Shadowrun was an interesting title for the Super Nintendo (Sega’s version is COMPLETELY different). Partly because it predated their “Play it Loud” campaign by a full year, even though it had quite mature elements to it (for starters your guy just got axed/murdered/is dead). Shadowrun is also unique in that it was a cyber punk adventure, no not something like, well there aren’t a lot of references on console for this genre (there is Snatcher but that was a completely different game). This was an action/role playing game that did its best to bring the FASA tabletop game to the Super Nintendo. While the industry gave Shadowrun rave reviews and multiple awards, the fans simply did not show up to support it at retail. That is a shame because it is truly an interesting, if not over the head of the SNES’ target audience, action role playing game.
Starting out in Shadowrun you are, well for all intents and purposes, dead. You actually wake up in the morgue and scare the morticians tasked with handling your remains. This is a good introduction to the controls and how things work in Shadowrun, probably one reason not many gamers showed up to support it- it was quite different than the usual SNES releases.
Having the main man behind an earlier Nintendo Entertainment System title, Nightshade, helped bring the atmosphere of Shadowrun to the forefront. It does look spooky, dirty and gritty, that is for sure. The style, the story, the setting, it was all there but it was just not arranged quite right to garner attention from tabletop fans nor console gamers. Had this been released on personal computers it would probably have sold like hotcakes in a lumberjack diner.
There were multiple problems behind the scenes as a new generation of game development was taking hold. I won’t go into detail on that because I wasn’t there. I can safely say though, fans of film noir gaming (a recent release in this style was Heavy Rain on the Playstation 3) should check this one out. Shadowrun is interesting but does have a learning curve that may turn most off.
Due to licensing issues we will probably never see a re-release of Shadowrun on the Virtual Console, Steam or any other platform, at least not the SNES version. There have been recent releases on iOS, Android and Steam though they are quite different beasts.
Shadowrun is available from these stores: