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Knuckles the Echidna (ナックルズ・ザ・エキドゥナ Nakkuruzu za Ekiduna) is a video game character, and a hero of the Sonic the Hedgehog game series, as well as some spin-off games and comics. His first appearance was Sonic the Hedgehog 3, released in 1994 to introduce a new rival for Sonic the Hedgehog, presented as an antagonist who was tricked by Dr. Eggman into fighting Sonic. Knuckles is a 16 year old mobian echidna, who is both physically powerful and highly resilient. In most of the Sonic games, he has the skill to climb ledges or walls, as well as the ability to glide in the air for short periods of time. He has a white crescent on his chest and four knuckles, two on each hand, which are actually sharp spikes. He is both a friend and a rival to Sonic. Most importantly, he is also the Sega equivalent of Donald Duck (Tony Anselmo).

Concept and creation

During conception of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the development team wanted to create a new rival for Sonic.[1] The final design of Knuckles was the result of dozens of possible designs inspired by numerous different animals.[1][2] The emphasis of the character was to break walls.[3]

Ever since the character appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, he has been thought of as an "intimidator" because of his powerful abilities. The character was given a headlining role in the next game, Sonic & Knuckles,[4] where fans had the opportunity to play as Knuckles for the very first time.


Knuckles was born and lives on Angel Island, which hovers in the sky due to the power of the Master Emerald. His duty is to guard the Master Emerald, and he is the last surviving member of the Echidna people who once inhabited the island.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Knuckles thought Sonic was attempting to steal the Master Emerald, and that the mad scientist, Doctor Eggman, was trying to protect it. However, Dr. Eggman had lied to Knuckles, and was planning to use the Emerald to repair his space station, the Death Egg. In Sonic & Knuckles, in the Hidden Palace Zone, Eggman's betrayal was revealed when the doctor stole the Master Emerald with a modified Egg-O-Matic and attacked Knuckles. Since then, Knuckles has repeatedly joined Sonic and Tails throughout their many adventures to help stop Dr. Eggman.

He also can be played in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 when that game is plugged into the Sonic & Knuckles lock-on cartridge.

Aside from appearances in the main Sonic series, Knuckles featured prominently in Knuckles' Chaotix, a relatively unknown spin-off title developed for Sega 32X. The game also introduced Team Chaotix, a group of detectives.

In Sonic Adventure, the Master Emerald shatters when Dr. Eggman frees Chaos and Tikal's spirit from within it, causing Angel Island to fall. Knuckles' goal is to reassemble the Master Emerald from its shards. These levels are large, explorable areas in which players must hunt various Action Stages for three shards per stage.

In Sonic Adventure 2, Knuckles the Echidna is guarding the Master Emerald when Rouge the Bat attempts to steal it. In the middle of their argument, Dr. Eggman snatches the emerald. Knuckles then shatters it in order to prevent Dr. Eggman from using its power. Knuckles then sets off to find the pieces and restore the Master Emerald before Rouge the Bat. The gameplay is similar to the first Adventure title.

In other Sonic titles, he has been seen away from the Master Emerald at times, such as in Sonic Heroes, where Knuckles joins forces with Sonic and Tails, becoming the power member of Team Sonic.

Knuckles has appeared either as a playable character or in a supporting role in almost all Sonic titles, although not always with a particularly major role in the storyline. He did, 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 makes a cameo appearance in Sega Superstars Tennis in the Green Hill court, and in Super Smash Bros. Brawl (in the unlockable Green Hill Zone stage where he, Tails, and Silver run/fly through the shuttle loop in the background).

Knuckles was confirmed to appear in the game Sonic Unleashed. However, he never made it to the final version.[5] He 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 Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games both times as a Power character.

He also appears in Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing. He rides a red quad bike and his All-Star move is using the power of the Master Emerald to beat his opponents.[6]

He's also appeared in the DS version in Sonic Colors.[7]


Sonic the Comic

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.

His design in the comic is different to that of the game universe: the green and yellow of his shoes are inverted and his white crescent birthmark is a white/silver medallion in the comic series.

Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics)

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.

Knuckles struggles with internal conflict as he tries to defend Angel Island and aid the Freedom Fighters at the same time.

Animated series

Sonic Underground

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 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.

However, Sonic Underground ended before the plots could be resolved, and so Knuckles appeared in only four episodes. Knuckles was voiced by Ian James Corlett.

Sonic X

He 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.[8] He spends most of the first season traveling alone, but, after returning home for the third season, he joins Sonic on the spaceship, "Blue Typhoon", which is captained by Tails.


Official profiles have said that, as the last survivor of his clan, The Knuckles Clan,[9] Knuckles lived most of his life in seclusion on Angel Island,[10] an island floating in the air; as such he is something of a loner.[9] His honesty and one-track mind leave him very gullible.[11] Knuckles is shy around girls;[12] while some official sources claim that Rouge the Bat has a secret crush on Knuckles that she would never admit to.[13] Although he is cool and determined in battle;[14] his short temper gives rise to situations in which Knuckles, often instigated by the trickery of Dr. Eggman, begins fighting Sonic the Hedgehog.[9] Additionally, Knuckles has been tasked all his life as being the Guardian of the Master Emerald,[15] as only descendants of his tribe are capable of controlling it.[11] If Sonic exemplifies the wind, then Knuckles is the mountain: stern and anchored to his duty.[11][14] Although they started as antagonists,[16] Knuckles sees Sonic as a friend.[17] He finds Sonic's adventurous lifestyle enviable[14] and considers him a rival.[18] He is also described as hating strong light.[12] Various literature from the early games list his favorite food as being fruit,[12] or to be more specific, grapes.[19]

Knuckles is physically one of the strongest characters of the Sonic series, if not, as some official sources claim, the strongest.[9] His brute strength is often depicted as equivalent to that of Sonic's speed.[9] His extraordinary physical strength enables him to perform feats such as shattering boulders with his fists.[11] Additionally, he is a master of martial arts[11] with a specialty in punching. He uses Spin Attacks like Sonic,[20] which are variations on the tendency for echidnas to roll into tight spiny balls for protection. Knuckles can also breast stroke to swim in water.[17] By trapping air under his dreadlocks, Knuckles can glide for short distances.[11] Knuckles is also a proficient burrower,[11] and can use the spikes on his eponymous knuckles to climb walls.[11]

Like several other characters in the Sonic games, Knuckles can make use of the Chaos Emeralds to transform into a Super Form named Super Knuckles, giving him "ultimate power".[21] Knuckles is last of three characters to use the Super Emeralds.

Robotic versions

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, and the robotic Knuckles was dubbed "Mecha Knuckles". After a drawn out battle, both combatants were eventually restored to normal.

Voice actors

TV shows

  • In Sonic Underground (1999–2000), he was voiced by Ian James Corlett.
  • In Sonic X (2003–2006), he is voiced in Japanese by Nobutoshi Canna and in English by Dan Green.


  • In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie (1999), Knuckles is voiced in Japanese by Yasunori Matsumoto and in English by Bill Wise.

Video games (US)

  • In all Japanese game releases since 1998, Knuckles is voiced by Nobutoshi Canna.
  • In Sonic Adventure (1998), he was voiced in English by Michael McGaharn.
  • In Sonic Shuffle (2000), he was voiced in English by Ryan Drummond.
  • From Sonic Adventure 2 (2001), through Sonic Advance 3 (2004), he was voiced in English by Scott Dreier.
  • From Shadow the Hedgehog (2005) to Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing (2010), he was voiced in English by Dan Green.
  • Beginning with Sonic Free Riders (2010), he is voiced in English by Travis Willingham.


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."[22] 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.[23] According to official Sonic Team polls, Knuckles is the fourth most popular character in the series, following behind Tails, Shadow, and Sonic.[24] Screwattack listed Knuckles number 18 on their list of 'Top 20 Manliest Men'. One of their reasons was that 'he punches walls to climb them'.

Theme songs

The Sonic the Hedgehog video games have featured several theme songs for the character. Most of the tracks are attributed to the rap genre of music.

Sonic Triple Trouble - "I love ya!" - Sega, 1994

Sonic Adventure - "Unknown from M.E." - Marlon Saunders, Dread Fox

Sonic Adventure 2 - "Unknown from M.E." - Hunnid-P, Marlon Saunders

Sonic Heroes - "We Can" - Ted Poley, Tony Harnell


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Sonic's Creator - Yuji Naka". Retrieved 2008-08-28.
  2. "Secrets of Sonic Team: Interview with Roger Hector, former Director of Sega Technical Institute". Retrieved 2008-02-28.
  3. "Sonic Central interview: Yuji Naka on Sonic's Past, Present, Future". Retrieved 2008-07-07.
  4. "Smash It Up! - Sonic Team". Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  6. [1]
  8. "Characters: Knuckles". Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 "Sonic City". Retrieved 2008-03-04; archived from the original on February 25, 2008.
  10. Sega (2001). Sonic Adventure 2 instruction manual, pp. 10
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 "Sonic Channel". Retrieved 2007-01-08; archived from the original on December 31, 2006.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Sega (1997). Sonic Jam, Sega Saturn. Sonic World's Character Profiles (in English)
  13. "Sonic Central/about/characters/Rouge". Retrieved 2007-07-07.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Sega of America,"Sonic's official character profile from Sega of America". Sega of America. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  15. Sega (2001). Sonic Adventure instruction manual, pp. 22
  16. "Sega's Yuji Naka Talks!". Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Sega (2004). Sonic Advance 3 instruction manual, pp. 12-13
  18. Sega (2003). Sonic Heroes instruction manual, pp. 7
  19. Sega (1994). Sonic the Hedgehog 3 instruction manual, pp. 6
  20. Sega (1994). Sonic & Knuckles instruction manual, pp. 7
  21. Template:Cite video game
  22. "Where Did Sonic Go Wrong?". Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  23. "Wednesday 10: Videogame Characters That Should Die". Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  24. 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!