Countdown to the 12th Doctor: #5

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I honestly didn’t mean to name this section after SatAM Robotnik, but honestly, that’s what this design is the most known for. The look was imported into Sonic Underground and the Archie comic books, but even in those cases, the design is often referred to as the “SatAM style.” (They were both technically loose continuations of the SatAM canon anyway, so I suppose it’s fair.) I can’t think of a better description than the one that’s already in use.

 

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First Apperance: 9/18/93, SatAM Sonic the Hedgehog #2, “Sonic Boom”*
Noted Companions: Snively, Cluck

For a lot of fans, this Robotnik is the one that elevated the character from villain to super villain. The Fleetway versions of Robotnik were always menacing, but this incarnation took things several steps further simply via the medium of animation. Now the audience could hear his voice, watch his gestures, and had eerie music to set the mood. Even just the tone of his voice maintained a tight grip on our anxieties, since this was the first version of the doctor to whisper. The calm, calculating steadiness of his words invokes the question of what he might be plotting, and in the event that he does start shouting, it’s a clear indicator of just how vengeful he’s become. When I was a child, this was the first time Robotnik had ever truly scared me.

SatAM Robotnik makes no secret of the fact that he will cut you if you cross his path. You don’t even have to have done anything to upset him; your mere presence is enough of a reason to warrant attack or roboticization. He’s too smart and too powerful to overcome, so for the average citizen, there’s no chance of fighting back. The best plan for survival is simply to hide — and that’s exactly what everyone’s been doing for the decade since he overthrew the monarchy and took control. Oh wait, did I fail to mention that? Yeah, he single-handedly staged a coup against the government and wiped out any and all opponents. In a day.

This Robotnik’s psyche is driven by wrath. Every decision he makes is based on the simple goal of trying to eradicate as much of the natural world as possible, and he doesn’t discriminate in his efforts. He pollutes the air, the water, the ground, and will kill (or roboticize) anything with a pulse. This naturally begs the question of what he’d do if he actually accomplished his goal, but I honestly think it wouldn’t be the empty paradise that we typically assume for the outcome of world conquest. I believe that Robotnik would be perfectly content as the only living creature on his metallic planet.

Cluck and Snively, SatAM Robotnik’s companions, show an interesting contrast against one another. Cluck is perhaps the only entity that Robotnik has ever shown favoritism (dare I even say affection), while Snively continually receives the full force of his master’s ire on a daily basis. What makes this so peculiar is that Cluck appears to be the only robot in the empire that doesn’t directly serve Robotnik. Every other mechanical creature has a specific job to carry out, but Cluck’s sole purpose is to keep Robotnik company. He doesn’t actually do anything, and yet he holds more regard than any other being in the series.

Snively, on the other hand, has more responsibilities than anyone else in Robotropolis — more than even Robotnik himself. He also stands as the only person beyond Robotnik that is not a robot, which means he retains all the shortcomings of an organic creature. He has to eat and sleep, he suffers health issues, and he’s prone to plain old human error. Considering that these are all qualities that Robotnik is actively working to exterminate, it makes one wonder why Snively wasn’t roboticized along with everyone else following the coup. It could be as simple as wanting to retain someone to intimidate (which he does to Snively frequently), or it could be as complex as fearing Snively might pose a threat if he were improved upon too much. We’ll never know for sure.

*In the original airing of the series, episode #2 was shown first, with episode #1 (“Heads or Tails”) shown last. This was probably because the first episode was the pilot, and as such, it has a different look and atmosphere from the rest of the series. Showing it first would’ve given the audience inaccurate expectations for what was to follow.

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First Appearance: 9/5/99, Sonic Underground episode #1, “Beginnings”
Noted Companions: Sleet, Dingo

Although he shares the exact same physical appearance as his SatAM counterpart, this Robotnik has a few personality changes. To put it broadly, SU Robotnik is a little more toned down. He’s still out to conquer to world, but he appears to be more tolerant of living organisms, as the roboticization process turns the victims into cyborgs rather than complete robots. This may be due to the fact that he retains an interest in politics and status, which would naturally require other people as his peers. While he busies himself with social strategies, SU Robotnik is less hands-on with the whole planetary domination thing, leaving the bulk of that to his lackeys. He’s also more prone to absurdity; I’d almost go so far as to say he’s absorbed a pinch of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog‘s Robotnik.

Sleet and Dingo, the doctor’s companions, are actually a bit more suited to being noted as the main villains of the series. They appear in nearly every episode to foil the plans of the protagonists, while Robotnik himself shows up much more rarely, and often simply to give orders. Still, they’re as loyal as any of the other companions, provided that Robotnik maintains his end of the bargain. It’s worth pointing out that Sleet and Dingo are the only companions that were hired by their doctor, rather than having been built, naturally related, or willfully agreeing to work alongside of him.

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Dr. Robotnik, Dr. Eggman, and whatever other forms of this character I managed to dig up for this thing are all © Sega one way or another, with lesser rights going to companies such as Archie, Fleetway, DiC, and whoever made that fan film. The inferences and summaries written throughout this piece are my own and my not be reproduced without my permission.

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About Leedzie

Leda "Leedzie" Clark is a writer and game designer with a sharp eye for detail and a kooky sense of humor. She's been a nerd as long as she can remember, and always seems to notice the wrong thing first in any given situation.

Posted on November 23, 2013, in Analysis, Books, Game Characters, Humor, Journalism, TV, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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