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Shadow the Hedgehog (シャドウ・ザ・ヘッジホッグ Shadō za Hejjihoggu) is a fictional character from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. He is an anthropomorphic black hedgehog and the arch-rival of Sonic the Hedgehog. Shadow was created as the "Ultimate Life Form" (究極生命体 Kyūkyoku Seimeitai) by Gerald Robotnik, using the DNA of Black Doom, and is the final result of Project Shadow. His purpose was to provide ways of developing cures for deadly illnesses that had no cures, namely for Gerald's granddaughter Maria Robotnik, but he was captured and put into stasis by the military when he was deemed a threat to humanity.
Fifty years later, Shadow was released by Dr. Eggman to help him conquer the world. Initially, Shadow sought to destroy the earth to avenge Maria, who had been killed by the military, but was persuaded to help save it from Gerald's doomsday plans. In the process, Shadow lost his memories and he sought to uncover his past, which brought him into contact with the Black Arms. Ultimately, Shadow thwarted Black Doom and saved the world. From there, Shadow continued his mission to protect humanity by becoming a member of G.U.N.
Shadow is sharp-witted, always on edge and has a strong sense of purpose, willing to accomplish his goals by any means necessary. Essentially a dark version of Sonic, Shadow can match him in both speed and skill, and possesses the ability to use Chaos Control.
Shadow is a loner, to put it bluntly. He is rarely seen with others for an extended period of time, and distances himself from essentially everyone. He is usually soft-spoken, and only says what he needs to before a fight. If Shadow makes a threat, he has every intention of carrying it out. Shadow constantly refers to himself as the Ultimate Lifeform and is extremely arrogant and self-absorbed, belittling his opponents and insulting their lack of strength. Shadow also has a ruthless edge in combat that all other characters in the series lack, and displays a natural "killer instinct". At times, Shadow is the most violent and merciless character in the series.
Shadow's infamous ruthlessness and aggression leads to fear and a nervousness that inhibits characters from his unshakable intent or sheer power in combat. Numerous characters from the Sonic series have shown absolute dread from encountering Shadow. Shadow's enemies never treat him lightly; he is one of the very few people Sonic takes seriously and acts hostile towards.
Alongside his dark and violent demeanor, Shadow can be smug and stubborn. He treats others in a very callous manner, throwing in his opinion no matter how cold-hearted it is and not caring for whatever the response is. He is also consistently serious, even when not on a mission and he has no regard for silliness.
On occasion, Shadow appears to have some degree of mental instability. This is proven by his frequent hallucinations about Maria's face and his numerous threatening speeches. In most games Shadow is featured in, he pursues his foes with disturbing determination. The canon ending of Shadow the Hedgehog showed Shadow willing to destroy anything in his way to get to Black Doom. In his own game, Shadow is also shown to be somewhat coarse in his language.
Shadow also possesses a strong sense of identity, as evidenced when after falsely being told that he isn't the Ultimate Lifeform due to a lab report. He states to Rouge that even if his memories were fake, he is still Shadow the Hedgehog. Similarly in Sonic Heroes, during the Egg Fleet level, he mentions that even without his memories, he is still the Ultimate Lifeform, Shadow the Hedgehog. These qualities make him rarely susceptible to being manipulated by other forces.
Shadow is not without sentimental emotions and has shown a small sense of compassion from time to time. When Omega begins his attack in Sonic Heroes, Shadow could have easily forgotten about Rouge and engaged Omega without defending her. Instead, Shadow saves her from Omega, despite having absolutely no memory of her. He was also shown to be legitimately shocked when he learned that his goal of gaining the Chaos Emeralds to restore his memories was actually manipulated by Black Doom in order to wipe out humanity. Likewise, when the GUN Commander finally confronts him with his own memories of Shadow's nightmarish creation, Shadow agrees to face judgment if he was indeed responsible for the ARK massacre 50 years ago.
Shadow brushes off any kindness or sympathy that is sent his way. This is shown in Sonic Heroes, when Rouge showed concern for Shadow when he saw a broken android, Shadow curtly brushed her concern away. Also in Shadow the Hedgehog after Sonic suggested some "friendly competition," Shadow turned his back to Sonic and said, "Don't waste my time".
Despite Shadow being considered neutral in terms of alignment, he is considered an anti-hero by the most part with his overall motivation, which is dedicating his life to protecting mankind. He has also been selfless, such as nearly giving his life at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 to save Earth. Regardless, Shadow is still neutral, because he does whatever is necessary to get what he wants.
Powers & Abilities
Basic physical traits and abilities between Shadow and Sonic are virtually identical. As such, Shadow possesses many of the same skills and abilities as Sonic has, along with greater raw power than Sonic, making Shadow one of the most powerful characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
Although he is not nearly as strong as Power characters like Knuckles the Echidna, Shadow is quite physically strong. With effort, he is capable of overturning large objects, such as trucks, buses and large slabs of concrete.
Like most other characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Shadow is able to run at super speeds. With his Air Shoes, Shadow can hover-skate at supersonic speeds, even nearing that of hypersonic speeds, and is fast enough to nearly equal the speeds that Sonic can run at, making him one of the fastest characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. While most games places Sonic and Shadow as equals in speed, character profiles in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Sonic Rivals claim that Sonic is faster. Also, in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Shadow personally admitted that he was not faster than Sonic. However, in Sonic Battle, while in the skill menu for editing various moves and appearances for Emerl collected through completing battles, it is stated in the description of Shadow's run skill card that "With the help of his Air Shoes, Shadow can run faster than Sonic." While it is unclear if this statement only applies to this game, Shadow's run speed with the help of his Air Shoes rivals Sonic's in most other titles in the Sonic series that feature Shadow as a playable character. While it is unknown how fast Shadow actually is without using his Hover Shoes, it has been hinted that Shadow can still move at speeds rivaling that of Sonic's, but he simply prefers not to.
Shadow is highly acrobatic, agile and an experienced athlete, capable of gracefully leaping over many obstacles that comes in his way and performing various forms of nimble movements. He has as well radical reaction time to match his movements, being able to react to danger within a split second.
Shadow possesses incredibly high physical durability and is capable of surviving things that would normally be fatal to others, even by the standards of other superhuman creatures, making him nearly indestructible. As seen in Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow is completely bulletproof while becoming Dark Shadow, as he brushed off all the gun shots from G.U.N. Soldiers as if they were not even there. He can also take a lot of major punishment in battle before he starts to wear down. The most prominent testament to Shadow's durability was during Sonic Adventure 2, where Shadow fell down to Earth and through re-entry in the atmosphere and still survived long enough for one of Dr. Eggman's robots to rescue him. However, he did still receive some injury, as evidenced by the amnesia he got from his fall towards the Earth. Even after receiving major damage, Shadow displays a remarkably fast recovery rate, allowing him to quickly re-enter a battle after just a few moments.
As shown in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Shadow is able to release tremendous amounts of energy if he takes off the rings that are on his wrists. This gives Shadow a drastic increase in overall power, reaching the point where he can plow through what appears to be hundreds of perfect copies of Mephiles the Dark, who can be regarded as one of the more powerful foes in the series. While most of the media state that Shadow's increase in power through this method comes at the expense of reducing his stamina, causing him to become exhausted after its use, Shadow has shown no sign of fatigue in the video game series when restoring to this method.
Being the end-product of Project Shadow, which was meant to create an immortal life-form, Shadow is immortal and does not physically age. Also, given that Project Shadow was partially to develop cures for various kinds of illnesses, Shadow may be completely immune to disease. Because he also possesses Black Doom's blood, Shadow is able to sense the presence of Black Arms and is immune to the paralysis nerve gas that was being leaked upon the Black Comet's descent onto Earth.
Shadow is naturally able to tap into the arcane powers of any nearby Chaos Emeralds and utilize their Chaos Energy to empower himself and use a wide variety of Chaos Powers, such as Chaos Control, Chaos Spear, and Chaos Blast. Shadow can specifically harness both positive and negative Chaos Energy, depending on his state of mind.
Shadow's trademark move and most frequently used Chaos Power is Chaos Control: this technique can warp space and time around him to his will - such as slowing down time or teleporting various distances. Shadow is perhaps the most adept user of Chaos Control in the series, since he makes the most extensive use of it and can be considered a master of this technique; he can shape Chaos Control into a variety of offensive and defensive attacks, and can even use it delicately enough to distort space in small centralized areas, such as around his fists, or use it to heal himself. It is currently unknown as to what extent Shadow can specifically use Chaos Control, as he has never been seen using it on another object without warping himself along with it, but it has been shown that he can warp objects and people with him, such as transporting the Black Comet off of Earth. Aside from its final usage in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow has used Chaos Control with three Emeralds at most, using Chaos Control to save Rouge from Prison Island.
As described in Shadow the Hedgehog, all of Shadow's Chaos powers increase in power with the number of Chaos Emeralds he possesses.
In Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow has shown that he can also skillfully use a wide range of firearms, semi-automatics, heavy assault, and close-combat weapons. He can also improvise with debris, and drive a wide range of vehicles, as shown in Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic Riders and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
In combat, Shadow is a fierce, dangerous, and extremely powerful force that few can defeat directly. He also never holds back on his immense strength, making him a powerful, brutal and deadly fighter with a distinct killer instinct. Shadow's skills are more than a match for even the strongest characters in the series, and has been able to take down some of the most fearsome foes seen in the Sonic the Hedgehog series on his own, such as Black Doom. To best put his skills in perspective, as seen in some of the scenarios in Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow is the only person so far who has been able to utterly defeat Sonic in combat.
Shadow's fighting style focuses on direct, brutal, unrestrained and powerful hand-to-hand combat. In line with his nature and potent abilities, Shadow has adopted a fighting style where he fights his opponents using powerful blows, such as karate chops swift punches and roundhouse kicks, to which of his attacks have a significant amount of force behind them. With the speeds Shadow can move at, he can disable the opponent through the force of his blows alone, while leaving them at the mercy at his incoming attacks.
Shadow's fighting style revolves around making heavy use of his Chaos Powers, especially Chaos Control and Chaos Spear. Using Chaos Control, Shadow can teleport up in front or behind his opponents in battle to launch surprise attacks. Also, Shadow can use Chaos Control to increase the damage he deals to his opponent when striking them, often resulting in significant forces being released and blowing the opponent a certain distance away. To give himself the advantage over his opponents, Shadow will use powerful Chaos attacks involving Chaos Energy, such as energy bolts or even intense explosions.
Like Sonic, Shadow's basic combat moves revolves around the various forms of the Spin Attack, which is a variation on the tendency for hedgehogs to roll into tight balls for protection. The Homing Attack allows Shadow to jump and home in on an enemy to get over large gaps he cannot normally reach, the Spin Jump lets him curl into a ball attack opponent by landing on them, and the Spin Dash lets him shoot himself forward as an acceleration roll at high speeds to break barriers or mow down enemies, the Light Speed Dash and Light Speed Attack allows Shadow to achieve light speed movements by dashing through Rings and/or enemies. Another technique, Shadow has is the Black Tornado witch is exactly the same as Sonic's Blue Tornado in witch Shadow jumps into the air, and creates a black whirlwind by circling a particular spot at high speeds which can throw his opponents into the air or blow away armor and weapons. For more direct combat, Shadow can use his Chaos Attack to deal a barrage of Chaos Energy-fueled strikes to his opponents, and his Spin Kick lets him create a small tornado that can suck enemies in and damage them.
Many of Shadow's signature techniques are Chaos Powers. Shadow's trademark move is Chaos Control, which allows him to manipulate time and space to either warp across space or slow down time. His second most used Chaos Power is his Chaos Spear technique, where he throws bolts of Chaos Energy at his opponent. His most powerful and potent technique, however, is the Chaos Blast, which is literally a shockwave of Chaos Energy that eliminates anything and everything in a circular radius range. Shadow can, however, only use this attack when he is immersed in Chaos Energy.
Another special Chaos Power Shadow uses is his Chaos Boost technique. When using the Chaos Boost, Shadow covers himself in Chaos Energy. While in Chaos Boost form, Shadow gains more destructive power and is immune to some enemy attacks. It also enables Shadow to utilize more Chaos Powers, such as Chaos Blast, Chaos Snap, and Chaos Lance. In Sonic Generations, Shadow can also use the Chaos Boost to give himself a boost of speed, which is similar in function to the Sonic Boost. Rather than skating like usual, Shadow uses the fire from his Air Shoes to propel himself forward.
- "Shadow the Hedgehog... Why does that name haunt me...? It's the only thing I can remember... and that... gruesome image..."
- —Shadow suffering from amnesia.
- "Hmm. Look how pathetic they are! I don't have time for these humans."
- —Witnessing the arrival of the Black Arms.
- "This blue sky ...Staring at it from afar... am I seen it before?"
- —Shadow the Hedgehog at the beginning of Sky Troops.
- "Anybody who gets in my way is my enemy."
- —Various times in Shadow The Hedgehog.
- "Disgusting black creatures, get out of my sight."
- —Various times in Shadow the Hedgehog.
- "Where's that DAMN fourth Chaos Emerald?"
- —Shadow beginning Circus Park
- "If the world chooses to become my enemy....I will fight like I always have."
- —Shadow before confronting Mephiles in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
- "Witness the true speed!"
- —When starting a race in Sonic Free Riders
- "No doubt!"
- —When being questioned as the true ultimate life form by Rouge
- "I gotta go now! I have to keep my promise to Maria...and you."
- —After having been reminded of his true purpose through Amy.
- "Maria, this is what you wanted, right? This is my promise I made to you..."
- —Shadow before his 'death' in Sonic Adventure 2
- "I promise you... revenge!"
- —Shadow promising Maria revenge on the humans
- "Just what was that all about? If he says he knows the truth about who I am...then like it or not, I have to believe him. The only way I'm going to get the secrets to my past is to get those Chaos Emeralds!"
- —From the prologue of the game Shadow the Hedgehog
- "I've heard enough. You're boring me to death, Black Doom! You're going DOWN!"
- —Shadow confronting Black Doom in Shadow the Hedgehog
- "This is the end of you, and the end of my cursed past."
- —Super Shadow after defeating Devil Doom in Shadow the Hedgehog
- "Goodbye forever, Shadow the Hedgehog."
- —From the final cut scene of Shadow the Hedgehog
- "You have no right to call me fake."
- —Shadow winning in the multiplayer mode of Shadow the Hedgehog
- "You might look like me, but you know you're just a fake."
- —Shadow or Shadow Android before a match in Shadow the Hedgehog multiplayer mode
- "If you want to stay clear of trouble, better stay away from the doctor."
- —Shadow to Cream and Amy in the end of Cryptic Castle's Hero mission in Shadow the Hedgehog
- —Using Chaos Blast
- —Using Chaos Control
- —Using Chaos Spear
- "Ultimate victory!"
- —Getting an A rank in Sonic Adventure 2
- "Hmph, too easy for me!"
- —Getting a B rank in Sonic Adventure 2
- "That wasn't so hard!"
- —Getting a C rank in Sonic Adventure 2
- "Maybe I didn't try hard enough."
- —Getting a D rank in Sonic Adventure 2
- "I guess I'm not at full power here."
- —Getting an E rank in Sonic Adventure 2
- "Before this is over... I'll show you the true power of CHAOS CONTROL!"
- —Sonic Adventure 2, just before his second fight with Sonic
- "Anyone who gets in my way is my enemy."
- —Said after completing the Westopolis Dark Mission in Shadow the Hedgehog
- "How pathetic."
- —Shadow facing the police in Sonic Adventure 2
- "You're going straight to hell!"
- —Shadow confronting Dr. Eggman in Shadow the Hedgehog
- "Ha! There's no strength in numbers!"
- —Shadow after destroying enemies in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
- "OK. This is it. Sonic here I come!"
- —Shadow letting Sonic know that he is coming as he finishes End of the World in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
- "I will release you from the chains of your past."
- —As Super Shadow when fighting Solaris in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
- "Time to unleash the Ultimate Power!"
- —When fighting Solaris as Super Shadow in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
- "I determine my own destiny."
- —Shadow before he fights Mephiles
- "Don't touch it!"
- —Shadow yelling to Rouge when she was going to grab a fake Chaos Emerald in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
- "Goodbye, Doctor!"
- —Shadow putting an end to Dr. Eggman in the Semi Dark, Neutral Dark and Neutral Hero Endings in Shadow the Hedgehog
- "You best try your hardest, or else you'll get hurt."
- —Shadow before he fights Emerl in Emerl's Story
- "Then, I will destroy you, too...."
- —Shadow talking to Sonic in Sonic Battle when Sonic refuses to turn over Emerl in Sonic's Story
- "Hmph. Fine."
- —Shadow being selected in the Mario & Sonic series
- "It's do or die, Sonic the Hedgehog."
- —Shadow when he defeats Sonic and Diablon
- "Game over, Sonic."
- —Shadow when he defeats Sonic and Diablon
- "You've got this, Sonic."
- —Shadow cheering Sonic to keep going in Sonic Generations
- "Is that so? Well then...it'll be a date to DIE for!"
- —Shadow to Team Sonic in Sonic Heroes
- "I'll take it from here!"
- —Shadow when taking the lead of Team Dark in Sonic Heroes
- "You'll regret this, Doctor. Even if I'm not real, I'm still the ultimate lifeform, Shadow the Hedgehog!"
- —Before attacking the Egg Fleet in Sonic Heroes
- "Who am I, and why can't I remember anything? And...who is this Maria?"
- —Shadow at the start of Shadow the Hedgehog
- "RRGH! BEHOLD THE ULTIMATE POWER!"
- —Shadow while using Chaos Control in Shadow the Hedgehog
- "RRGH! DEATH TO ALL WHO OPPOSE ME!"
- —Shadow while using Chaos Blast in Shadow the Hedgehog
- "I'm Shadow...the Hedgehog. I was created to bring order and justice to the humans. With the power of these Emeralds, I'm going to destroy this damn planet! This is WHO I AM! Hahahahaha..."
- —Shadow after beating Sonic and Diablon in Shadow the Hedgehog's Pure Dark ending
- "I'm Shadow the Hedgehog, and I made a promise I intent to keep. With the power of these Emeralds, Black Doom and his army are finished. This is WHO I AM!"
- —Shadow after beating Black Doom in Shadow the Hedgehog's Pure Hero ending
- "Don't bother to try and deceive me. I know who I am!"
- —Shadow at the beginning of his first fight against Mephiles
- "You're finally here, Sonic. I don't know where we are, nor do I care. This is where I finish you, Sonic."
- —Shadow when approached by Sonic for a fight for the first time in Sonic Generations
- "Back again, Sonic? Guess you never learn your lesson."
- —Shadow when approached by Sonic for a fight again in Sonic Generations
- "They have no idea how unfortunate they are!"
- —Shadow taunting the Babylon Rogues in the Babylon Story of Sonic Free Riders
- "This had to be mistake! How could I lose?"
- —Shadow after getting beaten by Babylon Rouges three times in Team Babylon Story of Sonic Free Riders
- "This victory will be in the honor of our fallen comrade."
- —Shadow claiming that defeating Team Rose will honor the broken E-10000B in Team Dark's story of Sonic Free Riders
- "Someone needs to be taught his place."
- —Shadow during his All-Star Move in Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
- "What's wrong? Tired of being so weak?"
- —Shadow during his All-Star Move in Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
- "Hmph. Is that all you've got?"
- —Shadow after winning in Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
- "But nobody outruns me."
- —Shadow after losing in Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
- "Who are you, and how do you know my name?"
- —Various times throughout Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)