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Shadow the Hedgehog
The Ultimate Life Form
- Yuji Uekawa
- Takashi Iizuka
- Naoto Oshima
Voiced by (English)
- David Humphrey (2001-2004)
- Jason Griffith (2005-2010)
- Kirk Thornton (2010-present)
Voiced by (Japanese)
Black with Red lines
- Anyone who opposes him
- Dr. Eggman
- When others insult him
- When someone gets in his way
- Wasting time
- Chaos Control
- Chaos Spear
- Chaos Blast
- Super transformation
- Supersonic Running Speed
- Supersonic Skating Speed
- Fire Power
- Heat Generation
This article is about the character Shadow the Hedgehog. If you are looking for the article on the game Shadow the Hedgehog, see Shadow the Hedgehog (video game).
Shadow the Hedgehog (シャドウ・ザ・ヘッジホッグ) is a character from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, created by Takashi Iizuka, designed by Yuji Uekawa and owned by SEGA.
Shadow is an artificially created life form in the design of a male, anthropomorphic hedgehog. His trademark hover skates propel him at extreme speeds that rival those of Sonic the Hedgehog. Shadow resembles Sonic in many ways. He is distinguished from Sonic by his skin, eye color, cuffs, shoes, and hair shape. He is considered to be one of Sonic's greatest rivals, but is specifically referred as an anti-hero.
Since his debut, Shadow has appeared in a multitude of games, television shows, and comic books. His past was almost a complete mystery until the game Shadow the Hedgehog revealed the events surrounding his creation. In contrast to Sonic, Shadow is typically portrayed as a tortured anti-hero, or a renegade who can just as easily serve the forces of evil as those of good. According to an official poll, he is the second most popular character in the series, second only to Sonic himself.
Shadow debuted in the game Sonic Adventure 2 as one of three main antagonists, alongside Rouge the Bat. Dr. Eggman set Shadow free from a G.U.N. base on Prison Island, where he had spent 50 years imprisoned. In exchange Shadow agreed to aid the doctor in his plans to take over the world; holding his true intentions as wishing to get revenge for the death of his friend, Maria Robotnik. To achieve this, Shadow revealed the eclipse cannon to Dr. Eggman, blowing up half of the moon in demonstration. In a twist of fate, Shadow ultimately aided Sonic when realizing Maria's true wish with the help of Amy Rose (Chris in the anime "Sonic X"), which was to save humanity. In the last story, Eggman inserts the final Chaos Emerald, only to initiate a destabilization program on the ARK.
A recording of Gerald Robotnik then revealed that he had made this function to have revenge for Maria, and that the ARK would destroy the Earth. Meanwhile, Sonic and Knuckles had reached the Central Core, where the Biolizard had been activated. Notably, a scene from Gerald Robotnik's diary appeared. After Shadow defeated it, Knuckles used the Master Emerald to stop the Chaos Emeralds. But the Biolizard, being the prototype of Project Shadow, used Chaos Control to fuse with the ARK, continuing its fall. Then, as Super Sonic and Super Shadow, they destroyed the Biolizard (the Ultimate Life form prototype), having become a monster named Finalhazard, and using their pooled energies, created a Chaos Control which stopped the fall. Afterwards, Shadow fell to the earth and was presumed dead.
In Sonic Heroes, Rouge discovers Shadow in a stasis tube located in the deepest part of one of Dr. Eggman's bases. As she activates the capsule, E-123 Omega begins to attack the newly awakened Shadow, believing him to be an android. Shadow discovers that he has amnesia and cannot remember anything before his release. He joins forces with Rouge and the robot E-123 Omega to form Team Dark and find Eggman. It is later revealed that Eggman had made robotic android versions of Shadow, and the question is raised as to whether or not Shadow himself is one of these androids. Ultimately, when Metal Sonic transformed into Metal Madness, Shadow worked with everyone else to help defeat him. Shadow is last seen with Omega and the defeated Metal Sonic.
In Sonic Battle, Rouge saves Shadow while they are investigating Dr. Eggman's secret base and takes him back to her home. Shadow talks about how the people of Earth must destroy him and Emerl if they ever want peace, still believing that he is a weapon. It is revealed, however, that he ultimately has the heart and soul of Maria Robotnik, implying he could not be the enemy of humanity. In one of Gerald Robotnik's journal entries, he mentions that "Project Shadow" was put on hold because of Project Gizoid.
In Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow is revealed to be the dual creation of the alien overlord Black Doom and Professor Gerald. Gerald could not finish the project on his own, so he contacted the Black Comet and used Black Doom's blood, and presumably his DNA to create Shadow. Shadow eventually gathers all the Chaos Emeralds and confronts Doom as Super Shadow. He then destroys the Black Comet with the Eclipse Cannon. In the end, he puts the past behind him. Also in the last battle of the game, Eggman confesses to Shadow that he saved him in Sonic Adventure 2 before he fell to Earth, meaning he is the real Shadow and not a Shadow Android as was previously believed.
In the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game, Shadow is a playable character and has his own storyline which weaves with those of Sonic and new character Silver the Hedgehog. In this role, Shadow encounters the new villain Mephiles the Dark when the Scepter of Darkness falls and shatters. Shadow is sent to the future and is revealed to have become the enemy of mankind, due to their fear of his power. It is also been revealed that Shadow is sealed away by the reprogrammed Omega sometime during this event. Eventually, Mephiles gains hold of the seven Chaos Emeralds and merges with Iblis, becoming Solaris. Shadow turns into Super Shadow and joins with Super Silver and Super Sonic to defeat Solaris. The events of the game are then reset and do not occur, possibly leaving his future open.
Shadow appears in Sonic Rivals as a playable character alongside Sonic, Knuckles, Silver, and Metal Sonic. Summoned to a strange land by Dr. Eggman via a cryptic transmission asking for his aid, Shadow is able to successfully locate Dr. Eggman, but once he mentions the cryptic message, Dr. Eggman denies it. The mystery continues to unfold itself as Rouge warns him of an impending danger and upon stumbling across a secret about Dr. Eggman, her transmission is cut off short. Shadow continues his quest to uncover the truth about Dr. Eggman. Shadow also appears on four of the 150 collectible cards in the game.
Shadow is an unlockable character in the game Sonic Riders after beating the Hero Story Mode. He is a Speed type character, with his default Gear: Darkness, which he uses to skate like his default shoes. He now appears in the sequel Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity as a speed character, and his default gear is called Black Shot.
Shadow also appeared in the game Sonic and The Secret Rings, being the first unlockable character for the Party Mode (next ones being Cream, Silver and Blaze) by obtaining 30 Fire Souls.
Shadow also appears in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games as a speed character along with Sonic, Yoshi and Princess Daisy.
Shadow appears in the sequel to Sonic Rivals, Sonic Rivals 2. He is confronted by Metal Sonic and Eggman (through a speaker in Metal Sonic) tells him that he needs help. Before he can ask questions he and Metal Sonic find Espio and Silver. Curious as to why Silver has returned to the present he begins to follow Silver while Metal Sonic follows Espio. Eventually Shadow forgets to ask the Doctor why he is helping him and just continues to work with Metal Sonic. Eventually Shadow discovers that Eggman Nega is trying to release the Ifrit with the seven Chaos Emeralds. He enters the Chaos Inferno Zone to press the switch to seal the Ifrit in its own dimension, but he and Metal Sonic are trapped in the process. Metal Sonic tears himself open to reveal a Chaos Emerald, and Shadow Chaos Control's them back to their own dimension.
Shadow appeared in the RPG game, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.
Shadow is an assist trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He uses Chaos Control to manipulate the battlefield, slowing down time for every combatant but the one that summoned him.
Shadow is one of the playable characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise in Sega Superstars Tennis, along with Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Dr. Eggman.
He is also mentioned in Sonic Unleashed but never seen. He presumably was set to appear but ended up being taken out for unknown reasons.
He also appears in Sonic Generations.
Shadow is a "lone wolf" who distances himself from Sonic and his friends. He is among the darkest and most violent character in the series, destroying anything that gets in his way. As shown in Shadow the Hedgehog, he has a ruthless killer instinct. When Shadow sets his mind on something, he is virtually unstoppable. Unlike Sonic who fights fairly in battle, Shadow does not have the same fighting honor that Sonic shows, going so far as to cheat in battle by using a Chaos Emerald and even using Guns against his opponent even if they are not using any weapons at all against him. However, after the events of Shadow the Hedgehog, he became much more nicer to others and is even willing to help other people and Sonic whenever they need his help.
In Sonic X, Shadow is not as aggressive, but is still more violent. For example, Shadow attempts to kill Cosmo because he thought she was a Metarex spy. Tails tries to protect Cosmo, which resulted in Shadow giving him a severe beating. The dubbed and edited American version of the show tones down Shadow's dark and aggressive attitude to make the show more acceptable for younger viewers.
Interaction With Other Characters
Professor Gerald Robotnik (Egg Man)
50 years ago, the head scientist on Space Colony ark Professor Gerald Robotnik, Dr. Eggman's grandfather, created Shadow with the use of Black Doom's DNA. Shadow has a great deal of respect for the professor and is known to be quite loyal to the original purpose Gerald established for him before going insane. After discovering Gerald's insanity, Shadow disavowed Gerald's new insane goals at the end of Sonic Adventure 2. Instead Shadow prefers to remember the professor for what he was before his final days of derangement.
Soon after being created, Shadow became close friends with the Professor's granddaughter, Maria Robotnik, whom he seems to have treated like a sister. In Sonic Adventure 2, and the Japanese version of Sonic X, it was revealed that Maria had been shot and killed by a G.U.N soldier, while in the English version of Sonic X, she was merely captured and never seen again. After her death, Maria's sacrifice to save Shadow both continuously haunted and motivated him, until he finally decided to let go of his past at the end of Shadow the Hedgehog and lead his own life.
The relationship between Shadow and Black Doom may have been brief, but has played a significant role in Shadow's life. Shadow was made from Black Doom's blood, in a deal between the alien and Professor Gerald; this, technically, makes Black Doom Shadow's biological father. Black Doom, at first, tried to get Shadow on his side by playing on what remained of Shadow's painful memories of losing Maria. Regardless of the path taken during gameplay, Shadow in the end fights and defeats Black Doom (who transformed into Devil Doom) and then destroys the Black Comet with the Eclipse Cannon in the Last Story. Still, throughout the events of Shadow the Hedgehog Black Doom threatens Shadow and demands extreme loyalty and respect, even when choosing the Dark path in gameplay Doom acts with no compassion whatsoever. He also doesn't tolerate any kind of mistake or failure, no matter how difficult the task on Shadow's part may be. Black Doom was also Shadow's archenemy, similar to what Eggman is to Sonic.
Shadow's approach to Dr. Eggman is quite different to that of other characters, apart from Rouge the Bat. His relation to the Doctor is neither that of a staunch enemy nor an ally, choosing instead to form alliances with or against him depending on the circumstances. While Eggman has helped Shadow on multiple occasions, each time was just a means to use the black hedgehog in his own plans. Although Shadow appears to show little regard for whether Dr. Eggman's schemes succeed or not, clashes do occur when they get in each other's way. Despite this, they display a certain amount of respect for each other's abilities, one notable aspect being that Shadow always refers to Eggman by his title of "Doctor" (even "the good doctor" in Sonic Battle and Shadow the Hedgehog, though it may be sarcastic), regardless of the deceptions Eggman implies in order to trick or lure Shadow to his cause; which hardly-to-never succeed.
Rouge the Bat
Shadow also has a very close relationship with Rouge the Bat, Shadow's ally and possibly the closest friend he has since the death of Maria. Rouge also shows a lot of respect for the black hedgehog and is often seen worrying about his safety throughout the series. Shadow can be very protective of her and has grown to deeply trust her to a certain degree. A few times she also becomes a "damsel-in-distress", usually causing Shadow to end up saving her. Rouge has also returned the favor a couple times, such as when she takes Shadow to her place to rest when he is weakened. Despite their closeness, Shadow remains mysterious and sometimes sarcastic towards her, mostly causing her to be either concerned or annoyed, though she typically accepts him for who he is. Rouge has also said before that she will never abandon Shadow even if the world turns against him.
E-123 Omega is a robot created by Eggman that was left behind in the same base Shadow was encased in. After starting off as adversaries in Sonic Heroes, Shadow and Omega become allies and helped each other in battle. Initially they don't get along well, even sparking small rivalries as to whom is strongest such as in the Shadow the Hedgehog game (this rivalry could be considered a mirror image of Sonic's rivalry with Knuckles). In Sonic the Hedgehog Omega acts on Rouge's request to aid Shadow, whom was trapped in the future without a means to return. Omega shut himself down in a secluded area allowing for time to pass and ultimately to bring Shadow the Chaos Emerald he needed to defeat Mephiles. Upon discovering that he was to be captured, reprogrammed, and destined to be the one who imprisons Shadow in the future, Omega becomes saddened for the grief he will cause. Though, this outcome has been erased since the events that transpired in the game were reset with the destruction of Solaris, the game's main antagonist, leaving Omega's future open.
Miles "Tails" Prower
Sonic the Hedgehog
Shadow's biggest rival is none other than Sonic the Hedgehog, the main protagonist of the game series. When the two first meet in Sonic Adventure 2, they immediately became enemies, but over time their relationship developed into a friendly rivalry. They frequently fight for different reasons. Shadow finds Sonic to be very irritating for his carefree attitude, but they usually end up working together. Shadow also helped defeat Metal Madness, the larger form of Neo Metal Sonic in the game, Sonic Heroes. Shadow even saves Sonic from Silver during the Sonic the Hedgehog game showing that they even call each other friend. Each have their supposed deaths, Shadow's at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic's during the final story of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), to which each mourn the other.
Shadow has a short but significant encounter with Amy Rose in the Last Story of Sonic Adventure 2. When the Space Colony ARK is nearing its collision course with Earth, Amy pleads to Shadow to help save the world. At first he refuses, but Amy's persistent words and positive outlook eventually triggered the once-dormant memory of Maria's real wish: to give people a chance to be happy.
The commander and Shadow didn't get along at first as the commander blamed Shadow for the death of his family, but after the events of Shadow the Hedgehog, (as revealed in expert mode) the commander invited Shadow over, this is presumably the time that Shadow became a G.U.N. agent.
Cream and Cheese
Shadow and Metal Sonic are forced to work together when Doctor Eggman calls for Shadow's assistance in Sonic Rivals 2. Although they are together for a brief amount of time Shadow does seem concerned about Metal Sonic multiple times, despite the fact that Metal Sonic is a robot with the inability to speak. Shadow constantly asks him if he's alright and at the end of the game when Metal Sonic tears himself open to retrieve the Chaos Emerald, Shadow tells him to stop, for he fears Metal Sonic will destroy himself.
Basic traits between Shadow and Sonic are virtually identical. Like Sonic, Shadow is highly acrobatic, capable of gracefully leaping over many obstacles in his way. He can also perform Sonic's trademark 'Spin Attack', which is a variation on the tendency for hedgehogs to roll into tight balls for protection. Also, Shadow can skate at speeds fast enough to rival the speeds Sonic can run. Shadow is also ageless and immortal.
Shadow's trademark move is Chaos Control, which allows him to warp time and space. Shadow uses it mainly to transport matter and/or to slow or stop time. The move actually allows the user to manipulate time and space to warp across "space" or move through or across "time". Sonic, Black Doom, Metal Sonic (as seen as Metal Overlord during Sonic Heroes), Biolizard, and Silver can also use Chaos Control, though the move originally appeared with Shadow and he makes the most extensive use of it. Although most cutscenes and bios in manuals and websites often claim Shadow needs a Chaos Emerald to perform the technique, he has used it several times during gameplay as well as some cutscenes without a known Emerald in his possession such as in Sonic Rivals, Sonic Battle, and Sonic the Hedgehog. In contrast, the Archie version of Shadow can directly access the "Chaos Force" and does not require a Chaos Emerald. Shadow is also able to shape Chaos Control into a variety of offensive and defensive attacks, such as "Chaos Spear".
As described in Shadow's game, all of his Chaos powers increase in correlation to the addition of a greater number of Chaos Emeralds, until reaching full power with all 7 Emeralds. It is currently unknown as to what extent Chaos Control can be used, as Shadow has never been seen using it on another object without warping himself along with it, but it has been shown that he can take objects and people into the warp with him, and all examples of this suggest he must be touching to object to bring it with him (such as transporting the Black Comet off Earth). When saving Rouge from Prison Island, he was seen touching her. Aside from it's final usage in Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow has used Chaos Control with 3 emeralds at most, using Chaos Control to save Rouge from Prison Island, and they ended up on the ARK afterwards. It is assumed that 3 emeralds is enough to warp Shadow (and anything on his person) into space.
Another form of attack that first appeared in the Shadow the Hedgehog game is an attack called "Chaos Blast" that is induced when Shadow commits acts of evil, filling his red gauge. While the Chaos Spear can attack single or multiple targets, the Chaos Blast is literally a shockwave of energy that eliminates anything and everything in a circular radius range. When this attack can be formed, his eyes and the streaks on his body begin to glow red.
As shown in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic X, Shadow is able to unleash more of his power if he takes off the rings on his wrists. Sonic X was the first to present this idea, which at first made it seem to be exclusive to the anime, as during the Sonic Adventure 2 adaption, Shadow loses his rings when trying to stop the ARK from crashing to earth. In the game, Sonic enters the ARK with one of Shadow's rings, but he is never shown actually losing them. In the anime, this increase in power comes at the expense of reducing his stamina, causing Shadow to become exhausted after a relatively short time engaged in combat as seen in episodes 60, 61, and 63 of the series. However in the video game series, he shows no sign of fatigue. The increase in his power from taking off his rings shows a drastic change in the final cutscene of his story in Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, after he plows through what appears to be hundreds of copies of Mephiles. This ability was also demonstrated in recent issues of the Archie comic as mentioned below, wherein Shadow removed the rings in order to call up his full power when he engaged the newly-reborn Enerjak in combat.
In Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow has shown that he can also use a wide range of firearms, semi-automatics, heavy assault, and close-combat weapons. He can also improvise with debris, and drive a wide range of vehicles, (similar to that of the Terminator) as shown in Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic Riders, and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). This proves a great distinction between him and Sonic because, in the same game, Sonic says he'd never get caught using a gun, and prefers running over using a vehicle.
By harnessing the power of the seven Chaos Emeralds and using the positive energy , Shadow is able to use super transformation to transform into Super Shadow. He is bestowed with the new abilities of flight and near invulnerability, like Super Sonic, and his normal abilities of speed and power are greatly enhanced. Granting him near invincibility, super sonic flight, enhanced control over his Chaos powers, and causes his quills to shine bright gold. This form first appeared in Sonic Adventure 2. Shadow can release even more power in this form by taking off the rings on his wrist. The only time this occurred nearly cost Shadow his life and left him with amnesia. Fans have estimated the power released by Super Shadow removing his rings is nearly or is equal to that of Hyper Sonic.
Shadow Androids are robots based on Shadow that first appeared in Sonic Heroes, though it was never actually stated to be such. Instead, one Team Dark cutscene showed a broken Shadow robot, and another one showed an entire room of Androids in stasis, which affected the story in a way, making several characters believe Shadow was a robot. The Shadow Androids reappeared in Shadow the Hedgehog as somewhat strong enemy robots on the single-player mode's "Iron Jungle" and "Lava Shelter" stages, along with the "Iron Jungle" boss. These androids can counter Shadow's Homing Attacks, or lock-on to Shadow and toss rockets at him, which they seem to use more often than the Homing Attack. At the last Team Dark cutscene of Sonic Heroes, when Rouge finds the multiple Shadow androids, she suspects that Shadow is an android, but Omega says that the real Shadow exists, as there is no way anyone could make Shadow androids without the real Shadow. While Shadow is facing Black Doom in his Devil Doom form, Eggman says that he used a robot to rescue Shadow as or after he fell from the Space Colony ARK in Sonic Adventure 2, meaning that while Shadow was in a stasis tube, Eggman was making Shadow androids.
In the multi-player mode of Shadow the Hedgehog, there are six special Shadow Androids. Four of these robots are silver with green, pink, orange, or blue stripes, each wielding either an alien-like machine gun or a bazooka. The other two look more like Shadow, but on one of them, the stripes are goldenrod instead of red. These two, like the real Shadow, start off without weapons but can carry any other weapon they collect and have limited ammo while the other four androids can only use their built-in weapons which have unlimited ammo. The androids can activate Dark Shadow and all of its normal effects and attacks, just like the real Shadow. Hero Shadow is only available via use of Action Replay as there aren't sufficient Hero targets to destroy. Even then, Chaos Control is disabled (the player will hear a buzzer). All of these androids claim to be the "real Shadow", and claim that the others are fakes.
It’s Sonic the Hedgehog’s30th anniversary today, and what better way to pay tribute to the Blue Blur himself on his big day than by ignoring him entirely to talk about the real star of the show? Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic’s rival who debuts in Sonic Adventure 2, has a birthday to celebrate too, because it’s also Sonic Adventure 2’s 20th anniversary week. Folks, I want Sega and Sonic Team to love my precious anti-hero son again. But in the years since he received his much-maligned solo game in 2005, it seems like both companies are willing to let him be the insufferable edgelord people always thought he was.
When Shadow first appeared as the “Dark” counterpart to Sonic, the black hedgehog was the introverted, brooding, loner foil to Sonic’s happy-go-lucky, impulsive nature. The contrasts between the two took clear inspiration from dynamics like Goku and Vegeta’s rivalry in Dragon Ball Z. For at least a few games, it actually struck a meaningful balance between the two. Shadow wasn’t an edgelord — he was just an enigmatic character with a tragic backstory and an ambiguous motive.
Shadow was created as part of an experiment researching immortality fifty years before Sonic’s time. He was to be the Ultimate Life Form. It was all to find a cure for Maria Robotnik, the terminally ill granddaughter of Shadow’s creator Dr. Gerald Robotnik, the grandfather of series antagonist Dr. Eggman. After government officials deemed the project too dangerous, the space station research facility where Shadow and Maria resided was raided, resulting in Maria’s death, while Shadow was sent down to Earth.
The hedgehog was awoken 50 years later by Dr. Eggman. With modified memories courtesy of his creator and vengeance in his heart, he hoodwinked both his allies and rivals into nearly destroying the entire world, before realizing this isn’t what Maria would have wanted. Undoing his own plan and saving the world nearly cost Shadow his life, but he reappeared in Sonic Heroes as an amnesiac in one of Dr. Eggman’s labs, with his connection to his previous life being told to him, rather than something he felt. He couldn’t remember his relationship with Maria or the characters he came to know in Sonic Adventure 2, like jewel thief Rouge the Bat. With the help of Rouge and their new robot friend E-123 Omega, Shadow seeks answers from Eggman about his memory and finds nothing but dead ends and more questions. Eggman even uses his likeness in a new line of androids to do his bidding, leaving the game on a surprisingly dark note for a mascot platform of the time: the Shadow we’ve been playing might not even be the real deal.
From Sonic Heroes onward, Shadow’s story became a tale of a character who had been created for a scientific breakthrough, repurposed as a weapon, and then used as a blueprint for a new wave of robots to do Dr. Eggman’s bidding. For a 50-year-old character, he’s spent most of his life being told he exists for purposes beyond his own autonomy. His heel turn at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 to go against the revenge scheme is one of the first times Shadow decided anything for himself. With Maria gone and Robotnik’s plans stopped, what purpose does Shadow’s life serve?
And that’s the thesis of his own game that launched in 2005, a game with so many bad ideas that it altered the character’s trajectory into an unrecognizable caricature of himself. This sucks because, in spite of itself, Shadow the Hedgehog’s exploration of a character trying to define their identity through uncovering their past is such an interesting foundation for a game with multiple endings. But the sloppy and abstract execution gets easily lumped in with the bad ideas of giving a hedgehog a gun and having him swear. There are choices made and missions completed, but the culmination of all of these is rarely reflected in the ending you obtain. As the entire thing has to be modular and can change from mission to mission. Each ending brings Shadow to a different conclusion about himself, but it’s hardly real character development. It’s just a “what if” scenario. It’s effective in what it’s trying to illustrate, but the getting there is arbitrary.
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Shadow the Hedgehog has a lot of the same running and jumping as a standard Sonic game, but its missions give each level a branching path. Each culminates in Shadow finding a specific handful of facts about his history, leading him to different interpretations of who he is and who he should be. On paper, it’s a fascinating look at how perspective and choice can lead us on a different trajectory. Unfortunately, it is surrounded by one of the worst gameplay experiences in the series’ 3D era.
The focus on firearms just makes matters worse, lacking anything comparable to third-person shooters at the time, all in the name of making a “mature” Sonic the Hedgehog game. Even for a darker character, the whole thing went overboard and is even acknowledged by the game itself. In the first level, where all branching paths begin, Sonic says during the tutorial he “wouldn’t be caught dead using those things” about the firearms Shadow can use. And he was right because Shadow wasn’t using guns in his next playable appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
The whole thing was just such an ill-informed mess, even when it had interesting things to say about how Shadow’s choices make him who he is. The whole meditation on this was academic in the end: By unlocking the game’s Last Story by reaching every possible ending, it’s revealed that Shadow would leave his past and move forward, regardless of where he came from. Which, to Sega and Sonic Team’s credit, is really solidified in Sonic ‘06, which is rightfully viewed as the series’ greatest 3D misfire. But Shadow’s role in it, even 15 years after the dumpster fire went crashing onto the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, still stands out as some of the best writing of the franchise.
Without getting too far into the details, Sonic ‘06 is about time travel nonsense. As far as it concerns Shadow and his newfound determination to stand up for what he believes in, regardless of what the world tells him he is, there’s really one major plot point to touch on. In the future that everyone is trying to avoid in this game, the world will turn against Shadow for fear of his power. They’re even going to send his friend and ally Omega to do it.
If Shadow hadn’t made the decisions he had in his own game, this might have shaken him and turned him right back into a villain. But this isn’t the same confused hedgehog who was still trying to find out who he was. He knows who he is, and knowing that the world would one day turn against him won’t stop him from doing what’s right. In a game that has, deservedly so, gone down in history as one of the worst games to ever grace a console, Shadow’s role in it shows an understanding of a story that’s been four games in the making, even if it’s had bumps in the road along the way.
That clear care for the character Sega and Sonic Team had been writing four those four games has made Shadow’s treatment in the years since honestly painful to watch. The hedgehog once created to be the Ultimate Life Form had decided his own path and had grown close to his friends Rouge and Omega in the process, and friendly to Sonic as well, even if they remained rivals. So who the fuck is this guy?
In the years since Sonic ‘06, Shadow (along with most of Sonic’s friends) has been sidelined to put more focus on the blue guy. As a result, the series has been lacking the more elaborate storytelling of the Sonic Adventure era. But it also means these characters, who had complex backstories and character arcs, have been reduced to quippy, one-dimensional versions of themselves. And given that Shadow had been the source of a lot of the series’ most intricate storytelling, his regression has been the most apparent and also the hardest to swallow.
Shadow has since gone from dealing with his own uncertainty and finding comfort in allies like Rouge and Omega to a cliche rival character belittling Sonic for his reliance on his friends in the Sonic Boom games and animated show. His appearances as a tentpole playable character have been downsized to a villain games can pluck into the mix to give Sonic someone to run faster than for a level.
Sonic Forces attempts to alleviate this by giving Shadow his own DLC stages, marking his first playable role in a platformer in over a decade. Still, the storytelling and characterization are so comparatively thin it doesn’t amount to much. A lot of this comes down to the series’ ensemble cast being relegated to talking heads, leaving almost no room for the same character-driven storytelling that made these anthropomorphic animals compelling in the first place.
We don’t really know what the future of the Sonic franchise holds, as the only thing we know about the next mainline game is a teaser trailer andpossibly a name, but Sega wants it to be something with thesame impact as Sonic Adventure in 1998. That game set the series on a path to the storytelling that led to some of its best character work, and it’s a path the franchise has long since run in the opposite direction of as it focused almost solely on the franchise’s namesake. I hope that whatever is next remembers that, at one point, these characters weren’t just set dressing for Sonic to run past. And that whatever version of Shadow appears in the future is one that hasn’t forgotten the bonds that made him more than the edgelord people thought he was and more than the edgelord Sega has since made him.
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Shadow the Hedgehog
Video game character
This article is about the character. For the video game, see Shadow the Hedgehog (video game).
Shadow the Hedgehog (Japanese: シャドウ・ザ・ヘッジホッグ, Hepburn: Shadō za Hejjihoggu) is a main character appearing in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise. Shadow was created by Takashi Iizuka and Shiro Maekawa, and debuted in the series' 2001 installment Sonic Adventure 2. Although this was intended to be his only appearance, Shadow proved so popular among fans that developer Sonic Team decided to include him in 2003's Sonic Heroes. Shadow has since featured in numerous entries in the franchise, including a game of his own in 2005 Shadow the Hedgehog (video game). He also appears in Sonic television adaptations, comics, and merchandise.
Within the Sonic franchise's fictional universe, Shadow is an immortal, anthropomorphic black hedgehog created by Professor Gerald Robotnik, the grandfather of series antagonist Doctor Eggman. After witnessing the murder of his best friend Maria, Shadow vows to keep his promise to her that he would protect the world from danger. As an antihero, Shadow has good intentions but will do whatever it takes to accomplish his goals, putting him at odds with series protagonist Sonic the Hedgehog and thus he serves as one of the eponymous title character's greatest rivals if not the greatest. Shadow shares many attributes with Sonic and thus controls similarly in games, but is distinguished by his use of vehicles and firearms.
The idea for Shadow originated during the development of the original Sonic Adventure in 1998, with Iizuka and Maekawa ensuring he would be a subtle, "cool" character players could care about. His design was influenced by films such as Underworld, Constantine, and Terminator. Although Shadow is one of the series' most popular characters and was named one of the greatest video game characters by Guinness World Records in 2011, he has proven divisive among video game journalists. Some have praised his role in Sonic Adventure 2 and his levels' preservation of the Sonic theme, but others have criticized his dark and over-the-top characterization. The Shadow game sold well, but received generally unfavorable reviews.
Shadow is an anthropomorphic black hedgehog appearing in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series of platform games and its various spin-offs. He first appeared in the 2001 installment Sonic Adventure 2, the final Sonic game released for a Sega video game console. His roles in the games vary. Some, such as the main series games Sonic Adventure 2,Sonic Heroes (2003), and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) feature him as a major playable character, and he is the protagonist of the spin-off Shadow the Hedgehog (2005) and a downloadable content (DLC) package for Sonic Forces (2017). Others, such as the anniversary game Sonic Generations (2011), limit him to a non-playable role.
In the games, Shadow is depicted as a mysterious, sharp-witted, and brooding antihero. While his ultimate goal is to protect the world from danger, he dislikes humanity, and once he has set a goal, he does whatever it takes to accomplish it. This often causes him to take risks without thinking them through and puts him at odds with series protagonist Sonic the Hedgehog. Although a loner, Shadow collaborates with treasure hunter Rouge the Bat and renegade robot E-123 Omega in games such as Sonic Heroes, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Sonic Forces. Shadow allies with Sonic in some games, but also does so with series antagonist Doctor Eggman in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog.
Shadow shares many similarities with Sonic. Visually, GameSpot's Ben Stahl described Shadow as "an evil version of Sonic himself—similar in appearance, but with darker skin, more angled eyes, and a fearsome snarl instead of Sonic's trademark grin."GamesRadar+'s Justin Leeper said that if Sonic was Superman, then Shadow would be his Batman. The characters control similarly in games, as both share skills and the ability to run at great speeds. Shadow has unique attributes in some games, such as his uses of firearms and vehicles in Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog, respectively. He can also use the Chaos Emeralds to perform "Chaos Control"—allowing him to distort time—and create weapons like spears. Like Sonic, Shadow can transform into a "Super" form giving him special powers.
Shadow was created by Takashi Iizuka and Shiro Maekawa, who respectively served as director and writer of Sonic Adventure 2. According to Iizuka, the idea for Shadow originated during development of the original Sonic Adventure in 1998, when Sonic Team intended to introduce a rival for Sonic in a potential sequel. Although they rarely discussed the idea, the staff continually thought about it. Eventually, while work on Sonic Adventure 2 progressed, Sonic Team found use in Shadow when they laid out the game's "good vs. evil" plotlines. Shadow's name at the beginning of development was "Terios" ("reflection of"), referencing his role as Sonic's doppelganger. Sonic Team tasked Maekawa with developing Shadow, whom they wanted to look just as "cool" as Sonic. Maekawa settled on the design of a black hedgehog, but struggled coming up with his personality. One night, while he brainstormed lines for a scene in which Sonic confronts Shadow for impersonating him, Maekawa came up with Shadow's first line: "Hmph, aren't you the fake one here?" As part of shaping his subtle character, Maekawa envisioned Shadow would refer to himself using the more humble Japanese pronounboku (僕). Iizuka made sure that Shadow's introduction also brought new events to the game, as he wanted players to care about the character.
Sonic Adventure 2 was intended to be Shadow's only appearance, but his popularity among fans led to him returning in 2003's Sonic Heroes. Additionally, Sonic Team wanted to feature Shadow in a spin-off game. By 2005, Sonic Team was interested in developing a high-speed shooter game. They chose to focus on Shadow—whom they felt would provide "the perfect venue... to try our hand at this genre"—leading to the development of Shadow the Hedgehog. Series co-creator Yuji Naka hoped Shadow would lead to a spin-off series about the character. When developing Shadow's design and world, Sonic Team was influenced by films such as Underworld (2003), Constantine (2005), and those in the Terminator series. The team abandoned Shadow's shooting gameplay when working on Sonic the Hedgehog in 2006. Instead, director Shun Nakamura emphasized combat to differentiate his gameplay from that of Sonic's; while Sonic was designed for speedy platforming, Shadow was designed for fighting enemies. After Sonic and the Black Knight (2009), Shadow did not appear as a playable character in a Sonic platformer for some time, until the release of Sonic Forces in 2017. Nakamura explained that Sonic Team brought Shadow back for Sonic Forces so it would appeal to fans of the Adventure games, as the character is "extremely popular" among that group. Iizuka has commented that another Shadow-oriented spin-off is a possibility.
In Japan, Kōji Yusa voices Shadow. The character's English voice actor has changed several times. David Humphrey was the first to assume the role, but was replaced by Jason Griffith, who voiced Shadow and Sonic in the English dub of the anime series Sonic X (2003–2006), for Shadow the Hedgehog in 2005.Ryan Drummond briefly filled in for David Humphrey as Shadow's voice during the Final Hazard boss level in Sonic Adventure 2.Kirk Thornton has since voiced Shadow in games such as Sonic Free Riders.
Within the Sonic series' fictional universe, Shadow the Hedgehog is an immortal being created by Professor Gerald Robotnik through genetic engineering as part of an experiment to cure his granddaughter Maria from a deadly illness. While Shadow and Maria formed a strong bond, the government deemed him a threat. Shadow was placed in suspended animation and a military organization, the Guardian Units of Nations (G.U.N.), killed Maria as Shadow tried to protect her. Maria's death traumatized Shadow, who vowed to keep his promise to her that he would protect the world from danger. In Sonic Adventure 2, Gerald's grandson, Doctor Eggman, learns of Shadow and revives him as part of a plan to conquer the world and defeat Sonic the Hedgehog. Shadow agrees to help Eggman and frames Sonic for their evil deeds. However, Shadow eventually allies himself with Sonic to prevent the world's destruction after he remembers the promise he made to Maria. However, he is unable to handle the power of all seven Chaos Emeralds in a Super state as well as Sonic, and is seen plummeting to the Earth from space after the final boss fight.
In Sonic Heroes, Rouge the Bat discovers Shadow alive in Eggman's base. He remembers nothing except his name and Maria's death, and teams up with Rouge and E-123 Omega to find Eggman and learn of his past. In Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow, still suffering from amnesia, becomes caught in a three-way war between Eggman, G.U.N., and the Black Arms, an alien army led by Black Doom. Shadow can choose to help G.U.N., Sonic and his friends, Eggman, or the Black Arms. At the end of the game, Shadow recovers from his amnesia and learns the truth about his past, including that Gerald created him using Black Doom's blood. He chooses to put the past behind him and move on, and in Sonic the Hedgehog is depicted as having joined G.U.N.
Reception and impact
Shadow quickly proved popular among players of Sonic Adventure 2, contributing to his return in later games. Additionally, responses to his introduction were favorable; critics considered his levels in Sonic Adventure 2 among the game's highlights.GameSpot's Shane Satterfield wrote Shadow's levels were exciting and helped preserve the general theme of Sonic games, and wished they had been more plentiful.Nintendo Life's Mark Reece similarly felt Shadow's levels successfully adapted the Sonic formula to 3D. However, despite strong sales, the 2005 Shadow game received generally unfavorable reviews and, according to Official Nintendo Magazine's Thomas East, tarnished the character's reputation.
Reviews for Shadow the Hedgehog criticized numerous aspects of the character, such as his controls, use of firearms, and characterization.Game Informer's Matt Helgeson decried Shadow as a character who lacked personality and mocked his "ridiculous" and "laughable" Clint Eastwood rasp, while GameSpy's Patrick Klepek felt the game was proof the Sonic series had jumped the shark. Similarly, 1UP.com's Shane Bettenhausen compared Shadow to Poochie, a character from The Simpsons episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" (1997) symbolic of creating a new character simply to boost a flagging series. Klepek thought guns made sense for Shadow's character but did not have a compelling use in the game, and expressed hope Sonic Team would "[bury] him alongside the same graves as the third-tier of characters from Knuckles Chaotix." Critics reviewing the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog considered Shadow's gameplay slightly better than that of Sonic's but felt it did not add enough to the experience, while Den of Geek's Chris Freiberg wrote the Shadow DLC for Sonic Forces added some replay value to a game he criticized for its short length.
Writers have called Shadow—both the game and the character—an ill-advised attempt to bring a sense of maturity to the Sonic series. Indeed, IGN's Levi Buchanan and 1UP's Jeremy Parish considered him one of the series' biggest problems; Parish wrote that of the unnecessary Sonic characters Sega should retire, Shadow was the most in need of it. Numerous video game journalists have mockingly described the character as "edgy",Internet slang referring to someone who exhibits disconcerting behavior in an effort to impress others. In 2010, DeviantArt user "cmara" released a webcomic depicting Shadow in a romantic relationship with Shrek, the title character of the DreamWorks film series. According to Kotaku's Nathan Grayson, the comic paired the two because "if Shrek was the big screen embodiment of nu-millennium toilet garbage, Shadow the Hedgehog—with his hilariously unfitting blend of guns and angst in a colorful world of fast animals in clown shoes—was his video game bride. Both tried to act like they were too cool for 'kid stuff.' Too sophisticated, too edgy. They were made for each other—and approximately one billion people between the ages of 12 and 34."
Shadow is a divisive Sonic character. Some, such as East, who ranked him one of the series' best characters, praise him for his role in Sonic Adventure 2;Game Informer's Brian Shea called Shadow a "fun equal" to Sonic who delivered the series' traditional sense of speed, and Polygon's Allegra Frank said he is a fan-favorite. "For others," wrote Kotaku's Mike Fahey, Shadow "signifies the looming death of a beloved series." Fahey felt Shadow's self-titled game was when the Sonic franchise lost its identity, and dismissed those who argued in favor of his role in Sonic Adventure 2.Jim Sterling, writing for GamesRadar+, ranked Shadow among the series' worst characters, arguing he lost his relevance over time and calling him "the ultimate example of a good idea gone rotten." Despite this, in 2005 Naka said Sonic Team had determined Shadow was the series' most popular character excluding Sonic himself, a finding reaffirmed in a 2009 Sega poll. In 2011, Guinness World Records named Shadow among the 50 greatest video game characters of all time.
In other media
Outside the video game series, Shadow appears as the true main villain in the anime series Sonic X, which adapts the story of the Sonic Adventure games. The original Japanese cast from the games reprised their voice roles for the game, while Jason Griffith voiced Shadow in the English dub by 4Kids Entertainment. In the Sonic Boom (2014–2017) spin-off franchise, Shadow appears in the 2014 games Rise of Lyric for the Wii U as an antihero and Shattered Crystal for the Nintendo 3DS as a hero, and the episodes "It Takes a Village to Defeat a Hedgehog" and both parts entitled "Eggman: The Video Game" as a villain, voiced by Kirk Thornton. He also appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic books published by Archie Comics and IDW Publishing, and his likeness has been used in Sonic merchandise.
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Sonic: 10 Things Fans Need To Know About Shadow The Hedgehog
Fans of the Sonic franchise have undoubtedly heard of Shadow the Hedgehog. Known as one of the "edgier" characters from the Sonic games, Shadow quickly became a fan favorite for that very reason. However, especially given a lack of recent video games expanding on the world's narrative, Shadow has been missing in action.
RELATED: Every 3D Sonic Game, Ranked (According To Metacritic)
But, thanks to the surprising success of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, the Sonic universe is coming back to the forefront. With this resurgence comes the hope from longtime fans that perhaps Shadow will once again join the cultural zeitgeist of this day and age. Read on if you want to catch up on all the things you need to know about Shadow the Hedgehog.
10 Created By Robotnik's Grandfather
Shadow was not born like your average hedgehog. He was made. Most Sonic fans know who Dr. Robotnik is, but only true fans are aware of his grandfather, Gerald Robotnik. Gerald Robotnik wanted to create a cure for his ill granddaughter, Maria. His efforts led to the creation of Shadow, the surly hedgehog we all know and love. Unfortunately, the cure for Maria's sickness within Shadow was never given the chance to help her, as she was shot while trying to help Shadow escape a facility.
Black Doom is the villain in Shadow's solo video game, Shadow the Hedgehog. He's the leader of a race of aliens that are detrimental to humanity's health. When Shadow was being created by Gerald Robotnik, the scientist used some of Black Doom's DNA to make the grumpy hedgehog. (Maybe that's why Shadow has such a dark personality, right?) However, despite having bits of Black Doom inside him, Shadow is still able to defeat him.
8 Possesses Incredible Durability
Story-wise, Shadow is a critter nigh impossible to wound. He is impervious to bullets and can survive falling from space and crashing onto a planet. We haven't seen such durability since we saw Master Chief crash-land on Earth after ditching a Covenant ship in orbit.
RELATED: 10 Best Sonic Handheld Games, Ranked
All joking aside, Shadow is one of the strongest characters you'll meet in the Sonic franchise. He might have a biting attitude, but he has the endurance needed to match it. No one wants to mess with Shadow or get in his way.
7 Can Use Chaos Emeralds
Chaos Emeralds are an integral part of the Sonic series' history. The evil Dr. Robotnik uses them for dark purposes, but Sonic can use them to increase his powers and fight for the greater good. Using these Chaos Emeralds grants immense power to whoever can hold them. Typically in the games, we see Sonic using them. However, it shouldn't surprise you to note that Shadow can wield them as well. In his first gaming adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow is seen harnessing all that nice Chaos Energy.
6 Conceptually Designed To Be Sonic's Villain
Oftentimes, when thinking up a villain for a hero, creators tend to make antagonists with incredibly similar powers. The Sonic series fell into this same routine with the creation of Shadow. He was conceptually designed to be a "darker" version of Sonic for the Blue Blur to go up against, the Reverse Flash to Sonic's Flash. However, fans took such a liking to Shadow's edgy attitude that over time, Shadow has become more of an ally and rival than an outright dastardly villain like Robotnik.
5 Matches Sonic In Terms Of Speed
Sonic the Hedgehog is all about speed. That's what he's known for. His very catchphrase is "Gotta go fast," for crying out loud. So how does Shadow stack up in a race against Sonic? It's incredibly close. Shadow's speed is definitely equitable with Sonic's. Shadow wouldn't be a proper rival and threat to Sonic if he couldn't keep up with him. However, rest assured, at the end of the day, Sonic is just a smidgen faster than Shadow.
4 Calls Himself The "Ultimate Lifeform"
Humility is not Shadow's strong suit. Like Sonic, Shadow has a tendency to boast a lot. But where Sonic does it in a fun and casual way, Shadow takes it to a whole other level. When Shadow toots his own horn, he does so in an aggressive, hostile manner. He even refers to himself as the "Ultimate Lifeform."
RELATED: 10 Unresolved Mysteries & Plot Holes Left Hanging In The Sonic The Hedgehog Movie
Though the character design for most anthropomorphic characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe tend to feature large heads, Shadow was a figurative as well as a literal big head.
3 Wears Air Shoes
Part of Shadow's speed can be accounted for thanks in large part to those iconic shoes of his. The red-and-white shoes he sports are called Air Shoes, and they have tiny jets on the bottom. These jets can fire off like rockets, allowing Shadow an extreme boost when he's sprinting. They make him look like he's hovering over the ground at amazing speeds. If Shadow were to ever beat Sonic in a race, you can bet your buckles it's because of those Air Shoes.
2 Has A Soft Spot For Rouge
As you can probably guess, Shadow's personality does not allow him to make close friends. He's far too arrogant and judgmental to be a hedgehog surrounded by buddies. However, he does have a soft spot for Rouge. Like Shadow, Rouge the Bat is one of those anti-hero types that pepper the Sonic universe. She's a master thief who likes to steal a Chaos Emerald or three. The two of them have teamed up on more than one occasion and spoken aloud of the fact that they are each one of the few people the other cares about.
The average, real-life hedgehog does not have a very long lifespan. It's in the single digits. Shadow is not your average hedgehog. For one thing, he's a character in a video game franchise. For another, the experiments that created him have made him virtually immortal. That's right, all you Shadow the Hedgehog fans out there. Your favorite edgelord of a hedgehog can live forever, barring any unforeseen disasters. Gerald Robotnik knew what he was doing when he set out to make Shadow.
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Real the is shadow hedgehog
And you smell good. The slight smell of perspiration and that's it. And watch yourself.Sonic \u0026 Shadow Play POPPY PLAYTIME! (Chapter 1)
I voiced this assumption, but they screeched: Why am I thinking so badly of them. They, de, with all due respect, and I show off and insult them with such hints. Girls, dear, if I had not heard enough before your conversations, I would not have thought so.
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