Thursday, December 24, 2009

Geek Rant Topic 01: Shadow The Hedgehog

Rather than go out of my way with introductions, I figured I'd go straight to the writing. When all else fails, you hear the call of That One Ranting Geek, me. They call me Mousa the 14. Not the 14th, the 14. Occupation: Jack of All Trades Geek and Geek Culture Commentator and I'm here to talk to you about Shadow the friggin' Hedgehog. Or rather, I'm going to type, and you're going to reply either intelligently or in a troll-like manner. Naturally I'd prefer the former.

Oh, and just so you can light your flames and ready your pitchforks early, I hate Shadow the Hedgehog and I hated his spin-off game.

Now that we have that out of the way, it's time for me to explain everything right and wrong with Shadow the effing Hedgehog.


We had Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. Sounds awesome enough, a cool looking sequel to Sonic Adventure, only this time Sonic had to deal with a black furred impersonator. And in the end, Shadow makes a Heroic Sacrifice and the world is saved from his revenge plot. He was an awesome character to start out with. Tall, dark, and broody usually aren't my style, but I found his development and backstory to be fascinating and his character acted appropriately given the life he's had. And he went off with a bang, with a perfectly reasonable redemption equals death and they all lived happily ever after.

The ending of that game was powerful, it was basically the first time the main cast had lost a close ally, and possible friend. I can see why people initially liked Shadow at first. He was cool, not as arrogant as Sonic, but had an awesome story and did awesome things. He deserved to be remembered that way forever.

Cue Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog and all that goes down the toilet. SEGA doesn't take care of it's children. It couldn't let sleeping dogs lie. You see, this is my problem with corporate executives, they milk the cash cow for all it's worth instead of just little the plot go according to plan. This is why Dragonball Z lasted past the Freiza Saga and why One Piece is on chapter five hundred and something (Not that that's a bad thing necessarily).

It's also your fault but I'll get back to that later.

Anyhow, Sonic Heroes revealed Shadow to be alive somehow but in some sort of stasis or whatever, thus cheapening his heroic sacrifice and the moment everyone shared at the end of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. And he conveniently had amnesia. I'd have amnesia too if I fell to Earth from outer space. The head trauma would be unbearable.

Shadow the Hedgehog reveals that Shadow is the byproduct of his creator making a deal with the Space Devil (as stupid as it sounds, you know it's true), and like all devils, twists his deals so Gerald Robotnik (Shadow's maker) regrets his decision and needs to make amends. However after losing his daughter, Gerald decides to do the space devil's work for him (Strange, that.). And so Shadow has had to stop 2 mistakes that were a result of his creator. The idea itself isn't so bad it's horrible, just so okay it's adequate. I think the problem was execution.

Shadow the Hedgehog was marketed as a dark and Edgy game, obviously aimed at the hormonal, broody, emotional, and pumped up with too much testosterone teens Shadow was meant to appeal to. They had to do everything in their power to pander such a base by taking away everything that made Shadow part of the Sonic franchise and go with something completely different: A Third person shooter, which includes vehicles.

You may apply your face to your palm at any time now.

Is this truly necessary? Many lovers would say "This is all about the darkness that is Shadow. He needs to have grit to show off his dark and gritty self and his dark and gritty past. Sonic style games are kids stuff." Which means it was completely unnecessary. If there is another argument out there I'd be glad to hear it but this is what I'm going with right now.

I say it is entirely unnecessary, simply because of the mechanics of Shadow the Hedgehog himself. Without the Chaos emerald, he has super speed, strength, and many moves that makes Sonic a competent fighter. When you take into account his mild control of chaos, Shadow can teleport, project spears of energy, move at time-slowing speeds, and a few other abilities. This doesn't even take into account the major augmentation he gets when he has a Chaos emerald or two.

So was the guns and vehicles necessary? God almighty, no! Shadow was bad@$ enough without the nitty gritty extras!

But this sounds like a quip at the game itself rather than the character. Well I'm trying to cover all the bases that conspire against this Hedgehog. In short, while Shadow the Hedgehog was poor, it's not what killed Shadow the Hedgehog as a character or plot device.

It was Sonic Heroes that did it. That gimmicky, glitchy, slightly less than average game brought Shadow back too soon due to popular demand. Or rather, the game brought him back at all. Okay, this is getting complicated so let me start from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle so I can adequately get across what I'm saying here.

If Sonic Adventure 2: Battle had not "killed" Shadow, we could have skipped over Sonic Heroes and had an easy tie in to Shadow the Hedgehog, with Shadow simply trying to learn more about the circumstances of his creation and existence. That's a good flow right there. However, this didn't happen. Instead he "died". Frankly, that would've been an adequate end to his saga right there. Most add-on characters in the Sonic franchise never last one game anyway. Shadow dying the heroic sacrifice meant he could be immortalized as the awesome character the game made him out to be. Meaning we could've skipped over Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, and possibly Sonic Battle (except the only bad thing this game had going for it was Gerald Robotnik-related plot-holes).

Also, Shadow is rather useless as a device in the Sonic mythos. Sonic already has 2 rivals, one villainous and one not. I mean we have Knuckles the Rad Red, who is not as fast as Sonic but makes up for it by being his opposite and focusing on strength. And there's his enemy, Metal Sonic, Eggman's robotic Sonic clone, who is basically Sonic's speed competition. Shadow has no place here when you have Knuckles and Metal Sonic. I mean you have Complete opposite guy, and Evil soulless version of the guy. What's Shadow supposed to be? He's just Sonic with magical powers. That more than trumps Sonic in terms of abilities. He's not a rival, he's metaphor for Sony/Xbox trying to make a Dark and Edgy "HARDCORE" version of Sonic and failing.

And what's his purpose as a character? I mean, sure I guess he's supposed to be doing as Maria wanted him to do by saving the world or making people happy and some such, but isn't that job being taken care of by Sonic and his merry band? Can I hear a "REDUNDENT" from you guys?

So what am I saying? Shadow isn't bad, just poorly handled and would've been a better character if

1) Sonic Heroes didn't bring him back
1a) Shadow didn't die in Sonic Adventure 1, Sonic Heroes was skipped, and Shadow The Hedgehog was a better game.
2)Shadow The Hedgehog was a better game
3)People didn't demand for his return
4)The Executives didn't listen to the fans
5)He was given a greater purpose beyond "Sonic's evil rival"
6)I think I missed one.

And that's all I got, so, yeah.

Like or dislike, I personally think I was rambling nonsense. O h well.

- Good Bye, Good Luck, and Imagination Is Your Greatest Power
Mousa the 14


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