Walker Boh Ohmsford’s Guide to:
Shades of Doom by GMA Games
3. Frequently Asked Questions
4. Game Controls
5. The Game Story
6. Items and Equipment
9. Game Menus
2. Level 2
3. Level 3
4. Level 4
5. Level 5.
6. Level 6
7. Level 7
8. Level 8.
9. Level 9
1. Shades of Doom Review
2. Closing Statement and Email Disclaimer
This document is copyright 2004 by Walker Boh Ohmsford AKA Bryan Peterson. Shades of Doom is the property of David Greenwood and the good folks at GMA Games who brought this gem to us. In regards to this guide, you can do whatever you want with it so long as it remains unaltered and no profit is made from it. That’s not what it’s for.
For many a long year, we blind and/or visually challenged folks have been left in the dust as far as computer games and video games were concerned. Companies did everything to improve the graphics while doing nothing to improve the accessibility of their games. While there were computer games for the Apple II that were designed for us blind folks, those required external speech synthesisers like the Echo II in order to run properly. But now thanks to Direct X technology and the various programming languages (not to mention the many screen reading programs out there such as JAWS), it’s become possible to make games for us blind folks. It’s even possible for us blind folks to make our own games…provided of course that we have the patience and the know-how. One of these games, the one to which this guide will refer, is GMA Games’ Shades of Doom.
Shades of Doom is based on the legendary Doom series of computer games. Both games feature a character making his way through a labyrinthine enemy territory, fighting off hoards of vicious aliens and mutants on their way to an ultimate goal. In the case of Shades of Doom, your goal is to shut down an ill fated military experiment that could spread chaos across the planet.
One of the most important features of an accessible game (if not the most important one of all), is its sound and music. Shades of Doom (or Sod as we shall refer to it), features superb music and sound. While the voice of the EVA (Envirometric Vector Analyzer), can become a little annoying at times, it is possible to adjust it so that it speaks only when you need it to. The EVA is there to advise you of your character’s status, the weapons he’s carrying as well as the items in his inventory, as well as items he just collected. It also includes an optional audio navigator which will let you know when you’re coming up to a fork in the road. You can set this feature to Off if you don’t feel you need it, but it’s always available even when you’ve told it not to automatically alert you. You can get that information with a few keystrokes which I’ll talk about later in the guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section will include questions sent to me by readers of this guide as well as the answers to them. But just for the heck of it, here are a few questions that could conceivably come up.
Q. Why doesn’t a big gaming site like Gamefaqs have any info on this game?
A. Probably ‘cuz they don’t know about it. Shame, too, ‘cuz they’re missing out on a lot of fun.
Q. Let’s say I wanna try it but don’t wanna buy it in case I hate it.
A. You can download a demo that lets you play the first level on all five difficulty settings.
Q. Now the big question: Where do I find it?
A. It can be found at www.gmagames.com.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. It costs about $35.00, ten bucks more if you want the game on CD.
Q. How do I complete such and such a level?
A. You can either keep trying yourself or read on.
Q. How do I avoid getting lost or backtracking?
A. It’s a good idea to mark each room as you visit it. Then if you reenter it by mistake, the EVA will automatically remind you by saying “Marker,” followed by a number. The game numbers each marker sequencially as you place it. You can place thirty markers per area. It’s also a good idea, once you’ve completed a level, to tell the game to create a map of that level as a .dat file which can then be sent to a Braille printer. Then you have a tactual reference if you need it. I’ve never done this but then again I lack a braille printer as yet.
Q. How do I set markers and make maps?
A. The game will tell you how, but it’ll also be covered in this guide.
Q. How do I kill such and such a monster.
A. You can either experiment yourself (always a lot of fun), or spoil it by reading ahead. Not that I mind helping y’all out, but it’s immensely satisfying when you can say you found out how to do something all by yourself.
Here are the keystrokes that will see you safely through the game.
Left Arrow: Turn a little left. Press in conjunction with Control to snap 90 degrees to the left. This is useful in combat if you need to change directions quickly. You can also press the Left Arrow inconjunction with the Shift key to sidestep, which is useful in avoiding enemy attacks. Granted I haven’t quite got the hang of the finer points of combat, but…
Right Arrow: Same as Left Arrow except to the right. Again, press Control Right Arrow to snap 90 degrees to the right. You can also sidestep to the right by pressing Right plus Shift.
Down Arrow: Walk backwards. Press with Control to face in the opposite direction from the one you were traveling in. If you’re traveling north, press Control Down Arrow to turn around and head south. If you miss a door and want to go back and explore it, this is handy. It’s also useful if you’re in a tough fight and need to turn back around and deal with an enemy that’s behind you.
Up Arrow: Walk forwards. Press Shift+Up Arrow to start your character walking continuously. This is useful, because the character will automatically stop when he reaches a wall. He won’t do that if you just hold down the button yourself. While the sound he makes when he runs into a wall is extremely amusing even when you hear it frequently, it does slow you down, and no doubt our hero gets a splitting headache after too much pounding.
Space Bar: Use equipped weapon.
Numbers 1 through 9: Switch between available weapons. If you hear a click when you press a number, it means you don’t yet have the weapon associated with that number.
F1: Game Menu. Brings up the menu that offers the help subsections and the options menu.
F2: Press to hear Character Status.
F3: Save game Menu.
F4: Load Game Menu.
F5: Weapons Menu.
F6: Press to hear what Data Wafers you’ve collected, how many of each you have and how many wafers are left to find on the current level.
F7: Press to hear game information such as current score, current level and what difficulty you’re on. The lowest is “It’s my turn, Daddy,” while the highest is “It’s a good day to die.”
O: Toggle Object Locator on and off.
Control O: Hear the name of and distance to the closest object.
M: Hear the distance to the closest monster
Control M: Hear the name of the closest monster.
A: Press to hear how much ammo you have for your current weapon (if applicable).
S: Turns Night Scope on and off.
Control S: Press this to hear the amount of battery life left in your Night Scope (this is given as a percentage), and whether it is on or off.
Tab: Press to open the inventory, where you can use an item by pressing Enter or the letter U, or drop it by pressing D. Once dropped an item can’t be retrieved as far as I know.
Enter: This is your Interaction button. Press it when you come to doors (although many will open automatically unless they’re locked). The Enter key also allows you to signal for a door to close after you’ve cleared it.
V: Have I visited here before? Dunno, press V to find out. The game will say either Yes or No.
Control V: Set Marker. This is a good way to help you avoid getting lost. If you enter a room you visited before and marked, the EVA will alert you.
W: Where am I? Press W to learn your coordinants (although I find that very confusing).
Control W: This tells the game to create a map of the level as a .dat file which you can print later on. It’s best to wait till you’ve visited all the rooms. Then your info will be as complete as you can make it.
F: Press to hear the direction you’re facing. Note that if you hear the voice and it’s off center, let’s say just to your left, you’ll know you’re not facing in exactly that direction. If it says North and you hear it in your left speaker, it means you’re facing in a northeasterly direction and not directly north.
N: Look immediately ahead. The EVA will tell you if there’s a passage to the left or right or if the passage you’re in terminates, but little else.
Control N: Look ahead ninety feet. The EVA will give you more specific information, such as the passage ends in ten feet, or there is a passage to the left in twenty feet. This is also a useful tool to avoid becoming disoriented.
C: Check Speaker Orientation. The game will say, “You should be hearing this sound in the left speaker.” You should run this check to make sure you’ve got your speakers set up properly, as if they’re not configured properly you’ll have major trouble getting through the game..
R: Realign to the last 90 degrees. If you don’t remember what direction you were facing last, press R to snap back to it. It’s a useful tool when you get turned around after a tight battle.
Control R: Reset Sound Card. The game stores the sounds for each level in memory so it doesn’t have to go grab them off the hard disk each time it needs them. When starting a new level, it’s a good idea to reset your sound card, which clears all the old sounds out of memory and makes room for the new set.
P: Pause Game.
Well, I think that about covers the controls section. Phew! Now let’s move on!
Your mission is to make your way through the military research base and shut down the ill fated Experiment. Throughout the base you’ll find clues as to how to do this, as well as vicious beasts waiting to slaughter unwary adventurers. If you want the story directly from the horse’s mouth, it’s in the game manual, which can be accessed using a screen reader. There’s also an audio file of it in the SOD directory under c:\program files\shades of doom. It’s done by Kelly Sapergia and it’s extremely interesting.
Items and Equipment
This section will discuss the items and equipment in the game, including but not limited to your EVA belt and Night Scope.
The Envirometric Vector Analyzer (EVA), is chalk full of useful information, so make use of it to the fullest. It will inform you of your status and other important details. Accessing its many features was discussed in the Controls section, but the game will also tell you via the Help menu and the documentation.
The Object Locator
This is just one of the features of your EVA belt. When you get close to an object such as a door, item or even a trap, the locator will alert you with a constant beeping sound, provided of course that you have it turned on. If you get farther away from the object, the beeping will decrease in pitch and become quieter, and vice versa as you draw closer. When you actually reach the object, the locator will produce a chirpy sort of sound and then stop beeping again until you come close to the next object. Note that the locator works through walls, so it can sometimes confuse you when you hear that a door is in six feet but you can’t get to it from where you are. Try finding alternate routes.
The Night Scope
This handy device is useful in combat. You can tell when it’s activated because it will produce a quiet ping sound which will become louder as you get closer to a monster. When the monster comes within range of your current weapon, the Night Scope will produce a beeping both louder and higher in pitch than the normal tone. Be warned that it has limited battery power, so you’ll have to stock up on batteries. It’s best not to keep the scope on at all times. Only turn it on when you know there are monsters in a room. Otherwise it’s best to keep it turned off to save battery life.
These all-important devices will restore a measure of your health. Sometimes if you’re lucky, one will heal you completely, though this doesn’t always happen. One determining factor is how much health you had when you used it, but this isn’t always the case. Keep as many on hand as you can, as you won’t get far without them.
These are this game’s version of keys. You’ll need them at various points to unlock doors, crates and levers.
Timed and Blast Mines
These explosives will detonate after ten seconds. You may need to blow open a wall to reach a specific area. Just make sure you aren’t caught in the blast radius or you’ll suffer damage, or, if you’re standing right there, you’ll be killed. Unlike Bio Disrupter Mines, Timed and Blast Mines will destroy objects as well as life forms. If a monster is caught in the blast and it was carrying an item, that item will be destroyed along with the monster that was carrying it.
Proximity Bio Disrupter Mine
These explosives will detonate when any living thing or moving object comes within range (about three feet). Make sure you don’t get too close after the countdown ends or you’ll be killed. Occasionally, monsters will drop these explosives right next to items so you can’t approach without triggering the blast. These devices, unlike the Timed Mines, only destroy living things.
Proximity Blast Mines
SO far as I know these work exactly like Bio Disrupter mines. They detonate when something comes within range.
Found in Area 6, this device wil teleport you to one of three areas within a given level. It can actually get you out of a tight fix, but it can also get you into one if you’re not careful with it or it can simply get you lost. Still, don’t be afraid to experiment with it.
Cup of Coffee
Found in the coffee machine on level 6, Coffee increases your maximum health level by small amounts. However, its one major sideeffect is that it seems to lower your current health percentage. For example you could be at 50% health (half in otherwords), then you’ll drink coffee and be at 49%. Fortunately the coffee doesn’t actually kill you. IT’ll lower your health to about 14% and then simply not do anything. Unfortunately though, Med Kits only seem to restore small amounts of health when you do this.
These aren’t listed in the inventory. You press F6 to hear how many you’ve collected. Anyway, you need to collect as many of these as possible. They come in four colors, Yellow, White, Blue and Green. You’ll need some of each color in order to complete the game, and you have to use them in a specific order.
These are simply clues to how to shut down the experiment. There’s one in almost every level. They tell you what order to place the Data Wafers. For instance, if a message says “White 1,” it means the first Wafer you have to use will be white.
Obviously, the batteries in your Night Scope aren’t gonna last forever, so make sure you find some more!
This is one of the two weapons you start with. Though it does slightly more damage than the gun with which you’re also equipped, it requires you to get closer to the monster, and some of these beasties can kill you real quick if you’re not careful.
Manual Bolt Gun
You start with this weapon and 100 rounds of ammo. It has longer range than the knife but does less damage. Still, it can often save you from unnecessary harm except that its rate of fire is rather slow.
Semi-automatic Bolt Gun
This weapon has a slightly better rate of fire than the Manual Bolt Gun, but eats up your ammo more quickly. Still, it’s a step up from the manual one, so I’m not complaining.
Automatic Bolt Gun
This is a fully automatic weapon. It does loads of damage but eats up your ammo like nobody’s business!
This weapon does some serious damage. In fact it’s sometimes instantly fatal to whatever it touches, even Cyborgs. Unfortunately it’s always instantly fatal to you, so be careful if you happen to be on the receiving end!
Like the Chainsaw, this weapon uses Insendiary Ammo. It does loads of damage, so keep some ammo handy! Just bear in mind that its rate of fire is very slow.
Ah, you knew a laser weapon was gonna show up sooner or later. Shortly after getting your first Power Pack Ammunition, you’ll find this weapon. It seems to do major damage, requiring only a few shots to take down most monsters. Given this piece of information, I’m glad I haven’t as yet been on the receiving end. Only Gelatinous Blobs seem to have any resistance to this weapon. The only flaw I find with it is that its rate of fire is extremely slow, but again this can be advantageous if you’re fighting a monster that’s carrying one, especially since this weapon seems to have excellent range.
This is one of my favorite weapons aside from the Automatic Bolt Gun. Like the Bio Disrupter, it does major damage. Keep some Power Pack Ammo handy for this one! Its rate of fire isn’t as quick as that of the Automatic Bolt Gun and it does require you to get a bit closer to the monster, but its damage is more than adequate as far as I’m concerned.
Shades of Doom features a variety of vicious beasts waiting to slaughter unwary adventurers. Here’s a list of them.
Mutant Dog: These beasties are quite fast but don’t hit as hard as Mutant Humans. Still, it takes quite a lot of bullets to bring one down and quite a few stabs with the knife as well.
Mutant Human: They’re not as fast as the dogs, but they can hit harder and have the added advantage of being able to use weapons, so watch your step.
Insane Scientist: These guys won’t actually hurt you. All they do is run by you, laugh maniacally and steal items from you each time they touch you. You can get the stolen goods back, but you have to kill the culprit in order to do so and they’re not easy to kill.
Cyborg: These robotic beasties seem to hit quite hard most times. Ammo can kill them while keeping you more or less out of range of their attacks, but I don’t necessarily like doing it that way. It can take as many as twenty or thirty! shots with a gun to bring one down and only three to six or so stabs with the knife or the Chainsaw. It’s up to you, but if you’re an ammo savin’, risk takin’ kinda guy, the knife or Chainsaw is the way to go.
Mutant Bird: Found in levels 4 and onward, these beasties will fly at you, squawking loudly, and attack. They take only a few shots with a gun and a few stabs with a knife or Chainsaw.
Giant Rat: These rats don’t do much damage and they only take about two to three shots from a gun, but they’re annoying, so watch out.
Turret Gun: These machines rotate and fire bullets at you. It takes quite a few shots to nail one, so I’d suggest going with an automatic weapon, thereby keeping your distance and attacking reeeally fast. If you want to conserve Projectile Ammo, you can use a Laser Pistol or Bio Disrupter, both of which seem to work admirably on Turret Guns.
Gelatinous Blob: These bizarre creations first show up in level 2, found in the toilet. It can take over a hundred! Shots to nail one, even with an automatic weapon. Also, they do loads of damage to you. Even if you’re at full health, one of these things can kill you in at most three hits (usyou're usually not that lucky), so be extra careful and don’t get too close! The most effective weapon against these things is the Chainsaw, but again that requires you to come dangerously close to the blobs, so use caution.
Temperal Disturbance: This bizarre manifestation shows up on level 6 and higher. It appears completely at random and, if it catches you, it’ll warp you to a different area of the level. So far as I know the only way to get rid of it is with mines, and that can be tricky. The only other thing you can do is to try to run from it and hope you’re faster than it.
Silent Walker: Unlike other monsters, Silent Walkers don’t growl, roar or do anything like that to alert you to their presence. However you can hear their footsteps and key on those. I haven’t had one hit me yet so I can’t say what kind of damage they can do. It takes only a few shots with the Laser Pistol to bring one down.
Help: This provides all the same info I listed in the controls section as well as some other info which I eluded to but didn’t go into detail about Each section is divided into categories such as movement, game, monsters and objects, etc. Access the menu at any time during the game by pressing F1.
Options: Adjusts various program settings such as background music, ambient sounds and such. It also allows you to toggle the Audio Navigator on and off, though you have to enter and reenter the menu if you want to adjust it from Off to Full or even from Full to Partial. This is one thing I hope they correct if the GMA game engine is ever updated.
Save Menu: This just lets you save your game in one or more of nine slots. You may want to back your saved game up so if you mess up on one file you have another to fall back on. Press F3 to access this menu.
Load Menu: Press F4 to access this menu. You don’t access this from the game’s main menu. You have to actually start a level. Anyway, this menu lets you load one of your saved games.
Inventory: Lets you access your inventory where you can use or drop an item. Press Tab to open it.
Weapon Menu: Press F5 to open it. It lets you switch between various weapons, though you can do this much more quickly simply by pressing the number that corresponds with the weapon you want.
Items: Body Armor, Med Kit, Projectile Ammunition, Security Chip, Semi-Automatic Bolt Gun, Proximity Bio Disrupter Mine, Timed and Blast Mine.
Total Data Wafers: 8
You start this level in a long hallway facing West. Off to your left, you hear the sound of an emergency alert. Start your character walking briskly forward until you hear the Object Locator begin to beep. This is your first door, so align yourself to it and walk forward. There is usually nothing in this room, but frequently I've encountered my first enemy here, and it’s usually carried a useful item such as Body Armor or a Data Wafer. Note that if you hear a sort of jungle beat along with the growls of the monster(s), it means one or more of them are behind you, so watch out! Anyway, kill anything you meet in here, grab any discarded items and mark the room. Head out and seal the door behind you. Turn West again and continue to the next room There’s almost always at least one monster in this room, so unless you’re using Training Mode, be careful. Collect any items and mark the room.
The passage should make a turn at this point, so turn and follow it. There are no rooms in this passage, so continue on until the passage turns again.
There are three rooms in this corridor. The second one has a hole in the floor. Don’t fall in! You’ll wind up in the middle of Area 2 and more than likely you’ll be hopelessly disoriented. Either that or, if you have a demo of the game, the game will end. Anyway, you should still enter the room to collect any items you might find and make a marker.
Very soon the passage should make yet another turn. Follow it and it’ll turn yet again.
Head West. There are various doorless rooms (alcoves actually), on both the left and righthand sides of the passage. Most of the time they don’t hold any items, but you should always enter and check them out even if you don’t actually want to mark them. Occasionally they’ll hold monsters carrying useful stuff. When this passage turns South, follow it.
Follow this new passage until it turns again (hmmm, going around in circles). Anyway, there are no rooms along this passage, so follow it until it turns again.
There is only one door in this new passage, and it’s at the end. There’s nowhere else to go, so enter it and dispatch any enemies. It actually appears to be a series of rooms connected by passages. You’re going to have to use them to make any progress. There’ll eventually be a door, behind which you’ll find…whoa! Hoards of monsters! Not to worry, if you’ve been careful, your health should get you through. Take any items you find and continue on.
This part can be kinda tricky. You’re coming to your first Message, which is in a doorless room on a passage going North and South. I had to use a Timed and Blast Mine to get to it. It’s possible to get it without using any Mines, but thus far I’ve only managed to do it a few times. You just have to approach it just right. Sidestepping seems to work very well. The same goes for getting out once you have the message.
Anyway, make sure you have some way of writing down what the message says. You’re gonna need it at the end of the game. If it says White 1, the first Data Wafer you’ll place will be a white one. Also note that you should have eight Data Wafers in all at this point, or if not you’ll be just about to get the last one or two. Anyway, continue on.
What? Locked? Where am I s’posed to go now? Simple. Use the Security Chip you got earlier (its location is random each time you play). You’ll hear a noise not unlike the ringing of a cell phone. This lets you know the door is unlocked. Now you can open it. This is the final room of the level. In here are a Semi-automatic Bolt Gun, more ammunition and usually one or more Mutant Dogs/Humans. Remember that Mutant Humans can and will use weapons, so be careful! You might also find one or more Data Wafers depending on whether or not you’ve collected all eight in the level before now. Anyway, save your game if you want, then walk up and enter the lift to area 2!
Items: Projectile Ammunition, Timed and Blast Mine, Med Kit, security Chip, Scope Batteries, Flat Armor, Chainsaw.
Total Data Wafers: 7
This level’s a bit more confusing than the prior one. You start out standing in an East/West corridor and you’re facing East. Once again, off to your left you hear the sound of the emergency alert. Anyway, the passage ends abruptly after about forty feet.
Immediately on starting, turn and head North. The first room is usually empty, so just enter and mark it but don’t worry about exploring.
Head North and follow the passage as it turns. Yes, you’re going around in circles. Note that your Object Locator can see this level’s message very early on, but there is no door into that room. Your only means of getting the message is via a Timed Mine, but I find it easier to wait to do that, as you’ll be able to spot the message again just before the Elevator Room.
Kill the Cyborg and head North. Make sure your health is good, since at this point you’re not likely to have more than two Med Kits. Also note that beyond level 1, the Training Mode option is no longer available.
In the room/passage with the toilet, walk up to it and position yourself so that the locator sound is in the center of the speakers. And no, he doesn’t need to go to the bathroom. Quickly drop a Disrupter Mine down the toilet and flush it (puts me in mind of a certain Simpsons episode). Then get away. There are blobs in the toilet which will kill you instantly if you stand there too long. Once the mine takes ‘em all out, head back to the privy. Ah, time for a pee break. Just kidding. But there is more ammo here and occasionally a Data Wafer!
The next room doesn’t seem to have much in it except a few Cyborgs, but you should always check it out just in case you get lucky.
Head West. The next room is the Radio Room. In here you’ll hear a radio that’s apparently not tuned properly. Too bad, ‘cuz I was in the mood for some Tom Petty. You’ll also find some more batteries for your Night Scope! Use ‘em well. They’re not the only set you’ll find in the game, but still, don’t go crazy with ‘em!
Leave the Radio Room. Turn and head West again. The next room is actually a series of rooms connected by passages, and it can be very difficult sometimes to know where you’re going. Just work your way through and use the doors to enter each room. You can press V to find out if you’ve already been in a room and, if you marked it on your first pass through, the EVA will remind you. You can also key in on the sounds of electrical equipment in some of these rooms. That’s one of the reasons why you should avoid taking out equipment as much as you can. It can be used to help get your bearings.
After these interconnected rooms, you’re back in a series of passages. BTW, you should also have found a better suit of armor, either that or you’re just about to. You’ll also find a Chainsaw very soon (but again you may already have), which does major damage to whatever it touches, even Cyborgs!
Ok, we’re on the home stretch. At this point or at least very soon, your Object Locator should again begin to detect this level’s message. Again, the room it’s located in has no door, so your only option is to use a Timed Mine. Just make sure you detonate it when you’re no less than ten or twelve feet from the message or you’ll likely blow it up. It took me two mines to do it my first time through, I think because I was probably in the wrong spot when I detonated the first one. Grab the message and write it down somewhere. My preferred method is to create a document in Microsoft Word or maybe Notepad and write down each message as I find it.
Very soon you should be coming up on the door leading to the Elevator Room. If you haven’t found all seven Data Wafers in this level, don’t sweat. You should find the last one(s) pretty soon. Use your one Security Chip to unlock the door and head in. If there are any monsters in here, be careful. I’ve noticed that Mutant Humans from this point on tend to carry either Chainsaws or guns. Equip one of your guns so you can attack from a safe distance. Usually they carry items. Once you’re done a-killin’ and a-thievin’ stuff, head up to the Elevator and get ready for level 3!
Items: Projectile Ammunition, Automatic Bolt Gun, Insendiary Amunition, Med Kit, Security Chip, Scope Batteries
Total Data Wafers: 9
I will warn you right now that, for me at least, level 3 was the most frustrating, and not because of any real difficulty in fighting the monsters. It’s extremely confusing. I’ll list the things you should find and their locations as best I can, but remember that most item locations are randomly generated each time you play through the game.
In fact there seem to be only two items whose locations aren’t random. The first is the next set of Scope Batteries. It’s in yet another Radio Room which can sometimes be difficult to access.
Also remember to push the blinking button when you come to it. It opens the door to the Message Room. I prefer doing it this way than attempting to use the secret entrance found in the first or second room.
When you reach the gas jet near the Elevator Room, don’t walk into it. Each time it does 3% damage to you, which can add up real quick. Face it and shoot it once to blow it up.
By the time you reach the Elevator Room, you should have found all nine Data Wafers, the message (obviously), and about three or four Med Kits and three? Sets of Projectile Ammunition. You might also run across Insendiary Ammo. Note that in this level, the two Security Chips you should have collected so far aren’t interchangeable. That is to say one of them is specifically for the main door leading to the final room and the other is for the wooden crate you’ll find in the room itself. Use the second chip to unlock the wooden crate...to get a nasty surprise! Remember, the blobs can kill you real quick, usually in just one hit! Quickly grab your Chainsaw or Automatic Bolt Gun and attack. Don’t stop till the blob is dead and, of course, don’t get too close! If you want to use the chainsaw and save gun ammo, my advice is not to stay in one place. Hit the blob once or twice, run away and let it come to you. Repeat until blob is dead, otherwise grab your machine gun and blow it to bits. After the blob bites the---uhm---jelly, you’ll find another Security Chip and possibly some more Insendiary Ammo. Use this final Security Chip on the elevator and enter it to be taken to level 4!
Items: Med Kit, Security Chip, Projectile Ammo, Scope Batteries
Total Data Wafers: 5
This level was actually pretty easy. I believe it is here that you encounter your first Mutant Bird. One by itself isn’t all that tough. It’s when loads of ‘em come after you that you start to run into trouble.
Like I said this level was actually not that hard for me. My only mix-up was that I missed the message. If you do, just make a guess when you get to level 9. But if you really want to find it, it’s in yet another doorless room which can only be accessed via a mine. As I recall it's in one of the rooms right next to the one with the teleporter. Anyway, if memory serves it’s here that you also encounter your first Turret Gun. These can be taken out with a sustained burst from your automatic weapon. Don’t get too close, because the bullets can sometimes hurt a lot.
This time when you get to the end of the level, you’ll notice that there’s no elevator. Instead there’s just a lever on the wall. Use your Security Chip to unlock it and then push it to open the door to level 5.
Items: Mesh Armor, Security Chip, Projectile Ammo, Flamethrower, Insendiary Ammo, Scope Batteries
Total Data Wafers: 7
This level was a bit tricky for me. It’s just a matter of finding where to go and dealing with the hoards of monsters that come boiling out of some of these rooms. One case is the flock of Mutant Birds that actually killed me several times before I could bring them down. Just make sure you collect all the Data Wafers, as well as all the items you find. Grab the Flamethrower from one of the Mutant Humans.
You’ll notice that when you try to open the door to the Elevator Room, you get a nasty electrical shock that does as much as 10% damage to you and even more sometimes. There’s no way to disable that. In the room of teleporters, select the left one to be taken to the Lift Room. The right one takes you to the Message Room, which has no exit.My suggestion is to go there once to learn this level’s message, restore the game and just not go there again. Also , you can use a Timed Mine to escape. My suggestion is to save your game just inside the Teleporter Room so that if you make a mistake and choose the wrong transporter, you can restore the game and be right where you want to.
Anyway, take the left teleporter when you’re ready to go on to level 6. Walk up to the elevator, unlock it with your one Security Chip and enter. Level 6 awaits!
Items: Power Pack Ammunition, Bio Disrupter, Proximity Blast Mine, Security Chip, Transport Pad, Cup of Coffee , Med Kit, Power Armor
Total Data Wafers: 7
This level can be tricky, both because it’s slightly confusing and also because of the bizarre manifestation known simply as the Temperal Disturbance. This phenomenon appears randomly and, if it touches you, will warp you to a different part of the level. Just collect all the items and Data Wafers. If you want to get the Temperal Disturbance off your back, you can enter the room with it, drop a mine and get out quick, Just try to close the door so the monster can’t get out. The mine will blow it up and you can continue on unmolested. Another way to do it is to lure it out of its room, drop a mine, get out of the area and close the exit. It's not always advisable to try and corner the disturbance in its own room as it moves really fast. Open the door, let it out, drop a mine then run for the nearest exit, making sure to close it behind you.
Notice the room with the Coffee Machine. You can drink as much coffee as you want. Coffee increases your maximum life meter, but be careful. It lowers your current health percentage. If you’re at 50% health (half in otherwords), and you drink a cup of coffee you can lose as much as 10% of your remaining health. Just keep that in mind before drinking coffee.
Once you’ve got this level’s message and found both Security Chips and all the data wafers, find your way to the Elevator Room and proceed to level 7. You’re almost done!
Items: Insendiary Ammo, Projectile Ammo, Security Chip, Med Kit, Scope Batteries, Laser Pistol, Power Pack Ammo, Timed and Blast Mine, Proximity Blast Mine, Proximity Bio Disrupter Mine
Total Data Wafers: 8
This level can be tricky. First of all there’s another Temperal Disturbance and a few Gelatinous Blobs to deal with. Unfortunately, they seem to like each other, ‘cuz I often find them in the same room, which makes it really tough to deal with them. You have to be careful about killing the Blobs because the Disturbance is always hurrying to catch you, and when you try to get the Temperal Disturbance off your back you’ve got Blobs doing major damage to you. My advice is to try to kill the Blobs, then shut the door to the room without going in. Then you can heal if you have to. Then real quickly open the door, step into the room, drop a mine and then get out before the Disturbance catches up to you. With luck it’ll trigger the blast and be blown to bits or whatever. Use a Proximity Blast Mine, as I find they’re less likely to take out any powerup items. It does blow doors off their hinges if it detonates close enough to them.
It took me a really long time to locate the elevator to level 8. I discovered quite by accident that, by using a Timed Mine, you can reenter the lift to level 6 (though you can’t use it), and reclaim the security chip you originally used to enter it. It seems that you actually have to do this in order to be able to unlock the lift door, 'cuz neither of the other Security chips I find in this level seems to be the right one, and neither do they unlock the door at the beginning. Odd, yeah, but it seems to be true. Anyway, after you’ve got all the Data Wafers, powerups and Security Chips for this level (and blown up a Temperal Disturbance or two), continue to the room where the Object Locator actually beeps for a piece of equipment. IT always registers equipment (EVA will inform you of it if you press Control O), but I’ve noticed that it doesn’t actually beep unless the object is important in some way. You’ll know the room I mean because it’s at the very end of a passage and yet it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Usually when you come to a room at the very end of a passage it means you have to enter the room to progress, and this is no exception. The only difference is that, unlike other such rooms where there’s another door you have to find, here you have to blow up the machinery as it’s in the way. It’s blocking the passage leading to the Lift Room, so take out your knife or whatever you want to use, and use it once to blow up the machine. Then follow the new passage to the lift. Note that I could be wrong about this, but I’ve only ever managed to reach the lift after blowing up that piece of equipment. Once there, enter the lift and get ready for level 8! Oh, and there seems to be no message on level 7, so you don’t need to worry about that. According to David Greenwood, there was a message for this level but it kinda got lost in the programming.
Items: Power Pack Ammo, Projectile Ammo, Insendiary Ammo, Security Chip, Med Kit, Terminator Armor
Total Data Wafers: 7
This level can be extremely tough. There are loads of monsters here, but that also means lots of chances to strike gold, so to speak. Collect all the items you find (including the Terminator Armor if you want it). The Terminator Armor is in another room where you have to blow up some machinery. Grab all the items, Data Wafers and message. Here’s where things get tricky. There is no elevator to level 9. There is only a series of teleporters. Be careful though, some of these will warp you all the way back to a room in level 1. My advice is to save before entering each teleporter. That way if it takes you to the wrong location you can simply reload the game and try a new one. Oddly enough, on all but one of the three times I've played the game recently, I've only ever found a teleporter to level 1. Like I said, the one you want seems to be random each time and, for me, I either blow it up by mistake or its location is so obvious that I miss it most times. Keep plucking away at it and you’ll eventually reach level 9.
Items: Experiment Control Box
Total Data Wafers: 0
This level is actually quite easy. There’s just one door. Use a Security Chip to unlock it. With an ominous grating sound the massive door slides open. Steeling yourself for what lies in wait beyond, you enter.
Final Confrontation: The Boss
The Boss really isn’t all that tough. My preferred weapon is either the Laser Pistol or Bio Disrupter. Here’s how I win this battle.
My recommendation is to keep your Night Scope turned on at all times (don’t worry, you should have more than enough battery life to do that by now), as there’s only a few rooms in this level where he could be. His starting location seems to be random each time you play the game. Sometimes he’s practically right there when you open the door, while at other times you have to go looking.
Anyway, You’ll hear the Boss roar if he’s close enough, so line yourself up with him and, once the Night Scope gives you the cue, shoot him once. Each time you make a successful hit, the Boss will teleport to another location. Use the M key to find out how far away he is from you and try to get in position. Don’t fire until you get your cue from the Night Scope and don’t let him get too close. He may not be all that tough to kill but he can hit hard. Just keep shooting at him and eventually he’ll die.
After the Boss bites the dust, you need to explore his lair to find the Experiment Control Box. Its location seems to be random each time. Once you do find it, select it from your inventory to begin the final puzzle in the game.
Remember all those messages? Well, here’s where you need to remember them. If you missed any you can always make a guess on that slot. My advice is to save the game after you get the control box but before you actually get started. I recommend that you do any slots you’re unsure about first, as the Experiment will destroy any Data Wafers entered thus far if an incorrect selection is made. Just place the Wafers in the correct sequence (it’s random each game), and listen to the admittedly anticlimactic ending. I won’t spoil it for you, you’ll just have to hear it yourself. Congrats, you’ve just successfully completed The Shades of Doom! Now go beat it on the higher difficulties!
Shades of Doom Review
I’ve always been a big fan of computer and video games, even though all of them required vision. Even if you can’t see what you’re doing, some of those games can be extremely addicting. But this doesn’t lesson the satisfaction I find in the knowledge that finally there are games that a sighted individual might actually have to have help playing. I mean, we blind folks have had to rely on sighted assistance for so long when it comes to video and computer gaming that it’s high time the tables were turned. Nothing against sighted folks, mind you, it’s just that they’ve had all the cool games for so long that it’s about time we had something they might actually need our help with instead of the other way around.
Shades of Doom is one of the greatest audio games I’ve encountered thus far in my explorations of that field. It’s based on the legendary Doom series of games and, even though my only experience with that series came from listening to my brother and dad play it, I could immediately pick up on the similarities between Doom and Shades.
Shades of Doom’s story is typical of its genre. You’re an agent making his way through a military research base to shut down an ill fated experiment that already seems to have gone horribly wrong, as the place is crawling with vicious beasts that will slaughter anything they can find. My one complaint about the story is that they give you a basic story but you never really learn what the purpose of the experiment was or find out how it all turns out, but I'll say no more on that.
The gameplay of Shades of Doom is almost exactly like that of Doom, complete with the more than occasional puzzle to test your wit and cleverness, not to mention the surprise attack from a monster as you turn that next corner. In short, there may be times where Shades will scare the living daylights out of you.
The most important aspect of an audio game is its music and sound. Shades features great sound effects, from the sound of your guns to the soft ping of the Night Scope. The monster effects are very good as well, from the vicious snarling of the Mutant Dogs to the bizarre squelching noise of the Gelatinous Blobs. Each monster has its own unique sound, though each type of monster sounds the same. That is to say all Mutant Dogs sound the same and the Mutant Humans, though they sound different from the dogs, all sound the same.
As for music, there really isn’t all that much in the game and it doesn’t play all that much. This is fortunate in a way because it would probably get annoying, but in a way it’s also unfortunate. The music has a mysterious feel to it that lends itself quite nicely to the atmosphere of the game. There’s also ajungle beat that sounds whenever a monster is behind you, which also helps to heighten the suspense.
The game is entirely self-voicing, and the voices used are very fitting. The EVA’s mechanical voice, though it can become a bit annoying at times, is really very fitting. It’s hard to tell whether they used an actual human voice and then just altered it for the game or used AT&t’s Natural Voices synthesiser, but I’m leaning toward the first explanation. In this one respect at least, I think Shades of Doom has Pacman Talks beaten. There’s an artificial quality about AT&T Natural Voices that even JAWS for Windows doesn’t have, and the speech in Shades of Doom doesn’t seem to have that. In short, the sound in SOD is excellent.
In fact my one real complaint about the game is the anticlimactic ending. It’s a bit of a letdown when you fight your way through the research base, slay the boss, shutdown the experiment and then get that unsatisfying ending. Hopefully if the game is ever updated they’ll give us a bit more!
If asked what score I’d want to give SOD on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being worst and 10 being best, I’d say it warrants a 9. The one point, for me at least, is for the ending. Like I said, if they update the game, the ending’s one thing they should definitely work on. Another thing they might change is the way the last level works out. I think it would be so much more suspenseful if you shut down the Experiment and then all of a sudden were attacked by the boss. A lot of games do that sort of thing, where you accomplish the mission, think you've won and then suddenly have a big battle yet to win. They might also consider adding a more tense theme for that final battle as well.
Closing Statement and Email Disclaimer
Well, there it is, my own Shades of Doom Walkthrough. Hopefully it has been of some help to you. It’s not the easiest thing to do seeing as the game is almost totally random, but I tried my best and no doubt I’ll update from time to time. After all, there are still four more difficulties to beat it on!
I don’t mind people Emailing me asking for help (in fact I welcome questions). All I ask is that A. you be polite and B. you be as specific as you can about your problem. I’m not a telepath so I can’t read minds. I can’t help with everything but I’ll help with what I can. Just check the guide first to make sure I don’t answer your question at some point in there. And if I don’t reply right away, give me time before writing again. I do have a life…well, sort of a life anyway, beyond gaming and Emailing people. Rest assured that, even if it isn’t right away, I will get to your question and respond. With that said, send your feedback to [email protected]. Having said that, enjoy this guide and, more important, enjoy Shades of Doom!
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)