After a quarter-century of games, Sonic the Hedgehog has produced a diverse cast with both amazing and terrible characters. These characters are widely recognizable thanks to Sonic’s popularity and variety of products. Whether you’re more familiar with Sonic’s friends or his enemies, you’ll likely recognize most of the characters on this list.
As much as we want to love Sonic and its characters, the franchise’s quality has declined over the past decade. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is one of the most criticized games in the world and the Sonic games since then have not been particularly successful. These games have either produced terrible characters or harmed existing characters, causing Sonic’s cast, narratives, and gameplay to simultaneously suffer.
While most of the characters on this list are lame because of recent Sonic games, some characters appeared before 2006. Some characters on the list are similar to one another, which is one reason they’re so lame—Sonic often reuses ideas when writing new characters. Whether they’re recreations of great characters or lame characters, these individuals are unoriginal. These characters would have been poorly received no matter what, but their similarities to other characters makes their development seem worse and more preventable.
Despite the great members of its cast, Sonic is filled with terrible characters. After 26 years of playing Sonic the Hedgehog, we’ve concluded these are the 15 lamest characters in the series.
15 Silver the Hedgehog
Flawed characters can be great, but Silver is so flawed at the beginning of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) that it’s impossible to like him. As a character who instantly jumps to conclusions without any evidence, Silver trusts Mephiles and attempts to kill Sonic—even though there’s no reason to either trust or distrust Sonic and Mephiles. Sega tried to make Silver a relatable hero who trusts people to a fault, but Silver distrusts honest characters and trusts one of the most unconvincing liars in the Sonic franchise.
Silver partially makes up for his faults through great interactions with Blaze, but this dynamic is primarily fueled by Blaze. While Blaze changes subtly during the game, Silver has large developments that are painfully predictable.
14 E-123 Omega
Eggman’s made a lot of robots in his time, many of which have rebelled against him for various reasons. Some of these robots have fascinating stories and interactions with Eggman, but E-123 Omega has neither. We discover Omega after it’s decided to battle Eggman, making Omega an immediate—and uninteresting—hero. Sonic Heroes focuses little on story and character development, but we’d still expect more development for the only new character in the game.
E-123 Omega’s introduction is bizarre. Despite being imprisoned alongside Shadow, Omega immediately targets Shadow as Eggman’s weapon—even though Omega was also designed to be Eggman’s weapon. Rouge shows Omega and Shadow how teamwork will benefit them, but Omega should have worked with Shadow from the beginning.
13 The Deadly Six
The Deadly Six are Sonic’s version of Super Mario’s Koopalings. With different colors and abilities but identical goals, The Deadly Six resemble the Koopalings except for one major difference: they talk. While this could have led to entertaining villains rather than speechless bosses, The Deadly Six are difficult to listen to. With shallow personalities and terrible attempts at humor, The Deadly Six are fun to fight but are poor additions to the Sonic universe.
As a team of one-dimensional stereotypes, The Deadly Six aren’t nearly as interesting as the three-dimensional antagonists found in other Sonic games. While we’re happy Sega tried to create new villains instead of lame recreations of old villains, The Deadly Six are some of the worst antagonists in the series.
12 Classic Tails
Classic Sonic is mute and adorable, while Classic Eggman is talkative and hilarious. Classic Tails is informative, but extremely boring. Sonic Generations uses a fascinating concept of time-travel for both the franchise and its characters—and the game executes the concept well for the most part. Only Tails really suffers from the inclusion of time-travel. His past self, Classic Tails, has both an annoying voice and annoying lines. He delivers his lines with a high-pitched, boring performance in the English version of the game. While his delivery is better in the Japanese version, Classic Tails still suffers from uninteresting lines and awful attempts at humor. Whether you like Tails or not, you’ll have trouble tolerating Classic Tails in Sonic Generations.
11 Metal Sonic
Metal Sonic was an exciting character in its first game, but its appearances since then have been odd and disappointing. Originally created by Eggman in Sonic’s image, Metal Sonic races Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog CD. The race is thrilling and mysterious; instead of simply trying to destroy Sonic, Metal Sonic competes with the hedgehog and, if victorious, mimics him. This could have been the start of a fascinating rivalry, but Metal Sonic only devolves after its first game. After a couple minor roles, Metal Sonic returns as the antagonist of Sonic Heroes—and becomes a giant robotic lizard. Instead of preserving Metal Sonic’s brilliant visual design and Sonic-like powers, Sega made Metal Sonic into a generic villain without any connection to Sonic.
10 Big the Cat
In 2012, Sonic Team abandoned several characters in an attempt to revitalize the series—including Big the Cat. While some people may enjoy Big’s personality, very few players can tolerate Big—particularly during Sonic Adventure. An entire story arc of Sonic Adventure is devoted to Big and the arc is absolutely terrible. You must spend a long time searching for Big’s friend, Froggy, with your fishing pole in hand. All you do is run, jump, and fish—there’s almost no combat involved. This could have been a fun way to emphasize platforming or puzzles over action, but Big’s story has horrendous level design. As a character obsessed solely with his frog, Big provides little dialogue, personality, or interesting plot for the Sonic games.
9 Eggman Nega
Eggman Nega is the time-traveling descendant of Eggman. Because of Eggman’s continual failures, Nega travels to Eggman’s time in order to bring success and honor to the family name. This makes absolutely no sense. If Nega wanted to bring honor to his name, he should seek glory for himself in his own time.
Nega’s backstory shows how desperately Sega wants to create new antagonists without actually making new antagonists. Both Eggman and Eggman Nega are connected to their ancestors, but Nega is far less interesting than Eggman. While Eggman is a failing doctor trying to match the greatness of his grandfather, Nega is an unsuccessful villain trying to fix the failures of his unsuccessful ancestor. Nega despises Eggman for the latter’s shortcomings, yet Nega is equally incompetent.
8 Princess Elise
The most uncomfortable relationship in the Sonic franchise is the one-sided romance between Sonic and Princess Elise. A human kissing an anthropomorphic hedgehog is already uncomfortable, but what’s even more uncomfortable is how Elise obsesses over Sonic. Sonic shows only platonic interest in Elise—even after Elise kisses him—yet Elise nonetheless wants to sacrifice the universe in order to be with Sonic. Elise’s devotion may remind some players of Amy Rose, but Amy knows when to flirt and when to save the world. Amy pursues Sonic partially out of love and partially as a fun challenge; Elise pines over Sonic as if nothing matters except him. Saving princesses is an overused trope, yet Sega builds an entire game around saving Princess Elise from multiple situations.
7 The Babylonians
Aliens aren’t new to Sonic the Hedgehog, but The Babylonians so wonderfully complement the franchise’s version of Earth that they really shouldn’t be aliens. The Babylonians produced bird-like descendants, including Jet the Hawk, Wave the Swallow, and Storm the Albatross. This trio would have fit perfectly into Sonic’s cast. No explanation was needed for their introduction in Sonic Riders, yet Sega included an unnecessarily complicated backstory on how these three birds descend from an alien race called The Babylonians. With advanced technology and little concern for Earth, The Babylonians developed into a race of destructive thieves.
Despite being the only known descendants of The Babylonians, the three birds of Sonic Riders know nothing of their culture and thus are completely separate from The Babylonians. Sega should have kept The Babylonians separate from the series as well, but The Babylonians have cursed the Sonic Riders trilogy with terrible plotlines.
6 Mephiles the Dark
Mephiles is one of the most powerful, yet useless villains in the Sonic series. With the ability to control time itself, Mephiles can time-travel to any location. Mephiles makes good use of his powers by time-traveling behind Sonic and stabbing him in the back—but this doesn’t happen until the very end of the game. Instead of killing Sonic and freeing Iblis from the beginning, Mephiles pointlessly attempts to turn good characters like Shadow and Silver into villains. His actions would be entertaining if he were insane or amused by chaos, but Mephiles’s motivations are straightforward. He wants to free Iblis—that’s it. His motivations contradict his actions, making Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) feel completely unimportant.
The character’s design is also terrible. With a monotonous voice and no mouth, Mephiles is visually and audibly boring.
5 King Arthur
Having Sonic become the “true” King Arthur is brilliant. In an alternate timeline where almost every major Sonic character exists except Sonic, it makes sense that Sonic becomes the hero and leader of the world. What doesn’t make sense is why a fake King Arthur already rules the land.
Merlin magically creates King Arthur to inspire and lead the people, making Arthur into a literal myth. This clever twist on our definition of “myth” might sound like a good idea, but it’s poorly executed. Merlin makes Arthur a human baby conceived by human parents—so Merlin just creates a human. Characters refer to Arthur as an illusion, but he grew up like everyone else and is made of solid material. King Arthur could have been great, but contradictory ideas turned Sega’s character into a narrative disaster.
With an interesting backstory as an ancient weapon, Emerl is a compelling hero. Gemerl has a similar story and is a boring villain because of it. Emerl develops kindness and thus acts as a playable protagonist—although its robotic programming forces it to battle Sonic and company at the end of Sonic Battles, leading to its tragic death.
Greedily desiring Emerl’s power, Eggman copies Emerl’s data into a new robot: Gemerl. Gemerl carries out its role as a weapon before Tails reprograms it into a compassionate robot. While Emerl earned its wonderful personality, Gemerl is programmed to be exactly like Emerl. Without personality or an original backstory, Gemerl is a lame recreation of Emerl without any of Emerl’s wonderful qualities.
3 The Chaotix
Detective stories can be fun, but the detectives in Sonic the Hedgehog are worthless. The Chaotix—a team composed of Charmy Bee, Espio the Chameleon, and Vector the Crocodile (and Mighty the Armadillo in their first game, Knuckles’ Chaotix)—are occasionally competent, but more often than not are mediocre detectives. They solve mysteries that any other character could easily solve—all while boasting about their talents in annoying voices. No matter what game they’re in, The Chaotix feel like an unnecessary addition that detracts from the series. Acting more like a group of clumsy, one-dimensional Disney characters than developed Sonic characters, The Chaotix take away screen time from other characters while replacing the franchise’s great jokes with poor slapstick humor.
2 Sonic the Werehog
Sonic the “Werehog” is as lame as his name. With a grating voice, terrible visual design, and poor mechanics, Sonic the Werehog is unpleasant in all respects. While Sonic’s regular self is voiced well and fun to play in Sonic Unleashed, his Werehog form is slow, yet difficult to control.
Sega may have wanted to try new things, but Sonic Unleashed would have been much better without Sonic the Werehog. The most frustrating part about the game is how easily the Werehog could have been removed. Despite turning into a wolf-like beast at night, Sonic retains his cheery personality. The world’s destruction is completely separate from Sonic’s new form. Without Sonic the Werehog, Sonic Unleashed would have had an extremely similar plot and character—as well as vastly superior gameplay.
1 Every Doppelgänger In The Storybooks
Many of the characters on this list are lame because they are poor recreations of perfectly good characters. Sega tries and fails to recreate characters throughout Sonic—and their failure is most abundantly apparent in the Sonic Storybook series. In this series, Sonic is teleported into storybooks (Arabian Nights and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table), where he meets fairytale doppelgängers of his friends. Whether they inhabit the identities of the Lady of the Lake (Amy), Ali Baba (Tails), or the Knights of the Round Table (Knuckles, Shadow, Blaze, Silver, and Jet), these characters look like Sonic’s friends for absolutely no reason except to please fans. By using familiar character designs without actually including those characters, Sega disappoints its fans and terribly disguises the absence of Sonic’s beloved characters.