Shadow Of The Beast II

Publisher: Psygnosis
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #67

Shadow Of The Beast II

The plight of your family makes the Simpsons look cosy. I mean first there was that unfortunate incident where you were kidnapped and turned into a beast-messenger by Maletoth, the Beast Lord. Years of mindless servitude ended only when you saw your father sacrificed to Maletoth. This broke the spell which had controlled you, freeing you to confront the forces of darkness. Using your beast powers you fought through dozens of monsters and traps to defeat Zelek, the Beast Mage. Your victory returned you to humanoid form and calmed your blood rage.

Zelek's defeat has put him on the edge of death, and he knows he must be successful in his next task for Maletoth - finding your replacement. He searches long and hard before finding your mother, and her newborn baby girl. Zelek instantly transforms into his beast form - a hideous monster with huge leathery wings. A short flight takes him to their cottage where he smashes through the roof to snatch the infant.

Your grief-stricken mother soon passes the news to you, filling you with undeserved guilt - and an unstoppable drive to save the child. All your money is spent on buying passage to Kara Moon on Tragon, an incredibly dangerous place now occupied by Zelek and his minions.

Shadow Of The Beast II

Armed only with a mace, you step fearlessly into the massive trap Zelek has set for you. To rescue your sister you must find Zelek and defeat him.

Beast II follows the basic format of the first Shadow Of The Beast - a multi-directional scrolling arcade-adventure - but with numerous enhancements and differences. You can collect gold to buy weapons or food (restoring energy). You can also interact with other characters. Press 'O' to offer an object to someone and press 'A' to ask about an object or character (you can input text here!).


Beast II makes no compromises for anyone who found the original difficult: once again a few careless moves sees your single life crumble into bonemeal. This is irksome for reviewers, but for people who want their £35 to stretch over weeks not hours, it might be more welcome.

Shadow Of The Beast II

Certainly the more you play, the more apparent the attack patterns become so the impossible becomes plausible. The sheer variety of creatures, from massive humanoids to nicely-animated leaping blobs, is obviously one of the main attractions of Beast II. The famous, multi-layered background scroll has been sacrificed to allow much more detail in these and they're very impressive indeed. And this time interaction isn't limited to punching - the text input provides plenty of opportunity for intricate puzzles and an intriguing storyline.

There's also plenty of switches to throw so if you fancy an beautiful-looking arcade adventure requiring pixel-perfect leaps and combat, this fits the bill. It isn't as compulsively playable as say Blood Money, but it's a more open-ended game: you have no idea what will happen next - another monster attack, or a priest wanting to talk.


This must be one of the most frustrating games ever; it's so flippin' difficult. My goes lasted no longer than a couple of minutes. Even with an infinite energy cheat, the game is hard enough and totally merciless to any mistakes, like doing tasks in slightly the wrong order.

Shadow Of The Beast II

Some of the puzzles are quite clever and, with hindsight, logical, but the basic game content resembles a simple, linear adventure with some very testing beat-'em-up action thrown in to make things harder.

Superlative, imaginative graphics and a stunning soundtrack create a good atmosphere but even they can't quite make up for the overall lack of depth and ridiculously high difficulty level.


Presentation 85%
'Free' Beast II T-shirt, great intro mixing text and cinematic scenes, good death pic (which can be turned off to save time)

Shadow Of The Beast II

Graphics 85%
A great variety of imaginative creatures, superbly animated and detailed. But there's nothing to gasp over here as you did over the original's parallax scroll.

Sound 88%
A subtly rousing soundtrack, impressive and changing according to circumstance. Great death-sequence guitar solo.

Hookability 73%
Very difficult, just one life and limited energy mean you're soon waiting for it to reload the beginning.

Lastability 69%
A fair-sized quest, with some very neat puzzles, is made virtually impossible by fiendish difficulty.

Overall 72%
Not as graphically awesome as the original, while improved game structure is hampered by a stupidly high difficulty level. But Psygnosis still show off the Amiga better than anyone else.