Shadow the Hedgehog (Sony Playstation 2)
Sonic’s edgy competition steps up to take on a whole game himself
Shadow the Hedgehog is a great idea for a spin-off in the Sonic series. It makes sense and let’s not forget, despite what the reviews say about the quality, the game itself was a financial success and made money.
Sonic has hit a rough patch in 3D, but there was a time the games were very eagerly awaited and even praised. Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 broke new ground for the franchise and even Sonic Heroes had a lot of merit as a 3D adventure. Shadow the Hedgehog came next, in 2005 for the Nintendo Gamecube, Sony Playstation 2 and Microsoft XBox.
The intent here was very clear; an adult version of Sonic the Hedgehog. More weapons, evil characters, dark stages and chaos. For the most part, I thought the changes here were kind of cool; the extra weapons, different vehicles and even some of the stages were really interesting… Initially.
Shadow the Hedgehog, as a game, has a lot of issues. One of the biggest ‘features’ are the branching story paths; choose to be good, neutral or evil. The story will play out differently depending on what you do during the stages; the goals you accomplish.
It’s a cool idea, but the story-lines themselves really start to fall apart throughout the adventure and the worst part for me, accidentally accomplishing the wrong thing. I was playing through the game, trying to be good but in the final level I broke the wrong thing and suddenly, I had to fight Sonic as the final boss. It was jarring. I backed the little blue guy for the entire game and he turned on because I made one mistake.
My second big issue was the level design. Some stages, like the city stages and the military facility felt cool, they set me up for a ‘little’ excitement… And then the ‘cyber network’ stages crushed my spirit totally. I felt lost, frustrated and after 30 minutes, ready to pack it in. I found my way eventually, maybe I’m just slow, but the level wasn’t fun regardless.
Shadow the Hedgehog, is severely flawed and frustrating, but I do think anyone who enjoyed the Sonic Adventure games on the Sega Dreamcast can actually find something to enjoy here.
See where the series got started with my Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 review for the Sega Dreamcast or, why not get a little more nostalgic with another Spin-Off, Sonic’s rival before shadow, Knuckles. I have reviewed both Sonic & Knuckles for the Sega Mega Drive and Knuckles’ Chaotix on the Sega 32X.