Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Londinium, Jun 17, 2022.
Removing the tragic parts of Shadow's character literally defeats the entire purpose of him.
I don't see how my proposed backstories would make him unjustifiably edgy. If Shadow was created to defeat Sonic and conquer the world, then that would justify a confident, abrasive attitude.
It's interesting that you see SA2 as the best representation of Shadow, with his titular game being a bastardization. I agree with you, and that's why I think Shadow would've worked better as a clone: in SA2, Shadow's memories were altered by Gerald, so there's the question of how much of it is Shadow's own emotions and not just Gerald's. The clone backstory gets straight to the point: he is made to destroy the world, but through love becomes its savior.
And if you think that Shadow 100% needs a human's death to function, then you could have this redeemer character die in this rewrite, being the catalyst for Shadow rebelling. It'd admittedly be a darker turn for Eggman, since afaik he's never killed anyone on screen, but not that out of place with how that era of Sonic was.
Yeah I think people forget you spend way more time in SA2 fighting GUN than Eggman, even as the heroes! That's just not something you resolve offscreen with a "forgive and forget <3". You don't even have to bring politics into it to realize how absurd that is from a storytelling perspective.
I think a lot of fans just like to characterize GUN in SA2 as "soldiers following orders". That their actions were somehow necessary and justified, and that capturing Sonic was a "coverup" to avoid scaring the media.
Yes, the people who sent a giant armored truck down San Francisco causing so much mayhem totally have the public's best interests at heart.
I also don't get where GUN's crimes 50 years ago apparently started and stopped at killing a 14yrold girl. Like, did you miss the part about them killing ALL of Project Shadow's staff? Then covering it all up by saying it was an "accident" caused by the experiments? How about how they obviously wanted Shadow, Artificial Chaos, and the Gizoid to be world-conquering weapons of mass destruction? Then torturing and killing an old man via firing squad for NOT wanting them to be those things?
Like I said, the key component about Shadow is tragedy. You're too focused on trying to make him "evil Sonic" to justify a connection that really doesn't need to be there.
Not every single evil twin needs to have some specific connection to the protagonist and doing so kind of downscales your world a bit.
Its why I never liked the whole "Shadow is based off the Super Sonic mural" angle but that's at least not as direct a connection of making him just another clone.
I think the idea of Knuckles being a treasure hunter negates his anti social nature. Unless he does his hunting on the island I feel there's no reason he would leave Angel Island unintended
Downscaling the world is the point, yeah. Sonic has always been a series where the gameplay came first, with the story being an afterthought (even under the Maekawa era, as Laura pointed out here). As a result, the stories should stay simple so they don't get too much in the way of the gameplay. The whole reason we're even having this discussion is because Shadow/06 did exactly that: give no focus to Shadow reconciling with GUN, because that wasn't needed to justify the gameplay of those titles. Even with SA2, there's a lot of fanwanking to make sense of its strange plot.
Again, Shadow was literally designed to be "Evil Sonic", so it's a natural idea to fix his character. Even if you think he doesn't need to be that, I don't buy that plot elements like government-sanctioned child murder were needed to tell the story of an evil hedgehog who turns good.
Its not a matter of it "being needed", but what story the developers wanted to tell. What you see as "problems" were very deliberate choices, it's a feature not a bug basically. Shadow is a character built on tragedy and that's what his story elements were in service to. You can argue that it doesn't fit with the greater universe of Sonic and I'd be inclined to agree, but once again, that's the point. Shadow is deliberately designed as a contrast to Sonic and the series as a whole with his darker than usual backstory. The juxtaposition is exactly why he stood out more than any other character in that era.
If you're just gonna make him a generic clone with a superiority complex, then you're better off just using Metal Sonic at that point. Shadow just isn't the same character without that tragic element.
Well, he does have that awesome collection of rocks that look like animals.
You over-estimate how much the devs really cared about the story. Shadow was conceived as an Dark Sonic, all the fluff about dead children and government conspiracies was just something to justify it. Even Shadow's daddy, Maekawa, wrote Shadow as an amnesiac to artificially justify him being antagonistic post-SA2. Shadow's titular game is about him slaughtering aliens who were retconned into his backstory to make it somewhat fitting. Shadow's own creators understand his true appeal: that he's Dark Sonic.
Although that may be the premise, it doesn't mean much without all the elements revolving around him that make him oppose Sonic. That they brought up all that backstory made him not only a Dark Sonic, but also A Character That Dwells On The Past as opposed to Sonic, A Character That Lives In The Present. It's not just the story, but how it changes every other character in the eyes of the audience.
Now do I like these elements? That I don't, no, but they're important to Shadow and to Sonic. Making him a Sonic clone would fundamentally change that in ways that Metal Sonic already does, and much better at that because the elements that come along with him (namely, he's made of metal while Snic is made of flesh) compliments the series' most basic agon.
For me, it comes down to that I'm cynical about Shadow's appeal. For the majority of people I think it really was just because he was a Dark Sonic with a spice of melancholy. His underlying story is pretty much just nonsense that gets even more nonsensical as more games try to elaborate upon it. I agree that making him a clone would make him similar to Metal Sonic, but that's the inherent problem with making a second "Dark Sonic" character. I don't think trying to smooth over that problem by giving Shadow a bizarre & atonal backstory fixes it. It just makes the story more nonsensical, because now the audience is asking questions like "Why is the Ultimate Life Form exactly like Sonic?" The problem could've been resolved in SA2 by just dropping Metal and bringing in Shadow instead. A new type of Sonic clone for a new generation of games and fans. But that's not what happened.
It should be noted that in 06, when Shadow fully commits to being good, they brought in two new hedgehog antagonists to replace him, with one of them straight up copying Shadow as a plot point. Sonic Team knew what's up!
It'll be interesting to see what the movies do with the character, I don't think they're gonna keep the "the government killed a little girl" part of his storyline in Hollywood. Perhaps my position will age badly when it comes out, lol
"Well, Commander, I made it, despite your directions."
"Ah, Shadow, welcome. I hope you're prepared for an unforgettable dinner!"
- Magna-Fi's original "All Hail Shadow" sounds more like a Crush 40 song than Crush 40's cover.
- The whole "Sonic Pocket Adventure is canon 'cause it features Eggman changing his outfit" bit is cute, but I always thought fanwanky. Honestly, I figure the Eggman appearance swap was just something left in as a possible oversight, like the 'classic' boss sprites were already done and they were able to implement the Adventure redesigns while in the middle of working on those last few bosses.
This sounds more like you have sour grapes about Shadow's popularity and trying to downplay it. If you wanna be cynical and just chalk Shadow's popularity to him just being "dark Sonic" fine, but he would have never become as popular as he is if that's all it was. It's not like Shadow is the only "evil Sonic" in the series as we've had others, but none of them have ever hit Shadow's level, even the aforementioned Metal Sonic and he debuted almost a whole decade prior.
You can debate and argue that they should have never made a second evil clone of Sonic, but the fact is that they did and he became a much bigger hit with audiences than Metal Sonic. I'm not even saying Shadow is a perfect character either; his story does have a lot of baggage, but he's still popular despite that. The broadstrokes version of his story is that his family died and now he's angry, which is basically Batman's origin story. Anybody that at least has passing knowledge of Sonic knows that much, and that's all the detail you need to understand Shadow; vengeful dark foil to the main character.
Metal Sonic: Before Heroes, was sporadically put only in games for failed add-ons and consoles
Shadow: Debuted on the first Sonic game many Nintendo fans played and kept landing big roles after that
I think we know the real reason why one got more popular than the other... :P
Anyhow, I'm not sour grapes about Shadow, I actually like him in SA2. His underlying story is unnecessarily nonsensical but his confidence and irreverence makes him a fun antagonist. But things got worse after his revival, as is often the case when a character is kept around past their expiration date.
It's worth a reminder: When Shadow was given his own game, it wasn't about Shadow finding peace with GUN, or the reality of him being created as an evil weapon, but Shadow discovering he was actually an alien and was destined to kill them to save humanity. That Sonic Team chose that storyline as THE game for Shadow fans, says more than anything I ever could about Shadow's core appeal: he's an edgy hedgehog that does cool shit.
That reprises the same exact development he had in SA2 sooo.
And that decision to add aliens in Shadow is wildly considered to be a stupid one at that, and part of the overall decline of the series. So I don't know why you're trying to frame it as a positive.
Yes, that is a big part of why I like him, but I've said this before, if that's all that were to him people would've stopped liking him 5 minutes after SA2 released. You know what iteration of Shadow did take all your suggestions by stripping all the nuance away and making him a blanket edgelord with a babified backstory? Boom Shadow did, and no one likes Boom Shadow because of that. Boom Shadow's very existence if proof enough that Shadow's appeal goes beyond just being edgy and doing badass shit. I cannot deny that I do love Shadow because of those things, but saying that's all there is to it feels blatantly disingenuous.
Also I don't get why you're treating Sonic Team's decisions with ShTH as the word of god for what his "core appeal" is, especially when that game is pretty much universally acknowledged as exactly what shouldn't be done with Shadow by Shadow fans and non Shadow fans alike. I feel like you're contradicting yourself by saying that Sonic Team went wrong with ShTH, but also also somehow at the same time, it's proof that's all there is to Shadow and that Sonic Team's representation of the character in that game was completely fine because it didn't compromise the "core appeal" of the character (Despite the fact that Shadow fans hate that game as stated earlier). You're pretty much saying both at once here, please pick one.
I always thought they were idiots that couldn't distinguish between a black hedgehog and a blue hedgehog lol (no I'm not joking)
Boom is also a comedy, a genre that doesn't lend itself well to making characters feel badass. Metal Sonic and Eggman suffered similarly...so yeah, not gonna appeal to Shadow fans lol
Anyhow, I'm not contradicting myself. Shadow's core appeal is that he's Sonic, but Darker and Edgier. Where Shadow (the game) went wrong is that it understood Shadow's appeal, but the underlying writing was nonsense and undermines SA2*. I'm not sure if discontent for Shadow (the game) is that widespread, people on the internet do make fun of it but you can find plenty of people appreciating it as well. The game itself was made from fan feedback and sold over a million copies, and obviously was well-received enough to carry over its elements into 06. When I talk about fan reception I'm thinking in broad terms and not factoring for literally every single Shadow fan ever :P
*Shadow's game may seem like a cheap reprise of SA2 but there's one key difference that really weakens it. In SA2, Shadow becomes good because he remembers Maria's faith in his ability to be good. In Shadow, he commits to heroism because Gerald destined him to kill the Black Arms, with the game even ending with Gerald being seen as a hero, despite him being the one who brought the Black Arms to Earth anyway! The former message is more relatable and thus a lot stronger.
The concept of Sonic Labyrinth is silly but it's just a harmless spinoff game on a weak handheld. It's nowhere near the worst in the series and doesn't deserve all the meme hate.
Yeah I honestly don't get the hate Labyrinth has. I mean, it's kinda a crappy game, but that'd be like if Yoshi was an infamous Mario game. Who cares about some fuck-off Game Gear game?
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