densely-packed clumps for extra boom.
  • Fetch Quest: Rescue civilians in New Atlantis, then fetch the soldiers in the various outposts
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Flamethrower, of course. It can be upgraded to dump unlit fuel on the ground, allowing you to light it at will and create a fire trap.
  • Freak Lab Accident: In the first story's background, where Tyler takes the blame since he was on the security team.
  • Kaizo Trap: After the final boss battle, it's possible to die after the cutscene showing the enemy being defeated.

Survivor has examples of:

  • Bullet Time: Isabel's Special Attack. It's called "Killing Spree" and keeps a running tally of how many kills you make for the twelve seconds it stays on.
  • Colossus Climb: Luke's special attack. Time freezes while he takes down Brutes using this method and a pistol.
  • Deadly Gas: Bruno can throw grenades that release a cloud of gas that saps health from enemies.
  • Double Unlock: Leveling up your characters give them access to new skills and upgraded for their weapons, if you have sufficient skill and upgrade points, that is.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: A returning feature from the first game, but this time around you must buy it with skillpoints.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Isabel mentions that she counts her kills to help keep calm. When playing as her, there's a counter tracking her kills. She even says "Don't interrupt me, I'm counting!" when first radioed by McTiernan.
  • Gatling Good: Acts as Bruno's best weapon, and unlike Tyler from the previous game, he isn't slowed by it at all.
  • Grenade Launcher: A purchasable Secondary Fire option for Luke's pulse rifle.
  • Husky Russkie: Bruno, from the sound of it. Also possibly a Cool Old Guy, given that he's 49.