Shadow the Hedgehog - The Very Cool, Kid-Friendly Game for HaRdc0r3 EDGEl0rdz [Geek Critique Video]

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Josh, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. Shadow has a special place in my heart but for all the wrong reasons.

    I may be in the minority here but I've never played it, and never will.

    It came at a time when I was getting less and less interested with Sonic due to Sega's mishandling of the series after Sonic & Knuckles.

    I somewhat enjoyed SA1 in my late teens, but then SA2 came along and I just couldn't connect with it. The parts of SA1 I didn't like where amplified (human settings, cheesy rock music etc) so I never bought it. When Shadow came along it was the final nail in the coffin for me and it has never been the same since.

    A little part of me died when that game was released, and I never bought a Sonic game again until Mania came out all those years later.

    So Shadow represents more to me than a shitty game, it represents the series at it's lowest, and the end of a childhood obsession.
     
  2. Zephyr

    Zephyr

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    I think about this often.

    Metroidvanias are all about "locking" progression into new areas behind the use of certain abilities or possession of certain items, right? The more abilities and items you find, the more you're able to explore, and the more further abilities and items you're able to acquire. Of course, with great skill, sequence breaks are possible.

    The Genesis games already show a fair amount of "areas locked behind certain abilities". Places you need to have the Spin Dash to reach (or gimmicks that require the Spin Dash to use), places you need to have Knuckles' climbing ability to reach, walls that only Knuckles can break, or that only Mighty's Hammer Drop can break through. It's hard to imagine that areas couldn't likewise be "locked" behind the Shield abilities, Ray's Air Glide, the Drop Dash, and so on.

    If that's not enough, Sonic 1 itself already displays an upgrade on existing mechanics. The ability to roll is essentially a mechanical upgrade of the sliding technique from Super Mario Bros., and Sonic 1 has areas you need to roll to access. Super Mario Bros. 3 was the game to introduce Sonic's ability to ricochet off of enemies and item monitors he lands on while the jump button is held, and an area locked behind such a stunt isn't be difficult to imagine. Super Mario Bros. also introduced the platforming character having momentum, and variable jump heights and lengths, and these could be attributes of your character's movement that you need to learn near the very beginning of such a game.

    Wouldn't make sense for Sonic to fly or glide, but Emerl/Gemerl is all about copying and accruing abilities, right? Seems a perfect fit. Or you could just cut out abilities that don't make sense for Sonic to acquire, and make it an origin game or something.
     
  3. Flare

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    Heroes to me felt more like the spin-off game during this "Sonic in the real world" period. This felt more like the allusive third instalment in the Adventure series.

    But Shadow, uh, despite obvious attempts, it felt more like another game with the backdrop of SA2. I think that's what disappointed me most, was what they did to SA2 via this game. Watching recaps of SA2 made me appreciate the effort in setting up mystery of how Shadow was created. Yet in STH, a game dedicated to his backstory... it just doesn't care.

    What about the biolizard? No aliens.
    What about Rouge's research? No aliens.
    Why does the ARK have a shrine? No aliens.
    Does the murals in past games relate? No aliens.


    I did enjoy the game, and if I could I'd play it again, but my brain goes into a "this isn't really an official Sonic game" mode by default. Black Doom feels more like a character from another medium that we can safely ignore and probably will never be referenced in story again.
     
  4. Micheal Anthony

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    I think a 2D metroidvania Sonic is an awesome idea, combined with multiple playable characters that can get rotated out. (I would go the Chaotix Route of needing to head back to the Combi Catcher instead of the Encore version where everyone can be rotated at will.)
     
  5. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    That actually reminds me of my first Metroidvania, TMNT3 Radical Rescue for the Game Boy. Each turtle has a unique ability for maneuvering, you start off with just Michelangelo, and each turtle you rescue can be switched to on the fly for puzzles.
     
  6. I'm another one that holds a special place for shadow but not for any reasons that have to do with my objective evaluation of the game itself.

    One of my younger brothers was the tails to my sonic during the gap between s&k and SA1. He loves the classic games as I do but also was a huge shadow fan since he was in that age group it was marketed towards at the time. He got the game I believe for Christmas that year and was very happy to 100% the game. I couldn't help but be happy for him and watch, despite the fact that it was apparent the game was no better than Heroes, which I found to be very boring.

    Everything I hated about heroes is the same reason why this game is subpar for me. I just have a hard time crapping on it because of how happy it made my little bro at the time. So I just look at this game as a continuation of the decline of the series at the time, building on all the wrong design principles. Of course, it does not compare to '06 in how bad it was, but it certainly wasnt close to being a good Sonic game fundamentally. Some people are of the school of thought that sonic games have always lacked definition throughout their history and many of us know that isnt true. If you dont really have any sense of the gameplay identity pre SA2, pre shadow, then this game might seem corny but harmless. If you do....then for you this game probably sucks.
     
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  7. Frostav

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    The problem with a metroidvania Sonic IMO is that Sonic by definition is an extremely simple character and there's very little in the way of major upgrades you can add to his base without getting gimmicky. For instance the 3D games have bolstered his moveset, but most of the additions were either gameplay concessions (the homing attack exists because jumping on enemies in 3D is way tricker than 2D), are very simple movement options that really should be there from the start (stomp, drift, bounce attack), or are extremely limited by design (I love the light speed dash, but how is dashing across a trail of airborne rings any different than hitting a spring or jump panel or other kind of level gimmick). Sonic's not a combat-heavy series usually so stuff analogous to missle or beam upgrades in Metroid is kinda out of the picture, too. Sonic team's upgrades in the 3D titles tend to boil down to "you can now pass this arbitrary gate with a button press" and I absolutely despise that kind of game design. Like, being able to dig doesn't improve Knuckles' levels in the Adventure duology. It just means that now sometimes you have to press a button to grab the shard instead of just walking into it, but nothing about getting the emerald actually changes (I should probably make a whole thread on this topic one day).
     
  8. InvisibleUp

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    Tails Adventure was flat-out a Metroidvania and it worked pretty well, for a Game Gear game. Extending that idea on more capable hardware wouldn't be a bad idea for a spinoff. Not sure how far you could take it with the mainline series, though.
     
  9. Gestalt

    Gestalt

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    We all know the basic rules of a metroidvania: enter new area, kill a boss, acquire new power up, rinse and repeat. All of the areas are connected. Occasionally, you'll stumble across other characters.

    In Sonic's case it's quite simple: you either drop one-button gameplay in favor of a more traditional metroidvania experience (Tails Adventure meets Sonic Battle), or you keep it and make it work somehow (Sonic CD, Sonic Advance 3?)

    The real question is though, would it still be a 'Shadow' metroidvania if he's NOT never turning back?

    o.o
     
  10. Crappy Blue Luigi

    Crappy Blue Luigi

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    I think it's pretty within the realm of possibility to make a 2D terrain-focused Sonic Metroidvania just by focusing on new abilities opening up new exploration options, without even having to bother with lock-and-key mechanics.

    Start Sonic off with his Sonic 2 moveset, and sprinkle throughout the world other moves as permanent moveset upgrades: the Bubble Shield bounce, the Drop Dash, the Insta Shield, the Lightning Shield double jump, Mighty's Chaotix wall jump... there's a lot of room to make these moves synergize, and with massive and open level design, getting from location to location could be absurdly fun.
     
  11. Sable

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    I quite like Shadow - I've 100%ed it twice, and even went for library completion (although I only got about 40 endings down before getting bored and dropping it.) It's definitely not perfect, but I do have to echo what a lot of people in this thread have said about it being a very focused game. Its highs are definitely not as high as, say, SA1, but I think it's far more consistently enjoyable overall.

    As for the story, I've always thought the issue was far more with the presentation than the actual events that occur in the game's plot. Though I'm not a fan of vore aliens either, to be honest, it's not really that much darker than what's presented in the Adventure games outside of aesthetics. Also, the characterization is rather good - I love little touches like Tails geeking out over Eggman's machinery, the logical continuation of Amy's growth towards independence (in that she goes alone to Cryptic Castle to rescue Cream during what basically looks like an apocalypse for all intents and purposes), all of the dialogue in Expert Mode, etc...

    The gunplay is also more than serviceable - dare I say, fun - although it comes with some rather... questionable choices, such as swords and incidentals having ammo, for some reason.

    Also, the physics are... really cool, honestly? Like, this is the last 3D game where the spindash was ever useful, and you can do a lot with it. Sliding off of angled platforms feels great, and I appreciate the amount of coyote time you have when doing so. There's a lot of room to use the level geometry in interesting ways for sure. The speed you can reach on straightaways is also pretty crazy, and while the strafe is borderline useless in actual combat, it serves as a very good brake - especially useful when landing from a homing attack, you can hold L/R to stop on a dime upon landing. The Homing Attack also feels very refined and tight here compared to Heroes. They made a lot of really positive changes in general, engine-wise, honestly - the inclusion of ghost rings especially is very metal from a design standpoint. It's a shame not much of it carried over to future games. I don't even hate the 'search & destroy' missions - after a few runs, you start to learn how to route it all out properly and it plays into Sonic's core design philosophy about improvement through repetition and learning in a really neat way.

    Soundtrack is stellar as well - it really manages to convey a certain sort of 'attitude' in a way that I feel a lot of other games in the series fall short of. (For fun, compare the music to Black Knight's; they're very similar, for some reason.) Standouts for me Lethal Highway, Mad Matrix, Iron Jungle, The Doom, Lost Impact, GUN Fortress, Black Bull, Sky Troops, The ARK, Prison Island, Final Haunt, Air Fleet... Actually, let's just say the whole thing. Unfortunately, it's very quiet in the game proper - a lot of games around this time tend to focus on the sound FX more in the overall mix.

    The level tropes are also quite inventive - Cosmic Fall is a cool one, especially.

    Of course, I'm going out of my way to focus on the positives, as I think pretty much everyone is aware of the negatives by now. There's nothing new that can be said, honestly.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019