Retro Review: Shadow Warrior: Wanton Destruction (PC)

Review-Shadow-Warrior-Wanton-DestructionLo Wang is Duke Nukem's brother from another mother, a master ninja with a tendency to slice up foes with his katana whilst cracking cheesy, and often racist, one-liners. Shadow Warrior was a smashing game from the late '90s, despite lacklustre sales. Surprising, considering how well 3D Realms profited from its blockbuster game Duke Nukem 3D. Its add-ons packs therefore scrapped and released on the internet for free.

Wanton Destruction was made by a third-party company called Sunstorm Interactive in the late 1990s, only to be lost and eventually found in 2005, released to all for nothing. At the end of Shadow Warrior, Lo Wang's nemesis Master Zilla escapes, promising a second encounter. Just when the crazy ninja thought he could get some R&R and visit his relatives in America, he discovers Zilla's been bribing the Triads to finish the job, but this Wang is tougher than they think.

The add-on spans through eleven missions and two secret levels, ranging from Chinatown various urban areas in America to a military base and various skyscrapers back in Tokyo, with a nifty level set on an aeroplane in between. These are of brilliant quality and deliver a lot of action and amusement. One memorable scene involves grabbing a key, to which Lo Wang is seamlessly sent to a lava-filled, Hellish version of the same room. Nice. Problem is, the developers included a bit much spare ammo and health for the player, making it a bit easy to ninja through it all. It still maintains a generous amount of interactivity, but there are not too many turrets and vehicles to drive compared to the original game or the second expansion pack, Twin Dragon.

Some levels are a bit more bland, such as the Trolley Yard and the generic factory in the Auto Maul mission, both of which don't offer many bonus frills. They're good levels, but aren't as fun as the others. The secret level The Docks is incredibly simplistic in design and is probably weakest of the bunch. A few odd design choices, from awkwardly-placed textures to toilets spawning baddies nearby when activated, are present as well. As for the final boss fight, battling Zilla in a spacious room full of crates makes it a bit easy, considering all the things to hide behind, and the lack of any baddies appearing alongside Zilla during the battle.


Wanton Destruction is an excellent add-on and will promise much entertainment and satisfaction...

No new weapons or music appears in this one, but a cool addition includes sprite-swaps of the ninja enemies. They now look like nasty Triad gangsters with coloured hats, frequently muttering annoying gibberish. What kind of gangster screams “Damn you!” every time they're hurt, anyway? It makes weapons like the Uzi a pain to use, for they keep getting hit and screaming the same line over and over. Moreover, the Guardians that blast fireballs from their eyes are turned into wizards equipped with Guardian head staffs. These sprite-swaps look brilliant.

Also included are a few new one-liners from Lo Wang himself. They are not gut-busting laughs, but then again, all the cheesy Wang jokes were always a bit corny in the original game anyway, and are a nice inclusion nonetheless.

A recurring joke in this add-on is to do with the creepy old lady. In the original game, there was an old lady at the docks who fancied Lo Wang and cracked a few dirty innuendos, much to his disgust and fear. Well, as our hero ventures on wards through the levels, she appears here and there, like some sort of creepy stalker. Even right at the start of the game, she's knocking on his apartment door, forcing the Asian badass to leap out the window and commence fighting.

Despite requiring a bit of polish for the design flaws and level designs, as well as the irritating racist Asian jibberish from the Triads, Wanton Destruction is nevertheless an excellent add-on and will promise much entertainment and satisfaction. These are some truly brilliant levels that are available, and are thankfully included with the high-definition port re-release on Steam, entitled Shadow Warrior: Classic Redux. Bringing destruction to the baddies in this one is undoubtedly entertaining.

Shadow Warrior: Wanton Destruction (Gameplay)

Last Updated ( 19 April 2015 )  

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