in other media
Sonic the Hedgehog #193 (mentioned only)
Light Gaia (light counterpart)
None (considered male)
Brown, neon blue
|Alignment and character traits|
|Skills, abilities and powers|
Dark Gaia (ダーク・ガイア Dāku Gaia?) is one of the main antagonists and final boss in Sonic Unleashed. It is a hyper energy organism originating from the dawn of time and the incarnation of darkness, night and destruction. Since the beginning of time, Dark Gaia has fought Light Gaia in an perpetual cycle destruction of rebirth of Earth where Dark Gaia destroys the planet after having slept for eons for then to have its work undone and itself returned to sleep by Light Gaia to continue the cycle.
In Sonic Unleashed, Dark Gaia was awoken prematurely by Dr. Eggman, who planned to use its power to establish the Eggman Empire, which cause it to break apart and scatter across the world. After being reassembled, Dark Gaia attempted to destroy the world again, but was defeated returned to dormancy again by Sonic the Hedgehog and Light Gaia, restoring its cycle.
Dark Gaia is an immensely large and gargantuan creature of such size that it makes characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog seem like nothing more than dust grains in comparison to it. It has brown skin with the lower body and torso resembling that of a snake's, two thin arms with long neon-blue claws, and scaly shoulders.
Its head itself is very wide, much wider than its main body and is mostly composed of its jagged mouth (which remains closed until it transforms) and has a single green eye on each end of it. Its central face looks like that of a reptile, with four small horns on the top of it, white eyes and one large green eye on the middle of its forehead.
On its back, Dark Gaia has seven purple flaming energy tentacles sticking out from it, and neon blue scaly fins that runs from its lower back, up to its head. It also possesses "hair" in the form of purple energy that emits from its head and back, giving it the appearance of a mohawk.
Dark Gaia was born in the beginning of time as the incarnation of darkness, night and destruction and existed as the counterpart to Light Gaia. In this age, Dark Gaia and Light Gaia came to reside on Earth when the planet came into existence, which Dark Gaia wanted to destroy because it was its purpose. Light Gaia however, assumed his job of protecting the planet from Dark Gaia, and as such, Dark Gaia began an endless conflict with Light Gaia in a continuous cycle of the destruction and rebirth of Earth over the eons. In this cycle, Dark Gaia would sleep in the Earth's core millions of years while gathering negative energy from the world to mature, for then to awaken during the time of awakening as Perfect Dark Gaia and break the planet apart before trying to utterly destroy it. Each time, however, Dark Gaia would be defeated by Light Gaia, who would rebuild the world and return Dark Gaia to dormancy, leaving Dark Gaia to gather up negative energy to awaken anew.
Some tens of thousands of years prior to Sonic Unleashed, Dark Gaia had just finished another cycle with Light Gaia and had returned to the planet's core to grow strong enough for the next confrontation.
In Sonic Unleashed, Dark Gaia was forcefully awoken prematurely by Dr. Eggman with his Chaos Energy Cannon, who wanted to exploit its power to establish Eggmanland and conquer the world. With its awakening, Dark Gaia split the Earth into seven continents as it emerged from the planet's core. However, because it had to yet reach enough maturity to keep its own mass together, Dark Gaia was incomplete and could not support its own weight, resulting in its entire being breaking into countless energy fragments that scattered across the world.
Despite being split into innumerable pieces, Dark Gaia's desire for destruction lived as its fragments gained a life of their own, becoming Dark Gaia's Minions, and began to create havoc and cause distress amongst Earth's people by possessing them. Dark Gaia's Minions continued to wander the globe from some time until Dr. Eggman devised a machine that created a homing signal which drew all of Dark Gaia's Minions to one place. There, Dark Gaia was reconstructed by Dr. Eggman's technology while its power was harnessed by the doctor, giving him the power needed to finally build Eggmanland. In the meanwhile, Sonic and Chip traveled across the broken world to repair it, hoping to seal Dark Gaia up before it could be fully reawaken.
At the time the final continent was being returned to its place, Dark Gaia had been nearly fully reassembled. When Sonic the Werehog, Chip and Eggman ended up in the planet's core after Sonic destroyed the Egg Dragoon, Dark Gaia emerged from the planet's core to deal with Sonic and Chip itself. Dr. Eggman tried to assume control over it, but Dark Gaia, not intending to follow his orders, swatted the doctor away and tried to attack Sonic and Chip. Sensing that Sonic held its final fragments inside him, Dark Gaia forcefully ripped out and reabsorbed its essence from Sonic, depriving him of his Werehog form while completing itself. Now fully reassembled, Dark Gaia tried to kill Sonic and Chip, but its attacks were blocked by Chip, who used his powers to protect them before calling the Gaia Temples to him to form the Gaia Colossus.With Chip ready and the time of awakening having truly arrived, Dark Gaia engaged the Gaia Colossus in combat where Dark Gaia would try to utterly crush its opponent. Their battle, however, was only a distraction while Sonic attacked Dark Gaia's eyes, weakening it greatly. When its main eyes were destroyed, Dark Gaia seemingly fell down in defeat. Instead however, Dark Gaia arose anew, now having completely regained its lost powers, and began casting the world into darkness, issuing its end. As a result of its complete state, Dark Gaia fully matured and transformed into Perfect Dark Gaia before it then faced the Gaia Colossus and Super Sonic.
In the end, Perfect Dark Gaia was defeated by the combined efforts of Super Sonic and Light Gaia which stopped its attempt to destroy the world. Beaten and defeated, Dark Gaia returned to the planet's core and reentered dormancy so it could resume its conflict with Light Gaia at a later point.
As a living embodiment of darkness, Dark Gaia is an innate and malevolent force of nature. Mostly, it acts like a savage, hostile and abominable beast, attacking anyone in its way. Since the sole purpose for its existence is to destroy the world, Dark Gaia seemingly lacks any sign of consciousness and is only driven by its singular instinct to bring the end of the world, not showing any reasons, regrets or thoughts about its actions.
Despite its bestial behavior, Dark Gaia appears to be a sapient being to some extent. Rather than attacking in animalistic ways, it shows genuine cunning in battle such as trapping the Gaia Colossus and planning to attack in a way Chip could not figure out, or choosing to extract its fragments from Sonic before continuing its assault. Also, during the battle on the PS3/Xbox 360 version, it made body movements indicating a mocking laugh.
Powers and Abilities
Dark Gaia is one most powerful beings in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, possibly only second or equal to Solaris. At the peak of its power, Dark Gaia is so strong that it can bypass the invulnerability granted by a Super State with sheer force alone. Additionally, it could fight Super Sonic to the point where he fainted from exhaustion, something no one has been capable of, and at the same time, take on Light Gaia, a being who supposedly is on the same level of power as itself.
As the sole reason for its existence, Dark Gaia has the natural ability to break an entire planet into pieces. Due to its immense size, Dark Gaia possesses vast amounts of physical strength; in its inmature form, Dark Gaia can lift and move masses weighting potentially thousands of tons with just one hand and throw them effortlessly. Even in its immature form, Dark Gaia has large amounts of physically durability and endurance, being able to withstand a series of pummeling from the Gaia Colossus and still continue to fight and resist. Additionally, Dark Gaia have an incredible resistance to high temperatures to the point where it can be submerged in molten magma and hold balls of magma in its hands without receiving any burns.
As an part of its biology, Dark Gaia's body is composed of an unknown form of energy that is noted to be sinister and dark. In line with this, Dark Gaia is capable of projecting extremely powerful and large blasts of energies; it can either shoot large beams of energies by firing them from concentrated singular points from various spots around its body or create small energy orbs that can shoot themselves at enemies. As revealed by Eggman, Dark Gaia's energies can powering machinery, such as the Egg Dragoon. Energy fragments coming from Dark Gaia can take the form of various dark and destructive monsters that can have various powers and are able to possess people. Its energy can also cause beings or even the environment to mutate into corrupted creatures, such as the Dark Gaia Phoenix, Dark Moray, Dark Guardian, Sonic the Werehog. Dark Gaia also has complete control of its own energy as it was able to rip out its energy from Sonic the Werehog and return it to itself by will alone.
Matching its nature, Dark Gaia is able to manipulate darkness on a global scale. It can unleash a well of darkness that can envelop an entire planet, which can bring the planet into total darkness and eventually extinguish all life on it. As an off-set of this ability, Dark Gaia can draw power from the negative energies of the world to empower itself and help it mature. Additionally, it is able to manipulate emotional energy, allowing it to draw power from the negative emotions manifested by the people on the planet, such as hatred and sadness.
As a being of darkness, and therefore one of the eternal forces alongside light, Dark Gaia is completely immortal and can therefore never truly be destroyed, as its presence is needed to preserve the world's balance.
Dark Gaia's only known weak spots are its various green eyes which are highly sensitive to damage, since Sonic could inflict significant damage on Dark Gaia by attacking them. Also, when in its immature state, it can use its powers on a basic level, such as using it hands to pick up magma rather than by levitation and it can lose focus on its energy blasts, if attacked.
Perfect Dark Gaia
When reaching full physical maturity, Dark Gaia can transform into Perfect Dark Gaia. In this form, Dark Gaia is at the peak of its power, making it so strong that only the combined strength of Super Sonic and the Gaia Colossus can defeat it. In this form, Dark Gaia is also able to manipulate energies in a much more refined way, allowing it to form energy durable shields, lift objects through levitation and maintain control over its energy blasts.
The battle against Dark Gaia with several phases. In both versions, the player takes control the Gaia Colossus to attack the Dark Gaia. In 630/PS3 versions, Sonic has hurry to help Gaia Colossus by pass through platforming sections fast as possible to hit one of Dark Gaia's large eyes.
The battle with Dark Gaia varies between the game versions of Sonic Unleashed. The Wii and PS2 versions put more of an emphasis on directly battling the monster, while the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions are based more around reaching Dark Gaia, with the actual damage being performed through quick-time events.
In the Wii/PS2 version, Chip fights Dark Gaia immediately. When fighting the Gaia Colossus, Dark Gaia simply attacks with its claws while Chip dodges and counter-attacks with punches. This fight is generally considered akin to playing the Punch-Out! series of games, where Chip must counter, block or attack Dark Gaia. After the Gaia Colossus depletes Dark Gaia's Hit Points to zero, Sonic takes over and must run across the Colossus and clear a quick-time event to attacks one of Dark Gaia's eyes without time limit. Sonic does this runs consecutively three times before Dark Gaia is defeated and the story moves on to the battle with Perfect Dark Gaia.
In the Xbox 360/PS3 version of the game, the fight with the Gaia Colossus occurs a different way. The battle starts with Chip having the Gaia Colossus fly towards Dark Gaia from a distance to engage in the actual fight. During this time, Dark Gaia tries stop him by throwing massive molten rocks, which can be destroyed with the Gaia Colossus' fire punch, and firing a laser from its mouth, which cannot be avoided and must therefore be guarded against to minimize the damage.
Once reaching Dark Gaia, as opposed to a simple fist fight, Chip must attack Dark Gaia with a quick-time event. After clearing the quick-time event, Sonic takes over and tries to attack Dark Gaia's eyes by racing through the Gaia Colossus and then clearing another quick-time event. Unlike the Wii/PS2 version however, this course has a time limit as Chip is merely just holding Dark Gaia back so he cannot attack, with the time limit being the amount of time Dark Gaia has until he charges up his attack. If you do not get to the eye before the time limit, Dark Gaia fires its laser and you lose a life, so you must start over. If Sonic manages to attack one of its eyes however, Dark Gaia will throw Sonic and the Gaia Colossus away in pain and the player has to start over, by trying to reach Dark Gaia again, resuming the process. This cycle has to be done three times before clearing the Dark Gaia boss battle and moving on to the battle with Perfect Dark Gaia.
- Dark Gaia resembles the second form of the final boss in the game Terranigma. In fact, the final boss in Terranigma is also called "Dark Gaia."
- In the Wii/PS2 version, when Sonic must attack Dark Gaia's eyes by going across the Gaia Colossus, it is the only time Sonic grinds in 3D, as in this version all rails are strictly 2D only. It is also the only time when Sonic must use the quick step on a grind rail.
- The monsters that are made of Dark Gaia's essence somewhat resemble the Heartless from the Kingdom Hearts series of video games.
- Dark Gaia also appears to be able to change the composition of its skin. In the cutscene when it transforms from Dark Gaia to Perfect Dark Gaia, its skin appears to be stretchy but firm, while the skin on the opposite side of its body appears to be brittle.
- The name Gaia is derived from an ancient Greek goddess, who was the personification of the Earth. (A previous Sonic villain, Chaos, was also named after a Greek god.) Although named after a goddess, Dark Gaia is referred to as male.
- Dark Gaia seems to change size throughout the course of Sonic Unleashed. When he is first awakened, he is large enough to put one hand on either side of the planet, yet during the final fight, he is noticeably smaller and fits inside the planet with plenty of extra space in the planet's core. This is probably due to Dark Gaia's mass being spread out and incomplete, as Orbot states later on.
- Perfect Dark Gaia is the largest final boss in the series to date, being the size of a large continent.
- Dark Gaia is the only boss in Sonic Unleashed with "Dark" as a prefix that is fought with normal Sonic.
- Dark Gaia was one of the reason that Sonic Unleashed was given the ESRB rating of E10+, as he leaks green blood during his transformation into Perfect Dark Gaia. This blood is also seen in his "death" scene.
- Dark Gaia's power, as explained by Professor Pickle, is drawn from hatred and sadness manifested by the people on the planet.
- In Sonic Adventure 2, Tikal's earthquake attack was called "Wrath of Gaia". This is most likely a coincidence.
- Dark Gaia could arguably be considered neutral since its natural role is to destroy the world.
- All of the bosses in the game with a Dark prefix appear to elemental:
- If you look closely during the third round with Dark Gaia in the Xbox 360/PS3 version of Sonic Unleashed, it appears as if Dark Gaia is laughing.
- Dark Gaia appears to have a resemblance to Iblis. Dark Gaia has Shadowy dark minions like Iblis has Fire minions, and they both have a desire to destroy the world.
- Dark Gaia is one of the three final bosses to have an orchestrated version of the game's main theme as the final boss music (specifically Endless Possibility),the other two being Solaris Phase 2 (His World) and Nega Wisp Armor Phase 2 (Reach For The Stars).