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Shadow the Hedgehog
North American cover art
North American cover art
Developer(s) Sega Studio USA
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Takashi Iizuka (director/lead designer/scenario writer)
Shun Miyanaga (event scene director)
Artist(s) Kazuyuki Hoshino (art director)
Hiroshi Nishiyama (field art director)
Composer(s) Jun Senoue (sound director)
Yutaka Minobe
Tomoya Ohtani
Mariko Nanba
Platform(s) GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Release date(s) NA November 15, 2005
PAL November 18, 2005
JP December 15, 2005
Genre(s) Platform, action-adventure, third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, two-player
Rating(s) CERO: Free
ESRB: E10+
PEGI: 12+
Input methods Gamepad

Shadow the Hedgehog is a 2005 video game developed by Sega Studio USA, the former United States division of Sega's Sonic Team. Featuring the titular fictional character Shadow the Hedgehog from Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series, the game was revealed at the March 2005 Walk of Game inauguration of Sonic, the series' main character. Shadow the Hedgehog is the third game (and the last in the Sonic series) developed by Sega Studio USA, which was merged back into Sega's Japanese division in early 2008.

Following the trend of recent Sonic games such as Sonic Adventure and Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog is a 3D platform game. Most levels have three possible missions—"Hero", "Dark", or "Normal"—that the player may choose to complete; some levels have only two (which mostly are only "Hero" and "Dark"). The missions completed determine the game's plot, a feature referenced by the game's tagline, "Hero or villain? You decide." The plot centers on the attempt of Shadow, a creation of Doctor Eggman's grandfather Gerald Robotnik, to learn about his past after suffering from amnesia. To defeat enemies encountered, Shadow can use various weapons and special attacks.

Shadow the Hedgehog was created for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox video game consoles, and released in 2005 in North America on November 15, in Europe on November 18, and in Japan on December 15. It received mixed to negative reviews; critics criticized its unwelcome "dark" theme, particularly the addition of guns and other weapons, but praised its replay value.



Shadow the Hedgehog is a platform game that incorporates elements of action-adventure gameplay. Like previous games in the series, basic gameplay involves running quickly, collecting rings, and destroying enemies.[1][2] As is standard in the series, Shadow collects rings as a form of health; when he is attacked by an enemy, his rings bounce in all directions. If he is hit by an enemy and has no rings, he loses a life.[3] Levels are completed by undertaking missions, labeled "Hero", "Dark", or "Normal".[4] The Hero missions involve the completion of tasks for the series' "hero" characters[5] whereas the Evil missions involve tasks for the Black Arms or Doctor Eggman. The Normal missions involve simply reaching the Chaos Emerald at the end of the level.[4] Enemies attack Shadow regardless of the side chosen.[2][3] The mission types selected affect the plot, the levels played, and the ending received out of ten possibilities.[4][6] Each level features cut scenes to advance the story, and several also feature boss battles.

Shadow uses a gun to defeat a G.U.N. soldier. The weapons' violent theme and mechanics were two major areas of criticism.

New gameplay features distinguish Shadow the Hedgehog from the previous games in the series that feature Sonic as the main playable character. For example, Shadow can use weapons including guns to combat enemies, adding an element of third-person shooter gameplay.[3] Parts of the scenery, such as traffic signs, can also be used as weapons.[4] Also new are optional vehicles, such as motorcycles and alien aircraft, that Shadow may drive.[1][3] Although Shadow can outrun the game's vehicles, the latter have some additional capabilities, such as hitting and running over enemies, or traversing an otherwise impassible acid-covered area. As in most Sonic games, the Chaos Emeralds play a major role; they aid Shadow's memory[7] and allow two "Chaos Powers"—Chaos Control and Chaos Blast—to be performed. They can only be performed after the Hero and Dark gauges—one blue and one red gauge at the top of the screen that are filled by defeating Black Arms soldiers and G.U.N. soldiers, respectively—are filled. Filling the Hero gauge allows use of Chaos Control, and filling the Dark gauge allows use of Chaos Blast. Chaos Control allows Shadow to move more quickly in levels and slows time in boss battles, and Chaos Blast creates an explosion that destroys all nearby enemies.[1]

The game includes a two-player mode,[8] which retains the basic single-player mechanics, but is set in one of three specially designed stages and uses a vertically split screen to separate each player's view. Each player chooses one of the available characters—Shadow, two metallic versions of him, and palette-swapped variants of each. The combatants attack each other and steal each other's rings until one is eliminated.[9]




Black Doom, the leader of the Black Arms, with Doom's Eye, his assistant.

Shadow the Hedgehog, the game's protagonist, was created fifty years before the game's events by professor Gerald Robotnik deep in a military research space station. Robotnik was trying to unlock the secrets of eternal life on the government's orders.[10] Shadow was dubbed "The Ultimate Life Form" and created to harness the mysterious power of the Chaos Emeralds. At the end of Sonic Adventure 2, his first in-game appearance,[11] he was presumed dead, but returned in Sonic Heroes with amnesia that persists into the events of Shadow the Hedgehog.[3][6] The game explores Shadow's character with more depth than previous games had.

The G.U.N. (Guardian Units of Nations) is an unnamed country's military federation that is run by the G.U.N. commander. When completing "Hero" missions, Shadow helps them,[10] as well as other characters from the series such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, Amy Rose, Rouge the Bat,[5] and Espio the Chameleon.[12] Their aim is to protect Earth from the Black Arms. The Black Arms is an alien race headed by Black Doom. Black Doom's assistant is another alien, Doom's Eye. When completing "Dark" missions, Shadow helps them, as well as Doctor Eggman. Their aim is to obtain the Chaos Emeralds for themselves.[10]


Completing Hero, Dark, or Normal missions affects which levels are played. Each white box represents a level, and each red or blue box represents a boss mission at the end of the game. The colored lines that connect levels show how the completion of certain missions affects the storyline.

At the beginning of Shadow the Hedgehog, which takes place three months after the events of Sonic Heroes, Shadow remembers only three things: his attempt to escape the ARK—a large space station—with Gerald Robotnik's granddaughter Maria, Maria's death by gunshot from G.U.N. soldiers, and his name.[13] He wonders whether he is actually an android.[11] The game begins in the city of Westopolis, which the Black Arms are invading; Black Doom tells Shadow of an old agreement to bring him the Chaos Emeralds.[10][14] Stunned that Black Doom knew his name, Shadow realizes that he must find the Chaos Emeralds to learn his past.[15]

The game progresses through several more levels. As missions are completed, Shadow learns more of his past.[1][11] He can choose to help the Black Arms or Doctor Eggman (Dark), to help the G.U.N. Federation and other "hero" characters (Hero),[10] or to choose neither side and keep the Chaos Emeralds for himself (Neutral).[7] The missions completed determine which one of ten possible endings will be seen after Shadow collects all the Chaos Emeralds and defeats one of the game's final bosses.[16] The possible ending events range from planning to defeat the Black Arms[17] to planning to destroy the planet.[18]


Shadow the Hedgehog has a much darker personality than Sonic the Hedgehog. In Sonic the Hedgehog, your typical mission was to go out and beat the bad guys, but in Shadow the Hedgehog, it gives the players a choice to either take the side of the good hero guys or to take the side of the bad buys [sic], giving the player the option to choose in the game.

Shadow the Hedgehog was developed by Sega Studio USA, the former United States division of Sega's Sonic Team, and published by Sega.[6] The game and its tagline ("Hero or villain? You decide.") were revealed at the March 2005 inauguration of Sonic the Hedgehog into the Walk of Game.[20] The game was formally announced by Sega on March 23.[11]

Sonic Team's Takashi Iizuka, who had worked on the Sonic the Hedgehog series since 1993, targeted a younger audience with previous games, and wanted to target an older audience with Shadow the Hedgehog.[19] The game's development team wanted to make a game featuring Shadow to resolve plot mysteries that began with the character's introduction in Sonic Adventure 2.[11] The team felt that Shadow's design—inspired by films such as Underworld, Constantine, and the Terminator series—would make the story darker and allow for elements, such as vehicles and weapons, otherwise considered inappropriate for a Sonic game.[4] Sonic Team's Yuji Naka stated in an interview with GameSpy that he wanted to use Shadow as the game's main character due to his popularity among fans and being the best fit for a "gun action" game.[21] The game contains profanities—instances of damn and hell spoken by Shadow[18][22][23][24] and other characters such as Espio[12] and the president.[25] Profanity and the usage of guns, firsts for the series, generated some pre-release controversy.[3][21]

Shadow the Hedgehog was created for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox video game consoles. The game received an ESRB rating of E10+ for "fantasy violence" and "mild language".[1][10]


Lost and Found: Shadow the Hedgehog Vocal Trax is a video game soundtrack album released as a CD in February 2006. The album contains seven songs, six directly from the game and one remixed song.[26]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings GC: 53% (27 reviews)[27]
PS2: 49% (33 reviews)[28]
X: 52% (25 reviews)[29]
Metacritic GC: 51% (22 reviews)
PS2: 45% (28 reviews)
X: 49% (24 reviews)[30]
Review scores
Publication Score PS2: D-[2]
GC, X: C+[31]
Allgame 2/5 stars[6]
Eurogamer X: 5/10[32]
Game Informer 4/10[33]
GameSpot GC, X: 4.8/10[9]
PS2: 4.7/10[1]
GameSpy 2/5 stars[34]
GameTrailers 8.3/10[3]
IGN GC, X: 4.9/10[35]
PS2: 4.7/10[36]
Nintendo Power 8.0/10[37]
Official Xbox Magazine (UK) X: 7.0/10[38]
X-Play X: 1/5 stars[39]
Herald Sun 3.5/5[13]
The Times 2/5 stars[40]

Shadow the Hedgehog was released in 2005 in North America on November 15, in Europe on November 18, and in Japan on December 15.[8] It received mixed to negative reviews from critics upon its release;[37] the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox versions are respectively rated 51%, 45%, and 49% on Metacritic[30] and 53%,[27] 49%,[28] and 52%[29] on Game Rankings. By May 17, 2006, the game's worldwide sales total exceeded one million.[41] The game was later released as a part of two budget lines—Greatest Hits for the PlayStation 2 (this represents sales of at least 400,000),[42] and Player's Choice for the GameCube (250,000).[43]

Much criticism stemmed from the unwelcome sense of maturity and, in particular, the addition of guns.[37] Game Informer staff writer Matt Helgeson said that "not only is this new 'adult' interpretation of Sonic painfully dumb, it’s also ill-advised and almost feels like a betrayal to longtime fans."[33] Eurogamer staff writer Tom Bramwell felt that "the game's other selling point – its darker edge – [is] not really meant for us."[32] G4's X-Play and GameSpy staff writer Patrick Klepek thought similarly.[34][39] In contrast, Nintendo Power staff writer Steve Thomason rated the game 8.0 out of 10, stating that "[t]his darker take on the Sonic universe succeeds for the most part, giving the series a bit of an edge without going overboard on violence."[37]

The game's controls were criticized, especially because Shadow's homing attack caused unexpected character deaths. Game Informer's Matt Helgeson complained that the attack "frequently sends you careening off into nothingness, resulting in cheap death after cheap death."[33] Nintendo Power, X-Play, Eurogamer, Official Xbox Magazine, and GameSpy agreed.[32][34][37][38][39] Other complaints focused on the mechanics of weapons and vehicles. Greg Mueller of GameSpot felt that the guns were nearly useless because of a lack of an aiming ability.[9] IGN staff writer Matt Casamassina, staff writer Greg Sewart, Game Informer, X-Play, GameSpy, and London's The Times also criticized the mechanics of Shadow's weapons and vehicles, and other aspects of the game's controls.[2][33][34][35][39][40] However, Nintendo Power claimed that "blasting Shadow's foes with the wide variety of weapons at his disposal is just plain fun."[37]

The many possible paths through the game caused reviewers to praise the game's replay value. Rating the game 8.3 out of 10, GameTrailers stated that "this choose-your-own-adventure style gives the game replay value that many platformers lack."[3] The Melbourne, Australia, publication Herald Sun, and Official Xbox Magazine thought similarly.[13][38] Nintendo Power agreed, although criticizing the difficulty of the missions that require the player to locate objects.[37] GameSpot praised the game's variety of levels and its music.[9] Shadow the Hedgehog was voted the best game of 2006 in the Official Jetix Magazine Reader Awards.[44]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Shadow the Hedgehog for PS2 Review". GameSpot. November 21, 2005. Retrieved January 26, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d Sewart, Greg (January 12, 2006). "Reviews: Shadow the Hedgehog for PS2". Retrieved January 26, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Shadow the Hedgehog - Review". GameTrailers. November 16, 2005. Retrieved January 31, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Castro, Juan (August 25, 2005). "Shadow the Interview". IGN. Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog Character Profiles". GameSpot. October 14, 2005.;title;3. Retrieved January 31, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d Deci, TJ. "Shadow the Hedgehog for GameCube Overview". Allgame. Retrieved January 26, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Castaneda, Karl (September 7, 2005). ""Nintendo World Report - GC Preview: Shadow the Hedgehog"". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b "IGN: Shadow the Hedgehog". IGN. Retrieved May 5, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b c d Mueller, Greg (November 21, 2005). "Shadow the Hedgehog for GameCube review". GameSpot. Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Shadow the Hedgehog". Sega. Retrieved May 11, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Pallesen, Lasse (March 23, 2004). "News Article: Sega Confirms Shadow the Hedgehog". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
  12. ^ a b Sega Studio USA. Shadow the Hedgehog. "Espio: Damn! We've been detected!"
  13. ^ a b c "Game of the week; Shadow the Hedgehog; GameCube/PS2/Xbox (rrp $79.95) Rating: 3.5/5". Herald Sun (1): p. F02. February 26, 2006. 
  14. ^ Sega Studio USA. Shadow the Hedgehog. "Black Doom: Shadow... As you can see, the day of reckoning will soon be here. Find the seven Chaos Emeralds and bring them to me as promised."
  15. ^ Sega Studio USA. Shadow the Hedgehog. "Shadow: If he says he knows the truth about who I am... then like it or not, I have to believe him. The only way I'm going to get the secrets to my past is to get those Chaos Emeralds!"
  16. ^ Sega Studio USA. Shadow the Hedgehog. "Shadow: Finally... I've got ALL the Chaos Emeralds!"
  17. ^ Sega Studio USA. Shadow the Hedgehog. "Shadow: With the power of these Emeralds, Black Doom and his army are finished!"
  18. ^ a b Sega Studio USA. Shadow the Hedgehog. "Shadow: With the power of these Emeralds, I'm going to destroy this damn planet!"
  19. ^ a b Klepek, Patrick (May 24, 2005). "Shadow the Hedgehog Preview from". Retrieved February 9, 2009. 
  20. ^ Leone, Matt (March 8, 2005). "Sega Reveals Sonic Adventure 3". Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
  21. ^ a b Kemps, Heidi (September 30, 2005). "Sega's Yuji Naka Talks!". GameSpy. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  22. ^ Sega Studio USA. Shadow the Hedgehog. "Shadow: Where's that damn fourth Chaos Emerald?"
  23. ^ Sega Studio USA. Shadow the Hedgehog. "Shadow: Damn, not here..."
  24. ^ Sega Studio USA. Shadow the Hedgehog. "Shadow: Yes, doctor, you will regret ever having created me. You're going straight to hell!"
  25. ^ Sega Studio USA. Shadow the Hedgehog. "President: The black creatures will feel their own bloody hell!"
  26. ^ ""セガモバ"で『シャドウ・ザ・ヘッジホッグ』のサントラCDがプレゼント!" (in Japanese). Famitsu.,1140492428,48960,0,0.html. Retrieved May 5, 2009. 
  27. ^ a b "Shadow the Hedgehog - GameCube". Game Rankings. Retrieved January 26, 2009. 
  28. ^ a b "Shadow the Hedgehog - PS2". Game Rankings. Retrieved January 26, 2009. 
  29. ^ a b "Shadow the Hedgehog - XBox". Game Rankings. Retrieved January 26, 2009. 
  30. ^ a b "". Metacritic. Retrieved January 26, 2009. 
  31. ^ Bettenhausen, Shane (November 23, 2005). "Reviews: Shadow the Hedgehog for GameCube". Retrieved January 26, 2009. 
  32. ^ a b c Bramwell, Tom (November 15, 2005). "Shadow the Hedgehog Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved March 27, 2009. 
  33. ^ a b c d Helgeson, Matt (January 2006). "Shadow the Hedgehog for GameCube Review". Game Informer. Retrieved March 27, 2009. 
  34. ^ a b c d Klepek, Patrick (November 16, 2005). "GameSpy: Shadow the Hedgehog Review". GameSpy. Retrieved March 27, 2009. 
  35. ^ a b Casamassina, Matt (November 17, 2005). "IGN: Shadow the Hedgehog Review for GameCube". IGN. Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
  36. ^ Casamassina, Matt (November 17, 2005). "Shadow the Hedgehog Review for PS2". IGN. Retrieved January 26, 2009. 
  37. ^ a b c d e f g Thomason, Steve (January 2006). Nintendo Power (199): p. 111. 
  38. ^ a b c "Xbox Review: Shadow the Hedgehog". Official Xbox Magazine. December 6, 2005. Retrieved March 27, 2009. 
  39. ^ a b c d "Reviews: Shadow the Hedgehog". X-Play. Retrieved March 27, 2009. 
  40. ^ a b "Shadow The Hedgehog". The Times: p. 14. January 7, 2006. 
  41. ^ Kuo, Li C. (May 17, 2006). "More Good News for the Game Industry". GameSpy. Retrieved January 31, 2009. 
  42. ^ " - Search". Retrieved February 8, 2009. 
  43. ^ "Shadow the Hedgehog for GameCube - Shadow the Hedgehog GameCube Game - Shadow the Hedgehog Game". GameSpot. Retrieved February 8, 2009. 
  44. ^ "Jetix Magazine Reader Awards 2006". Official Jetix Magazine (Future plc) (26). August 4, 2006. 

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