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Time has not been kind to Sega and the Sonic franchse. Last year, Sonic Heroes received our Louie Award for Most Disappointing Game. Once thought to be the only true rival to the Mario platforming series, Sonic’s not much of a force in gaming these days – at least not critically. Hoping to put a fresh spin on the franchise that put them on the map, Sega’s giving it another go. However, the famous Blue Blur is sitting this one out, leaving the role of action hero (or, perhaps, anti-hero) to Shadow, the feisty hedgehog from Sonic Adventure 2.
Shadow the Hedgehog takes place decades after the events of SA2, leaving our protagonist with a severe case of amnesia. Since he has no recollection of his dark past, he decides to seek the power of the Chaos Emeralds, since (in addition to the powers present in previous games) they possess the ability to restore memories.
The most obvious addition to the game is the inclusion of firearms. Everything from a pistol to a laser gun are available, making Shadow just as much a threat from afar as he is up close. That isn’t to say that the speed the Sonic franchise is known for won’t take precedence – Shadow still has those goofy rocket boots and he takes full advantage of them, gliding above the ground at fantastic speeds.
Luckily, “packing heat” isn’t the big draw of Shadow the Hedgehog. Since you are recovering your memory, your current persona is a bit of a blank slate, allowing you to lean towards the light or dark side by choosing a path at the beginning of each stage. Depending on which side you choose, you’ll be aided certain members of the supporting cast. If you play your cards just right, you may even be assisted by Sonic himself.
But this is Shadow’s show, rest assured, and he’ll be ready to rock on November 15th.