Designed for the original Sonic the Hedgehog, the Splats ended up being cut from the final release of the game. Despite this, it would go on to appear in promotional materials and comics, but it was not until Sonic Mania that they made their first official gameplay appearance.
Splats are small robots with round heads and torsos, and have cartoony eyes and flappy ears. They bounce around by the means of a pogo-like Spring on their underside
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Splats was originally meant to appear in Sonic the Hedgehog (1991), but was removed prior to its release for unknown reasons. However, their graphical data still existed inside the coding of NTSC and PAL releases.
While still not featured in the regular game, Splats appears as a functional enemy in 2013 re-release of the game, where they are only featured as objects that can be placed in Green Hill Zone by using the game's Debug Mode. This Badnik moves at a similar pace to a Moto Bug, except it makes short hops.
The Splats made their first official appearance in Sonic Mania, and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus. They appear most prominently as an enemy in Press Garden Zone Act 1. Design-wise, this version is significantly different compared to previous ones, possessing a pale blue body, orange ears, a bottom half covered in ink, and a stamp on the bottom end of their spring. In gameplay, Splats will spawn from large bottles of ink and hop around to attack the player while they cover the ground with splotches of ink.
Splats, in a color scheme featuring extra-shaded blue bodies and gray arms and ears, can also be seen in Flying Battery Zone, found within the various scrap piles scattered across both Acts. Their inclusion here is likely a nod to their scrapped appearance in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Much like in 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, the original Splats can also be placed around in Green Hill Zone, when using the game's Debug Mode. However, the game's different color palette causes their tan parts to become gray and their blue shading to change slightly. As a functional enemy, this version of the Splats function identically to the ones in the 2013 re-release, like attacking by making a high jump before reversing direction.
Powers and abilities
Possessing springs on their bottoms, the Splats are capable of making extra high jumps.
In the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions, the Splats were a part of Dr. Robotnik's Badnik army. Due to the different artists, the Splats were often give a slightly different look between their appearance, though they retained their overall resemblance to their in-game sprites. Splats, along with two Moto Bugs, were the first Badniks ever to face by Sonic. They teamed up with several Badniks multiple times to defeat Sonic afterwards, but without success and were eventually rendered obsolete.
Despite the removal, the Splats has made few official appearances in promotional merchandise, including having its own promotional trading card after the release of Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and a figurine produced after the release of Sonic & Knuckles by TOMY in 1994.
Promotional merchandise implied that Splats used their pogo spring to crush Sonic by jumping on him.
There has been some confusion over the true color palette of the Splats, with the most common being shared with Sonic's sprite palette. This is because this Badnik is technically undefined in the game's programming. This palette is used for Splats in the 2013 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and Sonic Mania, when the Badnik is placed around by using the Debug Mode.