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Tear Jerker / Shadow the Hedgehog

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  • The opening cutscene with Maria's death, made even more heart wrenching in the Japanese version. Shadow's panting in a way that gives off the impression that he was possible crying either before or during the event, and his cry of Maria's name as the screen fades to white is filled with so much emotion that it may end up making one sob at least a little.
  • Play either The Doom or Lost Impact, with the music turned up, and think about what exactly is occurring.
  • All of the endings have Shadow figure out who he is... and there's the Semi-Hero: Hero Ending. Shadow realizes all the damage he caused, and for the first time, is actually broken up about it. And the title for one of the routes you can take to get to it? "Shadow's Second Death...?". He really sounds like he's contemplating suicide.
    Shadow: I'm Shadow... the Hedgehog. A research experiment... gone deadly wrong. I've caused so much destruction... I should never have been created. This is who I am.
    • Vector's response, and the fact Shadow just silently walks away without listening to him makes it even worse — as does the use of the heart-wrenching Lonely Piano Piece that plays during the Semi-Hero endings, which fades out as he leaves.
    • Not to mention the game's Semi-hero theme, ''Chosen One'' — which, compared to All Hail Shadow, is incredibly bittersweet.
      Wish I may, wish I might, be someone else tonight, sometimes I wish I was never born at all...
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    • This also goes for the song that was originally intended to be the Semi-Hero ending theme, ''Broken'' A depressing and somber theme that was unfortunately pulled due to SEGA being unable to contact Sins of a Divine Mother in time. It is truly heartbreaking.
      Couldn't walk away from something broken, tried to find a way to make it good again. Only you can make a difference, darling. But always...
  • To some extent, defeating Sonic in the Pure Dark and Semi-Dark Endings. In hindsight, the fact that you have defeated everyone's beloved blue hedgehog along with Diablon and the fact that you have turned your back on all of the heroes makes this all an unpleasant sight.
    Sonic: Shadow... w-why? Why are you siding with them...?
  • At the end, when the President says "After the way we all treated him, he saved us all in the end." It brings to mind Sonic Adventure 2 and how Shadow sacrificed himself to fulfill Maria's wish despite his former Humans Are Bastards attitude. That one line perfectly captured Shadow in that moment. The piano tune over the credits didn't help matters either.
    • Also at the end of Shadow, Shadow standing aboard the ARK and looking at a picture of Maria and Professor Gerald, before tossing it behind him and saying "Goodbye forever, Shadow the Hedgehog." Part of the impact may be from the callback to Adventure 2's "Sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog."
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  • The music to Lost Impact. It's made even worse by how it's one of the two flashback levels (along with The Doom) that you go through with Maria Robotnik.
  • The music for GUN Fortress, the final level of the Pure Dark path. It perfectly captures the mood of the level — humanity is all but wiped out, and you're storming their last line of defence. Regardless of if you go the "Hero" (more like Starscream at this point — given that in doing so, Shadow is betraying both the heroes and Black Doom to take over everything for himself) or Dark route (which ends with the human resistance being completely annihilated by the Black Arms), the World is doomed. And it's your fault.
    Youtube Commenter: This song not only reflects that Shadow's actions are irredeemable, but also how he's not really himself anymore. Shadow already resorted to putting his past behind him before this game — but when Black Doom came around, he just filled his head with toxic dreams of hatred and revenge, corrupting Shadow into someone that wasn't even recognizable as himself anymore. Not only are his actions irredeemable, but he is, too. He's gone.
  • Right before you play through The Last Way — Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Rouge, and Eggman are all paralyzed by nerve gas. Then Shadow takes off to stop Black Doom, and there's these words:
    Rouge: (desperate tone) Shadow!
    Sonic: You're our only hope, now...
  • Shadow killing Dr. Eggman in three of the endings was pretty heartwrenching, especially considering that the game portrays Eggman as a morally-complex character who isn't irredeemably evil like Black Doom is. Seeing such a lovable villain get killed off, non-canon though it was, was a real gut-punch to the Doc's fans.
    Shadow: (raises his hand) Goodbye, Doctor!
    (The screen immediately cuts to black as Shadow brings his hand down to kill him)
    Dr. Eggman: NOOOOOOOOO-!
  • Watching the president's Broken Pedestal reaction to Shadow trying to murder him can be pretty sad.
    President: Shadow? I... can't believe it.
  • One of the endings (Pure Dark - Dark) has Shadow be driven to crazed omnicide. To see somebody who made a Heroic Sacrifice for Earth just... give up on everything and go Laughing Mad is both sad and very unnerving. Not to mention the lack of emphasis on the Precision F-Strike, something setting it apart from most of Griffith's acting in the game. Even worse since by this point, Shadow genuinely believes that this was what Gerald wanted — losing all faith in humanity and no longer caring about his own past, Black Doom's ideals of conquest, nor even personal power. Only for inflicting the global annihilation that he had been conditioned for out of grief-induced insanity.
    Shadow: Finally... I've got all the Chaos Emeralds.
    Sonic: (barely conscious) Shadow... w-what are you going to do with them?
  • If you spend about seven minutes in the final battle against Devil Doom, Dr. Eggman takes the time to explain to Shadow that he is indeed the original, after trying to make him think that he was one of his Shadow Androids to coax him onto his side. It doubles as a Heartwarming Moment, given that not only does it provide closure on whether or not it was the real deal, but the fact he was saved by Eggman of all people only makes it more effective.
    Dr. Eggman: Shadow, can you hear me? This may be the last chance I get to speak to you, so... what I said about having created you? It was all a lie. Everyone thought you had died during that horrible incident. But I rescued you with one of my robots! You lost your memory, that's all. You really are the Ultimate Lifeform my grandfather created!
  • The Lonely Piano Piece that Never Turn Back — the game's true ending theme — opens with seems morosely reflective of all the events of Shadow's life.
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