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Black Arms

From Sonic Retro

The symbol associated with the Black Arms

The Black Arms are an evil alien race featured in Shadow the Hedgehog. The game's plot chiefly concerns their invasion of Sonic's world from the Black Comet, and the attempts of their leader, Black Doom, to corrupt Shadow the Hedgehog. At the end of the game the Black Comet is destroyed by the Eclipse Cannon and the aliens are apparently all killed.

Overview

Black Arms come in a variety of forms, including jelly-like larvae, humanoid soldiers, bat-like fliers and vast burrowing worms. The aliens have green blood, although they originally had red blood before it was edited due to censorship reasons. The Arms' ultimate goal in Shadow the Hedgehog seems to be the complete conquest and terraforming of the planet, with the human population to be at best enslaved and at worst used as a food source. To accomplish this end, the Black Doom seeks out the seven Chaos Emeralds, to allow the Black Comet to pass through Earth's atmosphere via Chaos Control.

To secure the Chaos Emeralds and weaken the opposing G.U.N. army and Eggman's forces, the Black Arms plans are remarkably multifaceted. They deploy offensive forces to attack Earth's defenses directly; neutralize major cities, bases, and communications networks; collaborate with select humans (especially the late Dr. Gerald Robotnik), utilize weapons of mass destruction (such as the ARK's Eclipse Cannon and the temples first found in Glyphic Canyon); and even engage in quasi-religious propaganda. The pivotal piece in the success or failure of their designs, however, is whether they can convince Shadow to assist their cause.

The term "Black Arms" is used as both singular, plural, and adjective in the game; there is no use of "Black Arm".

Black Arms Species

Black Warrior
Black Oak
Black Hawk
Black Doom
Doom's Eye
  • Larvae

The larvae are Black Doom's offspring, and seeing as how there are no (recognizable) female Black Arms, it is assumed that they reproduce asexually. They are blobs of flesh with spikes surrounding their one and only eye. Their small size makes them hard to see at hypersonic speeds and they can attach themselves to walls. Despite these slight advantages, any single attack will kill them.

  • Black Warrior

Bipedal beings who are just slightly larger and hardier than your typical human, these are the most common of the Black Arms. They tend to carry weaponry ranging from swords to guns, but occasionally appear unarmed, in which case they lunge and claw at Shadow. The Black Warriors often guard cages and must be killed to move on. Require two Homing Attacks to vanquish. Are occasionally found on Air Saucers.

  • Black Wings

Small bat-like creatures who attempt to dive into Shadow. Any single attack will kill them. Serve mainly as the Black Arms' mandatory Homing Attack stepping stone.

  • Black Hawk

Highly maneuverable bird-like creatures that fly about with ease. Certain members of their ilk fire blue energy waves in Shadow's direction. Others must be grounded, mounted, and flown through a bit of level in order to progress. Your steed will kick you off at a certain point, or you can do so prematurely by jumping.

  • Black Volt

Stronger forms of the Black Hawk with golden armor, all of which Shadow can ride. While flying through the skies, press an action button to fire off blue energy waves to clear the way of obstacles.

  • Black Oak

Giant Black Arms which carry swords, hammers and explosives launchers. They have have high HP and some can even negate damage from projectiles by blocking them with their hands.

  • Black Annelid

These worm creatures like to suddenly appear from the underground. They also like to lob smaller homing worms at Shadow, made possible by the fact that they've swallowed weapons called "Worm Shooters". Deplete its health and the big worm bursts in a pulpy explosion, allowing Shadow to acquire the weapon formerly in its gut.

  • Golden Annelid

Stronger annelids that drop Golden Worm Shooters. The Golden Worm Shooters have more worms inside them.

  • Black Assassin

These are heavily armored Black Warriors that carry powerful lasers called Refractors. They are regularly seen riding Air Saucers and can teleport (possibly thanks to Chaos Control). These enemies presumably form the Arms' defensive vanguard, as they are not faced in any stages outside the Black Comet. May ride Air Saucer to traverse treacherous alien goop.

A gigantic flying Black Arm, this colossus has bat-like wings, a single cyclopedian eye, and spews fire from its maw. Black Bull's blubbery body is impervious to damage, the only weak point being its eye. The boss appears twice in Shadow the Hedgehog; first in Lethal Highway (fought with Sonic) and then in Death Ruins (fought with Rouge).

In the boss battle following Lethal Highway, Black Bull can be defeated quickly by taking out the Black Wings and Black Warriors which accompany it until Shadow has charged up his Chaos Control meter. During boss battles, Chaos Control stops time and weapon ammunition does not deplete in timestop. So by deploying Chaos Control when Black Bull's eye is vulnerable and using a gun with a good rate of fire, Shadow can fire lethal damage at the boss over the course of a single chronometric intermission.

The cloaked and foreboding Black Doom is the leader of the Black Arms, and is known to have given life to at least some of the aforementioned Black Arms species. Black Doom is the only Black Arms creature capable of intelligent communication encountered in the game (speaking telepathically to Shadow and others, including apparently all of humanity simultaneously at one point), and can be assumed to be the architect of the Black Arms' plan to subjugate and consume humanity. He has a wide range of powers, including direct control over all beings derived from his blood (Shadow and perhaps other Black Arms), the ability to use Chaos Control to personally move through time and space, diplomacy and persuasion (used on both Dr. Gerald Robotnik and Shadow), and brutally lethal offensive capabilities when all indirect methods fail. Black Doom serves as the final boss after completing the Hero Missions of GUN Fortress, Cosmic Fall, and Final Haunt.

The floating, squid-like, one-eyed in-between that serves as the link between Black Doom and Shadow during certain Dark Missions. Black Doom's image and voice is projected by this bizarre creature, which is used by Mr. Doom to bark orders towards Shadow. Conversely, Doom's Eye seems to be able to pick up on Shadow's every move and word, judging by Black Doom's prompt praise or (more often) harsh reprimands following certain actions during gameplay.

Interestingly, during the final battle of the game with Devil Doom, it is Doom's Eye (or something that looks quite like it) that Super Shadow primarily aims Chaos Spear attacks at. The significance of this is never explicitly explained.

Undeniably the largest of all the Black Arms alien species, it is debatable whether the ghastly Devil Doom is the most powerful member of the Black Arms. Devil Doom conjures up meteorites and lasers, spews flames, and lifts buildings and cars into the air to fling at enemies. Devil Doom also uses its broad wings and short-range teleportation to increase its defensive capabilities.

Devil Doom is Shadow the Hedgehog's final boss, fought as Super Shadow after navigating The Last Way in the Last Story. It appears outside of the Earth-fused Black Comet after Shadow confronts Black Doom and recovers the seven Chaos Emeralds. Exactly what Devil Doom is (a transformation of Black Doom, a previously-unknown species of Black Arms, or something else entirely) is never explicitly addressed in the game.

Enemies/Hazards Affiliated with the Black Arms

These enemies and hazards are not known to be Black Arms species per se, but are nonetheless used extensively by the aliens in their fiendish plots. Included here are all the hazards associated with the Black Arms during the course of Shadow the Hedgehog's gameplay. The game's story incorporates additional hazards, such as the ARK's Eclipse Cannon and the Black Comet's paralysis gas.

  • Red Fruit

Crimson, stationary, spiky plant-like objects that serve to punish hedgehogs who zip around recklessly. Red Fruits tend to be found wherever there are Black Arms afoot, and according to Black Doom are symbols of the Black Arms' victorious conquests. They are also apparently poisonous, which may be why Shadow takes damage whenever he runs into them. Fortunately, Red Fruits are very fragile; any attack will cause them to splatter.

Similar growths appear dangling in Black Doom's fleet in Sky Troops and in the terraformed jungle landscape of Death Ruins.

  • Black Tank

Exclusively appearing in the stage Lethal Highway, the Black Tank is a roving artifact of apparent value to Black Doom. In the heroic mission of Lethal Highway, Shadow is charged with destroying the tank before it escapes the city. Doing so with the small firearms dropped from defeated enemies is a tedious labor, but special weapons, especially the Shadow Rifle, will slice through the Black Tank like a knife through Swiss cheese.

The Black Tank has a shield which protects its fragile hull. Short-circuit it with sufficient ammunition and the Black Tank is essentially defenseless. The Black Tank will travel at a rather quick pace down the highway, and will materialize just in front of Shadow if our hedgehog anti-hero had to take a significant detour. Although the Black Tank has no offensive capabilities to speak of, it is still harmful to touch.

  • Black Arms Gunships

Identified by Tails as "black alien gunship[s]", these vessels appear exclusively in game levels occurring in or on the Black Comet (Black Comet, Final Haunt, and The Last Way). Shaped somewhat like archetypal UFOs, gunships warp into areas with a flash of blue light and immediately dispense with lobbing explosive energy projectiles at Shadow, with varying rates of fire. Because they always appear high in the alien skies and require considerable time and firepower to dispense away with using conventional weaponry, it may be best to avoid them all together, at least in regards to your mission score. Annoyingly tend to situate themselves next to ledges, in tight corridors, or in open areas that may require some time to properly explore and navigate.

  • Mines

Alien mines appearing in levels taking place in or on the Black Comet, as well as Sky Troops. These violet-and-red drifting spheres explode upon contact. Though offensive attacks won't prevent detonation, mines can be taken out safely at moderate distances using any sort of projectile weaponry.

  • Tentacles

These freakish appendages grow on practically every surface of the Black Comet. Contact with them in any non-and you'll be inflicted with damage. Fortunately, any attack will shatter them. Are only a real threat when they threaten to knock Shadow off an air saucer device into pools of alien slime in the game level Black Comet.

  • Killer Plant

Similar to Piranha Plants from the Super Mario Bros video games, these irritable flora twist about and spit fire when approached. After so many attacks from the player, they retreat into a bud for about ten seconds before blooming once again into fiery destruction. They can't be destroyed permanently. Killer Plants are heavily suggested by Rouge the Bat in Death Ruins to be native Earth species mutated by the Black Arms.

On the path leading to the computer room in Cosmic Fall, Black Doom makes the passing statement that the Artificial Chaos aboard the ARK "are ours now". Assuming that the Black Arms have already taken command of these piercing water beasties, this is yet another perfectly legitimate reason for you to loathe the Black Arms.

Black Arms Weaponry

The foot-soldiers of the Black Arms possess a wide variety of weaponry, most of which is seen during the course of Shadow the Hedgehog's gameplay. Like nearly everything else associated with the aliens, Black Arms weapons seem to have at least some biological roots; almost all of their guns appear to have something analogous to a heartbeat or some other biological pulse. Listed below are the Black Arms weapons that Shadow can nab.

Credit for identifying weapon names belongs to raak1010. See his Weapons FAQ for further details and statistics.

  • Black Pistol

The most basic Black Arms firearm, dropped by Black Warrior mooks. Fires one shot at a time.

  • Flash Shot

Has more ammunition than the Black Pistol, and can fire continuously. Also dropped by Black Warriors.

  • Flash Rifle

More powerful per shot than the Black Pistol or Flash Shot, but very rare. Clumsily misplaced by Black Warriors.

  • Wave Pistol

Shots from this cover a wide area and are hard to dodge. Gift wrapped for you by Black Warriors.

  • Black Barrel

An alien cannon with explosive power, but without any targeting ability and less ammo. Comes in two flavors: The first is dropped by Black Warriors and has a more pronounced angle and a longer range, while the other is dropped by Black Oaks and has less of an angle and range.

  • Worm Shooter

This weapon locks onto targets and fires off relatively-slow homing worm projectiles. Shadow can recover these from the pulpy remains of defeated Black Annelids. Interestingly, the Worm Shooters gained on any level on or in the Black Comet have more ammo but less range.

  • Golden Worm Shooter

Recovered from the guts of rare Golden Annelids. Has relatively low ammunition, but very high attack power.

  • Razor Laser

Fires piercing projectiles that slices and dices through any enemy, but is otherwise unremarkable. Pried from the dead hands of Black Warriors.

  • Refractor

The Black Assassin's signature weapon. Its beams fire off of walls and makes for a fun and effective way to clear out formations of enemies in close quarters.

  • Black Sword

A big large purple sword that looks comically out of proportion when wielded by Shadow. Tossed to the ground by vanquished Black Warriors and Black Oaks.

  • Black Hammer

More powerful than the Black Sword. Also serves to discourage players from Homing-Attacking Black Oaks to death, as those with Black Hammers will inevitably land a hit on Shadow if he hangs around for too long.

  • Black Vacuum

Found mostly on Black Comet and Final Haunt, these marvels of alien sanitary engineering suck up unfortunate enemies, which can then be released like cue balls to collide with other enemies. Isn't actually all that useful in combat. Used mostly for the mundane task of pulling blocks out of walls to use as platforms.

Black Arms Machines

The Black Arms also make use out of a few vehicles and sit-down weapons, in addition to the aforementioned Black Hawk and Black Volt.

  • Air Saucers

These hoovering Black Arm-constructed discs allows Shadow to cross over the surface of all a manner of hazardous materials, including lava, toxic waste, and alien slime. Some are found unattended, while others can be jacked after knocking off their original operator. Use the control stick to maneuver about and the jump button to perform a cute little hop. The Air Saucer can also traverse rails.

  • Turrets

Slick 'n' curvy Black Arms explosive projectile launchers, found only in Sky Troops and Final Haunt. These are primarily used to destroy faraway airborne targets, such as ships in the Eggman Fleet and Black Arms Gunships. Aim the reticle over the target (accounting for the delay that the projectile is in the air, of course), and fire. Do note that it is possible for a turret to sustain damage or even be destroyed, making it possible for the Dark Mission of Sky Troops to be unachievable. To avoid this, shoot the bullets fired from the cannons on Eggman's ships out of the sky.

The Black Comet

See main article: Black Comet

The Black Comet is the home of the Black Arms, and passes by Planet Earth every fifty years. Fifty years after Shadow's birth, it returns, starting the war between GUN, Dr. Eggman and the Black Arms. It is investigated three times in the game. In the Action Stage Black Comet, Shadow travels through the Comet and must either destroy the GUN troops or proceed to the worldlet's interior. In Final Haunt, Sonic and Shadow race across the surface and must find Black Doom. Alternatively, Shadow can flip some switches, which protects the Black Comet from any and all outsiders. And in the level The Last Way, Shadow races against the clock through the depths of the Black Comet. Eventually, it is completely destroyed by the Eclipse Cannon, wiping out the Black Arm race.

Shadow the Hedgehog's Connection to the Black Arms

Shadow the Hedgehog remains confused over the course of his titular game's multiple storylines concerning his connections with the mysterious Black Arms invaders. However, in the Last Story, it is revealed that Shadow is, in part, a creation of Black Doom, and is intended to be used as a pawn in the Black Arms' plans. Indeed, the existence of a stable and viable Ultimate Lifeform seems dubious in retrospect without the intervention of Black Doom a little over fifty years before the opening events of the game.

Project Shadow, headed by Dr. Gerald Robotnik, was not progressing smoothly. In the course of Gerald and his colleagues' research, they had only managed to create one relatively simple and increasingly disobedient prototypal artificial lifeform. Furthermore, time was not on their side; Maria Robotnik, the original inspiration for Gerald's involvement in the immortality project, was still stricken with degenerative NIDS, and the military was growing more and more wary of the project's results. Gerald needed a breakthrough, and Black Doom was more than happy to provide it.

During one of the Black Comet's 50-year rendezvous with Earth, Black Doom contacted Gerald and struck a deal with the struggling scientist: Black Doom would donate some of his seemingly immortal blood to aid the manufacture of a new artificial lifeform, and Gerald would lend the fruits of his labor to Black Doom fifty years in the future to assist with the Black Arms' search for the Chaos Emeralds. Black Doom's contributions were critical to Project Shadow's success; Both Black Doom and Gerald were present when Shadow the Hedgehog was successfully synthesized in Gerald's lab. Also witness to the event was the young boy who would grow up to be the G.U.N. Commander. He would associate the subsequent G.U.N. raid on the ARK resulting in the death of his family and friends with Black Doom and especially Shadow, carrying a pronounced hatred for the alien/hedgehog hybrid into his latter years.

Realizing that the bargain made with Black Doom was a mistake, Gerald Robotnik planned to use the Eclipse Cannon and Shadow's Chaos Control ability to shatter the Black Comet when the Black Arms returned to wreck havoc on Earth fifty years later. Unfortunately, G.U.N. conducted their infamous raid aboard the ARK shortly afterward, killing numerous researchers and Maria Robotnik, imprisoning Gerald and Shadow at Prison Island, and sealing Project Shadow's prototype deep within the ARK. Distraught by the death of his granddaughter, Gerald went insane and repurposed Shadow and the Eclipse Cannon into the instruments of humanity's demise, leading to the events of Sonic Adventure 2.

Because Shadow shares physiology with Black Doom, he possesses many of the abilities of the alien leader. Both are seemingly immortal and can utilize Chaos Control (it is not seen if Black Doom can utilize similar techniques, such as Chaos Spear, or if Shadow can utilize all of the techniques Black Doom displays in battle). While Shadow's Black Arms blood apparently renders him immune to the paralysis gas emitted from the Black Comet, it is said to render him under the control of Black Doom if necessary, though after being shown an inspirational film of Gerald and Maria Robotnik revealing his true purpose, Shadow breaks free from Black Doom's direct manipulation.

Because the Black Comet was destroyed by Shadow and the Eclipse Cannon at the conclusion of Shadow the Hedgehog, and because it is unknown if any Black Arms survive on Earth or anywhere else, it may be assumed that Shadow the Hedgehog remains the sole descendant of the Black Arms.

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Sonic the Hedgehog (game series) characters
Heroes   Sonic (Super, Hyper, Darkspine, the Werehog, Excalibur) | Tails (Super) | Knuckles (Super, Hyper) | Amy Rose | Cream | Blaze (Burning) | G.U.N. Commander | Emerl | Silver (Super) | Marine | Shade | Lumina Flowlight | Chip | Shahra | Knights of the Round Table | Caliburn | Yacker | Sticks
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