Shadow the Hedgehog
Shadow the Hedgehog (シャドウ・ザ・ヘッジホッグ, Shadow the Hedgehog) is a character from the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
Shadow the Hedgehog, like Knuckles the Echidna, is a rival of Sonic the Hedgehog. An artificially-created hedgehog known as the "Ultimate Lifeform", he made his first appearance in Sonic Adventure 2 as an antagonist who becomes an anti-heroic protagonist as the game progresses. Since his debut, he consistently holds second place as the most popular character in the franchise, trailing the eponymous character. Unlike his heroic counterpart, Shadow is a much darker character, willing to do whatever it takes to reach his goals. In later games, Shadow appears often appears as an anti-hero with inherently good intentions, even if his methods are violent and ruthless. He features in his own self-titled game, Shadow the Hedgehog, released in 2005.
Shadow was created several decades before the events of Adventure 2 by Dr. Eggman's grandfather, Gerald Robotnik, on the Space Colony ARK. He was the result of a successful government medical project in collaboration with the Black Doom called Project Shadow, which had the goal of finding a way for life to be immortal. Gerald specifically wanted to find a cure for the terminal illness Neuro-Immune Deficiency Syndrome (N.I.D.S), which his granddaughter Maria Robotnik had contracted. Shadow and Maria would soon become friends on the colony. Soon after Shadow's completion, the government began to fear his power and tried erase the project from public records by taking over the colony and either imprisoning or killing all involved. However, Shadow escaped due to being sealed in an escape pod by Maria. The intro to Shadow the Hedgehog further elaborates that Shadow witnessed Maria being shot and killed by a G.U.N soldier. Shadow has traumatic memories of this incident. Fifty years later, Dr. Eggman reawakens him in order to reactivate the Eclipse Cannon, a weapon of mass destruction built into the ARK. Shadow agrees to help, but only to achieve his goal of exacting revenge on humanity for killing Maria. Sonic and his friends attempt to stop this plan, but are eventually forced to work together to prevent the ARK from crashing into Earth. This final battle results in Shadow sacrificing himself and falling to the planet from orbit, presumably killing him.
Shadow reappears in Sonic Heroes, being found by Rouge the Bat on a gem heist. Everyone, including Shadow, is unsure how he survived, as he lost his memories between games. He decides to follow Rouge and E-123 Omega on a search to find answers. Along the way, the group finds a collection of androids that look exactly Shadow. This leads everyone to question if Shadow is the original, or an android replicant. This plot point is further explored in Shadow the Hedgehog. Still missing most of his memories, the Black Doom appears, promising Shadow answers in exchange for doing his dirty work in the name of world domination. There are 10 possible endings depending on the choices made in the game, with Shadow either coming to the conclusion that he is the original or an android. However, there is a "true" ending where Shadow no longer cares about who he was, only who he is. Shadow would continue to play roles in future games, mostly as a supporting character with a few playable appearances.
In the Sonic series, Chaos Control is a technique that allows the user to warp through space and stop time through the manipulation of the fabric of space-time. The user needs at least one Chaos Emerald, and the strength of Chaos Control is increased with each Chaos Emerald added until being maxed out with all seven. Shadow was one of the first to utilize the technique with other characters also learning how to perform it as time went on. In Sonic Adventure 2's two-player mode, Chaos Control can be used by Shadow to stop time and "freeze" the opponent while he moves at normal speed. Chaos Control can also be used to slow down time in Sonic Heroes and when fighting against bosses in Shadow the Hedgehog. In the Super Smash Bros. series, Shadow appears as an Assist Trophy and uses Chaos Control to slow down time for opponents, but not for the fighter who summoned him. In most games, such as Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes, Shadow is shown using the Green Chaos Emerald, which is the same one he uses in Smash.
As an Assist Trophy
Shadow appears as an unlockable Assist Trophy character in Brawl and uses his Chaos Control ability to slow down everyone except the summoner (similar to the effects of the Timer item, though with a shorter duration, and without the risk of it backfiring). Shadow the Hedgehog is unlocked when the player unlocks Sonic as a playable character.
In Brawl, Shadow the Hedgehog is voiced by Jason Griffith (who also voices Sonic) in the English version of the game since his own game and since the anime Sonic X, and Kōji Yusa in the Japanese version.
As an Assist Trophy
Shadow retains his role as an Assist Trophy that slows down time in SSB4. His distortions are more visually apparent in this game, appearing clearly in the foreground. His own visual aesthetics were also altered to be just as bright as in his home series, as well as his mouth's placement being more to the side of his muzzle instead of right below his nose, matching Sonic. This time, he is voiced in English by Kirk Thornton, who succeeded Jason Griffith in voicing him in the Sonic series since 2010 with Sonic Free Riders; Kōji Yusa reprises his role in Japanese and just like Sonic, Shadow has gained voices in other languages as well. His non-Japanese voice clips are recycled from Sonic Generations.
As an Assist Trophy
Shadow returns as an Assist Trophy and now holds a green Chaos Emerald. As in Brawl and SSB4, Shadow performs Chaos Control to slow down the opponents of the fighter that summoned him; however, in this game there is a brief second phase that completely stops the opponents. His visual distortion is green and is much more apparent with lightning also striking around him. He cannot appear on 3D Land, Flat Zone X, Magicant, Midgar, Mute City SNES, Pac-Land, Spiral Mountain, Super Happy Tree, and WarioWare, Inc.
Names in other languages