Dark Gaia in its premature form.
in other media
Sonic the Hedgehog #193 (mentioned only)
Chip/Light Gaia (light counterpart)
Energy being/Manifestation of darkness/Gaia
N/A (considered male)
|Alignment and character traits|
|Skills, abilities and powers|
Dark Gaia (ダーク・ガイア Dāku Gaia?) is one of the main antagonists in Sonic Unleashed. It is a hyper energy organism and the physical incarnation of darkness, night and destruction. Since the beginning of time, Dark Gaia has fought Light Gaia in an perpetual cycle where Dark Gaia would destroy Earth after having slept in the planet's core for millions of years for then to have Light Gaia restore the planet and put Dark Gaia back to sleep to continue the cycle.
In Sonic Unleashed, Dark Gaia was awoken prematurely by Dr. Eggman, who planned to use the power of the great beast to conquer the world and establish his Eggman Empire, but broke apart and scattered across the world. After being reassembled, Dark Gaia attempted to resume its mission to destroy the world, but was defeated by Sonic the Hedgehog and Light Gaia, where it then returned to its natural cycle once more.
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, alongside Light Gaia, was born in the beginning of time. While Light Gaia was born as the incarnation of light, day and rebirth, Dark Gaia was born as the incarnation of darkness, night and destruction, and they served as each other's counterpart.
The two of them came to live on Earth in the planet's beginning, but Dark Gaia proved to have a dark desire to destroy this world. Light Gaia however, took upon the duty of protecting the planet from Dark Gaia, and as such, Dark Gaia began a conflict with Light Gaia in a continuous cycle over the eons. In this cycle, Dark Gaia's purpose is to gather negative energy from the world while sleeping in the planet's core over millions of years. Once it had gather enough power it would emerge from the core and destroy the world upon its awakening in an event referred to as Time of Awakening, but would then each time be defeated by Light Gaia, who rebuilds the world and returns Dark Gaia to the core for it gather up negative energy anew, a process repeated since time began and continues to this day. Should Dark Gaia succeed in its mission, the remains of the world will be consumed by its darkness, and all life would become extinct.
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.
At the beginning of Sonic Unleashed, after having slept for some tens of thousands of years, Dark Gaia was prematurely awoken by Dr. Eggman with his Chaos Energy Cannon in an attempt to use its power to conquer the world. However, as Dark Gaia emerged from the planet's core, it soon became apparent that the beast had not gathered enough strength to keep its own mass together. As a result, Dark Gaia was unable to support its own weight and its entire being broke apart into countless energy fragments that scattered throughout the world.
Despite being split into innumerable pieces however, Dark Gaia's desire for destruction and darkness lived on, as its fragments gained a life of their own by becoming hordes of shadowy monsters known as Dark Gaia's Minions, and began to create havoc and cause distress amongst Earth's people by influencing them negatively. The only known ones that proved to be immune to this negative influence were Sonic the Hedgehog, because his will was too strong even in his Werehog form, and Light Gaia because he is Dark Gaia's opposite.
Over the course of the game, Dr. Eggman devised a machine that could draw the pieces of Dark Gaia to him. As such, Dr. Eggman began reconstructing Dark Gaia in the core of the planet while harnessing its power, giving him the power needed to finally build Eggmanland. In the meanwhile, Sonic and Chip traveled across the broken world, hoping to seal Dark Gaia up before it could be fully reawaken.
At the time Sonic and Chip confronted Dr. Eggman in his Egg Dragoon, Dark Gaia had been nearly fully reassembled. After Sonic (in his Werehog form) defeats Dr. Eggman's Egg Dragoon in a battle that lead them to Dark Gaia's location, Dark Gaia itself appeared from Earth's core to deal with Sonic and Chip itself. Dr. Eggman ordered it to attack Sonic, but Dark Gaia, not intending to follow his orders, swatted him away and tried to attack Sonic and Chip. Seeing that Sonic held the final fragments of its power inside of him, Dark Gaia forcefully ripped out and reabsorbed its essence from Sonic, costing him his Werehog form, and completed itself, thus gaining three extra eyes.
With itself fully reassembled, Dark Gaia tried to resume its age-long conflict with Chip and attacked them both, but failed as Chip called upon his Light Gaia powers to protect them, and gathered the Gaia Temples to form a giant stone creature called the Gaia Colossus. With its natural enemy standing in front of it, Dark Gaia tried to fight Chip in a one-on-one battle. Their battle however, proved to be a distraction while Sonic successfully attacked its eyes, thus weakening Dark Gaia greatly.
After having its three eyes destroyed, Dark Gaia appeared to be defeated. This turns out to be a ruse however, as Dark Gaia at this point completely regained its lost power and began casting the world into darkness. Now fully matured, Dark Gaia transformed into Perfect Dark Gaia and stood ready to finish the fight and destroy the planet. Sonic however, gathered the Chaos Emeralds and once again became Super Sonic and joined the Gaia Colossus in the final battle against Perfect Dark Gaia.
In the end, Perfect Dark Gaia was defeated by the combined efforts of Super Sonic and Light Gaia. Beaten and defeated, the beast was returned to the core once more and was put back to rest to resume its conflict with Light Gaia at a later point. Light Gaia then send a fainted Sonic back to the surface of the Earth as he was once again sealed inside the Earth along with Dark Gaia.
As a living embodiment of darkness, Dark Gaia is an innate and malevolent force of nature. In all of its appearances, Dark Gaia acts like a savage, hostile and abominable beast, only giving off roars and growls, and attacking anyone in its way. Having been trying to destroy the planet since the dawn of time, Dark Gaia seemingly lacks any kind of consciousness, and is only driven by its primordial instinct to bring destruction and 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 genius cunning in battle, such as when it tried to attack Sonic and Chip delicately with its tendrils, when it trapped the Gaia Colossus and planned to attack in a way Chip could not figure out, or when it extracted its fragments from inside Sonic, before continuing its assault. Also, during the battle on the PS3/Xbox 360 version, it made body movements and sounds that indicated it was laughing.
Powers and Abilities
Dark Gaia is shown to be one of the most powerful beings to ever appear in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, possibly only second or equal to Solaris. During the final battle against it Sonic Unleashed, Dark Gaia was able to fight Super Sonic to the point where he ended up fainting from exhaustion, something no foe so far has been capable of, and at the same time, take on Light Gaia, a being who supposedly should be on the same level of strength as Dark Gaia itself. Additionally, Dark Gaia (as shown in its perfect form) is one of the few beings that is able to injure a person in a Super State through sheer force alone.
As the sole reason for its existence, Dark Gaia has the natural ability to break an entire planet into pieces, which will eventually lead to the destruction of the planet itself. As a hyper energy organism, it is capable of shooting large beams of energy, where the strongest ones needs time to charge up, create small orbs of purple energy that shoots themselves at any enemy that comes too close and unleash a well of dark energy that can envelop an entire planet, bringing it into total darkness.
Dark Gaia seems to have a natural resistance to extremely high temperatures seen as it is able to be submerged in molten magma and hold balls of magma without any signs of being burned. Due to its incredible immense size, it also possesses vast amounts of physical strength, being able to lift and move masses possibly weighting thousands of tons, such as large blocks of magma, and throw them like meteors. It is shown being able to use its large claws in hand-to-hand combat.
Since it is a physical manifestation of darkness, Dark Gaia can draw power from the negative energy in the world and the night itself, allowing its power to grow stronger, which is necessary for it to reach maturity. Combined with its status as an energy being, the fragments of Dark Gaia is capable of creating various dark and destructive monsters with various powers that are capable of possessing people, causing negative and erratic behavior. Its energy can also cause beings or even the environment to transform into corrupted creatures, such as the Dark Gaia Phoenix, Dark Moray, Dark Guardian, or to a lesser degree, Sonic the Werehog. As shown by Eggman, Dark Gaia's energy is capable of powering machinery, such as the Egg Dragoon and Eggmanland.
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 seems to be highly sensitive to damage, since Sonic, in his normal form, could inflict significant damage on Dark Gaia by attacking them. Also, because Dark Gaia in its first stage still is immature, it only uses its powers on a basic level, such as using it hands to pick up magma, rather than by levitation and can lose focus on its energy blasts, if attacked.
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 versions, 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 and PS3 versions 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.
- Considering Dark Gaia needs a certain amount of power to become Perfect Dark Gaia,he might have never transformed if he didn't absorb the Werehog energy from Sonic.
- 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).