Shadow the Hedgehog is the first self-titled video game featuring Sonic anti-hero Shadow the Hedgehog.
The storyline focuses on Shadow's existence after his assumed demise at the end of Sonic Adventure 2. Originally thought to be destroyed after protecting the Space Colony ARK, Shadow reappeared in Sonic Heroes, bringing many unanswered questions to fans. In Shadow the Hedgehog, the player takes the role of Shadow as he attempts to uncover the secrets of his past. Along the way, Shadow encounters Black Doom, the leader of the Black Arms alien race who plan to ravage Earth. Shadow meets up with many other Sonic characters and throughout the game, he must choose whether to side with the Heroes, the Villians, or his own dealings in an effort to find out the truth.
Gameplay is usually divided into three different objectives: Hero, Dark, and Neutral. The Hero and Dark side objectives can involve shooting down members of a specific side or activating defense mechanisms. Hero, for example, may order Shadow to gun down the Black Arms aliens, while Dark may require Shadow to attack the GUN soldiers. The Neutral Side, when available in a mission, mostly requires Shadow to reach the end of the level to collect the Chaos Emeralds, emulating the original intent of Sonic games: to reach the level's end as quickly as possible.
Shadow has many different weapons and items to use in battle, ranging from street signs and swords, to pistols and alien weapons. He can also man vehicles and turrets when available, and has the power to use the Chaos Emeralds' Chaos abilities. Performing Heroic deeds like healing soldiers and attacking aliens fills the Hero gauge, which when full can be spent on Chaos Control, an extremely fast warp through a level. In contrast, the Dark gauge can be filled by attacking soldiers and causing destruction, which when full can be spent on Chaos Blast , a full-scale attack on every enemy on screen.
Shadow the Hedgehog is widely known as a darker and much more pessimistic tone, emphasizing Shadow's "edgy" attitude to contrast Sonic's much lighter tone. Such changes like equipping Shadow with firearms, along with the use of mild profanity (such as the infamous "where's that damn fourth Chaos Emerald?") made the game appear somewhat darker than past games in the series. As a result of the light profanity and violence, Shadow the Hedgehog was the first Sonic game to achieve an E10 rating from the ESRB.
Despite the attempt to make the game more approachable to a larger crowd, Shadow the Hedgehog was generally panned for the same reasons that the game had chosen to emphasize to make the game more mature. The gunplay was widely criticized due to controlling different from first-person-shooters and an uncooperative camera not unlike most 3D Mario titles. Shadow's language and use of vehicles were generally considered unnecessary even though vehicles were largely optional. The PlayStation 2 version was specifically criticized for its technical issues and slowdown issues.
Those who did praise the game found the replay value to be high and the high-speed running sequences simple and straight-forward.
- Producer - Yuji Naka
- Director/Lead Game Designer - Takashi Iizuka
- Game Designer - Hirono Sato
- Game Designer - Asahiko Kikuchi
- Game Designer - Yu Ohmura
- Game Designer - Eitaro Toyoda
- Art Director - Kazuyuki Hoshino
- Field Art Director - Hiroshi Nishiyama
- Field Artist - Michikazu Tamamura
- Field Artist - Hiroshi Kanazawa
- Field Artist - Takahiro Kudo
- Artist - Daizo Kinoshita
- Artist - Soosa Kim
- Artist - Ai Ikeda
- Artist - Elena Macomber
- Artist - Brad Wagner
- Artist - Nobuhiko Honda
- Motion Designer - Atsushi Saito
- Event Scene Director - Shun Miyanaga
- Lead Programmer - Takeshi Sakakibara
- Senior Programmer - Mitsuru Takahashi
- Senior Programmer - Tomoyuki Naito
- Senior Programmer - Outa Sano
- Programmer - Masato Nakazawa
- Programmer - Satoru Takeshima
- Programmer - Motoyoshi Sato
- Programmer - Kazuyuki Okada
- CG Movie Producer - Keith Palmer
- Sound Director - Jun Senoue
- Development Support - Shiro Maekawa
- Development Support - Makato Hirata
- Executive Producer - Hisao Oguchi