Bark the Polar Bear (バーク・ザ・ポーラーベアー Bāku za Pōrābeā?) is a playable character in Sonic the Fighters. He is an anthropomorphic yellow polar bear who competed in a fighting tournament for the Chaos Emeralds and the right to destroy the Death Egg II. He specializes in throws and flattening an opponent but lacks in speed.
Bark is an anthropomorphic polar bear with light beige fur. He possesses a heavy and bulky lower body and is rather tall. He also has slightly thin, but muscular arms and short and thin legs. In addition, he has a triangular patch of white fur on his chest, a long peach muzzle with a pointy black nose, seemingly conjoined eyeballs with black pupils, round ears with peach canals on top of his head, three locks of hair on his forehead, shoulder-length fur around his neck, and a ponytail. For attire, Bark wears an orange and red toque that has holes that allow his ears to poke out, a green scarf, a pair of brown mittens with yellow tips on the fingers and red wrist straps, and a pair of brown-toed orange and black boots with gray soles, red straps and yellow shoelaces.
Sonic the Fighters
In Sonic the Fighters, Bark had been entrusted to safeguard one of the Chaos Emeralds to keep Dr. Robotnik from abusing it. Eventually though, Dr. Robotnik constructed the Death Egg II, which he used to deploy hordes of robots to lay the world to waste with. Soon after, Bark joined the fighting tournament held to decide which one among the Chaos Emerald guardians who was the strongest. If Bark could defeat all the contestants, he would earn the right to use all the Chaos Emeralds for Tails's single-seat Lunar Fox and travel to the Death Egg II and destroy it.
At the end of the tournament, the victor used the Chaos Emeralds to go to the Death Egg II and made it self-destruct moments after escaping it.
Other game appearances
Bark makes a cameo appearance in Sonic Mania. Right before the start of Mirage Saloon Zone Act 2, he, Fang the Sniper or Bean the Dynamite (depending on the random pattern) can be seen standing on a Badnik while taking down the Tornado. Like in Sonic Generations, he is also seen on wanted posters through the Zone.
Bark also appears during the boss battle of Mirage Saloon Zone Act 2, where he is revealed to be one of the illusions created by the Heavy Magician. During the battle, Bark hops slowly around the arena and occasionally smashes his hands into the ground, causing rocks and other obstacles to drop down from the roof. Hitting him will make the Heavy Magician reveal herself.
Powers and abilities
Bark's main asset is his immense brute strength which is easily on par or greater than Knuckles the Echidna's, allowing him to flatten opponents and deal maximum damage with little effort. Bark also has the ability to harness Chaos Emerald energy from the Chaos Emeralds to bolster his innate abilities, allowing him to enter Hyper Mode.
Bark is a good close range fighter in hand-to-hand combat, matching the likes of renowned fighters like Sonic and Knuckles. His fighting style specializes in brute strength with grappling throws and powerful punches, though he does utilize a few combo attacks.
In other media
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Bark is the silent partner of Bean the Dynamite. Bark himself was a walking enigma as no know knew where he came from or what his motivations are. He used to be part of a mercenary group which included Fiona Fox, Bean and Nic the Weasel. Later on, Bark and Bean were hired by Dr. Eggman to ambush Sonic on his birthday, but the duo was soon outnumbered and retreated. After being captured and escaping jail, Bark and Bean worked for Mammoth Mogul for some time before joining Nack the Weasel's Team Hooligan to secure a Sol Emerald, but failed.
Following the events of Worlds Collide, Bark became nearly indistinguishable from his game counterpart. During the Shattered World Crisis, he and the Hooligans would aid Dr. Eggman in controlling the world's restoration.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by IDW Publishing, Bark a mute and super-strong polar bear from another dimension set in the recent past, where he forms a mercenary and treasure hunting team for hire with Fang the Sniper and Bean the Dynamite. In spite of his company however, Bark secretly has a soft heart.
A plush toy of Bark was made as part of a line of plush toys for Sonic the Fighters in Japan. The toys could only be won from claw cranes.
- One of the concepts for Bark's species was an orangutan.
- In issue #176 of Computer and Video Games, a section on Sonic the Fighters is present which refers to a character known as "Bug" in place of Bark. Whether "Bug" was a early name for Bark, an entirely different scrapped character, or a mistranslation is unknown.
- Bark is North Island's #1 snowboarder.
- Bark's blood type is unknown.
- Bark made a cameo on the front cover of Sonic X #15 in the form of a stuffed toy, along with Storm the Albatross and Amigo.
- His home stage theme Fairy of A.I.F was remixed and can be heard as unlockable song in Sonic Gems Collection.
- According to an interview on Sonic Central from 2004, Sonic did not know the whereabouts of Bark, Ray the Flying Squirrel, Bean the Dynamite, Nack the Weasel, Chaos or Tikal.
- Like Bean and Honey the Cat, Bark was most likely designed by Masahiro Sugiyama, the character designer of Sonic the Fighters.
- In Sonic Mania, Bark lacks some hair on his head.
- Bark's height is taken from the official Japanese guide for Fighters Megamix, in which it was comparable to the human characters in the game. This appears to be inconsistent with his height in Sonic the Fighters, which was relative to the rest of the playable characters (for reference, Sonic stands at 100 cm).
- "Bark" (in Japanese). ファイターズメガミックス オフィシャルガイド. SoftBank. p. 202. ISBN 978-4797302127.
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- "Sonic the Fighters" (in Japanese). Gamest. June 1996. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 15 July 2018.
- "Sonic the Fighters" (in Japanese). Gamest (173): 40. June 1996. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 15 July 2018.
- media:Computer and Video Games Issue 174 1996-05 EMAP Images GB 0028.jpg
- Sega of America. Sonic Q and A. Sega. Archived from the original on 13 June 2004. "Stephen F. (a.k.a Sonic's number 1 fan.): Will Ray the Flying Squirrel, Bean the Duck, Chaos, Nack, Tikal, and Bark reappear? P.S: COOL SITE!!! / Sonic: Actually, I don't know exactly where they are…but we do have some old faces from the past that will be with me in Sonic Heroes…make sure to check 'em out!"
- Staff team of Sonic the Fighters. The Green Hill Zone.