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.
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 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.
In his appearance of Sonic the Fighters, Bark is shown to be serious during his matches. Accordingly, Bark is blunt and quiet due of being a shy guy, but he is known to have a gentle and loving heart.
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 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.
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.
- 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 didn't 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.
- SoftBank (24 February 1997). "Bark". ファイターズメガミックス オフィシャルガイド (in Japanese). p. 202. ISBN 978-4797302127.
- File:Bean and Bark.png
- (June 1996) "Sonic the Fighters" (in Japanese). Gamest. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- (June 1996) "Sonic the Fighters" (in Japanese). Gamest No. 173, pg. 40. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- Sega of America. Sonic Q and A. Sega of America. 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!”
- The staff team of Sonic the Fighters listed on the GHZ.
- 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).