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DOS - 1993

Alt name Shadowcaster CD
Year 1993
Platform DOS
Released in Germany, United States (1993)
United States (1994)
Genre Action
Theme Fantasy
Publisher ORIGIN Systems, Inc.
Developer Raven Software Corporation
Perspective 1st-Person
4.55 / 5 - 22 votes

Description of ShadowCaster

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Shadowcaster is one of the most unique and addictive action/RPGs ever made, although it sadly never got the attention it deserves from the gaming public who were too focused on id's blockbuster Doom to play any other game [EG].

The plot is intriguing fantasy fare, which helps set the stage as well as explain gameplay features. You are Kirt, one of the last shapeshifters on earth. As the game begins, you learn from your grandfather that your race, the shapeshifters, was almost killed off in a massive civil war centuries ago. Because this war displeased the gods, the gift of "morphing" was taken away and "The People," as they were called, began a slow decline into ruin. One god however had mercy on "The People" and declared that if they would keep watch against the return of evil (called Veste), they would once again be given the gift of morphing. Just as grandpa is finishing his story, Veste's minion shows up and snatches him away. But not before he ports Kirt into the world of Shadowcaster to fight his way back to his Pop and restore "The People" to their former heritage.

Wolfenstein-3D meets Ultima Underworld is a fairly accurate description of gameplay: 3D action mixed with RPG elements and puzzle solving. The best innovation in this game is easily the ability to "morph" into 7 different shapes, each with its own abilities and weaknesses. The shapes range from Maorin, a 6-legged cat that can claw and see in the infrared, to Opsis, a floating eyeball who is physically weak but can cast many powerful spells, to Kahpa the frog man and even SSair the fire dragon.

You start out with Kirt who can kick, jump, and punch. He is also the only form in which you can regenerate "power," which is the manna that you need to be able to cast spells, morph, and to stay in any other form besides human. The absolute necessity of manna adds a fun element of strategic planning, since you must return to Kirt form once in a while to regenerate. So if you are currently a Kahpa (frog), you need to plan where and when to go ashore to become Kirt again.

The puzzles are a lot of fun to solve, especially since they are not so much quests for items, as they are about finding out what to do with the items you already have, and what form you have to morph into to accomplish the goals. For example, one puzzle involves finding 4 statue heads to put on a sculpture so you could go onto the next level. To reach some of these heads require morphing into different forms, either to navigate (e.g. swim or fly over pits) or to dispose of the enemies.

Speaking of enemies, Shadowcaster features typical AD&D monsters as well as original ones that must be killed in a certain way. The mouse/keyboard-combined interface is very user friendly and can even be custom-arranged to suit your preferences (e.g. where you want the icons placed). The automapping was more than adequate, though it unfortunately doesn't allow annotation. The game is quite easily one of the most inventive and addictive 3D games you'll ever play.

Experiencing the environment as the different elementals alone is well worth playing, since each shape has different height and moves at different rates. The floating eye floats forward at frustrating speed while the "little person" whizzes along, actually going thru gorey corpses that you have already slain (since he's so short). These difference greatly increases the game's replayability, even though most puzzles have only one solution and the game is quite linear.

A must play for all action fans, and RPGers who aren't afraid of real-time combat. Two thumbs up, way up!

Review By HOTUD

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Comments and reviews

JackCaper 2023-12-01 5 points

I figured it out :)
You need to have the iso mounted when starting the game.

Dosbox 0.73 only
First install the game through Dosbox by typing
imgmount d (dir of cue file here) -t iso
like this
imgmount d c:\games\shadowcaster\cd\sccd.cue -t iso
(This mounts the iso in dosbox)
Now type d: (to move to the d: directory)
then install
this brings up the installer (click the first option)
finally setup the sound configuration using only the default settings (the second option)

Once it's installed you should create a dosbox conf file. Close and Reopen Dosbox, now type
config -writeconf dosbox.conf
(a new conf file should now appear in the dos dir.)
Open this file and scroll all the way down to the autoexec section
Type the following in here
mount c (game dir where the sccd.cue and shadowcd folder are found)
imgmount d (cue file dir) -t iso
cd shadowcd

like this
mount c c:\games\shadowcaster\cd
imgmount d c:\games\shadowcaster\cd\sccd.cue -t iso
cd shadowcd

Now you can open dosbox.exe and run the game. You can edit the resolution through the conf file. I have my output set as DDraw and fullresolution set to my monitor resolution for a fullscreen with minimal black bars. That's it you can enjoy the game and I hope this helps someone!

JackCaper 2023-12-01 0 point

I've been beating my head in trying to figure out how to install the cd version of this game with the voice audio. I can run the game just fine but there is no speech narration and the music goes into a stuttering loop everytime a combat sound plays. I give up.

Hopefully someday a solution is figured out and it's placed here because this is where most people get the game from. :(

LRGPNS 2023-04-09 0 point

@Radicaldreamer: There's a long-standing bug introduced in DOSBox v0.74 that breaks the CD version of ShadowCaster. I'm not sure if any DOSBox fork fixes it, but using DOSBox v0.73 will work.

If you're trying to run the disc on actual hardware then I believe it is one of those programs that requires a certain amount of conventional memory to be free in order to work.

RadicalDreamer 2022-08-08 0 point

Anyone have a guide to get CD version to work properly, my attempts have been a bust.

OK MILLENIAL 2022-07-15 0 point

Has much I like to defend early rendered graphics (I am a big fan of the very first Legacy of Kain), the intro of the normal edition is the better one.

This game was awesome then and is pretty entertaining and good looking now. But do no expect a power fantasy. Has the engine is something between Wolfstein and Doom you will need a Ultima Underground and Doom 2 mixed mindset. You cannot Supershot gun your enemies and sometimes you get ambushed by small groups. Not to mention a scarce resource management. 90s PC difficulty at is finest. Play smart. Use your transformations and wands wisely. And you will have a great time.

Also, yeah. Don't feel bad about using a guide. "Trial-and-error" was the norm in PC gaming then.

BWYUH 2021-11-06 1 point

This game rawks!!! I own the enhanced CD version. 2 big thumbs up!

underskyzx 2018-04-24 3 points

Lots of stuff to download, just perfect, thank you Myabandonware!

indstr 2014-02-11 2 points DOS version

Excellent game before Heretic came out. I played this one some. It was a bit slower paced than Doom and subsequent games, but it was still pretty good. It had great graphics and atmosphere.

Stahu 147 2013-09-23 2 points DOS version

This game is based on engine created by John Carmack in 1992, before start of work with Doom.

PJ1971 2012-06-28 0 point DOS version

This was one of the more inspired Wolfenstein/Doom clones. Origin was known for high production quality.

The best aspect of this game is your ability to change shape into other forms.

Worth a play.

Xifihas 2011-10-20 1 point DOS version

I remember playing a demo of this game years ago (1998 I think, I tended to go through old demo discs like you got with some game magazines) but forgot about it until I saw it here.

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Download ShadowCaster

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DOS Version

DownloadRIP Version English version 6 MB Download3.5" Disk Images English version 7 MB DownloadISO of the 1994 CD Version
2 new levels, new monsters, FMV videos and audio English version 74 MB
ManualEnglish version 1 MB

Game Extras

Various files to help you run ShadowCaster, apply patches, fixes, maps or miscellaneous utilities.

GuideEnglish version 525 KB CluebookEnglish version 19 MB PatchAdds UltraSound AIL 32 Support English version 67 KB RefcardEnglish version 247 KB MiscInstall Guide English version 393 KB

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