Shadowrun offers the player an open style of gameplay, where one controls the main character, Joshua, in third person perspective during both exploration and combat. Battles are real time, and although of varying difficulty, tend to be brutally short. Initially, the player is restricted to a single area of the game, but shortly gains access to almost all other areas. Access to other areas is accomplished primarily by taxi, although various restrictions and other modes of travel also exist, such as requiring a visa, or bypassing the visa check with use of a helicopter.
As in most console RPG videogames, the characters' skills and attributes can be improved. However, Shadowrun uses a unique "Karma" system, which allows full character customization. Karma, roughly equivalent to experience, is earned for successfully completing a run, killing enough enemies, or advancing the game's plot. Karma is then spent on specific stats as determined by the player.
To earn money and Karma, the player must participate in shadowruns, illegal jobs provided by pseudo-anonymous contractors, which are, within the legal boundaries of their work, to be referred to simply as Mr. Johnsons. Mr. Johnsons usually are corporate liaisons, who want their bosses' dirty work done without compromising them. All Mr. Johnsons work in backroom booths in different clubs and bars through the city. The jobs they offer are randomly generated, and range from simple courier jobs to infiltrating a corporate headquarters and rescuing a client. Different Mr. Johnsons have varying levels of difficulty and pay for their jobs, which can be influenced by the player's negotiation statistic.
At the start of the game, the player can choose for Joshua to be either a samurai, a decker, or a shaman. These only determine Joshua's beginning statistics and equipment; samurai begin focused on combat, deckers on use of the Matrix and electronics, and shamans on the use of magic. Over the course of the game, the player may choose to continue to focus on one particular skill or set of skills, or branch out into all other areas, although only shaman and allied mages can use magic.
To help the player make things easier during hard shadowruns, Joshua can also recruit other characters to help him in his shadowruns. These are called shadowrunners, and can also be customized at the player's wishes. The price of hiring a shadowrunner depends on the duration of the contract, as well as the runner's attitude toward the player. The player can only directly control one character at a time; other characters (including Joshua) are controlled by the computer's AI.
The primary method of combat in Shadowrun is the use of firearms, although magic plays a significant role in combat in both an offensive and defensive capacity. Shadowrun keeps track of ammunition; if a character runs out they may have to resort to melee. The use of magic, on the other hand, is kept in check by damaging the player for casting high-level spells: the player can mitigate or even eliminate this through the use of items, or by reducing the success chance and/or power of the spell.
A variety of shops exist throughout the game, providing guns and modifications, cyberware implants, spells and spell upgrades, cyberdecks and utilities, and other miscellaneous items. In addition to the numerous shops in the game, the player can collect a variety of contacts who provide the player with information, services, or (frequently illegal) goods.
In tone with the Shadowrun pen-and-paper universe, certain characters can also explore the Matrix, a global computer network that can be accessed through cyberterminals. It is there that the player, in a third person perspective, can hack corporations, download confidential files, or disable a building's security. However, in order to do so, a series of intrusion countermeasures must be dealt with.
The cyberdeck, carried by Joshua, can be used by any shadowrunner, and like real computers, have a variety of statistics, such as memory, storage, and loading speed. These can be improved individually, but also by upgrading the entire deck itself with a more advanced hardware. Primarily, the cyberdeck's use, aside from entering the Matrix, is to hold various utilities to hack the networks properly (such as Masking, Attack and Analyzing programs) and to save data downloaded from the Matrix itself.
While inside the Matrix, the entire interface changes. The shadowrunner that entered it is replaced by a chromed character, referred to as persona, its reflection in the cyberworld, and can navigate different computer networks that are built in node systems. Each node appears as large geometrical rooms that the player travels to through datalines corridors. Inside a node, a decker can perform various tasks depending on the node's function, which is indicated by its shape. Such tasks are numerous, like erasing or downloading various private files, turning off security cameras inside certain buildings, or crashing an entire system.
However, in order to do so, the decker must either mask (bypass) or delete a series of intrusion countermeasures, also called ICs, with a variety of utilities. ICs appear as different figures covering the nodes, and they can either just weakly and inoffensively block a node, or aggressively attack the persona (or the decker itself) and permanently delete the player's utilities.
In Seattle, there are three local racial gangs that have well-defined territories and many influences on corporation affairs. These gangs are:
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The player can visit each of these gangs, and pay to speak with their leaders (or be asked to do so, depending on his reputation). There, he can ask for protection from the gangs' random attacks, as well as for the phone number of their allegiance bosses. After Joshua's reputation has been highly upgraded, and after he obtains the numbers of these bosses, he can contact the Yakuza and Mafia, and plead loyalty to either one of them himself, obtaining specific benefits and exclusive items and discounts. Of course, after he sides with any of these criminal organizations, the rival gangs will attack him indiscriminately. On the other hand Lone Star, the government's police force, can't be contacted directly.
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Shadowrun (Sega). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Shadowrun Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.|