An editorial concerning the history of Shadow based on his appearances in the video games: Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, Sonic Battle, and Shadow The Hedgehog.

Warning: Severe Plot machinations from Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Battle, Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog lie beyond... Don't say you weren't warned!

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No character has ever set Sonic fandom alight as much as Shadow, with his 'mysterious' past, 'dark' methods and 'angsty' persona. Not only is his backstory more convoluted and plot holed than any other character he's the FOURTH main character to of picked up a gun and loose bullets, lasers and what not on his enemies. This last fact alone has set Sonic fandom alight, so I think it's time that the debate was settled once and for all, so without further ado I intend to plunge into Shadow's back-story and present a coherent image once and for all.

Primarily for people who think Shadow the Hedgehog didn't explain a thing, or can't be bothered to play it, but also, just because, I'm an control freak and the more editorials with my name on them the better :p

The truthful and undeniable facts:
Shadow WAS the real Shadow in Heroes, he just had amnesia
Shadow DID know Maria, he was created long before the Ark was destroyed... There was some questions raised in SA2 wondered whether she was a figment of his imagination, but they were minor and to be ignored
We now know how Gerald made Shadow, with Black Doom's help..

What we can work out from that:

Maria and GeraldIt all starts with Gerald on the Ark, struggling to make the Ultimate Life Form, and doing a bad job of it...
It's never stated but presumably he made the Biolizard, a failure at the Ultimate Life Form. The Biolizard was large, bulky, stupid and to be blunt just plain ugly. However on one of his side projects Gerald manage to make contact with the Black Comet where Black Doom offered to help him make Shadow in return for the seven chaos emeralds. Eager to get his work finished Gerald agreed without considering what his new allies from the mysterious Black Comet wanted....
A young boy, who used to play with Maria saw Shadow being made and fled, had nightmares and would eventually grow up to be a sad obsessive twisted man who would be haunted by the image for the rest of his life...
Too late Gerald realised what Black Doom was doing and left a message warning Shadow that Black Doom would try and use him. He also realised the GUN troops were about to attack the Ark and shut him down, however he, being the smartass he was built the Eclipse Cannon, (probably the reason WHY Gun attacked???) in order to destroy the Black Comet.

GUN attacks the ARK, Maria is killed trying to escape with Shadow...

Gerald went mad and programmed both Shadow and the Biolizard to destroy the earth... Presumably Black Doom was saying the same things to him that he was to Shadow "Humans are despicable" "This earth is abominable" "Unleash your evil"
Gerald is captured, sentenced, and executed, but he dies happy knowing that his revenge will destroy the planet, saving humanity from Black Doom.
GUN seals the Biolizard away and Shadow is also encapsulated, frozen for 50 years as the Militaries Top Secret Weapon...

Eggman reawakens Shadow Fifty years later, Shadow who is unsure about his past because of Gerald's tampering with his memory heads straight to the Ark, begins collecting Chaos emeralds and nearly destroys the earth.

GUN sees Shadow and assumes it's Sonic wearing black paint as assort of semi pathetic disguise, after all, why would there be two super fast hedgehogs? (For that matter, why is there eve one super fast hedgehog? If you're looking for the greatest mystery of the Sonic Universe you probably have it there.)
Realising his mistake, when Amy reminds him of Maria, Shadow tries to undo the damage, but the Biolizard finishes his work and he is forced to kill it and nearly dies using Chaos Control...
He passes out, falls to earth, is presumed dead and then found by Eggman. The scientist sees his opportunity, clones him and seals him away, hoping that they can forget about the original.
But Rouge discovers him in a top secret underground abandoned facility and finds he's lost all of his memory, possibly from the fall or possible because he's undone the damage Gerald did to his mind that he's overcome...
After defeating Metal Sonic and failing to get any answers about anything he goes his own way, his memories slowly returning bit by bit on their own...

(It is possible Sonic Battle could happen here, but I'm not sure... In it Shadow knows just too much about Gerald... But then again, maybe it's fine, or maybe it happens after Shadow the Hedgehog? All we know is that it doesn't actually mean anything to Shadow's past, only towards his future which makes him accept that he doesn't have to be such an Emo.)

The young boy who saw Shadow becomes leader of GUN, his hatred for the black hedgehog still burning despite what he just saw Shadow and Sonic do... (I'm assuming he takes over AFTER SA2 as they clearly didn't know there were two hedgehogs at the start)

Black Doom arrives, begs him to collect the emeralds and the invasion commences
Shadow collects the emeralds, through any method doesn't matter, but the hero path is probable. Either way, everyone ends up on the Black Comet and Black Doom collects the Emeralds off him and reveals his plan, Shadow hunts him down and sees the message Gerald originally left for him, warning him of Black Dooms intent...
Shadow destroys Black Doom, smashes the Black Comet with the Eclipse Cannon (damaged not destroyed in Sonic Adventure 2, or maybe if you play the Dark side of SA2 you discovered that it was never programmed to work in the first place, just to crash into earth. Maybe Sonic did no damage to it at all?????)
Afterwards Shadow stops to think on the Ark, having recovered a photograph of Gerald and Maria. He says his goodbyes and turns to leave, finally happy that he knows who he is and where he came from. know he knows the truth he puts his past behind him and leaves...

And what's next for our intrepid hero? Well, if we can believe the pictures it looks like he'll be an unlockable character in Sonic Riders, and who knows what's beyond that. Either way, it looks like his back story had played out, if he returns in the next mainstream Sonic game then hopefully he'll have moved on.

Or maybe he slit his wrists at the end of Shadow, bringing his story to a neat end, but somehow I doubt it.

Gerald and Maria's story may be over, but Sonic Team will doubtlessly milk Shadow for all he's worth....

So, cheers to the true stars of this little story, Gerald and Maria Robotnik, who with luck we will never hear mentioned again...