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Shadow the Hedgehog | Wikipedia audio article


Shadow the Hedgehog (Japanese: シャドウ・ザ・ヘッジホッグ,
Hepburn: Shadō za Hejjihoggu) is a character appearing in Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog video
game franchise. Shadow was created by Takashi Iizuka and Shiro
Maekawa, and debuted in the series’ 2001 installment Sonic Adventure 2. Although this was intended to be his only
appearance, Shadow proved so popular among fans that developer Sonic Team decided to
include him in 2003’s Sonic Heroes. Shadow has since featured in numerous entries
in the franchise, including a self-titled spin-off game in 2005. He also appears in Sonic television adaptations,
comics, and merchandise. Within the Sonic franchise’s fictional universe,
Shadow is an immortal, anthropomorphic black hedgehog created by Professor Gerald Robotnik,
the grandfather of series antagonist Doctor Eggman. After witnessing the murder of his best friend
Maria, Shadow vows to keep his promise to her that he would protect the world from danger. An antihero, Shadow has good intentions but
will do whatever it takes to accomplish his goals, putting him at odds with series protagonist
Sonic the Hedgehog. Shadow shares many attributes with Sonic and
thus controls similarly in games, but is distinguished by his uses of vehicles and firearms. The idea for Shadow originated during the
development of the original Sonic Adventure in 1998, with Iizuka and Maekawa ensuring
he would be a subtle, “cool” character players could care about. His design was influenced by films such as
Underworld, Constantine, and Terminator. Although Shadow is one of the series’ most
popular characters and was named one of the greatest video game characters by Guinness
World Records in 2011, he has proven divisive among video game journalists. Some have praised his role in Sonic Adventure
2 and his levels’ preservation of the Sonic theme, but others have mocked his dark characterization. Additionally, the Shadow game received generally
unfavorable reviews despite strong sales.==Description==
Shadow is an anthropomorphic black hedgehog appearing in Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog series
of platform games and its various spin-offs. He first appeared in the 2001 installment
Sonic Adventure 2, the final Sonic game released for a Sega video game console. His roles in the games vary. Some, such as the main series games Sonic
Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes (2003), and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) feature him as a major
playable character, and he is the protagonist of the spin-off Shadow the Hedgehog (2005)
and a downloadable content (DLC) package for Sonic Forces (2017). Others, such as the anniversary game Sonic
Generations (2011), limit him to a non-playable role.In the games, Shadow is depicted as a
mysterious, sharp-witted, and brooding antihero. While his ultimate goal is to protect the
world from danger, he dislikes humanity, and once he has set a goal, he does whatever it
takes to accomplish it. This often causes him to take risks without
thinking them through and puts him at odds with series protagonist Sonic the Hedgehog. Although a loner, Shadow collaborates with
treasure hunter Rouge the Bat and renegade robot E-123 Omega in games such as Sonic Heroes
and Sonic Forces. Shadow allies with Sonic in some games, but
also does so with series antagonist Doctor Eggman in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the
Hedgehog.Shadow shares many similarities with Sonic. Visually, GameSpot’s Ben Stahl described Shadow
as “an evil version of Sonic himself—similar in appearance, but with darker skin, more
angled eyes, and a fearsome snarl instead of Sonic’s trademark grin.” GamesRadar+’s Justin Leeper said that if Sonic
was Superman, then Shadow would be his Batman. The characters control similarly in games,
as both share skills and the ability to run at great speeds. Shadow has unique attributes in some games,
such as his uses of firearms and vehicles in Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog,
respectively. He can also use the Chaos Emeralds to perform
“Chaos Control”—allowing him to distort time—and create weapons like spears. Like Sonic, Shadow can transform into a “Super”
form giving him special powers.==Development==
Shadow was created by Takashi Iizuka and Shiro Maekawa, who respectively served as director
and writer of Sonic Adventure 2. According to Iizuka, the idea for Shadow originated
during development of the original Sonic Adventure in 1998, when Sonic Team intended to introduce
a rival for Sonic in a potential sequel. Although they rarely discussed the idea, the
staff continually thought about it. Eventually, while work on Sonic Adventure
2 progressed, Sonic Team found use in Shadow when they laid out the game’s “good vs. evil”
plotlines. Shadow’s name at the beginning of development
was “Terios” (“reflection of”), referencing his role as Sonic’s doppelganger. Sonic Team tasked Maekawa with developing
Shadow, whom they wanted to look just as “cool” as Sonic. Maekawa settled on the design of a black hedgehog,
but struggled coming up with his personality. One night, while he brainstormed lines for
a scene in which Sonic confronts Shadow for impersonating him, Maekawa came up with Shadow’s
first line: “Hmph, aren’t you the fake one here?” As part of shaping his subtle character, Maekawa
envisioned Shadow would refer to himself using the more humble Japanese pronoun boku (僕). Iizuka made sure that Shadow’s introduction
also brought new events to the game, as he wanted players to care about the character.Sonic
Adventure 2 was intended to be Shadow’s only appearance, but his popularity among fans
led to him returning in 2003’s Sonic Heroes. Additionally, Sonic Team wanted to feature
Shadow in a spin-off game. By 2005, Sonic Team was interested in developing
a high-speed shooter game. They chose to focus on Shadow—whom they
felt would provide “the perfect venue… to try our hand at this genre”—leading to the
development of Shadow the Hedgehog. Series co-creator Yuji Naka hoped Shadow would
lead to a spin-off series about the character. When developing Shadow’s design and world,
Sonic Team was influenced by films such as Underworld (2003), Constantine (2005), and
those in the Terminator series. The team abandoned Shadow’s shooting gameplay
when working on Sonic the Hedgehog in 2006. Instead, director Shun Nakamura emphasized
combat to differentiate his gameplay from that of Sonic’s; while Sonic was designed
for speedy platforming, Shadow was designed for fighting enemies. After Sonic and the Black Knight (2009), Shadow
did not appear as a playable character in a Sonic platformer for some time, until the
release of Sonic Forces in 2017. Nakamura explained that Sonic Team brought
Shadow back for Sonic Forces so it would appeal to fans of the Adventure games, as the character
is “extremely popular” among that group. Iizuka has commented that another Shadow-oriented
spin-off is a possibility.In Japan, Kōji Yusa voices Shadow. The character’s English voice actor has changed
several times. David Humphrey was the first to assume the
role, but was replaced by Jason Griffith, who voiced Shadow and Sonic in the English
dub of the anime series Sonic X (2003–2006), for Shadow the Hedgehog in 2005. Kirk Thornton has since voiced Shadow in games
such as Sonic Generations.==Character biography==
Within the Sonic series’ fictional universe, Shadow the Hedgehog is an immortal being created
by Professor Gerald Robotnik through genetic engineering as part of an experiment to cure
his granddaughter Maria from a deadly illness. While Shadow and Maria formed a strong bond,
the government deemed him a threat. Shadow was placed in suspended animation and
a military organization, the Guardian Units of Nations (G.U.N.), killed Maria as she tried
to protect him. Maria’s death traumatized Shadow, who vowed
to keep his promise to her that he would protect the world from danger. In Sonic Adventure 2, Gerald’s grandson, Doctor
Eggman, learns of Shadow and revives him as part of a plan to conquer the world and defeat
Sonic the Hedgehog. Shadow agrees to help Eggman and frames Sonic
for their evil deeds. However, Shadow eventually allies himself
with Sonic to prevent the world’s destruction. He seemingly dies after the final boss fight.In
Sonic Heroes, Rouge the Bat discovers Shadow alive in Eggman’s base. He remembers nothing except his name and Maria’s
death, and teams up with Rouge and E-123 Omega to find Eggman and learn of his past. In Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow, still suffering
from amnesia, becomes caught in a three-way war between Eggman, G.U.N., and the Black
Arms, an alien army led by Black Doom. Shadow can choose to help G.U.N., Sonic and
his friends, Eggman, or the Black Arms. At the end of the game, Shadow recovers from
his amnesia and learns the truth about his past, including that Gerald created him using
Black Doom’s blood. He chooses to put the past behind him and
move on, and in Sonic the Hedgehog is depicted as having joined G.U.N.==Reception and impact==
Shadow quickly proved popular among players of Sonic Adventure 2, contributing to his
return in later games. Additionally, responses to his introduction
were favorable; critics considered his levels in Sonic Adventure 2 among the game’s highlights. GameSpot’s Shane Satterfield wrote Shadow’s
levels were exciting and helped preserve the general theme of Sonic games, and wished they
had been more plentiful. Nintendo Life’s Mark Reece similarly felt
Shadow’s levels successfully adapted the Sonic formula to 3D. However, despite strong sales, the 2005 Shadow
game received generally unfavorable reviews and, according to Official Nintendo Magazine’s
Thomas East, tarnished the character’s reputation.Reviews for Shadow the Hedgehog criticized numerous
aspects of the character, such as his controls, use of firearms, and characterization. Game Informer’s Matt Helgeson decried Shadow
as a character who lacked personality and mocked his “ridiculous” and “laughable” Clint
Eastwood rasp, while GameSpy’s Patrick Klepek felt the game was proof the Sonic series had
jumped the shark. Similarly, 1UP.com’s Shane Bettenhausen compared
Shadow to Poochie, a character from The Simpsons episode “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show”
(1997) symbolic of creating a new character simply to boost a flagging series. Klepek thought guns made sense for Shadow’s
character but did not have a compelling use in the game, and expressed hope Sonic Team
would “[bury] him alongside the same graves as the third-tier of characters from Knuckles
Chaotix.” Critics reviewing the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog
considered Shadow’s gameplay slightly better than that of Sonic’s but felt it did not add
enough to the experience, while Den of Geek’s Chris Freiberg wrote the Shadow DLC for Sonic
Forces added some replay value to a game he criticized for its short length.Writers have
called Shadow—both the game and the character—an ill-advised attempt to bring a sense of maturity
to the Sonic series. Indeed, IGN’s Levi Buchanan and 1UP’s Jeremy
Parish considered him one of the series’ biggest problems; Parish wrote that of the unnecessary
Sonic characters Sega should retire, Shadow was the most in need of it. Numerous video game journalists have mockingly
described the character as “edgy”, internet slang referring to someone who exhibits disconcerting
behavior in an effort to impress others. In 2010, DeviantArt user “cmara” released
a webcomic depicting Shadow in a romantic relationship with Shrek, the title character
of the DreamWorks film series. According to Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson, the
comic paired the two because “if Shrek was the big screen embodiment of nu-millennium
toilet garbage, Shadow the Hedgehog—with his hilariously unfitting blend of guns and
angst in a colorful world of fast animals in clown shoes—was his video game bride”. Both, he wrote, were supposed to be sophisticated
and “edgy” characters in franchises designed to appeal to young people.Shadow is a divisive
Sonic character. Some, such as East, who ranked him one of
the series’ best characters, praise him for his role in Sonic Adventure 2; Game Informer’s
Brian Shea called Shadow a “fun equal” to Sonic who delivered the series’ traditional
sense of speed, and Polygon’s Allegra Frank said he is a fan-favorite. “For others,” wrote Kotaku’s Mike Fahey, Shadow
“signifies the looming death of a beloved series.” Fahey felt Shadow’s self-titled game was when
the Sonic franchise lost its identity, and dismissed those who argued in favor of his
role in Sonic Adventure 2. Jim Sterling, writing for GamesRadar+, ranked
Shadow among the series’ worst characters, arguing he lost his relevance over time and
calling him “the ultimate example of a good idea gone rotten.” Despite this, in 2005 Naka said Sonic Team
had determined Shadow was the series’ most popular character excluding Sonic himself,
a finding reaffirmed in a 2009 Sega poll. In 2011, Guinness World Records named Shadow
among the 50 greatest video game characters of all time.==In other media==
Outside the video game series, Shadow appears in the anime series Sonic X, which adapts
the story of the Sonic Adventure games. The original Japanese cast from the games
reprised their voice roles for the game, while Jason Griffith voiced Shadow in the English
dub by 4Kids Entertainment. In the Sonic Boom (2014–2017) spin-off franchise,
Shadow appears in the 2014 games Rise of Lyric for the Wii U and Shattered Crystal for the
Nintendo 3DS, and the episodes “It Takes a Village to Defeat a Hedgehog” and both parts
entitled “Eggman: The Video Game”, voiced by Kirk Thornton. He also appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog
comic books published by Archie Comics and IDW Publishing, and his likeness has been
used in Sonic merchandise.==See also==
Sonic the Hedgehog – Wikipedia book

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