Shadowrun is a cyberpunk-fantasy action role-playing video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), adapted from the tabletop role-playing game Shadowrun by FASA. The video game was developed by Australian company Beam Software and first released in 1993 by Data East.
The game is loosely based on the novel Never Deal with a Dragon by Shadowrun co-creator Robert N. Charrette and set in the year 2050. The player takes on the role of Jake Armitage, a man suffering from amnesia after having been critically wounded by assassins. The plot then follows Jake as he attempts to uncover his own identity and the identity of the mysterious figure who wants him dead, and eventually complete his mission. Harebrained Schemes' 2013 Shadowrun Returns links the stories of this game and of Shadowrun for the Sega Genesis.
A project to adapt Shadowrun for the SNES had a turbulent history between 1989 and 1993, including having been halted in mid-development before being resumed in late 1992 under a tight deadline. Its eventual lead designer was Paul Kidd, creator of Beam Software's 1991 Nightshade, elements and a feel of which he then carried on to Shadowrun. The game was a critical success, winning a number of industry awards, but was a commercial failure nevertheless. It was retrospectively acclaimed by several publications as an 'ahead of its time' milestone in the history of the role-playing genre for the consoles and credited for having pioneered film noir style in video games.
Shadowrun is an adaptation of the FASA tabletop role-playing game of the same name. The storyline of the video game is loosely based on the first Shadowrun novel, Never Deal with a Dragon, written by Robert N. Charrette. The narrative opens in Seattle, Washington in the year 2050, where the protagonist Jake Armitage is shown being gunned down in the street. A shapeshifting lupine figure rushes to his side and is seen casting a spell over Jake before leaving hastily as the medics arrive on the scene. Jake awakens in a morgue with a complete memory loss. Soon, he is approached by the 'Dog', a shamanistic totem who gives him a warning before vanishing.
The rest of the story is spent investigating the events leading to Jake's shooting, learning the identity of the shapeshifter who saved him, as well the person who ordered his assassination, a mysterious crime lord named 'Drake'. Most of the information is found by piecing together snippets of data found by hacking various protected computer systems. Along the way, he has encounters with gangs, criminals, and magically awakened creatures while under constant threat of attack from contract killers. Jake also discovers and develops his own latent magical abilities. Apart from his totem spirit, his only allies are the hired services of shadowrunners. It is eventually revealed that Jake is a data courier who was carrying a program in a computer built inside his brain. The program was designed to destroy a malevolent artificial intelligence, which the Aneki Corporation is trying to protect. The company is being aided by Drake, who turns out to be a dragon and the mastermind behind the plot.
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