Dark Guardian (ダークガーディアン Dāku Gādian?) is a boss that appears in Sonic Unleashed. It is one of Dark Gaia's Minions. Following the dispersion of Dark Gaia's essence across the planet, its evil influence came into contact with the large amount of moon energies found inside Shamar's Gaia Temple and twisted it to form Dark Guardian.
Dark Guardian looks very much like a heavily armored Deep Nightmare. While not nearly as conspicuous as the Deep Nightmare, Dark Guardian mostly resembles a humanoid lizard, but unlike the Deep Nightmare, it has thin arms with four-fingered hands, no spikes on its back and a straight tail. It possesses a horn similar to the Deep Nightmare, but it is turned over the right side of its face, which is highly detailed with pointed purple and white streaks. He also has small white eyes and long green hair.
Unlike most of Dark Gaia's other minions, Dark Guardian wears non-organic body armor. It has gauntlets on its hands, upper arms, feet and lower legs, with a golden ring around its right wrist. It also carries a large warhammer with a round end that is occasionally surrounded in purple electricity.
The size of Dark Guardian differs between the versions of Sonic Unleashed; in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, Dark Guardian is about as tall as Sonic the Werehog, while in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version it is almost as tall as a Titan.
Powers and abilities
Dark Guardian has abilities similar to that of the Nightmares, except its are more powerful. It can both stretch and enlarge its right hand over long distances, and strike with such force that it can leave Sonic the Werehog dazed and immobilized for a short while. It also possesses a Nightmare's defensive maneuvers, which involve jumping back to avoid attacks and guarding against assaults with its arms.
Dark Guardian is incredibly fast, capable at moving at such high speeds that it is almost invisible to the naked eye. It is also capable of energy projection, allowing it to launch powerful purple energy balls. In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, it is also capable of teleportation.
Dark Guardian's power stems from lunar power (the energies from the moon) which it draws from the Moon Altar. This allows Dark Guardian to summon orbs of energy to give it a power boost, or even heal itself from any damage it might have received. In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, this ability makes Dark Guardian nearly invincible. However, the Moon Altar is also Dark Guardian's greatest weakness, as destroying the altar will cut off Dark Guardian from its power supply, leaving it weak and unable to heal itself.
Besides physical capabilities, Dark Guardian wields a hammer imbued with the power of thunder. With it, it call forth lightning bolts to strike Sonic from above, unleash a vortex of lightning, or simply smash Sonic with it while charged with electricity.
Dark Guardian is the third nighttime boss in Sonic Unleashed, and the game's overall fifth boss. It is fought with Sonic the Werehog, but can first be fought after unlocking its Boss Stage in Shamar's Gaia Gate, which can be done after completing Arid Sands Night Act IV: Altar of Oblivion. The boss battle takes place in a closed arena.
The strategy to defeat this boss is just to brawl with the Dark Guardian. This battle is like fighting a regular mini-boss (such as a Titan) but tougher considering that the player is unable to use Unleashed Mode. It can extend its arm to punch Sonic. When the player brawls out at it, it will swing its hammer all around causing Sonic to be stunned. Dark Guardian can also do quick steps to step away fast. After a while, it will teleport to the other end of the arena and slam its hammer down, causing lightning to strike various parts of the field, replenishing its Vitality Gauge. If the player dashes over to attack, it will take more damage than it normally would.
If it swings its hammer around and knocks Sonic back, this will trigger a quick-time event where Dark Guardian will rush at to attack Sonic, If the player clears the Real-Time Interaction, they will block it and punch it causing a little bit of damage to it. If the player fails, Dark Guardian will hit Sonic into the air. Though, if the player presses the right button, Sonic will dodge the hammer attack and kick Dark Guardian on the back of its neck. If they fail, the hammer will slam down on Sonic. When the player hits the ground, Dark Guardian will charge a blast that packs quite a bit of damage. If the player does the timing right, they will be able to dodge it. If they fail, the player should take massive damage. There is not anymore after that via such simplicity, and with luck, it is possible to beat it before it begins to teleport if one is fast and careful enough.
The time needed to "S" Rank is 5:00. Failure to make that time will yield a "C" Rank. Therefore, no Sun Medal will be awarded.
Xbox 360/PlayStation 3
Dark Guardian is the third nighttime boss in Sonic Unleashed, and the game's overall sixth boss. It is fought with Sonic the Werehog, but can first be fought after unlocking its Boss Gate in Shamar's Entrance Stage, which can be done by completing the nighttime version of Arid Sands Act 1. The boss battle takes place in a closed arena with several fences forming a labyrinth.
The strategy of this boss is to destroy the Moon Altar by pushing boxes with white cubes to the T-shaped moon corridor. Once pushed, the box will then automatically move along the corridor where once it reaches the end, the box disappears but acts akin to a lightning-rod of sorts to damage the Moon Altar in the background bit by bit per box pushed over. Each time the player damages Dark Guardian by a certain amount, it will get knocked down but it will eventually recover (via the Moon Altar sending an energy orb-surge to the Dark Guardian), and healing its HP by a certain threshold. Thus, the moon altar must be damaged in order to bypass the said threshold with damage that cannot be healed to its HP. In this state though, Dark Guardian cannot attack Sonic, preventing it from interfering with the player's attempt to push the boxes.
There are several obstacles preventing the player from combating Dark Guardian: spiked fences randomly pop up and down that block Sonic's path or damage him if the fences pop up right below him, and Nightmares (and their deep variants) will spawn and try to hit Sonic or push the boxes the other way. Also, Dark Guardian will try to hit Sonic with melee attacks or summon lightning bolts that strike from above Sonic's after a delay. If a part of the altar is destroyed while Dark Guardian is still conscious, the following sequence of quick-time events depicting the Dark Guardian attacking Sonic may occur:
- Dark Guardian will rush at Sonic and try to punch him. The player will be prompted to press a button to block the attack and knock it over.
- If the player fails to do this, Dark Guardian will then knock Sonic into the air, where the player is prompted to press another button to avoid its hammer attack.
- If the Dark Guardian hits Sonic, it will knock him to the ground and charge a blast at him.
- The player is then prompted to press another button to dodge the blast, or Sonic will take massive damage.
After pushing all three boxes to the corridor and damaging it three times, if Dark Guardian is still conscious after that, the player can simply attack it normally until its health gauge is depleted, ending the fight.
In other media
The Dark Guardian makes an appearance in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-off comics published by Archie Comics. In this media, it is one of the Dark Gaia Creatures that began emerging from the core of Sonic's World during the Shattered World Crisis. It unknown however if there exist more of it. It should be noted that this incarnation of Dark Guardian is colored purple instead of its blue-hued game counterpart. The Dark Guardian first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog #262.
- Dark Guardian is the only boss in Sonic Unleashed to differ in size between each version of the game.
- Dark Guardian is the only Dark Gaia-based creature that is not based on a mystical being.
- In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, Dark Guardian is the only nighttime boss not to have a pre-battle cutscene.
- Due to its many similarities with the Nightmare variant, it may be possible that Dark Guardian is simply a highly evolved Nightmare.
- After defeating the Dark Guardian, Sonic references Amy Rose.
- In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of the Dark Guardian boss fight, if the player pushes a box(es) to the moon corridor while another one is already on it, that new box will not move automatically until the previous box finishes destroying a part of the Moon Altar.
- Sonic Team (December 9, 2008) Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/level: Dark Guardian. "Sonic the Werehog: Looks like I can push this box thing."
- Sonic Team (December 9, 2008) Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/level: Dark Guardian. "Sonic the Werehog: I keep beating 'em down and they get right back up. There's gotta be a better way."
- Sonic Team (9 December 2008) Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/level: Dark Guardian. "Sonic the Werehog: I know little girls who are better with a hammer than you! Well, one anyway."