Fixing Shadow the Hedgehog (the game)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by dredd, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. dredd

    dredd

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    Shadow the Hedgehog was a game that had lot of potential, that was ultimately squandered due to poor gameplay, terrible storytelling and a botched attempted at taking the franchise in a darker and grittier direction. Personally, I think it could've been a great game under the right team and the right direction. Here's how I would make Shadow the Hedgehog a good game.


    Gameplay:
    • Replace the guns with Chaos powers. (Such as Chaos Spear)
    • Instead of multiple endings, it's one long campaign.
    • Keep the morality system, but make it more dynamic. Like when you consistently kill Dark side enemies, Hero side enemies will not attack you and even fight with you. However, if you start attack those on the side you earned the trust of, they will start wailing on you. In certain levels, if you continue to attack Black Arms even when they're already defeated, you earn Dark points for unnecessary cruelty.
    • Make the controls tighter.
    • Improve the level design. Need I say more?
    • No missions. Just get from the beginning to the end of the level.

    Story:
    • Make the game legitimately dark and gritty. Not that try-hard edgy bullshit like Shadow saying "damn" every five seconds.
    • Give the G.U.N. Commander a believable reason for hating Shadow. Rather than thinking he was the one who killed Maria, maybe have him be jealous that Shadow got more attention from her and become jealous of him. I would also have him butt heads with Sonic and his friends frequently due to his life-long grudge.
    • Rather than being created from Black Doom's blood, Shadow could be created entirely separately from him to combat the Black Arms. Just like the Eclipse Cannon.
    • Aside from the usual "humanity is evil" trope, Black Doom should put anthropomorphic animals in the same light, saying they're just as despicable as humans. (Maybe citing the Echidna Tribe as an example)
    • Overall, make the story engaging, coherent, and consistent with the rest of the Sonic universe.
    These are just some of my ideas. What do you guys think?
     
  2. MH MD

    MH MD

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    i would say keep the multiple endings as it is one of its unique features but instead make it a flow chart system, so you can replay any level and make your choice to go whatever direction, and make routes more consistent and make more sense
     
  3. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    While I think more chaos powers is a good idea, the main issue with the guns was that they just looked fuckin' silly to have real weapons on a cartoon hedgehog. Using more of the laser sci-fi stuff like the eggman weapons would have been fine.

    Nah, they should nix the morality system entirely as far as I'm concerned. So long as Shadow exists within the Sonic canon, the answer is that he chooses the side of good, and any other ending to the game is a non-canonical "what-if" scenario. If you make one long campaign, you aren't really given much of a choice in gameplay, or else it totally loses consistency with what's actually happening.

    Any attempt to make Sonic the hedgehog as a setting "dark and gritty" is going to come across as tryhard edgy bullshit, because it's a friggin cartoon hedgehog, same as the gun issue really. The most you can ask is that it be treated with maturity, as in something written by adults with the idea that adults as well as younger people are going to be playing, so as not to insult their intelligence. Unleashed, Black Knight and every comic since Flynn showed up have done a fine job with this.

    I'm actually going to defend this one: the GUN commander's hatred of Shadow isn't because he necessarily literally believes Shadow murdered Maria, it's because he associates Shadow with the accident on the ARK (and to his credit, it was because of Shadow). His fallacy is in A. not understanding that Shadow was just as much a victim as anyone else and B. not realizing that the insane militaristic authoritarian mindset of GUN was the real cause of the whole thing, despite the fact that he joined up with them himself. The main issue with the commander is twofold: 1, that none of this is made very clear AND he holds no blame for GUN itself nor is he ever confronted about this, and 2, it makes no sense that Sonic was kidnapped in SA2 only for the government to know exactly who really stole the emerald. Maybe that was a cover-up to look like they had things under control while also denying the ARK incident happened? I dunno. But the way the Commander acts in this game doesn't make him seem like the kinda guy who would settle for that instead of just throwing tons of shit at Shadow until something worked or he was removed from active duty.

    That doesn't make sense. Shadow was only able to be created because of Black Doom. The eclipse cannon was a contingency plan incase the Black Arms pulled some shit.

    This is just something that's generally broken about the series. There's no good way to refer to an average character in the Sonic universe. I'm sure he would have if there was actually as many animal characters as humans, and I'd always prefer a mix of shapes and sizes of animals and humans in the series, whatever creates as much diversity as possible to keep one from sticking out alongside the other. Bojack Horseman is a great example of how to do it right, just with less behavioral differences between human and animal-person, a different artstyle and some actual animal animals to compensate.

    I think it's best to discuss exactly how this is done. My personal choice would to be to make it sort of a character study on Shadow himself, having heard about his own actions from Sonic and co. but not being able to relate to the person they believe he is due to having none of his memories. He'd gain more and more of what happened back throughout the game, along the way being conflicted by the manipulation of the black arms and Eggman while being unsure who he's really fighting for in the context of a linear narrative. I'd also take the chance to nix black doom entirely, replace him with someone more like Eclipse from the post-reboot Archie comics, and redesign the black arms to fit in a little better as something that Shadow could actually see himself as a member of. Their main problem is just that they're so obviously alien and evil, especially black doom, that nobody would see why exactly Shadow would think he belongs with them just because he's black and red. Is it a metaphor for hate groups? Probably not. I certainly hope not.

    Also, actually show Shadow reconciling with the Commander at the end. I know he was made to work for GUN in 06 because that was meant to be a reboot, but since it wasn't, I think it would make sense to show them forming a partnership over the idea that GUN needs to be transformed to prevent the tragedy that befell the arc from happening again. Something like that is kinda implied in the JP ending dialogue if I recall correctly, but the main thing the story needs is coherence.
     
  4. I feel like Shadow would have worked much better as dark and gritty in a satirical and parodic way. It was made at a time when games had to be "adult" or "mature" to be successful. For instance, I'm pretty sure anyone can agree that Wind Waker is one of the best Zelda games, but it was hated back in the day because Call of Duty, GTA, etc. made "cute" and "family-friendly" seem uncool and outdated - leading to Twilight Princess's drastic change in art style and tone. Shadow should have been "dark and edgy" in the sense that it served as a comment on the state of gaming at the time, like how Conker's Bad Fur Day mercilessly ridiculed the animal mascot platformers (including Sonic) that were the norm. It shouldn't have come off as a woefully misguided attempt to pander to 12-year-old edgelords.
     
  5. Sid Starkiller

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    It kind of is referenced in the game, actually. In Expert Mode, the characters are cheering Shadow on throughout, sounding as an epilogue of sorts for the game. In one of the later levels, the GUN Commander apologizes to Shadow for his behavior and offers him a job with GUN. Why it was sequestered away in an optional unlockable mode, I couldn't being to guess. That's one of the biggest problems with the game's plot: while I like the idea of the branching story, certain scenes contained in that story are only shown in certain branches, but logically have to happen no matter what for the Last Story (re: the actual canon ending) to make sense. It's not like they accidentally created a "canon path" either. Some of the scenes in question are located in opposing story branches so that you can't see them all in one go. Maybe that was attempt to get you to replay the game to see them, but it just makes the plot a mess.
     
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  6. Vangar

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    If you could pick up any level you've already played to do the opposite path instead of starting over every time, the game would be fine.

    Aside from the ark level where you have to save the soldiers and escape, that maze is a nightmare.
     
  7. Invent a time machine and go back to make sure it was never ever thought of by any means necessary
     
  8. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    Ah, see, I had no god damned idea. This is the thing I was saying about coherence, it's like how the answer to whether Shadow is the real Shadow or not is a line from Eggman nine minutes into the final boss fight, this is important plot shit and they're pushing it into the margins.
     
  9. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    I subscribe to the theory that they knew full well Sonic isn't Shadow, but were trying to get Sonic to Prison Island (and in Shadow's direct path) so Sonic can deal with him, without revealing "Oh yeah, we also shot up a space station because we got jumpy about the weapons we asked them to build..." which might result in the heroes turning on G.U.N. as well. Would you trust an organisation that did such a thing?
     
  10. Aerosol

    Aerosol

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    Honestly I think it's a crying shame that there aren't more games that deal with Shadow working for GUN.

    What kind of organization IS G.U.N anyway?
     
  11. Pengi

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    The OutRun style branching level/story system was the most interesting thing about the game. A bit Wario Land 2.
     
  12. BlackHole

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    Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity mentions they're an international security organisation:

    (51 seconds in)

    My thoughts: they're Sonic's Interpol, but more militarised.
     
  13. I'd propose a better "multiple paths" system that makes it easier to decide where you want to take the story. For instance, take Westopolis:
    • You play the beginning of the level, then Black Doom appears and asks for your help. You're given the options "follow Black Doom" or "ignore". If you choose to follow him, you're taken on a unique path and you can't go back, so you have to finish the level this way.
    • If you choose ignore, you'll keep going on your own path until Sonic shows up and asks you to help fight the aliens. As such, you're given the options "help Sonic" or "ignore". If you choose to help Sonic, you're taken on another unique path and have to complete the level this way.
    • If you choose ignore again, you'll just continue to beat the level and keep going on the neutral path. If you want to take a different path, you can just choose the level again from the level select to replay it and select a different path.
     
  14. Pengi

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    If the level branches right at the very start, with no overlap or backtracking, then it's essentially two levels. I don't think dialogue box choices are the way to go for this kind of gameplay, it's better if the outcome is determined by the player's actions during gameplay.

    The Hero/Dark missions in the game were perhaps too rigid, too "collect/defeat/destroy all X". If a stage has 30 GUN soldiers and 30 Black Arms soldiers, then how many of each Shadow defeats should sway the outcome of the battle. Defeat 20 GUN soldiers and 18 Black Arms - neutral outcome. Defeat 20 GUN soldiers and 4 Black Arms - the Black Arms win the battle, changing the story.
     
  15. The problem I have with the "player's actions" approach is that it makes replaying the game monotonous and not fun. I've never played Shadow (it and Heroes are the only Sonic games I've never actually played, which is ironic because they use the same engine :P) but one of the things that really bothers me about it (based on gameplay videos I've watched) is how to go on a specific path you have to constantly backtrack, looking for enemies you've missed. It really defeats the point of Sonic games, if you ask me, and makes going back to fulfill new objectives a chore rather than a pleasure. It also gives me bad Sonic 3D vibes.
     
  16. qwertysonic

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    I agree with the rigidity problem. "Defeat 30 G.U.N. soldiers" means backtracking a lot (especially when you are bad a videogames). Kid me (and adult me too for that matter) liked playing through Sonic games fast so that meant neutral ending for most of the game. I did beat the game, but the "collect/defeat/destroy all X" was monotonous and not fun.

    Like Pengi, To fix this problem I would make it so you have to run through the level once (like a Sonic game) and depending on the ratio/amount of good or bad you do your morality path branches.
     
  17. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    Right but do you want a Shadow game or just a Sonic game with a gun and a black hedgehog?

    My main gripe with Shadow the Hedgehog is that it was just a Sonic game with Shadow. How can you have a spinoff if it isn't marginally different from the main series in some form? Luigi's Mansion is technically a spinoff of the 3D Mario games but it has its own identity, game design, and sensibilities to fit the new main character i.e. Luigi.

    A lot of what I see above just amounts to putting a bandaid on a bad Sonic game without acknowledging that it is just that: a bad SONIC game.

    If Shadow is to get his own spinoff series, it needs to be something which fits him and his far more combat oriented abilities. Am I advocating making a game from scratch which throws away all of the Sonic the hedgehog sensibilities? Mostly yes because just adding Shadow into a Sonic game will only net you the Shadow DLC from Sonic Forces. A character swap and nothing more.

    This is assuming they don't follow my old idea of making Shadow the Hedgehog the "Adventure" series while Classic Sonic does the "Classic" series and (I'm not fucking calling him "Modern Sonic") Adventure Sonic sticks to the boost formula stuff.
     
  18. qwertysonic

    qwertysonic

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    To be fair 13 year old me just wanted a Sonic game with a black hedgehog. It was the story around the character that we wanted more than the game itself. Why was Shadow created? How did he survive SA2? Why didn't we learn anything about him in Sonic Heroes? etc
     
  19. Multi Battler

    Multi Battler

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    Stupid question but are there actually any Shadow fans who wholeheartedly dislike Sonic? I mean, think about it. What harm would it do if Shadow split the fans into two (hedgehog) camps?

    Here is something that hasn't been mentioned yet:
    - Actual cutscenes in which Shadow shoots someone or causes destruction
    - Not sure about Chaos Spheres, though (I always thought it made him look like a wizard)
    - BRING BACK THE OLD RUNNING ANIMATION!!!1
     
  20. Sable

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    I haven't read the entire thread yet, but I feel it should be clarified that a lot of the issues with the game's tone (such as the aforementioned 'Shadow saying damn every five seconds') are exclusive to the English version of the game. The Japanese version of the game has a much more competently-written script.