Shadow Complex

Game review by
Brett Molina, Common Sense Media
Shadow Complex Game Poster Image
Explosive downloadable shooter pays homage to classic games.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The lead character must rescue his girlfriend, and thwart a terrorist attack targeting San Francisco.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The player acts as a hero, attempting to save his girlfriend and halting a military attack.

Ease of Play

Each weapon and item the player uses is accompanied by an optional tutorial to help. Players start simply, using jump, shoot, and melee buttons.  The game slowly introduces new techniques throughout and then provides a way for the player to use the technique regularly to grow comfortable.


Players kill enemies with a variety of weapons, including handguns, machine guns, grenades, missiles and melee attacks. However, no blood or graphic imagery is depicted.


Characters use words like 'damn' and 'hell.'

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a dowloadable shooter presented in a classic side-scrolling style, similar to classic games such as Metroid. Players assume the role of a hiker who must save his girlfriend and stop a mysterious military group from attacking San Francisco.  Players use weapons such as handguns, machine guns, grenades and missiles. However, the game does not depict any graphic or gory images during attacks.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byReekyLearner August 20, 2009

Fun, but cutscenes more graphic than gameplay

I have not yet completed the game, but I did want to clarify the rating above.


In the middle of the game, there is a cutscene in which... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 27, 2018

Shadow complex review

Shadow complex is a great game with some tricky yet rewarding platforming , combat can be approached sneekally with a mayley attack or guns blazing I personally... Continue reading

What's it about?

SHADOW COMPLEX follows two hikers, Jason and Claire, as they stumble upon a mysterious military base during a day trip. Claire wanders off and is eventually captured by soldiers of the base. As Jason, players must infiltrate the facility and rescue her. While exploring the base, using armor, weapons, and other gadgets to aid him, Jason learns the military group is planning an attack on San Francisco, which he attempts to thwart.

Is it any good?

The game is a wonderful combination of classic side-scrolling, exploration, and explosive action. The environment is huge, and littered with tons of hidden objects such as armor or weapon upgrades, giving players plenty of incentive to explore. Navigating is entertaining as well, as players must make huge leaps or traverse vents to find new rooms.

Combat is very gratifying, particularly once you maximize the weapon and armor upgrades that turn you into a super-powered hero.  Although the game takes place on a two-dimensional plane, it delivers gorgeous 3D graphics. Plumes of smoke appear after explosions, while rooms inside the base boast intricate details. The game lasts roughly 6-7 hours, but players can also tackle the Proving Grounds, a series of timed challenges. Results are then posted to online leaderboards highlighting the best scores and times. Overall, Shadow Complex is arguably one of Xbox Live's best downloadable games.

Online interaction: Online interaction is limited to leaderboards players can view to compare their scores and times in campaign mode against other players around the world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • How does this game compare to the classic side-scrollers it attempts to emulate, such as Metroid?

  • What do you think of downloadable games versus disc copies inside a box?  What are the advantages/disadvantages to downloadable games?

Game details

  • Platforms: Xbox 360
  • Price: $15.00
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Microsoft
  • Release date: August 19, 2009
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: T for Mild Language, Violence
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

Our editors recommend

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