Shadow the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog series
Shadow rivals.png
Shadow the Hedgehog in concept art from Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
First appearance Sonic Adventure 2 (2001)
Created by Takashi Iizuka[1]
Voiced by
Video Games
David Humphrey (2001-2005)
Jason Anthony Griffith (-2005-2010)
Kirk Thornton (2010-Present)
Jason Griffith (Sonic X)
Voiced by
Kōji Yusa
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Species Hedgehog[2]

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Shadow the Hedgehog (シャドウ・ザ・ヘッジホッグ Shadou za Hejjihoggu?) is a character from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Shadow is an artificially-created life form.[3] His trademark hover shoes propel him at extreme speeds that rival those of Sonic, and with a Chaos Emerald he has the ability to distort time and space using "Chaos Control." Often referred to as being the "Ultimate Life Form," he is a black and crimson male hedgehog that debuted in Sonic Adventure 2. He resembles Sonic in many ways, such as the ability to travel at incredible speeds.[3] He is Sonic's rival and is the antithesis of Sonic himself in all aspects of his life.[4] He has been featured in a variety of media, including his own self-titled game. Shadow is an antihero, and works together with either Sonic's group or Dr. Eggman, depending on what suits his own needs.

Concept and creation

The character of Shadow was conceived by Takashi Iizuka,[1] director of Sonic Adventure 2, the game in which Shadow was first introduced.[5] The character was first shown to the public in a game trailer; however, his name was not revealed.[6] GameSpot described what little was shown as an "evil version of Sonic himself - similar in appearance, but with darker skin, more angled eyes, and a fearsome snarl instead of Sonic's trademark grin."[6] Takashi Iizuka said that they maintained the mystery around the character of Shadow the Hedgehog and had wanted to feature him in his own game since he was introduced.[7] After feeling that it would be inappropriate to give Sonic's character a gun as fans had requested in mailings,[8] Yuji Naka believed that by focusing on Shadow for his own game, they could use his different identity from Sonic to build upon the Sonic brand.[9] The character was featured as a guest announcer and performed other promotional work for the game's release during a wrestling show set up by the Japanese league, Pancrase, in December 2005.[8] Shadow's design was influenced by films such as Underworld, Constantine, and the Terminator series.[10]

Appearances in video games

Sonic ColorsSonic Free RidersSonic and Sega All-Star RacingMario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter GamesSonic and the Black KnightSonic ChroniclesMario and Sonic at the Olympic GamesSonic Rivals 2Sonic RivalsSonic the Hedgehog (2006 video game)Shadow the HedgehogSonic HeroesSonic BattleSonic Adventure 2 BattleSonic Adventure 2

Shadow's debut was in the game Sonic Adventure 2, where it is explained that he was created fifty years prior to the game's events, by Professor Gerald Robotnik. Professor Gerald Robotnik had been charged with the task of researching a path to immortality, something that he does in the hopes that he could cure his granddaughter, Maria, of the terminal illness "NIDS" (Neuro-Immune Deficiency Syndrome). He created Shadow as "The Ultimate Life Form", a first step towards achieving that goal, but the government deemed Project Shadow a threat, and dispatched G.U.N. troopers to the space colony ARK. G.U.N. destroyed the research, shut down the ARK, and killed all those present, including Maria. Before she died, she ejected Shadow towards Earth in an escape pod, telling him to give people "a chance to be happy". Gerald, driven insane by her death, designed a program that would cause the research station Space Colony ARK to crash into Earth once all seven Chaos Emeralds were placed inside it. Back on Earth, he modified Shadow's mind so that he would carry out Gerald's plan if he was ever released.

Fifty years later, Shadow was released from suspended animation by Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, grandson of Gerald Robotnik, who sought after Shadow after learning from Gerald's diary that he was the ultimate life form his grandfather had created. Dr. Eggman hoped to use Shadow to conquer the world. Shadow, having sworn revenge on the humans who caused the death of Maria (due to Gerald's plan), tricked Eggman, along with Rouge the Bat, into helping him collect all seven Chaos Emeralds. The trio placed them in the ARK, nearly allowing it to crash into Earth. Amy Rose managed to trigger Shadow's true memory of Maria and her wish, and the ARK was placed back into orbit using his skill, Chaos Control, using up the last of his energy and sending him falling to Earth, seemingly dead.

In Sonic Heroes, Rouge discovered Shadow in a stasis tube in Eggman's secret base. Suffering from amnesia and unable to remember anything except his name and brief images of Maria's death, Shadow joined forces with Rouge and E-123 Omega in order to track down Eggman. After defeating the final Eggman robot, Rouge stumbled into a room full of what appeared to be Shadow clones, and deduced that Shadow was also a clone. Omega then walked in and stated that the original Shadow must be alive for clones to exist, and began to search for him. They then went on to fight Metal Sonic with the others.

In Sonic Battle, Rouge saves Shadow while they are investigating Dr. Eggman's secret base. Believing that he is a weapon, he insists the people of Earth must destroy him, but it is revealed that he ultimately has the heart and soul of Maria Robotnik and so is not the enemy of humanity. In one of Gerald Robotnik's journal entries, he mentions that "Project Shadow" was put on hold because of Project Gizoid.

In Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow, still with no memory of his past, meets a malevolent race of aliens called the Black Arms and Black Doom, their leader, who seems to know Shadow. Throughout the game, Shadow has constant flashbacks of his past. Black Doom also baits Shadow with the knowledge of his past, while Eggman tells him that he is simply an android created by himself to mimic the real Shadow. In the final story, Black Doom reveals to him that while working on his immortality project, Gerald Robotnik contacted Black Doom and made a deal with him. If Black Doom helped him with his research, Gerald would deliver the seven Chaos Emeralds to him in fifty years' time. Using his own blood, Black Doom helped Gerald create Shadow, an immortal life form that would both help with Gerald's research and collect the Chaos Emeralds for Black Doom in the future. However, once Gerald learned of Black Doom's plot to take over the world, he created the Eclipse Cannon as a means to destroy the Black Comet (the Black Arms' home), and left it up to Shadow to stop the Black Arms. While fighting Black Doom, Shadow learned from Eggman that he in fact was not an android, but the original Shadow, whom Eggman had rescued with one of his robots after Shadow fell from space (Sonic Adventure 2). He destroys both Black Doom and the Black Arms, and vows to leave behind his future. While the game features several alternate endings and certain routes leading to those endings, this ending is generally accepted to be the true outcome of events.

In the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog video game, Shadow, now an agent of G.U.N., works with Rouge and Omega after confronting Mephiles the Dark, a manipulative darkness spirit created when a time-travel project went haywire. One of Mephiles' goals is to interfere with Shadow's future, but along with Silver and Sonic, Shadow super transforms and manages to defeat Solaris for good, and Mephiles (as part of Solaris) with it. Due to the time paradox, Shadow remembers this.

Shadow appears in Sonic Rivals as a playable character alongside Sonic, Knuckles, Silver, and Metal Sonic, where he locates and uncovers the truth about Dr. Eggman. He also appears in the sequel, Sonic Rivals 2. He is an unlockable character in the game Sonic Riders, as Speed type character, with his trademark shoes, and also appears in the sequel, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. Shadow also appeared in the game Sonic and the Secret Rings, being the first unlockable character for the Party Mode and also appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an assist trophy and a sticker. Shadow's other appearance was in Sega Superstars Tennis and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games as a playable character.

He also appears in the recently released Sega racing game, "Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing". In the game, he rides a modified black and red G.U.N. motorcycle called Dark Rider, with the symbol from his own game on the sides and jet boosters on the sides of the back wheel. His All-Star move involves him turning into Super Shadow and using Chaos Spear to attack his foes while speeding across the track.

He also appears in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games where he is the fastest character, rivaling Sonic.

Shadow appears in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, the Sonic RPG game by Bioware. In-game, his screen abilities allow him to Dash and Teleport, and during battles, he can use his Chaos Powers, including Chaos Control, Chaos Spear, and Chaos Blast, while a new one, Chaos Rift, appears. His three team abilities are with Sonic, Omega, or Rouge. In the plot, Shadow is searching for his friend, E-123 Omega, who has gone missing after Omega began to try and find any of the notorious Dr. Eggman's robots so he could destroy them.

Shadow appears in Sonic and the Black Knight, portrayed as Lancelot, one of the Knights of the Round Table. He is the first of the knights encountered in the game, and the closest to Sonic in terms of gameplay.

In Sonic Free Riders he is a playable character in normal race mode and in story mode along with Team Dark.

He is confirmed to appear in Sonic Generations.


According to official profiles, Shadow was created 50 years ago by Prof. Gerald Robotnik as the Ultimate Life Form,[11] which is ageless and immortal.[12] Sharp witted and seemingly always on the edge,[13] Shadow is described as the dark incarnation of Sonic the Hedgehog.[14] Once he has set himself to a goal, he will do whatever it takes to accomplish it,[13] regardless of any danger.[2] After the trauma of the death of his only friend, Maria Robotnik, Shadow strives to fulfill his purpose and keep the promise he made to her,[13] despite his general loathing of mankind.[2] Although his relationship with Sonic seems to have developed from antagonistic to friendly rivalry, animosity from not understanding their different mindsets continues.[9]

However, Shadow shares a lot in common with Sonic.[2] Although Sonic's speed is described as "second to none," Shadow can skate at speeds fast enough to rival the speeds of Sonic's running.[15] He can also perform spin attacks common to Sonic,[11] which are a variation on the tendency for hedgehogs to roll into tight balls for protection. Additionally, with the power of a Chaos Emerald, Shadow can warp time and space with Chaos Control.[2][14][11] Shadow is also able to use a variety of other Chaos powers, such as "Chaos Spear" and "Chaos Blast".[2]

By harnessing the power of the seven Chaos Emeralds, Shadow is able to use super transformation to transform into Super Shadow.[16] He is bestowed with the new abilities of flight and near invulnerability, like Super Sonic, and his normal abilities of speed and his Chaos powers are greatly enhanced.

Other appearances

Sonic X

Shadow also appears on the anime Sonic X voiced by his game voice actor in Japan and by Jason Griffith (who also voices Sonic) in the English version. Although his character has little difference from the games, the series is the first to introduce Shadow's ability to increase the powers he draws from the Chaos Emeralds when he removes the rings on his wrists, but he loses power after a short time. Shadow is only featured briefly in the opening sequence during the series, but does not appear until Episodes 33 through 38, which are based on Sonic Adventure 2. However, it was Chris Thorndyke who reminded Shadow of his true promise from Maria, instead of Amy Rose like in the games. Afterward, he makes short appearances in flashbacks, but he makes his real return in Season 3 episode 60, “Trick Sand” (dubbed 'Shadow's Rebirth'in Japanese). During this season, Shadow had no clear memory of his mysterious past. Only a fragment of his memory returns when he meets Molly, who reminds him of Maria. At the end of the season, he sacrifices himself again to warp away the explosive seed of the dead Metarex. However, at the end of the show, his shadow can be seen by the grave he made for Molly where he has placed a flower, so it appears that he is still alive after all, although in Japan, he is still alive and he is seen near Molly's tomb. So far, this is Shadow's only appearance in a Sonic TV series.

Sonic the Hedgehog (comic)

Shadow, as seen on the cover of issue #146.

Shadow also appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series. His origin is similar to that in the games in that he was created by Gerald Robotnik to stand against the threat of Black Doom and the Black Arms. He debuted in an adaptation of the game Sonic Adventure 2, with a few changes to accommodate the Archie version of Mobius/Earth. However, instead of the events of Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow later reappears explaining he was rescued by the alien race called the Bem to combat the Xorda.

Shadow often works alone to achieve his goal, which is to discover the truth about his mysterious history. He has at times allied with Sonic and the Freedom Fighters to fight greater evils, like the Xorda, and he has been known to work either for or against Dr. Robotnik depending on the circumstances. Often, he will side with whomever he believes will bring him closer to the truth. This search has led him to interact with various other characters, including the robot Isaac, Brotherhood of Guardians member Locke, and various versions of Metal Sonic. Hope is one of the few living beings to show compassion towards him besides Maria, and also bears a striking resemblance to her (enough so that he nearly mistook Hope for Maria at one point). After discovering and resolving to fulfill his creator's wish to protect Mobius from the return of the Black Arms, Shadow joined the Guardian Units of Nations, or G.U.N.

Shadow's abilities in the comics are similar to those in the games, but this version can directly access the "Chaos Force" and does not require a Chaos Emerald for any of his Chaos powers. The Chaos Force (also referred to as "The Power of Chaos") is a mystical energy field that serves as a wellspring for all Chaos powers of which Shadow is the first known to be able to harness outside of the Brotherhood of Guardians. When he removes the "inhibitor rings" from his wrists, his Chaos powers are greatly enhanced.

In Sonic Universe, the first four issues are a sub-series that explores more of Shadow's multi-dimensional encounters and newest stories.

Shadow Androids

Shadow Androids are robots based on Shadow that first appeared in Sonic Heroes, though it was never actually stated to be such. Instead, one Team Dark cutscene showed a broken Shadow robot, and another one showed an entire room of androids in stasis, which affected the story in a way, making several characters believe Shadow was a robot. The Shadow Androids reappeared in Shadow the Hedgehog as somewhat strong enemy robots on the single-player mode's "Iron Jungle" and "Lava Shelter" stages, along with the "Iron Jungle" boss. These androids can counter Shadow's Homing Attacks, or lock-on to Shadow and toss rockets at him, which they seem to use more often than the Homing Attack. At the last Team Dark cutscene of Sonic Heroes, when Rouge finds the multiple Shadow Androids, she suspects that Shadow is an android, but Omega says that the real Shadow exists, as there is no way anyone could make Shadow Androids without the real Shadow. While Shadow is facing Black Doom in his Devil Doom form, Eggman says that he used a robot to rescue Shadow as or after he fell from the Space Colony ARK in Sonic Adventure 2, meaning that while Shadow was in a stasis tube, Eggman was making Shadow Androids.

In the multi-player mode of Shadow the Hedgehog, there are six special Shadow Androids.[17] Four of these robots are silver with green, pink, orange, or blue stripes, each wielding either an alien-like machine gun or a bazooka. However, there are two androids who look a lot like Shadow, except one has gold stripes. All of these androids claim to be the "real Shadow", and claim that the others are fakes.[18]


Reception of the Shadow the Hedgehog character is largely mixed by fans of the Sonic franchise and by game reviewers. Shadow was ranked as the second most popular Sonic character—only beaten by Sonic the Hedgehog himself in an official Japanese Sonic character poll.[19] Many game reviewers, like GameSpot have called Shadow a "clone" of Sonic.[20] Game Revolution described his character as a "quintessential anti-Sonic."[21] GameDaily included him in a top 25 list of video game anti-heroes, stating that while he sometimes fights for good, he also enjoys using firearms.[22] Yahoo! Games listed Shadow on its April 2010 unranked list of the top nine "Sour Game Characters", calling him "a wise-cracking, free-wheeling free agent."[23] And he was voted 25th out of the top 50 video game characters of all time in Guinness World Records 2011 Gamers' Edition.[24]

In a 1UP.com feature about "How Sega Can Save Sonic the Hedgehog," Jeremy Parish wrote that of the "tagalongs" that the series must ditch, Shadow's character was the most in need of it.[25] In 2009 Levi Buchanan, an editor at IGN, referred to Shadow as an unnecessary "would-be mascot" along with a few other characters new to the Sonic Universe;[26] Hilary Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of IGN's Xbox team mentioned the mechanics of Shadow's solo game, specifically the use of firearms, as part of the central problem nowadays with Sonic games, being there is less emphasis on both speed and the original hedgehog.[26]

Theme Songs

Like most of the characters from the Sonic series, Shadow has had a numerous amount of themes, most of which are from his self-titled game.

As Super Shadow it's commented that it's Live and Learn, because in Sonic Adventure 2, and Shadow the Hedgehog(game) it's the song while played during super transformation.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "PlayStation Games & Media News: Fast Talking". http://uk.playstation.com/games-media/news/articles/detail/item87848/Fast-talking/. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Sonic channel/character/character data/shadow". Archived from the original on 2006-12-31. http://web.archive.org/web/20061231041529/http://sonic.sega.jp/chara/shadow/index.html. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood". Characters (Tails icon): Sega.com. p. Shadow the Hedgehog. http://www.sega.com/sonicchronicles/us/index.php. Retrieved 2008-08-18. "Shadow is an artificially-created life form designed by the renowned scientist, Professor Gerald Robotnik, at the height of his career. His trademark hover shoes propel him at extreme speeds that rival those of Sonic, and he has the ability to use the Chaos Emeralds to distort time and space with "Chaos Control."" 
  4. "Sonic Retro Sonic Rivals 2 manual". sonicretro.org. p. 7=right side. http://info.sonicretro.org/Image:Sonic_Rivals_2Sonic_Rivals_2_06.png. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  5. Pallesen, Lasse (2004-03-25). "News Article: Sega Confirms Shadow the Hedgehog". Nintendo World Report. http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=10414. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Sonic Adventure 2 Hands-On". GameSpot.com. http://www.gamespot.com/dreamcast/action/sonicadventure2/news.html?sid=2662976&mode=all. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  7. "Shadowing a Hedgehog". Yahoo.com. http://videogames.yahoo.com/news-1138385. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Shadow the Wrestling Hedgehog". 1up.com. http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3146055. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Sega's Yuji Naka Talks!". GameSpy.com. http://ps2.gamespy.com/articles/654/654749p1.html. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  10. Castro, Juan (August 25, 2005). "Shadow The Interview". IGN. http://uk.cube.ign.com/articles/645/645487p1.html. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Sega (2002). "Characters: Shadow". Sonic Adventure 2 Instruction Manual. Sega. "pp. 7" 
  12. "Sonic Central/about/characters". http://www.sega.com/sonic/globalsonic/post_allabout.php?article=soniccharacters. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Sega of America. "Shadow's official character profile from Sega of America". Sega of America. http://www.sega.com/sonic/globalsonic/post_allabout.php?article=soniccharacters. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Sega (2004). "Team Dark". Sonic Heroes Instruction Manual. Sega. "pp. 8" 
  15. Sega (2005). "Characters". Shadow the Hedgehog Instruction Manual. Sega. "pp. 7" 
  16. Sega / Backbone Entertainment. Sonic Rivals. (Sega). Sony PSP. Level/area: Card Collection, #147. ""Super Shadow (2005)""
  17. Description of 2P Game in Shadow the Hedgehog game manual: "Each player controls a Shadow Android"
  18. "Sega Gamesite: Shadow the Hedgehog/Modes/Two Player Game". http://www.sega.com/gamesite/shadow/base.html. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  19. "Sonic Channel Official Popularity Poll" (in Japanese). http://sonic.sega.jp/SonicChannel/event/016/index.html. 
  20. "Sonic Adventure 2 Hands-On". GameSpot.com. http://www.gamespot.com/dreamcast/action/sonicadventure2/news.html?sid=2708046&mode=all. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  21. "Sonic Adventure 2 Review for DreamCast". Game Revolution. http://www.gamerevolution.com/review/dreamcast/sonic_adventure_2. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  22. Gallery and Images - GameDaily
  23. "Shadow the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog Series)". Yahoo! Games. April 15, 2010. http://videogames.yahoo.com/events/sweet-and-sour-games/sour-game-characters/1395757/8. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  24. "Guinness Names Top 50 Video Game Characters Of All Time". Game Informer. http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2011/02/16/guinness-names-top-50-video-game-characters-of-all-time.aspx. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  25. "Hit Reset: How Sega Can Save Sonic the Hedgehog". 1UP.com. http://www.1up.com/do/feature?pager.offset=1&cId=3157060. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 "How the Blue Blur got to here and how he can come back". ign.com. 2009-02-20. http://retro.ign.com/articles/955/955741p2.html. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 

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