Shadow Tower Abyss is a first person Action RPG developed by From Software and released for the Playstation 2 in 2003. It is the second in a series of horror themed spin offs of their popular King's Field series and can be considered a direct influence on their recent "Soulsborne" titles. Unlike the original Shadow Tower, this game was never released outside of Japan. Luckily some dedicated fans have produced a somewhat competent fan translation.
Though the Tower seems man-made, it is in fact one massive organism, with sentience and a will of its own. Once making its home on another planet, the tower sustained the life of all living things, and in turn fed off the energy of those lives; some of the organisms made the Tower itself their home, the Tower itself acting as an ecosystem, connecting everything in it as one body.
Realizing one day that its planet was threatened by extinction from an unknown cause, the Tower regressed itself to a seed state, and launched itself into space, in search of another planet on which to perpetuate itself. Eventually its guidance systems died, and the seed drifted for untold years, until finally arriving at the planet on which the game is set.
Immediately the seed attempted to grow itself into the Tower it once was, but discovered that the light of the sun was ruinous to its body; the parts of the Tower that reached the surface immediately withered and died. With no options, the Tower contented itself to wait underground, doomed to die without being able to recreate the cycle of sustaining life and feeding on life.
As it was nearing the depletion of its energy reserve, the Tower felt a presence within itself, of a life form with greater intelligence than anything it had encountered before: primitive humans. Deciding that these were the beings it had been waiting for, the Tower captured the life forms and transformed them into parts of its new structure. However, the parts created from these life forms had minds of their own, and rebelled against the Tower; having no choice the Tower pruned these parts off and left them to die.
Again returning to its lengthy slumber, the Tower was at last awakened by a civilization of cultured human beings. Discovering the ancient remains of the Tower, the King of this civilization insisted on exploring the interior, despite the objections raised by his vassals and advisers. The Tower was pleased by the nature of the King, and these new forms of humans, because they were ambitious; and taking advantage of the King's wish for power, the Tower gave to him the "Spear". This Spear was imbued with the magic of the Tower, and allowed the King to expand and rule over territory without equal.
The only payment for the power being, the continuous sacrifice of humans, so that the Tower could continue its experiments on creating the perfect life-form.
In a few decades the King had built himself an unrivaled empire, the voice from the Spear guiding him at all times. But gradually the voice of the Spear began to diminish, until one day it fell silent. Though the King did not know, the experimental life forms the Tower had been creating all these years had run rampant, and usurped control of much of the Tower. Fearing that his power would be extinguished, the King decided to journey into the Tower and find the source of the troubles, leaving his people with one final command: "Until the day I return, do not stop the flow of sacrifices".
At the point where the game begins, and the main character enters the Tower, the place has fallen into chaos and decay; each floor of the Tower is made up of multiple self-contained areas, and whereas it used to be the case that all were governed by the one intelligence of the Tower, now they are controlled individually by the species that make them their home.
Each area is distinct in structure and environment, and in each the species within have adapted to suit the environment.
Shadow Tower Abyss is a very atmospheric game and I wouldn't want to ruin the experience by trying to talk over it. This will be a subtitled commentary LP. I will do my best to be as informative as possible with my commentary. Though I do wish to show as authentic an experience as possible I will be doing some light editing for the sake of pacing. Videos will be broken up by area and will be kept to about 15-20 minutes each.
Thanks for watching!
A catalog of all areas and enemies found within the game.
Shrine Below the Forest
"Vast ruins under the forest that enshrine strange creatures."
Technically not a part of the tower, but the overgrown remnants of the shrine constructed by the King to honor the Tower. The only entrance into the tower is hidden somewhere deep in this forest, protected by the disfigured remnants of the once-worshipers.
"Piercing cold river leading to the central tower."
An infinitely deep river runs through a cavern beneath the forest, flowing towards the Shadow Tower. A ferryman waits on the shore; his once ornately decorated craft carried the sacrifices meant for the Tower, but now the intricate carvings on its surface have faded and worn away, and the boat carries only lost travelers.
Blue Light Area
"Those here endlessly monitor the calm blue light."
The bowels of the tower, and the first place a new entrant would see. Bathed in a perpetual green-blue light, the area contains devices which once created this light, as a means of energy for the Tower in place of sunlight - now only single device remains in operation. The creatures which once manipulated these devices are left without purpose, now that the Tower has ceased to function as it once did, and they roam the level aimlessly or continue to perform their duties without reason.
"A bridge in the tower linked to the outer realms."
A series of bridges and elevators connecting the various levels of the Tower.
"A maze-like insect nest covered in slime."
A massive hive suspended above the abyss. Filled with insect monsters who will vigorously defend the hive and their Queen, the Queen who has found a way to gain immortality through manipulation of the light energy of the Tower.
"Clear away the poisonous fumes to survive."
An area comprised of two floors: the bottom floor is steeped in pools of toxic waste, the upper clouded in a poisonous miasma. The area was once used as a disposal for waste produced in the Tower; the rotting carcasses and other contaminant waste dumped in the area are the reasons for the toxic atmosphere.
White Wall Area
"White-walled area of masters and servants."
Carved entirely from the rock walls of the cavern, this area is quite human in its architecture. Once the home peaceful inhabitants, working under a benevolent ruler who allowed them access to the energies of the Tower. As the Tower was corrupted, the ruler went insane, and so too did the workers who relied on him for their sustenance.
"Realm covered in ivy."
Populated by sentient plant life which has propagated itself through spores. The plants have a tendency to grow back unless their roots are totally destroyed.
"Realm hidden by endless water. Nobody will save the drowning."
What was once a marvelous temple structure, now flooded after a section of the Tower caved in allowing water to flow inside. Populated with fish-like and reptilian amphibious creatures.
"Restrictive cliff realm inhabited by flying creatures."
An area composed of narrow rock pathways and cave passages carved into the rock. Avian creatures, who pay no heed to the precarious footing, make this area their home.
Red Sand Spire
"Strange things dwell here in the crumbling tower's rubble."
Once upon a time the Tower was made up of numerous smaller towers, each extending skyward; now all that remains is this one, consumed by the ever flowing tide of red sand. The humans sacrificed to the Tower, experimented on and mutated, gravitated to this area and make it their home. The ancient King who entered the Tower ages ago still resides here, malformed beyond recognition.
"Pervasive mist obscures vision."
Covered entirely in a deep fog, which is exhaled continuously by a strange creature in the center of the area. This area is responsible for the functions of all the rest of the Tower; the conscience of everything within the Tower gives off energy which is drawn to this place, and in turn energy is reciprocated back into the Tower.
Moving Platform Area
"The platforms lead the way."
The Tower's vault. All it's greatest treasures are stored here and protected endlessly by floating sentries.
"Temple with deadly pitfalls built by the Tower Lord."
The penultimate area of the tower before the apex chamber. It resembles a castle of human construction, but filled with various magical devices which impede progress. It is populated by worshipers of the Tower, who are unconcerned with the presence of others, and the powerful prototypes of the Tower's supreme being.
Dazzling Globe Area
"Where the blue light converges."
The Tower's apex chamber and home to a strange life form known as the Will of the Tower.