If you’ve played Ultima Underworld before, you likely remember the infamous Shadow Beasts. Causing horrible Vietnam-esque flashbacks for players and generally being the living embodiment of nightmares, this creature was even mimicked slightly in Ultima Underworld’s spiritual successor, Arx Fatalis. Requiring fast legs, a quick thinking mind and a little bit of luck, the Shadow Beast is not a creature you can easily dispatch.
In a rather humorous interview, Underworld Ascendant Producer Chris Siegel, *ahem*, sits down with the legendary beast itself to discuss what it’s been doing and what it’s future plans are. Oh yes, I’m quite serious.
- CS: It’s been a long time since players have seen you in Ultima Underworld. What have you been doing since then?
- SB: Finding a new lair after the end of UU was surprisingly difficult. I tried Hyrule, but they already had a Shadow Beast, same with Wizards 101. I tried to find a home with a pop band too, that also did not work out. I guess I don’t work well with others, and trying to play guitar with these hands is difficult. I was too late for the call for Brutal Legend, and Diablo II. I would have loved to move into one of Horny’s dungeons in Dungeon Keeper. We had a few lunches and some chats on the crystal balls, which would have been perfect situation. Alas, none of that worked out.
- CS: But now you are back! New and improved! Can you tell us a bit about how you fit into the new Stygian Abyss?
- SB: Sure, I don’t want to give too much away of course. First let’s be clear about this. Shadow Beasts are smart. We are not really just apex predators, we have communities. We have a natural camouflage mechanism that causes us to take on the coloration of their surroundings. Moreover, we also have an innate magical ability that occludes us from easy detection (they appear dimly, if at all, under light or detect spells-Ed.). Lurking in the far corners of the Underworld, we use our stealth to waylay the unwary. We have been known to take contracts from other factions and races to…remove obstacles forcefully. (I think he means they hire out as assassins-Ed.)
The Shadow Beast lair was one of the original game’s best moments. For those who want to relive their nightmares, this is an entertaining read.