Mighty the Armadillo
From Sonic Retro
|Mighty the Armadillo|
|First seen: SegaSonic the Hedgehog (1993)|
|Created by: Manabu Kusunoki|
Mighty the Armadillo (マイティー・ザ・アルマジロ) is a fictional character in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. He is a red anthropomorphic armadillo who first appeared in the 1993 Sega System 32 arcade game, SegaSonic the Hedgehog.
Mighty the Armadillo was created by Manabu Kusunoki as a "friend" of Sonic the Hedgehog alongside a small cast of other animals, including Ray the Flying Squirrel and Naoto Oshima's creations, Vector the Crocodile and Sharps. While armadillo designs are thought to have been considered when designing Sonic in 1990/1991, Mighty's design is not thought to have been finalised until at least 1992, specifically with the arcade game SegaSonic the Hedgehog in mind.
SegaSonic the Hedgehog was designed to support three simultaneous players with the same controls and movesets, so Mighty's initial role was to emulate Sonic in that game, albeit with a new set of sprites and a deeper voice. Western media has used his name to suggest Mighty has super strength (as opposed to Sonic's super speed), though the character was left undeveloped by Sega of Japan.
Unlike characters such as Tails or Knuckles, Mighty has been used sparingly in official Sonic produce. Following the release of SegaSonic the Hedgehog, he returned in 1995 for the Sega 32X game Chaotix, but outside of small cameo appearances, was not seen for than 20 years, finally returning in a starring role in 2018's Sonic Mania Plus (alongside Ray, who hadn't been seen properly since SegaSonic the Hedgehog).
Mighty has very little backstory in his first game appearance. Captured alongside Sonic and Ray by Dr. Eggman, SegaSonic the Hedgehog sees the trio attempt to escape Eggman's Prison Island while avoiding death-traps.
Mighty returned in the 1995 32X game Chaotix, having travelled to Newtrogic High Zone only to be captured by Dr. Eggman. He is subsequently freed by Knuckles the Echidna alongside Espio the Chameleon, Vector the Crocodile and Charmy Bee, and works with the rest of the cast (including former Eggman mechanics Heavy and Bomb) to put a stop to Eggman's plans.
Chaotix had an unusual development period, in that it was originally set to star Sonic and Tails, only for other characters to be substituted in as replacements. Mighty was inserted in the slot previously reserved for Sonic, and both looks and behaves similarly to Sonic's appearance in the Chaotix prototype, Sonic Crackers. Mighty can perform a wall jump move, though is arguably one of the least effective characters in-game, given that Espio can run up walls, Knuckles and Vector can climb, and Charmy can fly.
The US instruction manual states that Mighty is "strong, smart and confident" and "can't stand weakness in anything".
After 23 years of absence, Mighty returned as a playable character alongside Ray in Sonic Mania Plus, a definitive version of Sonic Mania. In this game, Mighty has a move known as the Hammer Drop, which is a downward slam attack, and his shell can protect him from enemy attacks whenever he is curled up. He can also bounce off spikes harmlessly, but only once per jump. In Encore Mode, he is trapped in a capsule with Ray in Angel Island Zone and has to be rescued by Sonic.
Mighty has made a guest appearance in the Sega Saturn title Gale Racer, where alongside other Sonic characters, he appears as a toy that swings from side to side in the player's cockpit. He also makes a cameo appearance in Sonic Generations, where he and Ray can be seen on a "Missing" poster in City Escape.
Mighty was introduced as having super strength in the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series in the Knuckles' Chaotix special, where he becomes one of the founding members of the "Chaotix" group. He later went on a solo adventure to find Ray.
In Sonic the Comic, Mighty is introduced as part of the Chaotix Crew alongside Charmy, Espio, Vector and at the time, Nack the Weasel. Mighty never leaves the Chaotix throughout the series' run, and is again presented as a strongman, as well as having a friendly rivalry with Espio. He had some trouble to keep his half-crazed father, Blockhead Bill, under control.
Mighty has also been featured in Sonic Mania Adventures, where he was apparently missing, but showed up in time to save Ray from being attacked by Metal Sonic. With the two reunited, they made their way to Eggman's base and helped Sonic and Tails fight a supercharged Metal Sonic.
- Yusuke Numata (Japanese, SegaSonic the Hedgehog)