A bizarre game by any standards, Konami's Shadow of Memories demonstrates the Japanese developer's ability to produce chilling games perhaps almost as good as Silent Hill. Until now the game has been stuck on console, so PC owners will be more than happy to discover that Konami's murder mystery has made in onto the ever-changing PC platform.
Imagine you've just been murdered. Then imagine just how annoying that would be. You'd be buried in the ground or burnt to a cinder within days. Playing as Eike Kursch, a dead man, you are brought back to life and granted the ability to move between four different points in time in order to prevent your own death. Without doubt one of the most unusual game concepts ever seen, but does it work?
The game is set in the small and uninviting town of Lebensbaum, somewhere in northern Europe. It's Hans Christian Andersen country, and the feeling of fairytale menace is well conveyed from the outset.
As you travel through each of the time zones in the game world, you have to be very careful not to change your true destiny. This can be a bit hit and miss, as every character in each zone plays a direct part in either bringing about or preventing your death. And this is the essence of Shadow of Memories. You have to simply work out who to talk to, and when, and make sure that your own timing does not upset the space-time continuum.
Shadow of Memories is not an action game, nor is it an RPG. It's best likened to Sega's Shenmue in its structure, context and play-style. Shenmue cost Sega over $70 million and it shows. Shadow of Memories cost Konami a lot less, and it looks and plays just as well.
As far as an adventure game goes, with truly old-school play mechanics and storyline, little will touch Shadow of Memories for sheer inventiveness.