Sonic the Hedgehog has been a flagship platformer for Sega and a juggernaut franchise since 1991, even accumulating his own cartoons. The franchise began in 1991 with the game Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis, which pitted a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog named Sonic against a rotund male human villain named Doctor Eggman.
The sequel, Sonic 2, gave Sonic a fox friend named Tails. Shortly afterward, Sonic CD introduced Amy Rose, a female hedgehog with a persistent crush on Sonic, and Sonic 3 introduced Knuckles the Echidna, Sonic’s rival and, later, friend. All five of these have remained major characters and appeared in dozens of games. Take a look below for 10 of the greatest Sonic the Hedgehog characters.
1. Shadow the Hedgehog
Shadow is a “lone wolf” who distances himself from Sonic and his friends. He is among the darkest and most violent character in the series, destroying anything that gets in his way. As shown in Shadow the Hedgehog, he has a ruthless killer instinct. When Shadow sets his mind on something, he is virtually unstoppable.
Unlike Sonic who fights fairly in battle, Shadow does not have the same fighting honor that Sonic shows, going so far as to cheat in battle by using a Chaos Emerald and even using Guns against his opponent even if they are not using any weapons at all against him, however, after the events of Shadow the hedgehog, he is less angry and is much more nicer to others and is even willing to help other people and Sonic whenever they need his help.
In Sonic X, Shadow is not as aggressive, but is still more violent. For example, Shadow attempts to kill Cosmo because he thought she was a Metarex spy. Tails tries to protect Cosmo, which resulted in Shadow giving him a severe beating. The dubbed and edited American version of the show tones down Shadow’s dark and aggressive attitude to make the show more acceptable for younger viewers.
2. Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic has been described as being “like the wind”, and is noted for being free-spirited and adventurous. He enjoys relaxation, but is never one to rest in the face of injustice. He is extremely benevolent, and willingly puts himself at risk to help others, taking on any challenge that confronts him without hesitation.
He shows that it takes determination and faith to overcome a problem. He is never the one to back down from a fight, he always puts others before himself.
Sonic is an all around, fun-loving kind of hedgehog, but is very impatient, often jumping into situations without thinking. He displays an interest in rock music. Some official character art and a television commercial for Sonic Adventure suggests that he has a personal hobby as a DJ.
Furthermore, it is displayed in Sonic Rush for the Nintendo DS that Sonic also enjoys breakdancing as it is one of his primary ways for filling up his Tension gauge. His battle moves in Sonic Battle are also based on breakdancing, as mentioned in the attack descriptions. Lastly, he breakdances in Sonic Advance 3 if he finishes a level in a short-enough time. His favorite food has always been chili dogs, seen in both his comic book and video game continuities.
3. Miles Tails Prower
The name “Miles Prower” is a pun on “miles per hour”, a reference to the famed speed of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. He is a young, male, golden-yellow, anthropomorphic fox with two tails (similar to the mythological kitsune, or “yoko”, which was often depicted with up to nine), hence the nickname.
He is able to use his two tails to propel himself into the air like a helicopter for a limited time. His debut was October 16, 1992, in the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2; the 16-bit version was released that November.
Tails is a very friendly and humble fox. He looks up to Sonic as a hero whom he wants to emulate. Though he lacks confidence, he is always quite capable around Sonic and often helps him out. He is very intelligent and at times he has even outsmarted Eggman. For a long time Tails seemed to be perfectly satisfied with just being a “sidekick”, but in Sonic Adventure he expresses a longing to become more independent.
Tails has a few weaknesses; he lacks self-confidence, and his tendency to ramble causes him to accidentally blurt out secrets or plans (for example, in Sonic Adventure 2, he tells Eggman that the Chaos Emerald Sonic had was a fake, thus ruining the heroes’ plans.)
4. Knuckles the Echidna
Knuckles the Echidna is the last Mobian Echidna known to inhabit the world and the Guardian of both Angel Island and the Master Emerald. While his primary concern is protecting his home from invaders, certain threats-particularly those posed by Dr. Eggman-have been enough to persuade him to leave the island at times and join forces with Sonic the Hedgehog and other heroes to protect the world.
Knuckles is a very driven individual with an almost single-minded focus on protecting Angel Island and the Master Emerald from anyone who would do them harm. However, he also recognizes the danger the Master Emerald poses in the hands of villainous powers, and has demonstrated on more than one occasion a willingness to shatter it into fragments in order to keep it safe.
Knuckles has also demonstrated enough sense to realize that a threat to the planet is a threat to his island as well, and has left Angel Island on more than one occasion in order to combat a threat to the world. In this he often finds himself working alongside Sonic and Tails, though he and Sonic enjoy a friendly rivalry in addition to friendship.
Knuckles has proven somewhat gullible over the years, with Dr. Eggman tricking him into fighting Sonic on several occasions. He is hot-tempered and quick to act without thinking, usually choosing violence over discussion. Patience is another area in which Knuckles is not at his strongest, but despite this he is a trustworthy friend and powerful ally.
According to several media, his favorite food is grapes. He is also afraid of ghosts, as seen in the game Sonic Adventure 2 at the beginning of the battle against King Boom Boo.
5. Silver the Hedgehog
Silver has been described as having “a strong sense of justice” and it is this personality trait that motivates him to head back into the past to correct the future. Silver is also very caring and believes in standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, which is why he accepted Blaze The Cat when everyone else was teasing her because of her pyrokinetic abilities. Although seemingly serious in nature, an interview states that Silver is somewhat immature.
During cutscenes in Sonic the Hedgehog Blaze mentions that Silver is naïve several times, and also states that “He gets insecure when he’s alone”. Silver is also very kind and caring, as displayed toward Amy Rose, Princess Elise and the Chao he hid from Eggman Nega. Silver also seems to not like Sonic’s personality and finds him foolish just like Shadow. In the Archie comics, Silver is far more friendlier to Sonic and shows high respect for him.
Silver’s primary ability is Psychokinesis. He is shown to use the powers in a wide variety of ways. Offensive uses for his psychokinesis include being able to lift and throw anything in his path including objects, enemies, projectiles, and even other characters. He can also fire shock waves that can paralyze and kill enemies. Defensive abilities include freezing incoming objects and altering the control scheme of opposing players, and making them forget how to fight temporarily.
Other uses for Silver’s psychokinesis are hovering, levitating, flying, and warping through time and space during a jump. Silver at the beginning was shown to be slow at speed (due to a cut speed upgrade), compared to the other Sonic characters, but in the game Sonic Rivals he is shown to be very fast. Silver also uses many of the standard Sonic moves and attacks. These include Homing Attack, Spin Dash, Spin Attack, and super transformation. Silver is also shown to be able to Chaos Control on several accounts to warp through time and space.
6. Blaze the Cat
In Sonic Rush, Blaze is somewhat shy and withdrawn when meeting strangers, although she does not let this prevent her from fulfilling her mission. Her lifestyle is similar to that of Knuckles, and like him, she is quite timid, often finding it hard to open up and talk to people. She hates having the spotlight upon herself, preferring to take a backseat. Throughout the course of the games, she develops a more friendly and outgoing personality.
Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure also reveal that Blaze is afraid of heights, like when she goes to zone 5 in Sonic Rush. She is shown to have respect for Silver, and sometimes they are seen together, suggesting the have a level of affection for each other. Because of this, fans refer to both of them as “Silvaze”.
Blaze can run moderately fast, although not as fast as Sonic. This has been proven in the multiplayer mode of Sonic Rush, in which she is considerably slower. However, she can jump much higher than Sonic. Attacking by spinning along the ground causes her to lose speed, unlike Sonic’s classic spin attack.
Blaze is a pyrokinetic, using her ability to manipulate fire and her claws, jumps, and kicks to fend off her enemies. She also uses her pyrokinetic abilities to propel herself in different directions and in Sonic Rush Adventure to protect herself from flames.
7. Rouge the Bat
Rouge is a determined woman, who almost never listens to anyone else but herself, she does what she feels is necessary for herself and switches between good and bad quite often, sometimes she wants to steal jewelry, and at times she wants to save the world, but in all goals she has, it always comes down to what is necessary for her, making her look like an overall prideful narcissist.
She can also be hypocritical, as shown when she calls the person stealing the Master Emerald a thief, when she has stolen lots of things, including the Master Emerald. Rouge is also sassy, cheeky, vivacious, and disrespectful, along with her egotistical behavior, this makes most of characters in the games dislike her, especially her archenemy Knuckles, which when she is fighting with, she often uses dirty tactics, this is because Knuckles is superior to her in terms of fighting, and this she does with other superior opponents as well. Her rivalry with Knuckles has even gone to the point where, even if Knuckles does something heroic such as saving her from dying, she will still most likely get angry at him for little to no reason.
Despite all of this, she still does have a good side, she is seen multiple times actually caring for Shadow the Hedgehog, she has stopped Shadow and E-123 Omega from killing each other, has helped Shadow when he is damaged by an injury, killing the Black Bull, helping on defeating the horrible tyrant, Black Doom, and multiple times saving the world from destruction.
Despite all of her heroic acts, in more recent games, she has shown that her attitude hasn’t really changed much, considering in Sonic Free Riders, she is shown to be the normal disrespectful person she usually is, insulting one of her robot team members, and not even caring when the robot broke.
Rouge is one of the strongest female characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Swift and powerful, Rouge has proved herself to rival that of Knuckles the Echidna. However, Rouge possesses the natural ability to achieve flight and is also able to glide by using her wings to manipulate her descend. When flying, Rouge can move as fast as Knuckles’ gliding, but not as fast as Sonic or Shadow can run. Nevertheless, Rouge possesses an innate quickness, making her fast on her feet and can reach super speeds when running, though she is still not as fast as Sonic, Tails or Shadow.
8. Espio the Chameleon
Espio the Chameleon is a pinkish purple, 16-year-old, anthropomorphic chameleon, who is an expert ninja. Espio’s name is thought to either have come from the word “espionage”, another word for spying, or to be a reference to the Spanish and Portuguese word “espío” (meaning literally “I spy”).
Espio, unlike the majority of the Sonic characters, is very serious, calm and disciplined. He is seen as a ninja-typed character; his battle poses and shuriken stars support that portrayal. He is talented with computers, and plays the samisen as a hobby. In Sonic Heroes, he plays the instrument in the Chaotix’ Team Blast, “Chaotix Recital”.
According to the Japanese Chaotix game manual, Espio especially dislikes Dr. Eggman, although it’s not stated precisely why. During a cut-scene in Sonic Heroes, the usually civil and soft-spoken chameleon even threatened the doctor’s life. He is also able to see through Eggman’s tricks very easily in Shadow the Hedgehog, and tells Shadow to destroy the villain.
Espio, being a chameleon, can render his skin to match the environment, which makes him completely invisible, unless he gets something on him, such as paint, that allows him to be seen (and he did get paint smeared on himself in Sonic X episode 59). He is quite skillful with shuriken, and is said to own the biggest collection of them known to man. Some of his shuriken are also modified to explode within a certain time once they make contact to a target, like small time bombs (also seen in Sonic X episode 59).
He also can run quite fast, as he is the Chaotix speed member in Sonic Heroes. He can also perform the homing attack like the other speed members, and can create small tornadoes (known as “Leaf Swirl”) while turning invisible. Due to being a chameleon, he can also stick to and walk on walls and ceilings, and can quickly extend his long tongue in order to damage enemies.
He can perform the Spin Attack and Spin Jump, along with his own variations of them, the Whirl Attack and Whirl Dash (appeared in old games; he uses the spin versions in Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog). Espio can also charge forward destroying all enemies in his way, and, as mentioned above, throw over-sized shuriken, as well as kunai. In the Archie comic, Espio has been shown using his tongue as a grapple.
9. Amy Rose
Amy in the early games is presented as being kind and sweet, and a good victim for holding hostage by her enemies. Her kind and caring nature seems to have given her the ability to talk almost anybody out of destruction, from Eggman’s supposedly single-minded and emotionless robots like E-102 Gamma (who then released her and turned on Eggman) to bitter, revenge-seeking villains such as Shadow the Hedgehog (who after talking to her, helped Sonic save the world in Sonic Adventure 2).
In the more recent games she has become far more violent and aggressive, much to Sonic’s dismay. Her former image, that of being what could be described as the series Ingenue (the “sweet and innocent girl”), appear to have been taken over to the new character of Cream the Rabbit. However, she is extremely protective of her friends. Despite her violent tendencies, Amy has a very good heart, she never gives up, and is one of the most optimistic and cheery characters of the series.
Upon being asked by Sega.com if Sonic and Amy will ever get married, creator Yuji Naka said that “there will hardly be any chance, I bet. Amy will continue to pursue Sonic all the time, but Sonic will not ever get married. I think so, because I cannot picture the image of Sonic that he is married and has his children! Also, I feel it is a more Amy’s style to always chase Sonic.”
10. Doctor Eggman
Dr. Eggman is the cruel, ruthless, cunning, egotistical, arrogant, tyrannical and manipulative ruler of his namesake amusement park Eggmanland (also known as Robotnikland in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog), which consisted of several refineries, factories and industrial areas dotted across the South Island including its capital city, Scrap Brain Zone.
After Sonic’s victory on South Island, the Doctor did not stop his aspirations but expanded them to include the whole world, with hopes of conquering it and turning into his Eggman Empire, while also building his perfect city, shaped to appease the Doctor’s ego – Eggmanland.
Robotnik has a complete disregard for anyone but himself, and is disrespectful in nature, happily mass producing his legion of robots while emitting smog into the atmosphere, and pouring oil into the oceans. His I.Q of 300 gives him a self-important personality, making him a vain and egotistical narcissist. However, this is his greatest weakness, as it can cause him to spend too much time being a blabbermouth, and overlooking crucial flaws in his plans. He also has an inability to see his own flaws, considering himself to be the true form of genius.
Not content with world domination, Eggman aspires to have his genius run all of creation, and time itself. Realizing his robots alone are never good enough, Eggman, in later games, decides to team up with more powerful villains than himself, usually supernatural beings. This usually backfires and ends with utter failure. Because of his tendency’s to make a poor judgement, Sonic often mocks him, and Sonic and several other characters can see him as incompetent and something of a doofus. However, his goofy behavior can actually work in his favor, as it leads others to be fooled into underestimating him. Despite facing challenges, Eggman is still a serious, conniving, and materialistic guy, and while things might not work in his favor, he will work behind the scenes to make sure he comes out on top. And when everything is going his way, he is a very dangerous and valid threat to all who opposed his plans.
In many cases, Eggman is typically seen as a rival of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, and examples of his villainous and vituperative behavior at its worst would be in Sonic Adventure, where he took Amy hostage and attempted to blow Sonic up; Sonic Unleashed where he lured Sonic into his trap, stunned him, then using a powerful cannon, tore the emeralds from him and used the chaos energy to crack apart the entire world, proceeding to blast Sonic into the vacuum of space; Sonic Colors, where he used a mind-controlled Tails as a living shield, hoping to turn Sonic and Tails against each other; Lost World, where he enslaved Zavok and the other Deadly Six crew members for his own good; and Sonic Forces, when he is completely tired of Sonic and only wants him dead, he tries destroying all life so that Eggmanland can finally rule.
Dr. Eggman used to have a more honorable rivalry with Sonic and saw him as a motivation for his life in general. But in more recent years, Eggman has developed a bigger hatred for Sonic and has started taking his goals more seriously than before.