After the disappointment of Ultimate Body Blows it is good to find a decent beat ’em up on the Amiga CD32, and this 1994 release from Gremlin is pretty good.
Shadow Fighter was developed by Italian software company NAPS Team, in association with Gremlin, and it has to be said they did a very good job of trying to compete with the likes of Capcom and SNK in the 2D beat ’em up scene at the time. Don’t get me wrong: Shadow Fighter is not in the same league as Street Fighter II or The Last Blade, but it is at least trying to compete with them.
What makes Shadow Fighter work, where Ultimate Body Blows fails, is: the fighters.
The fighters in this look better, move better, have better actions and animations, and don’t feel clunky and uninteresting, like they do in Team 17‘s aforementioned travesty. NAPS Team kept things bold and simple and Shadow Fighter benefits from that.
Gameplay is similar to most fighting games of the early ’90s: take on a procession of increasingly difficult opponents; fighting them over three rounds, and continuing on until you reach the final boss.
There are 17 fighters in total, including two hidden ones, and each has their own location to fight in.
Graphically, Shadow Fighter is impressive in places (like for example the passing subway trains in France), and the sprites are beautifully-drawn and well animated. From a distance it looks a bit like a Neo Geo game… 🙂
Shadow Fighter is arguably the best fighting game on the CD32. While it’s not what I would call a brilliant game it is at least a valiant effort from the developers to make something both good-looking and playable.