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Proto:Shadow Warrior (1997)/Prototype 1994-05-23

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This is a sub-page of Proto:Shadow Warrior (1997).

The May 23rd, 1994 Shadow Warrior prototype is an extremely WIP version of the game that's vastly different from what it became. The art is overall much more simple than the final's, the game appears to take on more of a generic "medieval Japan" theme than the final's "Japanese temples meet Duke Nukem", and it has a spell-casting system not seen in the final game. The first two pre-release screenshots of the game were taken from this build.



This prototype’s levels contain ladders, but there is no way to use them.

Level Loading

The game cannot load a level on its own. The user needs to type in the desired map's name after the executable's name in DOS in order to run a level.


The player is able to hover a certain set distance off the current floor by holding the jump button. You can glitch through a few spots in levels this way.

This behavior can be also seen in the April 1994 Build engine WIP build that can be found on Ken Silverman's website.


Unused Graphics

The prototype contains a lot of graphics that go unused in the playable maps, and for the most part, the final game.

Graphic Tile Number Notes
Sw94p 0165.png Sw94p 0166.png Sw94p 0167.png Sw94p 0168.png 165-168
Sw94p 0350.png 350
Sw94p 0351.png 351
Sw94p 0352.png 352
Sw94p 0353.png Sw94p 0354.png 353-354
Sw94p 0355.png Sw94p 0356.png 355-356
Sw94p 0357.png Sw94p 0358.png 357-358
Sw94p 0359.png Sw94p 0360.png 359-360
Sw94p 0361.png Sw94p 0362.png 361-362
Sw94p 0365.png 365
Sw94p 0367.png 367
Sw94p 0368.png 368
Sw94p 0369.png 369
Sw94p 0377.png 377
Sw94p 0405.png 405
Sw94p 0413.png 413
Sw94p 0416.png 416
Sw94p 0490.png Sw94p 0491.png 490-491
Sw94p 0493.png Sw94p 0494.png 493-494
Sw94p 0495.png 495
Sw94p 0496.png 496
Sw94p 0497.png 497
Sw94p 0498.png 498
Sw94p 0499.png 499
Sw94p 0500.png Sw94p 0501.png Sw94p 0502.png Sw94p 0503.png Sw94p 0504.png Sw94p 0505.png Sw94p 0506.png Sw94p 0507.png 500-507 Tile 500 appears in later prototypes and the final game to mark the color key certain doors need.
Sw94p 0508.png 508
Sw94p 0509.png 509
Sw94p 0510.png 510
Sw94p 0514.png 514
Sw94p 0515.png 515
Sw94p 0524.png Sw94p 0525.png Sw94p 0526.png Sw94p 0527.png Sw94p 0528.png Sw94p 0529.png Sw94p 0530.png Sw94p 0531.png 524-531 Based on the fire underneath it, it was probably meant to be used as a pickup for the fireball spell. Magic scrolls also appear in later prototypes.
Sw94p 0532.png Sw94p 0533.png Sw94p 0534.png Sw94p 0535.png 532-535 Possibly a pickup for red arrow spell.
Sw94p 2049.png Sw94p 2050.png Sw94p 2051.png 2049-2051 These sprites are found right after the rifle’s, suggesting these were meant to be ejected brass launched when the rifle was being fired.

Samurai Helmet

One of the few prop sprites used in this prototype's maps is one of a samurai helmet. This sprite is used in the final game without any alterations.

Weapon World Graphic

Sw94p 0516.png

All weapons use the same sprite before being picked up in this prototype. It appears to be somewhat similar to the shotgun pickup sprite in Doom.

Of note is that this prototype has eight instances of this sprite in the art files, but only five weapons are usable. Perhaps they planned on adding more weapons while this prototype was in production and saved spaces for their world sprites when the time came to add them.

Sky Textures

This prototype contains two sky textures. One is a photosourced image of an outdoors area with trees and a house’s roof in the foreground, while the other one is a drawn image featuring a typical Japanese countryside with a blue-colored theme.

There is also an alternate version of the photosourced sky texture in the files. This one appears to be taken further right than the first one was and gives the house a gray roof.


Sw94p 0121.png

The HUD is completely different in this prototype. It appears to be based on the one in ‘Doom’, as the “ammo” and “arms” section of the HUD are very similar to their equivalents in ‘Doom’. The HUD itself is a static image.

The far left side of the HUD contains a dead man in a red and gold outfit, while the far right side contains a ninja face. It’s unknown what these are meant to represent.

The center of the HUD has boxes containing F1 through F9 in them. The prototype uses the F1 keys to select spells, so it’s likely this was meant to represent what spells the player had, much like how the “arms” section represents what weapons the player has in ‘Doom’ and this prototype.

To the right of the center area is a part of the HUD that has an ID card and a vial with green liquid in it. It’s unknown what this was meant to represent exactly, but it does seem like it’d be for misc. items the player would pick up and use throughout a level.

To the left of the ninja face are two bars. A red bar that’s filled up halfway, and a purple bar that’s filled up 3/4ths of the way. The red bar was likely an indicator of the player’s health, as other games use red bars to indicate health. There’s no way to figure out what the purple bar was meant to represent, however.


Note that this prototype has a bug that causes most projectiles to stop moving right after the player throws them if the frame rate is too high. Setting the game to about 50000 cycles in DOSBOX will fix this.

When the shuriken, caltrop, or bomb is selected, the player will be shown taking out the weapon, then retracting it. The weapon can still be used once the weapon has been retracted.


Sw94p 2056.png

This prototype has a shuriken, like the final does. However, you only shoot one shuriken instead of three, like in the final game. The design of the shuriken is much more traditional compared to the one used in the final game.

Prototype Final
Sw94p 2056.png Sw97final 2130.png
Prototype Final
Sw94p 2061.png Sw97final 2066.png


Sw94p 2063.png

The katana is also in this prototype, but its design is much simpler than the one used in the final game. It’s much closer to a traditional katana than the final’s. In this prototype, the player thrusts the sword forward instead of slashing with it. It does not harm enemies.

The katana sprite’s left arm has a noticeable cutoff on it when the sword is being used.

Prototype Final
Sw94p 2063.png Sw97final 2082.png


Sw94p 2044.png

The rifle is a stereotypical semi-automatic rifle. The weapon pickup sprite for every weapon appears to be based on this weapon.


Sw94p 2086.png

The caltrop is a small metal object with three points on it. The player is shown holding several. The player does not actually throw caltrops when the fire key is used, but world sprites for the caltrop in the files reveal that the player would throw several caltrops at once.

The final game brings back caltrops as an item the player can deploy at any time once picked up.

Prototype Final
Sw94p 2095.png Sw97final 2219.png


Sw94p 2097.png

The bomb is a golden orb that is thrown. It explodes into green smoke on impact but kills only on direct hit.

The bomb is thrown at a high arc in this prototype, making it extremely hard to hit enemies with unless you crouch before tossing one.


This prototype features a unique spell system not seen in the final game. Spells are used with the left alt key. When the left alt key is used, the player will raise his left hand and fire a spell. The player can also use his weapon at the same, theoretically doubling his firepower by using both weapons and spells at once.

Note that spells can only be used while equipped with one handed weapons; the Shuriken, Caltrop, and Bomb. Trying to use a spell with the Katana or Rifle will do nothing.

Spells can be swapped by hitting the F1, F2, F3, F4, or F5 keys.

Red Arrow

Sw94p 2003.png

The first spell shoots an arrow with a red energy wave around it. It is usable by default, and can be selected with F1 after switching to another spell. One red arrow kills an enemy.


Sw94p 2009.png

The fireball spell shoots a fireball that arcs downward at a 45 degree angle when shot. When it hits a wall or floor, a small fire animation will play. If it hits an enemy, the enemy will play a unique “on fire” kill animation. This spell is accessed with F2.

Green Gas

Sw94p 2025.png

This spell emits a green gas from the user’s left hand, which kills every enemy that is on the same plane that the player is on as long as the target is not behind a wall. The graphic used to kill an enemy is the same one an exploding bomb uses. F3 is used to equip it.


Sw94p 2039.png

Electricity shoots an electric ball at foes. Enemies hit by it will play a unique “electrocuted to death” animation. It can be activated with the F4 key.


Sw94p 2055.png

Wind shoots a puff of air. One puff will kill an enemy. Unlike the other spells, this one has a limited range that only makes it effective up to medium range. This spell can be used by hitting the F5 key.


Red Ninja

Sw94p 1108.png

The red ninja is the only proper enemy found in the prototype. He is a ninja clad in a black garb with a red sash on his right side. All he does is roam around the map. Sprites showing him taking out and swinging a katana exist in the files, but are not used because he will never attack.

If the framerate is too high, this enemy’s walking animations will play extremely fast, though his actual speed will remain the same. Setting the cycles to 50000 in DOSBox fixes this.

This enemy appeared in one of the first two screenshots of ‘’Shadow Warrior’’ that were released.

Prototype Final
Sw94p 1108.png Sw97final 4098.png

Unused Enemies

Gray Ninja

Sw94p 1025.png

The gray ninja is a ninja with a light gray vest. He has a full set of walking animations, animations of him using a katana, him throwing something on the ground, using kung fu, and a death animation.

This enemy appears in both of the first two ‘’Shadow Warrior’’ screenshots ever released.


Sw94p 1177.png

A colorful samurai exists in the game’s files. He has a proper set of walking animations, him using a katana to attack, and a death animation.

Interestingly, the first sprite for this character is located with the characters in the “other characters” section below, suggesting a connecting between him and them.

Black Samurai

Sw94p 0936.png

A samurai with black, thinner armor and glaring red eyes also exists in the game’s files. He has the usual walking, attacking with katana, and dying animations most enemies have. Of note that his death animation shows him breaking into pieces with no visible flesh, suggesting he is either made out of stone or a statue.


Sw94p 0974.png

The Coolie enemy from the final game appears in the prototype, but with much simpler sprites. In this prototype, he appears to be alive instead of undead, has a grey vest, tan pants, and a long, black knotted ponytail. Interestingly, there are no animations of him detonating, suggesting his role as a suicide bomber was not yet envisioned when this prototype was made. However, he has sprites at every angle of him picking his box up. His death animation lacks a box.

Two Coolies from this prototype, one standing and one dying, can be seen on of the first two screenshots released.

Prototype Final
Sw94p 0974.png Sw97final 1403.png

Other Characters

The prototype has single sprites for several characters. While some of them might’ve been intended to be enemies, there’s no way to tell for sure.


Sw94p 0866.png

A single sprite for a dragon-like character exists. This sprite is placed much earlier in the game’s files than the other character and enemies’ sprites are, suggesting he was added before the other characters.

This character appeared in one of the first two ‘’Shadow Warrior’’ screenshots released.

Gray Armband Guy

Sw94p 1180.png

A guy with a gray armband that has Japan's rising sun on it attached to his left arm. This guy appears a lot in lvl1-3.map, suggesting he might’ve been intended to be an enemy.

Pink Outfit Girl

Sw94p 1178.png

A girl in a pink outfit with a Chinese symbol in the center of it. She appears to be holding a bow with her left hand.

Other Samurai

Sw94p 1179.png

The files also contain a single sprite for another samurai character. This one's pose appears to be similar to the one used by the black samurai when he walks forward.

Sumo Wrestler

Sw94p 1181.png

A typical sumo wrestler. He looks fully human, unlike the final’s sumo wrestler enemy/boss.

He appears in one of the first screenshots ever released for Shadow Warrior.

Prototype Final
Sw94p 1181.png Sw97final 1212.png

Aqua Outfit Guy

Sw94p 1182.png

A guy wearing aqua-colored armor with sleeves hanging from his arms and an evil look on his face. Based on his appearance, he was probably meant to be an enemy.

Bikini Knife Girl

Sw94p 1183.png

A girl in a bikini-like outfit, with a gray top and a black cloth on the bottom. The large amount of knives on her, including the ones she is holding in each hand, suggests she would use knives as her primary weapon.


Sw94p 2114.png

The end of the game's art files contain multiple rotations, including overhead, and animations for a hawk-like bird. What it was supposed to do is unknown, but this character's full frames appeared in several later prototypes, and some were used for a usable item as late as June 27th, 1996.

Sound and Music

By default, the game does not have any music nor sound. However, it does check for four soundfiles, bullseye.wav, getstuff.wav, ouch.wav, and shoot2.wav, and one music file, EVILTUNE.KSM, and will use them if they are in the prototype’s root directory. The sound files can be found in the April 1994 version of the Build engine found on Ken Silverman’s site. EVILTUNE.KSM can be downloaded from Ken Silverman’s website.

Bullseye.wav plays whenever a projectile hits something, getstuff.wav is used when picking up a gun, ouch.wav is used when the player is hurt, and shoot2.wav is used when firing the shuriken or bomb.

EVILTUNE.KSM is used in both maps.

In the official release, these files have been added by default.


This prototype comes with two maps: lvl1-3.map and lvl1-4.map.


lvl1-3.map is the first of the two levels in the prototype. This map features several outdoors areas.

The player starts on a ledge with a room near it. Inside the room is a ninja, though he’ll fall off the ledge on his own if he stays alive for a while.

Opposite of the ledge the player starts on is a large building that seems vaguely like a house. Its interior consists of a large staircase leading to the second floor, which has a door that sends the player to a deck outside.

Behind the building is a stream. Near the end of it is a small crack the player can duck under, which leads to a sewer-themed room.

To the right of the house-like building is a tower with a building on top of it. However, there is no way to access the building. Past the tower is a staircase that leads to a small room on the rim of the area.

The left of the house-like building is a medium-sized building on a raised platform. The only way to access it is with a ladder that does not work.

Near the previous area is another raised building, but this one has an Imp from ‘’Doom’’ visible behind bars. There is no way to access it.

The next area can be accessed by an entrance near the ‘’Doom’’ monster building or past the tower on the right side of the house-like building. The ‘’Doom’’ monster building path has a walkway that features a detour; the player can jump into a grate and explore a small sewer area, featuring two enemies and a samurai helmet prop.

No matter which way the player goes, he’ll end up in a large room with a staircase in the center. This room features several static characters. Those that took the ‘’Doom’’ monster building path will already be on the second floor, while those that took the other path will have to use the stairs to get to the second floor.

The stairs room leads to a small outdoors room that’s packed with enemy ninjas and the static guys from earlier. Tucked in a corner is a door that leads to the final notable area.

The last major area is located past the door. After following a long path, the player will be able to access a room that appears to be a smaller clone of the “water and two paths” room found early in ‘’Doom’’’s E1M5.

Of note is that the map has a unique effect regarding the sky texture. In the area the player starts it, it will use one of the photosourced sky textures. Once the player enters the building with the staircase in the center and disabled enemies, the sky will change to the blue hand drawn one, but will switch back if the player heads back to the starting area.


lvl1-4.map is the second and final level in the prototype. This map features an underground environment.

The player starts above ground, but quickly enters an underground area that has a bridge over a small pool of water. The right side of the pool of water contains a secret door that leads to a mine track past the bridge. The left side of the water pool can be accessed by opening a part of the fence via a folding door on the other side of the bridge, but the player is stuck if he goes down.

Past the bridge are two tracks for a mine cart, one of which actually has a mine cart on it (it is unusable, however). Past the mine cart is a room with a path in the center and two raised vats with lava in them, one of them containing a weapon pickup. The path in the center leads to a door that cannot be opened with a ladder to the right of the door that leads to a weapon pickup. In the upper left-hand corner of this room is an entrance to the next room.

The next room is a good-sized area that contains tight paths above water. Several weapon pickups can be found at the ends of some of the paths and on the water. An elevator connects the water and paths. The left-most path leads to an elevator that sends the player to a ledge that ends in a simple room overlooking the paths and water room. The player can jump to a ledge on the upper right-hand corner of the room, which leads to the unopenable door found in the previous room.

This map’s elevators are activated by getting near them, like in ‘’Doom’’, while the final game (and most Build engine games for that matter) have the player hit the use key while in or next to an elevator in order to have it go up or down.