Even harmless Dark Bats can grow wild after absorbing too much of Dark Gaia's sinister energy. This strain of bat releases a high-voltage blast periodically. Time your contact carefully, or you'll get a nasty zap! — Description, Sonic Unleashed
The Thunder Bat (サンダーフロート,Sandā Furōto?, lit. "Thunder Float") is an enemy that appears in the nighttime Stages in Sonic Unleashed. They are a variant of Dark Gaia's Minions, mutated from Dark Bats, that can generate electrical surges to shock their opponents and be used by the player to cross gaps.
The Thunder Bats look much like Dark Bats and Dark Bat Snipers. They have mostly egg-shaped, paris green bodies with cyan eyes and markings. They have small horns on top of their body, and their lower body mostly consists of a large lower jaw with a horn-like growth at each jaw joint and two "antennae" in front. They also have a small, thin tail extending from their back with a tip that has thunderbolt-like appendages.
The Thunder Bats 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, with the Thunder Bats amongst them. Specifically, a Thunder Bat is created when a Dark Bat absorbs too much of Dark Gaia's energy and mutates into a Thunder Bat. They first appear in Arid Sands Night Act II: Scorched Rock in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version and Savannah Citadel Night Act 1 in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.
In both versions of Sonic Unleashed, the Thunder Bats can attack the player with electrical surges when Sonic makes physical contact with them. In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, the Thunder Bats can also attack the player with bullets of electricity. When preparing these bullets, the Thunder Bats' tails will glow before shooting them. The projectiles can only travel in straight lines and are therefore easy to avoid on the ground. Like the Dark Bats, the Thunder Bats are some of the most fragile members of Dark Gaia's Minions, as they have little health and can be killed in one or two hits.
In gameplay, whenever the player touches the Thunder Bats while they are discharging (or gets hit by their attack in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed), the player will take damage and be immobilized for a few seconds.
Like the Dark Bats, the Thunder Bats can be grabbed by Sonic the Werehog to travel over bottomless pits or large gaps. By grabbing onto Thunder Bats, the player can ride them through midair or pull themselves towards safe ground or another grabbable object. However, the Thunder Bats can attack Sonic in the process to make him fall down, making them very dangerous to use if not timed correctly. In the cases where they are needed for transport, killing a Thunder Bat will only cause another one to instantly appear and take its place to prevent the player from unintentionally halting their progress.
Upon the reconstruction of Dark Gaia by Dr. Eggman, all of the Thunder Bats (along with the other types of Dark Gaia's minions) were returned to the beast, who was later defeated and sealed within the planet's core.
Unlike the harmless Dark Bats, the Thunder Bats are quite wild as a result of absorbing an overdose of Dark Gaia's energies, and will fight as the frontline soldiers amongst their kind.
Powers and abilities
The Thunder Bats are able to move around by teleporting into an area in a puff of purple smoke. As a Dark Gaia minion, the Thunder Bats 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 Thunder Bats are able to levitate and move through mid-air, albeit at a rather slow rate. However, they are capable of carrying a great deal of weight while flying, such as Sonic the Werehog, without straying from their path.
As their unique trait, the Thunder Bats possess limited electrokinetic powers, allowing them to either release a high-voltage electrical field from their bodies that can briefly stunt others or shoot harmful bullets of electricity from the tip of their tails over long distances.