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Video Game / Shadow Man

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"I am the Lord of Deadside."

Shadow Man is a two-part series of multi-platform action-adventure games, the first released in 1999 by Acclaim Entertainment for the PC and Nintendo 64 (later ported to the Sony PlayStation and Sega Dreamcast), and the sequel, Shadow Man 2econd Coming, released on the PlayStation 2 in 2002.

In both games, the player takes the role of Michael LeRoi, a member of a long line of "Shadow Men" — African voodoo warriors charged with protecting our world (Liveside) from the threats of the afterlife (Deadside).

In the first game, Mama Nettie, the powerful voodoo priestess who commands Michael, has a prophetic dream — a dream in which five serial killers, under the command of the evil Legion, bring about the Apocalypse on Liveside. Under Mama Nettie's instruction, Michael travels to Deadside to search for a way to stop Legion and his minions from initiating the Apocalypse — the End of All Things.

In the second game, Michael returns to Liveside after the fallout of Legion's defeat, only to find a new threat on the horizon — Asmodeus and his Grigori Sephiroth, looking to seize the opportunity to release Asmodeus from The Pit and bring about the Apocalypse as told in the Book of Revelation.

The Shadow Man video games were based on a comic book hero created in 1992 at Valiant Comics, a company later bought out by Acclaim, though the games are not based on that version of the character, whose real name was Jack Boniface, but the version from Acclaim's rebooted comic books.

In March 2020, Nightdive Studios announced Shadow Man Remastered for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC, involving updating the graphics and effects with modern sensibilities, as well as the reintegration of cut content. The PC version of Remastered was eventually released in April 2021. The console versions were released on January 13, 2022.

On May 2022, 22 years after the release of 2econd Coming, Valiant Comics and Blowfish Studios announced Shadowman: Darque Legacy, an Action RPG Soulslike set in the 2021 run of the comic book series, with Jack Boniface serving as the main protagonist. It is set to release on PC via Steam and Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.

Not to be confused with gaming's other Shadow Man.

The games provide examples of:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower:
    • In the Remastered version of the game, there is an additional Soul Gate in the Fogometers which requires every Dark Soul to open. Beyond that is a door that requires the player to have collected every Cadeaux in the game (666 in total). Past that is a short area, at the end of which you can acquire the Light Soul, which gives the Shadowgun the ability to fire max-level charges without needing to charge, increases the power of other voodoo weapons, and causes magic to regenerate slowly. Though it's gotten so late, it does make the final boss battle easier.
  • Ability Required to Proceed:
    • Most levels have Dark Souls placed in areas that require abilities not yet available until later in the game. Once you get them, you have to go back and use those abilities to collect more Dark Souls.
    • Each of the serial killer areas have some part that provides a barrier for Mike, but Shadowman passes through without problem. For example, a long underwater cavern where Mike would drown.
  • Adapted Out: While the code for activating it is still in the configurable, the Bloodshot costume isn't integrated in Shadow Man Remastered due to it not being in the source code used (the PS1 version) and Nightdive not being able to extract it from the N64 version (which was the version it was exclusive to).
  • Alien Sea: Sort of. There is no water in Deadside. Instead, you will wade through rivers, lakes, and waterfalls of blood.
  • All There in the Manual: In Shadow Man, the game proper mostly vaguely alludes to the circumstances in which Mike's parents and brother died beyond it being Mike's fault in some fashion, but the manual clearly lays out that he and his family were the victim of a gang hit after they figured out Mike stole 20,000 dollars from one of their victims, along with his temporary servitude to a Bokor he went to for protection. It also explains Mama Nettie's youthful appearance (she ended up hijacking the body of an unlucky woman) along with Jaunty's backstory (he was a disfigured dwarf and victim of students dabbling in occult rituals before making a deal with Nettie to be her informant in Deadside).
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Remastered version has an enormous one with the "Hints" function (which can be turned off): It will point out in the warp locations menu where you are able to obtain new equipment, open Coffin Gates, collect Dark Souls or access pathways to further areas with your current abilities.
  • Armor of Invincibility: Gaining immunity to fire and lava was a major part of gameplay in the original. Surprisingly, you don't have to regain it in the sequel.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Milton Pike takes a step away from the simple "run forward and attack" AI of most enemies by throwing grenades to flush you out of cover, and then tearing you up with a hail of bullets.
  • Artistic License – History: In the opening cutscene, Jack the Ripper mentions one of his media nicknames is "Springheel Jack". In reality Spring-Heeled Jack is a British folklore cryptid that's completely unrelated to Jack the Ripper and even predates Jack's crimes by nearly a century. Either the game's writers were trying to connect the two as being the same individual or someone was unfamiliar with British lore(considering the game was largely produced in Acclaim's UK offices though, the latter seems unlikely). They seem to going with him as a Composite Character, seeing how this Jack can jump ludicrously high and crawl across ceilings when you fight him.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Jaunty establishes himself to be quite the smart-alack in this early exchange:
    Jaunty: Ol' Bruegel, the medieval painter blokie, was just tellin' me the other day that it looked remarkably like a paintin' he once did.
    Shadow Man: Is that Pieter Bruegel?
    Jaunty: No, Seamus, his distant Irish cousin.
  • Bag of Spilling: Seemingly justified in the sequel by Shadow Man's entire arsenal being stolen while he was dormant in Deadside... though you have to wonder how that could've been possible. Thankfully, his shadow power is still maxed out from the first game, so there's no need to go hunting down all those Govi a second time.
  • Bear Trap: In the Remastered version Milton has set up these in his area.
  • The Big Easy: Mike is from here, and the sequel even lets you explore The Theme Park Version of N'awlins (that is, The French Quarter makes up the entire city, and instead of Chalmette or Metairie, there's swampland on the outskirts).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Legion, the Five and the Asylum all ended up destroyed, and the Apocalypse is thus prevented, but Luke was never really there to begin with, and even assuming he could be somewhere else in Deadside, it's quite likely that Mike will never meet him again.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The remastered version jacks up the Scenery Gorn in Liveside areas to disturbing effect. Corpses that were once concealed or obscured are now plainly visible, and a still-living victim in the tenements has gone from being desiccated and cadaverous to being nearly-naked and very severely mutilated.
  • Body Horror: The Govi are pods of inert but still living flesh meant to contain the Dark Souls, that continually pulse and throb from the immortal power sewn up inside of them. Attacking Govi with any normal weapon causes them to bleed but otherwise does no lasting damage, while harvesting the Dark Soul from one causes it to splatter apart into chunks of bloody meat, just like when you destroy an enemy with the Shadowgun.
  • Bond One-Liner: After defeating Milton, Mike quips "Consider that a dishonorable discharge, boy!"
  • Bonus Feature Failure: The ports of Shadow Man had all of their extras gutted out and replaced with concept art you could access after gaining max Shadow Power. The two highest-quality versions invert this, trading the second Violator for sharper graphics, better music and lighting, larger, more expansive areas to explore, extra dialogue and more background on The Five's prior murders in Nettie's file. A pretty fair trade, considering that unequipping the Shadowgun isn't a very good idea; it never runs out of ammo, finishing enemies with it gives you more health, and it's impossible to defeat The Five, Trueform enemies and Legion without it.
  • Boring, but Practical: While you get a wide variety of weapons, the Shadow Gun will get you through most of the first game. It gets a charge shot that gets stronger as you obtain dark souls, is the only weapon that is sure to work against The Five and Trueforms, has unlimited ammo, and enemies drop health pickups once killed, making it one of the only weapons you'll really need.
    • The Flambeau, once found, may be the second weapon that never leaves you in Deadside...if only because so many of the areas are dark as hell that you need some light to see what you're doing. The flashlight you can obtain in Liveside has the same advantages, but it doesn't cost any magic.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: Avery likes to teleport around his house to spook and attack the player. It's possible he'll do this when the night falls...when you have your shadowpowers at the ready. Doubly so with your semi-automatics. It's quite possible to kill him before you reach the roof where you put him down for good.
  • Captain Ersatz: Avery Marx is a combination of Ed Gein and H.H. Holmes, and Dr. Batrachian is heavily inspired by Hannibal Lecter.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Both games end up using the S word a LOT. Gotta love that M rating.
    • The PC and Dreamcast versions included some extra lines of dialogue from The Five, one of which includes two F-bombs from the "Video Nasty Killer," Milton Pike.
      Pike: Fuck you, motherfucker! I know where you live!!
    • This was on the N64, of all systems, and while Conker's Bad Fur Day was hyped as being the system's "mature" game with cursing, this was out quite some time before.
  • Collection Sidequest: The Cadeaux, keys, Accumulators... nearly half of the first game was this! Thankfully the sequel toned it down, but it's still present.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • While the games usually only relate to the original comics through the general backstory, if you talk to Jaunty after going into the Asylum, he'll mention Tommy Lee (Bones), who was the antagonist of the first four issues.
    • Oddly enough, the files on The Five namedrop the protagonist of the pre-Acclaim comics, retconning him into being one of Mama Nettie's informants.
    • Maxim St. James, the "original" Shadow Man from the Valiant era, is named several times and is said to have sealed off the shadow gates- retconning a bit to claim he was able to travel to Deadside with some handwaving as to why Jack Boniface never went there.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: They often show up in the large underwater tunnels the player must swim through, though they move slow enough to at least swim through them with only minimal effort.
    • In the remaster, a much deadlier one appears in the Experimentation Rooms; it spins fast enough to pull you in and quickly kill you if you approach from the wrong side.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jaunty who guards the entrance to the halls of shadows is this. Mike is also this when not waxing poetic or being philosophical to Nettie or Jaunty.
  • Death Is Cheap: Played straight in both games. Dying in the first one just takes you to the first Deadside warp point (aside from the final battle), and dying in the second allows you to respawn at whatever warp point you choose, making boss fights simply wars of attrition. Justified here by the plot, because you are literally in the land of the dead already coupled with Mike being a voodoo-powered master of this dead land, so "dying" would merely send you back here anyway, where you have the power to leave whenever you want.
  • Disco Dan: One of the Five, Marco Cruz, is obsessed with disco music. And murder.
  • Dual Wielding: One of the main gameplay mechanics of the series.
  • Early Game Hell: Your shadowgun lacks punch, you have no real notable weapons, and half of the world is blocked off by hot coals. Once you get the Marcher (or even earlier, a shadow level of 5), the difficulty drops down; but you've got some work before you crack this game's defenses.
    • Likewise, any Liveside level without the Shadow Man powers unlocked is far more difficult, given you're playing as just a normal man with guns instead of a voodoo superhero.
  • Eternal Engine: The Asylum is one, so vast in fact that it spans multiple levels.
  • Evil Brit: Jack the Ripper, obviously.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Asylum. It even gets lampshaded during Shadowman's first conversation with Jaunty.
  • Fake Longevity: The first game has many fans, but it's definitely in spite of the insane amount of backtracking you'll have to do. The rope crossing animation is slow, some Cadeux are hard to find if you have 1 left to find in an area (especially if it's dark) and if you're playing on the Horror difficulty in the Remaster while also trying to get a certain hidden achievement where you have to beat the game without dying once in the same run so you to constantly quicksave and quickload, which can take up some time.
  • Fat Bastard: Milton Pike, the most overweight one of The Five. A Vietnam vet turned sadistic serial killer.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Dr. Batrachian seems polite enough... until Shadow Man gives him a thorough verbal smackdown.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Prophecy. It's so accurate because it was planted by Legion.
    • Asmodeus, the name of the villain in second game, is mentioned twice in the first. Once in an in game document, the second in the PC version's book of concept art as a Sequel Hook.
    • Also, each time you warp, you'll hear Luke's disembodied voice say "Come on, slowpoke!" Turn up the volume and listen carefully to hear Legion's voice echoing behind it. If you pay attention to Luke when he appears in the Asylum you'll notice he's bleeding from the mouth.
    • The serial killers know who Michael is and that he is coming for them. Marco Crux even tips Michael about the fact that Luke is trapped somewhere in the Engine Block. They are probably aware that the culmination of Legion's plan is to lure Michael there.
  • Gangsta Style: Used by Mike in the first game.
  • God of Evil: Legion claims to be this. In fact, he claims that he used to be the only god, and was able to insert the prophecy into the dreams of The Ancients. Which, if true, begs the question of why Legion was so afraid of Jesus in Mark Chapter 5, from which came the "for we are many" verse that Legion himself loves to quote,note  but then, Legion isn't exactly the most honest demonic entity out there.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Mama Nettie opposes evil, but her methods are pretty amoral. Mike himself can be rather sinister when he changes into Shadowman.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • A lot of the Dark Soul locations in the original take a great amount of work to find without a FAQ. Thankfully, finding them all is optional and has no bearing on the ending.
    • Cadeaux are even worse, because once you've collected the obvious ones, you still have about 200 to go. You technically don't even need to find one, though those extra five life bars are sure nice to have. In a small concession to fairness, there are a handful more scattered around than you would actually need to find.
    • Possibly the biggest offender would have to be figuring out how to get to the locations of The Five. Of the five portals to their realms, only two are open, one of which is in the middle of the three-part prison level that you cannot progress in without having visited the first part. You need to find three items called retractors to access the portals leading to the other three members. The first two are fairly easy to find through diligent exploration of the levels; the third is hidden in the Undercity, which is behind a Shadow Level 9 door—requiring a LOT of exploration to get 95 Dark Souls before it can be found.
  • Handicapped Badass: Deacon in the second game. Despite losing his legs and being confined to a wheelchair, he manages to fight off and kill dozens of Papa Morte's goons in an Offscreen Moment of Awesome.
  • Headless Horseman: 2econd Coming features the Dullahan as one of the Grigori Sephiroth, and his head detaches and flies about the arena while his invulnerable body chases the player.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The squeaky-toy ambient sound effect in the Asylum's Playpens. After a couple of normal sounding squeaks, it suddenly goes ballistic like something is frantically stabbing or strangling it (or worse).
  • Historical Domain Character: Jack the Ripper is a major villain in the first game- although Acclaim had to totally make up a face and background for him as the real information is unknown to this day. Legion could also count seeing as he's apparently the same one from the Bible. Jaunty name drops a few more, indicating he's met various figures in Deadside over the centuries.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Legion's plan to get the Dark Souls in one place ends up making Mike stronger than him, which Legion at first brushes off until Mike defeats him, and then gives the Dark Souls to Legion himself, which ultimately kills him.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Two of the Five are available to fight right at the beginning. Needless to say, fighting those two will send you right back to Deadside until you have the power to fight them. While the Remaster makes it so that you need Retractors for all of The Five to fight them, it's still impossible to defeat any of them until you turn day into night.
  • Horrifying the Horror: As the Shadowman, Michael LeRoi routinely deals with all sorts of frightening situations and creatures and is surrounded by death as a matter of course. Despite this, the sickening things The Five does to their victims still freaks him the fuck out.
  • Incredibly Durable Enemies: Subverted; it doesn't take that much ammo to kill most enemies, but they don't register damage when in their falling animation. This makes it seem like they soak up far more ammo than they actually do. Best to stop shooting them until they've fully dropped to their "vulnerable" position, then resume firing. The remaster fixes this, so that baddies will go up in a cloud of meat chunks as soon as they're open to a killing shot.
  • Informed Ability: It's never quite explained how exactly Legion's minions managed to rip the dark souls out of the Govis, even though those should be apparently safe beyond the means of even the most powerful voodoo magic. The remastered version kinda partially averts that, by showing in one of the new levels that through many experimentations the bad guys eventually got there. And it's still implied that the process may be too much of a burden to begin with, given that Legion had nowhere enough dark souls to start the Apocalypse and had to lure Mike into doing all the work for him.
  • Instant Marksman: Just Squeeze Trigger!: Marco is one hell of a good shot with his pistol. Cover will be required to defend adequately against him or he'll rip your life apart quickly!
  • Insult Backfire:
    Michael: You bastard!
    Legion: (smugly) Thank you.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Being defeated by either of Legion's two forms results in this.
  • Jive Turkey: Blissfully, wonderfully and beautifully averted. Michael LeRoi is an extremely intelligent, well-spoken English major who never acts in a stereotypically "wacky" manner. He even pronounces "damn" with one syllable! He does seem to lapse into this when suitably angered though, such as the pre-fight dialog he as with The Five.
    "Jesus! I don't need this bullshit!"
  • Karmic Death Legion is ultimately killed by the very same Dark Souls he so desperately wanted to possess.
  • Large Ham: If you keep a kosher table, it's not recommended to listen to the The Five's voice acting, apart from maybe Jack the Ripper. Shadowman himself gets in on it too.
    Shadowman: The horror! The HORROR! I! EMBRACE IT!
  • Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: You can swim through lava just like water, once you get the right powerup.
  • Law of 100: In the first game, delivering 100 Cadeaux to the shrines in the Temple of Life grants you an extra segment for your life meter. You have to collect 500 total. The game has a modicum of fairness in that there are about a dozen more Cadeaux than is necessary to reach the cap, but you'll still be scouring every corner looking for them. The sequel is much better about this, though, as there are only 100 Cadeaux to collect throughout the entire game.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Some places in the Asylum qualify, especially the Lavaducts.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: 2econd Coming.
  • Leitmotif: Several characters have them; most notably Jack the Ripper, who has the Moonlight Sonata's first movement.
  • Literal Genie: The unnamed Bokor in Michael's backstory. When Michael asked for the Bokor to grant him protection, he didn't say anything about his family.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Legion. So much so that it makes Shadow Man dormant in Deadside until the sequel.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: You can get a voodoo shield that blocks pretty much everything, but drains in proportion to how much it blocks. One of the bosses will also disappear if you use it, forcing you to trek out of the arena and come back to make him fight. However, it seems to only work against projectiles. Weapons such as Jack's knife won't be blocked by it.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: When an enemy is killed using the Shadowgun, they will scream, shout and thrash/spin in the air for a moment before literally exploding into chunks.
  • Mana Meter: The health bar, charge meter, and mana meter are stacked in a single circle. Your remaining voodoo (mana) is the middle circle.
  • Mask of Power: In a twist, the Shadowman mask is actually fused to Mike's ribcage. Nettie wanted a more permanent version. In addition, as you collect more Dark Souls and thus gain more shadow power, the glow from Mike's eyes forms a mask over his face.
  • Meaningful Name: "Batrachian" translates to "frog". Dr. Batrachian considers himself to be the "lizard king". Eh, close enough.
  • Metroidvania: The first game, at least, had tons of areas that you could visit or backtrack to if you had appropriate upgrades that let you pass through. Some of them included tattoos that made parts of your body impervious to fire (so you could shimmy across flaming hangways, and so on).
  • Mommy Issues: Avery Marx.
    "My momma kisses me! She would never EVER kiss YOU!"
  • More Dakka: The MP-909 and 0.9 SMG/GPMG in both games, and the Violator handgun in the first one. If you manage to fully complete the first game's Collection Sidequest, you can use two at once in the N64 version!
  • Mordor: Deadside. A barren wasteland where the sky is always ashen, has blood instead of water, Everything Is Trying to Kill You, and the dead wail and suffer for all eternity.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Mama Nettie. In the first game, she looks more like an exotic belly dancer. However, she goes full-on Stripperific in the second game, wearing only a brassiere, panties, boots, arm bracelets, and a cape.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Horror difficulty, introduced in the Remasters 1.5 version. Enemies deal double the damage, certain projectiles ricochet longer and enemies have more attacks, the player is limited by saving only once per level until your Shadow Level increases, entering a new level or activate a warp point (though quicksave is unaffected apparently), the Shadow Gun deals less damage and no longer leaves health pickups after killing an enemy and Mike respawns with less health after dying.
  • The Night That Never Ends: In the first game, you have to collect an artifact which immediately summons night, as simply waiting for night to come is out of the question. Presumably the night would end at some point, but functionally you're changing permanent daylight into permanent night. Handwaved as Nettie implies that sitting around until nightfall would probably allow the Five to achieve victory—she wants them stopped right now!
  • The Nothing After Death: Deadside is a dark and terrifying afterlife where almost everyone goes when they die. Some of the dialogue implies Deadside wasn't always so horrible at it's mostly Legion's fault it's now this way.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The dilapidated tenement, home to Avery Marx. You spend a long gap of time with either a torch or a flashlight, without any supernatural types of enemies coming out to attack you, all the while hearing creepy music and on occasion corpses with tape recorders of victims repeating Mark 5:9.
    • In the Remaster, the Summer Camp in Florida, where you spend much of the first and second half of the level wandering around, barring attacks by alligators, with long periods of time where Milton Pike doesn't attack.
  • Noodle Incident: "Did I ever tell you about the time me an' Attila the Hun were playin' skittles with the guillotined heads of the French aristocracy?"
  • No-Sell: Thanks to their Dark Souls, the Five cannot by killed by Liveside weaponry. You have to acquire your Shadow Man powers in Liveside to be able to destroy them. That said, they can be harmed by Liveside weaponry, which can be used to whittle down their health for a Shadowgun finisher once you have the means to use it up there.
  • N-Word Privileges: Jaunty doesn't seem to take offense at Mike calling him a "Mick."
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • "The Sisters awake!"
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Dr. Victor Batrachian's Leitmotif, the Pangue Lingua. It can also be heard in the Asylum's Cathedral of Pain.
  • One-Winged Angel: Legion transforms into a flying Eldritch Abomination for the second part of his boss fight.
  • One-Woman Wail: Featured prominently on the soundtrack for the Temples of Fire, Prophecy, and Blood.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They have no heads.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Gun-wielding enemies shoot bullets that are slow-moving enough to easily dodge outside of point-blank range. The Shadowgun's soul-tearing wraiths also travel slowly, but the ability to lock on targets keeps this from being a problem. Mike's submachine guns shoot bullets that move a good bit faster, but are still slow enough to see in flight. His normal handgun and shotgun are hitscan, though.
  • Palette Swap: As The Five take damage, they eventually become Trueforms, which look like smaller versions of the beasts, but with the color schemes of the respective member of The Five (such as Marco Cruz's upper torso being blue, to mimic his shirt).
  • Parental Incest: Avery's mother molested Avery. However, much of Avery's dialogue with regards to his mother "Momma always said: Eat your Meat!" "My Momma Kisses Me, my Momma would never, EVER kiss you!" implies that his mother was doing far more than molestation.
  • Permanently Missable Content: There's a secret on the 3rd floor of the New York tenement building across from a breakable floor. If you fail to make the jump and then save your game, you can never unlock that secret because collapsible walkways stay permanently collapsed. The Remaster fixes it so that it will respawn this specific walkway so that the player can retry it.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: How Shadow Man ultimately kills Legion.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Jaunty. His interactions with Mike/Shadowman in both games can be quite entertaining.
  • Power Tattoo: In the first game, you have to visit the three temples of the Gad to gain tattoos that grant immunity to fire in its various forms. The first allows you to touch fiery blocks and hold fiery ledges. The second allows you to walk on molten surfaces. The third allows you to swim in lava while granting a complete immunity to all fire damage (this does not include the voodoo bomb, which will still kill you).
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Dr. Batrachian drops one right before his boss fight. "The end is EXTREMELY fucking nigh, Michael!". Milton Pike also gets in a few.
    • While Nintendo allowed most of the game a free pass, those few instances were cut from the N64 port.
    • In the latest version of the remaster, Shadow Man drops one when meeting a boss in the Experimentation rooms.
  • Prophecy Twist: "And Legion took the power of the Dark Souls unto him. The end." Mike uses the power of the Dark Souls on Legion to defeat him. It doesn't say Legion takes the Dark Souls themselves.
    • Furthermore, one could argue that the Bad Ending does not fulfill the prophecy. Legion does not directly take the power of the Dark Souls to himself, but straps down Michael for the Dark Souls in him to fuel the Asylum's engine.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Avery Marx, in spades.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Mike gives a rip-roaring awesome one to the Lizard King in Gardelle County.
  • Relative Button: Marco Cruz jokingly makes fun of Mike's dead mom and kid brother during his wacky DJ rant, which pisses Mike off something fierce.
  • Scary Black Man: Averted by Mike in the first game, but somehow played straight in the sequel, where he transforms from a skinny, bespectacled guy with a badass voice into a huge, burly, sunglasses-wearing dude with a badass voice. His Shadowman form also changes into a much more gruesome-looking revenant with no skin or organs. With a badass voice. And Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Scenery Gorn: You start the game in Hell. Fair enough. Then you wander into a gigantic fortress-like maze where a great evil is for intents and purposes creating the army of apocalypse. You finish your voyage there after a detour to three Liveside locations...that happen to be the playgrounds of five serial killers who killed dozens for the sake of unleashing said apocalypse. Take a guess at how visually pleasant and reassuring your trip is going to be.
  • Serial Killer: The Five. Nettie's files on them are a bona fide source of Nightmare Fuel.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Shadowman's dialog was clearly written by someone with a word a day calendar, or else someone who actually uses "suppurating" and "unctuous" in everyday conversation (Mike is said to have majored in English while in college, explaining it somewhat).
  • Share Phrase: Legion and the five all use "for we are many" quite a lot, which doubles as a Shout-Out to The Bible.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The shotgun(s) is the best Liveside weapon that isn't your primary weapon (or magic), and there's even a cheat to enable them in Deadside.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Milton Pike drops a lot of references to Apocalypse Now, yelling things like "This is the end, beautiful friend," and "Charlie don't surf!" as you fight him. Hell, a Suspiciously Similar Song version of "The End" even plays his arena after he's defeated.
    • "The horror. The horror. I embrace it!"
    • While we're mentioning The Doors, Dr. Batrachian would also like to remind everyone that HE IS THE LIZARD KING!!
  • Shown Their Work: London Underground, according to the Acclaim strategy guide, is Down Street, an actual closed down area, which the developers visited to get as authentic as possible. The map on the rail system is also real.
  • Sinister Subway: Jack The Ripper's domain is an abandoned, derelict Down Street Station.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Certain sections of the Asylum are full of these.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Mike.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: When diving in his human form, Mike needs to regularly return to the surface for air, but when he is the Shadow Man, breathing seems to be optional.
  • Take Your Time: Despite Mama Nettie's sayings, you can just go out and just get upgrades and other such things. All while the world is supposed to end by nightfall!
  • Tarot Motifs: The Prophecy (or Les Cartes) is a set of tarot cards depicting various important characters, locations and plot points of the first game.
  • Temple of Doom: Four of them, even.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Basically, in the first game the five's job is to open portals in Liveside so that Legion can start the Apocalypse by sending his army through them. By the time the game starts, those portals are already functional. Take a guess at where they are located: London, New York and... Texas.
    • To be fair, in the original concept Marco Crux was supposed to be still on the loose somewhere in the Mojave Desert, which would have added another stage to the game and another portal to the plot, but the idea was scrapped for lack of time. This would at least put the unusual places from where the Apocalypse would have started on par with the obvious ones.
    • Finally averted in the Remastered edition, which restores the cut content, including levels for two of the Five which were previously also in the Texas level.
  • Trash Talk: One of The Five, Marco Cruz, does this in spades while spicing up it with lots of disco slang. And damn, if he isn't a riot!
  • Underground Level: The derelict Down St. Station in Liveside, and the Asylum Undercity in Deadside.
  • The Unfought: Two of the Grigori Sephiroth in the second game. One, Sammael, appears in the opening cutscene but is not seen at any point after. The second, Djinn, is completely absent. Both have passages in Gehenna that would lead to their lairs, but they're collapsed and inaccessible.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Played with. Dark Souls are evil, but it's implied that Mike suppresses most of their evil power when he collects them, resulting in a small net gain of power with no chance of going evil. And if you're evil to begin with — like the Five — then you can use the full power of one with no drawbacks. On the other hand, if anything except the Dark Engine tries to contain the full power of a hundred or more Souls, it'll result in a Phlebotinum Overload. Just ask Legion.
  • Unholy Ground: The Cathedral of Pain in the Asylum. It's one of the most important places in the first game, since the gateways to The Five lay here.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Both Mama Nettie and Shadow Man in the first game, Shadow Man for both sides in the sequel.
  • Updated Re-release: Shadow Man Remastered features slightly tweaked controls, new visual effects through the KEX Engine, and reintegrates content that was cut during development such as three levels, new enemies, and includes the second Violator from the N64 version.
  • Villains Never Lie: Played with in 2econd Coming. Morteth warns Shadow Man not to trust "the creature who calls himself 'Deacon'," which Shadow Man promptly blows off before killing Morteth. At the end, we find out that Deacon is indeed untrustworthy, but only to the Grigori Sephiroth, whom he pulled a Heel–Face Turn and defected from long ago.
  • Voice of the Legion: Well... Legion.
  • Warp Whistle: Luke's Teddy Bear.
  • Who Forgot The Lights?: Shadow Man's areas are dark. When done well, it adds to Deadside's and Asylum's somber look. However, at certain points, the player truly cannot see what they are doing. Two items found in the games (Flashlight in Liveside, Flambeau in Deadside) help with this to a degree, but the Flambeau runs on your Voodoo energy which drains easily and can still leave the player fumbling in the dark looking for either a wall, pathway or door.
  • A Winner Is You: The ending is very brief for both games.
  • Your Head Asplode: Dr. Batrachian's MO involves using some bizarre power to make people's heads explode. Too bad for you that this explosive decapitation doesn't keep his victims down.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: If, after having discovered the Cathedral of Pain, Mike goes back to Jaunty to ask him about it, upon returning to the Cathedral Mike will indulge himself into an extensive pondering about the conversation with Jaunty and how to put it to any use. It's easy to miss that line because, by its own nature, the game encourages exploration and by the time a player would find himself stuck or almost, it's likely that many of the matters that can be asked to the NPC are already resolved.