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Video Game / Shadows of the Damned

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"This is your old barrio, right, Johnson? Then you can be my tour guide."
"Me? But I quit the whole demon thing ages ago... and really, my memory's absolute rubbish."
"Oh, I'm sure it will come back to you in no time. Relax amigo. This is going to be an adventure. Our very own Road Movie. And the best part is... you never know what's waiting around the bend."
Garcia Hotspur and Johnson.

Shadows of the Damned is a Third-Person Shooter developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Electronic Arts. The game was conceived from the minds of Shinji Mikami, Massimo Guarini and Suda51, with a soundtrack composed by Akira Yamaoka. It is a comedic horror game with a camera similar to Resident Evil 4, resulting in an ample amount of Refuge in Audacity, gore humor, and hamminess. The title was originally developed as Kurayami, but EA's Executive Meddling ended up twisting the game into a still fun but far different and less trippy product. It was released in June of 2011 for the Play Station 3 and Xbox 360.

Our story details the tale of Garcia Hotspur, Demon Hunter as he attempts to save his girlfriend Paula from the Lord of Demons: Fleming. It's a good thing he's got Johnson, a floating skull and former demon who is both his sidekick and his Swiss-Army Weapon.

Despite Shadows of the Damned's pedigree, it bombed, due to a near-complete lack of marketing and its extremely short playtime. A single run through the game is about six hours long and there's no New Game option to replay with all your upgrades in place. Some sources have claimed that Shadows's sales on its opening week were as low as seven thousand. Despite this, the game would not go quietly - in 2023, it was announced that Grasshopper Manufacture was developing a remastered version of the game.

This Game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Bones, skulls, teeth.
  • Action Girl: If theories are correct then Paula used to be known as the Unbreakable Huntress.
  • Allergic to Evil: Hell's Darkness is an aura that slowly kills over time.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The game ends with Fleming alive and vengeful and an army of demons about to attack. Garcia doesn't seem worried, though. Garcia and Johnson would later make a cameo in Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, which involves a theoretical sequel to their adventures.
  • Art Shift: The sidescrolling shooter levels change the art style to a paper cutout one.
  • Aside Glance: Garcia does a couple of these.
  • Autocannibalism: How George met his end as a mortal.
  • Badass Normal: Aside from Johnson (who's just a really cool gun) Garcia has no special powers. Travis Strikes Again implies that Garcia might actually have some supernatural powers of sorts as he's able to turn Johnson into Eight Hearts.
  • Badass Boast: Used twice, to the point that it may be his personal Catchphrase.
    "Before you die, demon scum, I will carve my name into your flesh! That name is Garcia Fucking Hotspur! Hunter of demons and slayer of pendejos like you!"
  • Becoming Part of the Image: a Nonstandard Game Over has Garcia getting knocked into a billboard by a giant demon, with his face sticking through the other side in an embarrassing position (like from between the buttocks of a demoness call-girl).
  • Beergasm: Garcia exclaims "Feels good!" or "Fuck yeah!" whenever he drinks a bottle of booze.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: The ludicrousness of the Underworld and its denizens constantly gets lampshaded.
  • Big Eater: George, The Man Who Didn't Have His Fill. A harmonica player who, the more he ate, the thinner and hungrier he got. At one point he tried to eat his own harmonica, and ultimately died when he tried to eat himself. It's implied, from both a comment Johnson made, and an event during the boss fight, that he had an undiagnosed tapeworm that was ravaging his intestinal tract and slowly killing him.
  • Bizarro World: The Underworld has many things that are the opposite of the living world. Booze heals you rather than poisoning your liver. Light is a deadly combustible, sealed away in barrels. Instead of gun control, they practice tooth control (since teeth can be used as weapons).
  • Book Dumb: During the storybook scenes, Garcia has trouble reading whenever he's the narrator, sometimes stumbling with words and reading slow. Compared to him, Johnson's a much more eloquent narrator. Then again, this might be explained by Garcia being Mexican, which means he's not reading in his native tongue.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Enemies' heads explode if the killing blow lands there.
  • Charged Attack: The Hot Boner, a charged up Sticky Bomb.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The story that Garcia tells about the phone call he got during dinner with Paula. He doesn't answer it because Paula told him not to. However, at the end of the game, they get a phone call during dinner and Garcia answers it. It's Fleming, and it basically starts everything over again.
    • Before the first boss fight, Johnson tells you a few things about VIP demons, including their biggest privilege: they get to keep their genitals. The groin area is an exploitable for the boss when he takes his giant form.
  • City of the Damned: City of the Damned is the setting's equivalent of Hell; a realm ruled by Fleming where all damned souls are now demons.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • During the Unexpected Shmup Level, when Garcia takes damage, he loses pieces of clothing, and eventually his skin.
    • Also, once you defeat Justine, she is fully and visibly naked. note 
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Fuck you!" is literally the only thing Elliot, AKA "Stinky Crow", says.
  • Colonel Badass: The Scary Black Man with the grenade launcher-looking machine gun is addressed as a colonel in a framed article Garcia finds.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Garcia bears a strong resemblance to Benicio del Toro or a Hispanic Bruce Campbell.
  • Crapsack World
  • Color Wash: There's a couple of predominant colors in the game that make the Underworld look just plain wrong. Johnson's default flame color is a strange pale orange, and a sickly pale green lighting permeates many areas.
  • Damsel in Distress: Paula's been kidnapped by demon lord Fleming, and Garcia has to save her.
  • Darkness Equals Death: You can't spend more than a few seconds in a dark zone without losing your health. Some sections of the game require you to sprint through long areas of darkness, and your "grace period" is only briefly restored by collecting pickups as you run.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Garcia and Johnson. They often hang lampshades on how ridiculous some actions they have to take in order to proceed are.
    • "Everyone knows that goats are a natural source of light."
  • Demon of Human Origin: It is expressly said that the demons that roam the City of the Damned were humans that were turned into monsters in their eternal damnation, the various bosses having been individuals who curried favor with Fleming or had impressed him in some way.
  • Demon Slaying: Garcia's calling.
  • Dull Surprise: Invoked; During the siege at the abandoned shack, Garcia sarcastically quips "My god, how do we stop them?" in his most deadpan, disinterested tone of voice, obviously more annoyed than frightened. Also a shout out to "MY GOD! HOW DO YOU STOP IT?!" from Evil Dead 2.
  • Exposition Fairy: Johnson, who also transforms into Garcia's various weapons, with his Shapeshifter Default Form of a talking skull-torch functioning as the melee weapon.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Fleming's got three pairs of eyes; his skull is elongated and it looks like somebody just stacked three faces on top of each other.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Just as it seems the game's over, Paula reveals that she's gone completely insane from both Fleming's tortures and her own anger over Garcia failing to save her from any of them, and becomes the Final Boss.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Shortly into the game, Garcia meets an incredibly tough-looking giant man with a grenade launcher that fires like a machine gun (certainly a deliberate inaccuracy)note . The guy recommends that Garcia stays out of his way and later he exposits a bunch of his sorry backstory. However, he's sadly totally ineffectual against Stinky Crow.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: Paula is revived and killed endlessly.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Fleming is a brutal overlord, but he's actually quite polite as long as things are going his way.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: If the story books you find scattered throughout the game are to be believed, George (a harmonica playing drifter), Elliot (a shut-in kid with a flying fascination), and the Sisters Grim (three VERY unlucky women) are all this, becoming demons after their deaths. Averted with Justine because she was a famous opera singer while alive.
  • Gainax Ending: Johnson's rap comes right out of nowhere.
  • The Generalissimo: Fleming and his more elite minions are decked out in grotty military uniforms.
  • Giving Up on Logic: After Johnson explains that hearts help you spend longer amounts of time in the darkness, Garcia just decides not to even ask how that makes sense.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Johnson is fond of letting everyone else do all the swearing. Definitely not always.
  • Gratuitous Spanish
  • The Grim Reaper: The three Sisters Grim: Maras, Kauline, and Giltine. Apparently, because of their rather ridiculously contrived accidental deaths, Fleming gave them the power of death over demons. Garcia faces all three throughout the game. No explanation on why they sound like men, though.
  • Groin Attack: During the first real boss fight, if you run out of weak points on the front to slow the boss down, you can aim for the groin area to hurt him.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Whenever Garcia and Fleming share a scene.
  • Handcannon: The default weapon.
  • The Hero Doesn't Kill the Villainess: Justine is spared by Garcia after he defeats her. While technically Garcia doesn't kill any of the previous bosses (they get executed by a Sister Grimm, presumably on Fleming's orders, and Justine only escapes this fate because Garcia has killed all three Sisters by that point) it is odd that he spares her when he was swearing to kill her just a few minutes earlier.
  • Heal It with Booze: Hard alcohol such as bottles of Hot Sake serve as healing items. Turns out alcohol has the opposite effect in the Underworld than it does in the real world.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Garcia, quite literally hell bent.
  • Hollywood Darkness: When you're in a "dark zone", everything is dark blue rather than pitch-black.
  • Human-Demon Hybrid: Christopher the demon, is half human and half demon. He functions as your shopkeeper (even though he looks all-demon). To hammer home the fact that he's a good demon, he's usually surrounded by pretty flowers and wears a bunch of lamps on his back to drive away light-sensitive demons.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Suda 51 might as well change his name to "The Pungeon Master."
  • I Have Your Wife: Fleming kills Paula and then kidnaps her. (She keeps getting better).
    Fleming: She has a lot of dying to do. And coming back to life, and dying some more...
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Fleming tells Garcia at the end of the game that he has human patties on his hamburgers, implying that this is also the "special recipe" that Paula used for their dinner. Fortunately, Garcia doesn't appear to have taken a bite of his yet.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: How Garcia met Paula: he plucked her out of a dumpster.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Paula, according to Garcia. He reminisces about the time where they were at a shooting range in a carnival, where after Garcia managed to hit a bulls-eye, Paula manages to shoot off the pin holding the target all the while making out with Garcia.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Christopher.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Why do demons love strawberries? 'Cause they're made of people's tongues, that's why!
  • Kill It with Fire/Light 'em Up: The Light Shot.
  • King Incognito: A common WMG is that Paula used to be the Unbreakable Huntress, a female demon slayer who attempted to kill Fleming, but had all her limbs lopped off in the attempt. Fleming found her refusal to die endearing, so he revived her and made her his mistress. She eventually fought her way out of the Underworld and unwittingly into Garcia's arms.
  • Kiss of Death: In scenes where Paula chases Garcia, she'll One-Hit Kill him with one of these if she catches him.
  • Large Ham: Garcia isn't a man of subtlety or volume control, neither is Fleming.
  • Living Weapon: Johnson's an undead reformed demon if you want to get technical.
  • Marathon Boss: The third Sister Grim if you don't know the trick. A fully charged skull blast to the core will end her Darkness stages instantly.
  • Mickey Mousing: Activating a Sushi Lamp causes this alongside a Japanese song.
  • Money for Nothing: Since there's no New Game Plus, every White Gem earned after Christopher's final appearence (a couple of chapters before the game's actual ending) is completely useless.
  • Mood Whiplash: On the one hand, the game is a hilarious romp through a version of Hell that's so ridiculous as to be practically an amusement park. On the other, the girl you're trying to save spends the entire game getting repeatedly murdered.
  • More Dakka: Garcia's Teether weapons provide the generic "Machine Gun" in his arsenal, with better upgrades adding more barrels and a lock-on feature. Also the Scary Black Man Colonel Badass has a fully automatic grenade launcher.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Invoked by Garcia Hotspur if you're a demon.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: The credits say that "No demons were harmed in the making of this game. George's horse got sick and somebody shot a goat head but that's about it." Looking at that page quote, it's a relatively subtle Shout-Out to The Simpsons.
  • No Ending: By the end Garcia is back to where he started: with Paula by his side, and Fleming hunting for her. Nothing has changed, no conflict has been resolved and everything indicates Garcia's plight will go on forever.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: Most of the boss demons wear an unusual outfit that looks half like a military outfit of some sort, half like some weird mechanical monstrosity.
  • Offhand Backhand: Garcia can do this to enemies sneaking up behind him with a button prompt.
  • One-Man Army: Garcia's very, very skilled at taking down demons. Also, the game's third difficulty setting says it all: Legion Hunter.
  • Our Demons Are Different: And they apparently like strawberries. Which makes more sense — sort of — when you find out in an optional scene that they're actually made of ground-up tongues and were placed in the world of the living as a sick prank by Fleming. The scene Crosses the Line Twice back to Black Comedy shortly thereafter, when it implies that cherries are made of hymens. "Demon" is somewhat treated like it's more a profession than a race — Johnson is identified as an "ex-Demon" who left the demon world after tiring of just how disgustingly wicked and vile the whole thing was.
  • Permanently Missable Content: There are hidden red gems throughout the levels, which you need for upgrades. Unfortunately, there's almost no backtracking in this game, and it's not always immediately apparent which way is the side path with the goodies and which is the main path that will shut closed behind you. Worse yet, there's no New Game Plus, so those precious upgrade gems are lost to you for good. At least you can spend money on more red gems.
  • Pokémon Speak: Elliott.
  • Press X to Not Die: The "juice-jockey" demons that have several weak points on their back force you to do these when they grab you. If you fail most of the button inputs, you die.
  • Punny Name: Garcia's little companion and Empathic Weapon, Johnson.
    • Some of the weapons also have this, such as the aptly named "Big Boner".
    • One-Eyed Willy.
  • Rescue The Princess: Lampshaded with the World Map.
  • Roboteching: The Teether's last upgrade.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Each of the storybooks exemplifies at least one sin in each of the bosses. George is Gluttony, Elliot is Envy, Justine is Lust, Paula isn't in a storybook, but was told by Johnson, and exemplifies Pride. The Sisters Grim on the other hand don't seem to be associated with a particular sin.
  • Shirtless Scene: Garcia starts the game out shirtless, grabbing his leather jacket just before he jumps into the portal to hell.
  • Shout-Out: This is a Suda-game, after all.
    • The Stage Map between levels is a 2D old school imitation of Ghosts 'n Goblins.
      • Act 4-2 and Act 4-4 are called "Great Demon World Village" and "Great Demon World Forest", respectively. The Japanese name for Ghosts 'n Goblins is "Makaimura", or "Demon World Village", and one of its many sequels was called "Daimakaimura", or - you guessed it - "Great Demon World Village". Also, these levels include sidescrolling shooter segments. They are a bit similar to the Gradius series, but when Garcia takes damage, he loses pieces of his clothing, like Arthur in Ghosts 'n Goblins.
    • The game itself is a homage to the Evil Dead series and the Grindhouse-genre. A more specific homage appears when Garcia is forced to take refuge in a shack complete with a monster in the basement trying to get out. It even features the monster POV camera!
    • Garcia's jacket has the words "Love Will Tear Us Apart" on the back, which is a Joy Division song. Of course, you could consider the main character wearing a biker jacket with a reference to an old, beloved band to be a Resident Evil shout out on its own.
    • The Library is a practical dead-ringer for the library in Resident Evil, sliding bookcase puzzle and all. Furthermore, the sections of the library are named after the nine Circles of Hell.
    • Act 2-4 is called "Riders of the Lost Heart".
    • Scaring One-Eyed Willy causes him to take a flaming dump, which also gives you a checkpoint. Where else have we heard of dropping a nice Save?
    • Occasionally, Christopher will say "Who you gonna call? Chris-topher!" and hum a few notes of the Ghostbusters theme.
    • The Big Boner — a 2 meter long Handcannon with firepower rivaling a rocket launcher — is a clear Shout-Out to Joker's pistol from Batman (1989).
    • A roboteching machine gun? Sounds familiar...
    • Near the end of Act 4, Garcia informs Johnson that he's a Mexican, not a Mexican't.
    • "One bloody hand had formed a peace sign. The other was giving him the finger. It's like an Alanis Morissette song."
    • The story title "It's a Bughunt" from earlier is a Shout-Out to Starship Troopers and/or Aliens. There's also As Evil As Dead.
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Johnson.
  • South of the Border: While the game takes place in an Underworld, the protagonist was dragged out of here. Garcia F. Hotspur says "I'm a Mexican, not a Mexican't," without irony and speaks with a ridiculous accent. His Spanish consists of "Magnifico!" and obscenities. He wears leather hot pants and reads slowly, tripping over his words. He regains health by downing an entire bottle of tequila in one swig and throwing it away while yelling a Spanish obscenity.
  • Stealth Pun: The first boss is a man with tapeworms who starts off riding a horse. Before the second half of the fight he eats his steed to power up. He was so hungry, he could (and did) eat a horse.
  • Surreal Horror: Did you really think a Suda51 horror game wouldn't at least have elements of this? Even a lot of things that qualify as more standard things like Body Horror have the added terror of making absolutely zero sense. Somewhere between finding out goats are a light source, corpses that infinitely disgorge demons as long as they're in Darkness, and seeing a demon burst messily out of a woman at most half its size, you end up giving up on making any sense of this nightmare and roll with it.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: Johnson.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: The Sisters Grim would be unbeatable if they didn't keep summoning Darkness.
  • Take That, Audience!: "He must have played too many Videogames." Cue Aside Glance.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: The devil's name is Fleming. The high-level demons you encounter are George, Elliott and Justine.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: Garcia chases after Paula for the first few levels.
    • And then Paula chases Garcia in latter levels.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Comes in two variations.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Paula dies an awful lot.
  • The Worf Effect: The Colonel is later found torn up by Stinky Crow.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Christopher. The look? A seven foot demon with horns, claws and a huge mouthful of fangs. The voice? Cam Clarke doing a goofy southern accent.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: The only demon Garcia spares is the one that looks like a hot chick.
    • He technically doesn't kill any of the bosses, the Sisters Grim execute them after he's defeated them. Justine is only spared because the Grims are all dead by then.
    • Averted with the final boss, Paula.
  • Yandere: Paula is not a mentally stable girlfriend, that's for sure. Apparently, this is a turn on for Garcia.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: A sign outside the Castle of Hassle in Act 5-2:
    Sign: Welcome to the Castle of Hassle, where thy game will soon be beateth and thy princess restoredeth to safety.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Sisters Grim execute each of the major demons after you defeat them. The only reason Justine escapes this is because you've killed all three Sisters by then.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Okay, so you beat Fleming and rescued Paula. Unfortunately, Paula's kind of gone crazy from being repeatedly killed and resurrected, and turns into some kind of multi-winged monster that pulls Garcia deeper into the demon world for one last boss battle.



Christopher is a human/demon hybrid that Garcia encounters in the City of the Damned.

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Example of:

Main / HalfHumanHybrid

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