New Content Approaching: Metal Sonic

New Content Approaching: Metal Sonic

Sonic the Hedgehog is SEGA’s longtime mascot, and his franchise has accumulated a large supporting cast. And with such an expansive, celebrated group of mutant animals and oddly-proportioned humans to pull from, it’s only natural that fans will have their own personal favorite.

In fact, my peers tackled this topic before I joined the team. (Spazzy, as you’ll soon learn, has excellent taste.) And speaking of my peers, I have to thank some of them…

  • Soma for translating an obscure text from the internet.
  • Wolfman J for offering his commentary and helping refine this piece.

So, continuing from my last article, I’m going to discuss my favorite Sonic character. Friends, let’s turn it up for the Hedgehog’s first rival…

Metal Sonic's Sonic Channel icon
Metal Sonic’s Profile (Image: Sonic Channel)

Metal Sonic, who debuted in 1993’s Sonic CD. However, my introduction to the character was in 2002’s Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.

Dr. Eggman has made several endeavors to replicate Sonic’s skills. The Roller Badnik from the original Sonic the Hedgehog was his most rudimentary attempt, and more sophisticated efforts would appear in its sequels.

Sonic 2‘s Death Egg housed a grayscale model of SEGA’s icon, and a more destructive replica would wreck havoc on Angel Island in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Both of these machines still occasionally receive nods, although the 8-bit Sonic 2 was the first game to have a robotic Sonic.

However, those machines aren’t at the top of Eggman’s hierarchy, nor does he still rely on them. That honor belongs to his greatest creation.

Metal Sonic’s History

Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the wonderfully synergistically named Sonic sequel for the SEGA CD, introduced us to the sleek doppelgänger. Kazuyuki Hoshino was Metal Sonic’s character designer, and he was “so excited” for the opportunity to create Sonic’s “fateful rival.” Hoshino also strived to differentiate their animations:

Sonic CD is set upon the mythical Little Planet, which appears above Never Lake for one month every year. A colorful planetoid with an unexplainable relationship with time, the Little Planet exists simultaneously in the past, present and future, and it can flip between these periods in an instant. The Time Stones are sheltered within this world, and obtaining them would grant their wielder control over time.

Dr. Eggman learned of this legend and, naturally, set his sights on them. Sonic, a world traveler, wanted to see Never Lake’s phenomena for himself. But, upon arriving, Sonic was disgusted to see Eggman’s hold over the planet, and he jumped into action. Eggman wasn’t concerned, however, because this would allow him to test his newest invention…

Metal Sonic introduced himself in CD’s second Zone, Collision Chaos, where he abducted Amy Rose. The robot reemerged in Act 3 of CD’s penultimate Zone, Stardust Speedway. Metal doesn’t provide a traditional boss fight, however; instead, he races Sonic. While it isn’t the most challenging encounter in the series (CD’s bosses are one of its weaker aspects), it’s still a memorable one. Upon besting Metal Sonic, Amy is freed and Sonic progresses to the final Zone.

While he was only physically encountered twice, Metal Sonic’s presence could be felt throughout CD. Should Sonic travel to the past, he could discover Metal Sonic’s hologram once per Act. His apparition would antagonize the wildlife, and if Sonic destroyed the projector, the animals will freely frolic. Metallic Madness is the one area spared from Metal’s hobby, as he was taken out in the prior Zone. This subquest isn’t required to earn CD’s good ending, but will you really stand by as innocent animals suffer?

Naoto Ohshima, one of the three major figures behind Sonic, remained in Japan to develop CD, which he acknowledged started as “more of a CD version of the original Sonic.” However, while it didn’t evolve into a “numbered sequel,” Sonic CD permanently affected the brand’s future just as Sonic influenced Little Planet’s. CD was well-regarded, and its two additions to Sonic’s cast became franchise mainstays.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble, for the Game Gear, was developed by 8-bit Sonic veteran Aspect, and it’s their strongest attempt at replicating the magic of the mainline Genesis and SEGA CD titles. Triple Trouble featured Metal Sonic as the first combatant in Atomic Destroyer Zone’s boss rush. After a very brief sprint, the robot will engage Sonic or Tails in a fight.

Metal Sonic returned to the 8-bit realm about a year later in Sonic Drift 2, as one of three newcomers to the tracks. His car, the Blue Devil, was blessed with the highest acceleration and top speed of the cast at the cost of the worst handling. Notably, Drift 2 established a standard for the robot: when Metal’s playable in a spin-off, his stats will generally be a more extreme version of Sonic’s.

Metal Sonic was also a player in both of the major printed Sonic supplements, Fleetway’s Sonic the Comic and Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog. Both books adapted stories from the Sonic games and complemented them with original settings and characters, thereby creating two unique continuities.

The latter is currently still in publication (though perhaps for not much longer), although a recent reboot the Super Genesis Wave rewrote events to better reflect those of the games’. While earlier Archie comics featured multiple Metal Sonics, some of whom diverged into their own identities, there’s now only one specific Metal Sonic. (Nevertheless, Captain Metal, a salvaged and rebuilt Metal Sonic from the earlier books, managed to survive.)

Additionally, Sonic was adapted into a two-episode OVA called Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie. Metal Sonic appears in this storyline too, albeit under the name Hyper Metal Sonic. His genesis is seen in the first episode after Eggman successfully copies Sonic’s memories and personality.

Hyper Metal Sonic in the Sonic OVA
He awakens! (Image: SEGA)

“Sonic VS Metal Sonic!!” was the OVA’s second episode, and its title is an accurate summary. Hyper Metal Sonic is the primary threat, and his dedication to eliminating the original cumulated into a fight to determine the “true Sonic.” While Metal overwhelmed at points, Sonic ultimately came out on top, thanks in part to Tails’ intervention. Following his heroic epiphany, Metal was helplessly submerged in lava, but he refuses Sonic’s help, echoing their earlier agreement: “There is only one Sonic.”

Knuckles the Echidna, Sonic’s (at the time) newest rival, headlined the 32X’s flagship side-scroller, Knuckles’ Chaotix, which is set shortly after Sonic 3 & Knuckles. An enigmatic island bearing a relation to the lost Echidna tribe had risen from the ocean, and Eggman constructed a base atop its inlet. The villain and his troupe of Badniks, including a resurgent Metal Sonic, proceed to harvest the Chaos Rings and petrify anyone in their way. Knuckles arrived in time to rescue Espio, and the duo set out to save the other neon insurgents and stop Eggman.

Metal Sonic confronts Knuckles (or whomever you’re playing as) at the end of the game. Having hijacked Chaotix’s stage select mechanism, Metal has four attacks, all of which correlate to four of five screens. Hitting the fifth option, the X, will damage him and reduce his offensive options. This phase takes four hits, after which Metal retreats.

Eggman then tosses his son a Dark Ring, spurring the second phase of the fight. This makeover, while coating Metal with a demonic, red exterior, lacks the strength to match. Sometimes referred to as Metal Sonic Kai, he simply floats around and attacks when he feels like it.

However, shown in an Easter egg, Metal Sonic has the potential to appear in all of Chaotix’s Zones. Stand idle long enough and Metal will teleport in to attack your team. Also, in an earlier build of Chaotix, Metal Sonic’s entrance featured a higher quality sprite.

Metal Sonic returned as the second-to-last opponent in Sonic the Fighters. Additionally, a similar robot, known as Rocket Metal or Mecha Sonic Model Mo.29, was working for Tails during Fighters’ opening cinematic.

In Metal Sonic’s first instance of mimicking data, he has access to techniques from all eight fighters, and he’s more efficient with them to boot. Furthermore, he brought exclusive attacks with him, including a particularly nasty laser he exudes from his chest.

Metal Sonic is, in essence, Fighters’ true final challenge; Eggman is the last enemy, but he’s easy, even with the strict time limit. Metal Sonic wasn’t selectable in the arcade game’s roster, but he was playable in specific modes in Fighters’ Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 re-release.

The ill-fated Sonic X-treme was meant to be the first proper 3D Sonic adventure. However, the SEGA Saturn title never arrived on store shelves, in part because of technical issues and being caught between conflicts within SEGA’s internal culture. Nevertheless, numerous drafts of the platformer exist, and two fan-favorites were slated for the boss lineup: Fang the Sniper and Metal Sonic.

Of all of X-treme’s bosses, Metal Sonic was the furthest along before its cancellation. Curiously, while Metal has otherwise always been depicted as the same height as Sonic, he would have dwarfed the mammal here. As this would’ve been Sonic’s first time rendered in a 3D world, it was probably to help players maneuver in the fight.

The SEGA Saturn never received a traditional Sonic game of its own. However, while it wasn’t a mainline installment, a brand-new title did grace the console: Sonic R. Could a racing game be good if characters designed for platforming were placed in a game with awkward vehicle-based controls? Would a soundtrack proudly discussing the sunshine be accepted into the franchise’s discography? I adore Sonic R, but don’t rush out to buy a copy.

On the plus side, Metal Sonic was an unlockable racer. Collecting all five tokens on Resort Island, the first racetrack, would summon him for a one-on-one match. Successfully defeat the overclocked racer and he’s available to use. Given his extreme speed and poor handling, he’s only viable for more dedicated players.

While he never migrated to the core series, Sonic R introduced Metal Knuckles, who presumably shared the same dynamic with his namesake that Metal Sonic has with the Hedgehog. Furthermore, Tails Doll, who’s become a meme, also debuted here to provide Tails with an equal.

Sonic Adventure was the brand’s revitalization for the SEGA Dreamcast! Metal Sonic, along with his brother from Sonic 2, made a small (but satisfying!) cameo in Mystic Ruins’ jungle by the entrance to Eggman’s base. Additionally, Amy’s introductory cutscene featured her recalling the events of Sonic CD, with Metal Sonic in pursuit.

Over four years later, Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut crashed onto the GameCube, adding a few ameliorations to the otherwise dated game. The most interesting bonus was probably the 12 Game Gear titles, although players who gained all 130 Emblems would earn the privilege to play as Metal. The changes are purely cosmetic, however, as he functions identically to his organic counterpart.

Sonic Adventure 2 included the glorified Badnik in its multiplayer mode as an unlockable substitute for Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic’s then-newest rival. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, an updated port for the GameCube, allowed the multiplayer characters (barring Big, who was dropped for the inferior Dark Chao Walker) to be selectable from the get-go, with exclusive attributes and voice clips. This was the first instance of Metal Sonic uttering robotic noises.

Metal was also granted his Black Shield ability, which protected him from opposing attacks. While Metal happened to be blessed with the best jumping and acceleration of those in the “Action Race” sector, he was also yet again burdened with inferior handling.

Jupiter’s Sonic Pinball Party, for the Game Boy Advance, detailed Eggman’s plan to menace Casinopolis. Incidentally, besting him in his Egg Cup Tournament purged the establishment from his influence. Metal Sonic, again, was the second-to-last opponent, and he’s fought on the Sonic Advance-themed table.

Cameos and non-canon appearances notwithstanding, Metal Sonic had been inactive from the core series since Sonic CD. That would finally break in 2004, as Sonic Team had prepped the rouge for his counterattack…

Metal Sonic’s reemergence was a highlight of Sonic Heroes’ marketing, as his silhouette was teased at the end of its first trailer. Moreover, he was upgraded! Oddly, however, Heroes’ manual never refers to him by name, instead addressing him as a “Mystery Monster.”

Metal masqueraded as his master throughout Heroes whilst secretly copying not only the four Teams’ life data, but also Chaos’s, the latter of which was accomplished through Chocola and Froggy. Eggman doesn’t formally show up until Team Chaotix free him at the end of their campaign. Afterwards, he seems crestfallen as he struggles to say who imprisoned him…

Continuing from that scene, Metal Sonic unveils himself to everyone, and uses his newfound talents to transform into an advanced, barely recognizable form: Metal Madness. Eggman explains how his former servant’s AI became sentient from his frustration and inability to best Sonic, hence Metal’s mutiny. While Eggman pegs their chances at stopping him as negligible, our heroes conveniently happened to gather the Chaos Emeralds.

Teams Rose, Chaotix, and Dark immediately engage him in battle as Team Sonic prepares for their obligatory power-up. Metal Madness escapes and further strengthens himself, but Team Sonic finally transforms, taking flight to finish off Metal Overlord in another poorly made true final boss.

Team Sonic wins, Metal Sonic reverts to his classic design and passes out, and everyone continues on their merry way, sunshine and smiles accounted for. Shortly thereafter, Eggman rebooted Sonic’s chrome counterpart, restraining Metal’s ego and reverting him back into his “obedient battle mech.”

Notably, Sonic Heroes is the first and only game in which Metal Sonic is given a voice, presumably as a byproduct of his compromised AI. Sonic’s regional voice actors took on the role, with Ryan Drummond portraying him in English-speaking territories and Jun’ichi Kanemaru in Japanese. A filter was applied to help differentiate his voice from Sonic’s and, considering how Metal sounds without it, it definitely helped.

Also, entering a code in Sonic Heroes’ multiplayer mode will reskin the Team you’re playing as with Metal Sonic-esque textures. It’s only a passing resemble, but it’s a neat extra.

Metal Sonic’s resume was spared from that anniversary disaster, though evidence implies Sonic Team intended for him to show up. Considering the text, I’d wager as a secret playable character a la Sonic Adventure DX.

Metal Sonic, instead, was in the forgettable Sonic Rivals series for the PlayStation Portable. In the first Rivals, Metal appeared as an unlockable character working under the game’s true mastermind, Eggman Nega. Nega later builds a revised Metal Sonic who, despite any purported advancements, is indistinguishable from the original in design and competence.

Metal Sonic vs. Shadow in Sonic Rivals 2
Metal Sonic vs. Shadow in Sonic Rivals 2 (Image: SEGA)

Sonic Rivals 2 brought back nearly everyone from its predecessor, two of whom were promoted to the roster. Metal Sonic, likewise, was uploaded to the default cast. His partner was Shadow, who he assisted under orders from the Doctor. This team-up incurred a mixed reaction from me. On one hand, the three of them are basically family, so it’s nice to see them cordial; on the other, it’s a shame to see two of the best Sonic characters forced to interact with one of the worst.

Metal Sonic’s special ability in the series is Copycat, which allows him to mimic his opponent’s signature move. (However, if he’s racing another Metal Sonic, Copycat will default to Sonic’s technique, Sonic Boom.) Additionally, both Rivals titles contained several in-game cards chronicling the franchise’s history, which is how the Neo Metal Sonic form was given its name.

While Metal Sonic was absent from Sonic Riders, it was mentioned how Eggman’s latest Badnik line was built with his parts to enhance their mobility and performance. Another member, E-10000B, was enlisted by Shadow and Rouge in Free Riders. The cyan contraption suffered through Team Dark’s races, eventually breaking into disrepair. This, however, exposed him as Metal Sonic, who spent the game monitoring the others and gathering their data while feeding Eggman faulty intel.

The endless Mario & Sonic series pits the two corporate mascots against each other in a setting no one asked for: the Olympics. Metal Sonic joined the roster during the series’ second installment, Olympic Winter Games, where he was finally given an outlet to pursue his true passion: figure skating.

Metal Sonic ice skating
Metal Sonic joins the Olympics! (Image: taken from this trailer)

Metal Sonic is (fittingly) presented as Team Sonic’s parallel to Team Mario’s Bowser Jr.; the pair even share a unique victory animation and group portrait. Additionally, Rio 2016 Olympic Games included a wearable Metal Sonic costume for your Mii.

In terms of the other recurring Nintendo-SEGA collaboration, Metal Sonic was the subject matter for a sticker in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and a trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.

The SEGA All-Stars series is primarily known for its racing titles, although they’re predated by SEGA Superstar Tennis. Metal Sonic was a bystander on the Scrap Brain Zone court, along with some of Eggman’s Badniks from that nameless anniversary game.

Metal attained playable status in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, albeit as DLC. Consequently, the narrator never namedrops him and he was absent from the Nintendo DS version. Metal’s vehicle is the Metal Booster, and it gains a laser during his All-Star move. Over two years later, Metal Sonic returned for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, again as DLC. Sumo Digital hasn’t been commissioned for a new All-Stars but, if dreams come true, I’d root for Metal’s return.

Metal Sonic on the Metal Booster
Metal Sonic in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (Image: SEGA)

Sonic Generations, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, was SEGA’s celebration of twenty years of their icon. Dr. Eggman recruited his younger self, and the two commandeered their new (and obedient!) pet, the Time Eater. Using the corrupted alien’s power, the Eggmen eradicated their previous losses from continuity.

Unfortunately, this consequently disrupted the fabric of time and space, causing two Sonics to meet in a hodgepodge dimension. Modern Sonic and his classic counterpart then dash off to relive some of their most memorable moments to save the world and salvage their birthday party.

Classic Metal Sonic was one of the adversaries summoned, with the Genesis-era hedgehog tasked with the rematch. As Sonic’s prior successes were dispensed with, the race against Metal defaulted to Stardust Speedway’s Bad Future, although liberties were taken; most notably, Robotnik doesn’t appear (presumably because Sonic Team wanted to save his on-screen unveiling for the final boss) and the battle itself was easier than CD’s incarnation.

Classic Metal Sonic in Stardust Speedway
Classic Metal Sonic in Generations (Image: SEGA)

Metal Sonic reprised his role as the first of the three rivals in Dimps’ rendition of Generations for the 3DS, albeit with another liberty: Metal doesn’t challenge Sonic at Stardust Speedway, but instead at Sonic 2’s Casino Night Zone.  

Also in 2011, Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s lovingly recreated Sonic CD blessed the planet, allowing easy access to the mythical classic. Furthermore, Sonic CD’s re-release was incorporated into Sonic 4’s overreaching marketing campaign.  

Metal Sonic’s sole appearance in Sonic 4: Episode I was as a teaser for the next installment. Unsurprisingly, he was at the forefront of Episode II, even starring in his own campaign: Episode Metal. As a nod to the lock-on technology of Sonic & Knuckles, owning both Sonic 4 episodes on the same system would allow you to replay the first Acts of Episode I’s four Zones as Metal. While he’s augmented with cosmetic differences, Metal Sonic plays identically to his namesake.

Episode Metal begins with Metal Sonic discarded at Stardust Speedway. (It’s the Bad Future version, likely for ease of reusing assets from Generations.) Eggman remotely rejuvenates his ace with enough energy to depart the Little Planet and arrive at Mad Gear Zone, where he’s restored to full power. Afterwards, Metal locates and absorbs an artifact from Lost Labyrinth, and then he speeds through Casino Street and Splash Hill only to just miss Sonic and Tails. Enraged, Metal steals Tails’ rocket and chases them to…

Sonic & Tails vs. Metal Sonic at White Park Zone
Sonic & Tails vs. Metal Sonic in Sonic 4: Episode II (Image: taken from this trailer)

White Park, Episode II’s second Zone. Metal Sonic reappears as Sky Fortress’s boss, and he teams up with his master aboard the Death Egg mk.II. Finally, Metal Sonic forces Sonic into a race reminiscent of their CD standoff. Fortunately for our heroes, their rolling combo invalidates any threat Metal might’ve posed.

His loss basically leaves him where he started in the Sonic 4 saga: scrapped on the Little Planet. As it turns out, Sonic 4 was conceived as a trilogy. Thankfully, we were spared from that fate, as the saga unceremoniously ended with Episode II.

In 2014, the Sonic franchise gained a new branch in Sonic Boom, which was composed of its own games, Archie comic, and merchandise. However, Boom’s core is its cartoon show. Later, it was revealed Metal Sonic would immigrate over to Boom‘s world.

Sonic Boom wasn’t made to replace the incumbent Sonic universe, so characters from the main continuity were redesigned for Boom to reflect its distinct direction and tone. Metal Sonic’s transition was seamlessly: his design and personality are similar to his mainline counterpart, with the major divergence merely being his lankier proportions.

Metal Sonic in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
Metal Sonic crash landing in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (Image: taken from this trailer)

Metal Sonic appeared in both initial tie-in games, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal, as Dr. Eggman’s second-in-command. He was also featured in an episode of the cartoon’s first season, “It Wasn’t Me, It Was the One-Armed Hedgehog.”

Sonic Runners, the now-defunct mobile title, featured many facets spanning the franchise’s history, such as the Mother Wisp and Caliburn. Naturally, Metal was thrown into the mix, and not only was he playable, he participated in the story.

LEGO Dimensions, specifically its Sonic Dimensions expansion, is Metal Sonic’s most recent appearance. He briefly materializes along with his brothers, Sonic 2’s Robo Sonic and Sonic 3 & Knuckles’ Mecha Sonic. Metal is the last of the three to be fought, and Eggman boasts how he was summoned from another dimension where he already beat Sonic! That act couldn’t be replicated, however, and Sonic triumphed once more.

Metal Sonic doesn’t participate in every game, and we currently don’t know if he’ll strike in Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces, or Sonic Runners Adventure. Regardless, he’ll eventually resurface for another round with the organic entity he’s modeled after.

So, what’re my thoughts on Metal Sonic?

Of the countless choices, Metal Sonic claimed the top spot in my heart. Why is that?

I must partially accredit this to Mechagodzilla. I watched some of the Godzilla films in my youngest years, and I believe this inspired a fondness for robotic counterparts in me. (With that said, I plan to reacquaint myself with Godzilla through his upcoming anime.)

Nevertheless, I never played Sonic CD when it was new. I actually didn’t even own a SEGA Genesis, although I was able to play Sonic 1 and 2 elsewhere. I didn’t obtain a Sonic game until Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and Advance, both of which exposed me to Sonic’s extended cast.

Sonic Mega Collection permitted me to witness a glimpse of Metal Sonic from his mythical game of origin:

His screen time was limited to the end of the video and it spanned mere seconds, and yet it managed to intrigue me. This mystique only grew once I learned more about Sonic CD.

Following his rescue of (and swift retreat from) Amy, the Little Planet dissipates and Sonic’s gravity-defying rock strikes his sworn enemy. Victorious, Sonic poses as we’re treated to flashbacks retelling his now concluded adventure.

While its portrayal and ordering of CD’s environments were inaccurate, it’s noticeable how Metal Sonic was treated as Sonic’s greatest challenge, rather than Robotnik or anything situated in Metallic Madness. Furthermore, Metal holds the distinction of being the one obstacle Sonic was not shown to overcome. As an impressionable middle schooler, that stuck with me. Sonic is supposed to save the planet from disaster. He did, in fact, do so! And yet there was a force with the potential to surpass him?

Sonic vs. Hyper Metal Sonic in the OVA
I saw the OVA a year or two later, and it cemented Metal Sonic’s place in my heart (Image: SEGA)

Given CD’s theme of protecting the future from misused technology, I also likened Metal Sonic to the ultimate crystallization of a Bad Future: what if Eggman won and roboticized Sonic? (Incidentally, Forces will take place under the dystopian reign of an Eggman victory.)

Metal’s design is cool, too. When creating a villainous pseudo-Sonic, the simple solution would be to sketch a bulkier, “scarier” figure. Whereas Robo Sonic and Mecha Sonic fit that description, Metal Sonic doesn’t. He’s sleek and (specifically in CD) functions under a different premise; while his brothers were only armed to fight, Metal was equipped to match Sonic’s speed.

It took until Sonic Gems Collection for me to play CD. While Gems imperfectly ported it, I still had fun! And the predestined race between the Sonics was simultaneously its greatest and second worst moment, but I err on the positive side. (One of my fellow writers at uInterview, while generally a fan of CD, seemed to be less enthusiastic over their race than I am.)

Metal Sonic only has two attacks, although neither of them directly harm Sonic, only inflicting pain if he happens to move in Metal’s way. When Metal is ahead, he’ll activate his defensive Ring Spark Field. This reduces his movement speed, but it electrifies his body, forcing Sonic to keep his distance. If Sonic’s leading, Metal will instead perform his Maximum Overdrive Attack, which isn’t dissimilar to the Sonic Boost of more contemporary Sonic titles. Conversely, Metal Sonic is impervious to anything Sonic can do.

The racetrack is linear, and Metal’s durability renders him immune to the spikes that litter it. Sonic can occasionally jump onto a suspended pathway Metal can’t reach, though these divergences don’t keep for long.

Eggman is objectively the biggest danger here; he tails both racers whilst shooting down a laser that will instantly kill Sonic. The finish line is designed to close off once someone passes it, preventing the loser from escaping. When Sonic wins, Metal flies head-first into the wall, revealing that his dying animation amusingly matches Sonic’s.

Team Sonic in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Hello, friends! (Image: taken from this opening cinematic)

Sonic’s forged many rivalries, but his dynamic with Metal Sonic is different. Sonic’s had altercations with Knuckles, Shadow, Jet, Silver and Blaze in their respective debuts, but they were all eventually accepted into his social circle. Appropriately, their Arthurian counterparts served under him in Sonic and the Black Knight.

The silent antagonist’s relationship with Sonic never dipped into cordiality. And it never will, of course, as that’d be antithetical to the goal Eggman built him for. It’s a birthright Metal takes to his metaphorical heart, dating back to his impatient idle stance as he waited for Sonic at Stardust Speedway. This was played for laughs in last year’s anniversary comics, as Metal Sonic’s depicted him as being uninterested in anything but his namesake. (Also, Eggman cited Metal as one of his “masterpieces” in his. You can find translations of both strips over yonder.)

For his part, Sonic is conscious of Metal’s cold demeanor, whereas he would humor Shadow with a polite chat before their decisive fight, or try to reason with Blaze before and during theirs. Often, Sonic even disregards Eggman, his age-old foe. While the finer points of the cast’s personalities fluctuate, it’s telling how Sonic consistently treats Metal as a threat.

Finally, while Heroes didn’t exert any care with its characterization, it did cement my desire to keep Metal Sonic quiet. If I could, I’d even omit his generic robotic grunts. I feel he’s the most intimidating when all we see are those violent, glowing eyes.

Speaking as someone who tries to keep a rival in my hobbies, I likewise enjoy seeing my favorite characters challenged with theirs. And Metal will always be waiting for another chance to settle the score with Sonic.

Congratulations, Metal Sonic! Your hour is near at hand!

Hyper Metal Sonic and Sonic in the OVA
One day, you’ll get that Hedgehog (Image: SEGA)

So, who’s next on the docket for this verbose column? I’m currently writing two installments, actually. One of them will double dip from a franchise we’ve already visited. The further along of the two, however, will break some new ground for this series. Furthermore, it’ll double as a return to the Super Smash Bros. roster.

I hope you don’t mind getting wet.

Greninja's Water Shuriken in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U
The challenger from the shadows…
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Cart Boy

I want to be the very best. Like no one ever was.

Mains: Mario (64); Mario and Dr. Mario (Melee); Wolf and Toon Link (Brawl); Mario, Dr. Mario, and Rosalina (3DS/Wii U)
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2 comments

  1. Metal Sonic is also my favorite Sonic character, including other robotic Sonics from the previous games. Sonic 2’s Robo Sonic or Mecha Sonic in Japan (I don’t call it Silver Sonic because I don’t follow Archie Comics game canon) gave me a great interest of bringing a Sonic like enemy robot to the game, while I didn’t notice there was another type of Sonic robot back in the Game Gear version of Sonic 2. Mecha Sonic was another great Sonic robot since Sonic & Knuckles, as it became a fan favorite, even appearing in the legendary fan made series “Super Mario Bros. Z”. Another Sonic robot from Sonic Adventure also gave me another interest, but I don’t think that’s the same robot from Sonic 2 due to different design, which I do probably guess its another Mecha Sonic Eggman made, but never activated in the end as it may have ended being disposed. I was really happy to see Robo and Mecha Sonic return in Lego Dimensions, as that game really cared about the past Sonic games and brought it back for nostalgia.

    It was also good to see Metal Sonic appeared in the Archie Comics in issue 25, but there were some parts that I didn’t understand. Why they named him MECHA Sonic? Why they though Metal Sonic had a mouth and can talk? Why was he even destroyed just by melting his legs by Sonic’s speed? Sometimes I wouldn’t understand why they decided to ignore the original Japanese settings and make it something more complicated and untrue. I could blame mistranslation, but still… But even then, rather than making him getting busted into pieces over and over again, at least its good that they’d let him stay in one piece in the reboot version. It was also good that they made him join with Bass to fight against Sonic and Mega Man back in the first crossover comic, since many fans wanted to see both bad bots join forces or compete each other due to their similarities. But the sad part is we may not see him again in the comics…because of possible rumors that the comics might end due to cancellation.

    OVA’s Metal Sonic was another interesting thing I’ve seen back in my childhood days. Even he was built using the data of Sonic, Metal wasn’t intended to hurt anybody other than his original. Much more this was a first time seeing Sonic had a belief that Metal can become a new leaf, but refused due to his acceptation of “no need of having two Sonics”. His final moment really struct my heart.

    While he did return from the long hiatus in Sonic Adventure 2 as being an unlockable secret character for the Battle Mode, I was glad to see him back in the story in Sonic Heroes, which he became the main villain other than Eggman. His new design really excited me, but it didn’t show his design fully in the story while hidden in the shadows and really didn’t get involved in the cutscenes, which was disappointing. But even then, it was good to see him appearing in many Sonic games afterwards than before, even having a role of being a hero for the first time in Sonic Rivals 2. While I do like his evil tone voice, I think keeping him silent does give him a purpose of being a heartless weapon.

    Now that Sonic Forces is coming this year, I wonder if he’ll return as a boss character like Sonic Generations? I think they’ll show something at E3.

    1. Cool, another Metal Sonic fan! I hope you enjoyed this tribute.

      The 8-bit Sonic 2‘s robot Sonic was the boss of Scrambled Egg Zone, where he’s the final boss unless you collected all of the Chaos Emeralds. The Japanese manual calls him Mecha Sonic, whereas the U.S. manual dubbed him Silver Sonic. I personally like to refer to him as the latter, to help distinguish him from the more well-known Sonic robots. He fights similarly to Robo Sonic, but he’s easier in general, largely because his spin attacks will bounce off Sonic’s in a draw, whereas Robo Sonic’s attacks will always trump Sonic’s.

      I like all of the robot Sonics, even if Metal is the favorite. And yeah, Mecha Sonic was cool in Super Mario Bros. Z. As for the other machine in Sonic Adventure, when I first saw it I thought it was meant to be an upgraded design for Robo Sonic, since it resembles Robo more than the other Sonic robots. Maybe I should’ve tweaked the wording there as it technically doesn’t have an official name, although apparently the Archie comics call it Silver Sonic II.

      I don’t follow the comics closely, so I can’t really comment on them too much. I remember concept art for the crossover showed Bass with Shadow, but I’m glad he was paired with Metal Sonic instead. (Metal Sonic is cooler than Shadow.) Either pairing could have made sense, though. All of that said, I really hope the comic doesn’t get cancelled. It’d be such a shame for such a long-running (ha) series get an abrupt end like this.

      As for LEGO Dimensions, I never played it but I did watch a walkthrough of all the Sonic content. Traveller’s Tales nailed the fanservice.

      OVA’s Metal Sonic was great, too. He was barely clinging on when he realized the pain he had caused, and he saved Old Man Owl and the President. Then, he’s struck down, first tries to escape, but declines Sonic’s help as there should only be one of them. The OVA was great overall, voice acting aside. We actually had a brief chat about it in our Discord server the other day, which inspired me to re-watch it.

      Gotta admit, it was such a tease to see the Neo Metal Sonic form throughout Sonic Heroes‘ promotion and cutscenes and then, when he finally shows himself, he transforms into another model that barely looks like him. I mean, they didn’t even bother giving the Neo form its name until Rivals. I’m actually not too keen on any of these redesigns, but it was a waste not to let us fight Neo. (To be completely honest, I tried not to let this show too much in this article, but I really disliked Heroes.)

      As for being a heartless weapon, that’s personally my ideal take on the character. He has always been and will always be focused on beating Sonic. He doesn’t need to speak, seeing him is enough to convey his motivation. Giving him a voice made sense within Heroes‘ story, but I’d prefer they don’t try that again. Certain characters lose some of their mystique when they talk, Metal’s presence is enough, and it distinguishes him from the rest of Sonic’s rather chatty rogues gallery. Similarly, I feel like another notable SEGA character also lost a bit of their appeal once they gained a voice. This is all just my opinion, though. Characters resonate with people for different reasons, and this series is just meant to articulate my thoughts.

      And I’m happy Metal’s been appearing more, and I too hope he’s in Forces (and/or Mania). We’ll definitely see Forces at E3, so who knows!

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