Shadow The Hedgehog Is The Most Unhinged Game Sega Has Ever Made

Somehow Sega decided the colorful hedgehog series needed guns and violence.

Story Highlights

  • Shadow the Hedgehog feels downright bizarre compared to many of SEGA’s other titles.
  • The game features guns, assassinations, child murder, and exploding cities.  
  • The serious tone makes it feel comical in many scenes, which has added to fans’ meme content.

The mid-2000s were a weird time for SEGA. If the series wasn’t out giving Sonic a human love interest, it had characters say some fairly sexist terms towards female characters like Rouge, which just wouldn’t fly nowadays. But by far, the craziest thing SEGA did during this time period, was release the Shadow the Hedgehog game.

This is a game starring Sonic’s edgiest rival, in a platformer that almost feels comical when you look back at it. Somehow, Sega decided that after the happy-go-lucky themes of Sonic Heroes, the next thing the franchise needed was guns, violence, and straight-up murder.

Keep in mind, this is the Sonic series we’re talking about, a franchise where the goal of the main character has historically been to save little animals from a mustache-twirling villain.

But that’s not the only reason this game is outright bonkers. Some others are as follows. 

The Fact That You’re Literally Tasked To Assassinate The President

I can’t believe I’m not making this up. So, with Shadow the Hedgehog, SEGA tried something interesting. Instead of having a “Hero” storyline and a “Dark” storyline like some previous games like Sonic Adventure. The studio thought, “What if each level had a ‘good,’ ‘neutral,’ or ‘bad’ outcome, with players getting to choose between the path they want to pick?”

Shadow being tasked to assassinate the president in Shadow the Hedgehog.
Shadow is tasked to assassinate the president in Shadow the Hedgehog.

Sounds neat on paper, right? Except, the narrative implications of the choices you make in some of these missions are outright insane. For example, in the “Air Fleet” stage, if you choose to opt for the Dark outcome, you literally have to shoot the President’s plane until it explodes. Shadow, an otherwise likable anti-hero, has to grab any and all guns near him and murder the president. People have taken issue with how this poorly reflects real-life events too

While narratively, the President still ends up surviving, even if you go through with the Dark outcome, it’s still crazy to think someone at SEGA approved this. And somehow, this still isn’t the most unhinged thing that awaits you in this game. In another one of the missions, you have to detonate explosives around an entire city, killing all of the soldiers and civilians there.

The Edge Can’t Be Stopped

Even after almost 20 years, this game still manages to remain the edgiest the Sonic franchise has ever been. Because besides trying to assassinate the president, or blowing up entire cities, Shadow is also known to outright kill Sonic in this title. Sonic appears as one of the bosses if you choose to go for the evil ending during your playthrough.

YouTube video

And well, the result is about as edgy as you’d expect. Shadow, with the power of the Chaos Emeralds, boldly stands over a wounded Sonic. Sonic can’t help but ask Shadow what he plans to do with their power. To this, Shadow, in the most edgiest way possible, replies that he’s got to “destroy this damn planet.” The cutscene ends with Shadow karate-chopping Sonic as the screen turns black, implying Sonic is actually dead.

I think the thing that makes this game so weird is the fact that it’s clearly trying to go for a different tone. But when you’re looking at oversized hedgehogs talking to each other, you really can’t help but take the setting seriously. Add in guns, destruction, and murder, and you get a series that’s laughably edgy, especially with modern standards in mind.

There Are Multiple Cutscenes Of A Girl Getting Shot

Of course, in a game that puts guns front and center, you can’t expect the game to not feature violence like this. While Shadow the Hedgehog did stick to an E10+ rating, it’s still interesting the kind of stuff it managed to get away with. One of the main characters involved in Shadow’s past is a girl named Maria, and in the very opening cinematic for the game, you see her get shot.

YouTube video

Again, because of how overly dramatic the whole scene is, fans have memed it to no end over the years. And now, a huge amount of them even want to see Maria get introduced in the third Sonic movie, which is set to feature Shadow. Of course, her only real purpose in the film will be to get shot, but it’s going to give fans one of the franchise’s most loved memes in live-action.

Hilariously, because this is such a pivotal moment for Shadow, the cutscene plays multiple times during the storyline. You get to see it all take place in a lot more detail once Shadow recovers his memories, and let’s just say, it’s definitely something. It’s made perfect thanks to the slow motion, emotional music, and over-the-top voice-acting.

And try as players might take this scene seriously over the years, it just feels like the best part of a game that is almost entirely filled with unintentional humor just like this.

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Danish is an opinion piece writer at eXputer who loves sharing his takes on the industry. He is a long-time PC gamer with a passion for delving into the discussion and discourse surrounding the titles that he plays. Often eager to jump right into the fold and formulate his take on the latest topics, his noteworthy presence on gaming forums, and keen insight help him understand the gaming community in a thorough manner. This helps him provide a more nuanced look into any topic or discussion.

Writes Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Mass Communication.

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