The Ball Hog (トントン,Tonton?), also spelled Ballhog, is an enemy in Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is a mass-produced, pig-based Badnik model created by Dr. Eggman which throw or rolls bombs from their bellies.
The Ball Hog is a basic pink Badnik which resembles a real-life domestic pig, but is able to stand on two legs. It has two triangular ears on the head and a grey, thick snout. It has trotter hands and two mechanical legs. The Ball Hog's round belly is actually a door which can be opened with the attached handle. A similar Ball Hog appeared in Sonic Mania, but with a red, yellow and silver coloration.
Sonic Lost World introduces larger variants of Ball Hogs. These types have darker metallic skin and yellow snouts. There are also larger, golden Ball Hogs with persian green snouts and mechanical legs. All Ball Hogs in Sonic Lost World have cyan eyes as well.
Powers and abilities
Ball Hogs have nasty surprises in their belly. They will literally start open their belly hatches and throw glowing bombs, which do not explode unless if the player touches them. Also these bombs can be tricky as they bounce while moving. In Sonic Lost World, larger types of Ball Hogs can hop very high at high speed.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Ball Hogs first appeared in the original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog where they are found in Scrap Brain Zone Act 1-2. These Badniks usually at the end of uphill hall sections.
In this game, Ball Hogs stand almost against the wall or the edge of a platform, jumping on both feet and dropping bombs which bounces down the path in front of them. The player has to jump over these bombs at the right time to dodge them. These Badniks are easily beaten with the Spin Jump or Spin Attack.
Ball Hogs also appear in the 8-bit version of the game with same name where they are found in Scrap Brain Zone. Similarly Ball Hogs can be found in the hall sections and as well on upper platforms from where they can throw bombs down at the player. Ball Hogs, like other Badniks, do not contain Animals in the 8-bit version.
Sonic Lost World
In the Wii U version of Sonic Lost World, Animal-powered Ball Hogs appear. In this game, the Ball Hogs were redesigned to look more cartoonish. Also, aside from the regular Ball Hogs, the game introduces larger and golden variants. During the game, it turns out that the Badniks, the Ball Hogs included, got hijacked by the Deadly Six.
Silent Forest Zone 2 features larger and darker Ball Hogs in groups, which have different attack pattern. These types sleep far away in the background, but when Sonic reaches a certain point on the path, they will jump towards him and try to squash him from above.
The golden type Ball Hogs appear in Silent Forest Zone 2 and 4, and Sky Road Zone 4, where they block routes in the side scrolling sections. Like regular Ball Hogs, they stand still while throwing either regular bombs or gold-covered ones at Sonic. The player can only defeat these Ball Hogs by using the Flying Kick to kick the gold-covered bombs they deploy from their shell back at them.
In Sonic Mania, and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus, the Ball Hogs appear as enemies. In terms of design, they look much like how they did in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Their color scheme depends on the chosen mode however: in Mania Mode, they here have a coloration consisting of red, yellow and silver, and in Encore Mode they have a green color scheme. In these games, they appear in both Acts of Titanic Monarch Zone.
In gameplay, the Ball Hogs behave just like in their debut game: they jump on both feet and drop bombs which bounce down the path in front of them. Also, upon destroying a Ball Hog, it will release an Animal.
In the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions, the Ball Hogs are a part of Dr. Robotnik's Badnik army. Depending on the artist, the Ball Hogs' design would differ between their appearances. In the latter half of the comic, they were also given wings, enabling them to fly. They appeared infrequently as foes of the Freedom Fighters.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the Ball Hogs were among the first generation of badniks produced by Dr. Robotnik, though they were eventually rendered obsolete by more advanced robots and got decommissioned.
Following the events of Worlds Collide, the Ball Hogs' history became nearly identical to that of their game counterparts.
The toy company TOMY has released Ball Hog action figurine during the release of Sonic & Knuckles as it also includes a series of 21 Sonic figurines and these figurines came in packs of four under the Sonic & Knuckles label and were also released individually under a Sonic the Hedgehog label.
Early on during the pre-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Ball Hog was originally supposed to appear in Green Hill Zone. Also it has to note that Ball Hog was supposed to act really differently, as it was standing straight and throws bombs to the both sides from top of medium-sized hills. This early version of the game was playable during at Consumer Electronics Show 1991.
One of small artworks featuring Badniks at Japanese instruction manual, shows Ball Hog throwing bombs on both sides at the same time. This would possibly show how the Badnik originally would act in Green Hill Zone.
It can be noticed that Ball Hog has similar looking legs as Roller and Bomb in artwork illustration.
Due the palette limitations, in-game sprites of Ball Hogs have persian green snout, something that has been kept in-game character models in Sonic Lost World years later.