The Metroid comparisons are apt, considering the amount of powerups and items you get along the way. But one thing that’s different is the way both handle backtracking.
In Metroid games backtracking feels tedious because you’re going back through areas you’ve already completed, getting lost in them, trying to remember where some door was.
It feels like this:
Whereas in Shadow Complex the progression of the game doesn’t mean having to go back through entire areas. Actually, it’s circular. It’s more like this:
So backtracking never actually feels like backtracking, which makes it much less frustrating than the types of games it’s modeled after.
The story runs parallel to the events in Empire by Orson Scott Card. That’s okay, I guess, but it makes Shadow Complex feel like a promotional effort instead of a franchise that can stand on its own. I have no interest in finding out what happens next.
That’s probably not a big deal with most arcade titles. I got through it in just over 5 hours. If you miss the Super Metroid days you should try it out.