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Sonic Wiki Zone
Sonic Wiki Zone

HERO or VILLAIN? Uncover the truth about Sonic's arch-rival, Shadow the Hedgehog

— Tagline

Shadow the Hedgehog (シャドウ・ザ・ヘッジホッグ Shadō za Hejjihoggu?) is a video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series developed by Sega Studio USA and published by Sega. It was released for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles in late 2005. The title features a playstyle similar to that from Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, with the reintroduction of third-person shooter elements from these games, as well as newly introduced nonlinear gameplay in which the player has to make certain decisions that affect the course of the story.

Shadow the Hedgehog stars Sonic's eponymous rival in his quest to learn about his past while suffering from amnesia, while the earth is being invaded by an evil alien race known as the Black Arms. When Shadow encounters the aliens' leader, Black Doom, who tells him of a promise he had made him over fifty years ago, he sets out to find the seven Chaos Emeralds to discover the truth of his earlier life. As he progresses in his adventure, the black hedgehog gradually learns more about his past while he encounters Sonic and his friends and many other factions combating the Black Arms' invasion. Thanks to the game's nonlinear gameplay, the possible endings of the story range from Shadow helping the heroes defeat the aliens for good to him aiding Black Doom in his conquest of the planet.

The game was met with unfavorable reviews, with critics pointing at its sense of maturity for a Sonic game and some finding the plot ridiculous. Also negatively received were the controls and the inclusion of weapons and vehicles, with many finding them redundant. The level design received mixed reviews, but many praised the title's replay value. Despite the negative reviews, Shadow the Hedgehog was a commercial success, selling over two million copies.


Spoiler warning: Plot, ending details or any kind of information follow.

Main Story[]


Shadow the Hedgehog title screen

The title screen of Shadow the Hedgehog.

The story focuses on Shadow the Hedgehog, a black hedgehog that looks like Sonic. His true identity is surrounded in mystery as there are no records of him at that time and he cannot remember his past. As such, he would spend various days repeating the same questions: who he is and why he was created.[7]

On what seems to be another usual day, Shadow is standing on a hill near Westopolis, still puzzled about his past.[7] A newspaper with the headline of celebrations taking place now that the Black Comet has come back after its fifty-year cycle blows by in the breeze, catching on the hedgehog's leg, then blowing off into the distance. Shadow pays it no mind as he struggles to recover all the pieces of his past with the only memory he has, which involve him and Maria Robotnik aboard the Space Colony ARK running for their lives until the girl was shot by a GUN Soldier in front of him, with Shadow calling out her name. He continues to ask himself who he was, why he cannot remember anything, and who was Maria.

As Shadow ponders, the sky is suddenly engulfed in dark clouds. From the center of these clouds, an alien race of black and red creatures known as the Black Arms rain down on the city, wreaking havoc on its populace. Unconcerned about humanity's fate, Shadow turns to leave, but is stopped by a mysterious voice calling his name. One of the alien creatures, a squid-like cycloptic being called Doom's Eye, approaches the hedgehog and projects a hologram of the aliens' leader, Black Doom. Black Doom cryptically informs Shadow that the "day of reckoning" is soon to come and instructs him to collect all seven Chaos Emeralds and bring them to him "as promised". Not knowing what the leader was speaking of, Shadow demands answers, but the hologram ends and Doom's Eye retreats, with an sudden array of explosions keeping Shadow from pursuing.

Bewildered by what just happened, Shadow figures that if Black Doom truly knows who he is, then he has no choice but to believe him. Believing that the Chaos Emeralds are the key to the truth about his past, Shadow sets off to find them, his frozen heart now beginning to move as a harsh adventure to uncover the mysteries of his identity begins.[7]


In the ruined city of Westopolis, Shadow gets caught in the crossfire between the soldiers of the Guardian Units of Nations (GUN) and the Black Arms. During which, he meets his old rival, Sonic, who trusts him to help stop the evil aliens from wrecking the city. Along the way, he finds a Chaos Emerald and continues forward to locate the next one. However, he also encounters Doom's Eye, from which Black Doom communicates to him and orders him to deal with the GUN soldiers interfering with his plan. The player can decide to either help GUN repel the invaders, assist the Black Arms in their conquest, or ignore their battle in order to focus on finding the Emeralds.

Either way, the black hedgehog's presence during the invasion is then made known to the GUN Commander, who holds a deep grudge against him for the deaths of Maria and everyone else aboard the Space Colony ARK and orders his soldiers to eliminate him on sight. Meanwhile, the President of the United Federation declares that humanity must stand united to repel the Black Arms, and after realizing the aliens' senseless destruction would disrupt his world conquest plans, Dr. Eggman orders to deploy his Egg Fleet against the invaders as well as GUN.

The rest of the story's progression will depend on the player's decisions and actions within the first mission and the ones that follow, collecting the seven Chaos Emeralds in the process. Every time, Shadow can either follow a Hero route by working with GUN, Sonic and his friends, and even Eggman himself at one point; or he can choose to go with a Dark route by assisting the Black Arms or the doctor with their own sinister agendas. He can also select a "Neutral" path where he finds the Chaos Emeralds on his own. Possible events include the destruction of Central City with the ARK's Eclipse Cannon, an assasination attempt on the President, Shadow finding multiple robot copies of himself by Eggman and convincing himself that he is one of them, him racing against Sonic on the ARK, or him helping Maria destroy the haywire Artificial Chaos experiments on the ARK in a flashback.

At the end of each storyline, the player will reach an ending depending on their actions:

  • By following a True Dark route, the player will end up in the GUN Fortress. There, Shadow must either destroy the mainframe cores and defeat GUN for good, or work alongside Rouge to obtain the last Chaos Emerald before the aliens do.
    • Choosing the Dark mission will have Shadow battle against both Sonic and Diablon, which is piloted by the Commander. After defeating them, Shadow will be granted the last Chaos Emerald. A weakened Sonic will then ask Shadow what he plans to do with the Emeralds, to which Shadow, under the influence of Gerald's reprogramming, will reply that he will use them to destroy the planet.
    • Choosing the Hero mission will have Shadow battle against Black Doom himself, who is outraged because Shadow betrayed him at the last minute. After defeating Black Doom, Shadow will get the last Chaos Emerald. With all the Emeralds, the hedgehog states that he will conquer the universe.
  • By following a Dark route, the player will end up in the Black Comet, the Black Arms' home base. There, Shadow must either defend the comet from an invasion of GUN soldiers, or assist Knuckles in finding the comet's core so they can destroy it.
    • Choosing the Dark mission will have Diablon and Sonic fight Shadow, only to be defeated. Then, Shadow will be granted the last Chaos Emerald and say that he will become Black Doom's minion to assist the Black Arms' conquest of all of earth.
    • Choosing the Hero mission will have Shadow and Knuckles fight Dr. Eggman and his Egg Dealer. After defeating the doctor, Shadow will get the last Chaos Emerald, and he will say that only he knows what is best for himself before striking down Eggman.
  • By following a Neutral route, the player will end up in the Lava Shelter, Eggman's secret lair. Shadow, who is now convinced that he is an android replica of himself, must either aid the mad scientist by activating the lair's defense systems, or assist Omega in finding their creator.
    • Choosing the Dark mission will have Eggman appear in the Egg Dealer to congratulate the "Shadow Android" on his performance and demand the Chaos Emeralds from him, but the hedgehog turns on him and defeats him in battle. The "Shadow Android" will then get the last Chaos Emerald and says that he will use the emeralds to become more powerful than the original Shadow and proceeds to strike down Eggman.
    • Choosing the Hero mission will have Shadow and Omega fight Dr. Eggman and his Egg Dealer. After defeating the doctor, the "Shadow Android" will get the last Chaos Emerald and explains that he will use the Emeralds to take over the Eggman Empire and make androids rule over the planet. Both Omega and Shadow then proceed to strike down the villain.
  • By following a Hero route, the player will end up in Cosmic Fall, which takes place onboard the collapsing Space Colony ARK. There, Shadow must either find the last Chaos Emerald on Black Doom's orders, or help Vector in finding the main computer before the ARK completely falls apart.
    • Choosing the Dark mission will have Shadow fight against Eggman and his Egg Dealer. After winning, Shadow will get the last Chaos Emerald and say that he will protect the Space Colony ARK for the rest of his life. He then orders the defeated Eggman to leave the space colony and never return.
    • Choosing the Hero mission will have Shadow and Vector fight Black Doom, who insists that Shadow alone is responsible for the tragedy fifty years ago. After he wins, Shadow will get the seventh Chaos Emerald, though he will claim that he was a failure that should never have been created. Vector tries to console him with little success.
  • By following a True Hero route, the player will end up in the Final Haunt, which takes place within the Black Comet. There, Shadow must either obey Black Doom's orders and activate the comet's shields, or aid Sonic in reaching Black Doom himself.
    • Choosing the Dark mission will have Shadow fight Diablon and Sonic, whom he wants to settle the score with. After winning the fight, Shadow will get the last Chaos Emerald, and states that he will be the most powerful hedgehog in the world with the Emeralds in his hands.
    • Choosing the Hero mission will have Shadow and Sonic fight Black Doom. After the heroes win, they will get the last Chaos Emerald. Shadow will say that he will take down the Black Arms with Sonic's support, therefore fulfilling Maria's last request to protect the earth.

Last Story[]

All of the aforementioned endings are actually distortions of the truth. The true story of Shadow's past is told in the Last Story, which can only be unlocked by obtaining all ten of the previous endings.

In the Last Story, Shadow had obtained all seven Chaos Emeralds aboard the Black Comet. Black Doom then appears before him and commands that Shadow must give up the Emeralds so that they can begin the "Ritual Of Prosperity." Just then, Sonic arrives, followed by Tails, Amy, Knuckles, Rouge, and even Eggman, to tell Shadow not to listen to Black Doom, as the alien plans to destroy the planet. Doom rebukes this, claiming that the Black Arms are here to save the humans from destroying themselves with their greed and treachery, and are offering salvation and peace. He then reveals that he also plans to harvest the humans as an energy source for his race, shocking Shadow and others. Suddenly, he takes the Emeralds from Shadow and uses Chaos Control to warp the Black Comet down to the surface of the Earth, where it creates tendrils to anchor itself to the planet.

Black Doom then explains that he helped Professor Gerald create Shadow, but only in return for the Chaos Emeralds, which were needed to bring the comet down to the surface. Shadow becomes distraught by this revelation and becomes unresponsive while Eggman is in disbelief that his grandfather would betray the planet just for research. Sonic and the others prepare to fight back, but their bodies are then suddenly paralyzed by a special gas being emitted from the comet. Black Doom gloats on his victory and leaves them to be devoured by his alien offspring. As the end seems near, Shadow suddenly hears Maria's voice asking for help, which assists him in regaining his composure. He then shows that he is immune to the gas by standing up and stepping on one of the leeches, shocking Black Doom. Shadow then states that he has left his past behind him and has become determined to destroy Black Doom. Enraged that Shadow would betray his creator, Doom threatens to take back the life he gave Shadow before fleeing with the Chaos Emeralds. Shadow gives chase to the alien overlord, leaving behind the others, with Sonic calling Shadow their only hope.

After fighting his way through the Black Comet, Shadow catches up with Black Doom, who congratulates Shadow for making it so far and continues to claim that his way is the only method for the humans to survive. Shadow ignores this reasoning and prepares to fight, but Black Doom then reveals that his blood was used to create Shadow, thus making him a member of their race and revealing why Shadow wasn't affected by the paralysis gas. Shadow then finds himself attacked by Black Doom's mind control, as the alien gloats that Shadow can never defeat him nor escape his own past. Meanwhile, the Chaotix are onboard the ARK and have managed to hack into the data disks that they found earlier. Once finally inside, Charmy activates a recording of a still-sane Professor Gerald Robotnik, which is broadcasted both around the world and on the Black Comet.

In the film, Gerald leaves a message for Shadow that the government plans to shut down the ARK and convict everyone who know of the hedgehog's existence. Taking full responsibility, the professor states that it was all because of his dealings with Black Doom. He then reveals that he invented the Eclipse Cannon to destroy the Black Comet and entrusts Shadow with using it and saving the world, with Maria giving extra encouragement. Black Doom scoffs at this, stating that Shadow is under his absolute control, but is then stunned to see Shadow resisting him. The hedgehog states that he now knows his true purpose, and prepares to attack before Black Doom teleports away while proclaiming his intention to destroy Shadow with his full power. In response, Shadow retrieves the Chaos Emeralds and uses them to become Super Shadow. He then flies away to take on Black Doom, who has also transformed into a full-powered form.

After an intense fight, Black Doom is defeated and falls to his demise. Shadow then uses a super-powered Chaos Control to warp the Black Comet back into the planet's orbit before destroying it completely using the Eclipse Cannon. Everyone on the Earth cheers in joy as the alien threat has been destroyed forever. Sonic and friends congratulate Shadow for his success while Eggman attempts to sneak away to obtain the Chaos Emeralds, only to pursued by Knuckles. The President decides to honor Gerald's memory by working toward a better future, with the Commander in full agreement.

In one final scene aboard the Space Colony ARK, Shadow looks at a picture of Maria and Gerald before tossing it away as he leaves the room, remarking, "Goodbye forever... Shadow the Hedgehog."


Image Character Biography
S.T.H. - Artwork - 9 (Shadow) Shadow The black hedgehog who resembles Sonic. With his powerful body, he can easily rival Sonic's world class speed. Shadow was created as the Ultimate Life form in a secret lab by Professor Gerald Robotnik. Everything else about Shadow's past is a mystery. After risking his life to save the planet with Sonic, he suffers from amnesia, having no memories of his past.[8]
S.T.H. - Artwork - Sonic Sonic The world's fastest hedgehog whose supersonic speed is second to none. He strives to life according to his own rules rather than for the sake of heroism and duty. Until now, he's been busy stopping Dr. Eggman's preposterous ambitions, but this time, he is motivated more than ever to take on the alien invaders, Black Arms.[8]
Blackdoom pose0 flatten Black Doom Black Arms, the mysterious alien army that suddenly appeared in the sky bringing darkness and destruction to the world. Black Doom is the leader who is in total control of the alien army; while Doom's Eye is Black Doom's third eye that helps guide Shadow to the Chaos Emeralds. Where are they from? And why are they searching for the Chaos Emeralds? More importantly, how do they know Shadow? Their dark purpose will be revealed as Shadow discovers his true identity.[9]
S.T.H. - Artwork - 2 (Doom's Eye) Doom's Eye
S.T.H. - Artwork - 1 (Dr. Eggman) Dr. Eggman Dr. Eggman is a scientist with an IQ of 300. As usual, he is plotting to take over the world and his plans for the ultimate utopia, Eggmanland, are in full swing. He considers the Black Arms, who rely on massive destruction to intimidate the world, a prime threat that could interrupt his master plans.[9]
GUN-Commander Commander The highest-ranked commander of the GUN (Guardian Units of Nations) federation forces. With complete confidence and an iron will, he is the cornerstone of the force. He is known for his "heart of stone," and remains totally unshaken even as the Black Arms attacks[sic] the planet under his watch. For reasons only known for him, he harbors a deep hatred for Shadow. He is one of the few who knows the secret about Shadow's past.[10]
Gerald and Maria Photo Shadow the Hedgehog Maria Robotnik Professor Gerald is a renowned scientist, regarded as the most intelligently-gifted researcher of all time. Maria is the professor's lovely granddaughter. Fifty years ago, his top-secret-government project to create the Ultimate Life form was deemed too dangerous and a threat to mankind, and as a result, they eliminated everything related to the project, including the staff. Even Maria, who was like a sister to Shadow, fell victim to this conspiracy.[10]
Prof. Gerald Robotnik



Westopolis, the first Stage in the game.

Shadow the Hedgehog is a 3D third person shooter action platforming video game, which plays similar to past 3D Sonic games such as Sonic Heroes. The game's main storyline takes place in "Story Mode", over the course of which two of three different factions will be present in each stage: the Black Arms, Guardian Units of Nations (GUN), and the Eggman Empire. They will usually be seen attacking each other, but will all try to attack the playable character regardless.[note 2]

Sonic and Shadow punch

Shadow, with a second player controlling Sonic, in Westopolis.

The player mainly controls Shadow the Hedgehog. For most missions, they also team up with various characters from the series, such as Amy Rose, Charmy Bee, Doom's Eye, Dr. Eggman, E-123 Omega, Espio the Chameleon, Knuckles the Echidna, Maria, Miles "Tails" Prower, Rouge the Bat, Sonic the Hedgehog and Vector the Crocodile. While they are controlled by an AI by default, most of these characters can be controlled by a second player in the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube versions of the game by connecting a second controller and playing in a "co-op mode". These characters can run, jump, and attack under the second player's influence. Some allies have different attacks compared to others however:

  • Amy: Can perform the Punch and Jump Dash.
  • Espio: Can perform kicks and chops and a a small Jump Dash.
  • Knuckles: Can perform the Punch, but slightly differently from the other allies' punches, and the Jump Dash.
  • Omega: Can Attack with his arms, but differently from others punches and Jump Dash.
  • Maria: Can Punch, but only jump one foot off the ground and cannot use the Jump Dash.
  • Rouge: Can perform kicks and the Jump Dash.
  • Sonic: Can perform the Homing Attack and Punch. Sonic's Homing Attack in particular can aim towards targets outside the usual range.
  • Tails: Can perform the Tail Swipe and Jump Dash.
  • Vector: Can bite the enemy and perform the Jump Dash.

If an ally is controlled by an AI, they will act differently compared to the others. If it is a playable ally, they will attack any nearby enemy if Shadow gets within range. Some allies will use their attack and others will jump to attack an enemy. Hero allies will always attack Badnik and Black Arms soldiers (even if they themselves tell Shadow not to harm the former). The allies overall act as combat support and guidance and give help to Shadow should he need it.

Similar to past games, Shadow can use most of his basic abilities; he can run, jump and Jump Dash/Homing Attack, as well as Spin Dash, Light Speed Dash, Slide, Triangle Jump and perform a punch-punch-kick combo. He also has the ability to drive vehicles that he finds or commandeers. In addition, Shadow the Hedgehog also makes use of a weapon system. Ranging from pistols and machine guns to close combat weapons, Gatling guns, bazookas, and even laser rifles, weapons are commonly found in Containers and dropped by defeated enemies. When a weapon is first picked up, Shadow receives some initial of ammunition for that weapon; more ammunition can be gathered by picking up more copies of the weapon. Only one weapon can be held at a time, and when Shadow runs out of ammunition for his weapon, he will toss it aside and it disappears.

Shadow has two gauges he can fill depending on how the player makes him act towards enemies/allies. When Shadow fills up either gauge to the maximum, he enters a rage state where he is invincible, has infinite ammunition, deals more damage and can use a specific chaos power that is affiliated with whichever gauge he fills. Killing Black Arms, healing wounded GUN troopers and civilians, putting out fires and other good deeds fills up Shadow's Hero Gauge. Upon filling the gauge, the player can become Hero Shadow, with which they are able to activate Chaos Control, allowing them to fast forward through the stage, attack enemies, and slow down time in boss battles, until the Hero Gauge is empty. On the other hand, defeating GUN troops, environmental objects and healing Black Arms fills up Shadow's Dark Gauge. Upon filling this gauge, Shadow can become Dark Shadow, with which he is able to use Chaos Blast, which destroys or damages anything and anyone near him. Depending on the stage, Eggman's robots fill up either of the two gauges.[note 3]

Shadow the Hedgehog has nonlinear gameplay, which allows the course of the story to change according to the decisions the player takes. Most stages, with some exceptions, have three different types of missions: Hero, Dark and Neutral. The Hero and Dark missions usually have the player doing some tasks such as killing multiple enemies or interacting with certain objects, whereas the Neutral missions just have the player heading to a Goal Ring. However, it is possible to end a stage in a mission the player did not intend to complete.

Six special weapons can be unlocked in the Story mode by completing enough missions. These weapons are contained in Special Weapon Containers. The first five are each unlocked by completing either the Hero or Dark mission of one of the five Stages (and their ammo can be increased by completing both the Hero and Dark missions). The last special weapon, the Shadow Rifle, is unlocked upon completion of the Last Story.

As with past Sonic games, Shadow the Hedgehog's stages have Rings scattered in them. Rings serve as the playable character's main method of protection; if the player gets hit while having at least one Ring, they will survive with the cost of losing ten of their Rings. However, should Shadow suffer damage without having any Rings on them, the player will lose a life, or get a Game Over if they run out of lives. In the former case, Shadow will respawn either at the latest Save Point touched or at the start of the stage, if no Save Point was activated. However, falling into a bottomless pit will cost the player a life regardless of the Rings they have.

Shadow the Hedgehog uses the traditional A through E ranking system. A minimum total point score is required to earn each ranking, with A being the most points and E the ranking earned when less than the required number of points for a D are earned. The number of points required for each ranking varies between stages and between missions within each stage. There are also three types of points earned during a stage, and the way the total score is calculated depends on which mission is completed. Normal points are earned by collecting Rings and items; Dark points are earned by defeating GUN troops (and sometimes Eggman's mechs depending on what side the player is in) and things in the environment. Hero points are earned by killing Black Arms (and sometimes Eggman's mechs depending on the player's opposing side), healing wounded GUN troops and civilians, and putting out fires. The player's total score for Normal missions equals their Normal score plus their Time Bonus (Hero and Dark scores are ignored). Their total score for Dark missions equals their Normal score plus their Dark score plus their Time Bonus minus their Hero score, and vice versa. By earning an A rank for all stages, "Expert Mode" will be unlocked.

Scoring system[]


Button formation Shd-Shadow-Life Movement
GameCube PlayStation 2 Xbox
Analog-Stick Left-Analog-Stick Move
C STICK Right-Analog-Stick Rotate camera
A Button GameCube v2 Cross XboxA Jump
A Button GameCube v2 in mid-air Cross in mid-air XboxA in mid-air Jump Dash/Homing Attack/Triangle Jump
Gamecube X Button Circle XboxB Spin Dash/Dark Spin Dash/Light Dash/Pick up item
Analog-Stick + Gamecube X Button Left-Analog-Stick + Circle Left-Analog-Stick + XboxB Slide
Gamecube Y Button PSTriangleButton XboxY Drop Weapon
Chaos Control (Hero Shadow)
Chaos Blast (Dark Shadow)
Rgame R1/R2 Xbox-Button-RB/Xbox-Button-LB Strafe



Gimmicks and obstacles[]



Playable characters[]


Non-playable characters[]


Black Arms[]
Eggman Empire[]
Space Colony ARK[]


WestopolisDigital CircuitGlyphic CanyonLethal HighwayCryptic CastlePrison IslandCircus ParkCentral CityThe DoomSky TroopsMad MatrixDeath RuinsThe ARKAir FleetIron JungleSpace GadgetLost ImpactGUN FortressBlack CometLava ShelterCosmic FallFinal HauntThe Last WayShadow the Hedgehog level chart
About this image

A chart of the levels in Shadow the Hedgehog. Each box represents a level and can be clicked on to go to its corresponding page. The colored lines represent the routes that are followed depending on the missions that the player clears. The Last Way, the only level of the Last Story, is at the far right, separated from the other levels.



Story ending[]

Last Story[]




Shadow the Hedgehog Story Mode

The menu in Shadow the Hedgehog's Story Mode, with an ongoing path being displayed as well.

Story Mode is where the main campaign of Shadow the Hedgehog takes place. Here, the player can go through the events of the story, which varies depending on the paths taken. During an ongoing storyline, the player can see a map of the path they are taking and the current stage either at the main menu or at the pause menu.

Story Mode features the following options:

  • New: The player can begin a new campaign in the story.
  • Continue: The player starts where they left off in the storyline, be either a stage or a boss. When they return to the story, they will have a short monolouge of Shadow recalling the previous events, akin to the Story Screens of Sonic Adventure 1 and 2.
  • Library: Here, the player can see a list of the paths they have taken, known as "Libraries". Selecting one of said Libraries will make them watch the cutscenes in the story. A total of 326 possible paths exist.
  • Last Story: Unlocked upon making all ten endings in the normal campaign, where Shadow finally learns about his past and takes down Black Doom for good. The player goes through a single stage, The Last Way, and later fights the true final boss of the game, Devil Doom.


Shadow the Hedgehog big flex

The menu of Shadow the Hedgehog's Select Mode, with all 71 A ranks collected.

Select Mode is where the player can play any of the stages and bosses they have unlocked in Story Mode (except those in the Last Story), and see their current rankings and best time and score, akin to a Level Select. Stages that have all of their missions completed with an A rank will display a white star symbol on top of their icon. The menu will also display the A ranks the player has obtained, out of 71. Getting all of them unlocks Expert Mode. Boss stages are represented with a blue dot at the bottom right corner of the corresponding stage, whilst final bosses are gray dots at the far right of the screen, next to the preceeding stages.

In Select Mode, the player can complete every mission available to them regardless of whether or not they have actually ended the same stage with that mission in Story Mode. However, doing so in this mode will not unlock any new stages or bosses.


Expert Mode is unlocked by getting all 71 A ranks in the game, similar to the Super Hard Mode in Sonic Heroes. Here, the player goes through all of the stages in Story Mode, from Westopolis to the Last Way, with a slight increase in difficulty. While Shadow goes on his own, various non-playable characters will cheer him on at the beginning of most stages. There are no ranks in this mode, but losing all lives and getting a Game Over will force the player to start from Westopolis again.

2P: Battle[]

Battle Mode,[11] also known as 2P Mode, is the competitive aspect of Shadow the Hedgehog. In it, two players each take control of a Shadow Android and must take down their opponent twice in order to win.

When selecting Battle Mode on the game's main menu, the players will be able to choose an aspect for their Shadow Android, though it will not affect gameplay. Then, the player will have to choose three different Stages to play in: Air Fleet, Lava Shelter and GUN Fortress, with Radical Highway used. They can also select 3-Stage so that the game will pick up a random stage.

Battle Mode plays mostly the same as Story Mode, though the players will not be able to transform into Dark or Hero Shadow. Both playable characters will start at different points of the stage, near the center of it. If a player is hit without having any Rings left or falls into a bottomless pit, the opponent will be declared the winner. After three fights, the game will end and the players will be taken back to the title screen.



Sonic Adventure 2 box artwork

Cover of Sonic Adventure 2 (2001), which marked the debut of Shadow the Hedgehog. The game's ending showed the character falling into the earth's orbit, supposedly dying, but his popularity allowed him to return in future games.[12]

During the late 1990s, Sonic Adventure was released worldwide for Sega's Dreamcast, to positive reception. Shortly after, the former American division of Sonic Team, Sonic Team USA (later Sega Studio USA), began work on a sequel, Sonic Adventure 2. For this game, a new character, named Shadow the Hedgehog, was created by Takashi Iizuka and Shiro Maekawa, respectively the director and writer of the title.[13] Shadow was introduced as a new rival to Sonic, and was his counterpart for the game's "Dark" storyline.

Sonic Adventure 2 was released on 23 June 2001 to celebrate the Sonic series' 10th anniversary, and received critical acclaim like its prequel. In the game's ending, Shadow falls from space into the earth's orbit, supposedly dying. While Sonic Adventure 2 was originally intended to be the character's sole appearance, he became a fan favorite,[12] causing him to reappear in both Sonic Heroes and Sonic Battle.


We wanted to expand the Sonic franchise by offering a more mature game with features that has[sic] never been possible before in a Sonic game. With this in mind, we decided that giving Shadow his own title was the way to go!

Takashi Iizuka on Shadow the Hedgehog[14]

After the release of Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Team began to consider featuring Shadow in a spin-off game.[15] With the character's popularity, Iizuka thought that this was the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into his origins. The team conceived Shadow the Hedgehog as a way to make a more "mature" Sonic game and attract new audiences.[12][15][16]

Like Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow the Hedgehog was developed by Sega Studio USA.[1] Takashi Iizuka served as the writer and director of the game, while Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka was the producer.[17] The game's first novelty is the use of weapons; the previous Sonic Adventure games had shooter gameplay, but "they've been more 'stand-and-shoot' style bits", in Naka's opinion. For this title, the developers decided to incorporate this play style in the series' trademark high-speed gameplay, since Shadow was the perfect fit for this mechanic.[12][18] With the mysteriousness surrounding Shadow's character, as well as his ambiguous alignment, the team incorporated a morality system that would allow the player to progress in the story by completing "heroic" and "evil" missions.[14]

Shadow the Hedgehog is notable for its profanities and use of weapons. The decision of including this was made early during the game's development, mainly because of its intended mature tone. Back then, the game was planned to fit the "T" (teen) rating for "cartoon violence" and "language." However, that same year, the ESRB had created a new "E10+" rating, and as such, Sega decided to alter certain scenes of the game during development so that it could fit in the new rating. The ESRB ultimately assigned the game an E10+ rating for "fantasy violence" and "mild language."[19]


Pancreas Hybrid Wreastling Event

A Shadow mascot standing in the ring, in the Spiral Tour Event.

In E3 2005, Sega revealed a Shadow statue, with the statue holding a gun towards the ground.

To help promote Shadow the Hedgehog in Japan, Sega and Sonic Team sponsored a Pancrase hybrid wrestling event on 5 December 2005, in which the ring mat had a painting of a Shadow render with the game logo, while as the ringposts had the Sonic Channel logo on the side. There was also a Shadow the Hedgehog mascot that turned up and pulled a stunt in the ring.[20] Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka were interviewed by the ringside announcer and were asked why they promoted the game in a wrestling event, despite martial arts not being a thing in the Sonic the Hedgehog series before. Naka answered that it was because of the design of the Pancrase wrestling hybrid logo that matched the same color scheme as Shadow.


This is the first game in the series to feature the 4Kids Entertainment voice actors from the Sonic X anime series.

Role Voice actor(s)
English Japanese
Shadow the Hedgehog Jason Griffith Kōji Yusa
Sonic the Hedgehog Jun'ichi Kanemaru
Black Doom Sean Schemmel Ryūzaburō Ōtomo
Dr. Eggman Mike Pollock Chikao Ōtsuka
Gerald Robotnik
Amy Rose Lisa Ortiz Taeko Kawata
Miles "Tails" Prower Amy Palant Ryō Hirohashi
Knuckles the Echidna Dan Green Nobutoshi Canna
Rouge the Bat Kathleen Delaney Rumi Ochiai
E-123 Omega Jeff Kramer Taiten Kusunoki
GUN Soldiers Andrew Rannells Takashi Yoshida
Commander Marc Thompson Banjō Ginga
President Maddie Blaustein Yutaka Nakano
Secretary Bella Hudson Junko Kitanishi
Vector the Crocodile Carter Cathcart Kenta Miyake
Espio the Chameleon David Wills Yūki Masuda
Charmy Bee Amy Birnbaum Yōko Teppōzuka
Maria Robotnik Rebecca Honig Yuri Shiratori
Cream the Rabbit Sayaka Aoki
Ryō Hirohashi
Additional Chao

4Kids controversy[]

In this game, Sega decided to hire the 4Kids Entertainment voice actors who were cast for the Sonic X anime series for the Sonic the Hedgehog games as well, with their debut featured in Shadow the Hedgehog. This move was poorly received by fans, with many criticizing the 4Kids actors as either trying to imitate their predecessors too much, or being unsuitable for their roles. Despite protests by fans, as well as a long running campaign by former Sonic voice actor Ryan Drummond to return to the role, the 4Kids voice actors were kept up until Sonic Free Riders in 2010 where the cast was replaced once more except for Mike Pollock, the voice of Dr. Eggman.


The vocal tracks were released on an album in February 2006, entitled Lost and Found: Shadow the Hedgehog Vocal Trax. They are:

The official soundtrack for the game, featuring the rest of the songs from the game, was also released on the same day, entitled Shadow the Hedgehog Original Soundtrax.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 53% (GCN)[21]
49% (PS2)[22]
52% (Xbox)[23]
Metacritic 51% (GCN)[24]
45% (PS2)[25]
49% (Xbox)[26]
Review scores
Publication Score 4.0/10[27]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 5.75/10[27]
Eurogamer 5/10[28]
Game Informer 4/10 (GCN)[29]
GamePro 2.0/5 (PS2)[30]
GameSpot 4.8/10[31]
GameSpy 2/5 starsStar fullStar emptyStar emptyStar empty[32]
Hyper 56%[33]
IGN 4.7/10[34]
Official Nintendo Magazine 60% (GCN)[35]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 4/10 (PS2)[36]
Official Xbox Magazine (UK) 7.0/10 (Xbox)[37]
X-Play 1/5 starsStar emptyStar emptyStar emptyStar empty[38]
Herald Sun 3.5/5[39]
Entity Award
Jetix Magazine Best Game of 2006[40]

Shadow the Hedgehog received mixed reviews from critics upon its release;[41] the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox versions are respectively rated 51%,[24] 45%,[25] and 49%[26] on Metacritic, along with sitting at 53%,[21] 49%,[22] and 52%[23] on GameRankings. By 17 May 2006, the game's worldwide sales total exceeded one million.[42] The game was later released as a part of two budget lines—Greatest Hits for the PlayStation 2, with this representing sales of at least 400,000,[43] and Player's Choice for the GameCube, representing at least 250,000.[44]

Much criticism stemmed from the unwelcome sense of maturity and, in particular, the addition of guns.[41] Game Informer staff writer Matt Helgeson said that "not only is this new 'adult' interpretation of Sonic painfully dumb, it’s also ill-advised and almost feels like a betrayal to longtime fans."[29] Eurogamer staff writer Tom Bramwell felt that "the game's other selling point – its darker edge – [is] not really meant for us,"[28] with G4's X-Play and GameSpy staff writer Patrick Klepek thinking similarly.[32][38] In contrast, Nintendo Power staff writer Steve Thomason rated the game 8.0 out of 10,[41] stating that this "darker take on the Sonic universe succeeds for the most part, giving the series a bit of an edge without going overboard on violence." However, in the last issue of Nintendo Power, Thomason would go on to say that giving it this rating was his worst mistake while working on the magazine and described the game as an "abomination".[41]

The game's controls were criticized, especially because Shadow's Homing Attack caused unexpected character deaths. Game Informer's Matt Helgeson complained that the attack "frequently sends you careening off into nothingness, resulting in cheap death after cheap death,"[29] with Nintendo Power, X-Play, Eurogamer, Official Xbox Magazine, and GameSpy agreeing.[41][28][32][38][37] Other complaints focused on the mechanics of weapons and vehicles. Greg Mueller of GameSpot felt that the guns were nearly useless because of a lack of an aiming ability.[31] IGN staff writer Matt Casamassina, staff writer Greg Sewart, Game Informer, X-Play, GameSpy, and London's The Times also criticized the mechanics of Shadow's weapons and vehicles, and other aspects of the game's controls.[29][32][38][34][45] However, Nintendo Power claimed that "blasting Shadow's foes with the wide variety of weapons at his disposal is just plain fun."[41]

The many possible paths through the game caused reviewers to praise the game's replay value. Rating the game 8.3 out of 10, GameTrailers stated that "this choose-your-own-adventure style gives the game replay value that many platformers lack." The Melbourne, Australia, publication Herald Sun, and Official Xbox Magazine thought similarly.[37][39] Nintendo Power agreed, although criticizing the difficulty of the missions that require the player to locate objects.[41] GameSpot praised the game's variety of levels and its music.[31] Despite of the overall mixed to negative reception, Shadow the Hedgehog was voted the best game of 2006 in the Jetix Magazine Reader Awards.[40]


Image Title Platform Description
SFP PS2 Sega Fun Pack: Sonic Mega Collection Plus & Shadow the Hedgehog PlayStation 2 Released in 2009 as a Sega Fun Pack compilation with Sonic Mega Collection Plus.


  • There are few differences between each version. The PlayStation 2 version supports multiple voice and text languages as is the case with most of Sonic’s PS2 games. The Xbox version also contains multiple languages dependent on system settings, but is the only version that does not allow a second controller to play as a mission helper (only the flying characters Eggman, Charmy and Doom's Eye could not be controlled in other versions). The GameCube version maintains a steadier framerate, but suffers the most from poor controls having analog movement snapping to 8 directions due to the controller’s design, it also only has one voiced language available (Japanese in the Japanese release, English elsewhere).
  • Although the first Chaos Emerald is needed to progress, it is possible to activate chaos powers without it by destroying debris in the pre emerald area of the level.
  • During the levels of this game, some GUN soldiers will shout, "Mr. Yuji Naka is all right!" This is an obvious reference to the former head of Sonic Team, Yuji Naka.
  • Since this game is similar to Sonic Heroes in both graphics and engine, most characters reuse their models from said game.
    • Additionally, Knuckles retains his victory pose from Sonic Heroes.
Shadow prototype

Red Black Arms blood in the prototype screenshots of Shadow the Hedgehog.


The Sega logo on the back-wheel of Shadow's motorcycle.

  • Shadow the Hedgehog was supposed to have an odd type of first-third person view that is indicated by a map similar to other 3rd person shooters such as Gears of War and Ratchet & Clank (refer to the picture on the right).
Shadow Concept Macomber6

Shadow using one of his many guns in the game.

  • Although the game was directed towards a more mature audience, the game was nominated for a Golden Joystick Award for Family Game of the Year in 2006 on the website for the British newspaper The Sun.
  • Sonic is the only assistant character who can use the Homing Attack. This could be due to his involvement in one of the final bosses. This is also the only game in which a Homing Attack (only in Sonic's case as an NPC) can defy certain physics, such as being able to aim straight upward or instantly retaliating after getting hit.
  • When playing Lava Shelter in Expert Mode, it is possible to get stuck due to a design oversight. The Goal Ring is moved to the final volcanic defense system room. If a player uses Chaos Control at the wrong time, they will go down the path that one would normally take in the Hero Route, leading the player to getting trapped in a dead end with no way of finishing the level, forcing the player to restart.
  • In one cutscene, Sonic says, "Welcome to the next level!" a reference to one of SEGA's mottos used to promote the Sega 32X.
  • This is the first mainstream 3D Sonic game that does not feature Super Sonic as a playable character in the final boss.
    • In addition, this is the first mainstream 3D Sonic game where Super Sonic is unimportant to the game's plot, although he can be briefly seen during Shadow's flashbacks of the events of Sonic Adventure 2, which are relayed during the cutscene prior to Space Gadget as well as the cutscene shown prior to Lava Shelter.

The texture of the text used in the background of the Select Screen and Stage Select.

  • In the texture found in the background of the Select Screen, there is a text that features a lot of Engrish and poor grammar. A portion of this text reads "Shaodw, whats' worng? You cant escape from you distany. Shaodw, whats' worng? Let's destroy the nermies working together. Shadow?"
  • The scene where the Eclipse Cannon destroys the president's office is very similar to a scene in the movie Independence Day, where an alien laser beam destroys the White House. Whether this is an intentional reference or not is unknown.
  • The symbol of the game that represents Shadow also resembles a tomoe, with extra curves added to represent Shadow's spine.
  • The gun that Shadow is seen holding on the cover artwork for this game is not featured in the actual game.
  • As revealed by Ilzuka Takashi at Sonic Boom 2013, Shadow the Hedgehog is the last game released to be part of the Dreamcast Era, while Sonic Advance 3 was the last game of the Dreamcast Era chronologically. Sonic Rush starts off the Modern Era.[citation needed]
  • Vector and Omega cannot harm enemies by using the Spin Jump, which is most likely a bug because their AIs will still unsuccessfully try to attack that way.
  • The adaption of Black Doom's reason for gathering the Chaos Emeralds differs between the English and Japanese version of Shadow the Hedgehog. In the English version, he states that he needed the Chaos Emeralds to teleport the Black Comet down to earth because its velocity was not powerful enough to pass through a planet's atmosphere. In the Japanese version, he stated that the Black Comet is a cyclic comet that never touches a planet, so he needed the Chaos Emeralds teleport it down to the planet.
  • The reason behind the characters' paralysis differs between the adaptions of Shadow the Hedgehog. In the Japanese version, Black Doom states that the Black Comet releases a natural gas that, when coming into contact with the earth's atmosphere, develops into a toxin that paralyzes nerve cells. In the English version, he states that the Black Comet has just released a nerve gas that paralyze its victims when it has spread across the planet's crust.
  • Mistakenly, the European box on the back refers to the GUN Commander as "The General."
  • In the GameCube version, there exists a huge unused level in the game files. This one includes leftovers from the Egg Emperor's boss arena in Sonic Heroes with the same textures as the original battle arena. The unused level also includes exclusive large buildings, wide bridges and different street signs. These files also have a separate texture image depicting what looks like a city with the same name label as of Westopolis' textures, indicating that this level may be an older version of it.[46]
  • Two of the games bosses "Black Bull" and "Blue Falcon" share there names with vehicles from the Nintendo franchise F-ZER0, they belong to the antagonist Black Shadow and the protagonist Captain Falcon.
  • If the player has the game's subtitles in other languages (aside from English and Japanese), some of the sequences' numbers are mislabeled:
    • If the subtitles are set in French:
      • "Machine, Machine" will be listed as #019 instead of #020.
      • "To Be Known as ‘Ultimate’" will be listed as #099 instead of #100.
      • "Shadow Surpassing Shadow" will be listed as #168 instead of #167.
      • "Comprehension for a Miracle" will be listed as #181 instead of #182.
    • If the subtitles are set in German:
      • "Controller from the Capsule" will be listed as #052 instead of #051.
      • "Machine Utopia" will be listed as #053 instead of #054.
      • "Maria's Testament" will be listed as #277 instead of #278.





  1. According to the library version on the library ID stamp of Shadow the Hedgehog's Renderware engine. Library version uses hexadecimal numbers and has the form 0xVJNBB where "V" (3 bits) is the Renderware version, "J" (4 bits) is the major revision, "N" (4 bits) is the minor revision, and "B" (6 bits) is the binary revision. Version for instance would be encoded as 0x37000.
  2. GUN troops will not attack the player in Lost Impact and Westopolis, whereas Black Arm enemies do not attack the player in Space Gadget.
  3. Destroying Eggman's robots fills up the Hero Gauge in Circus Park, Iron Jungle, and Lava Shelter, as well as during the Egg Breaker boss fights. The same enemies fill up the Dark Gauge in Cryptic Castle, Mad Matrix, and Sky Troops upon destruction.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Shadow the Hedgehog for GameCube Overview. AllGame (26 January 2009). Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved on 26 January 2009.
  2. ゲームキューブ (Japanese). Sonic Channel. Sega.
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  11. Shadow the Hedgehog (Nintendo GameCube) United States instruction booklet, pg. 26.
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  20. Badnik Mechanic (8 January 2021). The Real Life Sonic & Shadow The Hedgehog Wrestling Match. YouTube. Retrieved on 6 June 2022.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Shadow the Hedgehog for GameCube. GameRankings.
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External links[]

Shadow the Hedgehog (game)

Main article · Scripts (Main Story, Last Story) · Credits · Manuals · Glitches · Beta elements · Library Sequences · Gallery
Sonic the Hedgehog spin-off games