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Thread: Can someone please explain this opinion of Sonic's Shadow-era to me?

  1. #1
    Friendship *is* magic. MJN SEIFER's Avatar
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    Default Can someone please explain this opinion of Sonic's Shadow-era to me?

    How come people act like the Shadow-era (or at least Shadow The Hedgehog himself) is the moment Sonic The Hedgehog went darker and edgier, or at least tried to, when previous Sonic projects have gone into darker territory?

    I mean, I get that Shadow is essentially a darker version of Sonic, but people seem to act like Sega were being/trying to be edgy by giving Shadow a gun, yet they have done things worse than give characters guns. In early Sonic projects, the robots that you have to destroy (Badniks) are innocent animals who have been turned this way, and in some versions of the story (Sonic SatAM, at least) it is said that while they have no control over themselves anymore, they are still aware of what they are being forced to do.

    How is that less dark than giving a character a gun?
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  2. #2
    Skyblade's Avatar
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    There's a difference between dark tones, themes, or imagery, and edginess.

    Edgy is trying to hard. It's trying to be dark, rather than actually being dark, and it comes across as rather childlike. Someone who thinks they're being deep and mature by adding in an all black character who uses guns. Rather than someone who is actually dark by using the proper elements.
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    Yeah, I'd agree with that assessment from Skyblade in general, though I will state I've never played a game with Shadow since Sonic Adventure 2 so I have no real opinion on how dark he is or not. But yeah, a lot of things try and seem dark and gritty and edgy but are really more of some teenage fantasy of what dark is at best. I don't know if you're familiar with comics at all but a lot of stuff from the 90's is guilty of confusing trying to be edgy with actually being gritty and dark. It's how we ended up with half the new characters created at the time being people who were loaded down with oversized biceps, guns big enough for a tank, swords everywhere, and an abundance of pouches on everything. Usually these characters would also kill a lot to make them seem tough and dark but it never really worked because dark isn't just killing a bunch of people (not on it's own anyway or every action movie ever would be a horror movie too). It's funny you mention that Sonic animated series because stuff like that is dark and there's a surprising amount of stuff like that you can find in a lot of series that are aimed at children. And it rarely does it by killing anyone, but things like your brain being a prisoner in a robot body you can't control? That's dark. That trout is really dark. It's just those little hints of a horror that's been lurking behind the scenes the whole time that can be the most effective dark themes for me too to be honest.

  4. #4
    Edge7's Avatar
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    In Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow's fine, although revisiting the game this past month, his existential "what am I really" side-plot seems a little out of place in a series previously about a woodland creature saving other woodland creatures from a mad scientist (which while "dark", I wouldn't call in edgy. Makes me think of The Secret of NIMH TBH), to say nothing about Shadow's vendetta against the military. Actually, scratch that; the inclusion of the military as antagonists in general always seemed weird for Sonic. I never minded as a kid, it's just funny to look back on, and it's definitely a contributing factor to the tonal shift people make fun of the series for. That being said, out of place =/= bad, and so I give SA2's story a pass. You could replace the Sonic characters in that game with a typical JRPG cast and people would be less likely criticize it.

    Shadow the Hedgehog on the other hand...
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    Please bare in mind, he says the last statement on the PARAGON route. The game is full of these moments that try to make Shadow seem cool by insisting he's "not a goody two-shoes like Sonic". He swears in places that feel forced, he's redesigned on the cover to scowl with fangs and he's depicted as more violent, leaving explosions in his wake. I don't think these games were ever "masterworks of storytelling", but kids liked Shadow in SA2 and Heroes because he was a quiet and snide foil to the loud and brash Sonic. In his debut, he was evil, but the writers tried to make him somewhat sympathetic. Not really the same once he had his own game. It really starts to come across as edgy when said character is written to highlight JUST how different he is from the franchise's protagonist.

    After that, I imagine Shadow was fine in Sonic 06 (I never cared to look up the story myself), but the damage was already done.
    Last edited by Edge7; 08-25-2017 at 11:40 PM.
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  5. #5

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    Sonic SatAM was when the Sonic franchise caught lightning in a bottle. There was real drama at times. There were things actually at stake at times. The characters were well written and worked well off of each other. The story and world were atmospheric, moody, and correctly oppressive. There was certainly some cheese and light-hearted down-time; but over-all it's one of the best places the Sonic franchise ever went, and most people aren't even aware of its existence, or shrug it off as furry-bait

    Shadow could never stand up to that. None of the canon Sonic characters or stories or games could. They were all created to fill a niche, written by lesser minds that had no idea what made the original games fun and had no idea how to write a plot or a character or dialog or a joke. Of course they didn't know how to properly be dark or edgy and had no clue what drama and conflict really means in a story or a character background. As a fan of Sonic's past and the franchise's potential, I just pretend the last 15 - 20 years never happened. Shadow included



  6. #6

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    Sonic canon is a funny thing. When Sonic Boom came out and everyone was bitching about the reboot or "yet another reboot". I decided to research what is and isnt canon.

    There is no reboot because nothing is canon. Also, everything I knew from childhood was basically a westernized lie.

  7. #7

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    It was a good lie, though.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vyk View Post
    Sonic SatAM was when the Sonic franchise caught lightning in a bottle. There was real drama at times. There were things actually at stake at times. The characters were well written and worked well off of each other. The story and world were atmospheric, moody, and correctly oppressive. There was certainly some cheese and light-hearted down-time; but over-all it's one of the best places the Sonic franchise ever went.
    SatAM is a excellent example on how to do a dark kid's show. Weeeell cut out of the 90's cheese and you would have perfection, but yeah.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vyk View Post
    Shadow could never stand up to that. None of the canon Sonic characters or stories or games could.
    It's more that they are trying too hard to be dark and trying too hard to push the envelope and trying too hard to be cool to tweens; while SatAM didn't try and be cool when it came to it's darkness; it just was a well-written story with a dark, looming atmosphere. It did try and be "cool " with it's 90's-ness and because of that it suffers a bit. The problem is TRYING to be cool can hurt a Sonic product. Trying to be cool hurts the Shadow game and trying to be cool hurts SatAM. Trying to be cool hurts Sonic. It might've worked in advertisements in '91- but it hurts the Hedgehog in the long-run.

    There's a MASSIVE difference between a story about a tragic, menacing atmosphere that a evil dictator is going to turn you and your friends into a helpless robot puppet and "DAMN WHERE'S THE FOURTH CHAOS EMERALD " ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaymin View Post
    Also, everything I knew from childhood was basically a westernized lie.
    HIS NAME IS DR ROBOTNIK DAMMIT ! D R R O B O T N I K. DR ROBOTNIK !



  9. #9

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    Trying to imagine "Eggman" being a menacing name in SatAM and it makes me shudder. I am glad for the change. In fact, I think Robotnik has suffered as a menacing character ever since his original name was revealed. In the Genesis/MegaDrive games he was still pretty competent and threatening, and the Metal Sonic creation and standoff was super significant. But then on Dreamcast he gets a new/old name, gets a voice, and decides he wants to acquire a princess or something. Oy vey



  10. #10

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    And also Shadow The Hedgehog was one of the first games to have multiple endings depending on how you carried out certain tasks.

  11. #11

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    When I was a kid I actually was subscribed to Sonic Comics. I so wish that was the actual canon. Of course I cant vouch for the quality of it past the 90s

  12. #12
    Edge7's Avatar
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    I've been a fan of the Archie continuity (what I've read, anyway). Actually, I'd argue that Sonic in other media is a bigger reason for why I'm still a fan than the games. I never played the Genesis games until High School, and of the four games I owned in my childhood (Adventure 2, Advance, Heroes, and Shadow), I only liked the first 2 and hated the latter enough to drop the games altogether.
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