It feels like nowadays there are a million Sonic characters vying for relevancy. Look, I love Blaze the Cat, but if you start talking to me about Infinite my eyes will glaze over from boredom. Luckily the series is stuffed with iconic and interesting creatures that have stood the test of time, especially when there’s a major motion picture out there featuring Knuckles the Echidna.
If you’re a newer or younger fan breaking into the series, you may want to get to know some of the many, many classic Sonic characters, and that’s where we come in. We’ve been around the block since the Mega Drive, so can happily introduce you to the blue blur and his many chums. We’re not going to get as far down the rabbit hole as characters like Cream & Cheese, but we’ll cover the main things you need to know.
For another fantastic way to get to know Sonic and pals, you can check out our Sonic Origins release date guide and take the title for a spin later on this year. If you’re also a Roblox fan, be sure to take a peek at our Sonic Speed Simulator codes guide, while any players out there should also learn all about the best Sonic games.
Now let’s get into our Sonic characters guide.
Sonic The Hedgehog
The mascot. The original. The coolest dude with the attitude, and the fastest thing alive. Sonic spin dashed onto our screens with Sonic the Hedgehog for Mega Drive and we’ve loved him ever since (yes, I know he was an air freshener in Rad Mobile first, but don’t be a pedant).
Famed Japanese developer Yuji Naka and artist Naoto Ohshima created Sonic, he’s canonically 15 years old, 3’3” tall, and loves chilli dogs. The series has since split the two characters of ‘modern’ and ‘classic’ Sonic apart as two separate versions of the blue-hued hedgehog, especially in Sonic Generations which features them both as separate characters. Sonic always fights to do what’s right and works hard to save the many animals of his world from the clutches of his nemesis Doctor Robotnik.
Miles ‘Tails’ Prower
Yes, his name is not just Tails. Yes, Miles Prower is a pun, and I really hope some people are only discovering this for the very first time. Introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Mega Drive, Tails is a fox from the same world as Sonic, designed by Yasushi Yamaguchi during an internal competition as Sega to give Sonic a companion. Originally based on the legendary Japanese creature the Kitsune (just like Pokémon’s Ninetails) Tails is a dab hand with technology and is far smarter than Sonic, though he’s often bashful and shy.
Tails is only 8 years old, but that somehow doesn’t stop him from creating vehicles like planes and piloting him. While the second player could control Tails in Sonic 2 (in what I like to call ‘youngest sibling mode’), in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 players could finally fully control Tails and fly through levels with his helicopter-like appendages.
Knuckles the Echidna
Sega created Knuckles as a new antagonist for Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, s based on the marsupial called an echidna. With his powerful fists, Knuckles can break through weak obstacles and can even climb up vertical surfaces and then jump and glide away. Knuckles was originally tricked by Doctor Robotnik into attacking Sonic, as his race is tasked with defending the huge Master Emerald. Robotnik lied, saying Sonic was out to steal it, and then used Knuckles’ strength against the blue blur.
Luckily, Knuckles eventually realised he had been tricked and turned against Robotnik, but his gullible side has been a constant character trait for the series ever since. Knuckles lives on Angel Island/Floating Island, an island held aloft in the sky by the power of the Master Emerald. Takashi Yuda originally created Knuckles, and he was given the name Knuckles to convey his powerful and cool persona. More recently, Idris Elba voiced him for the film Sonic the Hedgehog 2. We think Knuckles knows the effect he has on women.
Originally known as Dr Robotnik, but later also called Dr Eggman in the Sonic Adventure games, Robotnik is the main antagonist of the series. An evil genius hell-bent on trapping tiny animals and turning them into robots to do his bidding, Robotnik sure does use his intelligence in weird ways. He often creates giant robotic bosses for Sonic to pummel into dust, though many of them have glaring giant glowing red weak spots. Look mate, if you’ve spent this long building a 60ft death machine, at least make it hedgehog proof? They might not have vibranium in your world but are you making these things out of tin foil?
Naoto Ohshima originally created Dr Robotnik, and while many say he bears a resemblance to former US president Teddy Rosevelt, his appearance was meant to be based on many characters, including both Humpty Dumpty and Mario himself. Most recently, Dr Robotnik has appeared in both of the Sonic the Hedgehog movies, portrayed by Jim Carrey. Robotnik is also responsible for creating Metal Sonic, an evil version of Sonic made out of metal. I’m not writing about him on this list because that sentence is his whole deal.
Today I learned that Amy Rose is also a hedgehog? What?! She looks nothing like Sonic, but I guess the pink hair is meant to be a girly version of the quills? Hold on, my world has been shaken and I need a moment. Anyway, Amy Rose originally appeared in Sonic CD, and I don’t have a lot to say here. She wields a massive hammer known as the Piko Piko Hammer, and is madly in love with Sonic, though often this is unrequited.
To be honest, I don’t know what Sonic is playing at here, she seems really lovely, and very clearly likes you? Stop stuffing chilli dogs in your face for two seconds and be a gentleman. Instead, he runs away from her like she’s got some sort of super leprosy. You can play as Amy in some of the later games like Sonic Adventure, Sonic Heroes, and Sonic Advance 3, she’s pretty cool. Sonic you’re an idiot.
Shadow the Hedgehog
See, I know Shadow is a hedgehog because it’s in his name, and he looks exactly like Sonic. I don’t think it’s my fault that I didn’t get that Amy was a hedgehog. Introduced in Sonic Adventure 2, Gerald Robotnik (Eggman’s grandfather, it’s a whole weird thing) created Shadow to be the perfect lifeform. He possesses many of the same powers and characteristics as Sonic such as super-speed, but is notably more sombre.
Shadow also had a close relationship with a human called Maria Robotnik, who was Gerald’s grandaughter, and presumably Eggman’s cousin? Shadow would eventually team up with other ‘dark’ characters such as Rouge the Bat and Omega the robot for the team-based platformer Sonic Heroes. Takashi Iizuka & Shiro Maekawa originally created him to give Sonic a cooler antagonist, Shadow’s attitude borders on ridiculously melodramatic and edgy, something which has been parodied often in later games. Shadow even got his own game called Shadow the Hedgehog back on the Gamecube where he used a real human gun and worked alongside a weird starfish demon. Yes, all of that is true.
That’s it for now folks! Sorry Blaze the Cat fans (it’s me, I’m the Blaze the Cat fan), but these are the main characters that newcomers to the series will need to know. Takedown your Espeo poster and stop staring at your Charmy the Bee action figure, because these are the main ones that matter. If you’re looking for even more jumping for joy, be sure to grab onto this next guide like it’s a golden coin, as we break down the best Switch platformers, including an appearance from the old hog himself.