Have You Played… Legacy: Dark Shadows?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Nothing quite says, INSTANT CLASSIC like the pull quote on a game’s box coming not from some “review” from the mainstream media, but rather an anonymous comment on a forum. That’s the mark of quality. That tells you nearly everything you need to know about Legacy: Dark Shadows. Nearly. Because you also need to hear the incredible audio clips I’ve got below.

What a thing this game is. If you can find a copy, and it costs you no more than about 3p, I really strongly recommend you check it out. Few games come close to its levels of wild incompetence, completely incoherent story, and voice acting of the likes you’ll never have heard before.

This is a game that starts so badly it’s completely unclear whether it’s taking place on Mars or Earth – they can’t even communicate which planet it’s presently on. It’s something about being a private detective, something about the 1930s, something about Mars, something about the laauoroororreewwer barrier. But the reason I want you to experience it is the voices and theme. I reviewed this for PCG in 2007, where I gave it a generous 16%. It’s atrocious. Horrendously, I no longer have my copy of the game because I lent it to Kim “Portal” Swift, and SHE NEVER GAVE IT BACK. Anyway, what I do still have is the clips I recorded, so let’s hear the theme now.

I mean: where do you even begin? How? How did this occur? Is this a famous recording artist in Croatia who phoned something in? On a broken phone? I wish I could be bothered to try to find out.

And then comes the voice acting. It’s… it’s like nothing else. Have a listen:

This clip is by far my favourite. And I do want to stress, this really isn’t about the apparent speech impediment sported by one of the actors – goodness knows I desperately wish speech impediments were ever represented by gaming (let alone any other media) – it’s about the, well, everything. I adore this. It’s one of my favourite things of all time.

Tragically its website has long since been camped upon, and for inexplicable reasons the game isn’t available anywhere. Amazingly there ARE copies available on eBay, or you could just ask Kim Swift for mine.

25 Comments

  1. cablechip says:

    I’m pretty sure that screenshot tells me nearly everything I need to know about Legacy: Dark Shadows.

    Nothing like PS2-era uncanny boob-valley.

    • Captain Yesterday says:

      Nothing says “class” like an exposed midriff/boob window combination.

  2. Premium User Badge

    AutonomyLost says:

    Just… wow.

  3. GeoX says:

    …so does that refrain REALLY go “you don’t look like a burglar to me/I think the lover boy has given you the tea?” ALL RIGHT THEN.

    • CowboyCurtis says:

      YOU don’t look like a BURGALAR to ME!!

      Christ, I’m going to have this in my head all week. Thanks, John. Thanks.

    • Premium User Badge

      tigerfort says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s “lover boy has given you the key“. But Tea would be more interesting, and better in tune with the total nonsensicality of the rest.

    • TimePointFive says:

      I heard
      You don’t look like a burglar to me
      Looks like the water boy has given you the pee

      • Premium User Badge

        tigerfort says:

        Unless it’s “the president has brought you here to pee”?

  4. RacerX says:

    What just happened? It’s so terrible it’s hilarious.

  5. Urthman says:

    Looking at that screenshot, I honestly don’t know whether that “theme” song is ACTUALLY from the game or just 2 bits of hilarious dialog that some brilliant person set to the exact right music. Poe’s Law strikes again.

    • Urthman says:

      Wow. Looks like it’s real.

    • Urthman says:

      Similarly, somebody has put together a “movie” of clips from the game and I can’t tell whether it’s been edited to make absurdist nonsense of the plot or a vain attempt to get it to make sense.

  6. thedosbox says:

    That theme song! ?

  7. frightlever says:

    I liked what I played of it, terrible voice acting just adding to the fun, but it took about a dozen key presses/mouse clicks to save, and saving took a good two or three minutes and it actually crashed every five minutes so the fact I got as far as I did with it was only down to a level of persistence I just don’t have anymore.

    I remember going to the support forum or trying to contact the developers but I think they released a statement basically saying we were paid to deliver a game but couldn’t afford to patch it.

    Must have played it over ten years ago, judging from my Amazon order history, but it stuck with me. Doesn’t appear to one of the games where I bothered to keep the boxed copy but I just found my unplayed copy of A Vampyre Story. Wonder if that works on W10? Hmm.

  8. Shuck says:

    “this really isn’t about the apparent speech impediment sported by one of the actors”
    I’m honestly not sure which clip that’s referring to. I’m not sure there are any speech impediments involved, just really bad, weirdly mannered acting.
    I’m assuming they used developers and friends/family of developers to provide voices (as the original Deus Ex seemed to), but extended that approach to the credits song for some reason.

  9. pepperfez says:

    I have to assume that the header shot shows Vince Masuka saying something lewd about the protagonist’s outfit?

  10. bigredrock says:

    You can still get some idea of the website from the Wayback Machine: Legacy – Dark Shadows

  11. TheAngriestHobo says:

    Speech impediments aren’t well represented in gaming, but they are present. Ultima VII had Morz, a shy, nervous farmer who constantly stuttered. The game even gave you the option of being an absolute ass by repeatedly mocking his disability. There was no real downside to this beyond the fact that it made you feel awful.

  12. magogjack says:

    Its Gold !

  13. natebud says:

    For anyone with the burglar/key/per song stuck in their head here’s a tip.

    To get a song out of you head you just have to listen to the entire song beginning to end. Songs with repetitive lyrics usually get stuck in your head because you forget how they end. When you think of the song your brain naturally tries to finish it and gets caught in an endless loop because it only remembers one part, “burgers and keys”.

    Good luck listening through that monstrosity though. I can’t get past fifteen seconds and I just know I’m going to have to listen to the rest later.

  14. harcalion says:

    I am willing to try this game in Spanish (I have it, because I read somewhere it was a hidden gem adventure game) and see if there is something lost in translation.

    On the other hand, if they didn’t spend the proper money for the English translation…, I don’t know how the Spanish one is going to be :D.