Shadow the Hedgehog


Computer : Game Cube (Nintendo)
Produced by: Studio USA
Price Range: $11-20
Learning curve time: 31-60 min.
Age level: Children (Older)
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 & up)

     Reviewed By: Josh

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Rating: 2 of 5 (poor)
Gameplay: 2 of 5 (poor)
Violence: 3 of 5 (mild)
Adult Content: 4 of 5 (barely present)


Shadow the Hedgehog.  Illustration copyrighted.

In 1999, Sonic Team brought Sonic Adventure to Sega’s console, the Dreamcast. In 2001, they delivered once again with Sonic Adventure 2, which brought even more acclaim to the series. In 2004, the team released Sonic Heroes for the newer consoles, which improved upon the Sonic Adventure games in almost every way. These games brought forth new, mostly colorful characters and even more speed-based gameplay to the Sonic universe.

It is understandable why there was so much hype generated over Shadow the Hedgehog, a spin-off game of the main series. StH promised to uncover the secrets pertaining to Shadow’s past and to introduce new elements to the game, but most gamers’ expectations for it were shot down after its release in 2005. StH was called one of the year’s biggest sellouts.

It also packs some heavy emotional themes along with its non-revolutionary gameplay. Does Shadow the Hedgehog deserve the hype it received? And is this game friendly towards morals? Read on to find out more.

After fifty years, the Black Comet is once again going to enter Earth’s orbit. The people of Westopolis look to the skies just so they can catch a glimpse of the comet before it passes on. Meanwhile, Shadow the Hedgehog is too busy contemplating about his bitter past to care about streaking objects in the air. Westopolis is suddenly devastated when a deadly alien force drops from the Comet passing overhead. The leader of the aliens, Black Doom, claims to know something about Shadow’s past, something he will disclose if Shadow delivers him the seven Chaos Emeralds. Shadow is intrigued, so he sets off to find them.


Graphics and Visuals:
The graphics aren’t the worst ever, but they hardly live up to the standards set by previous “Sonic” games. StH has low polygon models, poor textures, and occasional dips in frame-rate. This game has nothing truly artistic about it, except for a few gorgeous cinematic cut-scenes.

StH tries to break new ground in the platformer genre by adding alternate story routes. That means that you as the player are free to choose which objectives you want to complete, which gives you either a light or dark ending depending the choices you make. Sonic Team also tried to capture Shadow’s personality by adding weapons such as guns and knives into gameplay. With that being said, this game is more violent than its predecessors. The developers even added a split-screen multi-player mode. However, only two people can play, and the graphics are even choppier than the single-player mode’s.


The guns in StH sound more like clicking pens than actual firearms. The voice acting in this game (as well as most of the script) also sounds cheesy. Of course, Team Sonic has brought back the series’ (in)famous ‘80s style rock and roll soundtrack. Some of it works, but some of it doesn’t.

The controls work… kind of. Targeting enemies would have been much better it had implemented dual analog control. Also, the camera gets stuck in some very annoying angles at very inconvenient times. Shadow’s homing attack (jump button x2) often sends him plummeting over the edge of a cliff or a bridge. Once you collect enough Chaos energy, you can unleash a super attack. Sounds cool, but it doesn’t help you much.


The violence in StH is classified as Fantasy Violence by the ESRB. That means the violence is not overly realistic, but it is there. There is a lot of shooting if you decide to take use of the game’s weaponry. Aliens spill green blood when shot.

This is the first “Sonic” game where main characters actually use curse words. Language is kept to d— and he–, but gamers may still find this offensive.

Spiritual Content:
The themes of the game include remorse, mental turmoil, and depression. Shadow’s primary goal is to discover his true identity. In certain endings, he even goes so far as denying his own existence. Shadow also refers to himself as “The Ultimate Life Form.” Christians should all know this is false and that God is “The Ultimate Life Form.” Also, the Chaos Emeralds are the source of supernatural power in the “Sonic” universe.


Family Friendliness:
StH doesn’t exactly score well on the family friendly rating. Some parents may not wish for their young ones to be exposed to StH’s heavy themes. This game may not be safe for younger audiences, even if it is only rated E 10+.

In the end, Shadow the Hedgehog’s flaws (both entertainment-wise and Christian-wise) are more apparent than its strengths. Broken and mangled gameplay, a weak story, and objectionable content all contribute to the lack of value this game has. It may be wise to avoid Shadow the Hedgehog.

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Year of Release — 2005

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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