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Shadow the Hedgehog: a Bad Game
In 2001 Sega released Sonic Adventure 2. In Sonic Adventure 2 one of the characters introduced was Shadow the Hedgehog, a foil to Sonic the Hedgehog. In 2005 Sega decided to give Shadow the Hedgehog his own spin-off. Also named Shadow the Hedgehog, this game tried to be different from Sonic the Hedgehog in every way, including actually being a good game. Due to poor storytelling, an alignment system that ultimately proved frivolous to the game's plot, and new mechanics that ultimately slowed-down the game, Shadow the Hedgehog was one of Sega's worst games for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The story contradicted the established origins of Shadow the Hedgehog in Sonic Adventure 2 to the degree that it attempted to make the guy who nearly destroyed the Earth in that game seem like a good guy. The option to play as a hero, anti-hero, and villain offered players to see multiple endings, but the final bonus story negated the relevance for the alignments that were available in this game. And the ability to drive vehicles or use weapons made Shadow the Hedgehog's levels seen slow and monotonous, which was a major letdown when compared to the more fast-paced Sonic Adventure 2.
At the end of Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow the Hedgehog seemingly sacrificed his life to save the world from a falling space station, referred to as Space Colony ARK, from crashing into the Earth and supposedly wiping out a majority of life on the planet. In Shadow the Hedgehog Shadow comes back to life. Unfortunately, he has amnesia about the events of Sonic Adventure 2 and his past. Suddenly, aliens, referred to as the Black arms, and the leader, referred to as Black doom, appeared and were trying to invade the Earth. Black Doom then implied that Shadow the Hedgehog was really one of his allies, which confused Shadow. Now Shadow had to help stop, or help, this invasion while trying to remember who he was. That was the background of Shadow the Hedgehog. When actually playing the game, the player guided Shadow as he destroyed whatever enemy appeared on the screen, be they human, alien, or robot. Occasionally, the game allowed players to play through levels in the Space Colony ARK in an attempt to help Shadow regain his memories. Eventually, during an event scene just before the final boss, Shadow's past does get revealed. Which contradicted a majority of what Sonic Adventure 2 presented.
In Sonic adventure 2 Shadow was created on the Space Colony ARK by Dr. Gerald Robotnik as a way to cure his granddaughter, Maria, of some disease. After unfortunate event killed Maria before a cure could be found,Gerald suffered from a mental breakdown. One of the results from this breakdown was the weaponizing of the Space Colony ARK into a space laser that could destroy the moon, all to take revenge on the Earth for the death of Maria. In Shadow the Hedgehog while Gerald did create Shadow, some new details were added-in. First and foremost was Black Doom's involvement. Basically Gerald could not make Shadow as he was in the game without extraterrestrial help, so Black Doom offered some of his blood as a way to create Shadow, and a weapon to invade the Earth. Fortunately, Gerald made the Space Colony ARK and Shadow as a way to defend the Earth from Black Doom's forces. While morally conflicted characters were seen as appealing in certain forms of fiction, making Dr. Gerald Robotnik into something not as antagonistic seemed was too random for a good story. And to randomly insert aliens into one's origin story also seemed fairly random. Needless to say, some people who played Shadow the Hedgehog who knew about Shadow's origins would say this change in background was stupid.
One of the new mechanics in Shadow the Hedgehog was the alignments Shadow could belong in at the end of the game. Since Shadow the Hedgehog was an amnesiac about the event of Sonic Adventure 2, he did not have an idea about who he was. With a mix of Good Hero, Neutral Hero, Neutral, Neutral Villain, and Evil Villain, Shadow the Hedgehog could be whoever the player wanted him to be. What made this system a detriment for Shadow the Hedgehog was that the game made it that there was no consistency. Shadow could be a hero for most of the stages, but the player could potentially ally with the villains of the story, and never suffer any repercussions other than gaining a different ending.
Additionally, the Extra Stages that the player unlocks by obtaining all of the endings for all of the alignments basically rendered all of the endings moot. Shadow saw a video where Dr. Gerald Robotnik and Maria confirm that Shadow was made to stop Black Doom and save the world. Which was relatively predictable for most players familiar with the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. While new players were most likely not informed that all of the alternate endings would be rendered inconsequential with this secret ending, more experienced players were most likely uninterested in playing Shadow the Hedgehog more than once.
Shadow the Hedgehog was essentially Sonic the Hedgehog but with special powers. He ran faster than the speed of sound, could destroy anything by rolling into a ball, and had Chaos abilities that let him teleport and shoot destructive energy waves. Shadow the Hedgehog severely limited Shadow's Chaos abilities and gun him vehicles and guns. The need for Shadow to either use a random vehicle or a specific weapon made some of the stages seem much slower than other stages. Some of the enemies could only be defeated easily if Shadow was holding one of the guns of swords provided by the game.
The fact that Shadow himself moved fast enough that he should not need to use a vehicle for travel purposes, but was forced to use a vehicle for some levels was seen as questionable by older fans.Basically, for older fans of Sonic the Hedgehog, who enjoyed that game because it was fast, everything was destroyed with one attack, and the stages were fun looking, Shadow the Hedgehog's slow pacing, enemies who slowed the game down, and grittier setting was one of several reasons why this game was bad.
Shadow the Hedgehog was a bad game because of several reasons. Its plot made someone who was clear;y a misguided villain into a conflicted protagonist that the player was force to feel sorry for. The multiple ending were rendered moot because a secret ending basically made all of the other endings unnecessary. And the weapons and vehicles were seen as a dumb decision for a character who should not have any reason to use such items to complete a level. Essentially Shadow the Hedgehog was a poor game developed by Sega.