Shadow the Hedgehog

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Shadow the Hedgehog
Shadow E10+ cover.png
OW THE EDGE, a title that is much more fitting than this
Protagonist(s): Shadow the Hedgehog
Genre(s): Action-adventure
run and gun
Platform(s): Nintendo GameCube
PlayStation 2
Release: NA: November 15, 2005
EU: November 18, 2005
JP: December 15, 2005
Engine: RenderWare
Developer(s): Sega Studio USA
Publisher(s): Sega
Country: United States
Series: Sonic the Hedgehog
Predecessor: Sonic Heroes
Successor: Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

"Shadow the Hedgehog... Why does that name haunt me? It's the only thing I can remember. And that gruesome image. [...] Who am I? And why can't I remember anything? And... who is this Maria?"
Shadow in the introduction

Shadow the Hedgehog is an action-adventure run and gun game developed by Sega Studio USA, a former American division of Sonic Team, and published by Sega. It is the first video game to feature Shadow the Hedgehog, as the main character.


After the events of Sonic Adventure 2 or Heroes, Shadow continues to suffer from amnesia, being unable to remember anything but his name and memory involving a young girl named Maria. As he ponders about his past, the World is suddenly attacked by a race of aliens named Black Arms. 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 the Last Story, which is unlocked after getting all other endings.


The gameplay is similar to Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes with some changes. The story mode of Shadow the Hedgehog is broken into stages, with cut-scenes in-between. The first stage of a game of story mode is always Westopolis. After that, however, the next stage played is determined by which mission was completed in the previous stage. For example, if the "Dark" mission is completed in Westopolis, the next stage will be Digital Circuit.

Each stage (excluding "Last Story", which has only "The Last Way") has two or three missions, which can be "Dark", "Normal", or "Hero". There is a door in each stage, which requires five keys to unlock. There are bonuses such as weapons, vehicles and shortcuts behind the door.

There is a ranking system that calculates your rank from A to E depending on your skill when playing taking time into account as well.

Bad Qualities

  1. Many series known for being cartoony can succeed in having proper darker or more proper serious games, like the Mega Man X or Zero series, Jak II, Majora's Mask, Twilight Princess, Pokemon Black & White and their sequels, Black 2 & White 2, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, WarioWare: Get it Together! 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 edgier due to its usage of guns and swearing (mostly excessive use of "damn"), 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 someone or something in the game intentionally tries very hard to be edgy.
    • It's worth mentioning that the game was meant to be even darker, aiming for a T rating. Human enemies originally bled, alien blood was red[1], and characters would swear more. The change was made because the E10+ rating was created during development of the game and SEGA thought it'd fit more.[2]
      • On the subject of ESRB/PEGI ratings, it should be noted that this game is rated 12+ in Europe, which somewhat helps since 12+ is slightly the closest thing to a T rating.
        • While the aesthetics of the levels is decent, some levels exaggerate the use of muted tones and colors that are reduced to gray, black and other colors, some examples of dark aesthetics are Westopolis, Central City, Prison Island and other levels, it is understood that Sega wanted to make a tone darker to the game but they could be more creative, not just use an uninspired gray color palette, talking about the design of the scenarios, some are quite boring and insipid to see.
  2. The moments in said story are also way too dark for Sonic standards:
    • In the game's opening cutscene, Maria, a young girl who is Shadow's only friend, is literally shot.
    • One of the hero endings depicts Shadow at his most angstiest, with it implied that Shadow might kill himself.
    • In both Neutral endings, Shadow kills Dr. Eggman. However, due to the Last Story, neither of those endings are canon.
    • Also, in one of the Dark endings, Shadow allegedly kills Sonic. Again, due to the Last Story, it is not canon.
    • Some of the weapons are 1-to-1 interpretations from real life. Some examples include; Colt M1911A1 (from the intro and some of the promotional artworks but it was not featured in the game), USP and SG550.
  3. 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), with many poorly designed waiting sections and puzzles that overshadow speed making levels more tedious and these parts make it difficult to get A-rank, the levels are also long and huge, which makes missions difficult where you have to eliminate enemies and some levels take more than 4 minutes to complete, like Digital Circuit, Cosmic Fall, Mad Matrix and any level that is shaped like a maze (Central City, Lost Impact and The Doom).
    • Navigating in the levels with missions like "Defeat/kill all enemies" or another missions where you have to look for something can be confusing and tedious, especially in The Doom, Lost Impact and Central City, where, because of the labyrinthine forms of these levels with many sections that really have absolutely nothing or unimportant things and the fact that there are too many paths, make these levels tedious mazes. Helpers give you almost no clues as to where the enemies are likely to be or where exactly you should go.
      • It should be noted that Central City, aside from being maze-like, is the only stage in the entire game without a Goal Ring, so you're forced to do hero or dark missions.
    • Most puzzles are tedious, such as Mad Matrix's Hero and Neutral missions, which consist mainly of changing the colors of panels so that they have only one color, while waiting for platforms to move slowly to follow.[3]
    • Because of it level design, most of the stages are bad or mediocre, among the most prominent are:
      • Digital Circuit
      • Glyphic Canyon
      • Central City
      • The Doom
      • Mad Matrix
      • Space Gadget
      • Lost Impact
      • Cosmic Fall
  4. The ranking system is somewhat flawed, because of the automatic target of weapons and the Homing Attack auto-aim that will cause you miss your intended target, is very easy to kill your allies in the levels causing your ranking drop, because most Dark or Hero missions consist of defeating all enemies or other missions where you need to look for something makes you spend a lot of time exploring the levels (Especially in The Doom, Lost Impact and Central City) because there is no a radar or a map that show you where are the enemies or the objectives (in fact, at an early stage of development, Sega had the idea of putting up a radar, but it was discarded)[4], which just makes getting an A-rank quite difficult in some levels as in Sonic Heroes, there are also quite a few enemies and obstacles in levels that they make easy for you to crash.
  5. Getting an A rank on every mission on every stage unlocks Expert Mode, but like Sonic Heroes' Super Hard Mode, they barely changed any of the level layouts at all, which is poor, especially considering it's just playing the game for a 11th time.
  6. Due to improper physics implementation, this game has the same stability issues as Sonic Heroes because the same game engine, both graphic (RenderWare) and stability is used in these games, the homing attack and light dash are sometimes inconsistent (especially the Homing Attack because it can easily fail and die), moving on an incline doesn't feel so different from moving on a flat surface, Shadow reach top speed in little time due to sensitive controls and the PS2 version has the same Sonic Heroes PS2 port issues like graphical errors due to Sega not using RenderWare correctly, these version have more bugs and have a poor frame rate which falls to less than 30 frames commonly. To add insult to injury, the game uses RenderWare graphics engine, which is known for great capabilities and was used in several awesome games like SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Burnout Revenge.
  7. The problem with the controls is the stability when running, as a result the control is quite slippery with which it is easy to lose control of Shadow and crash with the enemies, Shadow is unable to turn with agility, and it is difficult to move around the platforms with the necessary security to guarantee a good gaming experience, the control is even worse than Sonic Heroes, when turning in the opposite direction Shadow brakes, making the moments when you have to go to another direction frustrating, also Shadow's turn to the sides is delayed, this is bad, because it becomes difficult to dodge obstacles in a proper way, Sonic Heroes has problems with the controls, but at least the stability when running was better and you could move in a more natural way.
    • Shadow reaches the highest speed in a very short time just like Sonic Heroes (The sensitive analog stick is one of the main causes of this), this may be good for passing the levels fast on the neutral route, but on the other routes and the slow-moving sections it is an inconvenience, stability when running is some unstable most of the time, making Shadow run too fast and the parts where you must run at high speeds will often end up in Shadow falling into a bottomless pit.
    • The controls are extremely sensitive. Just a slight tilt of the analog stick is more than enough to turn your character 90 degrees.
    • Still speaking of the controls, while it’s fun to play as him, Shadow feels really sloppy most of the time; His Homing Attack is more combat based which is a bit polarizing, as you're just tapping the Homing Attack button until the enemy dies. He also has some Chaos powers, while cool, are bland and can sometimes break, when running very fast the controls feel extremely sensitive and the homing attack sometimes can either hit a random target from a mile away (also when doing the Homing Attack, it can fail and you can fall into a bottomless pit, this happens especially when there is an enemy near a well), miss the one you wanted to hit or make Shadow start spinning in circles around, you move a little slowly on the rails, although the rail change is better and in most levels there are few or no rails.
  8. Shadow only gets a fraction of the upgrades to its gameplay of Sonic Heroes, Shadow gets the Light Dash and the Homing Attack again, which are sometimes inconsistent, and two Chaos abilities, the Chaos Control and Chaos Blast, none of which are really that useful and only serve as fills or as an easier way to pass some sections like the Space Gadget rail section and flat sections of Gun Fortress, Shadow can get weapons, but most are something useless because of the regular self-scoring system that sometimes causes bullets divert to another enemy,Shadow also gets a melee combo when is not equipped with a weapon, which deals little damage and has a terrible attack range, what's the point of putting a useless combo melee that doesn't complement the combat system well?
  9. While the camera is functional in some moments and you can adjust it however you want, it has the same problems of the Sonic Heroes camera, shows an almost completely inescapable tendency to do anything but give ourselves the right perspective, it makes all the control of the game lead us to situations in which mistakes cost us the level, it's kind of awkward move it, usually ending up getting stuck on walls, there are also times where you can't adjust well enough the camera because the camera is manually set in some places, making it difficult to make some jumps because you can't see goals and the mobile platforms well, the camera is worse in Mad Matrix, the camera in this level is atrocious, limits your vision and it's almost impossible dodge the walls or change direction.
  10. Bad controls and the camera which is between decent to mediocre make the game frustratingly bad and more difficult, making it hard to jump through rings or drive a vehicle. It also makes the game unfairly difficult and rage inducing. The bad controls can cause cheap deaths because of how easy it is to crash into enemies or accidentally fall into a bottomless pit, the camera sometimes makes it difficult to see mobile platforms or other elements (like in Cosmic Fall), so you'll jump in faith, causing most of the time certain death.
  11. Speed, the main mechanic of Sonic games and one of the best-known features of Sonic games by the way, is almost completely absent in this game. The Sonic Adventure series presented a level design that had a good balance between speed and platform, which is complemented by shortcuts, which you could take depending on your ability, the platform did not interrupt the speed sections and Sonic Heroes included bigger phases giving the possibility to experience several alternate routes, but in this game the platform and the waiting sections ruin it, for example, Space Gadget, in this level we will automatically move on devices that change gravity, without doing anything for several seconds , you only limit yourself to briefly running on roads with a flat design and we will pass through a part with a slow pace, you can quickly pass the last section composed of a flat rail road using Chaos Control. The Dark mission has a simple objective in which we must to destroy the defense units of the ARK, however its design is boring and tedious, we will going through into several waiting sections, passing through sections of platform confused where gravity changes while we move automatically with the green switches.
    • Digital Circuit, despite being an average to mediocre level, is poorly designed, we will go through areas of automated movement where most of the time all you have to do is move in different directions to avoid being hit by walls, there are segments where you run briefly because the walls (Two of which are very easy to dodge and the others you have to destroy them compulsorily) and enemies will interrupt the speed,there are several segments where we have to wait or slow down our velocity to continue with the action and there are two boring parts where we will have to hang onto bars for several seconds, the Dark mission is no better,the final part consists of waiting parts where we will have to go up from cube to cube and then hang from a bar until you reach the center of the program.
    • Cosmic Fall is also a horrible level, the beginning of this level is to make the player wait a tedious fifty seconds without doing anything until the platforms go up to continue, the waiting parts do not happen once, they happen frequently, there is a part where you are with Vector and you must wait for the platform to rise for a minute, the rest of the level is summarized in going through slow segments of platforms.
  12. The story is uninteresting, poorly written, inconsistent with many anticlimactic moments and plot holes.
    • Certain plot elements are introduced at the start of a pathway, but depending on your actions, they can become forgotten and not get any closure, such as the G.U.N. Commander's vendetta against Shadow if you go the Neutral route.
    • There is no ending where Shadow teams up with Dr. Eggman, as all but one ending involving Dr. Eggman end with him getting killed off by Shadow (as mentioned above).
    • In the scene before entering Mad Matrix Shadow literally has the ability to hack a computer with a single karate punch, ruining the seriousness of the scene.
    • Due to an attempt to write the script around teaching the game's mechanics to newcomers, it looks like almost every single character in the game is bound to said this[5].
    • The story is undermined by a lack of consistency or continuity due to the fact that the level branches aren't designed in a way that always tells a single linear narrative, and most of the ten endings you have to unlock to beat the game are bad as well due to their excessive simplicity and by virtue of your actions having no lasting consequences. The fact that none of the endings matter because none of them are canon because there's a True Ending you get only by beating the other ten endings first is counterproductive to the game's choose-your-own-side gimmick, and it means that it's difficult to determine which parts of the game are canon whatsoever between the opening cutscene and the Last Story.
    • The G.U.N. Commander reveals that he was aboard the ARK when he was little and Maria was like a family to him, and he blamed Shadow for her death when it was G.U.N. who killed Maria.
    • Not only that, but if he's had a personal vendetta against Shadow for a long time since, then why was Sonic arrested in Sonic Adventure 2 to begin with?
    • The Moon in the game's opening looks like it's perfectly intact, when previously in Sonic Adventure 2, it was blown in half. Though, that may be excused as the damaged part of the Moon facing away from Earth.
    • Another notable plot hole is that the picture of Sonic and Shadow in the President's office could only have been taken after the Earth was saved in Sonic Adventure 2, as they could have only been seen together then, but Shadow was presumed dead after that event. It could also have been taken after Sonic Heroes.
    • The worst offender has to be the one in the last story, where after Black Doom is defeated and the Black Comet is destroyed, the President and the G.U.N. Commander admit they were wrong about Gerald Robotnik and should be happy about his legacy. Nevermind the fact that Gerald himself tried to use the Space Colony ARK as a way for him commit global genocide as revenge towards G.U.N. for killing his granddaughter Maria.
  13. The game also suffers from a regular to laughable dialogue (both in the levels and in the story) that makes the story even worse that tries in a mediocre way to be dark, with many dialogues that feel empty, anticlimactic or too dark for the Sonic franchise ("I've caused so much destruction... I should never have been created! This is who I am"), there are also some laughable dialogues that further worsen the dark tone of the game, such as "This is like taking candy for a baby, which is fine by me", the constant use of the word Damn, "We're on our way to the ARK, so I guess that means we're going too" (this sentence is the result of a bad translation) and more notably the infamous "Where's that damn fourth Chaos Emerald!" (phrase used as a meme), also the dialogue of the NPC's can be quite repetitive or annoying, especially when they scream.
    • Interestingly, in total in this game the word Damn or a variation is said thirteen times, six times in the levels and seven times in the story.
  14. Some of the 4Kids voice performance in the English version ranges from decent to mediocre. The voice acting for Rouge, Tails, Vector, and most of the human characters is very dull (Kathleen Delaney was kind of a miscast as Rouge as she sounds more like a woman in her mid 30's than a 17-year-old, Amy Palant does a really unconvincing impression of a young boy as Tails, James Carter Cathcart sounded too goofy as Vector), Charmy's was somewhat annoying, and while Jason Griffith's performance as Sonic had a similar tone to Ryan Drummond, his deliveries were bland, particularly when he says "We're on our way to the ARK".
  15. The main cast character models were recycled from Sonic Heroes. Besides their shiny and plastic look still taking place, they noticeably clash with the overall dark atmosphere and other graphics of the game. While Sonic Team didn't bother making new models, if you compare to the CGI cutscenes, you'll notice Marza Animation uses different models for the CGI cutscenes; these fit a bit more to the tone of the game than Sonic Heroes' models.[6]
  16. Black Doom is rather bland and looks more like a Spawn/Final Fantasy villain.
  17. 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.
    • You also rely heavily on weapons, as the only thing you can use to attack apart from weapons is the Homing Attack, the melee combo (which is useless with a terrible attack range and produces little attack) and the vehicles.
  18. Some Shadow abilities are pathetic (Melee combo) and/or may fail to damage enemies (Homing Attack), they're pretty powerful and unbalanced (Chaos abilities sometimes) or they're just poorly supplemented mechanics (Vehicles) such as the following:
    • Chaos abilities are not interesting, they are too broken as Chaos Control in neutral missions but it doesn't work on most Hero and Dark missions because they are based on killing all enemies or look for something and Chaos Blast can remove most enemies from your path and unlimited ammo temporary can be very powerful in flat places with many enemies and in other open sections with enemies.
    • 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 and the Ligth Dash it can be vague and sometimes it is dangerous to do because some rings are separated.
    • Vehicles are controlled lousily and in most sections you can avoid them without penalty, plus some vehicles appear as a reward by grabbing all five keys in a level.
  19. 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.
    • The entire concept of the game: "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 salt to the wound, the whole thing is completely pointless and entirely worthless by the Last Story segment, which has Shadow saving the world regardless.
    • You have to play through the game campaign at least ten times to unlock the Last Story, and 326 times if you bother to find every possible path variation (for example, clearing only Dark missions throughout the six stages nets "001 Punishment, Thy Name is Ruin", while turning purely heroic in Sky Troops after following the neutral pathway nets "172 Justice Reborn in Space").
    • Another flaw in the game's branching level structure means that completing a Dark mission in one of the Hero stages (or vice versa) only takes you towards the neutral pathway - most players will go for the neutral path before trying any of the Dark or Hero levels - instead of rewarding the player with unique levels.
    • The stages Central City and Death Ruins are only accessible by completing the Dark mission of Cryptic Castle and the Hero mission of Circus Park respectively, meaning that unless players go for the Pure Dark/Pure Hero pathways, they will likely miss these stages.
  20. Most of the objectives boil down to killing either all the enemies in the level, collecting/destroying all level-specific objects scattered throughout the stage, or just reaching the Goal Ring.
    • The missions where you must reach the Goal Ring are based on the speed levels of Sonic Adventure 2, but due to the design of most levels, it becomes boring quickly, also these are the missions where it is most effective to use Chaos Control, despite being the Hero ability.
    • The objectives where you have to kill all the enemies they are difficult due to the huge, long and confusing level designs as mentioned above, which is worse knowing that you must eliminate all enemies, if you miss one you must do backtracking, this is made worse by the questionable positioning of some enemies.
    • The objectives where you have to kill all the enemies in a stage (the Dark missions of Westopolis, Prison Island, Circus Park, The Doom, Iron Jungle, and Black Comet, and the Hero missions of Westopolis, Glyphic Canyon, Death Ruins, Air Fleet, and Lost Impact) often will not give you any leeway, meaning that you literally have to find and kill every single enemy in the stage.
  21. The GameCube version maintains the steadiest framerate, but only has one voiced language available (Japanese in the Japanese release, English elsewhere). The Xbox version contains dual languages dependent on system settings, but is the only version that does not allow a second controller to play as a mission helper (only the flying characters, Eggman, Charmy and Doom's Eye could not be controlled in other versions). The PlayStation 2 version is often remembered as the least favorable port, having gameplay glitches and no ability to clean pause as well as framerate issues, but at least containing freely selectable languages.
    • Speaking of the previous point, the PlayStation 2 version suffers from the same problems as the Sonic Heroes PS2 port (which is also uses the same engine, Renderware): downgraded graphics, longer loading screens, clipping issues, enemies only appear when you approach them, the design of the levels disappears in a few seconds, more glitches in gameplay and the frame rate drops commonly below 30 FPS and is rarely stable (though not very notable as in Heroes).
  22. 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.
  23. 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 due to the labyrinthine design of most levels.
  24. 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.When Shadow fills up a gauge to the maximum, he enters a state where he is invincible, gets unlimited ammunition, and can use a specific chaos power that is affiliated with whichever gauge he fills.This ability makes weapons even more effective, you can effortlessly spend entire sections spamming shots and nothing limits you, except cliffs, this is very easy to do in flat segments where there are many enemies like Gun Fortress, you can easily run while you're shooting while watching your power bar recharge with each defeated enemy.
  25. 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.
    • Being the final boss, Devil Doom has a huge selection of attacks, all of them that are rather strong and are a little hard or even too fast to avoid:
      • Fire Breath: Devil Doom can spew out fire ether sides of his two heads, which is extremely easy to avoid, mainly due to how he only fires in one direction, but it can push you back a far.
      • Wing Block: Devil Doom will block your attacks with his wings, avoiding damage from the Chaos Spear.
      • Meteor Lasers: Devil Doom also has an attack where he will make a bunch of meteors float in the air and shoot energy lasers, and those are extremely fast and hard to avoid.
      • Luckily because Shadow is in his super form the lasers will only stun you (though some may find this attack a bit pathetic).
      • Teleportation: Devil Doom will also use Chaos Control whenever you get to close to him. Note that he always teleports at a very far distance, so you have to always boost at all costs.
      • Debris Launch: On top of that, after Devil Doom teleports, he will lift a bunch of rubble to throw at you which, while easy to avoid, can push you away.
    • The bosses can be sometimes annoying, such as Egg Breaker, where Dr. Eggman always shouts "You know what they say, the more the merrier!" in one variation and "Lights out!" in another (he is reused 3 times).
    • Diablon always says "Hold still, you devil!" and never shuts up, Flame Hyenard style.
    • The Egg Dealer needs no introduction.
    • The game repeats a problem of Sonic Heroes team battles, Bosses have an exaggerated vulnerability to weapons, so you can finish them in seconds like the battle against Black Doom and some bosses give you easy access to weapons, for example, the Egg Breaker of Iron Jungle has on the battlefield a turret in the beginning with which you can destroy the boss in less than eight seconds.
    • Several bosses are limited to having simple patterns:
      • Cryptic Castle's Egg Breaker only attacks you with an expansive slingshot and tackles you sometimes.
      • The Egg Dealer, one of the final bosses, is a total disappointment. All he does is drive in circles around the stage, giving you time to press the buttons of the slot machine, you can defeat him by spamming the Homing Attack; making his boss fight way too easy to defeat him. Eggman thought it'd be a great idea, for whatever reason, to put a charging slot machine underneath his vehicle that helps his enemies defeat him! Why Eggman? What sense does this make??
      • The Black Bull of Death Ruins has a pretty bad pattern, if you stay on the ground, Black Bull only limits himself to throwing fire balls at you easy to dodge, you can finish him easily and quickly by shooting it repeatedly, the battle against him on Lethal Highway is easy if you get weapons and attack him repeatedly to get Chaos Control and thus have unlimited ammunition temporarily and finish it off.
  26. Chaos Control isn't helpful if the objective was to kill or collect stuff, because if it was, then zipping past the stage is the last thing the player will want to do.
    • The Chaos Control ability is supposed to be the "good" ability, obtained from killing evil characters, and it allows Shadow to skip part of a level. Problem is, because almost all of the "good" missions are based on finding stuff and not getting to the end, and because many of these things can only be found in out-of-the-way areas, Chaos Control is next to useless on the alignment it's associated with. It's only useful on neutral missions and a handful of good and dark missions that involve simply getting to the end.
    • 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.
    • This glitch only works on the GameCube NTSC version and PlayStation 2 versions of the game. Once the player fills up their Blue Gauge, they have to find any Checkpoint near by and then press X/ and then Y/ immediately after that. If done correctly, the player can use Chaos Control all the way to the end of the level as far as the game can let them go. This glitch almost completely breaks the difficulty of the levels and this glitch can cause the game freeze. This glitch was removed in the Xbox version and the GameCube PAL version.
  27. Chaos Blast, while cool in concept, has a rather short range and doesn't deal as much damage as it should,this ability is useful in a couple of missions, but typically there usually aren't enough mooks to make it worthwhile (especially since most enemies are in different places), when there are enough enemies that would otherwise make it worthwhile, there are other enemies of the other alignment in range, which ultimately hurts your score. Plus, it can be easily spammed. As stated above, destroying the enemies you can fill easily either gauge depending on which other faction you are fighting, also this power gives you unlimited ammunition and makes your weapons more effective, which is quite easy to spam shooting at anything without any limit, besides that this skill is just a filler.
  28. 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, Dr. Eggman, Maria, and Charmy simply follow Shadow.
  29. 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.
  30. 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) and in most sections you can avoid them without penalty. The only good vehicles are a high-jumping bipedal mech and a flying alien creature that is mandatory in some stages.
  31. The mechanics of finding keys to open different doors are poorly implemented, as there are five and most keys are too difficult to look for and you should look even in places where you wouldn't believe at first distance that they were (there's a key in Death Ruins that you find it dropping into a part where there is a precipice), plus most of your rewards are vehicles that have several problems as stated above, alternative routes or weapons, and the rewards only come down to that and don't give you a useful option like returning to a level.
  32. There are some missions that stand out from others because they are quite bad, difficult and slow, some examples include:
    • Mad Matrix's dark mission involves you trying to destroy a handful of bombs placed in Eggman's cyber network; however, due to the layout of the stage, finding all of these bombs is a pain because of it poor level design and camera.It's easy get lost in the mazelike circuit that connects the towers and there are no less than 30 bombs to set off.Expect spend a lot of time on this mission.
    • The ARK missions, Lost Impact and The Doom. The latter in particular because it is incredibly easy to get lost within the ARK's massive interior space, or just simply die.
    • Central City is the only level in the game to not have a goal ring; instead, both missions involve you detonating/disposing of bombs. Thing is, the level design is confusing, with the Dark and Hero paths overlapping and criss-crossing, and it is easy to find yourself going around in circles and unable to find where the next bombs are. That wouldn't be so bad except both missions are timed. Still, the Dark mission is a bit more decent than the Hero mission because it has a simpler goal.
    • In Cryptic Castle's Hero mission you must find Cream and Cheese, although finding Cream is easy (Cream is behind a cracked wall on the left side of a room after the second balloon ride),finding Cheese consists of stay waiting next to a wall for 20 seconds until Cheese is visible.
    • The Dark mission in Sky Troops consists of pause action to shoot with turrets towards Eggman's ships crushing the shoot button,there is not much strategy, since the ships do not move compared to Lethal Highway and Iron Jungle and there are five ships, which makes this mission last considerably.
    • 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.
  33. The Doom, Lost Impact and Central City are the worst levels of the game and some of the worst levels of Sonic games in 3D, the layout in these levels are confusing labyrinths, making it easy to get lost or die, the elevators will end up slowing the progress down, there is a glitch in The Doom where one of the G.U.N Mechs in the final room doesn't spawn, making the process even more tedious, the missions are made tedious due to the levels layout. Also, the G.U.N Soldiers, and the Researchers are everywhere in The Doom and in Central City the bombs are spread over several places since both missions are non-linear and there are multiple paths throughout, Central City is the only stage in the game that doesn't have a Goal Ring, it wouldn't be bad, if it weren't for the fact that the level is a maze and you don't have a map and the missions are timed, also the design disorients the player, as several paths look the same, Lost Impact it's no better, as the Artificial Chaos are scattered around various parts in the level design consisting of a maze.
    • Glyphic Canyon it is not a better level, although in this level it has a problem opposite to the phases designed as mazes, the error of this level is that it is very flat.
  34. Speaking of doing the same procedure but with a difference, there are routes composed of levels that are exactly the same, for example, to get the alternative ending in the Pure Hero route in which Shadow betrays Sonic at the last minute, you must do the same procedure as the Hero route with the only difference that you must pass the Dark mission in the last level (basically, the game forces you to repeat routes at least twice).
  35. 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 a worthless and forgettable version of Sonic Heroes' death-match mode, nor is there a map that show where your opponent is.

Good Qualities

  1. Shadow by himself is a good character and gets plenty of character development as he develops a different sense of identity and purpose in life (Being Black Doom's right hand man, being the protector of the ark, etc.) depending on the ending.
  2. Black Doom, while bland and out of place, is an entertaining villain given no surprise as he is voiced by Sean Schemmel who is best known as the voice of Goku in the Dragon Ball franchise.
  3. Despite the game's "darker" tone, there are some funny moments, usually unintentional due to the poor and rushed writing or awkward animations because of the models recycled directly from Sonic Heroes.
  4. The controls and the camera still have some good points:
    • In spite of all its jank, the camera is sometimes decently functional to see in different directions of the level.
    • Shadow moves quite fast in a short time, which helps to pass neutral missions more quickly and easily, also the controls are somewhat easy to learn.
  5. The aesthetics of some levels are pretty good like Circus Park with its due level of lighting, Cryptic Castle with a beautiful special effect of lava ash, complemented by a sunset that fits the design or Digital Circuit with its variety of colors and light effects that complement the atmosphere of a cyber ​​world.
  6. The few decent levels in the game include Lava Shelter which has a good speed and action balance with shortcuts and alternate routes, sections where you have to have a lot of skill and precision, parts where you run while avoiding obstacles, sections of fast platforms,there's an exclusive shortcut to Chaos Control and the combat is decent, and any of the levels in which you do platforming with the bipedal mech, for example, Sky Troops, also, Casino Park and Lethal Highway are good levels and Westopolis it's a decent level that introduces game mechanics well.
  7. The neutral route is considered the most decent route, as most missions do not consist in repetitive missions where you most kill all the enemies from Hero and Dark missions and is based more on the speed levels of Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes and this route includes the best levels of the game.
  8. Despite the poor list of bosses, some bosses are still decent, like Sonic and Diablon, which is an interesting boss ("Hold still, you devil!").
  9. Some missions are decent, for example, Casino Park's Hero mission, where you need to collect 400 rings, which requires you to search for rings, there are also sections where you have to explode balloons to get a number of rings, there are also some inserts where you get rings, there's also Lethal Highway's Hero mission, where you have to destroy an alien ship, which requires you to use weapons skillfully and run fast.
  10. The other characters' voice acting is good. Dr. Eggman is a highlight, voiced by Mike Pollock who remains as his voice actor even after Sonic Free Riders which introduced an entirely new voice cast. Dan Green (Knuckles), Sean Schemmel (Black Doom), and Jason Griffith (as Sonic and Shadow) are also great. The Japanese voice acting is pretty decent too.
  11. Despite being a ridiculous and out-of-place mechanic for Sonic games, some weapons are useful and fun to use, as the game offers a good variety of weapons: generic ones, close-range combat, and others with unique effects such as the vacuum cleaner that absorbs enemies.
    • As a reward for getting an ending, you upgrade/unlock an unique weapon which then you can find by breaking black boxes in the levels.
  12. The game's CGI cutscenes are, at least visually, of very high quality, similar to a animated movie from Pixar or Dreamworks.
    • Speaking of which, one of the animators, Jeff Fowler, would later go on to direct the film Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) and its sequel.
  13. Despite not aging well, the graphics look very nice (even though it looks way too dark, laminated and out-of-place).
  14. The music is pretty good, despite its heavy use of hard, grungy rock, and their lyrics make good connections to the game. The ending themes, such as "Waking Up", "All Hail Shadow" and "Never Turn Back" are special highlights. It even includes remixes of songs from Sonic Adventure 2.
  15. The game has some cool callbacks to Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes.
  16. The ranking system, despite its flaws, is quite decent, it serves its purpose of evaluating the agility of the player in the levels as in other Sonic games, mainly taking into consideration the time and the Hero, Dark and Neutral scores of each respective mission.
  17. The game has decent replay value, despite being repetitive.
  18. The rail grinding is a major improvement over the way Sonic Heroes and Sonic Adventure 2 implemented it.
  19. The Xbox and Nintendo GameCube versions always run at a consistent 60 FPS from start to finish.
  20. The idea of the game to make a darker Sonic game, along with a route system and Shadow as the protagonist were interesting, and had potential, too bad this was done poorly.
  21. The intro song "I am.. All of Me" is pretty badass and catchy.


AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
This game/console belongs to the "High Level of Shit Contamination" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

Shadow the Hedgehog received mixed reviews from critics. On aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic, the GameCube version received 53.10% and 51/100, the Xbox version received 52.15% and 49/100, and the PlayStation 2 version received 49.27% and 45/100.

Steve Thompson of Nintendo Power gave the GameCube version an 8/10.

Critics derided the game's unwelcome sense of maturity for a Sonic 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, citing it to be worse than Sonic Heroes, which required collecting 7 Chaos Emeralds and beating all of the teams' stories.

The game was considered to have started the downfall of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and was later followed up by Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.

Despite negative reviews, the game was commercially successful, selling 2.06 million copies by March 2007.


  • This is the longest page related to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise on the Crappy Games Wiki, and also the second longest page on this wiki after the page about Hello Neighbor.
  • The game has 3 unused tracks. “All of me” wasn’t even going to the main theme, it was actually going to me “Who I am”.
  • The Dark Ending theme "Almost Dead" by Powerman 5000 is actually a licensed song which it appeared in Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave, making Shadow The Hedgehog is the only game in the entire series featuring a licensed song.
    • Also, it explains why "Almost Dead" is not appearing in the game's soundtrack digitally.
  • The game spawned the "Find the computer room!" and "Where's that DAMN fourth Chaos Emerald?!" memes, as well as "OW THE EDGE".
  • Due to the mildly violent nature of the game, the ESRB rating was, for some time, in question. The official ESRB website originally rated the game as T, but the GameSpot rating was listed as E-10+. The T rating was seemingly further evidenced, however, by the fact that, at trade shows where Sega showed off the game, they asked only those 13 and older to play the game. The Early versions of the game had mild swearing, even though the game used mildly offensive words like "damn" and "hell". For the english version of the game, Sega censored the human's blood, changed the colour of the alien's blood from red to green, edited out the word "Piss" and replaced it by "tick" instead, and censored the scene where a soldier shoots Maria. Regardless, ESRB gave the game a E-10+ rating instead, making it unanimous. Despite the popular belief, the Japanese version of the game is not uncensored.
  • This was the first game in the franchise where Jason Griffith voices Sonic and Shadow, along with an entirely new voice cast from the Sonic X 4Kids cast, which was used till 2010, with the last game being Sonic and Sega: All-Stars Racing with the exception of Mike Pollock as Doctor Eggman.
  • The cover shows Shadow holding a gun even though it never happens in the game.
  • The game has 10 alternate endings and 326 possible ways to complete it.
  • As revealed by Takashi Iizuka at Sonic Boom 2013, Shadow the Hedgehog is the last game released to be part of the Dreamcast Era, while Sonic Advance 3 was the last game of the Dreamcast Era chronologically. Sonic Rush starts off the Modern Era.
  • According to head of Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, Shadow was originally intended to have remained dead following the events of Sonic Adventure 2. In Q&A at Summer of Sonic 2011 he stated: "As you know in the story, Shadow was meant to appear in that single title. But because of the reaction of the fans, we decided to bring him back in Sonic Heroes and eventually you saw him in his own title."
  • In the cutscene where Shadow appears in Iron Jungle, Sonic says "We're on our way to the ARK, so I guess that means we're going too!". This was the result of a mistranslation from the Japanese script to the English. The line should read "They're (the Black Arms) on their way to the ARK, so I guess that means we're going too!"
  • Big the Cat was the only playable character from Sonic Heroes to not return in this game.
  • In one cutscene, Sonic says "Welcome to the next level!", which was the Sega Genesis slogan.
  • While fighting Devil Doom for nine minutes, Dr. Eggman will tell Shadow that he is not a robot, and that during the events of Sonic Adventure 2, after he was not dead his robot saved him during the ending.


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