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The Dark Bat Sniper (ダークフロートキャノン,Dāku Furōto Kyanon?, lit. "Dark Float Cannon") is an enemy that appears in the nighttime Stages in Sonic Unleashed. They are a variant of Dark Gaia's Minions which are mutated from Dark Bats, that can shoot energy balls and be used by the player to cross gaps.
Like the Dark Bats, the Dark Bat Snipers have a mostly egg-shaped, rose-colored body with cyan eyes and body markings. They have small horns on top of their body, and their lower body mostly consists of a large lower jaw with a horn-like growth at each jaw joint, and two "antennae" in front. They also have a small, thin tail extending from their back with a tip that resembles a pseudanthium that can open and close.
The Dark Bats and the rest of Dark Gaia's Minions came into being when Dark Gaia broke apart at the beginning of Sonic Unleashed due to its premature awakening by Dr. Eggman. These fragments were then spread across the Earth and became Dark Gaia's Minions, with the Dark Bat Snipers amongst them. Specifically, a Dark Bat Sniper is created when a regular Dark Bat absorbs too much of Dark Gaia's energy and mutates into a Dark Bat Sniper. They first appear in Rooftop Run Night Act I: Alleys of Spagonia in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version and Savannah Citadel Night Act 1 in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.
In battle, the Dark Bat Snipers attack by shooting Sonic with pairs of their energy bullets. In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, the shots have a fifteen-second charge time with a five-second interval between them, while in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, their shots take three seconds to charge and are shot in succession. Their shots, however, can only travel in straight lines and are therefore easy to avoid on the ground. Like the Dark Bats, the Dark Bat Snipers are some of the most fragile foes in the game, as they can be defeated with one or two hits. Because of the absence of Evil Flowers in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, they are the primary projectile-firing enemies within that version, and are used much more heavily.
Like the Dark Bats, the Dark Bat Snipers can be grabbed by Sonic the Werehog to travel over bottomless pits or large gaps. By grabbing onto Dark Bat Snipers, the player can ride them through midair, or pull themselves towards safe ground or another grabbable object. However, the Dark Bat Snipers can attack Sonic in the process to make him fall down, making them very dangerous to use. In the cases where they are needed for transport, killing a Dark Bat Sniper will only cause another one to instantly appear and take its place to prevent the player from unintentionally halting their progress.
Upon the reconstruction of Dark Gaia by Dr. Eggman, all of the Dark Bat Snipers (along with the other types of Dark Gaia's minions) were returned to the beast, who was later defeated and sealed within the planet's core.
Unlike the harmless Dark Bats, the Dark Bat Snipers are quite wild as a result of absorbing an overdose of Dark Gaia's energies, and will fight as the frontline soldiers amongst their kind.
Powers and abilities
The Dark Bat Snipers are able to move around by teleporting into an area in a puff of purple smoke. As a Dark Gaia minion, the Dark Bat Snipers can possess people by latching onto the deepest, darkest part of the heart, and generate despair, negative emotions or even erratic behavior that are completely opposite to the person's personality.
The Dark Bat Snipers are able to levitate and move through mid-air, albeit at a rather slow rate. However, they are capable of carrying a great deal of weight, such as Sonic the Werehog, without straying from their path.
As their unique trait, the Dark Bat Snipers are able to shoot harmful energy blasts from the tips of their tails over long distances, making them excellent long-range attackers.