Dr Eggman, aka Ivo Robotnik, is a classic video game villain. This gloriously-moustached mad scientist has been leaving madness and mayhem in his wake for three decades. He’s the arch-nemesis Sonic just can’t quite quit, but he’s also one of gaming’s best designed villains.
This piece originally ran on Kotaku Australia on February 8, 2021. It has been republished as a weekend read.
Good character design is instantly recognisable. From his incredible moustache to the way his impossibly round body sits, everything about Dr Eggman is fabulous.
There’s been a bunch of great iterations of the character in the three decades since he arrived on the scene, each with their own appeal. The most recent is Jim Carrey’s ‘hot Robotnik’ but the character has a long history of redesigns and reinventions.
Here’s my favourite Eggmans, ranked by how cool their character designs are.
Cryptid Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog (1993)
This is an Eggman so cursed, you can only find blurry VHS screenshots confirming his existence. It’s like Bigfoot all over again. When you take a look at this design, you can definitely see why.
From the neck up, you’ve got your typical Eggman fashion. He’s wearing a strange yellow garter and his body is slightly more proportional than the typical egg-shaped but sure, whatever, that’s manageable.
Then you get to the face and oh lord, someone please call an exorcist. The design of Eggman’s all-black sclera here seems to mirror Sonic’s, but please… don’t do this again. Not ever. Please throw this Eggman into a pit and forget he ever existed.
Dr Robotnik & Nipples – Sonic at the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020
Not only is Sonic at the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020 a relic of an event that never happened, it’s also the game that introduced us to Dr Robotnik’s nipples (oddly, Wario doesn’t seem to have any.)
If you’ve ever wondered what an Eggman looks like without a shirt (and why wouldn’t you), this game gave us the answer. It turns out he’s built like an absolute tank. A big, round tank. With nipples. (Not as big as Mario’s, though.)
You learn something new and frightening every day.
Square Eggman – Sonic Boom (2014)
Inexplicably, Sonic Boom‘s Eggman is square. There’s clearly something about ‘egg’ they misunderstood here, but the design still gets points for its neat military-style design.
It is hard to look past the squareness, but we’ll take it. This is less cursed than the Nipples and demon versions, anyway.
OG Eggmen – Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
According to the Sonic News Network, these three Eggmen are all early concepts for the iconic villain. Just look at them. They’re all so pure and happy. Even in the image on the left, which is reportedly an early sketch of a more ‘heroic’ Eggman, you can see the iconic elements of the character shine through.
The designs also make clear why he’s called Eggman in the first place.
Godspeed happy little Eggman, you’ve got a bright future ahead of you.
Angry Eggman – Sonic Advance / Sonic X (2001)
This is the Eggman design that most Sonic fans will remember for good reason. First, it incorporates the essentials of good Eggman design: he must be shaped like an egg.
Then it adds in some new and fantastic details. His uniform takes on a more ‘techy’ look with various belt buckles and straps, and it becomes more like a peacoat. It gives him the strange, manic scientist edge we all know and love today.
This Eggman is deranged, exactly as he should be.
Hot Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
To be clear, the Robotnik dancing scene in Sonic the Hedgehog is pure cinema. It doesn’t get any better than this, and neither do the Eggmans.
Someone at Paramount Pictures looked at this strange, egg-shaped man and went ‘make him hot‘ and they did. They did. A couple of people disagreed when I pointed out Paramount made movie Eggman hot on purpose. But you can’t deny Carrey’s Eggman almost single-handedly saved the live action Sonic adaptation with his strange, enticing ways.
While he’s not very Eggman-like, he does sport a range of iconic costumes that all encompass some aspect of the Eggman charm.
With Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the way (and a new, more Eggman-like design), it’s likely we’ll see this Robotnik continue his antic in new, eggy ways in future.
Sonic the Hedgehog celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. We’ve already seen a bunch of announcements including a new TV series from Netflix and the departure of Sonic’s iconic voice actor but stay tuned for more as the celebrations continue.
Long live Dr Eggman.
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