Warning! This character analysis/review will have major spoilers.
Greetings from GuardianTree12!
I am a fan of the Sonic franchise. With that said, I have to admit I don’t like Sonic games that much. I don’t like 2D scroller games that much, and the controls on the newer 3D Sonic games are very hard to control. Plus the stories are either insultingly simple or just all over the place. You might be wondering: if you don’t like the games, how can you be a fan of the series? Well I don’t dislike all Sonic games and the music or soundtracks to these games are usually pretty good. But the main thing that love about this series and what keeps drawing me back to it, are the characters (well, all the characters I like anyway). And the character I love the most from this series is Shadow the Hedgehog.
Shadow is first seen in the game Sonic Adventure 2. In this game, Eggman wakes Shadow up when he is trying to find a “weapon” that his grandfather stored away. Shadow convinces Eggman to gather up the chaos emeralds to power this “super weapon” aboard the Ark- a giant, floating lab in space shaped like the moon, housing a lovely variety of crazed experiments and super-powered weapons. Little does Eggman know, Shadow plans to use the “super weapon,” AKA the Eclipse Canon, to destroy the world in order to avenge the death of his best friend, Maria, who was killed 50 years prior. A lot more happens, but that’s basically how it goes. Anyway, Shadow is eventually persuaded to help So
nic save the world after Amy unintentionally awakens the memory before Maria’s death in which she tells him to make the people happy. Sonic and Shadow manage to defeat the Biolizard, one of the crazed experiments on the Ark, but it somehow fuses to the Eclipse Canon and sets the Ark on a collision course with Earth. Sonic and Shadow defeat it again in “super form,” but the Ark is still set to collide into Earth. Shadow then uses all of his energy to use Chaos Control and moves the entire Ark onto a safe orbit around Earth. He then falls to his “death,” asking Maria if this is what she wanted.
However, Shadow does not die. He, unfortunately, is resurrected in Sonic Heroes. Not much happens in this game so I’m going to skip it.
Shadow’s own game
His next appearance is in his own game simply titled Shadow the Hedgehog. This game is supposedly set after the events in Sonic Heroes, but I refuse to believe that. There were no events in Sonic Heroes. Anyway, this game starts out with Shadow, once again, trying to remember his past. A mysterious alien creature shows up, who does not look or sound evil in any way, and tells Shadow that if he works for him, he will reveal Shadow’s past. The mystery alien, Black Doom, then sends out his alien army to attack the city, again, totally not evil. Depending on which missions the player chooses to do, the ending changes. There are eleven endings in all; but to get the final “true” ending, the player has to unlock all ten endings. In the true ending, Black Doom tells Shadow that he was created using Black Doom’s blood and reveals his evil plan, which is basically to destroy all humans, big shock, right? Well it is to Shadow, who doesn’t like the fact that he has been used this whole time. He uses the Chaos emeralds to turn into Super Shadow, defeats Black Doom, and destroys the Black Comet, which houses all of the evil alie
ns. The game ends with Shadow overlooking Earth from the Ark. He drops a picture of Maria and says, “Goodbye forever, Shadow the Hedgehog.”
Shadow in Sonic X
He appears in numerous other Sonic games, but he doesn’t have as nearly as big of a role and he’s not nearly as interesting. He also appears in the anime Sonic X. He doesn’t appear until around episode 30 and his role in this story is almost exactly the same as it is in Sonic Adventure 2. He comes back later on when Sonic and co. are on their Dragonball GT quest. He doesn’t really do anything in these episodes except be a jerk and starts fights. At the end of the series, he again sacrifices himself by using Chaos Control.
Now that I got all of that out of the way, here’s my take on the character. As I stated before, Shadow is my favorite character in the Sonic franchise. His character is a lot darker than the others and offers more of a balance to these lighthearted, kid-friendly games. He is a bit of a loner and doesn’t talk much (at least not as much as the others do). He is serious (most of the time), cold, calculating, ruthless, and a tad egotistical. He will do anything to get what he wants, which makes him rather impulsive at times. He doesn’t have much respect for Sonic or anyone else for that matter and often says things that hurt whoever he’s talking to. However, he isn’t completely heartless. In Sonic Adventure 2, he saves Rouge when she is trapped on Prison Island with a bomb about to go off. He helps Sonic and co. save the world on more than one occasion, even though he acts like he doesn’t want to. And after Shadow the Hedgehog, he works for GUN. I believe that deep down, he does care; he just doesn’t want anyone to know.
But as much as I love Shadow the Hedgehog, I think it would have been best to leave Shadow dead after Sonic Adventure 2. Shadow’s character was strongest in Sonic Adventure 2. Maria was Shadow’s best friend and her death was so sudden and tragic for him, revenge was all he could think about. It also doesn’t help when a mad scientist, Gerald Robotnik, screws with his memories in such a way that he can only think about Maria’s death. But once he remembers his promise to Maria and realizes that revenge isn’t a good idea, he doesn’t hesitate to help Sonic and has no problem sacrificing himself. He redeems himself by letting go of his hatred.
Shadow’s character is so complete he doesn’t need to come back. In the other Sonic games all he does is be a jerk and start fights or other problems, or broods. I don’t mind brooding but it needs to be used sparingly, or at least not shoved in your face every five minutes, to be effective and brooding coupled with amnesia is just annoying. He serves only as a reminder that Sonic and Shadow are rivals. Which I don’t get, wasn’t Knuckles Sonic’s rival?
Then again, if he didn’t come back we wouldn’t have Shadow the Hedgehog, which I do enjoy playing from time to time (even though I die every time I do a homing attack). The true ending to this game is equally as powerful as Sonic Adventure 2’s ending. When he drops Maria’s picture and says, “Goodbye, Shadow the Hedgehog,” what he’s really saying is, “I’m going to let go of my past.” Throughout the game he is trying to uncover his past but by the end he realizes his past isn’t important and he needs to move on.
All in all, Shadow is a great character but Sega needs to either do something new with his character or just stop using him.
Also ShadowxRouge forever!