There's no sense in pretending that Shadow Man isn't a dated experience. But games like this — originally seen on PlayStation, N64, PC and Dreamcast — rather force a re-examination of the somewhat meaningless criticism "dated". Seriously, what does it mean? A change in standards, perhaps. Differing expectations from a contemporary gaming experience. But, really, when a game like Shadow Man is re-released, is it fair to compare it to more slick, modern titles? Why should a re-release of an older title not reflect the time in which it was originally released? All of these are questions that Shadow Man Remastered can't answer, obviously, but they're worth keeping in mind.

Some will bounce straight off the game, obtuse as it can be. Your objectives are rarely clear in terms of a distinct A-to-B structure, there's no map feature to speak of and you'll find your hand quite resolutely unheld throughout. Taking control of Mike LeRoi (the titular Shadow Man) you'll find your journey into Deadside is long, sprawling, difficult and intentionally confusing. The game in its original incarnation could be compared to the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but this remaster tweaks the inputs, loses the "tank" controls and ultimately feels a lot more like a traditional third-person shooter, albeit one with a lot more platforming and exploration than usual. Think Ratchet & Clank, but vastly more challenging.

Believe us, you'll get lost in its world. Literally, as well as figuratively. Shadow Man Remastered is atmospheric to a fault, but it's also an enormous, twisty-turny and almost entirely unguided experience that's going to hugely alienate a lot of its potential audience. This is actually a vastly cleaned-up, improved, better-controlling version of the even more esoteric original game. Best of all, Nightdive Studios has restored reams of previously cut material from the original design documents; new levels, boss battles and music (from the original composer, Tim Haywood). For fans, this is the definitive way to enjoy Shadow Man. For newcomers, this is the best chance you'll probably have to even attempt to do so.

Is Shadow Man bad, then? No, absolutely not. But — and we can't stress this enough — they absolutely don't make games like this any more, and they don't for a reason. The medium has absolutely moved on from this kind of deliberately maze-like environment, from this kind of enforced, extensive backtracking, from thrusting the player into situations they actively cannot solve without progressing further elsewhere in the game (and with no indication or hints given that this is the case). It's going to drive some people mad.

A bit of an interesting paradox, then; it's difficult to recommend Shadow Man Remastered to those who haven't played the game before, while — at the same time — if they do wish to check it out, this is absolutely the only way we'd recommend doing so. It's a sterling port, rich with new and restored content, improved visuals, copious customisation and almost-flawless performance; it runs at 60fps locked with only the very occasional hitch. Shadow Man has never been a masterpiece, but it is a clear labour of love with plenty to offer those willing to endure its more aged mechanics and structural curiosities. We can only hope that plenty will have the patience to do so.