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Shadow Vs Knuckles: Role of Rival


MetalSkulkBane
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I'm big fan of Shadow, so I look with crooked eye on whole bad rep he's getting. He had one bad game in 2005 and some people just can't forget it. Also, decided whenever "he's too similar to Sonic" or "How could anyone mistake him for Sonic", it's getting silly.

But fanboy rant aside, there is one valid complain that I don't know how to defend: he replaced Knuckles as a rival. We had a popular perfectly good working rival, but Sega wanted new cool character, so they left him out of the job.

And honestly, Knuckles and Shadow have very similar personalities of serious, tough "loner", possibly with big ego. Sega "solved" that problem by making Knuckles slowly transformed into dumb muscle and I never met single person that likes that (Boom Knuckles not included).  Archie comics keep Knuckles serious and... yeah, they do feel similar at times.

I believe that the closest to solving this issue was Sonic X, by taking "Megaman/Protoman/Bass" style: Sonic is a hero, Knuckles is powerful ally, a cool dude with just enough silly moment to be different (but with enough badass moments so we would take him seriously), while Shadow is the enemy rival, with little to no comedy. Sadly it can't no longer work since Shadow became good guy too, and role of evil rival is being filled by Metal Sonic.

So how would you solve problem of this two (three) rivals, what roles should they play and how they personalities should shape to differ from each other? The only franchise that have similar problem (that I can think of) is My Little Pony, with Trixie, Sunset and Starlight. Their solution? Focus on newest and least popular one and pretend that problem doesn't exists...

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What FWFF said. Trying to make a character fit a role only limits what the character can do or underutilizes their potential. Shadow and Knuckles have distinct character traits that enable each of them to have different types of conflicts or interactions that would just be wasted if they were stuffed into specific roles.

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I'll give the same reply I always every time this topic pops up (which is a lot mind you :V)

No Shadow did not replace Knuckles in anything, it is a stupid misconception that people just use to scapegoat Shadow about everything wrong with the series. Neither one of them can hardly even be considered "rivals" nowadays aside from fanon; like let's be real, when was the last time there was any sort of real animosity between Sonic with either Knuckles or Shadow? Especially the former, its gotten to the point where Sonic is arguably closer to Knuckles than he is with Tails in Sonic Boom if you've seen most episodes starring the two.

So this whole designation of the term "rival" to these two characters has pretty much lost all meaning; honestly, I think people just cling to it to keep up with the Dragon Ball Z/Shonen trope parallels, even if they aren't really applicable anymore. 

 

But to answer your second post: Knuckles is way more hot-headed and prone to impulsive fits than Shadow, and has warmed up to Sonic and co as friends, to the point where he constantly leaves his post to help him. Shadow only really deals with Sonic when he has to, but stays out of his way for the most part and is more concerned about his own self-interests and mostly only helps Sonic when its convenient, and will just as easily oppose him for the same reason.

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1 hour ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

Ok then, let me rephrase/aks another question: what makes Shadow and Knuckles different, personality wise?

Knuckles isn't very sharp while shadow is usually shown to be pretty smart. Shadow's serious most of the time while Knuckles isn't afraid to joke around and shit. They're both good guys, but would probably handle a situation differently.

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On 5/18/2016 at 4:05 AM, MetalSkulkBane said:

Sega "solved" that problem by making Knuckles slowly transformed into dumb muscle and I never met single person that likes that (Boom Knuckles not included).

Congrats, you've just met someone who likes it.

Although, honestly, I wouldn't even say he's "dumb" outside of Boom (I still like Boom!Knux though). He's just really gullible and a bit arrogant.

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Rivals don't have to have animosity. They are just in competition, they don't need to be Gary Oak with each other... But it's true that there is no competition anymore between Shadow and Sonic (maybe sometime Sonic will make a race with Shadow, but it's more "for fun")... While in Sonic X and Flynn's writing (even a bit in Pontac's writing), I've seen more that kind of things between Knuckles and Sonic. He's a bit like a friendly rival. And I think that even if their personnalities are at they core similar (as they are both serious, duty-filled characters that fight/act for a greater cause), in another light they can be very different : Shadow act more seriously and "professionally" (Sonic 2006, Flynn's writing) than Knuckles that is way more "emotional". Also, Knuckles is more naive, and I remember having seen more often Knux' having fun and being "lighthearted" than Shadow.

They also have different roles, even now that Shadow is a good guy : Shadow is more something like a "defender of earth" (especially in the "Team Dark in Gun" vision by Ian Flynn, and in Sonic 2006), when Knuckles is more either a friend of Sonic that save the world with him (Heroes, the Riders, 2006, etc) or the lonely gardian of the Master Emerald (S3&K, Adventure) or a bit of both (SA2, Sonic X, Flynn's writing). They have different rôles, and Shadow don't take the role of Knuckles, either in his relationship with Sonic, either in the "big picture".

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Yeah, Sonic and Knuckles work well as rivals because they have different strengths - Sonic is faster, but Knuckles can throw a punch. Raw physical power is not what Sonic does, so to have someone who can beat him at that is a threat. Sonic may be fast, but if Knuckles can land a punch on him he's toast. It's like pitting a boxer against a martial artist.

Silver works on that level too, but not very well - Mind powers are a bit much, realistically he can beat everybody because he's got a gravity gun. That's not very interesting, and Sonic 06 doesn't commit to anyone defeating Silver besides Shadow and chaos control. That's boring, he has to have a weakness outside of Shadows ill defined power. 

Whereas with Shadow (and, to an extent, Blaze), the threat there is that there's someone as good as or better than Sonic at the one thing Sonic can do - speed. But IDK, it's not as big a problem. Sonic is never going to get buff, but Sonic can always go a bit faster. And before anyone says 'but Chaos Control', Shadow has all the skills necessary to kick Sonics arse without it, and besides, Chaos Control either slows down time, makes you fly, or allows you to time travel. It does what the writers want it to do at any point. 

In terms of the series today... We haven't seen Shadow in a substantial role in ten years. Knuckles has barely shown up in that time either. Sonic, on the other hand, doesn't seem like he'd hold a grudge. Sonic most likely views his 'rivals' as a bit of good fun, rather than life or death. 

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23 minutes ago, Hyp3hat said:

Yeah, Sonic and Knuckles work well as rivals because they have different strengths - Sonic is faster, but Knuckles can throw a punch. Raw physical power is not what Sonic does, so to have someone who can beat him at that is a threat. Sonic may be fast, but if Knuckles can land a punch on him he's toast. It's like pitting a boxer against a martial artist.

Silver works on that level too, but not very well - Mind powers are a bit much, realistically he can beat everybody because he's got a gravity gun. That's not very interesting, and Sonic 06 doesn't commit to anyone defeating Silver besides Shadow and chaos control. That's boring, he has to have a weakness outside of Shadows ill defined power. 

Whereas with Shadow (and, to an extent, Blaze), the threat there is that there's someone as good as or better than Sonic at the one thing Sonic can do - speed. But IDK, it's not as big a problem. Sonic is never going to get buff, but Sonic can always go a bit faster. And before anyone says 'but Chaos Control', Shadow has all the skills necessary to kick Sonics arse without it, and besides, Chaos Control either slows down time, makes you fly, or allows you to time travel. It does what the writers want it to do at any point. 

In terms of the series today... We haven't seen Shadow in a substantial role in ten years. Knuckles has barely shown up in that time either. Sonic, on the other hand, doesn't seem like he'd hold a grudge. Sonic most likely views his 'rivals' as a bit of good fun, rather than life or death. 

What you just described are "Foils" not "rivals" even if there is an overlap between the two a lot.

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15 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

What you just described are "Foils" not "rivals" even if there is an overlap between the two a lot.

Well, is there any meaningful distinction between the two, considering how Knuckles and Shadow have been used in the games? 

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Knuckles as a rival is meant to be a counterforce to Sonic. Knuckles' Power counters Sonic's Speed, he's the Mountain where Sonic is the Wind. He's the Guardian of the Master Emerald, and Sonic has some special connection to the Chaos Emeralds. 

Shadow as a rival is Sonic's shadow. The spitting image of Sonic, sharing his speed and agility and ability to harness the power of the Chaos Emeralds and apparently even "Ultimate Lifeform" status. The difference being that Shadow is a dark-incarnation of Sonic, he's willing to accomplish his goals via any means necessary, he needs inhibitor rings, and he's pretty much always acting on someone else's behalf (desire to fulfill Maria's wish. brainwashed by Gerald to enact revenge, manipulated by Black Doom to collect the Chaos Emeralds, working for G.U.N under direct orders from the President or Commander, called to action by Eggman to fight Eggman Nega, etc). 

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19 minutes ago, Sparky said:

he's pretty much always acting on someone else's behalf (desire to fulfill Maria's wish. brainwashed by Gerald to enact revenge, manipulated by Black Doom to collect the Chaos Emeralds, working for G.U.N under direct orders from the President or Commander, called to action by Eggman to fight Eggman Nega, etc). 

Not in Sonic Battle. Still, I never noticed before how often Shadow needs someone to guide him.Interesting.

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1 hour ago, Hyp3hat said:

Well, is there any meaningful distinction between the two, considering how Knuckles and Shadow have been used in the games? 

Foils are usually characters used to highlight traits about another character, most generally to highlight how one character could have turned out if he'd taken a similar path as the foil character. 

Foils tend to be common rivals since their contrasted qualities serve to add depth to a rivalry, but a foil can also be the hero's ally as well. Sidekicks like Robin are helpful foils to Batman. 

The main distinction in a rivalry is a sense of competition and a goal of triumphing over the other, for any given reason: fame and glory, pride, etc etc.

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Both started as seriuos loners, they both had their own agenda in the story. And both served as a foil to Sonic.

At first Knuckles was pretty calm and level headed(like Shadow) but later down the road (Sonic X and so for) they were making him more and more hot-headed plus puting him on role of a buttmonkey/ joke/ idiot. Also he abandon his seriuos duty as Gardian of the Master Emerald (I suppose cheerful birthdays parties are more important then his legacy and safety of the world:P )

They both also are said to be cocky and with Shadow I get that (with calling himself Ultimate Life form) but where excatly in old games Knuckles showed that? (I mean in S3&K him chuckling more indicate that he just enjoy trolling Sonic)

Thought I don't buy all that Sonic- Knuckles friendship since it was never developed in games but more like forced to give Sonic sidekick 2.0. (Which really in the process is damaging Knuckles' character)  Hell, Blaze and Chip have better friendship with Sonic cause they have games where their relantionship is visibly developing. 

So in the end I quess you could say, Shadow and Knuckles are really now distinct (just for the wrong reasons).

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28 minutes ago, blade57331 said:

Both started as seriuos loners, they both had their own agenda in the story. And both served as a foil to Sonic.

At first Knuckles was pretty calm and level headed(like Shadow) but later down the road (Sonic X and so for) they were making him more and more hot-headed plus puting him on role of a buttmonkey/ joke/ idiot. Also he abandon his seriuos duty as Gardian of the Master Emerald (I suppose cheerful birthdays parties are more important then his legacy and safety of the world:P )

They both also are said to be cocky and with Shadow I get that (with calling himself Ultimate Life form) but where excatly in old games Knuckles showed that? (I mean in S3&K him chuckling more indicate that he just enjoy trolling Sonic)

Thought I don't buy all that Sonic- Knuckles friendship since it was never developed in games but more like forced to give Sonic sidekick 2.0. (Which really in the process is damaging Knuckles' character)  Hell, Blaze and Chip have better friendship with Sonic cause they have games where their relantionship is visibly developing. 

So in the end I quess you could say, Shadow and Knuckles are really now distinct (just for the wrong reasons).

Knuckles' friendship with Sonic is apparent in Sonic Heroes.

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3 hours ago, Sparky said:

Knuckles' friendship with Sonic is apparent in Sonic Heroes.

And Heroes in intself is questionable in terms of Knuckles' portraying. Since it ignores (or rather doesn't explain) Knuckles' duty. Not to mention it's forced like I said. It's just boom Knuckles is now Sonic's sidekick without showing why would he join him at the first place, even if the games before showed that Knuckles wasn't interested in Sonic personally.

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4 minutes ago, blade57331 said:

And Heroes in intself is questionable in terms of Knuckles' portraying. Since it ignores (or rather doesn't explain) Knuckles' duty. Not to mention it's forced like I said. It's just boom Knuckles is now Sonic's sidekick without showing why would he join him at the first place, even if the games before showed that Knuckles wasn't interested in Sonic personally.

Since we see Knuckles in the back seat of the Tornado, it's pretty much implied Tails went to Angel Island to show him the letter and stuff.

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16 minutes ago, Mister X said:

What doesn't it explain?

Why Knuckles abandoned his duty.

 

14 minutes ago, Sparky said:

Since we see Knuckles in the back seat of the Tornado, it's pretty much implied Tails went to Angel Island to show him the letter and stuff.

...That doesn't explain anything.

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19 minutes ago, Mister X said:

What doesn't it explain?

Why Knuckles is off the island not protecting the Master Emerald; how what's going on in Heroes is of any importance, any of his business, or any threat to him or his duties when this isn't the first time Eggman has made a superweapon, but has hardly bothered his island; and how all of this was convincing enough in the first place for him to decide "Guess, I better help or I'm doomed" when there's hardly anything in the plot that indicates how essential Knuckles is. All of this basically reads that he's abandoning his duties, because the threat was no where near that big enough to affect him - a hilarious far cry to Unleashed, the one game where all of this would have actually made sense for him to do what he did in Heroes given that the world just blew up.

Wanna break the whole thing down into pieces?

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2 minutes ago, blade57331 said:

Why Knuckles abandoned his duty.

 

That doesn't explain anything...

Eggman building a weapon to conquer the world just might take priority over staying on Angel Island to guard the Master Emerald.

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The letter they got in Heroes specifically said that Eggman was going to enslave everyone and everything in three days' time. That's a global threat. Global threats means everyone is fair game to participate. More than likely, as Sparky said, Tails got the news, went to Knuckles, Knuckles said "oh shit we might die," and they both flew off together to find Sonic mucking about in the desert.

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