Talk about controversial video game entries and it won’t take long for the conversation to shift to Shadow the Hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog had many ups and down in its gaming history yet this spin-off not only divided the Sonic community but managed to deviate a fairly kid-friendly franchise into some dark territory. It’s surprising that Sega not only allowed this to occur, but that so many Sonic fans have such differing opinions on Shadow’s outing. Let’s dive into the controversial game and see how it stands up all these years later.
Shadow the Hedgehog was a game for consoles released in 2005. This game was a quite a turn of events for Sonic the Hedgehog, as the games in this franchise are typically bright and full of life. However, with Shadow the Hedgehog, this lively environment was replaced with an apocalyptic setting, guns, and a black and red hedgehog leading the game instead of our usual speedy blue protagonist.
This game allowed for Sonic the Hedgehog to expand and try something new with a new protagonist and setting. An interesting attribute this game had was the “choose your own adventure” style of gaming. The player could choose between three missions, which were the hero, neutral, and dark missions. Depending on which path the player chose to take, this would determine the levels that were played and the outcome of the game. The game received much praise for this aspect.
I feel that this game was very experimental for the game franchise, but it worked in part. The change of pace caught fan’s eyes, whether they loved it or hated it. The change of pace made Shadow the Hedgehog one of a kind and really distinguished this character from the others. If there is one time that we could look back on see where the developers experimented with this game series, this would be one of those times.
Of course, with change comes mixed reviews. The game had a mixed reception, more than likely due to the sudden change of pace for Sonic the Hedgehog. The game has a 51% game rating on Metacritic. Some of the critics loved the change of pace, while others criticized the change of pace and lack of control within the game. Some of the biggest complaints were about the lack of control, too much speed, bad camera angles, and a misrepresentation of Shadow.
Despite the mixed reviews, this will be a game that many fans will remember as a defining moment for Sonic. The following year came Sonic ’06, which was probably one of the biggest disappointments in the Sonic game series due to the amount of bugs. For some fans, this time period of Sonic was a low point, while for others, Shadow the Hedgehog was a high point, but then came crashing down when Sonic ’06 rolled around.
Either way, Shadow the Hedgehog had many unique attributes to make it a memorable game. It is worth looking back on due to the change it brought to the Sonic series. From the newly devilish characters to the powerful music and atmosphere, this game had something special like no other Sonic game. To this day, Shadow the Hedgehog is still a one of a kind game in the entire Sonic series.