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Shadow the Hedgehog

If the Sonic games made hedgehogs, especially blue ones, even more endearing with their sprinting, spinning antics, Shadow the Hedgehog is about to demonstrate that they do have an evil side.

In the latest Sonic game you don't play as Sonic at all - although if you play nicely and refrain from shooting the good guys, he will appear to fight alongside you.

Instead, you play his more morally dubious alter-ego, Shadow, a hedgehog who's armed to the back teeth (if hedgehogs have teeth) with swords and rifles.

Shadow's story apparently begins where Sonic 2 left off. Shadow crash-lands on an alien world and finds it being torn apart by two factions at war - humans vs the Black Arms aliens.

Having lost his memory, Shadow has no idea whose side to take and throughout the game the little guy struggles to discover if he's actually good or bad.

And the answer to that question is in your hands. Depending on how you play the game, you'll take the good or bad path, eventually getting one of two endings.

Shoot the aliens and Shadow gets 'good' points. With enough of these points he gets a special move - the Chaos Control energy blast - and either Sonic or one of his buddies helping him out.

However, being bad and hindering human troops has its benefits too, as you get your own special move and fighting companion in the shape of a giant octopus-like thing called Doom's Eye.

Shadow's world is certainly as adrenaline-charged as Sonic's. Levels are full of variety from Tron-style neon on-the-rails ones to gritty shooting levels set in alien ships. You even get to fly a dragon at one point.

Doing a Jak and introducing guns adds a new twist to the much-loved series. Sonic fans shouldn't be disappointed.

Shadow the Hedgehog is out for PS2, Xbox and Gamecube in November