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Jan. 11, 2006
Shadow the Hedgehog - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
25/11/2005THQSonic Team1-2PGMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
154KBDolby PLIIYesYesNoneNo

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Taking to the skies.
In the early 90ís Sonic the Hedgehog was one of the premiere video game series around, matched only by Nintendoís Mario series. Each game was of excellent quality, and in my opinion was the best 2-D platforming series ever made. The games were blazingly fast, action packed, challenging and enjoyable titles. I even liked Sonics first entry to the 3-D world with Sonic Adventures for the Dreamcast. Since then though Sonic has been on a downhill slide, recent sonic compilations have only shown just how far away from the series glory days the games have sunk. While Sega work on bringing the sonic brand back for the next generation of consoles they have decided to hand this generation over to Shadow the Hedgehog. By handing over the reigns to Shadow have Sega found a new franchise star or has the once legendary series received another kick in the teeth? Letís find out.

Shadow the Hedgehog starts out with a stunning video sequence where we get introduced to Shadow. Shadow has lost his memory and at the beginning of the game you get a few flashbacks to his past, including a murder of a girl named Maria who was close to him. Then the action kicks in with a group known as the black aliens, who show up and destroy the town right in front of Shadow. He meets a character called Black Doom who seems to know Shadow and his past, and he offers Shadow his memory back in return for 7 Chaos emeralds. Shadow agrees, and sets of after them, but he certainly does not trust Black Doom.

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Gorgeous Hedgehog graphics.
You are given various choices throughout the game which affects the story. You can either fight alongside the good guys or help out Black Doom and his army. There are over 20 levels with about three missions in each, a good mission where you help foil the Black Aliens, a bad mission were you help and protect the bad guys and a normal mission were you just have to reach the end of the level or find a chaos emerald. Along the way through the game you meet up with all the sonic regulars Knuckles, Tails, Dr Eggman and of course the blue one himself sonic. The story is pushed through some really nice looking movies throughout Shadows adventure.

Shadow the Hedgehog does have a decidedly darker story and tone to previous sonic games, but the game plays similar to the last few 3-D sonic games with a few new features as well. Shadow moves around at the same speeds as sonic, he jumps on springs to get to new areas, finds keys, collects rings and of course looks for chaos emeralds. Shadow has some new tricks up his sleeve and the first you are introduced to is the fact that Shadow uses weapons. He uses everything from pistols and blasters to huge swords. Shadow can also take control of a few vehicles like a motor bike or a SUV to get around the levels in. Another new feature is the ability to play as a good guy or a villain with different objectives for each. You can choose which side to be on with a press on the d pad during the game. Shadow also has basic punch and jumping attacks as well.

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Using weapons.
Shadow the Hedgehog has a two player split screen death match mode but it certainly not good enough to buy the game to experience. You can play over three large levels where you can attack each other and steal each others coins until a winner is decided, but sadly it is quite dull and will wear thin rather quickly.

So far the game has an interesting story line, multiple mission paths and some new moves, but oh my does this game has some shocking flaws that make all of the positive features completely redundant. The first and most annoying is the shocking controls which single handedly ruin the game. The game features no lock on system so you just attack anyone who is nearby whether they are on your side or not. Also the camera is terrible as well so it doesnít matter who you attack because often you donít see them. The levels themselves are also poorly designed which combined with dodgy controls and a flighty camera make this game extremely frustrating to play. I lost count of the number of times when I was trying to attack an enemy only to jump straight over a ledge to my death. Also after five deaths any progress you have made via check points is lost and you have to start the whole level over again, which is frustrating as some of the levels are huge. Another bug in the game is the AI; to put it bluntly it is garbage. It doesnít matter whose side you are on every character in the game will automatically attack you. In fact just about everything in this game is designed so poorly you wonder how it ever got past the testing stage, after all Sonic Team are a talented and experienced studio and this game feels unfinished.

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More nice effects.
Graphically Shadow the Hedgehog is a mixed bag. The FMV sequences are very nice, the characters look OK, as do some of the levels. Sadly, the game slows down to a crawl when there is too much action on screen. Also most of the enemies in the game, and some of the levels, are really bland.

Audio is probably the highlight of the game to be honest. The game features some pretty solid voice acting and some of the music played in the game is actually pretty decent. Some sound effects like explosions and gun fire are pretty poor though.

Overall Shadow the Hedgehog is one of the worst games I have played on the Playstation 2 in a very long time. The game just has so many bugs that it makes it almost unplayable at times. There is the occasional glimpse of Sonic's classic past, like when you go through a loop the loop, but they are bought back to ground so quickly you have to wonder why Sega ever let this game get released. Sonic is a video game legend, but if this is any indication of what is to come from future Sonic games I hope he hangs up his runners for good.

Review By: Graham Darko

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSSome great FMV is a highlight, but frequent slow down ruins things.
SOUNDSolid voice acting and music let down by some weak sound effects.
GAMEPLAYA complete mess of terribly controls, boring game play, shocking camera, poor AI and poor design.
VALUEPlenty of levels to complete, but why you would bother is beyond me.
OVERALLThis game is a real turkey that is almost completely fun free. One of the worst games around and certainly NOT recommended.

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