Madder than 'Mad' Jock McMad...
Sonic Lost World is released on Wii U this week (in the UK), which got us to thinking about all the times we've seen Dr Robotnik (or 'Eggman' as he's known these days) roll up in some ungodly contraption and fail in his attempt to kill Sonic. It's been a lot of failures.
But is it any wonder when he turns up with mad ideas like this little lot? We've skimmed the cream off the crop of Robotnik's contraptions... and thrown it away. We don't want to see the best. We've scraped the bottom of the mad barrel to bring you this list of Robotnik's maddest creations. Perhaps he's hoping Sonic will gaze slack-jawed for so long that he can off him with one shot. It's the only logical explanation...
7. Emerald Hill boss (Sonic 2)
After the sunshine and gravity-defying fluidity of Sonic 2's opening acts, Robotnik shows up in real style. It looks so menacing as he flies into the screen in a helicopter, landing neatly inside a wheeled cradle, the wheels of which move beautifully against the undulating terrain. And then it... slowly drives left, then right. Then left again.
Why it's so mad: If Robotnik just kept the rotor blades going, Sonic would be unable to hit the damn thing, either getting drilled by the nasty rotating front portion or sliced into a thousand ribbons by the rotor blades. Maybe the original design was intended to allow Sonic only to attack it from the rear with the new spin dash? Perhaps that was too difficult for boss one. Either way, the net result is one of the most ineffective assault vehicles ever conceived. Imbecile.
6. Spring Stadium Zone boss (Sonic 3D Blast)
All these sprites making up the arms of Robotnik's isometrically fiendish creation look almost 3D. What a treat! Nothing wrong with that. In fact, technically this is a commendable boss fight given the 16-bit hardware it was designed for.
Why it's mad: Well, firstly Robotnik doesn't ever turn. No matter where Sonic runs on the screen, old 'tache face is stuck facing to the bottom-left. Defeated by hardware limitations! Just as the stone tablets undoubtedly predicted. But besides that pretty major madness, there's also the undeniable fact those technologically amazing arms perform but two amazing motions: Move up and down, or... (wait for it!) move up and down a bit quicker! Like (as Dave H describes it) 'an indecisive Nazi'. Zeig Fail.
5. Red Volcano Zone boss (Sonic Blast)
This Game Gear game isn't particularly well-known (or loved), coming out as it did after Sega's first handheld had died a death in the West. But it was home to this corker of a boss fight. Sonic jumps onto a blue platform that moves skywards. And then... Robotnik very literally springs into view.
Why it's mad: It's probably hard enough to hit a moving target with a ball on a chain. But swinging it while bouncing some 40ft into the air ever few seconds must be impossible. Sure, Robotnik might have been practicing every day for weeks, ready to show Sonic who's boss if the hog should ever walk into a red volcano for some reason. But the sad fact is, it's incredibly easy to just jump up and hit the guy once you realise what he's doing. And, basically, look at the picture. Could that be any more ridiculous? Cuckoo!
4. Final Boss (Sonic & Knuckles with Sonic 3)
Well, what can you say about this? After one of the finest platform games ever made (accessed by plugging the Sonic 3 cart into the top of Sonic & Knuckles and starting from the beginning), you'd expect a suitably grandiose finale. And there is one. You get to face this monster. Look at the size of it! Those fingers alone are twice as tall as Sonic.
Why it's mad: Well, Sonic can break those fingers, at which point the boss starts to fall away. It's so big, it appears to have weight in outer orbit. It's also stupid enough to try to clamp down on Sonic while he's revving up a spin dash, which doesn't hurt the spiky one in the slightest. Finally, after this attack fails, Robotnik resorts to using the power of the master emerald to fire a massive laserbeam at Sonic, exposing the most obvious design flaw since the Death Star's exhaust port, which exposes the emerald to direct attack. Cretin.
3. Mushroom Hill boss (Sonic & Knuckles)
This boss starts off as an outwardly non-threatening yet highly suspicious satellite dish that's beeping away, transmitting goodness knows what into the sky. So Sonic destroys it just to be sure, at which point Robotnik appears, fleeing in one of the most graphically impressive sequences the Mega Drive/Genesis ever displayed. Robotnik crashes into a tree at the end and the fight is over. Simple. Great first boss in the game.
Why it's so mad: When we say 'Robotnik appears', what we actually mean is 'the entire satellite device heaves out of the ground, at which point it is revealed it is in fact one of Robotnik's contraptions'. Yes, he's been sitting underground in a satellite dish equipped with rocket boosters, almost like he's waiting for Sonic to show up. Even if he has only been waiting since he saw Sonic start the Mushroom Hill level, that's still another level of madness. Disguising yourself as a satellite dish? Waiting underground? Freakin' psychopath.
2. Under Ground Zone boss (8-bit Sonic 2)
Sonic hits a ramp at the end of Act 3, hits a wall and plummets helplessly toward a fiery pit of lava. It's surely the end for ol' Bluey. But Robotnik appears just in time, catches Sonic in a pincer and flies upward. He doesn't squash Sonic with the pincer. He doesn't cackle and drop him into the lava from an even greater height like any normal psychotic maniac would. No, he drops him in front of this: The red pincer... thing. OF DOOM.
Why it's so mad: Robotnik is evidently extremely pleased with the design of this one. Perhaps Mummy Robotnik didn't pin it to the refrigerator door, which would have sated Robotnik's need for recognition of the brilliance of this lobster-inspired creation. Not that it actually does anything. Robotnik has to also chuck bombs at Sonic, in the hope that he'll stumble into the pincer and die. But he doesn't. The bombs are neatly dodged, then damage the pincer... it all adds up to a highly embarrassing encounter until Robotnik himself suicide charges at Sonic, missing completely and crashing into pincer-bot, destroying it. What a prat.
1. Final Zone (Sonic the Hedgehog)
The final boss in the original 16-bit Sonic The Hedgehog was always going to be extravagant. And so we found ourselves inside an internal combustion engine, where pistons pump, sparkplugs fire and the fuel... well, the fuel is basically Sonic.
Why it's mad: You can imagine Robotnik pitching this thing to his investors and what they thought of it. "It's an internal combustion engine" (Yes!) "The pistons can crush Sonic!" (Great!) "The sparkplug can kill Sonic with one hit!" (Amazing!) "Oh, and there's a viewing window inside each piston, so I can stand inside them as they pump and watch Sonic getting fried!" (What the...?!) "Don't worry, I'll get out and move to a different piston each time so he can't possibly hit me" (You're a moron. And for that reason, I'm out).
Which one did we miss?
There have been so many Robotnik vehicles in the past, we've probably missed out one of your personal favourites. Like the one with spoon. Or the egg whisk. Yeah, you know the one you mean. We don't, which is why you can alleviate this unnecessary tension by explaining all in the comments below.