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The lowest of the low, Nightmares are the quintessential chump baddies.

— Description, Sonic Unleashed[1]

The Nightmare (ナイトメア Naitomea?) is an enemy that appears in the nighttime Stages of Sonic Unleashed. They are the most common variant of Dark Gaia's Minions and serve as both the basic footsoldier and backbone of Dark Gaia's army.


The Nightmares resemble chameleon-like beings with thick arms, spiked backs and a small horn at the front. They have purple smoke emitting from their backs. They have cyan-hued black-colored skin with glowing purple markings on their bodies.


The Nightmares 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. Most of the fragments from the beast then became Nightmares after coming into contact with peoples' negative feelings, specifically their ambient fear, anger and doubts.[2] They first appear in Apotos Night Act 1: Moonlit Town in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version and Windmill Isle Night Act 1 in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.

The Nightmares rarely appear alone and usually attack the enemy in packs. There is also a stronger variant of them called Red Nightmares.

In battle, the Nightmare fights with hand-to-hand combat. They usually strike with their stretchy arms and can make body flips that cause damage to Sonic if they land on him. They are also capable of aerial attacks; if Sonic jumps into the air, the Nightmares can jump up and knock him down again. In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, they also have a move similar to the Were-Tornado and Were-Cyclone, though they will shrink down from exhaustion and be vulnerable after using this move. When fighting defensively, they can nullify the damage from the player's attacks by guarding (which can be broken with the right combo attack or be automatically lowered after a while) or jump backward to dodge strikes. As the player advances, the Nightmares will become faster, stronger and more refined defensively.

Upon the reconstruction of Dark Gaia by Dr. Eggman, all of the Nightmares (along with the other types of Dark Gaia minions) were returned to the beast, who was later defeated and sealed within the planet's core.


Noted to be the lowest of the low, the Nightmares are not very bright and act only on a basic drive to hurt others nearby.[2]

Powers and abilities

The Nightmares are able to move around by either teleporting into an area in a puff of purple smoke or emerging from black puddles on the ground. As a Dark Gaia Minion, the Nightmares 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 Nightmares possess elastic bodies, allowing them to stretch their limbs over a slightly larger area. They can even enlarge their limbs and amplify the power of their physical strikes with dark energies, though doing so exhaust them and leave them weak and vulnerable afterward for a few moments.

The Nightmares have a certain degree of skill and cunning in terms of hand-to-hand combat, being able to fight opponents with combos and guard against attacks with their arms.

In other media

Archie Comics

Main article: Nightmare (Archie)

A Nightmare, from Sonic Universe #63.

The Nightmares make an appearance in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics. In this media, they are Dark Gaia Creatures that began emerging from the core of Sonic's World during the Shattered World Crisis.


Concept artwork



Xbox 360/PlayStation 3


Wii/PlayStation 2



  1. In-game description of the Nightmares on the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Description of the Nightmares from the bestiary, Dark Gaia's Minions, entry 001/025, in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed.

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