|“||I am Shadow the Hedgehog, the Ultimate Lifeform!||„|
|~ Shadow the Hedgehog|
|“||If the world chooses to become my enemy, I will fight like I always have!||„|
|~ Shadow before confronting Mephiles|
Shadow the Hedgehog is an anti-hero, anti-villain, and arch-rival of Sonic the Hedgehog. He was created as "The Ultimate Life Form" by Professor Gerald Robotnik. Shadow is immortal, however that doesn't mean that he does not feel pain. Shadow is ageless as well. Since his debut, Shadow has appeared in a multitude of games, television shows, and comic books.
His past was almost a complete mystery until the game Shadow the Hedgehog revealed the events surrounding his creation. In contrast to Sonic, Shadow is typically portrayed as a tortured anti-hero, or a renegade who can just as easily serve the forces of evil as those of good. However, he does what he needs to do to accomplish what he knows to be right. According to an official poll, Shadow is the second most popular character in the series, second only to Sonic himself.
Concept and Creation
After the success of Sonic Adventure, it was only natural to assume that a sequel would be produced. Hoping that the game would be for the Dreamcast what Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was for the Mega Drive, a portion of the team responsible for the first Adventure title was sent off to work at Sega of America. It was led by director Takashi Iizuka, while Yuji Naka remained back in Japan to work on other properties, including Phantasy Star Online. With the team in place, brainstorming soon began on what form Sonic Adventure 2 would take.
Early on, it was decided that one of the main themes of the game would be the dichotomy between good and evil, and to help explore that, the creators came up with new characters that would both assist Dr. Eggman and challenge the established cast of heroes. Though Yuji Uekawa was tasked drawing the final design of the character, it was Takashi Iizuka who conceived Shadow, coming up with the idea to use a dark, anti-hero figure who was similar to Sonic in shape, but not in personality.
When being designed, the character's original name was "Terios," which translates to "reflection of," more than likely to play off of the hero/villain dynamic within the game.
Once Sonic Adventure 2 was announced, the identity and nature of Shadow was a heavily-guarded secret. The character was first shown to the public the first game trailer for Sonic Adventure 2; however, his name was not revealed. GameStop described what little was shown as Anti-Sonic - similar in appearance, but with darker skin, more angled eyes, and a fearsome scowl instead of Sonic's trademark grin." Indeed, the push to build hype for the new character put other characters on the back burner.
When Shadow seemingly died in Sonic Adventure 2, there rose a huge fanbase for Shadow to appear in more games, after being disappointed by his "death". This let Takashi Iizuka input Shadow as a playable character in Sonic Heroes and even star in his own game, Shadow the Hedgehog. In fact, Takashi Iizuka said that they maintained the mystery around the character of Shadow the Hedgehog and had wanted to feature him in his own game since he was introduced. For the Shadow the Hedgehog game, after feeling that it would be inappropriate to give Sonic's character a gun as fans had requested in mailings, Yuji Naka believed that by focusing on Shadow for his own game, they could use his different identity from Sonic to build upon the Sonic brand.
Fifty years before the events of Sonic Adventure 2, a top-secret project known as "Project Shadow" had begun on the Space Colony ARK. Led by Professor Gerald Robotnik, it was a government-sanctioned initiative to create "The Ultimate Lifeform," an immortal being that could be used for the benefit of the nation, likely in a militaristic fashion. While Gerald had initial misgivings to the purpose of the research he was assigned to, he realized that his results might be able to save his granddaughter, Maria. Suffering from the incurable disease Neuro-Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Maria only had a short time left to live, and Gerald was willing to do whatever it took to save her life. Going against his worries of stepping into territory man had no business playing with, the professor immediately began work, hoping that he could apply any newly-gained knowledge to find a cure to N.I.D.S.
Even with the resources at his disposal, Professor Gerald was unable to make significant progress. Without alerting anyone, Gerald decided to plea to the stars for help, contacting the Black Arms race. An alien civilization that lived upon the Black Comet, a celestial object that passed near the planet every fifty years, its leader Black Doom offered to assist Gerald in his quest. He offered his blood - which ended up being the key to perfect the ultimate lifeform - in exchange for the seven Chaos Emeralds, which he would collect the next time he passed through. Knowing that the Black Arms' intentions were less than desirable, Gerald made the deal regardless, and was able to successfully create Shadow the Hedgehog.
Once brought to life, Shadow immediately befriended Maria, and they became close during their short time together. Gerald, meanwhile, made precautions for the return of the alien race, ensuring that the Eclipse Cannon - an extremely powerful laser built into the ARK - was compatible with the seven Chaos Emeralds, so that when they did return humanity would be able to defend itself instead of bowing to their whims.
However, Gerald's progress was ruined when it was leaked to G.U.N. how he was able to create the successful prototype. During the meeting between Gerald and the Black Arms, one of the other children aboard the ARK had accidentally seen what transpired, and reported back to those in charge. As ties between the ARK and the United Federation had already been strained, hearing the news of the dealings with an alien race scared those in charge. Afraid of the implications, it was decided to launch an invasion and put a stop to the work being done there.
What happened next was nothing short of madness, as G.U.N. troops descended onto the ARK, causing chaos and confusion wherever they went. Immediately they went after the Biolizard, which they thought was the successful "Project Shadow" prototype, and in the process of putting the creature into stasis lost quite a few soldiers. From there they went about doing damage control, shutting down everything, getting everyone off the ARK, and killing those who resisted if need be. Knowing that the G.U.N. forces would be there at any moment, Maria convinced Shadow to enter an escape pod, her final wish to him that he give the people on the planet a chance to be happy. Wishing him goodbye, Shadow could do nothing as he watched the G.U.N. soldiers storm into the lab, firing a shot which would forever change the hedgehog's life.
Learning of his granddaughter's death, Professor Gerald soon went mad, swearing vengeance on humanity for taking away the only thing that ever meant anything to him. Though just what exactly transpired is cloudy, what is known is that both Gerald and the escape pod that held Shadow were gathered by G.U.N., Shadow being placed in cryogenic storage within Prison Island, and Gerald being incarcerated and charged with the crimes that happened aboard the ARK.
Shadow is a brooding loner, to put it bluntly. He usually acts with a cool and businesslike indifference, only occasionally showing his vulnerable side. He is rarely seen with others for an extended period of time and usually distances himself from essentially everyone. He is usually soft-spoken, silent and doesn't speak much, but he always knows exactly what to say in combat. However, Shadow never bluffs. If he makes a threat, he has every intention of carrying it out.
Shadow constantly refers to himself as the Ultimate Lifeform and like Sonic can be extremely arrogant, often belittling his opponents and insulting their lack of strength. He believes no one can beat him, and tends to see anyone as a fool for challenging him. Shadow also has a ruthless and merciless edge in combat that all other characters in the series lack, and displays a natural "killer instinct".
Shadow's infamous ruthlessness and aggression leads to fear and a nervousness that inhibits characters from his unshakable intent or sheer power in combat. Numerous characters from the Sonic series have shown absolute dread from encountering Shadow. Shadow's enemies never treat him lightly; he is one of the very few people Sonic takes seriously and acts hostile towards.
Alongside his dark and violent demeanor, Shadow can be smug and stubborn. He usually acts rather cynical and sarcastic and appears to have a very low opinion on other people which he voices bluntly, regardless if anyone likes it or not. However, he's rarely if ever concerned about what anyone else's opinions are on him.
On occasion, Shadow appears to have some degree of mental instability. This is demonstrated by his instances of post-traumatic flashbacks to Maria's face prior to and during the events of Shadow the Hedgehog, though it could be argued that they were simply an effect of his amnesia. Another example could be that in many games Shadow is featured in, he pursues his foes with disturbing determination; that is to say he'll go to any length to accomplish something he desires or feels should be a certain way, no matter what the cost. In his own game, he also showed a rather coarse language.
Shadow also possesses some sense of identity, as evidenced when after falsely being told that he isn't the Ultimate Lifeform due to a lab report. He states to Rouge that even if his memories were fake, he is still Shadow the Hedgehog. Similarly in Sonic Heroes, during the Egg Fleet level, he mentions that even without his memories, he is still the Ultimate Lifeform, Shadow the Hedgehog. These qualities make him rarely susceptible to being manipulated by other forces.
Although he does come off as somewhat cold and apathetic, Shadow has a heart and does show his caring side at times. When Omega begins his attack in Sonic Heroes, Shadow could have easily forgotten about Rouge and engaged Omega without defending her. Instead, Shadow saves her from Omega, despite having absolutely no memory of her. He was also shown to be legitimately shocked when he learned that his goal of gaining the Chaos Emeralds to restore his memories was actually manipulated by Black Doom in order to wipe out humanity. Likewise, when the GUN Commander finally confronts him with his own memories of Shadow's nightmarish creation, Shadow agrees to face judgment if he was indeed responsible for the ARK massacre 50 years ago. In Sonic Colors, Shadow was also shown to be worried about the possibility of Sonic and Tails getting hurt while trying to save the wisps, much to their surprise. However, he remained dismissive about his concern for them. His main goal in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood was also to rescue Omega from the Marauders. He was also quite enraged when he found out that the Marrauders had been hurting Omega, going so far as avenging him and in the process even calling him a friend.
Shadow brushes off most kindness or sympathy that is sent his way; in Sonic Heroes, when Rouge showed concern for Shadow when he saw a broken android, Shadow curtly brushed her concern away. Also in Shadow the Hedgehog after Sonic suggested some "friendly competition," Shadow bluntly rejected his offer. At times, however, Shadow is also shown to apreciate people caring for him. In Sonic Adventure 2, After Amy made him remember his promise to Maria, Shadow told her that he is keeping his promise both to Maria and her. Also, in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), when Rouge told him that she would always be by his side, he acknowledged her.
Despite the fact that Shadow often fights for the greater good, he is considered an anti-hero by the most part due to his morality. He does whatever is necessary to get what he wants or feels is right, though this enthusiasm causes him to take risks and jump into situations without fully thinking it through. Regardless, Shadow does have his moments of selflessness, helpfulness and heroism. He nearly gave his life at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 to save Earth and helped Silver uncover the truth of the Solaris Project, after saving Sonic from Silver.
Powers and Abilities
Shadow's trademark ability. He can use Chaos in various ways, such as in energy bursts, time-stopping, teleporting, defending, increasing his stats, and many other ways. This power can be upgraded if Shadow remove his Inhibitor Rings, which increases his power so greatly that he could destroy an entire army of perfect clones of a time demon, however, his stamina depletes much faster than normal.
Shown in Sonic Free Riders, Shadow is able to control gravity to dive and to make manouvers in his Extreme Gear.
Shadow can alter space-time, allowing him to stop the time, teleport, distort it and to create dimensional/chaotic rifts.
Minor Super Strength
Shadow has shown great strength, being able to lift heavy concrete plates and to break solid metal with strong attacks.
Shadow is one of the fastest characters of all franchises, being able to par with Sonic. His max normal speed is the speed of light, and he is able to surpass it if he transforms.
Shadow is very resistant do damage, shown in feats such as surviving from a fall from space to earth, being shot multiple times, being struck by a gigantic robot, and many other things.
Shadow is very proficient in using guns, being able to effectively aim and shoot at insane speeds.
Shadow is apt to use swords and katanas as weapons, since he managed to defeat many G.U.N agents, Eggman robots and Black Arms aliens using swords.
Master Hand-to-Hand fighter
Shadow is master at the art of physical damage with his bare hands, having his own fighting style, depicted as brutal and quick, with swift punches, karate chops and roundhouse kicks as part of his arsenal.
Shadow is a skilled motorcycle/bike user, and can drive better than many people.
Shadow is able to, currently, transform into three (canon) forms: Dark Shadow (Boosts his attack, grants infinite ammo to any weapon that he is currently using, keep using Chaos Blasts; He needs one Chaos Emerald and to be enraged), Hero Shadow (Boosts his space-time manipulation, allowing him to teleport to very far distances and to stop time for a longer time (?); He needs a Chaos Emerald and to be calm) and Super Shadow (Needs all 7 Chaos Emeralds; Gives him 100% physical damage reduction, faster than light speeds and many other abilities, such as major-super strength).
Shadow has rings that controls his power around his wrists and on the socks. If he removes those rings, his power increases greatly, but he loses much more stamina too.
Darkness/Air Shoes (Extreme Gear)
Shadow haves shoes that can make him hover around the ground, and that allows him to skate rather than running, granting him more durability on races, but slower on some types of terrain.
- Shadow seems to be ambidextrous, as he leads with his left-hand in Shadow the Hedgehog, and using with right-hand in the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and other games.
- It's unknown what Shadow does in his spare time.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is the only game where him and Sonic worked together without any argument.
- Shadow (along with Knuckles) was supposed to appear in Sonic Unleashed, but was scrapped (for unknown reasons). However one of Brenda's interview questions asks what being came from the planets core, the player can have Sonic incorrectly answer 'Shadow the Hedgehog'.
- Shadow line in his self-titled game "where's that damn fourth chaos emerald" has become a popular meme on the internet.
- Coincidentally in Sonic Generations, Sonic can fight Shadow for the fourth emerald (if the character defeats Perfect Chaos beforehand).
- Shadow is one of the older characters in the series (chronologically being 50-years old). However, he posses eternal youth and is psychically 16 years old.
- He is also one of the good guys in Super Mario Bros. Z, a Flash series created by Mark Haynes.
- Shadow also appeared in the Flash movie "Sonic: Nazo Unleashed" created by Chakra X, where he is helping Sonic and his friends to save the world from the villainous hedgehog, Nazo.