GAMEPLAY(5/10): Now before I explain the gameplay, I'll talk about how the levels are set up. The game is mission based unlike some of the past or later Sonic games, but you can choose whether to help with the Hero or Dark side. The Story Map is set up like a grid, you move down if you helps the heroes, down if you helps the villains or straight if you don't help anyone. So basically, the question is as said on the commercial and the back of the game's case: "Is he a hero? Or a Villain?". On the Hero Side, Shadow helps Sonic and his friends fight off Black Doom and the Black Arms and save the world; On the Dark Side, Shadow helps Black Doom and the aliens wreak havoc upon the world and like all villains in movies, video games or TV shows, take over the world. (M.Bison: Of course!) Or you could just help neither of them and complete the level. Now for the actual gameplay, the game is pretty slow. It doesn't feel like I'm moving fast like how they do on Sonic Heroes, feels like he's running (or gliding) about 50 MPH. Now here are the complaints that many of us had who played the game. One problem that I have with the gameplay is the fact that Shadow can use guns and swords and can also drive vehicles or motorcycles. These are completely unnecessary items that are not needed in the game. Seriously, has there ever been a Sonic game that has the Sonic Cast driving cars and/or shooting guns? (Don't say Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing. That does not count!) Shadow can run as fast as Sonic, so why does he need a car or bike to get around? Well, in some levels you need to use a car to get around some places that can't be explored on foot. Also, why does Shadow need a gun? Can't he use Chaos Control and Chaos Spear? Some "Ultimate Life Form" he turned out to be, eh? Another complaint I have is that in each level there are 5 keys that are used to unlock a stone door with 5 locks on it. That's just as unnecessary as the guns and cars, there's no reward for collect them all, all that could be inside is probably something useless! Also, the game, itself, is too easy! I can blow through the levels and get an "A" with no problem! Believe me, I have all "A" on every single level, mission, and boss. Critics and some fans say that the controls are poor, I actually didn't see any poor controls. They were pretty sensitive, but they weren't poor. Another thing I almost forgot to mention about the game was that there is a multi-player feature in the game, and just like in most Sonic games that have a mutli-player feature: it sucks.
GRAPHICS, SOUND AND MUSIC(3.5/10): The main reasons why I gave this part of the game a 3.5 was because of the graphics. The graphics had made no change from Sonic Heroes to Shadow the Hedgehog. It's like Sonic Team took the same graphics engine from Sonic Heroes and placed it in Shadow the Hedgehog and just darkened the atmosphere around them. The sounds are average, but the voice acting is HORRENDOUS! By that I mean that some of the characters sound exactly the same. I mean, Rouge still has that voice that sounds like it belongs on a sex hotline. The worst voices simply come from 2 characters: Vector the Crocodile and E-123 Omega. I cannot stand either of their voices, mainly Vector's. I guess that's why he's known for his infamous "Find the Computer Room!" phrase. E-123 Omega's voices i dreadful as well, it's not like it's any better in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). I liked his voice on Sonic Heroes. Not to mention that this is the only Sonic game that has mild language. The game uses the word "Damn" which you hear from Sonic, Knuckles, Espio, the general, and Shadow mostly. Shadow will use this word when he takes damage sometimes, in dialogue, he even used "damn" purposely when he was looking for the 4th chaos emerald in the Circus Park. As for the music, it's a whole different story! The music in this game kicks ass! The theme songs played for Shadow sound so bad ass like "All of Me" and "All Hail Shadow", even the music played in the levels are cool as well like Westolpolis, Glyphic Canyon, Cryptic Castle, and even my all time favorite song, The Doom! The music alone is why I gave this a 3.5.
REPLAY VALUE(8.5/10): For what it's worth, at least the game's playable and worth playing again, but there's nothing to really offer. The Replay Value is pretty high mainly because there are many stories to unlock, but I would recommend replaying it to unlock other stories to put in the Library. Yeah, there are many level combinations to use to unlock different stories. That's tedious! But after beating the final story, you unlock "Expert Mode" which is where you have to play through all of the levels but, the layout of the levels are different to make the game harder than the normal version.
OVERALL AND FINAL SCORE: Shadow the Hedgehog for the PS2, Xbox, and Nintendo Gamecube is a mediocre Sonic game starring a mediocre Sonic character. The story is lame, the gameplay is sluggish with unnecessary elements that are not needed in the game, the graphics have not made a change from Sonic Heroes just a dark atmosphere, the voice acting sucks and some Sonic characters use "Damn". But, there are redeeming factors to the game like the awesome music and a pretty high replay value which makes the game rather entertaining to play. That doesn't make the game good, but at least it's still better than most the Sonic games released afterward. So overall, Shadow the Hedgehog is a mediocre Sonic game that is actually worth checking out.