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Anything good about Shadow?


MetalSkulkBane
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First let me get few things straight

1 Sonic Adventure 1 was my first Sonic game and I'm supporter of more serious stories in franchise, even as melodramatic as Adventure 2 or 06.

2 I'm big Shadow the Hedgehog fan.

3 I believe that franchises gets enough crap as it is that we don't need to recall old shames all the time.

But with that said, I must be fair with myself. I complain about Pontac/Graff, about Rise of Lyric, about anyone calling Sonic "just a cartoon for kids". And if I want to be (somewhat) objective I have to look at other site too. Shadow the Hedgehog was first really bad Sonic game (first big one, anyway). Story, gameplay, controls, bosses, graphics, structure, it's hard to think of something that wasn't bad in it (music was good, but not all of it).

So why is it getting way less crap than 06 and Rise of Lyric? Unleashed, Story Book games, Riders, those game either have fans or had more limited impact. What's Shadow's excuse? Was there anything good in it that I'm missing?

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1 minute ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

I get's a lot, but I almost never heard people calling it "worst Sonic game ever". Was 06 or RoL really that much worse?

Personally: I find 06 and RoL better. But I can see why many people don't. Many people don't because 06 and RoL were said to be frustrating games in general while Shadow's game had comic relief and played like a Sonic game.

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When people takes the piss on Shadow, it's mostly for the ridiculous overly dark tone and the guns. There are also critiques about the mission structure but all the other critiques can be repeated with Heroes. Having to do multiple playthroughs to reach the final story, pace-breaking combat sections, slippery ass controls.

But the thing is that Shadow is atleast a game of decent quality which 06 and RoL are not. So yeah, that's pretty much it.

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These games have different levels of prominence because historical context.

ShtH was the first major Sonic game in history to be negatively received at its debut and overwhelmingly considered bad at release. Because it was never given the benefit of the doubt and could be excused as a spin-off due to Shadow starring, there were no major letdowns to be had so it didn't immediately destroy the franchise's previous 14 years of good will. It was Sonic's Other M, an unpopular game that hadn't yet really set a trend, considering people still want more Metroid regardless.

At the time ShtH could easily be excused as a dumb mistake that would have no real impact on the franchise (and indeed none of the material present in the game has been overtly referenced or used in a major title since aside from Shadow himself, meaning it's easier to forget), particularly in light of Sonic 06 looking like a mechanical return to form and the most technologically impressive Sonic game at the time due to being on newer hardware. As a result, 06 had more hype behind it from the beginning and thus much farther heights to fall from, and it did, because it managed to be less playable and coherent than ShtH was. As a result of Sonic Team doing an even worse job, it's been far more lampooned and mocked in gaming popular culture since, adding to its reputation as one of the worst games of all time and actually breaking people's trust in the franchise.

Rise of Lyric is a major, unjustified sub-franchise with off-putting new character designs, so it already had its knees shot out from the gate like ShtH, although unlike ShtH RoL exists in a time where the trust is already broken and everyone knows Sonic has high potential to be bad or disappointing due to lack of quality control. Subsequent E3 showings revealed the game to be a significant downgrade from the first trailer, and once again a broken product was released to terrible reception. Further unlike ShtH, Boom being such a major part of the franchise in terms of time and money invested means we're going to see it continue, meaning RoL is going to stay in the spotlight for much longer as a consequence of Sega just not putting the sub-franchise sans the show out of its misery already.

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To directly answer what I personally felt was good about the game:

Level Design was no worse than it was in Heroes.  Still far from amazing but passable.

The actual game controls were significantly tightened after Heroes' ice rink escapades.  Shadow stops and peers over the edge of chasms giving you a chance to recover.  Grind rail switching was smooth and trustworthy for the first time literally ever (it worked in the same way as the boost games before they were even thought of - 2006 even managed to fuck up rail switching again inbetween).  Homing Attack has a good sense of weight to it and is generally more reliable than it was in SA2 and Heroes.  Auto-aim for the guns always worked fine for me despite what reviewers said.

The idea of multiple paths was fun even if the way of attaining those paths was often lacklustre.  It was also the first 3D Sonic game to just focus on Sonic-esque platforming gameplay, even if the guns did come as part of the deal.  No alternate gameplay styles, 23 stages of solid, consistent action.

Soundtrack was decent.  Kind of forgettable and repetitive in-game but a satisfying listen taken on it's own.

The story was... eh definitely melodramatic but at least it had the confidence to continue to build up the modern Sonic world and dedicated itself to continue the plotlines that the team had started in previous titles *casts eyes at Sonic 4's unsatisfying conclusion and Lost World's lack of send-off for the Deadly Six and lack of wider context explaining new elements and the return of the Wisps*.

And in a more negative light, people definitely did find it to have a "so bad it's good" charm especially when it came to said story.

 

 

Having said all this the game was SLAYED at launch, before launch even, and continues to be mocked as a black spot (pun entirely intended) on Sonic's record to this day far more often than the Sonic Boom games.  It wasn't the worst, but it was the first time the series was seen to fuck up considerably.  2006 twisted the knife so it gets remembered more for sure, but Shadow did not get let off easy.  Sonic Boom gets less mockery because honestly, despite the acclaim for Colours and Generations and the "not bad, good effort" for Sonic 4 and Lost World, people are still weary to Sonic's mediocrity, so Boom was just an exasperated sigh of "well it happened again".  A very loud exasperated sigh, but not the kind of widespread, heated ridicule that 2006 and Shadow got.

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Honestly, the reason Shadow the Hedgehog, while still heavily panned to this day, is not considered the worst Sonic game ever made is simply because it's not the worst Sonic game ever made.  Shadow the Hedgehog may be a boring mess of a game, but at least it never killed me with a tree.  That is to say, despite its own share of glitches, very few of those glitches actually impede upon normal gameplay.  As far as gameplay goes, Shadow runs on the same engine as Sonic Heroes, which wasn't a highly-celebrated game by any means, but it wasn't a trainwreck, either.  So most of the problems that people have with Heroes can also be expressed in Shadow.

By contrast, Sonic '06 and Rise of Lyric both had constant glitches which interfered with core gameplay.  Game Grumps have made several moments in the former iconic, and while they have been known to exaggerate Sonic game quality for comedic value in the past, I have to say that my own experiences with the game were fairly similar.  The infamous "Beautiful Little Moment" (the Knuckles wall climbing glitch) is just one of many examples of something that would probably never happen in Shadow due to the core gameplay engine being much more solidly built.

And what Nepenthe says about overall timing is probably true, as well.  If it weren't Sonic '06, we could probably look at Shadow as a misguided spin-off in the vein of Bomberman: Act Zero.  However, I think that from the perspective of actual game design, Shadow is the less offensive of the three main go-to bad Sonic games. because as bad as it is, it really isn't bad enough to warrant the "worst Sonic game ever" title.

And anyway, in my personal opinion, there were actually some nice things to say about Shadow, despite its absolutely abysmal plot and core gameplay.  I quite liked the theming of the story.  The whole theme of "your past does not define who you are today; you do" is a really powerful one and one that I think is worth exploring in a Sonic game.  Being allowed to play as a character of grey morality is not a bad idea in theory.  I also think the improvements made to the Heroes gameplay engine, particularly as it pertains to grinding, which was a broken mess in Heroes, were very astute and showed some real initiative to improve on a preexisting formula, which is something that can't really be said of Sonic's recent ventures.

Sonic '06 and Rise of Lyric did have some neat ideas here and there that I think could be implemented good in a better game, but nothing in it that makes me think "Wow!  I would really have liked to see that again in a better game!"

Basically, Shadow is a bad game, and definitely up there in the list of "worst Sonic games of all time," but the reason it doesn't get quite as much derision as '06 and Rise of Lyric is simply because it's not that bad.  Heck, if Wikipedia is anything to go by, even the critics were "mixed" on the game (though there were plenty of well-deserved negative reviews as well).

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06 and RoL were games that had a lot of hype from the first announcement (a beautiful return to Adventure era game play with stunning graphics on a new generation of hardware, and a new platformer by the people who made classic Crash, Jak, and Uncharted). On paper these sound like great ideas so when they bombed the backlash was massive and infamous.

ShTH had the "benefit" of being a still-born game concept. I still remember flipping through EGM in  April '05, getting greeted to to a full page image of Shadow holding a handgun in a grimy city. I had a brief chuckle being well aware of the magazine's yearly April Fools gimmick, then having the horrifying realization that due to how magazines are published this was actually the May issue and everything in the pages was legit. There was almost no faith in the concept from most fans so when it launched as a glitchy mess of outdated angst and in-cohesive gameplay it wasn't a surprise.

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4 hours ago, Nepenthe said:

.

At the time ShtH could easily be excused as a dumb mistake that would have no real impact on the franchise (and indeed none of the material present in the game has been overtly referenced or used in a major title since aside from Shadow himself, meaning it's easier to forget), 

The just mentioning they still reference that game, in multiples games afterwards and in the comics.

Actually,they actually technically refence it more than sonic 06. And that game has a level in generations.

3 hours ago, DaBatGuy said:

06 and RoL were games that had a lot of hype from the first announcement (a beautiful return to Adventure era game play with stunning graphics on a new generation of hardware, and a new platformer by the people who made classic Crash, Jak, and Uncharted). On paper these sound like great ideas so when they bombed the backlash was massive and infamous.

ShTH had the "benefit" of being a still-born game concept. I still remember flipping through EGM in  April '05, getting greeted to to a full page image of Shadow holding a handgun in a grimy city. I had a brief chuckle being well aware of the magazine's yearly April Fools gimmick, then having the horrifying realization that due to how magazines are published this was actually the May issue and everything in the pages was legit. There was almost no faith in the concept from most fans so when it launched as a glitchy mess of outdated angst and in-cohesive gameplay it wasn't a surprise.

Ehh i Don't know what circles you hang out it, but there were a bunch a folks, my friends and I were children at the time, unapolgetically hype for that game. Heroes set up a cliff hanger folks were interested in. We were promtly Dissapointed. I remember getting honer roll in 7th grade and asking for that as a reward...instead of pokenon.

I definitely made A choice.

That game sold sd pretty well. To suggest no one was into the concept of shadow game before hands seems revisionist and dishonest.

To say folks were dissapointed.

Ohhhh yeeeeaaaaah.

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I said "overtly referenced." At best you get things like easily-missed usages of the Black Arms symbols in spin-offs, The GUN Commander in Chronicles which is an RPG no one cares about, and some completely optional music in Gens. The comics also aren't all that significantly popular in the grand scheme of things. One can be excessively hard-pressed to remember ShtH even existed without Shadow as a character present in the games providing a catalyst for jogging said memory.

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23 minutes ago, Nepenthe said:

I said "overtly referenced." At best you get things like easily-missed usages of the Black Arms symbols in spin-offs, The GUN Commander in Chronicles which is an RPG no one cares about, and some completely optional music in Gens. The comics also aren't all that significantly popular in the grand scheme of things. One can be excessively hard-pressed to remember ShtH even existed without Shadow as a character present in the games providing a catalyst for jogging said memory.

A few games afterward featurung shadow, shadow is specifically the shadow he is because he went through that game. Specifically 06 and rivals, the former unforgettable in its badness.

Along with that, oddly enough the sonic and sega allstar racing series actually.

And while you say the comics aren't that grand, but "recently" that game became ok to refence and there are games that comic cannot itself reference. The comic isn't the biggest thing, but it being ok, is a liscened sonic product being sold to children refencing thst game. That is overt refence and push of not only that game but creating charscters from it. I would call the moving the goalpost on your end. And sega packages that comic with their merch now, one of those comics iirc, has eclipse in it.

Lastly to say folks are hard pressed to remember is disshonest to the time you live in. You are constantlu bombarded by people who like revisiting and dumping on bad sonic media...or just sonic media. For example youtubers like gamegrumps who their sonic 06, shth and rol playthough rank among their most notable plauthoughs and are watched by hundreds of thousands of people. And the sonic twitter shouts them out and sends them shit 

To say you are "hard pressed" to remember in this day in age is dishonest. For people who like that game or for people who dont.

 

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You do not need to have played ShtH to understand Shadow's story in 06, and the same goes for Rivals because these games' plots do not hinge directly on events that happened prior in ShtH.

I'm also not moving the goalposts on the comics as I never actually included them in the conversation. In fact, I specifically excluded them:

5 hours ago, Nepenthe said:

none of the material present in the game has been overtly referenced or used in a major title since

If nothing else, I would wager the fact that you had to go to a completely different medium to point out ShtH references only strengthens my point.

And finally, the general online environment where Sonic is an easy target for PR outlets and LPers does not use Shadow as that big of a sticking point, mainly because he's been mostly absent from the games and is thus fading from relevance. Instead it's mainly about irreverent sarcasm, self-deprecation (of which Sonic 06 is commonly the target instead of ShtH), and Internet memes, with franchise-specific ones Sanic and "Gotta Go Fast" getting the most over-use. At most you see "Ow The Edge" from time to time but than can and has been easily  associated with Shadow the character due to his stereotypical design and not necessarily his spin-off title. Indeed, unless a gun is actually involved in the process, when people reference Shadow in this way I personally take it as shitting on the character himself, a character I don't automatically associate with any one game because he's been in a whole host of them, as well as other mediums and merchandise.

I also take umbrage with being called dishonest over this, mainly because seems like now you're harping on a single point I made out of the whole post of information (and honestly, I don't feel like arguing over something this petty). People having opinions or even being a fan of something doesn't actually mean it's a constant element of their lives or isn't forgettable. I really like Once Upon A Forest, but I routinely forget it exists and it's been years since I've actually watched it. And no, I'm not lying about this.

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40 minutes ago, Nepenthe said:

 

And finally, the general online environment where Sonic is an easy target for PR outlets and LPers does not use Shadow as that big of a sticking point,

That isnt true at all. All elements of sonic are just shat on regardless of relevance or no. Sonic 06 was erased from the timeline. And was a decade a go, it came out when i was in middle school. But folks wont forget and the sonic twitter itself wont forget he kissed that lady that one time.

And it was lit right back because shadow was in sonic boom shit. And bad version of him too.

Also there is the added bonus of those places who are of varying degrees aware of sonic comics and comics in general. Like the super best friends then promtly shitting on eclipse for being a new sonic thing that exists. Therefore for it must be shat on.

We live on the age of the net. The idea that any bad descion fades out of relevance is something of the past. Especially when things are popular or are being repurposed, expect a bunch avengers #200 media close to captain marvel time. Particarly about shadow and his game because shadow is extremely popular hence usage in games again. He never faded even he was always this popular request.The popularity breeds this.

You say shadow fell from relevance but he never did. He is litterally too loved and too hated for that to happen. And they started using him again. And because this weird purgatory he lives in, it will always come back. And I think sega knows this, not just about shadow, about everything. Warrented or no folks are going to be weird about sonic, so we are just gonna do shit. Jim sterling has basically comminicated sega has told him this inregards to their company in general.

 

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Are you going to ignore all of the context I used to try and justify this statement?

EDIT: I see you edited a response. Anyway, my argument is not that Sonic isn't made fun of at all. It's that certain elements are made fun of more than others in the current climate. People criticize AoStH for being unfunny and badly animated, but you would be hard-pressed to argue that it is a constant and fervent focal point in the umbrella of Sonic Internet criticism. ShtH as a game has similarly (although not to the same extent) faded from relevance, with most of the negative Shadow-based commentary being directed towards Shadow himself versus his game. It is, at least, less prominent than Sonic 06 because it was a far more disastrous release than ShtH managed to be, particularly as its glitchiness lends itself to funnier commentary than what you can get from ShtH.

You can look at the forum itself to get a decent look at this, as I would wager it's a decent indicator of what's going on in the Sonic world. We don't have a 171 page topic about ShtH as a game that's relatively high up in the topic list, nor do we have a rule saying you can't make more ShtH topics due to the sheer madness that was the arguments about this game.

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2 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

Ehh i Don't know what circles you hang out it, but there were a bunch a folks, my friends and I were children at the time, unapolgetically hype for that game. Heroes set up a cliff hanger folks were interested in. We were promtly Dissapointed. I remember getting honer roll in 7th grade and asking for that as a reward...instead of pokenon.

I definitely made A choice.

That game sold sd pretty well. To suggest no one was into the concept of shadow game before hands seems revisionist and dishonest.

To say folks were dissapointed.

Ohhhh yeeeeaaaaah.

I was in high school by then so the fans I knew were able to see the through the misguided direction as forced "hip, youth appeal" marketing.

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I think that Shadow the Game being mentioned in comics, but not 06, only proves which one is being more hated. But outside of Silver, Sega pretends that both games don't exist really. (Okay, plus Generations, but they had no choice. Shadow is " a spin off, so doesn't count", they had no excuse to ignore 06). But internet clearly more remembers the one with human princess.

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16 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

I think that Shadow the Game being mentioned in comics, but not 06, only proves which one is being more hated. But outside of Silver, Sega pretends that both games don't exist really. (Okay, plus Generations, but they had no choice. Shadow is " a spin off, so doesn't count", they had no excuse to ignore 06). But internet clearly more remembers the one with human princess.

I mean, they did erase that game from the timeline. In the game itself. 

 

17 hours ago, DaBatGuy said:

I was in high school by then so the fans I knew were able to see the through the misguided direction as forced "hip, youth appeal" marketing.

I would call it , going a bit too far.

Forced youth hip, is all of sonic since day 1, sonic is a corny ass motherfucker tbqh.

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I honestly didn't care about the so-called "mild language" that was used in Shadow's game. It really wasn't a big deal to me.

Oh no! Shadow, Sonic, Knuckles, and Espio said "damn"?! Pffft. Whatever. This isn't Devil May Cry or Bayonetta...:rolleyes:

Also, the soundtrack for Shadow's game is pretty impressive. It's way better than Chronicles by a long-shot.

Black Doom was a pretty decent villain, IMO. He gets cool points for having an epic boss theme, as well as Sean Schemmel being his voice actor.

 

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The game? No. It's pretty dreadful, from its tone - all brown, purple, dark colours, so nothing really pops visually, even the Casino stage is muted - to the slippery gameplay, boring soundtrack and awful, incoherent narrative. When they can't think of anything more involved than 'Shadow just gets warped from stage to stage, all the time', it's pretty shoddy. 

The character? Sure. He's full of ideas, which I mean as he's got a tonne of quirks where one would have done. Amnesia, revenge, genetic experiment, murky past... pick one. Personality wise, he's a good contrast to Sonic, who yuks it up constantly.

Sonic and Shadow would work well as a double act, tbh - SEGA have never done this interestingly (when they team up in Sonic 06, Sonic is so lifeless that they are basically alike) but Sonic is a force of nature and personality, untrained, rash and impulsive, and Shadow is a pragmatic, muted, and more thinking counterpoint. Sonic's the guy who screams YEAH as he jumps out of a helicopter, Shadow destroys waves of robots without a word. The conflict there could work really well in a game.

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