The very first Badnik that Sonic ever encountered, this metal beetle returns to try and take down Sonic one last time. Watch out - he will turn around to chase Sonic if he misses. — Profile, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I website
Moto Bugs are usually slow-paced robots that move around, which makes them very basic enemies. The Moto Bug is known for being the first Badnik that Sonic encountered and thus being the first enemy encountered in the entire series.
The Moto Bugs resemble robotic versions of the typical ladybug, but much larger. The classic Moto Bugs have round red body armor with vents covering their backs and blue faces which come together with their bodies in an almost spherical shape. They also have cartoony black eyes, two white mandibles, and thick yellow antennae. Their source of locomotion is reliant on the simple wheel mechanism located in their undercarriages. A small engine with an exhaust pipe on both sides of their rear propels their wheels across the ground. They also have short arms with yellow forearms and a single claw at the tip.
The Moto Bugs that appeared during Eggman's uprising against Sonic were more mechanical in design and had longer claws. The Moto Bugs that later appeared during the Wisp incident and the Time Eater incident were much like the original Moto Bugs, but with black spots on their backs instead of vents and menacing cyan eyes. The Moto Bugs that later debuted during the Lost Hex incident returned to the original ones' design, but with brighter faces, normal-looking cyan eyes and two black spots on their backs.
During the Phantom Ruby incident, the Moto Bugs received a more militaristic design. In addition to their backs becoming white-gray (although their spot markings remained), they had smal blue exhaust pipes and small faces. They also had blue rims that went around the back of their necks, and black faces with red eyes. They also wore what appeared to be a visor with a red lens and antenas, and their wheels were being held in place by white discs with blue rims. Some Moto Bugs actually remained in their older design when encountered during the War to Take Back the Planet.
Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)
The first appearance of this Badnik was in the original 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, where it served as an enemy. This time around, this Badnik is referred to as Moto Bug (モトラ,Motora?). In this game, the player encounters them in Green Hill Zone.
In gameplay, these Badniks only move back and forth in their Zone, and will attempt to chase the player if they see them. However, they move very slowly. Other than that, the Moto Bugs are relatively harmless and can only hurt Sonic if he runs directly into them. The player can easily destroy a Moto Bug by Spin Jumping onto it or by running it over with a Spin Attack. Also, upon their destruction, they release an Animal and reward the player with 100 points.
In gameplay, these Badniks are shown to be incredibly small, but they otherwise just scroll along the ground. Moto Bugs here also do not have an Animal inside of them; this then goes on to be a tradition in Game Gear and Master System titles. Regardless, they can be defeated with a simple Spin Attack or Spin Jump. When destroyed, the player is rewarded 100 points.
Sonic Drift 2
In Sonic Drift 2, the Moto Bugs appear as obstacles. In this game, they are referred to by their Japanese name, Motora. They can be encountered on the Hill Top track in gameplay, where they shift back-and-forth; if a racer collides with a Moto Bug, they will spin out of control and lose Rings.
Sonic Rivals 2
In Sonic Rivals 2, the Moto Bug made an appearance on the 67th collectible card in the game. To collect it, the player has to stay in first place during a race and win.
In gameplay, the Moto Bugs behave more or less just like they did in the original Sonic the Hedgehog, meaning they simply move forwards along the ground, stopping and reversing should they hit a cliff or obstacle, and will begin chasing the playable character when they spot them. They are likewise destroyed when hit once by any of the playable characters' attacks. Much like in the original Sonic the Hedgehog, the Moto Bugs pose no real threat unless they are run into. Also, upon their destruction, they release an Animal and reward the player with 100 points.
In gameplay, the Moto Bugs are able to keep up with Sonic, even while he is boosting. When they appear, they stick to the lanes they drive along without making any attempt to attack Sonic. The player on the other hand can attack the Moto Bugs by Quick Stepping into them, causing them to lose balance and be destroyed. When a Moto Bug is destroyed however, new ones will appear soon after to take its place. This will continue until the player leaves the Moto Bugs' sections or their Act is completed.
In Starlight Carnival and Asteroid Coaster, a variant of the Moto Bug will sometimes appear. This variant is larger and black with red spots. Despite the differences though, it is destroyed in the same way as regular Moto Bugs. Also, when this variant is destroyed, all the regular Moto Bugs that are present will be destroyed along with it.
In gameplay on the console/PC version of the game, some Moto Bugs will remain stationary until Sonic approaches, at which point they will rev up their wheels to quickly ram into Sonic. This "charge time" is so lengthy, however, that it is rendered useless when subjected to an offensive maneuver from the player. In gameplay on the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, the Moto Bugs simply move back and forth along the ground, like in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Like always, the Moto Bugs are easily dispatched by a single hit from any of the playable character's attacks.
In the console/PC version of the game, there are also giant, indestructible Moto Bugs in the Knuckles: Horde of EnemiesChallenge Act. These Moto Bugs cannot hurt Sonic, nor do they attempt to attack him, but they can propel Sonic high into the air if they are struck by an attack from a certain height, which is useful during these Moto Bugs' Challenge Act. A statue of the Moto Bug can also be unlocked in the console/PC version's Statue Room.
In gameplay, the Moto Bugs' attack patterns involve them simply driving around on their respective platforms. To destroy a Moto Bug, the player must jump into it from below.
Sonic Lost World
In Sonic Lost World, the Moto Bugs appear as enemies. In this game, they were redesigned so that they resembled their original incarnation, but with spots on their back and cyan eyes. During the game, Dr. Eggman's Badniks, the Moto Bugs included, got hijacked by the Deadly Six after the group betrayed the Doctor.
The Moto Bug is the most common enemy in the game. On the Wii U version of the game, the player encounters the Moto Bugs in Windy Hill Zone 1, 2, 3 and 4, Desert Ruins Zone 1, 3 and 4, Tropical Coast Zone 1, 2 and 4, Frozen Factory Zone 1, and Silent Forest Zone 1, 2 and 4. On the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, the player encounters them in Windy Hill Tutorial, Windy Hill Zone 1, 2 and 3, Desert Ruins Zone 1 and 2, Tropical Coast Zone 1 and 2, Frozen Factory Zone 1 and 2, Silent Forest Zone 2, and Sky Road Zone 3.
In gameplay, the Moto Bugs move mostly in groups. They usually putter around without cause until the playable character comes within proximity. At this point, they will gain a determined expression and home into the playable character at a slow speed. Like always, the Moto Bugs are easy to defeat, as they will destroyed by just one hit from any of the attacks in the player's arsenal. Also, upon their destruction, they release an Animal.
Sonic Runners series
In Sonic Runners, the Moto Bugs appear as enemies. In this game, they retained their design from Sonic Lost World. They are also some of the more common foes encountered in the speed type characters' stages. In gameplay, they either remain stationary or move back and forth, either seperately or in groups.
The player can destroy the Moto Bugs with any move or offensive power-up in the playable characters' arsenal. When destroyed, a Moto Bug will grant the player 100 points.
Moto Bugs in Sonic Runners come in three types. Aside from the regular Moto Bugs, there are golden ones which grant 300 points when defeated, and silver ones that grant 200 points when eliminated and which only Color Powers, Invincible and the power type characters' dash attack can defeat. All three variations also contain Animals that are released when they are destroyed. The Moto Bugs also appear as part of several episodes' narrative, which features them being defeated time and time again by Team Sonic.
In the Wii U version of the game, Moto Bugs appear as items that can be utilized by the playable characters in the Duel Beach Volleyball event. When a playable character utilizes a Moto Bug in this event, they will deploy a Moto Bug that will move under the net and charge straight ahead towards the playable character's opponent, stunning them and taking 15 duel points away for each hit. The playable characters can jump over the Moto Bug to avoid its attack though.
In the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, the Moto Bugs appear as obstacles in the Equestrian Plus event. During this event, they drive towards the playable character in rows of three. Jump over them as if they were regular obstacle, or the game will give the player a time penalty. They also appear as walls during the Golf Plus event on Hole 9, where they use their sprite appearance from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. If the playable character's golf ball hits a Moto Bug wall here, it will disappear and the golf ball itself will land safely on the lawn without falling onto unfavorable terrain.
In Sonic Mania, and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus, the Moto Bugs reappear as enemies. In terms of design, they look exactly how they did in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. In these games, they only appear in Green Hill Zone. It terms of attack patterns, they behave just like in their debut by driving around on long areas of the ground. They are similarly easily destroyed by any attack. Also, upon their destruction, they release an Animal.
In addition to the Moto Bugs the player encounters in the Acts, a Moto Bug named "Jimmy" was utilized as a steed by the Heavy Rider in the game.
The Moto Bugs are most commonly encountered in the 2.5D sections of the stages. In gameplay, they drive idly around until they spot the playable character. When they do, they will stop and rev up before charging at the playable character. If they miss, they will turn around and try again. Other than that, they are still as easily destroyed as back in their debut game.
On the water slides in Aqua Road and Eggman's Facility, deactivated Moto Bugs with their design from Sonic Lost World appear as drifting obstacles. If the playable character collides with them, the playable character will be pushed to the side, putting them as risk of falling off the water slides. However, these collision also destroy the Moto Bugs. Occasionally, a golden Moto Bug will also appear. These Moto Bugs require three hits to be destroyed, and when they are, they will release a prize, like a Super Ring or a Red Star Ring. Sometimes, this will also cause the next golden Moto Bug to spawn.
During the Metal Sonic and Infinite boss fights, the boss will gather Moto Bugs (who sport their designs from both Sonic Lost World and Sonic Forces) and Egg Pawns to protect themselves when the player gets close. These Moto Bugs can be knocked away with consecutive Homing Attacks/Wire Attacks or the Wispon.
Powers and abilities
The Moto Bugs are often considered the weakest Badniks created by Dr. Eggman. They come equipped with small claws, but they have yet to be seen using them.
As seen during the Wisp incident, the Moto Bugs are able to move at speeds rivaling that of Sonic himself. They can also use their exhaust pipes like rockets to achieve flight.
The Boing-o-Bot is a blue, black and red variant of the Moto Bug. Design-wise, they are very similar to the Moto Bug, the main difference being the Springs on top of the Boing-o-Bots' backs. They first appeared in Sonic Chaos.
The Lady Bug Boss is a larger and more powerful variant of the Moto Bug. It is very similar to the Moto Bugs, but with treads instead of a wheel and a Spring on top of its back, like the Boing-o-Bots. It first appeared in Sonic Chaos.
The New Motora is an updated model of the Moto Bugs that possesses a different paintjob, but otherwise uses the same attack patterns as the Moto Bugs, though they also have a ramming attack. They first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit).
The unnamed Badnik in Sunset Park Zone is another variant of the Moto Bug. In terms of appearance, they look almost like the regular Moto Bug. These ones, however, drive Spin Coasters, which others can take control of if they eliminate the Badniks driving them. They first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble.
The Akatento is a ground-based variant of the Moto Bug. Despite being different models, the Akatentos look very similar to the Moto Bugs and have the same attack patterns. They first appeared in Sonic Advance 3.
The Aotento is a blue, aerial-based variant of the Moto Bug. These robots possess flight capabilities for the purpose of allowing them to fly into an airborne enemy's flight path. They first appeared in Sonic Advance 3.
In the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions, the Moto Bugs are a part of Dr. Robotnik's Badnik army. Over the comic's run, the Moto Bug's design would differ between issues. They are among the first generation of Badniks Robotnik produced and have threatened the people of Mobius since the earliest days of Robotnik's reign of terror.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the Moto Bugs (here spelled as "Motobugs") were among the first generation of badniks produced by Dr. Robotnik, though they were eventually rendered obsolete by more advanced robots and got decommissioned. Those Motobugs that survived were left behind in various outposts until Mammoth Mogul instated them as workers in his casino.
Following the events of Worlds Collide, the Motobugs' history became nearly identical to that of their game counterparts.
In the Sonic X comic series published by Archie Comics, when Sonic got trapped in a virtual reality version of the Green Hill, a Moto Bug managed to get the drop on him. However, Sonic retaliated swiftly and released the Pocky inside of it.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by IDW Publishing, the Moto Bugs are Badniks created by Dr. Eggman. Their past is virtually identical to their game counterparts' up until after Sonic Forces. After the war, the Moto Bugs began launching coordinated attacks on villages under a guiding force. Two giant versions of the Moto Bug, one armed with twin mounted cannons, were present during the attack on the third village.
In the Sonic Boom franchise, the Moto Bugs (spelled as "Motobugs" in this media) are a mass-produced robot model created by Dr. Eggman. They serve both as Eggman's sentries and foot soldiers which the Doctor uses for his frequent attacks on Team Sonic and Seaside Island. However, they are not very powerful and are easily destroyed.
The toy company Tomy released a Moto Bug figurine to promote the release of Sonic & Knuckles. Despite not appearing in the game, the figurine was included in a series of a total of twenty-one various Mega Drive-era Sonic characters and enemies. These figurines came in five different packs of four under the Sonic & Knuckles label.
For the 20th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Jazwares produced figures of the characters and enemies from the series. A Classic Sonic was released, and included a Moto Bug figurine based on its Sonic Generations design.
For the 25th anniversary of the series, Kidrobot produced collectible blind box figurines and keychain figurines of characters and Badniks from Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. One of the Badniks available was Moto Bug, both as a figurine and a keychain.
In December 2020, Jakks Pacific released a Moto Bug figure as a part of their 3rd wave of 2.5" articulated figures.
In an unused character model of Sonic Colors, the Moto Bug is shown with a pair of tube-shaped weapons on its back that are seemingly meant to be used as weapons. However, this version of the Moto Bug never appeared in the game.
The Roaders in the Mega Man series bear a similar concept and purpose to that of the Moto Bug Badniks.