In many ways, Shadow Complex finds itself in similar standing as Rock Band and Guitar Hero; it's a style of game Konami has left for its competitors to refine and perfect. Taking its cues from the Metroids and Castlevanias of the world, the Xbox Live Arcade-exclusive title was able to stand out in 2009, regardless of its forgettable storyline and poorly constructed characters. As an overall experience, Shadow Complex was the best downloadable experience of 2009 -- and one of the year's overall best, for that matter.

Shadow Complex is a prime example of a developer -- in this case, Chair -- designing a game best suited for its platform and skyrocketing past expectations. It proves that 2D exploration and adventure can still have a meaningful impact if approached correctly. Sadly, Konami has decided against bringing new Castlevania experiences of this style to consoles and only now (since 2004's Metroid: Zero Mission) has Nintendo decided to return Samus closer to her roots in the upcoming Metroid: Other M (another game revealed at E3 2009).

It's no surprise that Shadow Complex resonated with us (hell, we dedicated quite a bit of time to the game), and while we weren't left mouth-agape at its originality, the entire experience left us craving more. We have yet to satisfy that craving, as no additional content has been delivered for the game since its August 19, 2009 debut.

Beyond its excellent blend of shooting and platforming, and its tremendous value (only $15!), Shadow Complex stands out as one of the best experiences we've had all year. It simultaneously resurrected our love of the 2D exploration genre and our inner speedrun freak, and is a testament to the maturity of the download space on consoles within the last few years. We hope the franchise will be with us for the long haul.

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This article was originally published on Joystiq.