Knuckles the Echidna (Japanese: ナックルズ・ザ・エキドゥナ, Hepburn: Nakkuruzu za Ekiduna) is a fictional character in Sega‘s Sonic the Hedgehog series. He is a red anthropomorphic short-beaked echidna who is determined and serious, but sometimes gullible. He has the ability to glide and climb up walls, and is a powerful fighter with spiked hands. He serves as the guardian of the Master Emerald, a huge gemstone that controls the series’ integral Chaos Emeralds, and is the last living member of his race.
Knuckles debuted in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in 1994 after Doctor Eggman tricks him into opposing Sonic and Tails. He first became playable in Sonic & Knuckles later that year; he learns of Eggman’s trickery and teams up with Sonic and Tails during that game’s events. Since then he has appeared in dozens of playable and non-playable roles, as well as in several series of comic books, Western animated television, and Japanese anime.
Knuckles is one of the series’ most popular characters, although some have voiced disapproval of the Sonic series’ extensive cast of characters and singled out Knuckles as ushering them in. More, fans have either derided or showed disappointment at how Knuckles’s role in the series diminished as the series goes on, and even more did not appreciate how he was used as nothing more than comic relief. His likeness has frequently appeared in Sonic merchandise.
During conception of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the development team wanted to create a new rival for Sonic. The final design of Knuckles was the result of dozens of possible designs inspired by numerous different animals. In collaboration between the Sonic Team and Sega of America’s product marketing manager, Pamela Kelly, the final character of “Knuckles” was chosen. The emphasis of the character was to break walls. He was originally planned to have a Jamaican accent.
Knuckles was created by developer Takashi Yuda, who never intended him to be any more than a “supporting character”. Knuckles who was named by Product Marketing Manager, Pamela Kelly, was introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 as an “intimidator” because of his powerful abilities and physical strength. He was given a headlining role in the next game, Sonic & Knuckles, where he made his first appearance as a playable character.
Knuckles is a red anthropomorphic echidna, the only living descendant of a well-established clan of echidnas. For many years, his clan guarded a giant gemstone called the Master Emerald, which controls the Chaos Emeralds, objects central to the Sonic the Hedgehog game series. As such, Knuckles has spent most of his life atop a floating island called Angel Island, guarding the Emerald from harm. He has grown up fairly introverted as a result.
Knuckles has a personality, described as cool. However, he sometimes loses his composure and gets in fights with other characters, and is sometimes shy around girls. His favorite food is grapes. His relationship with Sonic is ambivalent: Knuckles enters the series as an antagonist of Sonic and later sees him as both a friend and a rival, while envying Sonic’s adventurous lifestyle. He is depicted as somewhat gullible and very rash, especially when angered. He has often been tricked by Doctor Robotnik, but is stated in one game manual to have become more skeptical of him.
While slower than Sonic, Knuckles is depicted as one of the series’ strongest characters and a skilled martial artist: his brawny physique allows him to lift objects many times his size and weight, while his powerful fists enable him to smash through boulders. He can also glide long distances and can climb up walls using the spikes on his gloves. Unlike Sonic, Knuckles is able to swim. As is typical among Sonic characters, Knuckles can roll into a ball to attack enemies.
He also has an empowered “super” form: using the Chaos Emeralds allows him to transform into Super Knuckles. Using the Super Emeralds allows him to transform into Hyper Knuckles.