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The abomination grows strong on the negative energies of the world, sleeping within its core for millennia in wait...

Gaia Manuscripts, 4:11, Sonic Unleashed

Dark Gaia (ダークガイア Dāku Gaia?), also known as simply Gaia, is an antagonist that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series and one of the two main antagonists of Sonic Unleashed. He is a primordial hyper energy organism from the dawn of time and the incarnation of darkness, night, and destruction. Since his birth, Dark Gaia has been in an eternal conflict with Light Gaia over earth, where they maintain a cycle of destruction and rebirth of the planet.

In the present day, Dark Gaia was awoken prematurely by Dr. Eggman, who planned to use his power to establish Eggmanland, which caused him to break apart and scatter across the world. After being reassembled, Dark Gaia attempted to destroy the world, but was defeated and returned to dormancy by Sonic the Hedgehog and Light Gaia, restoring his cycle.


Vlc 2017-06-06 16-29-18-949

Dark Gaia's incomplete form after absorbing his missing energy, from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed.

Dark Gaia is a gargantuan creature of such size that he makes characters like Sonic seem like grains of sand by comparison. In his incomplete base form,[3] he has brown skin with his lower body and torso resembling that of a snake's, two thin arms with long neon-blue claws, and scaly shoulders. His head is very wide, much wider than his main body and is mostly composed of his jagged mouth (which remains closed until he transforms) and has a single green eye on each end of it. His central face looks like that of a reptile's, with four small horns on the top of his head, white eyes, and one large green eye on the middle of his forehead. On his back, Dark Gaia has seven purple flaming energy tentacles sticking out from him, and neon blue scaly fins that run from his lower back up to his head. He also possesses "hair" in the form of purple energy that emits from his head and back, giving it the appearance of a mohawk.

Dark Gaia seems to change size throughout the course of his debut. When he first awakened, he was large enough to put one hand on either side of the earth, but during the final fight, he was noticeably smaller and fit inside the earth with plenty of extra space in the planet's core. This is probably due to Dark Gaia's mass being spread out and incomplete, as SA-55 states later on.



The counterpart of Light Gaia, Dark Gaia originates from the beginning of time, having been spawned in the core of the earth after the planet first came into being.[4][5] While their origins are unclear, Professor Pickle has speculated that both Dark and Light Gaia are manifestations of the planet's desire for a balance between light and darkness.[6] As per his purpose, Dark Gaia sought to destroy the planet that spawned him. In opposition to that, Light Gaia sought to protect the planet from Dark Gaia. Thus began an endless conflict between the two entities, forming a continuous cycle of destruction and rebirth of the earth over the eons. In this cycle, Dark Gaia would incubate in the earth's core for millions of years, gathering negative energy from the world to mature while sleeping. He would then awaken during the time of awakening as Perfect Dark Gaia and break the planet apart before trying to destroy it. Each time, however, Dark Gaia would be defeated by Light Gaia, who would rebuild the world and return Dark Gaia to dormancy, thus restarting the cycle. If Dark Gaia succeeds his mission, all life on the planet will perish, and the dead planet will enter a deep slumber until Light Gaia's arrival.[7]

Some centuries ago, Dark Gaia had just finished another cycle with Light Gaia and had returned to the planet's core to grow strong enough for the next confrontation.

Sonic Unleashed[]

Dusk of Dark Gaia

Dark Gaia emerging from the planet's core, from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed.

In both the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version and the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, Dark Gaia was awoken prematurely by Dr. Eggman with the Chaos Energy Cannon, who wanted to exploit his power to establish Eggmanland. Though Dark Gaia emerged from the planet's core as the earth broke apart, he had yet to reach enough maturity to keep his mass together, As such, he could not support his own weight and broke into countless energy fragments that scattered across the world.[3]

Despite his state, Dark Gaia's desire for destruction lived on; around the world, his fragments would coalesce into monstrous minions who would cause havoc and distress around the planet at nighttime.[3] In time though, the minions were drawn to one place by a homing signal devised by Eggman. There, Dark Gaia was reconstructed with Eggman's technology while the doctor harnessed his power to build Eggmanland. Meanwhile, Sonic and Chip traveled across the broken world to repair it, hoping to seal up Dark Gaia before he could be fully reawakened.

The Darkness rises

An immature Dark Gaia confronting Sonic the Werehog and Chip, from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed.

Eventually, Eggman had collected enough energy for Dark Gaia to assume an incomplete physical form and emerged in the planet's core for the doctor, Sonic the Werehog, and Chip to see. Swatting Eggman away when he tried to control him, Dark Gaia turned his attention to the heroes. Sensing his final fragments in Sonic, Dark Gaia reabsorbed them from him, depriving Sonic of his Werehog form and completing himself. Dark Gaia then tried to kill Sonic and Chip, but was blocked by Chip, who summoned the Gaia Colossus. With the time of awakening having truly arrived, Dark Gaia engaged the Gaia Colossus. Their battle, however, was only a distraction while Sonic attacked Dark Gaia's eyes, weakening him. However, Dark Gaia revitalized himself upon regaining his lost powers and began casting the world into darkness. Maturing into Perfect Dark Gaia, Dark Gaia faced the Gaia Colossus and Super Sonic. In the end, the beast was defeated, halting his attempt to destroy the world, and was returned to the planet's core where he re-entered dormancy to resume his conflict with Light Gaia at a later point.

Sonic Unleashed (mobile)[]

In Sonic Unleashed (mobile), Dark Gaia was liberated by Dr. Eggman, who shattered earth in hopes of exploiting the beast's power of Gaia and conquering the planet.[1] However, Dark Gaia was not complete yet, giving Sonic and his new friend, Chip, some time to defeat the doctor and restore the world. By the time the hedgehog had cornered his nemesis in Mazuri though, the monster was already complete, allowing Eggman to use his energy to fuel his most powerful machine to date.[1] Fortunately, however, Sonic defeated the doctor.

Sonic Frontiers[]

Dark Gaia was mentioned by Tails when he compared The End's Energy Beams to Dark Gaia's power.


A primordial abomination born from darkness; Dark Gaia is a pure, malevolent force of nature. Seemingly lacking any form of consciousness or wisdom, he usually operates on little more than the mindset of a hostile and mindless beast and will attack anyone or anything he finds. Existing for the sole purpose of destroying the world, Dark Gaia is driven only by his singular instinct to bring the end of the world, not showing any reasons, regrets, enjoyment or thoughts about his actions.

Despite his bestial behavior, Dark Gaia appears to be a sapient being to some extent; he showed cunning thinking in battle (like planning an attack that Chip could not figure out) and chose to extract his fragments from Sonic before continuing his assault. At times, he would also make body movements reminiscent of a mocking laugh.

Powers and abilities[]

Dark Gaia is one of the most powerful beings in Sonic's universe. Dr. Eggman himself has stated that Dark Gaia possesses limitless energy.[8] At the peak of his power, Dark Gaia is strong enough to injure a Super State with sheer force alone, and fight both Super Sonic, whom Dark Gaia (as the only one to date) pushed to the point where Sonic fainted from exhaustion, and Light Gaia, a being who is supposedly at the same level of power as himself, at the same time.

As the sole reason for his existence, Dark Gaia has the natural ability to break an entire planet into pieces, though elements such as gravity, atmosphere and sea levels are still maintained on the planet fragments. Due to his immense size, Dark Gaia has incredible physical strength; in his immature form, he can lift masses weighting potentially hundreds of tons with one hand and throw them effortlessly. Even in his immature form, Dark Gaia has great durability and endurance, withstanding a series of pummeling from the Gaia Colossus and still continuing to fight and resist. Additionally, Dark Gaia has impressive heat resistance as he can rest in the molten magma of the earth's core without being burned.

Dark Gaia smash

Dark Gaia firing an immense energy blast, from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed.

Dark Gaia is composed entirely of a sinister, dark, and corrupting form of energy[9][10]. Its most distinctive ability is to convert the negative thoughts of the world into power (much like the Chaos Emeralds do). The creature has shown complete control over dark energy, even absorbing through sheer will the negative energy of the Chaos Emeralds forcibly absorbed by Sonic the Werehog in order to accelerate its maturation. Dark Gaia's energy fragments can fuse into various destructive monsters with a number of powers (such as possession) and mutate beings or the environment into corrupted creatures. As revealed by Eggman, its energies can also power machinery, such as the Egg Dragoon. Dark Gaia can harness its power to project extremely powerful energy blasts; it can fire beams from its mouth or in concentrated points around its body, or create small orbs of energy that home in on its enemies.

Dark World

Dark Gaia enveloping the earth in darkness, from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed.

Dark Gaia can manipulate darkness on a global scale. He can unleash a well of darkness that can envelop an entire planet which will bring it into total darkness and eventually extinguish all life on it. He can also draw power from the negative energies of the world to empower himself and help him mature. Additionally, he can also manipulate emotional energy, allowing him to gain strength from the negative emotions manifested by the people on the planet as well, such as hatred and sadness.[7]

As a being of darkness, and therefore one of the eternal forces alongside light, Dark Gaia is completely immortal and can therefore never truly be destroyed, as his presence is needed to preserve the world's balance.

Perfect Dark Gaia[]

Main article: Perfect Dark Gaia

Perfect Dark Gaia, from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed.

Upon reaching full physical maturity, Dark Gaia transforms into Perfect Dark Gaia, the beast's true form. In this state, Dark Gaia is at the peak of his power, making him so strong that the combined strength of Super Sonic and the Gaia Colossus was required to defeat him. Additionally, Dark Gaia gains the ability to manipulate his powers in a much more refined way, enabling force-field projection, telekinesis, and better control over his energy blasts.


Dark Gaia's only known weak spots are his various green eyes which are highly sensitive to damage. Also, when in his immature state, he can only use his powers on a basic level and loses focus when charging his energy blasts if attacked.


Xbox 360/PlayStation 3[]

Dark Gaia is the tenth overall boss in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed. He is fought with the Gaia Colossus and Sonic the Hedgehog directly after defeating the Egg Dragoon. The boss battle focuses on reaching Dark Gaia, with the actual damage being dealt though Real-Time Interactions.

Boss guide[]

The battle starts with Chip having the Gaia Colossus fly towards Dark Gaia from a distance to engage in the actual fight. During this time, Dark Gaia tries to stop him by throwing massive molten rocks, which can be destroyed with the Gaia Colossus' fire punch, and firing a laser from his mouth, which cannot be avoided and must therefore be guarded against to minimize the damage.

Once reaching Dark Gaia, as opposed to a simple fist fight, Chip must attack Dark Gaia with a quick-time event. After clearing the quick-time event, Sonic takes over and tries to attack Dark Gaia's eyes by racing through the Gaia Colossus and then clearing another quick-time event. Unlike the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, this course has a time limit as Chip is merely just holding Dark Gaia back so he cannot attack, with the time limit being the amount of time Dark Gaia has until he charges up his attack. If the player does not get to the eye before the time limit, Dark Gaia fires his laser and the player will lose a life; they must restart over from that section. If Sonic manages to attack one of his eyes however, Dark Gaia will throw Sonic and the Gaia Colossus away in pain and the player has to start over, by trying to reach Dark Gaia again, resuming the process. This cycle has to be done three times before clearing the Dark Gaia boss battle and moving on to the battle with Perfect Dark Gaia.


Name Artist(s) Length Music track
"Vs. Dark Gaia" Hideaki Kobayashi 3:33


Wii/PlayStation 2[]

Dark Gaia is the eighth overall boss in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed. He is fought with the Gaia Colossus and Sonic the Hedgehog directly after defeating the Egg Dragoon. The boss battle puts emphasis on close combat with Dark Gaia, followed up by a series of obstacle courses.

Boss guide[]

During the battle, Dark Gaia is protected with an invisible barrier that blocks attacks, so the player must attack when Dark Gaia starts attacking. By the start of the battle, Dark Gaia will telegraph both of his punches, giving the player time to react accordingly. All the player has to do is to move the control stick in the direction the punch is coming from. For example, if the punch is coming from the left, move the control stick to the left. To strike back, simply land a punch before Dark Gaia raises his guard. Often, Dark Gaia attacks with fierce combinations. The player will need to react quickly to successfully avoid the barrage of punches. Take advantage of any pause between his attacks to respond with a punch from the Gaia Colossus. Time it correctly and he will pull off a counterattack, which deals significantly more damage than the average punch. Successful timing requires shaking the Wii Remote or Nunchuck just as the player finishes their dodge, so there is little delay between the dodge and the counterattack. Once in a while, Dark Gaia attempts to grapple with the Gaia Colossus. If the player does not pull the control stick back in time to avoid its grasp, the player has to follow the onscreen prompt in a last attempt to break free. Throw a two-handed attack by shaking the Wii Remote and Nunchuck at the same time. The final punch sends Gaia reeling, but he is not done yet. In a last-ditch effort to survive, he grasps the Gaia Colossus with his massive claws.

As Sonic, the player must navigate the ruins of the Gaia Temples, avoiding Dark Gaia’s tendrils and attacks along the way. Dodge Dark Gaia’s Dark Energy Blasts by leaping over the impact zone. Once Sonic begins grinding, follow the onscreen prompt to jump from rail to rail and avoid obstacles. Back on the ground, leap over the Gaia tendril to avoid damage. The next glowing ramp sends Sonic flying toward Dark Gaia’s exposed eye. The player must successfully follow three onscreen button presses to damage the eye and move on to the second eye. From here, leap off the ramp and into the floating Dash Ring. After a loop, a blue spring will send Sonic flying. Perform the correct button press to continue along the less dangerous route. The final straightaway contains Gaia bombs. Jump over them or avoid them and concentrate on hitting the glowing ramp. Execute three more button presses and Sonic will blind the second eye. The path to the third eye is a little more difficult. When the course begins, aim for the glowing ramp on the track’s right side. It will send Sonic through a Rainbow Ring, which will make the race a bit easier. Once Sonic lands, be prepared to leap through a second Rainbow Ring located at the end of the high walkway. The main road is fraught with obstacles, including Dark Energy Blasts and tendrils. Jumping over both hazards is highly advisable. A large tendril splits the path here, but both ramps lead to the same place.

Homing Attacks are required here in order to avoid falling to Sonic's death. After the third homing attack, execute a Light Speed Dash to make it back onto the road. After leaping over more Dark Gaia obstacles, the player will be prompted to slide under a low-hanging tendril. Afterwards, the player must navigate through tilting platforms. Remember, the name of the game is survival, not speed. Be quick but controlled. Hit the ramp at the end of the final straightaway and concentrate on executing the correct trio of button presses. Do so and the Dark Gaia’s grip on the colossus is weakened. Dark Gaia is not finished yet, and he will take more than simple Homing Attacks to put him down for good. The final battle follows from here.

The time needed to get an S-Rank is a total time of 7:30 between this boss and the next. Failure to make that time will yield a C-Rank. Therefore, no Sun Medal will be awarded.


Name Artist(s) Length Music track
"Vs. Dark Gaia" Hideaki Kobayashi 3:33





In other media[]

Books and comics[]

Archie Comics[]

Main article: Dark Gaia (Archie)
Dark Gaia's immature form

Dark Gaia, from Sonic the Hedgehog #286.

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Dark Gaia is a malevolent deity that resides beneath the surface of Sonic's World and instigates an event that occurs every ten thousandth year where the planet shatters into pieces. When the Shattered World Crisis occurred, Dark Gaia was awoken in an incomplete form and began ravaging the world at night as the Dark Gaia Creatures. It was eventually fully resurrected by Dr. Eggman, only to be defeated by Super Sonic and the Gaia Colossus.


  • The name "Gaia" is derived from an ancient Greek goddess, who was the personification of the earth. Although named after a goddess, Dark Gaia is referred to as male.
  • Dark Gaia resembles the second form of the final boss in the game Terranigma, which is also named "Dark Gaia."
  • In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, when Sonic must attack Dark Gaia's eyes by going across the Gaia Colossus, it is the only time when Sonic must use the Grind Step on a Grind Rail.
  • The monsters that are made of Dark Gaia's essence somewhat resemble the Heartless from the Kingdom Hearts series.
  • Dark Gaia appears to be able to change the composition of his skin. In the cutscene when he transforms from Dark Gaia to Perfect Dark Gaia, his skin appears to be stretchy but firm, while the skin on the opposite side of his body appears to be brittle.
  • Dark Gaia is the only boss in Sonic Unleashed with "Dark" as a prefix that is fought as normal Sonic.
  • Dark Gaia was one of the reasons that the ESRB gave Sonic Unleashed a rating of E10+, as he leaks green blood during the transformation into Perfect Dark Gaia. This blood is also seen in his "death" scene.
  • All of the bosses in the game with a Dark prefix resemble elements:
  • Dark Gaia appears to have a resemblance to Iblis. Dark Gaia has shadowy dark minions like Iblis has fiery minions, and they both have a sole desire to destroy the world.
  • Dark Gaia is one of the three final bosses to have an orchestrated version of the game's main theme as the final boss music (specifically "Endless Possibility"), the other two being Solaris Phase 2 ("His World") and Nega-Wisp Armor Phase 2 ("Reach for the Stars").
  • During the cutscene where Dark Gaia traps the Gaia Colossus in his claws, he makes the exact same snarling noise that Iblis does during his boss introduction in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
  • Contrary to popular belief, Dark Gaia does not control a special type of energy, but merely converts the negative thoughts of the World into Power.
    • This popular belief is due to the name "Dark Gaia Force", a name given to Chip when it had no memory, so it is simply negative energy created by people's thoughts.
    • This belief also led many to believe that Sonic transformed into Werehog because of Dark Gaia, however, according to the game manual and the game itself, Sonic transformed because the positive energy he used as Super Sonic abruptly changed to Negative energy.
    • This is refuted considering that Dark Gaia only generates its influence on the planet, and when Sonic transformed, he was on Eggman's space station, far away from the planet.
Dolphin 2015-12-22 18-27-00-135

Spinners during the boss battle.

  • During the Dark Gaia's boss battle in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of the game, the player has to use Homing Attacks on a group of Thunder Spinners. However, at this point, Eggman has been thrown to the outer limits of space, and it is unlikely that he was controlling his robots at the time.
  • Though all the Real-Time Interactions are changeable in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, the second Real-Time Interaction is usually WiiB/WiiDSA/WiiB.
  • The sound that plays when Dark Gaia's laser is charging up is reused in Sonic Generations when battling the Time Eater.

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Gameloft (8 June 2009). Sonic Unleashed. Mobile devices. Gameloft. Area/level: Final Boss. "Eggman: You can't stop me, Sonic! I have the power of Gaia!"
  2. Sonic Team USA (9 December 2008). Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/Level: Dark Gaia. "Chip: Sonic! Hit Dark Gaia's weak spot! Quick! While I hold him back!"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Sonic Team (9 December 2008). Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/Level: Collection Room. "Pickle: Judging from what I've deciphered from the Gaia Manuscripts thus far, Dark Gaia is a powerful monster lodged deep within the planet's core. Been there since time immemorial, it seems. Ten millennia or more. Still, even with all that time, it seems Eggman woke it up early. What we see now is an incomplete form. Consider it luck and misfortunate. But, its awakening still sent its pieces flying and ruptured the planet. If my theory is correct, our nightly pests are the fragments of Dark Gaia."
  4. Sonic Team (9 December 2008). Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Cutscene: Gaia Manuscripts. "Pickle: The cause lies at the very core of the planet. All of the phenomena we've witnessed are the direct result of one creature-- the hyper-energy organism spawned at the planet's core, Dark Gaia."
  5. Sonic Team (9 December 2008). Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Cutscene: No Reason. "Chip: Dark Gaia grows over millions of years, then rises to destroy the world. And I put it all back together. We've been doing this over and over, again and again... since the very beginning of time."
  6. Sonic Team (9 December 2008). Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Cutscene: Save the Speech. "Pickle: We cannot live without the night. We all must sleep. We all must rest. Darkness is a part of our world, just the same as light. It may be that the darkness has not been destroyed, but merely laid to rest. It grows strong over the eons, rises up, then is put to slumber by the light. Perhaps that is the true balance of Dark and Light Gaia. That balance may be the very will of the planet itself."
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sonic Team (9 December 2008). Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/Level: Spagonia, Professor Pickle's Lab, Bestiary. "Dark Gaia's Minions 025/025: Dark Gaia: When the beast is complete, its dark arms shall encompass the planet, ushering in the end of times. The world, in death, will fall into a deep sleep in waiting for the time of rebirth to come."
  8. Sonic Team (9 December 2008). Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/Level: Eggmanland. "Eggman: Oh ho ho ho! Welcome to Eggmanland, the brainchild of my heart and soul! This is my magnificent empire, made possible through my genius and the limitless energy harnessed from Dark Gaia!"
  9. Sonic Team (9 December 2008). Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/Level: Spagonia, Professor Pickle's Lab, Bestiary. "Dark Gaia's Minions 019/025: Dark Bat Sniper: Even harmless Dark Bats can grow wild after absorbing too much of Dark Gaia's sinister energy."
  10. Sonic Team (9 December 2008). Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/Level: Spagonia, Professor Pickle's Lab, Bestiary. "Dark Gaia's Minions 017/025: Evil Flower: When normal flowers draw up dark energy through the soil, they transform into this berserk hybrid."

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