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05 Dec, 2005

Shadow the Hedgehog Review

PS2 Review | A shadow of its former self.
The hype surrounding Shadow the Hedgehog has been mediocre at best, after a rather successful attempt with Sonic Heroes, Sonic Team have tried to focus on one of the lesser known characters in the series, Shadow the Hedgehog and scope out the back story of the hedgehog with attitude. Shadow is just like Sonic except he is black with a red strip across his back. So should Sonic be worried about losing the limelight or is Shadow simply a poor imitation?

It starts well, a fairly impressive FMV introduction explains the story, Shadow doesn't remember anything but a strange figure (named Black Doom) appears and tells him to collect the chaos emeralds, and only by doing this will Shadow will find out more about his past. It would probably have been better had Sonic Team just stuck with this basic storyline, but they also throw in an alien invasion from a team called Black Arms who are hellbent on destroying the city.

How ugly, yes we're talking about Shadow

How ugly, yes we're talking about Shadow
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The game asks players whether they are a hero or a villain and this is carried out fairly basically. Shadow has his own agenda so you're able to switch between being evil or joining forces with Sonic and his companions. The first level is where the problems start to begin though, as soon as the game begins you're thrown into Megalopolis which is a dark level very reminiscent of the very first level of Sonic Adventure. Players can choose which side they are on freely throughout the levels. It's also possible to switch sides at any stage by pausing the game.

The idea could of worked but the implementation is really poor. In any given level there are "good" enemies and "bad" enemies, if you choose the good side then you have to defeat the bad enemies and vice versa. The problem is that both enemies will attack you no matter which side you are on which basically makes the entire process redundant. If you choose the "good" side and help Sonic then you'll sometimes still kill allies simply because your first reaction is actually to defend yourself. This concept isn't introduced properly enough either, so for the first few levels you'll probably just be completing each level by getting to the end.

Shadow himself is a lot darker to Sonic, and the weapons and vehicles play a large role in the game. There are vehicles scattered throughout the levels and Shadow can use these vehicles to navigate through the levels quickly. Sonic Team appear to have taken a leaf out of Ratchet and Clank's book and the game puts a fairly heavy emphasis on weapons. Some of the opponants you come across may have weapons, Shadow can only hold one weapon at a time though which makes the experience a little less entertaining. It isn't compulsory to use the weapons, but the game is a little easier if you do, the weapons don't stop the combat from being extremely repetitive and clunky though.

Overall the gameplay just feels like it hasn't evolved that much in six years, aside from a new storyline, new character and different environments Shadow the Hedgehog feels extremely similar to Sonic Adventure even going so far as to bring over some of the problems from that game. The camera is still a serious problem and sometimes it will lose track of Shadow momentarily which can often result in the death of Shadow; which isn't an experience that leaves you particularly happy.

You know what's really cool? Walking along walls

You know what's really cool? Walking along walls
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As if the gameplay isn't disappointing enough the Playstation 2 version has had even more of a downgrade. Even from the beginning of the game there are frame-rate issues whereby you cannot even tell if the game is intentionally stuttering or if the game cannot keep up. Even with downgraded graphics the game still cannot keep up, which is disappointing considering the game doesn't look like a current generation title, the Dreamcast would still probably be able to easily handle this game without too much hassle.

The most impressive part of the game comes in the visuals, the FMV scenes are absolutely brilliant but unfortunately don't set a precedent for the rest of the game. The environments are varied though and Shadow will travel from a metropolis zone through forest and lava. Whilst the levels aren't that detailed there are moments throughout the game that look brilliant, and for a split second it's possible to become momentarily involved in the game.

The entire game features a rock soundtrack which suits the game fairly well. The acting feels a litle amateur though, but the voice acting is fairly professional and very reminiscent of the old Sonic X episodes. Anyone who has become accustomed to the old Sonic music won't find this music very recognisable as it is remarkably different to anything we've heard in a Sonic Team game before.

Repetitive doesn't even begin to describe this game... or image

Repetitive doesn't even begin to describe this game... or image
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The entire story mode is fairly lengthy (if not a little bit extended out) and there are over twenty levels to go through. The problem is that the levels are really linear, and it's fairly possible to just fly through them without any real skill. It's unlikely that you'll have the patience to complete the game in its entirity though, just because it becomes extremely repetitive after awhile.

There is no other way to describe Shadow the Hedgehog except for disappointing. The levels are linear, the gameplay is weak and under explained and the game hasn't evolved past Sonic Adventure. Shadow isn't as fun to control as Sonic and we're hoping this spells the end for Sonic spin offs from now on. The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has been suffering for a few years now and this game is yet another nail in the coffin for the franchise; we wish the game had stayed in the shadows. It's one of the most disappointing titles of the year.
The Score
Shadow the Hedgehog could signal the death of Sonic spin offs, the title tries too hard to be impressive and ultimately fails miserably. 4
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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25 Comments
8 years ago
I'm suprised that games are still released with frame rate issues - that should be one of the main bugs to iron out.

Regardless of this title, I'm still looking forward to Sonic The Hedgehog for the 360/PS3.

(Was never really interested in Shadow in the first place.)
8 years ago
Well, its good to know the "see-crap-games-from-months-off" sense is still working here.
8 years ago
I'd generally disagree with most of the comments in this review. I found the game fun and a nice change from the standard Soinc experience. The limited use of weapons forces you to not rely on them - meaning that's it's not the standard shooter/platformer.

And I would not call a game that has 326 different ways of finishing it "linear"!

Don't know about the PS2 but the framerate seemed OK on the 'Cube.

And despite it being dead, the Dreamcast was part of this generation of consoles! It annoys me the people forget that. They treat it like it was on par with the N64 or something.
8 years ago
Did the person who wrote this review play the game for more than an hour in the first place..?

1) Overall, grammar is awful (but that has nothing to do with the above question)

2) Megalopolis or whatever - where did that come from? The level is WESTOPOLIS. Really - you have to play that level a minimum of 10 times to complete the game, you should at least know that.

3a) The first level of Sonic Adventure is a bright beach, with the ocean, dolphins and killer whales, a couple of mountains and an abundance of palm trees. If you meant Sonic Adventure 2, you were going through a city on a board, then you got off, more greenery, a handful or robots, a few loops, some stairs and ran down a wall. Again, bright, colourful and sunny. And Sonic Heroes, welcome back to the beach, but with turtles with huge blocks on their backs on top of what was in the other two. Nothing new here. Yeah. Boom, boom, boom.

3b) The first level of Shadow the Hedgehog is a dark city, littered with dead soldiers/aliens, laser blasts and aliens.

Yeah, 'very reminiscent'.

4) Voice acting is (yes, that word again) 'reminiscent' of Sonic X voice acting because they are the SAME VOICE ACTORS. (Why, SEGA, why?)

So, I think your review was almost as flawed as the game.

As for my comments on the game, I have to agree with you on a small part of it. The camera was irritating, the controls were totally different to previous Sonic games, and the voice acting is AWFUL.

And I do agree with Sunrider. A game with 326 different storylines/ways to complete it isn't exactly linear - but to Sunrider, to go through it 326 times means Westopolis 326 different times, doesn't it?

However, I found the story (the first 10 times) interesting, especially the Last Story, which is worth playing through Westopolis ten times for. Honestly.
8 years ago
lilangel5429 wrote
And I do agree with Sunrider. A game with 326 different storylines/ways to complete it isn't exactly linear - but to Sunrider, to go through it 326 times means Westopolis 326 different times, doesn't it?
He said level design was repetitive, not the game design.
If you are going to rant- you have to be correct.
8 years ago
--alex-- wrote
He said level design was repetitive, not the game design. If you are going to rant- you have to be correct.
If you're gonna review a game, you have to be correct. But yes, you are right, he did say levels not gameplay.
8 years ago
lilangel5429 wrote
--alex-- wrote
He said level design was repetitive, not the game design. If you are going to rant- you have to be correct.
If you're gonna review a game, you have to be correct. But yes, you are right, he did say levels not gameplay.
Welcome to PALGN.
8 years ago
so he messed up the level name, it hardly made the game any better having it Westopolis or Megalopolis.
8 years ago
Sunrider wrote

Quote
And despite it being dead, the Dreamcast was part of this generation of consoles! It annoys me the people forget that. They treat it like it was on par with the N64 or something.
That is VERY debateable.Imo, the dreamcast WAS part of the last generation.It was part of the big 3 back then(psone, n64 and of course dreamcast).

The ps2 was the first of the new gen consoles.I'm not cluey on the dreamcast release date, but if it was AFTER the ps2, then yes, i guess it was part of this gen.But if it wasn't- it was last gen.

Again, though, very debateable....
8 years ago
^ as far as i'm concerned it was a part of this generation. Saturn was last gen, Dreamcast was this gen.

but i suppose it is all a matter of perspective, was it the last of last gen, or the first of this?
8 years ago
Jibbs wrote
That is VERY debateable.Imo, the dreamcast WAS part of the last generation.It was part of the big 3 back then(psone, n64 and of course dreamcast).

The ps2 was the first of the new gen consoles.I'm not cluey on the dreamcast release date, but if it was AFTER the ps2, then yes, i guess it was part of this gen.But if it wasn't- it was last gen.
The Dreamcast was part of this generation of consoles.

Sega Dreamcast
Release Date: September 9, 1999

Sony PlayStation 2
Release Date: October 26, 2000

The Nintendo GameCube
Release Date: November 18th 2001

Microsoft Xbox
Release Date: November 15, 2001

About the same time between DC and PS2 launches than between the PS2 and GC/XBOX launches. Regardless, the DC's power was up to par with the PS2 while it was still alive. Either they're both considered to be in this generation, or they were both last generation or some kind of middle generation.

By the way, Dreamcasts are being remanufactured and rereleased in Japan soon. They will be bundled with a brand new Japanese 2D shooter game.

Long live the Dreamcast!

errr... and Sonic too, for topic's sake.
8 years ago
The Dreamcast was definitly this generation. How you could compare the visual quality of Soul Calibur, Jet Set Radio, MSR, etc to what we saw on the N64 & PSone I don't know. The DC was this gen, it just died before this gen got started properly icon_sad.gif
8 years ago
Sunrider wrote
I'd generally disagree with most of the comments in this review. I found the game fun and a nice change from the standard Soinc experience. The limited use of weapons forces you to not rely on them - meaning that's it's not the standard shooter/platformer.

And I would not call a game that has 326 different ways of finishing it "linear"!

Don't know about the PS2 but the framerate seemed OK on the 'Cube.

And despite it being dead, the Dreamcast was part of this generation of consoles! It annoys me the people forget that. They treat it like it was on par with the N64 or something.
The Gamecube has a better frame-rate than the PS2 version, i have played both copies and the Gamecube isn't affected by the same problems as the PS2 version. 326 different ways of finishing? That's just marketing talk.

lilangel5429 wrote
Did the person who wrote this review play the game for more than an hour in the first place..?

1) Overall, grammar is awful (but that has nothing to do with the above question)

2) Megalopolis or whatever - where did that come from? The level is WESTOPOLIS. Really - you have to play that level a minimum of 10 times to complete the game, you should at least know that.

3a) The first level of Sonic Adventure is a bright beach, with the ocean, dolphins and killer whales, a couple of mountains and an abundance of palm trees. If you meant Sonic Adventure 2, you were going through a city on a board, then you got off, more greenery, a handful or robots, a few loops, some stairs and ran down a wall. Again, bright, colourful and sunny. And Sonic Heroes, welcome back to the beach, but with turtles with huge blocks on their backs on top of what was in the other two. Nothing new here. Yeah. Boom, boom, boom.

3b) The first level of Shadow the Hedgehog is a dark city, littered with dead soldiers/aliens, laser blasts and aliens.

Yeah, 'very reminiscent'.

4) Voice acting is (yes, that word again) 'reminiscent' of Sonic X voice acting because they are the SAME VOICE ACTORS. (Why, SEGA, why?)

So, I think your review was almost as flawed as the game.

As for my comments on the game, I have to agree with you on a small part of it. The camera was irritating, the controls were totally different to previous Sonic games, and the voice acting is AWFUL.

And I do agree with Sunrider. A game with 326 different storylines/ways to complete it isn't exactly linear - but to Sunrider, to go through it 326 times means Westopolis 326 different times, doesn't it?

However, I found the story (the first 10 times) interesting, especially the Last Story, which is worth playing through Westopolis ten times for. Honestly.
Aside from being dark and featuring different enemies the levels are very similar. The first level has you running down a narrow street to reach the end making a few turns here and there, sound familiar? The levels don't LOOK the same but they play the same.
8 years ago
ObsoletE wrote
^ as far as i'm concerned it was a part of this generation. Saturn was last gen, Dreamcast was this gen.
Exactly.

But generation have always has hazy lines around the edges - what gen was the PC engine? (came out in 1988)? or the 3DO?
8 years ago
They were the 'nobody gives a fuck' generation.
8 years ago
Quote
But generation have always has hazy lines around the edges - what gen was the PC engine? (came out in 1988)? or the 3DO?
PC Engine: Same as MD/SNES - MD came out in 1988 in Japan.

3DO: Late 1993 release (a year ahead of JP PSOne), but had many games that were ported to Saturn/PSOne, so I could it as last gen (this gen still being this gen since next gen hasn't started here icon_razz.gif)
8 years ago
^ ROFL icon_lol.gif

it's funny how generations is really only defined by consoles, not by PC. although i suppose PC generations are more defined by Graphics Cards (or DirectX updates), but even then it's a lot more fluid.

or you could define them by OS updates.

or significant software changes, like when games required a GPU to run, rather than as an optional feature.

i suppose consoles are easier to define from company release to company release, new companies just get lumped in with the current gen.
8 years ago
Matt wrote
Quote
But generation have always has hazy lines around the edges - what gen was the PC engine? (came out in 1988)? or the 3DO?
PC Engine: Same as MD/SNES - MD came out in 1988 in Japan.

3DO: Late 1993 release (a year ahead of JP PSOne), but had many games that were ported to Saturn/PSOne, so I could it as last gen (this gen still being this gen since next gen hasn't started here icon_razz.gif)
Urgh - I know the obvious answers. My point was they were ahead of their time. Do you really believe the 16 bit generation began in 1987?

But therein lies my point - when does a generation begin?

The PC engine was out in japan only one year after the NES made it to the USA (I forgot, the PC engine was 1987 in japan, and the NES only got a wide US release in 1986). The playstation came out in 1994, but didn't take off until 1997. Some of the greatest (and highest selling) SNES games came out well after the 32 bit machines were alreday in stores.

Dreamcast is a great example. Sega jumped the gun and came out early - the DC was out the same year the N64 got it's first Zelda game for God's sake! And while it did have many 'next gen' games (soul caliber, DOA2 etc), it was also about 50% current gen games (Tony Hawk, Rayman 2 etc). So it was like a 'deluxe' 32/64 bit gen machine in a lot of ways.

So here's my idea - a generation has only truly begun when the majority of games on the most recent systems are not cross platform games from the last generation. It removes system launches as the set 'generation change points' So the DC was a 'next gen' machine when it came out, but most of it's life it primarily functioned as a 'souped up current gen' machine.

This, of course, means that next gen has yet to begin, since 90% of 360 games are current gen ports.
8 years ago
8 years ago
^We're gunna need a bigger basket icon_razz.gif

Good debating here....

First, i've got nothing against the dream, don't get me wrong.

Chris wrote:

Quote
The Dreamcast was definitly this generation. How you could compare the visual quality of Soul Calibur, Jet Set Radio, MSR, etc to what we saw on the N64 & PSone I don't know.
True, but then again, if we're going with that train of thought, i hardly think the dc could pull off graphics in the same league as your resident evil 4's or halo's(well, maybe halo icon_wink.gif).So it's hard to picture it with the 3 big boy's atm.Though, after reading people's posts and that timeline theory posted i retract my statement about it being last gen.

Though it is difficult, as i still can't seem to consider it 'this' gen either?It was released at such a funny time during the console wars that it almost created it's very own private generation(almost like what the xbox 360 is doing right now{fancy that, someone drawing a comparison between the dreamcast launch and the xbobx 360 launch?icon_razz.gif}).

Everyone is right though about how blurred the line is between 'generations'.I like David's idea about porting of games and there's also alot of people that argue about the pure horsepower of a console to be the thing that separates it between gen's, but how will this all fare when the revolution arrives?Not only will porting of games to it be a pain in the arse(i assume, what with all the special bell's and whistles) but also with nintendo stating time and time again they are not going to simply play the 'fps' or 'polygons per sec' race that the xbox 360 and ps3 will play.So there goes the horsepower rule of thumb down the drain...

I think it has to be an availability thing.Was the saturn available at the same time as the gcn, ps2 and xbox?No-last gen.Was the dreamcast available at the same time as the gcn, ps2 and xbox?Yes-this gen.

So where does that leave the x360.Oh i dunno.I'm tempted to just pull a Brendan and say 'who gives a f**k?'
8 years ago
I think the Dreamcast was sort of in a generation of its own, bridging between the N64/PSone, and PS2/XBox/GC. And the PS3 is due Spring 2006, which is what, 4-6 months after the 360?
8 years ago
^ You have a point there, but you have should not forget about the REV either.
8 years ago
I would've included it, but I don't know the release date for the Revolution - I'd guess that it doesn't have exact one, and that its some time next year.
8 years ago
i think all this "generation" thing is stupid. lets just give the console its own generation.
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Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
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Publisher:
  Sega
Developer:
  Sonic Team

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