Project Shadow (プロジェクトシャドウ Purojekuto Shadō?) is a scientific project in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It was a medical research program conducted by the United Federation over fifty years before the events of Shadow the Hedgehog for researching immortality.
The results of Project Shadow produced two creatures endowed with immortality: the prototype named the Biolizard, and the final product, Shadow the Hedgehog. However, the project was shut down by the military when it was deemed danger to humanity, which indirectly resulted in the deaths of Gerald and Maria Robotnik. The project's legacy forms the basis for the storylines of both Sonic Adventure 2 and, to a much greater extent, Shadow the Hedgehog.
Project Shadow was conceived over fifty years prior to the events of Shadow the Hedgehog by the President of the United Federation at that time (13 presidents ago from the current one) under the premise of achieving "mankind's ultimate eternal dream: researching for immortality." The true purpose of the project was though to discover an "immortality formula" to develop weapons for war.
To make this a reality, the President personally requested Professor Gerald Robotnik, one of the most brilliant minds of his time, for assistance. Initially, Gerald stubbornly refused this request, believing that they were crossing the limits that man should not dare tamper with in nature and knowing that they would use the results for war. However, Gerald realized he might be able to co-opt the program in order to find a cure for Neuro-Immune Deficiency Syndrome, an incurable and fatal disease afflicting his granddaughter, Maria. Motivated to help his beloved granddaughter, Gerald accepted the President's request in the end and agreed to led the project on the Space Colony ARK, an orbiting facility isolated from earth. There, all advanced research on the project was strictly confidential. The project was given the codename "Project Shadow" because of the sarcasm involved in trying to create a being which did not exist naturally, making it as intangible as a shadow.
Research and Prototype
When Project Shadow first began, everyone thought that this plan was far too reckless and far-fetched to have ever been fabricated by Gerald's gifted mind. In the beginning stages, Gerald and his colleges researched the Chaos Emeralds which resulted in the creation of the Chaos Drives which were a test to apply the infinite energies of the Emeralds to living beings. With the Chaos Drives, Project Shadow moved into its next phase which was to create an immortal lifeform dubbed "The Ultimate Lifeform." Once the prototype of this being was completed, the main project could be started.
During the development of the ultimate lifeform, Gerald needed help with his work and as such made contact with Black Doom, the alien leader of the Black Arms race, during the fifty-year return of the Black Comet. In exchange for the seven Chaos Emeralds being delivered to him in fifty years, Black Doom assisted Gerald with his research, going so far as to provide genetic material for the project in the form of his own blood.
The project eventually produced the "Prototype of the Ultimate Lifeform", named the Biolizard which was made after the image of a lizard. At 12:30 A.M. on the 27th of January, the Biolizard was successfully brought to life, with its eternal engine and Chaos Control-inducing organ working normally. The Biolizard demonstrated many of the desired traits as it grew, including: regeneration of lost limbs, restoration and asexual self-reproduction, much to the researcher's thrills, though it required a Life Support System fueled by Chaos Drives to remain viable. But, while the researchers' joy over the Biolizard's evolution went to their heads, the creature eventually proved to be a burden. In addition to having an unexpected and exponentially fast growth rate, the Biolizard was like a primitive animal, it reacted violently with the Chaos Emeralds' power and it was not strong enough to walk, although its tail and neck were strong. As such, it was required to keep it under observation. Eventually, the Biolizard became unruly and hard to control, causing many problems onboard the ARK.
While the prototype proved too dangerous, the development of the ultimate lifeform continued and shifted. Using the DNA of Black Doom, Gerald proceeded to create a new version of the prototype, but using a more desirable physique for the creature.
Unease and Completion
Because of the Biolizard's violent tendencies, people began to doubt Project Shadow and questioned the continuation of it as well as the safety of the others aboard the ARK. Eventually, the private information about the project was somehow leaked to GUN, presumably by one of the few who were concerned by the Biolizard and the threat it posed. Over time, the nature of the project made the government uneasy, and they considered cutting funding. In an attempt to keep Project Shadow going, Gerald offered the Gizoid, an ancient robot he had discovered which could mimic combat abilities, to the government as a bribe. Unfortunately, the bribe did not work and the Gizoid went on a rampage on the ARK.
Eventually, Project Shadow was completed after years of research when Gerald managed to produce a more advanced version of the Prototype of the Ultimate Lifeform with Black Doom's DNA: Shadow the Hedgehog, whom Gerald imparted with a heart and personality similar to that of Maria in the hopes that he would not become a weapon. In addition to possessing immortality, Shadow did not need machinery to live, could complete tasks alone, and possessed both high intelligence and an identity of his own. Shadow himself became closely related to those living on the ARK, especially Maria, whom he formed a deep friendship with, though he would eventually begin to wonder about what his true purpose was.
Although Project Shadow was complete, the government and the military feared that Shadow was a terrible weapon and a threat to humanity. The top ranking officials of GUN, having developed a strong disliking of the research organization on the ARK, formulated a plan to shut down the ARK itself by taking advantage of its current situation. Codenaming their plan "ARK's Indestructible Seal", the officials' plan included evacuating the colony's civilian residents back to earth while the research facilities involved with Project Shadow were to be sealed off, and all the researchers involved with the project, except Gerald, were to be killed. This story would be released to the public under the premise that a biohazard accident had occurred within the ARK research institution that GUN knew nothing about, forcing the ARK to be sealed off, and that Gerald was the person who caused the accident.
Some time after the completion of Project Shadow, the ARK was invaded by GUN's soldiers in a violent coup d'état, evacuating civilians and killing researchers. While the plan was being executed, however, Gerald put his finishing touches on Shadow. When GUN's Special Forces rushed into the ARK's research institute, Gerald told Maria to escape with Shadow, entrusting her with his creation, and ran in the opposite direction to draw unwanted attention away from the two. In the ensuing chase, Maria and Shadow got to the escape pods, but Maria was shot by a soldier before escaping. Before dying, Maria safely ejected Shadow to earth in an escape pod with her last strength. Meanwhile, Gerald saw the pod being ejected from a window.
Despite the complications, the military's plan went along and within a week the residents of the ARK had all been moved back to earth, all the ARK's research facilities were frozen by GUN, and all researchers involved in Project Shadow, except for Gerald, were announced as victims of the fake disaster told to the public. The plan was finally completed when the Biolizard was found and sealed away in the deepest part of the ARK.
With the operations about Project Shadow ceased on the ARK, Gerald was taken to Prison Island where he was forced to continue his research on Project Shadow under military control. The military later managed to retrieve Shadow and brought him to Prison Island for Gerald to continue his research, but when Gerald learned Maria had been killed, he went mad with grief. While it was thought that he was continuing his research with Shadow, Gerald was secretly creating a program that would cause the ARK to fall to earth and destroy it as his revenge, and he brainwashed Shadow to carry out his revenge. When the military began to fear how Gerald might retaliate, however, they incarcerated him on Prison Island. Knowing only the danger of Project Shadow, the military sealed the island and abandoned the professor's research. Eventually, Gerald was executed while Shadow was placed in suspended animation on Prison Island.
In Shadow the Hedgehog, it is revealed that Black Doom had his own, non-humanitarian agenda in contributing to Project Shadow: his goal was to produce an agent who would gather the Chaos Emeralds for him fifty years later so he could invade earth and enslave the human population at this planned time. Ironically, Black Doom was the only one who got what he wanted from Project Shadow, only for it to backfire on him spectacularly: while Shadow did collect the Chaos Emeralds as Black Doom wanted, Shadow learned the truth of his past and instead of using them for Black Doom, he used them to become Super Shadow to defeat Black Doom and destroy the Black Comet using the Eclipse Cannon, thus thwarting his invasion.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Rouge's report in the Japanese Sonic Adventure 2 strategy guide, "The Truth about 50 Years ago..."
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Prof. Gerald Robotnik, Codex, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Sonic Team (February 27, 2004). Sonic Battle. Gameboy Advance. Sega. Area: Gimme Shelter. "Rouge the Bat: He was not interested in researching weapons. He was researching a way to bring happiness and hope to all people. But, he was forced by the government and by the military to use his research for war. That's why he gave you and Gizoid a "soul." A soul identical to his beloved granddaughter, Maria."
- ↑ Sonic Team (November 18, 2005). Shadow the Hedgehog. PlayStation 2. Sega. Area: Final Haunt. "Black Doom: The professor was in development of the ultimate life force but he needed my help. So we made a deal... I helped him and he promised to deliver me the SEVEN Chaos Emeralds."
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 File:Biolizard_file_2.png
- ↑ Prof. Gerald's Journal 4-6, Sonic Battle
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Sonic Adventure 2: Prima's Official Strategy Guide, p. 2