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onic the Hedgehog’s stock is at an all-time low; if not for the popular cartoon series, I wonder if they’d still be making Sonic titles in 2005. Every one of these games since Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast has tried and failed to establish its identity in 3D, usually offering workmanlike, somewhat frustrating, yet solidly mediocre gameplay. Desperate to find its way in the post-Halo and GTA gaming world, Sonic Team has taken a much-needed gamble with a franchise that’s played it safe for far too long. Unfortunately, they’ve lost this million-dollar bet in spectacular fashion.
First off, just let me say that not only is the this new “adult” interpretation of Sonic painfully dumb, it’s also ill-advised and almost feels like a betrayal to longtime fans. Shadow exhibits little to no personality and talks in a ridiculous Clint Eastwood rasp. It’s just laughable. The plot makes no sense, and after all these years, I’m still running around collecting Chaos Emeralds, for crap’s sake. Hey Sega, here’s a clue: If you want to be “mature” and “edgy”, having a robot bee character named “Charmy” is probably a bad idea.
The gameplay is even worse. Shadow “skates” around the environment, jutting around erratically, making it impossible for the crippled camera to keep up with the action. The new gun combat is horrid, and your other main attack – a homing dash move – frequently sends you careening off into nothingness, resulting in cheap death after cheap death. More traditional Sonic running levels are poorly designed and made even worse on the PS2 version, which has a horrible framerate. Chaotic, arbitrary, dull, and needlessly frustrating; this is video game design at its absolute worst. I’m afraid even Dr. Robotnik couldn’t have killed Sonic off so effectively as Sega has managed to do with this game.


Wait…This game is mislabeled. This isn’t Shadow the Hedgehog. It’s that miserable Broken the Hedgehog! With the scent of a dirty diaper permeating from his speedy wake, this killer of classic gaming franchises does what he does best. He sucks. Not since Bubsy have I seen a mascot-based action game corner the market in unresponsive controls, disastrous level designs, inconsistent framerates, traumatizing character designs, and (my favorite) just being flat out broken. At the very least, this game has its place in the history of gaming for that. Shame on you, Sega.

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