From Sonic Retro
Metal Sonic (Japanese: メタルソニック), a metallic duplicate of Sonic the Hedgehog, is a reoccurring antagonist in the Sonic the Hedgehog series of video games and related media. Introduced in 1993's Sonic the Hedgehog CD, he has become a cult favorite for fans of the series, and a staple in Sonic's rogues gallery.
After the initial success of Sonic the Hedgehog, it was only natural that Sega would want to make a follow up using their new mascot not only on its flagship console, but also the forthcoming Mega CD, in an effort to give it the killer app that would hopefully make it succeed. While Yuji Naka and Hirokazu Yasuhara went off to the west to work with the Sega Technical Institute to create Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Naoto Ohshima, the original designer of Sonic the Hedgehog, stayed behind in Japan. Assembling his own production staff, work soon began on what would become Sonic the Hedgehog CD. Wanting to stay true to the visual style of the original while adding their own flair to show off what the Mega CD could do, designer Kazuyuki Hoshino was tasked with creating a pair of new characters to help flesh out Sonic's world.
While the first of this new pair, Amy Rose, was inspired directly from the pages of the Sonic the Hedgehog manga published in Japan at the time, the second had no such direct influence. While it may be possible that Hoshino knew of STI's plans of using a mechanical version of Sonic somewhere in the game, Kazuyuki went a completely different direction in the development of what would become Metal Sonic. His sleek design fit in not only with the world of Sonic CD, but also complimented the idea that Dr. Eggman would want to create a capable robot to counter his greatest adversary. From his use in the game, and the amount of advertising given to Metal, he was promoted to be an adversary on the same level as Eggman, if not more so. Between Mecha and Metal Sonic, Metal would soon become a fan favorite, resulting in his eventual starring role in Sonic Heroes. It was even Kazuyuki who redesigned his most famous creation, giving Metal the updated look he sported in the main body of Heroes.
Metal Sonic (Video Game Character)
Origin of Metal Sonic
Created by the evil genius Dr. Eggman, Metal Sonic was designed to accomplish what Eggman had failed to do - defeat Sonic the Hedgehog. Built sometime between the events of the original Sonic the Hedgehog and its CD sequel, Metal was meant to be not just Sonic the Hedgehog's equal, but surpass him. Using a custom chipset and A.I. developed by Dr. Eggman, the doctor devoted much more attention to Metal than any of the other members in his robot army. With Metal Sonic at his side, Dr. Eggman set his sights on the mysterious Little Planet that appears over Never Lake only one month out of the year.
It was sometime after Eggman began the process of transforming the Little Planet into his personal paradise that Sonic showed up at Never Lake, not because he was aware of Eggman's schemes but because he wanted to witness the phenomenon himself. Once Sonic came into view of the Little Planet and saw it transformed into a mechanical wasteland, tethered to the Earth by a long chain, he didn't have to see the mountainside bearing Eggman's face to know who was behind it. Eggman, instantly aware of Sonic's appearance, figured it would be the perfect opportunity to test out his latest creation, setting Metal Sonic loose onto the planet.
Metal Sonic's first order of business, and his first meeting with Sonic, was in Collision Chaos, where Metal quickly kidnapped Amy Rose, the young hedgehog girl that had foretold of a fateful encounter between her and her idol. Now having not only to save the Little Planet and recover the Time Stones but rescue Amy as well, Sonic and Metal would not encounter each other in the game again until the final moments of Stardust Speedway, where Sonic and Metal Sonic competed against each other in a race. Even though Metal was sometimes able to pull ahead, in the end he was no match for his worldly counterpart, and fell into the trap that was meant for Sonic. Even though he was destroyed, Eggman salvaged Metal's components, rebuilding him and occasionally setting him against his adversary from time to time, making him a permanent staple of Eggman's army.
It must be noted that Metal Sonic has only strayed from Eggman in two instances, the first being the events in Sonic Heroes, and the second in Sonic Rivals, when he is taken over by Eggman Nega. After both instances, however, Dr. Eggman has been able to restore Metal Sonic into his ranks.
Personality and Traits
Although both his physical structure and programming are based on his namesake, Metal Sonic is far from the wisecracking, fun-loving and carefree being that is Sonic. Instead, he is a cold and heartless mechanism, hating the hedgehog even more than Dr. Eggman. Having been programmed for the sole purpose of being better than Sonic and ultimately defeating him, he wants nothing more than to prove himself the superior. While Eggman had grown to see Sonic more as a rival over the years, Metal Sonic's view unwavered, and eventually his hatred grew wild, where nothing else mattered except proving himself the better hedgehog. After being unable to defeat Sonic time and again, Dr. Eggman decided to tinker once again with Metal Sonic, as he had in the past. However, the resulting modifications caused a side effect Eggman was not prepared for. Able to grow beyond his original programming, Metal Sonic's ego was able to take control, allowing him to turn against his creator as E-102 Gamma had previously, and E-123 Omega would soon after. However, unlike Eggman's other robots that rebelled against their intended functions, Metal Sonic was not against the idea of global domination. On the contrary, he felt that Dr. Eggman, after having failed time and again, was no longer qualified as would-be ruler of the world, kidnapping the doctor and imprisoning him. Putting himself in command of Eggman's army, it was at this moment that Metal Sonic showed just how ruthless and cunning he could be when not at Eggman's beck and call. Wanting to prove himself superior to everyone, especially Sonic, Metal went mad, seeing Sonic as his copy instead of the other way around. Without Eggman there to stop him, Metal Sonic began his own quest towards world domination. When Super Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles were finally able to defeat him at the end of Sonic Heroes, Metal was unable to process that he had lost once again, having been unable to fulfill his programming even under his own power. Lying defeated, Dr. Eggman reclaimed Metal, wiping most of his memory and restoring him to the faithful and obedient servant he was beforehand.
Because he was made to match Sonic in all ways, Metal Sonic's most defining trait is his incredible speed. Able to achieve a velocity that equals Sonic's, Metal is also able to accelerate even faster than his rival, making a race between the two one of the few times where the victor is up in the air. The process Metal uses to accelerate up to four times faster than Sonic, "V. Maximum Overdrive Attack," also creates white-blue sparks which he can use to defend himself. The only drawback is that Metal is unable to maintain this for too long, else he'd self destruct. Another of his attacks, the "Ring Spark Field," creates a similar protection as the "V. Maximum Overdrive Attack" but without the fear of destruction. However, this attack causes Metal Sonic to slow down, which can hamper his performance. Metal Sonic is also able to fly with the power of the turbines in his back, although he is not often seen using them this way, more often using them to kick-start his running. Also, just like his namesake, Metal can be confused if he enters water, although his metallic frame is waterproof.
Also, just as Sonic is able to transform into Super Sonic, Metal Sonic has the ability to transform himself into radically different forms, depending on the circumstances. However, similar to Super Sonic, Metal is unable to maintain these forms for extended periods of time, at the end defaulting to his classic design. The first of these transformations occurs in the final moments of the game Chaotix, where Metal Sonic is the final boss encounter of the game. After Knuckles and the rest of the Chaotix face off against the standard Metal in the Newtrogic High Zone, the playfield changes, revealing a radically different Metal. Called Metal Sonic Kai, he possesses a far larger, more menacing appearance, his traditional blue hue now a red similar to Knuckles. With swinging limbs and a powerful beam that can be fired from his chest similar to the penultimate boss of Sonic & Knuckles, he can only enter this state through the use of a Chaos Ring.
The next two known transformations of Metal Sonic were both featured in the game Sonic Heroes, in which Metal had a major starring role. The one he holds through most of the game is Neo Metal Sonic, who holds closer to the classic Metal Sonic look than Metal Sonic Kai. The main difference is in his proportions, making him elongated in all of his features, including his spikes. Along with shoulder epaulettes and a billowing cape, this version of Metal Sonic is built upon his new-found ability to absorb data and shapeshift. Throughout most of the game, Neo Metal Sonic is not seen in his proper form but masquerading as Dr. Eggman, his creator. As he fights against each of the four teams, he absorbs their lifeform data, making him a stronger, more formidable opponent.
The final boss encounter of Sonic Heroes, and the latest form of Metal Sonic, is called Metal Overlord, a freakish-looking and extremely menacing metallic form that bares little resemblance to the classic Metal Sonic style. Having successfully absorbed the playable character's data, along with Dr. Eggman's, and elements of Chaos taken from the kidnapped Froggy and Chocola the Chao, he becomes something much closer to Perfect Chaos and Biolizard than Sonic the Hedgehog. It must be noted that after Metal Overlord is defeated, he devolves back into the classic Metal Sonic form.
Metal Sonic in Other Media
Just as Sonic the Hedgehog, Metal Sonic has been adapted to fit into various media based on the franchise.
Originally labeled as "Mecha Sonic," Metal Sonic made his debut in the 25th issue of the Sonic the Hedgehog series published by Archie Comics. Being an adaptation of Sonic CD, Sonic met Metal in a similar way, encountering each other in the Collision Chaos Zone. However, all traces of the Little Planet are removed, instead the zones being just more locations on the planet Mobius. Having kidnapped Amy Rose and Tails to get Sonic's attention, Dr. Robotnik sets his latest invention, Metal Sonic, against the blue blur. The two immediately start racing through Stardust Speedway, but Sonic is able to go faster than he has ever before, much to the surprise of Metal who subsequently self-destructs in an attempt to match his speed.
Metal would make his next appearance in another game adaptation, the Knuckles Chaotix special, where Robotnik, having rebuilt Metal, puts him up against Knuckles and the rest of the Chaotix Crew. With the assistance of an item known as the Power Gems, Metal transforms into Metal Sonic Kai, although he is quickly defeated by Knuckles. Metal Sonic would not show up again until after the series' Sonic Adventure adaptation, where, having rebuilt himself with the remains of the Power Gem, lures Sonic and Tails to Mount Mobius, an active volcano. Though he originally intended to finish off the duo, seeing them help each other out caused him to overcome his programming and help save them from the situation he put them in, albeit at the cost of his own existence, his metallic structure succumbing to the lava.
The current Dr. Eggman in the series would eventually build a new Metal Sonic from scratch, who went up against Shadow the Hedgehog in a battle that spanned three universes - the traditional Archie one, the world of Sonic X, and the home dimension of Blaze the Cat. However, with help from Blaze and Marine the Raccoon, Metal was once again destroyed.
In the Fleetway-made Sonic the Comic, Metal Sonic was never called as such but instead referred to as Metallix, a name thought up by editor Richard Burton. Teased in the previous issues, Metallix was finally introduced in issue 25, kicking off the series Sonic CD adaptation. Having kidnapped Amy Rose, Sonic, as he had done in the past, set off to rescue her, only to be taken aback by his robotic duplicate. Forced to chase after him onto the Little Planet, Sonic makes use of the Time Stones to go back in time and make sure that the Little Planet was never enslaved in Robotnik's metallic creations, and subsequently that Metallix was never built. Even though the Metallix Sonic had fought had been powered by the machines on the Little Planet, it would not be the last time he faced off against a robotic duplicate, running into a remodeled version in the adaptation of Sonic & Knuckles. It was at the end of this encounter that the broken Metallix told Sonic that he was not the only one of his kind, and that there was an entire brotherhood of fellow Metallix out there, biding their time.
The next time the Metallix were seen was in the loose adaptation of Knuckles Chaotix, with the revelation that it was not Dr. Robotnik who had originally designed them, but instead his assistant, Grimer. Robotnik's only contribution to their creation was a self-destruct device built into each member of the Brotherhood, which their emperor, a red-and-gold Metallix based on Metal Sonic Kai, wanted to take care of by any means necessary. Having tricked Nack the Weasel into betraying the Chaotix, the Brotherhood was able to secure the Omni-Viewer, a device that is able to traverse through space and time. Although the Chaotix were quickly able to recover the viewer, the Metallix had already made a pirate copy of its functions, waiting for the perfect moment to strike while fortifying their defenses on the Little Planet.
When Sonic and the Chaotix become aware of the Metallix's activities, they arrive on the Little Planet just in time to see Mobius transform below them, the Brotherhood having successfully gone back in time and prevented the creation of Dr. Robotnik. Even though Grimer would no longer have his evil mentor, he would at some point still develop the Metallix army, and without the self-destruct mechanism keeping them back, the Brotherhood of Metallix was quickly able to conquer all of Mobius, making it far more of a mechanical wasteland than Robotnik was ever able to. Seeing no other choice, Sonic and the Chaotix go back in time, and Sonic is forced to restore the rotten egg that would cause Dr. Ivo Robotnik to become the most evil being the planet had ever seen. Startled that he was the cause of his greatest foe's existence, Sonic sees no alternative, and forces himself to trip Kintobor beginning the chain of events that resulted in Robotnik ruling Mobius. With the failsafe once again back in the Metallix, Sonic was able to activate the self-destruct sequence, putting an end to the Metallix Brotherhood once and for all.
Metal Sonic's only animated appearance thus far, the OVA Sonic the Hedgehog begins with Sonic's metallic doppelganger floating motionless, Dr. Eggman referring to his creation as Hyper Metal Sonic throughout the entire movie. Only needing Sonic's Life Data to bring Metal to life, Dr. Eggman concocts a plan to trick Sonic into entering his base, Eggmanland, and attacking what Sonic thinks is the Robot Generator. In reality, it is a device that scans Sonic the Hedgehog, inputting into Metal Sonic all that is Sonic. During their initial encounter, Hyper Metal is able to best Sonic, although not defeat him.
In the aftermath, Hyper Metal Sonic, while still attacking Planet Freedom, begins acting strangely, going into Sonic's home and dressing the only one there, Old Man Owl, in Sonic's favorite clothes. Discovering this, Miles "Tails" Prower concludes that the data Eggman copied from Sonic was not only his skills and abilities, but his thoughts and memories. Indeed, Sonic and Hyper Metal soon gain an almost psychic connection, one able to feel what the other is, making them evenly matched. At the end of the second episode, Hyper Metal Sonic, realizing there can only be one Sonic, sacrifices himself to save Planet Freedom and the Land of the Sky, Sonic's influence beating out Dr. Eggman's programming.
An itinerary of Metal Sonic's robotic specifications at one time formed part of his official Japanese-language Sonic Channel profile. These specifications are actually reasonably accurate for what a machine of Metal Sonic's capabilities might require:
Television Series and Films