Shadow the Hedgehog is a platforming game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega. The game is the first (and thankfully last) to feature Shadow the Hedgehog from Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series as the main character.
After the events of Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow suffers from amnesia, being unable to remember anything but his name and a memory involving a young girl named Maria. As he ponders about his past, the World is suddenly attacked by aliens. Their leader, Black Doom, approaches Shadow and asks him to bring the Chaos Emeralds "as promised". Surprised that Black Doom knew him, Shadow decides that the Emeralds are the key to unlocking his past and purpose, and sets off.
The game includes 10 endings based on what path the player takes, along with a Last Story, which is unlocked after getting all other endings.
Why It Sucks
- Many games can succeed in being darker or more serious than their predecessors, like the Mega Man X or Zero series, Jak II, Twilight Princess and many others, but this game failed at that. It can take itself WAY too seriously, as an awkward attempt at trying to be darker and edgy with guns and even swearing (mostly excessive use of "damn," with Shadow's demand of where the DAMN fourth Chaos Emerald is being one of the most mocked lines in the game), which backfired due to the game being toned down for an E10+ rating shortly after its implementation, despite originally aiming for a T rating. This has led to it becoming a butt of jokes whenever other games intentionally try very hard to be edgy.
- It's also worth mentioning that the game was meant to be even darker. Human enemies originally bled, alien blood was red, and characters would swear more. This last point is most evident in the story's opening cutscene when the subtitles and voice acting say "Just what was that all about?", yet Shadow (lip sync) says "What the hell was that all about?"
- Moments in this story are also way too dark for Sonic standards:
- In the story's opening, Maria, a young girl who is Shadow's only friend, is shot.
- In both Neutral endings, Shadow kills Eggman. However, due to the Last Story, neither of those endings is canon.
- The level design ranges from boring and ugly (most of the levels) to huge, confusing, and maze-like (the only three stages that are maze-like are the Doom, Central City, and Lost Impact).
- It should be noted that Central City, aside from being maze-like, is the only stage in the entire game without a Goal Ring.
- Slippery controls.
- The story is uninteresting, poorly-developed, and inconsistent.
- Most of the voice acting ranges "Decent" to "Terrible".
- The character models look horribly out-of-place due to being recycled from Sonic Heroes.
- Black Doom is rather bland and looks more like a Final Fantasy villain.
- Almost every weapon is useless because of a lack of a target lock or manual aim, combined with an ineffective auto-aim.
- Cannon-type weapons do have a form of manual aim, but it is awkward and frustrating, requiring having to shift Shadow from side to side to get the crosshairs on your target.
- When Shadow isn't equipped with a weapon, pressing the Attack button will make him do a melee combo that does pathetic damage (it is the only attack in the entire game that cannot take down soldiers in one hit) and has terrible range.
- Sometimes, the homing attack's auto-aim will cause you to miss your intended target and fall to your death.
- The concept of "multiple story paths and endings" is weakened by each path containing nearly all the same levels and objectives and very few differences between the regular endings. Finally, adding insult to injury, the whole thing is completely nullified by the Last Story segment, which already has Shadow saving the world.
- The Branching Paths mechanic is very poorly implemented. Instead of returning to a previously completed level and completing a different mission to unlock another level, you have to restart the whole campaign and take a different path to get to the level you want. Not only that, but the campaign ALWAYS starts with the level "Westopolis" so you'll keep replaying that level over and over, which becomes much worse with the next point.
- You have to play through the game campaign at least ten times to unlock the Last Story, and 326 if you bother to fill every entry in the Library (a menu that lets you watch the game's cut scenes by order of the path you took, and there is no benefit to unlocking paths).
- Most of the objectives boil down to killing either all the enemies in the level or just reaching the Goal Ring.
- The PS2 version suffers from frame rate drops.
- You have to keep switching back to the objective you want to do because every time you meet an NPC they override your current objective tracker.
- Depending on the objective, you may be forced to backtrack to earlier parts of the level (using the checkpoints to warp there) to find enemies or items you may have missed.
- The Chaos abilities completely break the game, especially during boss fights where Chaos Control slows down time and allows you to drain the boss' whole life-bar in less than a minute.
- While the game has eight bosses in total, all of them (with the exception of the final boss) are reused at least once in multiple stages, with little to no variation in the fights themselves, which are also rather underwhelming.
- The bosses can be sometimes annoying, such as Dr. Eggman, who ALWAYS shouts "You know what they say, the more the merrier!" in one variation and "Lights out!" during the Egg Breaker fight. In another (he is reused 3 times).
- Chaos Control isn't that helpful if the objective was to kill and collect stuff, because if it was, then zipping past the stage is the last thing the player will want to do.
- On top of that, Chaos Control attacks and destroys almost everything in Shadow's path when used, which increases his Dark score, making it counter-intuitive, despite being the Hero power.
- Chaos Blast, while cool in concept, has a pretty short range and doesn't deal as much damage as it should. Plus, it can be easily spammed.
- NPCs are useless. They barely help you against enemies (though certain NPCs can be controlled by a 2nd player in the GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions only), and Black Doom, Eggman, Maria, and Charmy simply follow Shadow.
- Shadow collects two of the seven Chaos Emeralds in the first stage while you collect one at a time in other stages, hinting that this game was another case of being rushed.
- Shadow can drive vehicles, but nearly all of them control horribly and are useless (the jeep and motorbike go even slower than Shadow's regular speed). The only exceptions are a high-jumping bipedal mech and a flying alien creature that is mandatory in some stages.
- In the Space Gadget stage, the Hero and Normal missions share the exact same objective (Reach the Goal Ring). If you want to take the Normal path, you have to wait 5 minutes for the Hero mission to be listed as failed before touching the Goal Ring.
- For whatever reason, the game has a two-player deathmatch mode. Aside from being able to play as robotic versions of Shadow with guns for arms, it is worthless and forgettable.
- Shadow by himself is a good character and gets plenty of character development.
- Black Doom (while bland and out of place) is an entertaining villain.
- Despite the game's "darker" tone, there are some funny moments, usually unintentional due to the rushed writing or awkward animations.
- The few decent levels in the game include Digital Circuit which is a Tron-esque cyber world, and any of the levels in which you do platforming with the bipedal mech, for example Sky Troops.
- Doctor Eggman is the one truly decently-voiced character in the game. He was voiced by Mike Pollock, who remains as Eggman's voice actor even after Sonic Free Riders, which introduces an entirely new voice cast, was released in 2010.
- To a lesser extent, Sean Schemmel (Black Doom) and Jason Griffith (as Shadow) also are decent.
- While pointless, some of the weapons are still fun to use.
- The game's CG cutscenes are, at least visually, of very high quality similar to a film.
- The music is pretty good, despite its heavy use of hard, grungy rock.
- The game has decent replay value.
- This game has spawned 2 hilarious memes: The infamous "Where's that damn fourth Chaos Emerald?!" and "Find the computer room!"
Shadow the Hedgehog received generally mixed to negative reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the GameCube version 53.10% and 51/100, the Xbox version 52.15% and 49/100 and the PlayStation 2 version 49.27% and 45/100.
Critics derided the game's unwelcome sense of maturity for a Sonic series game, especially the addition of guns and other weapons.
Players strongly disliked the overly repetitive nature of the game which becomes tedious quickly.
This game is also known for being one of SomecallmeJohnny's most hated video games, when reviewing the game, Johnny said: "Oh my god what kind of bullshit-stupid-asinine-redundant method of padding out the game is that?!!" when talking about having to play the game 10 times to unlock the final story.