Sacrifice was Shiny's last great game and it's still impressive today
January 27, 2024, 8:00 pm

With Sacrifice, released in 2000, Shiny Studio reached the peak of its abilities, then spent years producing increasingly disappointing games.

Image source: React


In the 90s, there was no other studio like SHINee. The team was delighted with the ideas, unusual technical solutions and very impressive technological layers. Productions such as MDK Or series Earthworm Jim Everyone who played games at the time knew this. The next decade changed all that – Shiny was used to create increasingly worse film adaptations, starting with mediocre films Enter the matrix I The Matrix: New WayAnd it ends in a fatal accident Golden compass. However, before the studio entered the path of electronic granularity that ultimately led to its downfall, Shiny has developed its own masterpiece in form Wake up.

Shiny magical creativity

In the game, we played a wizard who has caused the destruction of his own world and comes to a new land, offering his services to five local gods. The production was full of new ideas. It was one of the first examples of combining 3D action and strategy game, and to this day remains one of the best titles of the genre. The player controls the wizard from a third-person perspective. By collecting souls, he can summon units to the battlefield and then issue orders to them. Additionally, he has a large array of spells at his disposal, divided into five very different categories assigned to different gods. At the beginning of each level, we choose who we will serve, and each of these patrons is given access to different powers.

In 2000, the game was technically and technologically stunning.  Image source: React.  - Sacrifice was Shiny's last great match and is still exhilarating today - Message - 01-27-2024

In 2000, the game was technically and technologically stunning. Image source: React.

This idea was executed very well. Adhering to the TPP perspective obviously makes it difficult to understand the situation on the battlefield, but here it only heightens the emotions of the game. The authors wisely did not manipulate any economic elements – the only raw material used to summon units are souls, which we collect ourselves or our subordinates. This allows us to focus on being a virtual general.

This is important because success requires strict control of our units and proper use of formations. when Wake up For the first time, the need to constantly monitor your subordinates was criticized, because it is not easy during big battles. But today we are much more accustomed to it. Moreover, here we got for the first time control based on a system of mouse gestures, which was later developed into a more famous system black and white. W Wake up It is implemented much simpler and is supported by the classic menu, which is not surprising given the pace of work, and after a short training both methods work perfectly together, ensuring fast and precise control.

The game offers an extensive campaign and multiplayer mode, and both options are very successful.

  1. The first of them guarantees great diversity (the choice of god strongly influenced the course of the quest) and an excellent script – especially since the gods have colorful personalities and constantly utter memorable lines and are often full of dark humor, wonderfully played by a group of talented voice actors. Multiplayer is equally good, with a wide range of modes with different rules.
  2. The authors also set up efficient matchmaking, and a later patch added online rankings – unfortunately these are no longer available, but with a little effort you can still play multiplayer games.

Amazing technology and artistic class

The gameplay alone will be enough to achieve this Wake up It was a title worth remembering, but we are talking here about a game from Shiny Studio, and in those days this team was performing outstanding in all aspects. So we got an incredibly impressive graphics engine with huge 3D spaces and large-scale battles, rich in explosions of magical powers. To make everything work on personal computers of that time, the authors used tessellation technology, thanks to which remote models reduced details, ensuring high performance.

It was one of the first games to use this technology, and is by far the most impressive example of what could be achieved with it at the time. Today, almost all 3D games use it, especially since its hardware support was introduced in 2009 in DirectX 11 – and the fact that nine years ago Shiny successfully used tessellation based on its own solutions shows well what kind of wizards are responsible for the technological side of these games. drases.

The roots of sacrifice lie in the ZX Spectrum

The owner of the idea Wake up The programmer was Martin Brownlow. It was inspired by a classic game Chaos: Battle of the Magicians, released in 1985 for the ZX Spectrum computer. It was designed by Julian Golub, who later created the series XCOM.

It was a turn-based strategy around wizard battles, fought with spells and summoning magical beasts. Chaos: Battle of the Magicians It was a simple game, but it turned out to be a very impactful title. Away Wake up It also inspired productions such as Darwinia, Cyber ​​wars whether King's reward. It was also created Several dozen fan versions of the original.

The artistic side was equally successful. It was shiny in the bag MDK And a chain Earthworm Cso it was clear that they would not go wrong in this regard, however Wake up It was a surprise anyway. The authors abandoned the cartoon atmosphere and moved towards dark fantasy, although not devoid of black humor. However, this was not Tolkien's hackneyed world. Instead, we got a strange, chaotic land inhabited by twisted creatures far removed from humans, and our wizard evoked more associations with a bug than with Gandalf. To this day, it is one of the most unique fantasy universes ever developed for gaming.

Plus, there was great music by Kevin Manthey. Unfortunately, the career of this composer is similar to the fate of Sheena himself – at the initial stage he created soundtracks for several large projects, such as Rough Alliance 2, Your Majesty whether Battle worldsthen spent several years composing music mainly for weak adaptations of various films and other brands.

Failure in 2000, a cult item today

All this adds up to a real masterpiece. This is the most ambitious and perhaps the best game from Shiny Entertainment. Even today it impresses with its gameplay, atmosphere and technical class. Moreover, the category it introduced was practically abandoned. In the 1990s except Wake up We've also made other successful attempts to combine action and RTS, such as the series Battle zone. Then it turned out that the rare attempts to implement such ideas were mostly unsuccessful, with the exception of those issued in 2009. Brutal mythWhich, by the way, she took full advantage of Wake up.

Shiny Entertainment has long since become a thing of the past. Wake up It was not a box office success, just like the equally ambitious, but not quite as successful, film released a few months earlier. The messiah. As a result, the team was forced to abandon their own brands and focus on creating games based on cinema productions. This saved the band several years, at least financially, because it was a huge decline qualitatively. Eventually, the studio ceased to exist in 2007, after 9 Entertainment, which then owned it, merged it with The Collective, creating Double Helix Games.

This officially sealed the team's fate, as most of the developers responsible for the team's early games no longer worked at Shiny. ancient warrior Wake up However, most of them did not leave the industry and subsequently lent their talents to many other excellent productions, e.g Titan fall, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Or series unknown And Guild Wars.

Founded in 1993 and on the market for 14 years, Shiny's career is divided into two equal seven-year parts – the first, full of their own ideas and excellent productions, and the second, focused on increasingly disappointing cinematic adaptations. Wake up Thus it became a borderline situation – Separating one stage from another. Although the project did not achieve success at the box office, over time it became an unforgettable cult item.

Today you can buy it for PLN 35.99 on the steam And on, new players are discovering them all the time. They clearly like what they find in it, as 91% of reviews on Steam praise this title. This makes me happy. today Wake up It is just as unique as it was on the day of its premiere, and thanks to its amazing artistic layer, it still manages to enchant with its atmosphere.

In 2000, the game was technically and technologically stunning.  Image source: React.  - Sacrifice was Shiny's last great match and is still exhilarating today - Message - 01-27-2024

In 2000, the game was technically and technologically stunning. Image source: React.

Wake up It is a perfect example of an era that is unlikely to return. Today, it may be impossible to get a big budget for something strange and unusual. However, development tools have advanced so much that a small independent studio might try to return to Shiny's ideas, although matching the original, especially technically, would be very difficult.

Play sacrifice today

Is that Wake up Readily available in digital distribution, which is a blessing because the boxed version uses SecuRom DRM. This technology does not work on Windows 10 and 11, so running the game from the disc is not easy.

Sacrifice even works in ultra-wide mode, but you need an adjustment to do so.  Image source: React.  - Sacrifice was Shiny's last great match and is still exhilarating today - Message - 01-27-2024

Sacrifice even works in ultra-wide mode, but you need an adjustment to do so. Image source: React.

Versions Wake up Available in digital stores, it works without any problems on most modern computers. The only problem is the mediocre resolution selection, but that can be fixed with tweaks

  1. Fix field of view/resolution – download mode.

The multiplayer mode is a particular problem. It was built on top of the GameSpy service, which has long since been discontinued. Fortunately, the game also supports LAN play, and this can be simulated using the appropriate software (such as Hamachi), so if you find someone who wants to play, all you have to do is arrange a session.

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