DUEL: Shadow of the Darksiders Ver.C 1.1 ReadMe

DUEL: Shadow of the Darksiders
(C) 626 Productions
(C) 1995 1997 1999 2004 jhg Software

This file contains the latest information on DUEL Ver.C at the time of release, including instructions, information and general useless tidbits. I strongly recommend you read the "Read this first!" section before playing. The rest of the file contains more detailed info that is not necessarily important to read, but may enhance your enjoyment of the game.

I enjoyed making DUEL for you. Please enjoy playing it!


DUEL will work under DOS, or Windows NT/2000/XP. It will NOT work under Windows 95/98/ME.


To run, launch DUEL.EXE. Then press the Start/Fire key for the side you want to play. Select a character with the Up and Down keys, then press Start/Fire to choose.
Controls for left player: E = Up, X = Down, Z = Start/Fire, A = Special.
Controls for right player: 8 = Up, 2 = Down, 1 = Start/Fire, 4 = Special.
To exit, press ESC.

The object is to shoot the enemy tank until its life is depleted to zero. Slide up and down to avoid enemy shots. In every match, each player receives two energy bars (default setting, can be changed). You lose energy when you are shot. The round ends when a player's life reaches zero. If the player has energy bars remaining, their next bar will fill and another round begins. The match ends (KO) when a player has no energy remaining, or when time runs out, in which case the player with more energy remaining is the winner.

Each character has a unique special ability. When the status at the bottom of the screen reads "Energy Max," you may activate the ability with the Special key. Abilities last until they are used up or when the current round ends, depending on the ability.

That's all you need to know to play the game, but for more detailed information, keep reading!


DUEL was designed for pure DOS. It modifies the system timer and runs one frame of animation per system "tick." Windows NT/2000/XP will allow DUEL to modify a DOS session timer, so that DUEL will run correctly. Windows 95/98/ME will NOT allow DUEL to modify the system timer, and therefore, DUEL will not run correctly. Instead, DUEL will run at one-sixth of the speed it's supposed to, making it completely unplayable.


DUEL was originally slated to have a deeper storyline involving the conflict between the Darksiders and the free world, and including dialogues between the characters. However, the story was removed, due to both time constraints and to leave options open for the use of these characters in the future. In the meantime, please enjoy the fast-paced, addictive gameplay of DUEL.


You may play DUEL solo or against another player. DUEL works just like an arcade game; one player begins the game and a second player can enter the game at any time. In a two-player match, the winner stays in the game, and the loser is out. DUEL will keep track of a player's current winning streak.

Press Start/Fire to begin a game. You will first see the Player Select screen, where you may choose a character. The characters differ in name, color and most importantly, their special ability. The abilities will be described later. Use the Up and Down keys to browse the available characters and press Start/Fire to choose.

From the start you may select from ten characters. Unlockable characters will appear as you play the game. There may be a way to play as them even sooner...

The characters are separated into two teams of five: the team of Rogues, consisting of Decimator, Phobia, Prankster, Headless Horseman and Psycho; and the team fighting against them, made up of Saki, Jack, Wyland, Steven and Nika.

If playing alone, you will play an eight-stage game against the computer. The first five stages will be against the members of the opposite team. The sixth will be against a rival on your own team. The seventh will be against mid-boss Dementia, and the eighth will be against boss Darkman.

The match begins! Slide your tank up and down with the Up and Down keys (duh!), and press Start/Fire to fire shots.

Shot Cancel: Your tank may have one shot on the screen at a time. If you fire a second shot before the first reaches the other side, you will "cancel" the first shot and immediately fire a new shot. This is useful for correcting your mistakes as well as faking out opponents. The computer can use this technique as well, so watch out!

If a tank is struck, it will take damage. A tank will take more damage if hit in the center; if hit on the sides, it will take less. Damage decreases the green life bar at the top of the screen. When the life bar is fully depleted, the round is over.

If the defeated tank still has at least one life bar remaining, it will fill, and a new round begins.

The winning player's life bar does NOT refill for the new round. This is similar to the fighting game Killer Instinct.
A player's final life bar is yellow instead of green, as a warning.

You will notice the border of your life bar will slowly turn from solid white to a multi-color flash. This represents your character's energy, which is separate from the character's life. Energy enables you to use your special ability!
You receive energy when:
- You are standing still.
- Your opponent fires at you.

When your energy is full (the entire border of your life bar is flashing), your status at the bottom of the screen will change from "Normal" to "Energy Max." Then, you may use the Ability key to use your special ability!

Here is a list of the characters, their abilities, and their effects:

Saki: Shot SpeedUp - Increases the flying speed of his shots. These shots do slightly less damage than normal.
Jack: Homing Shot - Shots have limited homing ability but are a bit slower.
Wyland: Double Armor - The next two hits cause him no damage.
Steven: Enemy SpdDown - The speed of his enemy's shots decreases.
Nika: Enemy Jammer - Some of her enemy's shots will not fire.
Decimator: Shot PowerUp - Increases the damage caused by his shots.
Phobia: Life Up - Recovers some lost life. Takes effect immediately.
Horseman: Defense Up - Decreases the damage suffered by enemy fire.
Prankster: Steal - Steals the ability currently being used by the enemy.
Psycho: Power Drain - Slowly steals life from his enemy.
- There are additional abilities not listed here...

Abilities remain in effect until used up or the round is over. For example, Shot SpeedUp lasts until the end of the round. Double Armor lasts until either the round is over or the user takes two hits, whichever comes first.
You can not begin charging energy for the next use of your ability until your current ability is no longer in effect.

If a tank's last life bar is emptied, it's a KO and the match is over. Bonus points are awarded to the victor for amount of time remaining and amount of life left. An extra bonus is added to the life bonus if one or more life bars were completely full.

If time runs out, the tank with more remaining life (including life bars in reserve) is the winner. If both tanks have the same amount of remaining life, 10 seconds are placed on the clock and Sudden Death begins, where one hit will destroy either tank and end the match. If the 10 seconds expire and there is STILL no winner:
- In a one-player game, the computer wins.
- In a two-player game, the player that joined the game first wins.

If you get a high score, a long winning streak or complete the game quickly, you will be asked to enter your initials. Use Up and Down to change and Start/Fire to register each initial.

If you lose against the computer, you may continue the game up to three times. If you lose a fourth time you must start over.


General Tips

- If you find yourself getting hit often, you need to focus more on avoiding the enemy shots. This sounds obvious, but it's actually good advice. Watch the enemy and be ready to get out of the way.
- You are free to move around before or between rounds. Use this time to set up an attack.
- Try not to use a special ability immediately before a round ends, because you'll lose it at that time. You should use it if you're about to lose the match, though... because then you have nothing to lose!
- "Energy Max" comes with a small damage bonus. Keep this in mind before using your special ability.

Power-Specific Strategy

- Shot SpeedUp: Use it to end rounds quickly. Don't stop firing, and use Shot Cancel if necessary to fool the enemy into making a mistake.
- VS Shot SpeedUp: Stay away from the enemy! Use your own shots to keep them from chasing you. You can also use Enemy Jammer to block some of the shots. Sped up shots are weaker than regular shots, so using Defense Up will reduce your damage even further.

- Homing Shot: Fire even if you think you'll miss, as these shots can blunder into a nearby enemy. It's easy to make a mistake against Homing Shots!
- VS Homing Shot: Homing Shot already has a speed penalty; using Enemy SpdDown will slow Homing Shots to a crawl. Otherwise, attempt to stay away and fire where you think the enemy will move.

- Double Armor: Don't use it when your opponent's life is low, or you might lose it when the round ends. Great against Shot PowerUp, since it completely eliminates that advantage.
- VS Double Armor: Use Shot SpeedUp to get rid of Armor quickly. Power Drain will always cause damage, even when shots cannot.

- Enemy SpdDown: Pay extra close attention to the slower enemy fire, and it will barely have any chance of hitting you.
- VS Enemy SpdDown: Use Shot SpeedUp to cancel the effect, Power Drain to cause guaranteed damage or Double Armor/Defense Up for a little insurance.

- Enemy Jammer: Useful in practically any situation, the Jammer is great for throwing overconfident opponents off-guard, and reducing the dangers posed by powers like Shot SpeedUp and Shot PowerUp.
- VS Enemy Jammer: Use guaranteed powers that don't rely on shots, like Life Up, Double Armor and Power Drain.

- Shot PowerUp: Use when your opponent's life is full for the maximum effect. Try to hit the opponent in the center for truly great damage!
- VS Shot PowerUp: Defense Up will cancel the effect. Double Armor is also a good choice. Enemy Jammer will save you now and again.

- Life Up: This power is instantaneous: it can begin charging up again immediately after you use it. So do not hesitate! Use it as often as possible! You can also use it in a 1P game to earn more Perfect rounds (do you really want to do that?).
- VS Life Up: Use Shot SpeedUp to bury them before they have a chance to use it, or Defense Up to force them into being more aggressive and prone to mistakes.

- Defense Up: Great against pesky Shot SpeedUp users and against opponents using Enemy attacks.
- VS Defense Up: Cancel it with Shot PowerUp. Power Drain will cause guaranteed damage and Defense Up will not protect against it. Or, use Shot SpeedUp to get more hits in.

- Steal: Remember that it's useless unless the opponent currently has a power active. If you use it when the opponent is "Normal" it will have no effect.
- VS Steal: Because Life Up is used immediately, it cannot be stolen. Try to use other abilities when your enemy won't have a chance to quickly Steal, or at the end of a round when the enemy may not want to Steal.

- Power Drain: This is the only player ability that can cause damage without using shots. Use it to end rounds when the enemy is hanging by a thread, or at the beginning of a round to cause the most impact.
- VS Power Drain: Power Drain works slowly. Life Up will offset it, and abilities like Shot PowerUp will help you end a round before Power Drain can cause severe damage.


Oh, wait, there aren't any. Never mind.


Press T on the Startup screen when told to access the Test Menu, where you can modify game settings like difficulty level, number of life bars per match, etc. Use the Up and Down arrow keys on the keyboard to select options, Enter to select options, and Left and Right arrow keys to adjust values.


When the computer plays on the right (2P), it is MUCH stronger than when it plays on the left (1P). I have not yet figured out the cause of this problem.

If you have any questions, comments or bug reports, please feel free to e-mail me! Have fun!

Aaron Teplitsky