Shadow the hedgehog is a really strange game. Its based on the sonic characters, in a 3d game, and on paper loads of things sound amazing. Choose to side with evil or good, as you play a mysterious character? Whats not to like!
Sadly... the gameplay. Basically in this game you are a sonic clone on roller skates with guns, i know this sounds amazing. Sadly, you move so fast you don't even see what it is you are aiming for. So you just kinda end up skating and shooting blindy, the game's pace is just way way too high.
On 2p mode, i am not kidding you, me and my brother played for about 30 mins on 1 game where you score kills on each other, not one of us scored a kill (and we barely scored any hits). Considering this was first to ten, i can only assume this is a great way to waste an entire day. The problem is being sonic and so on, your characters just move way way too fast. Let me put it this way, the only weapon in the game that kills in one shot is the missile launcher. If you fire the missile launcher, and skate full speed ahead, you can almost chase the missile the entire way! So how you are supposed to hit someone moving at that speed is beyond me. The only way we even managed to get any hits was using the machine gun, and following the person exactly, whilst shooting. But then all the person being chased has to do is turn off, and grab a health pack, and your back to where you started! What makes things worse is that the other person is a really small target, so its kinda like trying to shoot a fly, from 30 miles away, whilst travelling at 70mph... its not going to happen.
This game is kinda pointless, there is no real gameplay, the plot isn't really all there (literally, you are a mysterious person), and to top it off the graphics are terrible. Really, this game is not worth the cd it comes on.
Shadow the Hedgehog is an action game developed by Sega for the Playstation 2.
The game stars Shadow who is basically a more badass version of Segas Sonic the Hedgehog. The story follows Shadow who has amnesia and doesn't remember how he came to exist, he finds out that a Black Arms leader knows his name and he is asked to bring him the Chaos Emeralds, Shadow plays along to see if it will lead him to find anything else about himself. The games story is pretty intriguing and it is nice to have some influence over it yourself as well as learn about Shadow.
The gameplay has you take control of Shadow the hedgehog, the gameplay has been taken from the Sonic adventure series and Shadow controls much like Sonic, he can go through giant rings at great speed aswell as collect rings himself. He can also use some special moves which include Chaos control which will speed you through a level or chaos blast which will annihilate all the enemies on screen.
The game has been "enhanced" from the Sonic titles as Shadow is able to use guns in a series first but it doesn't seem to really fit in the Sonic universe and besides that your homing attack seems to get the job done alot better as it gives you more control over who you are going to attack.
Also included are vehicles that Shadow can take control of and yet again these sections don't seem to fit in the game, the controls are poor for a start and why would a super powerful speedy hedgehog choose to hop on a bike? Unfortunately the game has also been enhanced with a horrible camera that will frequently get in your way and lead you to your doom offering you the most unfavourable views of the action.
The best thing about the game is the multiple options you have through it, you can either help out Sonic and friends and do objectives for them, help the Black Arms and fight for them or ignore everyone and just get to end of levels for yourself. There are multiple endings to the game depending on what you do.
Graphics are quite good, but no better than what was seen in Sonic Adventure 2. The voice over is fairly good though.
Shadow the hedgehog has some good moments and the multiple endings are good, it's a shame the content that is new for the game is not as good as it should be.
Shadow the hedgehog's trailer was propaganda-the trailer looked amazing and the ending was awesome seeing Shadow looking over a defeated Sonic.
So what do we get a PS1 looking peice of crap-basicly Shadow cant remember anything apart from the name Maria-anyway aliens come from space and start deastroying the city, Shadow is confrinted by the leader Black Doom(or Rather his third eye) and tells him he promised him the chaos emerleds-Shadow goes off to Do what black doom says, Do what he wants or Be good and stop the alien invasion.
Basicly you can be Good, Bad or Normal helping the likes of Sonic, Tails, Rouge, Knuckles and more.
The guns(thats right guns!) arnt as fun as they look in the trailer you cant aim and the guns are all the same.
Although the coolest feture by far is the chaos mode-if you do good the chaos power is chaos power is choas control-while is you do bad your chaos power is choas blast.
Some levels are quite....well....fun, while the rest are so badly done you could cry.
The bosses are fun as long as it isnt Doctor Eggman in a slot machine (Dont)buy it to see what I mean-also whoever brought it to kick the hell out of sonic will be suprised to find out that you dont accually fight him you use him as a bounce on to kill another boss!!!!!
In other word Sonic team coned us all(well in my opieon)
Dont buy it, stay away and Please if you want to play a good Sonic game play Sonic 2 on the megadrive or if a recent game Sonic adventure 2(which premires the first appernce of the black hedgehog-who should be like he is in Sonic X)
Nothing sparks great memories more than my classic days of Sonic the Hedgehog (not be confused with the new next generation title of the same name). The 2d platform game with the blue hedgehog was the first game I ever played on a games console. This was great little game as was the predecessors that came out in the coming years. I even remember playing the equivalent titles for consoles like the Sega Master System and Game Gear. Well you would think I would have more mature tastes in video gamines these days but actually I am not ashamed to say my tastes are quite the opposite. Not always one for living in the past these types of games still provide much enjoyment and fond memories of teenage days.
Several years ago I purchased the Sonic Gems Collection quickly followed by the Sonic Mega Collection. I had seen these and thought I would really like to play the games I closely admired 10 years or more ago. These were collections of titles from the Sonic Team featuring old Sega games of the 90's featuring Sonic and company as seen on Sega consoles (and an arcade game or two thrown in for good measure). Needless to say these games took me right back to my younger days and I quickly found a new fondness for these titles.
It was not long before my intrigue lead me to buy the game in question for this review, Shadow the Hedgehog for the Playstation 2.
Be warned, this review is extremely detailed and contains some spoilers.
~ The Game ~
In this game you take control of Shadow, a hedgehog (as the title suggests). Shadow is a black hedgehog with red markings and is based in the same Universe of walking talking action animal characters as portrayed in the Sonic Team Universe. You take control of Shadow through a number 3d platform levels and bosses. The general story is that as the game progresses Shadow learns more about his past and has to decide who he really is in order to make sense of it. The story starts Shadow off as an enemy as the Commander (a human character) sets the GUN forces on him. The black creatures are trying to invade the planet lead by Black Doom. Dr. Eggman, the traditional enemy of Sonic and company sees the Dark creatures invasion as a threat to his own evil plans and actually joins forces to try and drive off the black creatures. Depending on the way you complete the levels the actual story varies slightly. However as all will become clear as you play the game this is not as straightforward as it seems, there is slightly more but if I told it would be a major spoiler so I resist including this spoiler.
On starting up the game you will asked if you want the game to play at 50Hz or 60Hz. This is picture related and you need to have an NTSC connection to play at 60hz that not all Pal (UK and European) equipment will have. The game allows you test this on this screen, I seem to get the game in black and white when I tried the 60Hz option so I always select the 50Hz option here.
Initially when you first ever play the game you will be asked if you would like to start the game with the auto save feature turned on. As with nearly every game these days saving is vital and you would not have a chance to complete this game in one go, there is simply too much to do, it would take a week of more continuous play to acheive what I would consider a mastered game. Therefore you will need this turned on and a memory card to do this. Every time after this you will be asked if you want to load saved data automatically on start up. Saving occurs when you unlock new items, after a stage has been completed, you beat time, scores, etc in select mode. The game tells you when it saving by bringing up a blue screen. Saving and loading saved data seems to be pretty quick unlike the loading times for the actual stages that to me is quite abysmal for a Playstation 2 game.
On the first menu screen you have the option to select 1 or 2 player options as well as the options. Due to the 2 player options being relatively limited most of this review reflects single player mode.
In each level you will encounter and number of good characters help you along the way for achieving your hero mission. These include Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, Amy (with Cream and Cheese), Omega, Charmy, Rouge, Vector, Espio and Maria.
Dark characters include Dooms Eye, Dr. Eggman and Black Doom
~ Levels ~
When you first play the game you have only Story Mode to choose from, Select Mode becomes available after the first run through of Story Mode.
In Story Mode you make your way through game following the story, there are several different story routes as will become clear later. Before and after each level you will see cut scenes between the different characters. However you cannot skip these the first time round, because you will probably find yourself playing Story Mode several times to unlock all the levels (more on this later) you can skip the cut scene if you have already seen it here however frustratingly you will have to wait for it too load first. This can be slow and frustrating if you just want to get to the next level. These do not add too much value to the game. Library Mode will appear on the Story Mode screen after the first run through of Story Mode so each path you take will log another story. So if you really felt like it you could play the game so you unlocked all 326 possible story routes however I do not know anyone who has attempted this and I doubt there would be any award for doing so that was worth the time and effort.
In Select Mode you can play all the levels you have completed in Story Mode however you must have completed that run through of Story Mode before the stages you unlocked in that run become available. In all there are 22 stages, 10 end bosses and 7 bosses in between stages (randomly placed). Therefore you need to complete the game in story mode a minimum of 10 times to unlock all the levels in Select Mode if you planned your route each time most efficiently. At the beginning of the game Shadow starts on 5 lives and can gain lives in various ways.
The levels are set so that you can take any number routes to the final level however you do need to complete the game a minimum of 10 times and replay the levels in Select mode to achieve the most out of this game.
Through out each level there are a number of save points, the actual number depends on the level in question. These allow Shadow to return to this point if he dies, however you will return to the beginning of the level from scratch if you if you run out of lives (and start on 5 lives again). These save points also act as teleporters to previously activated save points, these are useful if you wish to return to an earlier place in the level or proceed forward again. Useful if you have missed something for one of the missions. Also when activated you will be awarded rings, the amount seems to vary. If you have collected 100 rings or more BEFORE activating the save point when touched you will be awarded an extra life however you will only get this the once for each save point. Touching a save point will not save the rings you have if you die and start from that point again. An interesting note, if you die, you will return to the last save point touched even if this is earlier in the level than others you have touched, however because you can teleport between save points this is not a problem if you were further into the level at the time.
Pausing the game (by pressing Start) produces and handy little menu when in the level. Here you have the option to resume, restart the level from the beginning (loose a life in doing so) or quit. As well as these options you can see the three mission boxes (even if there are only 2 on the level), these tell you what you have to do to complete the mission. In Story mode you can also see the way each mission will take you in the story by bringing up the level map, you do this by pressing triangle.
In Story Mode you play 6 of the 22 levels (one at each stage) and a final end boss, depending on the route you could play up to 3 additional bosses along the way but you may play no additional bosses. You have either 2 or 3 ways to complete each stage hence the story route changes according to the way you play it. You complete each stage by the Dark, Normal or Hero mission. At stages 2, 4, and 5 the outer most 2 levels at each level only have 2 ways to complete them so you can only play 2 of the three missions (see comments on levels to see what I mean). All 5 Stage 6 levels only have 2 ways to complete Therefore you have a total of 71 missions to complete throughout the 22 stages and 17 bosses. I little interesting bit of note, in select Mode you can see and play all the levels including bosses. However something I found odd, the ranks (more on this below) are shown backwards with hero at the top and dark at the bottom of the list however the levels are shown with the dark mission at the top. An oversight by the developers perhaps, this confused me a lot to begin with and took me along the wrong route in some Story Mode games as a result.
The following is a quick overview of each stage. Difficulty is generated from all the missions for that level as well as the level as a whole. I have not mentioned spoilers such as bonuses behind the key doors as these can help make the level much easier and do not want to spoil it for you.
Westopolis: The first stage of the game is the only mandatory stage in story mode and probably the most enjoyable as you may end playing this the most. Set in a city environment you make your way through a linear level dodging explosions the Gun Forces and dark enemies. Not really that challenging a start, I would not expect it too be. Difficulty easy. 3 missions.
Digital Circuit: Set in a computer matrix this is played as Shadow in a virtual reality. Racing along a circuit as well as standard platforms Shadow must complete this level in using a variety of different beams and such. It can be quite easy to loose rings navigating the circuit as you encounter vertical beams if you take the wrong fork to the end of the room. Difficulty easy to medium. 2 missions.
Glyphic Canyon: Race through a temple themed environment, Shadow will be sucked up into whirlwinds and storms and transported further into the level. Watch out for the falling pillars and the darks enemies that seem to be everywhere. Looks very good and quite impressed with the playability of the level. Difficulty easy to moderate. 3 missions.
Lethal Highway: Set in a similar city type environment to Lethal Highway you find your path blocked by platforms and such you have to jump over. One of the possible missions here is to defeat the flying ship as it sails through the level. This mission in particular was difficult at first but once you have the hang of it is easier to complete however getting the 'A' rank requires a bit more skill. Difficulty easy to moderate. 2 missions.
Boss (Lethal Highway) - Black Bull: This flying like creature is relatively easy to defeat however can be somewhat tricky even to get anything other than an 'E' rank. There are a few black creatures knocking about that you can kill for guns otherwise it is the homing attack and using Chaos Control to inflict as much damage as possible. Difficulty moderate to hard.
Cryptic Castle: Set in and around a spooky castle. I find completing the dark mission here is frustrating as I always miss one of the lanterns I need to light as these sometimes set away from the main path however getting the A rank for this mission does not require that quick time so you are ok if you miss one. The little characters of Cream and Cheese (do not ask) must be found in the hero mission, very easy mission. Some good extras hidden in the level. Difficulty moderate. 3 missions.
Boss (Cryptic Castle) - Egg Breaker: This has to be the easiest boss I have encountered in a game of this type. Getting the 'A' rank is really easy, in fact my best time in defeating this boss is 52 seconds but I achieved an 'A' rank with over 2 minutes on the clock. I only give this a difficulty of slightly higher than easy because of the frenzied pace that the Egg Breaker comes at you at. Difficulty Easy to moderate.
Prison Island: This is loosely prison themed level but as with many levels the whole way you play games of this type demands challenges. This level has green poison rivers that can only be navigated with the saucers provided throughout the level. Various fun obstacles here such as spring platforms and grinding pipes. The highlight here is to help Charmy get the disks with the hero mission however for some I guess Charmy could be one of the most annoying characters in the game. Difficulty moderate. 3 missions.
Circus Park: As the title suggests this has a circus theme to it. Enemies include rather novel juggling clown types on beach balls! Obstacles include a tightrope that Shadow actually grinds on and circus tents you need to climb on top of. There is also a zip line and shooting galleries (balloons). However the shooting balloons is rather optional and does not bring anything to the level other than a few extra rings. Difficulty easy to difficult. 3 missions.
Central City: Another city based level. Previous levels have been start at one end and finish at the other. This one is the first of several where you take more than one route depending on the mission. The different missions in themselves are quite easy, you just have to be careful not to die which is easier to do here because of bombs and poison rivers. Difficulty moderate. Mission2.
The Doom: Set in a maze of corridors and hangar areas this level has echoes of one of the Alien games I played years ago for the Playstation. In this level you have to rescue the researchers for the hero mission by picking up heal units scattered throughout the level. This is easier said than done, throwing the unit at them to heal them will not work unless you are fairly accurate. The really annoying however is that you have to kill the 50 GUN Soldiers for the dark mission, this is a slow task given this level also has many route options so you need to be careful not to miss any. You can also blow up walls in this level to access parts of the level to complete missions and take shortcuts. Difficulty moderate to hard. Missions 3.
Boss (The Doom) - Heavy Dog: Another not so tricky boss if you know the right moves, very easy to achieve top rank again. All that is required to defeat this floating machine is to destroy one of its cannons and gab the gun dropped then just shoot to your hearts content. The particle cannon is the only thing that might stand in your way but does not pose a threat to Shadow. Difficulty easy to moderate.
Sky Troops: This level is similar to Glyphic Canyon, in fact 75% of it appears to be identical, even down to the same short cut, only difference is you do not get swept up into whirlwinds and the slightly different dark and hero missions. Makes this level much easier as you have practically played this before. Difficulty easy to moderate. Missions 3.
Mad Matrix: Set on a similar theme to Digital Circuit this level takes you to a central area where form you can find the specific parts for the mission you are doing. The tricky part here is navigating the circuit and the confusing u-turns on walls the circuit routes tare you too however if you have good idea of which platform/ zone you want to be in then you can just about get yourself there. The missions are relatively easy besides that. Difficulty moderate (just for the confusing directions the circuit can take you in. Missions 3.
Boss (Mad Matrix) - Egg Breaker: Essentially the same as the boss above. Only difference is the setting, the platforms above which you can use (but add nothing in my opinion) and the different type of weapon the Egg Breaker uses. This boss is slightly harder than the last one but still easy to obtain a high rank. Difficulty moderate.
Death Ruins: This is a favourite level for me, reminds me of an area in one of the Final Fantasy games (my favourite game franchise at the moment). The theme is dark eerie temple ruins. Generally quite linear there is point where you can take a different route but rejoin the path soon after. In places this level can be tricky however it is nothing that has not come before (what ever route you took) so even in story mode the level should not pose too much of a challenge. Seems a bit odd a level this good only has the option of 2 missions to complete given the scope here. As a result this level is rather short for me. Difficulty moderate. Missions 2.
Boss (Death Ruins) - Black Bull: Another return boss. This time far easier, in fact the opposite end of the spectrum, extremely easy to defeat, if it takes longer than 40 seconds I would be surprised. Just grab a gun and shoot at the eye, the grind rail above and around the creature is of no value to this level just like the platforms for the Egg Breaker. This appears to be a boss just to bulk up the game. Difficulty very easy.
The Ark: This is a rather simple level, you take control of a hawk creature and fly through the space themed level either to destroy the defence units or fly to the end ring, the route is littered with obstacles but I would not say these are too difficult to over come as you can just shoot them out of the way. Seems to be some fairly pointless platforms along the way that bring nothing to completing this level. Difficulty easy to moderate. Missions 2.
Boss (The Ark) - Blue Falcon: This boss is the same as Heavy dog, do not see why they were called differently. Difference here is that the boss moves up and down, again just grab a weapon and fire is the order of the day using the platform up above as base to inflict damage on the machine. Cannot say much more than that. Difficulty easy to moderate.
Air Fleet: This is another chase scenario. Set in what appears to be a GUN hangar of some sort you must protect the president as he escapes in his pod or destroy the pod. This was one of the trickier levels to gain the infamous 'A' rank so picking the most efficient route to complete the mission in question was a must. This is one of the more enjoyable, all be it frustrating, levels. Difficulty moderate to Hard. Mission 3.
Iron Jungle: Set in an industrial style environment. This level again is relatively easy to complete however gaining 'A' ranks can be tricky. Shadow must destroy the egg balloon in another chase mission for the hero route. This is fairly samey to other levels, the application of the theme is all that really separates it from other levels. Difficulty moderate. Missions 3.
Boss (Iron Jungle) - Egg Breaker: Yes, him again. This time he has a laser to fire at you and again just obtain a rocket launcher from one of his fellow cronies, dodge the lasers and fire. Simple as that, takes a bit longer and requires much more care to defeat. This is the hardest of these mid-story bosses. Difficulty moderate to hard.
Space Gadget: As the title would tell you this is set in space and involved gadgets. The gadgets in question here are gravity switching devices. There are two missions executed by hitting the ring here, one before Sonic arrived and one after, getting 'A' ranks is really easy for these two missions. This level is peculiar as the level is set on different gravity settings so at the end of a platform you could be transported to platform that is side ways ti one you are currently on by hitting the green device. I get the feeling with this level that it was not properly completed or programmed the way it should have been. One of the keys here is only accessed by performing an odd move against a wall in a way which catapults you into the air to land on the platform above. This was probably the hardest of all the keys to get and was more luck than judgement. Difficulty easy to moderate. Missions 3.
Lost Impact: One again set in a space theme, similar to The Doom. In this one you use GUN lifts to travel from area to area (and take out enemies in between). For the hero mission you must destroy the research experiments, not the easiest of enemies to defeat as they break up once hit so sustain much less damage however master your aim right and you can kill them far more quickly. Very tricky to gain an 'A' rank for the hero mission. Not easy to kill them on the GUN lift however. Difficulty moderate to hard. Missions 2.
Gun Fortress: This is set in a similar theme to Air Fleet. There is not a lot to say, again much of this has come before. There are quite a lot of obstacles including some ever so annoying walls that come down in front of you in the tunnel parts of the level slowing your progress. Shadow can take control of tank to drive through the level but this only slows him down and does not bring too mush the game as vehicles are not as manoeuvrable as I would like them to be. Difficulty easy. Missions 2.
Final bosses (Gun Fortress): Sonic and Diablon / Black Doom
Black Comet: This level is set in a black creatures theme, also slightly like a haunted thing going on but without the haunt. I find this one quite fun as you can rush through the level in a lot of places. There are slight variations of the route in each level, I found that killing lots dark enemies therefore having Chaos Control was quite handy to use to skip some parts of the level as this level is relatively bland and repeats itself throughout. Difficulty easy to moderate. Missions 2.
Final bosses (Black Comet): Sonic and Diablon / Egg Dealer
Lava Shelter: It comes as no surprise that this level has an industrial lava theme. This level reminds me more of the original feel of Sonic games than any of the other levels. I would say this is also quite an enjoyable level, more in the fact there is a new challenge here in avoiding a fall into the lava via a number of sliding platforms and enemies trying their best to knock you into the lava. Fairly straightforward missions other than the fact you have to navigate yourself safely through the level with some care. Difficulty moderate. Missions 2.
Final bosses (Lava Shelter): Egg Dealer / Egg Dealer
Cosmic Fall: This has be the trickiest level to complete and provides a refreshingly good challenge. Shadow must negotiate his way through another space themed level. Obstacles such as rotating platforms and use jump vehicles to proceed. This level took much doing and had some really frustrating moments in completing the various mission routes. The only problem with this level is the camera angles as I mention later. The level throughout automatically points the camera in the direction it preserves you need to go however this is not particularly helpful in showing the route you need. Difficulty moderate to hard. Missions 2.
Final bosses (Cosmic Fall): Egg Dealer / Black Doom
Final Haunt: Still a Stage 6 level, it just happens to be the last levels in terms of select mode (working left to right, top to bottom). This is bit like Black Comet and works on the same theme, not too sure if you would call this level haunted mind you. This level uses some of the same scenery as Black Comet but just uses it slightly differently (the developers of this game have not got me fooled with there shortcuts). The novelty here I suppose is that the way for the hero route will be blocked if you activate the shields for the dark mission but this is not a problem once again if you have played the level through once. Difficulty moderate. Missions 2.
Final Bosses (Final Haunt): Sonic and Diablon / Black Doom
I have decided to treat these as 3 groups as between 10 final bosses there are actually only 3 different ones in slightly different themes, other than that they play essentially the same:
Sonic and Diablon: For these 3 bosses the trick is the lure Sonic into jumping so you can use him to get enough height to do damage to Diablon via the homing attack move, these levels also contain crates with weapons hidden in or around them so you can use them to do damage. Sometimes tricky to finish this boss of it requires quick damage to gain an 'A' rank, because Diablon will speed a way form you, sometimes into mid air off the edge of the platform you must take your opportunities and move appropriately so he stays on the platform within attacking range. Difficulty hard.
Egg Dealer: This is fun boss, Dr. Eggman races around in his four legged contraption, you must hit his 3 buttons his vehicle to inflict damage, hit quickly to match three symbols and stand a chance to inflict much better damage of his own making. All four bosses are the same except for the location.. Not the trickiest of final bosses I have ever encountered. Difficulty easy to moderate.
Black Doom: The 3 Black Doom bosses also perform pretty much the same. Using the weapons and the raised platforms in the arena to best effect you must inflict damage, using the homing attack is effective but the gun more so. Black Doom creates ghost images of himself to trick you but the actual black Doom is easy to follow, it may take a bit of time to defeat this boss but getting the top rank again is very doable, may take a few more goes than the others due to the lack of rings but overall is actually easier than Sonic and Diablon. Difficulty moderate.
Overall the bosses in this game are enjoyable but easy. Certainly the developers of the game have missed this opportunity to get something good out of the game however all is not lost if you read further down in the major spoiler section. The bosses somehow struggle to fit into the story, because the same boss is used on more than one occasion even more so. My favourite boss the play against is Egg Dealer for the slight comic value. The best looking theme wise is Blue Falcon as this looks the coolest of the bosses.
~ Rankings ~
As touched on slightly above you are awarded a rank at the end of each stage per mission ranging from A-E, 'A' being the best. So you will end up with either two or three ranks as per the various ways to complete each stage mentioned above. One rank is also award per boss. The rank is made up of a score depending on how quickly you completed the level and the Dark or Hero Score. So simply completing hero or dark routes quickly does not guarantee a high score if you have not achieved a decent score for the hero or dark as obtained by completing tasks and killing enemies as these are added together. Similarly completing the normal route quickly does not guarantee a good rank if you have acquired a high score in hero or dark as this is subtracted from the normal score. It is important to remember that fro example you complete the dark mission but have points in Hero this will be subtracted from the score. Some care has to be taken when completing your chosen route and some knowledge of the level will certainly help gaining the 'A' ranks much quicker rather than going in gun ho.
These points are converted into the ranks, each mission has different points requirements for the ranks depending on the stage and mission completed. For example one level may require15,000 points to get an A rank and 35,000 may be required for another or even another mission in same level if the mission difficulty was that far apart. There will also be varying gaps between each rank depending on the stage and mission, in some cases 5,000 points could be the gap in others just 250 points or so.
During the level Hero, Normal and Dark scores are recorded at the top of the screen, this increase as you carry out relative tasks. For example killing GUN soldier increase your dark score (GUN are the good guys), the same will happen to your hero score if you kill a dark creature. Also any tasks relevant to one of the missions will also score points. However should you loose a life the scores will return to zero so if you were going for an 'A' rank sometimes it might be better to start the level over form the start by using the restart option in the pause menu (thus avoiding having to reload the level).
What I found hard to believe is the basis for these ranks as some stages were much easier to get the A rank and others almost impossible without playing the level to perfection. This may have been a deliberate design in the game so some stages were genuinely easier or it could be a sign that the stages were not tested properly. I have always thought this an oddity.
If you want to view your scores select mode shows you this by simply pressing X on the stage in question, rank and score will be shown together. On the subject of the select mode screen, apart from being able to see all the levels and scores you can also see the number of 'A' ranks you have out of the possible 71. You can also view the number of keys you have (more on this further down). What do you get if you obtain all 71 'A' ranks, the spoiler at the bottom of this review will tell you.
~ Graphics ~
For a game this age, about 3 years old now, the graphics have held up well, the actual look may not have utilised the Playsation 2's full potential but some of the effects and movies do the console justice for around the time this game was produced.
There are however issues here such as ghost graphics, occasionally the games camera works its way into the solid platforms, walls, etc. and show the hollow inside of the graphic. Another major bug I found was if you run through a door to quickly you might fall to a death because the floor had not loaded quick enough and you would die or get caught in/ under the floor. I ended up having to reset the game sometimes as I got stuck in the graphics on occasion when this occurred, as if the game had crashed. This bug does not seem limited to that of floors, now and again I encountered a few other bugs where something would not load and produce similar effects on me trying to complete the stage.
Before you reach the first menu screen a CGI movie plays, this of course can be skipped, however the CGI shown here is not as massively evident in game as I would have liked to see. Most cut scenes and such like are done in the same level of graphics as seen in the levels. The detail of cut scenes could probably have done with some better graphics, if not CGI something approaching it rather than the in game graphics.
~ Playability ~
The game is very playable however there are flaws in controlling Shadow and inconsistent or poor viewing angles that make it so you have to be very careful, even then it could still go wrong because of these. This is in addition to the bugs mentioned above.
The game has several moves Shadow can perform depending the obstacles, enemies, platform, etc. you encounter. Not all of these work as well as they could. Homing attack is one Shadow can use against enemies to kill them however hit the enemy in rush attack (rapid sequence of homing attacks) and in some circumstances you could loose rings, die or get even get pushed of the platform due to the inconsistent nature of the play. Another issue is the ring/ speed dash, using the circle button against a line of rings on the ground or in mid air propels shadow to the end of them or in the air this is used as a mean to propel Shadow to another platform or area, sometimes as a shortcut. However in the air this is extremely dodgy. If you are not facing the line of rings perfectly you just end up not doing anything and fall to a death in most cases. Also jumping into a line of rings i.e. not from the beginning of the ring line also has disastrous results as hitting circle only makes Shadow jump up from the rings and normally unless luck be on your side you will fall to an unfair death.
The most annoying thing about the game in my opinion is the camera angle. You can change the angle yourself using the right directional stick on the joy pad however the game at times takes control of the angle in play by default, especially in non linear levels where, say for example you move up down or from platforms to the side of you. In a couple of cases I had Shadow disappear of the bottom of the screen while the game moved the camera round ninety degrees or so allowing me to see the next platform, Cosmic fall was one level in which is happened. In another the camera skipped to a top down view of a moving platform to see things dropping down from above but you could not see Shadow he was that small in the distance, again this happened to me Cosmic Fall. Once I fell of the platform because of this. Also having a character following you in the level means if the camera angle/ distance is not right you cannot see Shadow, for example if the camera is too close to Shadow he will be blocked from view by your fellow accomplice. This has caused me some problems; I did die once because I could not see that Shadow was already on the edge of the platform.
This is probably me being finicky but I found the introduction of the characters in the level to be rather annoying. As you play into the level you will be introduced to the 2 characters that will advise you on the course of action you will need to take to complete the mission related to that character. The problem I find is that you could be just getting into your stride rushing through the level and say for example Black Doom appears as in Westopolis, you can be stopped in your speedy tracks for a few moments while he talks to you, you have to play the game to really see how annoying this can be. Fortunately this only happens the one time per level play through per character, so if you die and start from before you met the character you will not be introduced again.
The other aspects of play are pretty fun and work quite well. Shadow can pick up a wide range of weapons from pistols to machine guns, rocket launchers to lock on missiles as well as some special weapons you gain and upgrade by completing the game from crate throughout the game. The only problem with using these is if the camera comes close in, especially when up against a wall you cannot see who you are shooting very well and often waste vital ammo. There is no separate ammo to weapons, if you pick up more of a weapon you add to the ammo. Only problem is if you accidentally run over weapon and you have a different one (or sometimes non at all) you can risk the chance the game will pick it up for you if you run over it too slow. This can be frustrating if you did not intend too have that type of weapon in hand. As weapons have different effects e.g. some do more damage, some lock on, etc., some are better in certain types of situations. There is probably too much ammo in the game, you can collect several times as much as you need in most instances.
Throughout the different stages in the game you will come across crates and item bubbles (item bubbles will be inside crates and are also found in hidden locations),. In my opinion there are too many crates that it makes the game too easy but a lot of fun to play. You can gain weapons as well as extra rings and abilities such as a ring magnet, enemy barrier, etc. Weapons are also obtainable from crates as well as killing certain enemies. As well as crates you may encounter one of these items hidden in the level.
One of the big draws for me that keeps me playing levels over and over is that you can smash just about any bit of scenery, some levels have much more than others so if you fancy a bit of fun smashing stuff certain levels are more likely candidates than others.
~ Keys, doors, much fun!!! ~
As well as the Hero, Dark and Normal missions in each level you can also collect keys, each level as five keys that unlock a door in that level. Behind these doors could be one (or two) normally useful things. This includes warp holes to further in the level, rings, lives, vehicles, guns, etc. These can helpful in gaining some of the 'A' ranks in the game i.e. the warp hole will help in obtaining the normal rank much quicker, heavy guns will help in hero or dark tasks if you have to kill all the good or bad guys roaming the level. Some of these have very little use, in one of the levels from behind the door you get a tank in a level that does not really have the terrain for it, using it in achieving any sort of higher rank is impossible, in fact it was probably detrimental to any tasks on that level.
There are a couple of tough keys to grab, I was able to grab a couple are tough keys by collecting and dying. If you loose a life or use a continue you still keep that key however you only keep it if you complete the level (therefore you can save or auto save kicks in, depending on your set up). One key was on a level where it was impossible to obtain it in a conventional jump fashion, I had to use a very tricky move to get this and I am convinced it was not meant to be obtained in the manner. However the vast majority of keys are not too much hassle to grab, they are simply hidden out of view or require you to turn around from the normal direction of travel in the level and there it is, sitting there for you to grab.
The benefits of the keys is great and I am sure I would still be trying to accomplish the perfect mastered game to this day without the bonuses obtained behind the doors.
~ 2 Player Mode ~
As I mentioned earlier there is not much to this mode, in fact it is the only really poor feature in this game. There is not a great deal to say about it. Before you begin you have the choice of selecting one of six different shadows, 2 normal looking shadows (different markings) and 4 metallic looking Shadow characters with different coloured markings.
You can choose to play best of or best of three levels, the aim is to beat the other player. The levels are relatively small with no real challenge to them. You can still collect rings, guns, etc. as in the normal game but this about as exciting as it gets. There are 3 different levels to choose from, you play all three if you choose the best of three option. Too be honest I would have preferred something different for this mode such as a race against the other player. I would have also liked the option for just a 1 player against the computer. This is a much under utilised mode in the game and very poor considering all the playability of the rest of the game.
~ Options ~
As with a lot of games you get the chance to slightly tailor the game. In the options screen you can adjust the sound (Mono, Stereo or Dolby Digital), language of subtitles, vibration setting, load a game (if you want to load another set of saves) and listen to the in-game music. Regardless of whether you change or listen to anything in the options it seems to save the game anyway, not sure why.
****Major spoiler alert, the following sections contains major game spoilers.****
Note about the in-game music option just above there. I am lead to believe these become available after you do certain things. I did not check these as I went along but I think more have added themselves to the list of tunes you can listen to.
~ The ending ~
Make that the final ending. Once you have completed all 10 of the final bosses in Story Mode the Last Story is opened, this is the true ending to the game. This is a very long-winded bit but is worth it say you have completed the game properly. This comes in two stages, firstly you have a proper stage however all you have to do is get to the end before the timer runs out. The reason I mention this stage is because it is a bit of a cheat, it is basically made up of sections from other levels. I am not fooled, it seems like it was a last minute inclusion. The second stage is the final Black Doom boss, this is relatively easy to beat on the whole, you get to play Super Shadow here and die if you run out of rings that count down, this can be tricky, it may take some time to complete this boss but you should only take a few goes to defeat it.
Throughout the Last Story you are subjected to an unnecessarily high amount of those slow loading cut scenes throughout it sequence of events. You are able to play this again in the separate mode that appears on the main 1 player screen. The main problem I have is that you cannot just the play the boss or the Final Way stage as a stand-alone however I found that as the game saves after the Final Way stage I could just turn off the console and the extra keys I had obtained would be saved for the next time. Problem is if you just want to play the final boss you cannot so this on its own. Still having to be subjected to the cut scenes unlike the levels in Select Mode that lets you just play the level is very tedious, they should have included these in Select Mode for easy access.
~ New Mode ~
Expert Mode is accomplished once you have achieved the 71 'A' ranks in Select Mode. This Mode is basically all the levels played in order so stage 1 first then all stage 2 and so on (without bosses). The aim is only to complete the level in the only way you can, you will get prompts as to which route it is however it soon becomes evident as the other completion options are normally deleted from the level anyway so if you missed the hint just look at what is there too do. However there have been some changes to the levels to make it trickier. As you achieved the 71 'A' ranks task these changes are relatively easy as you will have the experience to do these. So for example if there was a speed ramp jump you would now have to do a wall-to-wall jump followed by the ring dash in mid air as is evident in Westopolis. On top of that you start with only 3 lives and if you loose them all you have to start at stage one again. This is not too much of a problem with the abundance of lives available through out this mode such as collecting lives at each save point if you have more than 100 rings. I completed this mode with over 50 lives at the end even though I lost around 5 or so throughout completing this mode. Once completed you do not seem to get any sort of special extra, I think this bit was just designed for a bit of fun and is the extra reward. I think this is probably worth it as well in my view although once again a bit of a cheat using existing levels in some way but provides a fun final challenge.
~ Another thing ~
After doing some research for this review I came across some interesting information that this game has been censored and was not released how originally intended. Apparently aspects such as use of bad language and blood from the GUN soldiers were removed because of its much harder image than that other Sonic Team games and the audience these games are generally aimed at. With a 12+ rating I believe it might have been even higher had it not been censored.
~ Anything missing ~
I believe there is a certain something missing, the traditional Sonic game feel is not quite there. I would have included special stages and such like, instead of getting the Emeralds in the levels play special stages by completing a certain task in the level to gain access to play it much like the Sonic games of old. This sort of thing was what made Sonic games standout in the early days against the competition but that line has been blurred. I would have also liked to have played the other characters in the game because as far as I know you cannot play them. Even if it was impossible to complete certain levels with those characters it would have been fun trying. Other than that a few tweaks here and there as mentioned above would have been good. Generally just more time spent on finishing the game nicely, the game is underdone rather than overdone so a bit more time to get it just right would have meant I rate this game higher.
~ Manual and Packaging ~
There is nothing that special about the packaging, the game comes in a standard Playstation 2 blue box with the space for memory card as well as the game disk and manual.
The cover of the game box as you can see in the picture is quite simple but striking and definitely has a masculine feel to it. It shows Shadow in an action pose with an explosion behind and the very cool Shadow the Hedgehog logo above.
The reverse of the box is what got me to buy this game the most. It centres on the 'Hero or Villain' and 'Friend or Foe' aspect to the game. There is a picture of Shadow in the top left hand corner. There are three pictures of the actual game however I suspect these have been enhanced from what we actually see on screen. Below that we have four of the main characters, Sonic, The Commander, Doctor Eggman and Black Doom. Then all the usual things you get on a computer game box such as game rating, Sega logos, PS2 hologram and copyright information.
The manual itself is probably one of the best I have seen. It goes to some lengths to describe the various aspects of the game in a simple fashion but without getting too complicated. It does not tell you everything about every aspect but if it did I think it would go into spoiler territory. Overall well planned and thought out, useful if you have problems with the controls. However, If you are like me you normally look at this last when you find yourself half way through the game wondering why you can not do something then finding out it was a case of doing something very simple like looking in the manual in the first place.
~ Price ~
I bought his game for £19.99, well worth it in my opinion. I have been provided with many hours of game play despite some of it being repetitive. You can now pick this game up new and used for under £10. Play.com, HMV and Amazon are several places you can buy online for a decent price. I suspect this game can now be found used as trade-ins at most stores on the high street who offer this.
~ How does this compare to the competition ~
This is tricky, when comes to Sonic games you can safely say there is not much to compare against. This is poor representation of a modern Sonic universe game. Other games series such as Spyro, Crash and Mario would be the obvious contenders, regular reincarnations of these titles all provide great playability however I do not think, for me at least, that these have managed to surpass the novelty character (that is how I would describe it) game genre. There seems to be regular new Sonic Team games produced, Sonic the Hedgehog (the new version) for example is one of the most recent new releases, I look forward to playing this one when I get my hands on one of the next generation consoles later in the year.
~ Finally ~
This game is probably a weak link in the Sonic Team universe. The game could have been much better if a bit more care had been taken. I really think this game was rushed to get it completed. Such a shame because I really enjoyed many aspects such as the extras you get and cinematic scenes (however limited these scenes were). I ask a lot of questions as to why they went to such lengths only to spoil certain aspects through poor design. The game for the price provides excellent value but as a game as a whole I would give this game 3 out of 5 stars due to the poor controls/ camera and missing links in the game.
~ Technical information ~
Released by Sega
The game is rated PEGI rated 12+, suitable for those of 12 years old or more. Quite high for Sonic Team game but that is not too surprising given the violent aspects of the game.
Sound is presented in Dolby Pro Logic II.
This review may also be found on Ciao under my username there eljimbob.
© James Robert Ellerby 2008
On a game clearly based on Sonic The Hedgehog, it's namesake Shadow really had a quite a shadow of it's own to come out of, trying to bring Sonic into the 3D world via the PS2 should have been an easy task. With games such as Crash Badicoot and Ratchet & Klank fairing so well as 3D platformers, this shouldn't have had any chance ot be a miss.
Or so it would seem, instead of the next great instalment of Sonic or even an evolution for the beloved hedgehog, we get a bit of a comedy of errors. But where to start?
The first thing you'll notice is the graphics, they just don't strike fear into any competitor as they look very bland and underwhelming, if someone had told you tihs was an N64 title you may have believed them.
Now what about that gameplay? One word - Awkward, the camera keeps moving so much that it's very near impossible to play this game. The levels are also really weird , its like going round in circles at times and takes the flow right out of the game. You also have a weapon as Shadow but the shooting is really erratic. there's no targeting so you can't aim properly.
Soundtrack I guess is ok, nothing outstanding but your standard platform game stuff.
I can't recommend this game really, I guess some folk may be interested to take a look at it but for me it's just not really worth the cash.
In this game Shadow comes of of Sonic well ere shadow however to be honest it would have been better if he had not bothered.
Taking on the role of Shadow you have to recover seven chaos crystals on behalf of the Black Doom an alien boss whose henchmen are attacking Westopolis, in the hope of recovering some of your memory you take on the task.
Whilst playing the game and attempting to complete all of the 22 missions you can decide whether to take on the evil or good role. If you want to be evil then you just have to kill all of the humans that you encounter however this can be easier said than done as although you get lots of weapons to fire there is a complete lack of an automatic targetting system making it a real lottery whether you will actually hit anything even from relatively close range. In reality it is easier to use a standard jump and roll attack to kll your enemies however even with this it can be quite random and you will find yourself killing friends as well as enemies whatever method you choose.
The biggest let down for this game is the absloute rubbish controls that you have to use, they are pretty unresponsive in my opinion and make for a pretty frustrating and ultimately dull game experience. At full speed there is little control over the character and he seems to be at full speed all of the time which makes the latform parts of this game quite difficult and frustrating.
I have also found that the viewpoint you get of the game is not the best one available and makes the game play a lot harder than it needs to be with you often finding yourself taking a blind run and jump and just hoping for a safe landing.
I would certainly not recommend this, there are a lot better platform games on the market and certainly a lot better in the Sonic franchise so save your money and get something else.