Doctor Ivo Robotnik, better known as Doctor Eggman, is a video game character and main antagonist of the Sonic the Hedgehog series and Sonic's arch-nemesis. He is a human scientist and mechanics expert with an IQ of 300 and is comically obese. His character designer is Naoto Ōshima, and he has gone through several appearance changes throughout the series.
Concept and Inspiration
In April of 1990, Sega requested a game capable of selling over one million copies and a character to replace Alex Kidd as the company's mascot, as well as to rival Nintendo's flagship character, Mario. Several character designs were submitted by its AM8 research & development department, including an armadillo (who was later developed into Mighty the Armadillo), a dog, a spiky hedgehog (which would later become Sonic the Hedgehog), and a rabbit (intended to use its extend-able ears to collect objects; these aspects were later incorporated into Ristar). An overweight Theodore Roosevelt was also one of the possible mascots, but lost to Sonic the Hedgehog, and his design became the basis of Eggman.
Eggman has been the primary antagonist in all of Sonic's incarnations, and throughout all of them, a number of voice actors have played him. In the video games, Eggman's voice was provided by Chikao Ōtsuka; he was dubbed over in the English versions of the games by Deem Bristow from 1999 to 2004. 4Kids employee Mike Pollock took over Bristow's role after his death from a heart attack in 2005; the first game to star Pollock was the spin-off game Shadow the Hedgehog, in which all of the regular voice actors were replaced with 4Kids employees, as well. The only other person to portray Eggman in a Japanese production is Junpei Takiguchi, who provided Eggman's voice for the direct-to-video film. This incarnation is voiced by Edwin Neal in the English dub.
Three different actors voiced Doctor Eggman in his American television incarnations (in which he goes by Doctor Robotnik). In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Robotnik is voiced by British blues singer Long John Baldry, who, coincidentally, died on the same year as Bristow. Dr. Robotnik is voiced by Jim Cummings in the Saturday morning Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, and by Gary Chalk (who also voiced Grounder in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog) in Sonic Underground. Eggman is dubbed over by Pollock in the English dub of Sonic X.
Due to a split storyline between the Japanese and American/European Sonic games, the character of Eggman has been known by several names in the various media and adaptations of the Sonic franchise.
In Japan, He had always been known as Dr. Eggman. In western versions, he was introduced as "Doctor Ivo Robotnik" in the first Sonic the Hedgehog game. Ivo, the character's original first name, is reverse of Ovi, a prefix based on the Latin word for "eggs". Robotnik, the character's surname, is the generic Polish word for a worker. As such, it was used as a title by a number of leftist magazines throughout 19th and 20th centuries. However, in early Italian game versions and other media he is known as "Doctor Zachary." However, both the name Robotnik and Eggman slipped up occasionally in different regions.
In Sonic the Comic comics, the character was originally "Ovi Kintobor". But an explosive accident involving a rotten egg reversed his kindly personality, and also the letters of his name, so he became "Ivo Robotnik." The Sonic the Hedgehog "SatAM" TV show further expanded on the name variation by proclaiming the character's birth name as "Julian," while the Sonic the Hedgehog comics listed the character's full name as "Julian Kintobor of the House of Ivo," while his relatives have the family name "Kintobor."
Beginning with Sonic Adventure, Sega began a process of merging the American and European game stories to the Japanese version, including introducing the concept of calling the character "Doctor Eggman" in the American and European versions. Initially, both names were used in the English language version, as he referred to himself as "Robotnik" while others mockingly called him "Eggman" because of his round physique. By the sequel, Sonic Adventure 2, he also refers to himself as "Doctor Eggman"; although the words "Robotnik Empire" mixed with "Eggman Empire" appear in the background of one scene, and his grandfather and cousin share the family name "Robotnik". In later games, usage of the name Robotnik became rare but still pops up on occasion, such as most of the extreme gear in the game Sonic Riders being credited as being built by "Robotnik Corp." It is also featured occasionally in Sonic X; in the character's eyecatch profile card from the Japanese version of Sonic X, and again in Gerald and Maria's family name. The identity of Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik occasionally appears in certain American sources, such as Archie's DVD-ROM flash comic that accompanied Sonic and the Secret Rings. However, Sega of Japan considers his full name concealed; his real name had been left blank in modern profiles, although Robotnik is still said to be his true last name.
Video Game Appearances
In most video games, the main villain is the final boss fought by the player. Eggman, by contrast, appears as the boss of almost every level in most of the 2D Sonic games (and some 3D games), in a different machine each time. In the three-dimensional games, Eggman's role has often been shared by the influence of other enemies. Additionally, he has often been betrayed by his own allies and has sometimes even aided Sonic once his plans have spiraled out of control. In this way, Eggman was rarely the final boss of the post-16-bit games until recently which consecutively portrayed him as the main enemy.
Eggman's debut occurred in the 1991 platform game Sonic the Hedgehog. He attempted to collect the six Chaos Emeralds (later seven) and turn all of the helpless animals inhabiting South Island into robots, but was foiled by his arch-rival, Sonic the Hedgehog. He returned for the game's sequel Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where he once again searched for the seven Chaos Emeralds, this time to fuel his new Death Egg warship. In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, released in 1993, Eggman, along with his latest creation, Metal Sonic, travels to Little Planet in search of the Time Stones that have the power to control the passage of time, hoping to use these magical stones to take over the planet. Once again, Sonic defeats his attempts. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, directly following the events of the prequel, Eggman's Death Egg crash lands onto Angel Island. While repairing the ship, Eggman meets Knuckles the Echidna, whom he tricks into believing that Sonic is trying to steal the Chaos Emeralds, which Eggman wants to use to repair the Death Egg.
Other two-dimensional platformers starring Eggman include Sonic Chaos, Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble, Sonic Blast, and Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.
In Sonic Adventure, Eggman learns of the legendary beast, Chaos, and seeks out the Master Emerald. Upon finding it, he shatters it, freeing Chaos in the process. Eggman's goal is to control Chaos and obtain the Chaos Emeralds, which he can feed to Chaos so that it transforms into its most powerful form, using its destructive powers for him to conquer the world. Sonic Adventure 2 marked Eggman's first playable appearance. Eggman revives the would-be antihero Shadow the Hedgehog from dormancy. Shadow, knowing Eggman's desire to rule the world, agrees to help him by using the Eclipse Cannon aboard Space Colony ARK. In the last story, Eggman aids Sonic in order to save himself and the Earth from destruction by stopping the ARK's crash course and the Biolizard, the creation of his grandfather, Gerald Robotnik. In Sonic Heroes, Eggman is captured by his own creation, Metal Sonic, who then disguises himself as Eggman in order to complete his own evil plan. This was done again twice in both Sonic Rivals games by his descendant, Eggman Nega.
In Shadow the Hedgehog, he acts as an opportunist attempting to gather the Chaos Emeralds while the world is being invaded, but ends up sending his robots to help stop the alien menace's wave of destruction in the end. Depending on the mission stats of the level, Eggman's robots can be considered the ally rather than the enemy. As Shadow seeks the truth from Eggman regarding his past, Eggman often throws off that Shadow has no past and/or he is an android Eggman created. In the end Eggman admits to Shadow that he is the real Shadow, having rescued him floating in a chaotic flux inches within the planet's orbit. In the infamous 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game, Eggman kidnaps the princess of Soleanna, in order to use the power of the Flames of Disaster sealed within her to control time. He plays a smaller role than in previous Sonic games, but is the final boss of Sonic's story. Although he is the main villain in Sonic's story, he's not the ultimate villain of the game. He appears to help the heroes during the Last Story, much like previous games. Eggman also appears in Sonic and the Secret Rings, in which King Shahryār of Persia appeared in his physical form. Here, his physical appearance has been changed back to his Adventure look. Eggman appeared in Sonic Rush Adventure, where he is once again a main villain. He is also in the RPG game Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. According to the developers, he was became too much of a comic relief villain in most recent games, and they wish to help re-establish his role as a true threat.
In Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, a pinball game, Eggman assumes control of Mount Mobius and turns it into a mechanical base, setting up an elaborate pinball mechanism to keep the fortress' Chaos Emeralds safe. Eggman has also appeared in "2.5D" isometric platformers; in Sonic Labyrinth, he secretly replaces Sonic's famous red shoes with the new "Slow-Down Boots," which take away his ability to jump or run fast, and in Sonic 3D, he turns innocent Flickies into robots in yet another search for the Chaos Emeralds. Eggman is also a playable character in such games as Sonic Drift, Sonic R, Sonic Riders (and its sequels Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and Sonic Free Riders), Sonic the Fighters, Sonic Battle (in which he isn't playable), and Sega Superstars Tennis. Eggman appears as a playable character in the crossover series Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games as a skill-based character.
The only game as of yet to feature Eggman as the central character is the 1993 game Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, a Puyo Puyo Tsu clone set in the AoStH universe in which Robotnik, along with numerous bounty hunters seen in the first episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, attempts to rid all the fun and music on the planet Mobius by kidnapping the citizens of one insignificant town and turning them into robots.
Doctor Eggman is a short-tempered, loud, pompous evil genius whose goal is to take over the world and create his own nation, Eggmanland, ruled by the Eggman Empire. Originally, this was attempted by imprisoning the animal populations inside robots to serve his every whim, but now he has a tendency to build the biggest, strongest weapon he can think of, and threaten nations with it. His plans have always failed however, due to Sonic the Hedgehog. He has designed and built several large airships, such as the Egg Carrier and a space station called the Death Egg (a tribute to the Death Star). He has also designed and built countless robots, a number of which resemble either himself, or his longtime rival, Sonic (and sometimes, Sonic's friends). In some media, Eggman often declares his deep hatred of Sonic with his unmistakable catchphrase "I HATE THAT HEDGEHOG!".
Despite his intelligence, Eggman is terribly immature, prone to emotional fits and breaking things when he loses. The Sonic Heroes instruction manual states that he is "a romanticist, a feminist, and a self-professed gentleman. Sadly, his charms are difficult to spot through the abominable laughter that accompanies his maniacal declarations of world domination". He also seems to be very egotistical; a vast number of his weapons and robots are built in his likeness, and his production logo is a crude depiction of his own face. Although Eggman generally tries to rule the world, he is quite willing to help save it from total destruction. This happens on occasion when threats greater than himself, such as Perfect Chaos, Metal Sonic, Black Doom, or Solaris gain control over him. However, Eggman is still a dangerous foe to both Sonic and his friends. It seems that he likes Chao, as he wants the Chaotix to save several of them in Sonic Heroes (though this could be because he wanted Metal Sonic to be unable to copy Chaos' data within them), and as he has a Chao Garden of his own in his Cryptic Castle base in Shadow the Hedgehog. In Sonic Adventure, he also has a teleport panel that leads to another Chao Garden on the Egg Carrier.
In the Sonic TV series, Robotnik says "Snooping as usual, I see?" to his robots, but sounds like he is saying "Snoo PINGAS usual, I see?" due to a slight mispronunciation. This has led to a wave of YouTube Poops that exploit Robotnik's extravagant personality.
In the 16-bit era, Eggman was very obese, but still seemed very athletic. This is seen in many of the games, as there is almost always a point where Sonic chases him, and Eggman seems to stay ahead just long enough to get to his next weapon or escape vehicle. He always wore a red shirt with black pants with two white buttons on his front, white gloves, and an unusually small yellow cape. He also wears dark blue pince nez glasses which hide his eyes. In the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game, Eggman's blue eyes can be seen behind his glasses for the first time. Although animated and comic versions have showcased him without goggles with red eyes, the video game counterpart's eyes have never been seen with the exception of Sonic Advance where his eyes are comically seen briefly after being struck. Despite his spherical body, he has incongruously thin legs. Despite these unusual features, his most noticeable feature is his large, fancy, multi-pointed mustache.
Starting with Sonic Adventure, Eggman became somewhat taller, and became more egg-shaped compared to the balloon shape he had before. His attire took on a different appearance as well, while still retaining a red-yellow-black theme. A pair of goggles can also be seen on his head. After Eggman's appearance in the new Sonic the Hedgehog game, his look has changed again (he bears a startling resemblance to Gerald Robotnik, his grandfather). In effect, he is much less obese (however, his stomach is still visible underneath his clothing), and looks more like an actual human would, presumably for purposes of realism, but still wears his post-Adventure outfit with an additional "turtle-neck" collar, without the goggles atop his head that he has worn since Sonic Adventure, and still sports his massive trademark mustache. Also, the four golden slabs on his coat are now strange "bottle cap"-like objects. His eyes can barely be seen under his glasses although they have grayish-blue irises, red pupils and black sclera. They also have purple eyelids rather than green in early games. Eggman quickly returned to his Sonic Adventure appearance starting with Sonic Rivals.
Eggman's most traditional vehicle is the Eggmobile (known as the "Egg-O-Matic" in comics and cartoons) is a small hovering craft with a very distinct egg-like shape, a small circular lamp on the front, and can be fitted with a seemingly endless amount of gadgetry. It can notably be converted into a more mech-like walker configuration, which Eggman used extensively in Sonic Adventure 2.
Eggman's army consists fully of mass-produced robotic drones whose appearance and armaments vary greatly from type to type. The helpless animals that inhabit the islands of Sonic's world are usually the first to fall victim to Eggman's schemes, as he will gather them in large droves to be transformed into his loyal worker drones. "Badniks" was a term used to describe these robot henchmen in early North American and European releases of the games, whereas they were just known as "Eggman's robots" in Japan.
The E-Series are a special part of Eggman's forces that have played a larger role in the games than the rest of the robots. Most notably E-102 Gamma, who was playable in Sonic Adventure and whose design is reused often by Sonic Team, and E-123 Omega who first appeared as a playable character in Sonic Heroes, and has appeared several times since, are his most recognized robots.
In Sonic Heroes, Eggman apparently scrapped the animal-powered "Badnik" designs and, in their place, started developing orange Eggman-resembling grunts simply called Egg Pawns. These had no animals inside and had rather poor intelligence. Eggman continued to use the Egg Pawn model in most subsequent games until the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game, in which Eggman started using more serious, metal-colored humanoid robots armed with missiles and machine guns.
In several cartoon and comic iterations, Robotnik employs humanoid robot soldiers called SWATbots. They are typically armed with some sort of laser weapons, and will pursue Robotnik's enemies relentlessly, especially Sonic. They were redesigned and appear in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, and are ironically stated to be older robots.
Eggman, aside from the huge mechas and robots he builds in his likeness, also engineers robot Sonic knock-offs to pit against his rival. Mecha Sonic (known as Silver Sonic in the English Sonic the Hedgehog 2 8-bit manual) was his first attempt, and was featured as the penultimate boss of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit). Another robot with the same name appeared in "Genesis" Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as the second-to-final boss. In Sonic & Knuckles a much sleeker and more aggressive Mecha Sonic appeared, which could also use super transformation.
Eggman's most successful and persistent Sonic copy to date is Metal Sonic. He made his first appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog CD to capture Amy Rose and race Sonic on the Stardust Speedway. Unlike the previous attempts, Metal Sonic was built for speed with a sleek form. Metal Sonic also appeared in other games such as Chaotix, where an enormous, red version of himself appeared. Afterwards, he was seen around participating in any kind of racing or fighting Sonic joins in, in hopes of defeating him one day. In Sonic Heroes, Metal Sonic impersonates Eggman in an attempt to copy Sonic's, Tails', Knuckles', Shadow's, and Chaos' DNA and finally put an end to his rivalry with Sonic, once and for all. Eggman has also built robot copies of other characters, such as Metal Knuckles, the Tails Doll, and the Shadow Androids. He has even created robots based on himself, called EggRobos.
In Sonic Rush Adventure, Captain Whisker, Johnny, and all the other pirate robots were Eggman's creations, as he and Eggman Nega were plotting to use them to uncover the power of the stars under Southern Island.