Shadow of
the Beast

Platforms: Commodore Amiga vs Atari ST

Publisher: Psygnosis | Developer: Reflections | Released: 1989

Shadow of the beast head-to-head Amiga Atari ST

Shadow of the beast is an iconic platform game originally released for the Commodore Amiga in 1989. The game was developed by Reflections and published by Psygnosis.

The incredible music score for Shadow of the Beast was composed by David Whittaker. The same man who created the scores for Alfred Chicken, Speedball and many more classics of the day.

The story: Shadow of the Beast

A man called Aarbron is kidknapped as a child and he is corrupted with magic and becomes a warrior-servant to the evil beast lord Maletoth.

While watching a man being executed, Aarbron’s memories from his childhood return, he later realises those memories were of his father.

Revenge is a dish best served cold

As a result of Aarbron’s memories returning, he seeks revenge on Maletoth, and so it begins, the long journey through a hostile and violent terrain.

Along the way destroying Maletoth’s minions, a gargantuan creature whose only visible body parts are its hands and feet.

After defeating the creature, Aarbron is freed from his curse and returns to his humanoid form.

Developing the beast

Designed by Reflections Interactives very own Martin Edmondson and Paul Howarth, Shadow of the Beast was the second 16-bit game they had developed after the release of Ballistix.

They described the game as their “most ambitious project to date” with a desire to push the technical limits of both Amiga and the Atari ST.

However, to achieve this, the Amiga version was written first, so that they would take advantage of all of the computer’s advanced hardware capabilities.

Meanwhile, developers made use of the hardware sprites and scrolling rather than using the blitter, which they felt that the blitter “does not run quite as fast as some people would believe.”

So therefore, to get the speed they wanted, the developers employed difficult techniques such as the sprite multiplexing. The game uses up to twelve levels of parallax scrolling, and up to a maximum of 128 colours on screen.

Shadow of the Beast was designed to be as difficult as possible. The developers were quoted as saying they had gotten very frustrated at playing games with easy difficulty.

The cover art was produced by British artist Roger Dean. Known for his iconic box arts with other Psygnosis titles including, Agony, Obliterator and the two sequels of Shadow of the Beast too.

Amiga vs Atari ST: Which one is best?

This is undoubtedly one of the easiest head-to-head’s, the Commodore Amiga’s graphics in this game are brighter, more colourful, more detailed. And with the Atari ST’s lack of a blitter chip, there is no parallax scroll effect on that version, which is a shame, because that was a very unique element in this game for Amiga and looked stunning for the time. Sorry ST fans!

Our Verdict: Commodore Amiga

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