SEGA Developed by:
Sonic Team Genre:
E10 _Everyone Ten and Up)Release Date:
November 15, 2005 Written by:
Noel Del Pilar
Sonic Adventure 2 was the first game we saw Shadow in action and get to know some parts about his life, his past and about his purposes of being created. Shadow is actually an original idea from Sega because it was a character that was not created by Sonic’s main villain Dr. Eggman and is by no means a robot or copy made from Sonic. Yet Shadow still has the same moves like Sonic and can run has fast as Sonic. In the end of Sonic Adventure 2 Shadow disappears and everyone thought he died. It was not then later on Sonic Heroes when Shadow was found by Rouge on Eggman’s secret lab. Shadow lost all of his memory he had. So Shadow goes on search for Dr. Eggman to try to remember his past. Finally later Sega decided to give us a game based on Shadow only so everyone could truly know everything about his story of his past and what really happened 50 years ago in the Space Colony ARK, but before all of this Shadow has spent all of his time trying to find answers for his questions around the globe and trying to recover some memory of what truly happen in all of his life.
But one day when Shadow was wondering things on his mind on the quiet grass suddenly dark red clouds arrive and start sending aliens to the city. It was the Invasion of the Black arms army (aliens). They were attacking the city and soon they would spread out everywhere. There job was to take control of the planet and do what they choose. The GUN military goes out and sends all of their troops to do all they can to save the world. Shadow ignores all of the chaos but suddenly a hologram appears of a mysterious monster figure. It was Black Doom the leader of the Black Arms army. Doom gives a message to Shadow that says that he must find all of the seven chaos emeralds and then of all of his questions should be answered and he will be able to uncover his past. Shadow must decide to listen to all of the orders by Black Doom, go and get all the emeralds by himself or stop black Doom and save the planet. This all depends of the choices you take on the levels.
Shadow the hedgehog plays similar to the way he did on previous games. You will still run around levels through loops, go on rockets, and solve many platforming puzzles. You can still also attack with homing attacks, transform to a ball to roll around the level, hang on to poles, do a light dash which is grabbing a pair of rings next to each other and, although they are not playable, Sonic characters still appear on the game asking for your help. There is also some cool unique boss battles that are even tough pretty easy; the ways to defeat them are very entertaining and challenging enough. Yet Sega decided to add a few things to the formula to make Shadow more different then Sonic. They came up with adding vehicles, weapons, 2 special moves and the ability to decide of whether be good guy or be the bad guy.
With Shadow you can decide between doing good, neutral or evil objectives. The system of giving you a level depending on what objective you choose is a bit similar to Star Fox 64 where you had different planets to go and depending on your score you would go to a certain planet. On Shadow you will always start with the City level, if you completed the good objective you will go to the downer level, if you did the neutral objective you will take the middle which is in other words the level at the right of the one you just finished. But if you did the dark objective then you will go one level up. Is pretty hard to explain in words tough but is just to give you an idea of how the system plays.
Has mentioned earlier the level you get depends on which objective you take. Hero objectives consist of helping Sonic and friends in finding chaos emeralds, eliminate all the aliens around the level, collect an amount of rings, etc. Neutral objectives consist of you reaching the big gold ring at the end of the level which is actually for those who want to play the game in normal way without stooping by too much to defeat enemies on your way or collect stuff. And Dark objectives mostly consist of destroying all G.U.N soldiers in the area, help the aliens prepare traps, Find chaos emeralds, or escaping from a certain place. You are free to choose any path you want to take.
When everyone heard about the addition of weapons everyone see it has an idea from Sega to make the game look more mature. While the box art and menu screen does show it has a mature game during gameplay is not so mature. Shadow can grab weapons from his enemies after he defeats the enemy holding the weapon. They are many different types of weapons in the game including: bazookas, pistols, machine guns, swords, lasers and many others. The guns are quite actually a nice addition to the game because the guns shoot fast, and even tough there is no aiming in most of them it was still pretty easy to kill the enemies. You can even shoot in the air because Shadow uses his fire shoes. This certainly gives flavor to the game because it felt pretty tiring to always do homing attacks on enemies and since this game mostly consist of destroying most enemies on your path, it is so much easier to just kill them with the guns. The only problem with the guns is that they don’t have that much ammo but is not a big problem because they are many enemies to kill and steal their guns. So they will always be a weapon nearby.
The vehicles could be perhaps the most useless addition to the game. Because some of the vehicles are not needed to progress through the level and they just don’t feel well handled has Shadow is. One of those types of vehicles is the motorcycle, the G.U.N. car and another white car on the game. You only ride them but do not give you any guns or special powers, therefore they are useless. However they are still some needed vehicles and one of those is the flying alien that takes you to areas that are far away and cannot be reached on foot. Riding this alien should feel a bit similar like riding the dinosaur bird with Krystal on Star Fox Adventures in terms of the handling. The other needed vehicle is a small floating ship of the aliens that can let you pass through toxic areas where Shadow can’t touch. Sadly the handling is not so good on the floating ship. And last the other not so needed vehicle, but helps, is a G.U.N robot that can make high jumps and can help you beat platform jumping puzzles faster.
The other interesting addition to the game was adding 2 special powers for Shadow. In which can be performed when the blue or red bar on the screen is completely filled. Your blue (hero) bar can get filled when you are destroying all the aliens in your path and you are clearing the hero objective. When the blue bar is completely filled you can perform chaos control that takes you in high speed to a different part of the level on the front, which is very helpful to skip some annoying enemies. Your red (Dark) bar can get filled when you go and start destroying the environment and when you are destroying G.U.N soldiers. When the red bar is completely filled you can perform chaos blast, which is a big explosion perform by Shadow and can defeat all enemies and parts of the environment near by. These are very cool moves that give the game some flavor to keep you interested.
The controls and handling on the game will take you a bit of time to get used to. The handling of shadow is a bit hard too control at times when running fast, but for the most part it will run just fine. Shooting with guns have no problem and you don’t need to press any button to pick up a gun when you currently have none. But when you have one and you want to switch you just press the x button. Rolling like a ball does not feel that tight on the game anymore and in this game it pretty much feels useless. Yet all the moves Shadow performed on previous sonic games have almost the same buttons and work just fine has they did before. When Shadow has no guns he can punch and kick, but those attacks are pretty weak and are too slow. Still overall the controls could have been better but still they are good enough to let you enjoy the game.
The combination between platforming and shooting elements are well implemented in the game. They give the game more style to it. Vehicles are a little addition so that the game feels less repetitive and the special powers just add more to the gameplay. Choosing between being good, neutral or dark is certainly also a great addition and makes the story change depending on the objectives you complete. The system of having different levels depending the path you take give more fun to explore and check out new areas each time you play again the game. While the controls and handling on the game could have been improved and the camera is a bit tricky you can get used to the game and enjoy this new experience based only on Shadow.
Shadow the hedgehog has been told that it looks like a dreamcast game but that’s quite actually not true. While the game is not a ground breaker and not has well looking has Sonic Adventure 2 Battle it still does a pretty good job on the level design with all the variety of puzzles and enemies. The special effects are quite impressive, mostly the explosions. The first level does show some graphical potential on the game has it shows many action going on like beams coming down while you battle enemies, and impressively for the most part you won’t find framerates problems. The details on the environment are done pretty well and the atmosphere of the environment while not amazing still does a nice job. The presentation of levels is certainly overall something nice to look at. The game features realistic movie type graphics that are a spectacular well done. Sadly the game features normal cut scenes that sometimes feel plain and have framerates slow downs going on.
The human characters are the lowdown of the graphics department. They are not detailed enough to look real instead they look a bit cartoony specially the soldiers. The hands on the characters are also squared with some lines to see fingers but don’t truly feel like a human hand instead is more of a robotic hand. The Sonic characters have the same engine look they had on sonic heroes with the shiny stuff. While is certainly not bad, the realistic style they had on Sonic Adventure 2 was so much better, the Sonic heroes look was more cartoon style. Another problem is that some guns look too big for Shadow when he holds them and make it feel ridiculous. The camera on the game can be clunky the first time you play it since controlling it is different then previous sonic titles. You can control the camera with the c stick by moving it left or right, while is not tight enough it still helps enough to continue through the level. This is the bad parts on the graphics of Shadow the hedgehog, the character models could have been much better and the camera is not tight enough but still doesn’t ruin the fun for the most part.
The soundtrack on the game has a mix between rock music and electronic/techno style music. Just like all previous sonic games which were actually good since they mostly fit perfectly with each level. The voices on sonic characters excluding Sonic and Shadow were a bit cheesy. Rouge sounds more serious and less girlish. Is not a bad thing but her old voice was just more funny and fitted with her personality. Charmy’s voice feels a bit more dummy and annoying like a little kid. Black Doom’s voice is creepy but fits with how creepy he actually is. Sonic and Shadow are decent but we wish Sega could keep the same good voices they had before. The Sound effects do a pretty good job to make explosions and guns sound pretty realistic. Sound department is good with a few annoying voiceovers but the rest of it including soundtrack is great.
The single player can be finish in around 5 hours or less, yet the game has many paths to take that each time you play if you complete a different objective then the one you did before you will get a different level. So there is always a new level to unlock and different characters to see, different bosses to fight, different cut-scenes and different stuff to discover about Shadow’s past. The game also has the option that once you beat the level you can go to select mode and play it again and if you want you can finish a different objective then the one you finish last time.
This game also features a multiplayer mode which is nothing too special but a good added feature to give more fun to the game. The multiplayer pretty much consists of you battling your opponent with the set of guns in the arena. The only playable character is Shadow and copies of him in different colors and style. Sadly the game does not have a racing mode that Sonic Adventure 2 had where the one who gets to the gold ring first wins the race. In here is simply shooting your opponent and when the opponent has 0 rings and gets shot dies and you win. While is not crappy they should have given different type of modes to play with and since is only battling they could have at least make it 4 for players and expand the arenas a bit.
Shadow the hedgehog has been getting a lot of low scores around the internet. The thing is that those reviewers did not spend enough time to get use to the camera, controls and the feel of the game. The game does an excellent job of combining platforming with shooting. Shadow the hedgehog is certainly not perfect but it at least can keep you entertain while you wait for the next Sonic 3-D title. If you liked previous Sonic 3-D titles and you have no problems to stop running and go destroy enemies then this might just be your game. But the best recommendation for this game is to pick it up when is in a lower price. 8/
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