Knuckles the Echidna

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Knuckles the Echidna
Sonic the Hedgehog character
Knuckles the echinda.png
Knuckles the Echidna as he appears in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
First game Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994)
Created by Takashi Thomas Yuda
Voiced by (English) Video games
Michael McGaharn (1998)
Ryan Drummond (2000)
Scott Dreier (2001-2004)
Dan Green (2005-2010)
Travis Willingham (2010-present)
Brian Drummond (Sonic Underground)[1]
Bill Wise (Sonic OVA)
Dan Green (Sonic X)
Travis Willingham (Sonic Boom)
Voiced by (Japanese) Video games
Nobutoshi Canna
Yasunori Matsumoto (OVA)
Nobutoshi Canna (Sonic X)
Fictional profile
Species Echidna
Skills Strength[2]
Wall climbing[2]
Super transformation[3]

Knuckles the Echidna (ナックルズ・ザ・エキドゥナ Nakkuruzu za Ekiduna) is a fictional character in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series of video games. He is a red anthropomorphic echidna who is determined and serious but sometimes gullible. He can glide and climb up walls, and is a powerful fighter due to his spiked gloves. He serves as the guardian of the Master Emerald, a huge gemstone that controls the series' integral Chaos Emeralds.

Knuckles debuted as an antagonist in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in 1994, as he is tricked by Eggman. He was first playable in Sonic & Knuckles later that year; he learns of Eggman's trickery and teams up with Sonic during that game's events. Since then, he has appeared in dozens of playable and non-playable roles, as well as several series of comic books, Western animated television, and Japanese anime. He is one of the series' most popular and recognizable characters.

His reception from critics has been mostly positive; he has been praised frequently as tough and cool-looking. However, some critics have voiced disapproval at the series' extensive cast of characters and singled Knuckles out as ushering them in. His likeness has frequently appeared in Sonic merchandise.

Concept and creation[edit]

During conception of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the development team wanted to create a new rival for Sonic.[4] The final design of Knuckles was the result of dozens of possible designs inspired by numerous different animals.[4][5] The emphasis of the character was to break walls.[6] He was originally planned to have a Jamaican accent.[7]

Knuckles was created by developer Takashi Yuda, who never intended him to be any more than a "supporting character."[8] Knuckles was introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 as an "intimidator" because of his powerful abilities.[9] He was given a headlining role in the next game, Sonic & Knuckles,[10] where he made his first appearance as a playable character.


Knuckles is a 16-year-old red anthropomorphic echidna, the only living descendant of a well-established clan of echidnas.[11] For many years, his clan guarded a giant gemstone called the Master Emerald, which controls the Chaos Emeralds, objects central to the Sonic the Hedgehog game series.[2] As such, Knuckles has spent most of his life atop a floating island called Angel Island, guarding the Emerald from harm.[12] He has grown up fairly introverted as a result.[11]

Knuckles has a serious, determined personality, described as keeping cool in combat.[13] However, he sometimes loses his composure and gets in fights with other characters, and is sometimes shy around girls.[14] His relationship with series protagonist Sonic is ambivalent: Knuckles enters the series as an antagonist of Sonic and later sees him as both a friend and a rival,[15][16][17] while envying Sonic's adventurous lifestyle.[13] He is depicted as somewhat gullible and of mediocre intelligence,[2][18] occasionally being tricked by longtime enemy Doctor Eggman.[citation needed]

While somewhat slower than Sonic, Knuckles is depicted as one of the series' strongest characters and a skilled martial artist: his powerful fists allow him to smash through boulders.[11][2] He can also glide long distances by trapping air under his dreadlocks, and can climb up walls using the spikes on his knuckles.[2] Unlike Sonic, Knuckles is able to swim.[16] As is typical among Sonic characters, Knuckles can roll into a ball to attack enemies.[19] He also has an empowered "super" form: using the Chaos Emeralds allows him to transform into Super Knuckles.[3]


In video games[edit]

Sonic Boom (2014 video game) Sonic: Lost World Sonic Generations Sonic Colors Sonic and the Black Knight Sonic Chronicles Sonic and The Secret Rings Sonic the Hedgehog (2006 video game) Shadow the Hedgehog (video game) Sonic Advance 3 Sonic Heroes Sonic Advance 2 Sonic Adventure 2 Sonic Shuffle Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure Sonic Adventure Sonic R Sonic Blast Sonic The Fighters Tails Adventure Knuckles Chaotix Sonic & Knuckles Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Knuckles debuted in the 1994 Sega Genesis game Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Knuckles joins primary antagonist Eggman after Eggman tricks him into thinking that Sonic has attempted to steal the Master Emerald; Knuckles fights Sonic at several points throughout the game. Eggman's dishonesty is revealed late in Sonic & Knuckles when he steals the Master Emerald and attacks Knuckles. While Knuckles' canonical playable debut comes in Sonic & Knuckles, he is playable in Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 via the Genesis' lock-on technology.[20] In 1995, he starred in Knuckles' Chaotix for the Sega 32X, in which he serves as the guardian of an island amusement park and rescues his friends—collectively known as the Chaotix—from Eggman. He teams up with them individually, creating an unusual gameplay style involving two characters being tethered together.[21]

In Sonic Adventure, Eggman's creation Chaos appears before Knuckles, shatters the Master Emerald, scatters the pieces, and flees.[22] To restore the Emerald, thereby protecting Angel Island,[23] he searches through various expansive levels for pieces.[24] At one point, he defeats Chaos,[25] and Eggman tricks Knuckles into thinking that Sonic is trying to collect Emerald shards for his own purposes.[26] Knuckles finds Sonic holding two Chaos Emeralds he thinks are Master Emerald shards, and attacks him.[27] This knocks them out of Sonic's hands,[28] so Eggman shows up to steal them and leaves.[29] He initially stays on Earth to look for pieces while Sonic and Tails follow Eggman,[30] but later joins them aboard Eggman's airship, the Egg Carrier, after seeing a vision of there being more pieces on it.[31] He finds the final pieces and is confronted by Chaos' final form,[32] then returns to the Emerald's island to restore it.[33]

Early in Sonic Adventure 2, Knuckles and Rouge the Bat argue over the Emerald;[34] she wants the pieces for her personal collection. Eggman tries to steal it,[35] so Knuckles shatters it aboard Eggman's hovercraft, sending the pieces every which way. He spends the game recollecting the pieces similarly to in Adventure.[36] He later helps Sonic, Tails, and Amy find Eggman's base inside a giant pyramid,[37] as well as a key to an inner chamber housing a giant space shuttle.[38] He follows them to a giant space station called the ARK with it, where he again scuffles with Rouge over the Emerald.[39] He saves her from falling into a constructed pit of lava;[40] she decides the shards are worthless and dismissively lets him keep them,[41] so he reassembles the Emerald and runs off.[42][43] The game's antagonist Gerald Robotnik, Eggman's grandfather, initiates a program to send the ARK on a collision course with Earth as revenge for an attack on the ARK decades earlier,[44] so Knuckles teams up with the other playable characters to reroute it.[45]

Knuckles serves as a power-based character in Sonic Heroes alongside Sonic and Tails, who respectively represent speed and flight.[46] They team up to defeat Eggman after receiving a letter saying that he will destroy the world in three days.[47] However, it turns out that Eggman is being impersonated by Metal Sonic, whom all of the other characters defeat together.[48] Knuckles helps Sonic, Tails, Amy Rose, and Cream the Rabbit stop Eggman from building an empire in Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2, and Sonic Advance 3.[49][50][51]

Knuckles has appeared either as a playable character or in a supporting role in almost every major Sonic title, although not always with a significant role in the storyline. He does, however, have an important part to play in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood; a portion of the game's story centers around Knuckles being kidnapped by the Nocturnus Clan, as well as the story making connections to both his clan and the Nocturne.

He is a minor character in Sonic Rush,[18] where he accosts protagonist Blaze the Cat under the impression that she has stolen Chaos Emeralds.[52]

He also appears as a non-playable character in the DS version of Sonic Colors.[53] In console versions of Sonic Generations, he can be found beside the entrance of the Sky Sanctuary level, and appears in two of the game's missions.

In the cutscenes of Sonic Lost World, he and Amy Rose look after some animals while Sonic and Tails were chasing Doctor Eggman in the Lost Hex. Later, he and Amy watch as the world's energy is drained by an extractor built by Eggman and used by the Deadly Six. The extractor eventually drains Knuckles' and Amy's energy as well, apparently killing them in the process. After defeating Eggman and the Deadly Six, Sonic and Tails restore the world's energy, reviving Knuckles and Amy in the process. Knuckles and Amy then greet them as they return.

Knuckles was added as a playable character in the 2013 enhanced ports of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for iOS and Android devices, retaining his gameplay style from Sonic & Knuckles.

Outside of the main series, Knuckles appeared in Sonic Riders, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, & Sonic Free Riders as the power member of Team Heroes. Knuckles is also a playable character in the Wii game Sonic & the Black Knight, portrayed as Sir Gawain of the Knights of the Round Table, where he brandishes two swords. He appears in every Mario & Sonic as a Power character, and in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and its sequel, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.[54] He makes a cameo appearance in Sega Superstars Tennis, as a member of the audience in the Green Hill court, and in Super Smash Bros. Brawl's unlockable Green Hill Zone stage, where he, Tails, and Silver run through the shuttle loop in the background.

Knuckles is scheduled to appear as one of four playable characters in Sonic Boom.

In comics[edit]

In Sonic the Comic, Knuckles is depicted as (at first) being the last of his kind, and bears the burden of guarding the Chaos Emeralds alone. When the Death Egg crashed on Angel Island, Knuckles was briefly tricked by Doctor Robotnik into believing Sonic was a dangerous villain who plotted to steal the island's Chaos Emeralds. The echidna thus allowed Robotnik to place his Badnik armies on the island and also construct a Launch Base Zone to rebuild his Death Egg, and assisted him in fighting Sonic and stealing Sonic's own six Chaos Emeralds so they could be combined with Knuckles' into one set of Emeralds. Knuckles, however, didn't trust Robotnik enough to tell him that he had the "missing" Grey Emerald which could control the others, and when Robotnik tried to absorb the Emeralds' power into himself, Knuckles used the Grey Emerald to defeat him. From that point on, he works as an ally against Robotnik, but not necessarily always "with" anyone else.

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series published by Archie Comics, Knuckles is the eighteenth guardian of the Floating Island, and a member of the Brotherhood of Guardians, a secret society that defends the island. He lives on the planet Mobius on the flying landmass known as Angel Island. He is supported by the Chaotix, and often works together with Sonic the Hedgehog and the Freedom Fighters.

While currently in the series, Knuckles' situation is closer to his other incarnations, being the last of his kind and stuck on the island, during most of the comics, this has not always been the case.

When he was first introduced he was a lone defender of the island, Knuckles was recently abandoned by his father, Locke; he was later iconically tricked by Robotnik into believing that Sonic and Tails were on their way to steal the Chaos Emerald and its powers. After a short melee, Robotnik blatantly betrayed Knuckles, causing him to join Sonic in a begrudging team-up, which eventually grew into a strong friendship.

Not too long after that, he formed the Chaotix along with Vector, out of the few refugee inhabitants on Angel Island at the time and would leave the island to their care if he ever had to leave. The Chaotix at the time were Knuckles the Echidna, Vector the Crocodile, Espio the Chameleon, Mighty the Armadillo, Charmy Bee, Heavy, and Bomb, but later saw the addition of Ray the Flying Squirrel, Julie-Su the Echidna, and Saffron Bee (Charmy's betrothed), while Heavy and Bomb departed and later joined the King's Secret Service.

In animation[edit]

Knuckles' animation debut came in the 1996 Japanese OVA Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie.

Knuckles appeared in four episodes of the cartoon Sonic Underground. "Friend or Foe" echoes the usual storyline of his initial meetings with Sonic, as he is tricked by Dr. Robotnik's cohorts Sleet and Dingo and goes after Sonic and his siblings. In keeping with the constantly reenacted scenario, Knuckles came to realize that he had been tricked, and teamed up with Sonic and his siblings (Sonia and Manic the Hedgehog) to save the Floating Island. Afterwards, Knuckles revealed that he had met the siblings' mother, Queen Aleena, who left a message stating that Knuckles would be the first of many allies to join with them against Robotnik. Knuckles appeared in only four episodes.

Knuckles appears in all three seasons of Sonic X. He takes guarding the Master Emerald seriously and has a fearsome temper with a "chip on his shoulder". After being stranded in the new world with Sonic, his only desire is to get back home quickly.[55] He spends most of the first season traveling alone, but as the series continues he begins to travel with Sonic and the others more often, as well as befriending other characters. After returning home for the third season, he joins Sonic on the spaceship, "Blue Typhoon", which is captained by Tails after their planet was invaded by the Metarex.

Knuckles will once again appear in the upcoming Sonic Boom animated series.[56] The character has been redesigned, now taller and more musclular than before, and will have new gloves that show his fingers.

Robotic versions[edit]

Two robotic versions of Knuckles have appeared (similar to Metal Sonic); Metal Knuckles in Sonic R, as an unlockable character, and Mecha Knuckles in Sonic Advance, as a boss. The robotic Knuckles in Sonic Advance looks exactly like Knuckles, only with a pinker hue and yellow gloves at first, and has virtually every move Knuckles has. After being struck a few times, his "armor" will fall off, revealing a metallic echidna with glowing red eyes underneath. In this "form", the robot is faster and can fire homing missiles from its mouth.

In the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comics, the Freedom Fighters were once forced to roboticize Knuckles to combat a roboticized version of Sonic. The robotic Knuckles was dubbed "Mecha Knuckles". After a drawn out battle, both combatants were eventually restored to normal.

Voice actors[edit]

TV shows[edit]


Video games[edit]


The character has received generally positive attention. According to IGN, fans "seemed legitimately happy" with the addition of the character of Knuckles, who was popular enough to get marquee billing in Sonic & Knuckles, but the writer felt that characters that came after him were going "overboard."[58] IGN's Colin Moriarty singled out the introduction of both Knuckles and Tails as when the series became "iffy" and listed them and all other characters in the series, sans Sonic and Robotnik, as being 2nd most in need to "die" on his top 10 list.[59] In contrast, he was listed as the best Sonic character by Official Nintendo Magazine based on the impact he brought to the Sonic games in which he first appeared.[60]

According to official Sonic Team polls, Knuckles is the fourth most popular character in the series, following behind Tails, Shadow, and Sonic.[61] Complex listed Knuckles as their eleventh most wanted character in the next Super Smash Bros. game.[62] Game Rant include Knuckles on their list of "Top 10 Third-Party Characters that Could Appear in the New Super Smash Bros.", commenting "This punch-drunk brawler knows how to serve up a buffet of knuckle sandwiches, and there’s no question that he’s one of the most fitting characters to occupy a spot on the roster".[63]

Mega Zone's review of Knuckles' Chaotix praised the introduction of a new protagonist, whom it deemed "rougher [and] tougher" in comparison to the "spineless" Sonic.[64] Mean Machines Sega called Knuckles' powers "impressive" and the character overall more useful and promising than Tails.[65] Sega Magazine stated that Knuckles "looks cooler" than Sonic, comparing him to Spider-Man, and suggested he be given his own game.[66] Sega Magazine later called him "groovy" and "ace", concluding that they "love him."[67]


  1. ^
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  21. ^ Knuckles' Chaotix instruction manual, p. 2.
  22. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Knuckles: Something's happened to the Master Emerald!" 
  23. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Knuckles: Without the Master Emerald's power, this whole island will fall into the ocean!" 
  24. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Knuckles: It's up to me to find the missing pieces of the Master Emerald." 
  25. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Knuckles: It's that creature again! The same one I saw on my island." 
  26. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Eggman: He's after the pieces of the Master Emerald, too!" 
  27. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Knuckles: All right! Put 'em up! Hand over the Emerald now!" 
  28. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Sonic: Oh no! The Chaos Emeralds...!" 
  29. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Eggman: Ha! That's all there is to it. You guys are too easy!" 
  30. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Sonic: No problem, Knuckles! We'll take care of everything here." 
  31. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Knuckles: Hey look! It's Eggman's flying fortress. That's where the rest of the pieces must be." 
  32. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Knuckles: No! It can't be! I guess he didn't get enough the first time!" 
  33. ^ Sonic Team (September 9, 1999). Sonic Adventure. Sega. "Knuckles: This should do it! Perfect. All is well, now! The Master Emerald and the island have been restored." 
  34. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Knuckles: What are you talking about? That Emerald's mine!" 
  35. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Rouge: Whaa... thief!" 
  36. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Knuckles: I did that to prevent the Master Emerald from being stolen, you idiot! If it's in pieces, I can restore it." 
  37. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Knuckles: I saw Eggman go inside the pyramid and more importantly, I saw that bat girl go inside with him as well." 
  38. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Knuckles: What? Why do I have to find the key?" 
  39. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Knuckles and Rouge in unison: Stop fooling around, and give me back MY Emeralds!" 
  40. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Rouge: Keep your hands to yourself! Don't touch me!" 
  41. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Rouge: Fine, then just take them. They stink like echidnas do." 
  42. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Knuckles: Finally." 
  43. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Rouge: We should get going." 
  44. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Gerald: All of you ungrateful humans who took everything away from me will feel my loss and despair!" 
  45. ^ Sega Studio USA (June 19, 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Sega. "Knuckles: That's right. If I use this, we just might be able to stop the Chaos Emerald!" 
  46. ^ Sonic Heroes (GameCube) instruction manual, p. 7.
  47. ^ Sonic Team USA (January 5, 2004). Sonic Heroes. Sega. "Eggman: In 3 days, I will conquer the world. Think you can stop me?" 
  48. ^ Sonic Team USA (January 5, 2004). Sonic Heroes. Sega. "Eggman: Aaaa... If only we had the 7 Chaos Emeralds!" 
  49. ^ Sonic Advance (Game Boy Advance) instruction manual, p. 4.
  50. ^ Sonic Advance 2 instruction manual, p. 4.
  51. ^ Sonic Advance 3 instruction manual, p. 12.
  52. ^ Sonic Team (November 15, 2005). Sonic Rush. Sega. "Knuckles: I can sense their power here!" 
  53. ^ Steve (2010-07-28). "Sonic Colors - Info from E3 "Behind Closed Doors" Interview | NintendoFuse". Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
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  61. ^ ソニックチャンネル/イベント/ソニック キャラクター 人気投票 結果発表!
  62. ^ "Knuckles the Echidna — 25 Characters We Want To See In "Super Smash Bros. Brawl 4"". Complex. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  63. ^ "Top 10 Third-Party Characters that Could Appear in the New 'Super Smash Bros.' - Page 5". 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  64. ^ Adam (April 1995). "Chaotix". Mega Zone (50): p. 22. 
  65. ^ "Sonic & Knuckles". Mean Machines Sega (EMAP) (24): p. 16. 
  66. ^ "Sonic cathedral of sound". Sega Magazine (EMAP) (9): p. 55. September 1994. 
  67. ^ "Review". Sega Magazine (EMAP) (10): p. 80. October 1994. 

External links[edit]