Indeed I do, but when you can only pick eight of your characters, when a sizable portion of your core audience is going to be Mario fans who don't really know much about Sonic, you basically say "these eight characters are the important ones; the major ones you should be familiar with should you ever pick up a game." And with the Advance games, Heroes, Riders, the Rush cinemas fresh in mind, I honestly thought Cream was going to be a permanent fixture, permanently brandishing the series as "kiddy shit". And you're right, her appearance doesn't help, period, in that front. But for awhile, I was honestly afraid she was going to be marketed as "the new Tails".
Speaking of, since Sonic Rush Adventure and Secret Rings turned out to be enjoyable, I decided to use the power of YouTube last week to watch the cinemas of Sonic360, simply to get myself caught up. And when the last three minutes hit the big Control-Z on the whole debacle, I became so infuriated I attempted to shake the last two hours of my life back out of the computer, but that's neither here nor there. I was aghast at (a number of things, but one of which was) what an utter shell of a character Shadow is now that he knows his origins and has accepted neutrality with heroic tendencies, there's really no more mystery in him, and you know what? Now that it's gone, it's all the more apparent he has no personality. He's cold as ice, but not silver-tongued enough to make it interesting. When Eggman throws the lone attempt at comic relief his way, he merely deflects it like a hailstone off a tank.
I won't pretend Shadow is the bane of everything. I do agree with the smilie chart above, except I enjoyed the shit out of Riders, but the point is he was interesting enough to serve as a decent plot device in SA2. And with all this Iblis/Black Arms/Erazor/Sol/Sephiles/Void/Solaris/magic/psychic/time-traveling/alternate-dimensions bullshit, the fact that he at least got my attention and an honest stab at comprehension is saying something; whether or not it was abused by some truly horrifying stunt-writing in the subsequent games is another matter altogether. The conclusion was a wonderful end to the whole thing, it's a shame they desecrated it by digging up his corpse. His backstory was what made SA2 interesting, not his character. So now that the former is resolved and bent out of proportion, the latter comes into focus as hollow as the inside of [insert hated person here]'s skull. While he may be a harbinger for lousy gameplay now (and a guarantee for some painful dialogue), I find that makes it kind of ironic that his gameplay was one of the best parts of SA2.