The Black Arms (ブラックアームズ Burakku Āmuzu?) are creatures that appear in Shadow the Hedgehog. They are a violent race of hive mind-like extraterrestrial beings led by Black Doom who traverse space in the Black Comet, seeking to consume the entire populations of planets. Fifty years after the creation of Shadow the Hedgehog, they invaded Earth in search of the seven Chaos Emeralds, and are opposed (or aided) by Shadow and other characters. They are easily recognized by their black-and-red skin pigmentation.
The Black Arms launch a surprise invasion of Earth in the beginning of Shadow the Hedgehog, and destroy everything in their way while searching for the Chaos Emeralds. They are immediately opposed by Sonic the Hedgehog, his friends, the military organization GUN bent on protecting the planet, and even Dr. Eggman, who is usually the antagonist in the Sonic games. Throughout the game, the player controls Shadow the Hedgehog, and can choose whether to help the Black Arms with their invasion, or to defend the Earth along with the other characters.
Black Doom claims that the Black Arms have come to save humanity from itself, but the race's true intentions are to transport the entire planet's population to the Black Comet, where the Black Arms will enslave them, breed them and eventually feed on them as livestock.
No matter what the player chooses to do, the game has a true "Last Story," where Black Doom obtains the Chaos Emeralds and warps the Black Comet to the planet's surface, where it digs into the planet and releases a toxic gas that paralyzes all life without Black Arms DNA. Shadow opposes the Black Arms and becomes Super Shadow. After making his way to the core of the Black Comet, he defeats Devil Doom, a powerful mutated form of Black Doom, and proceeds to use Chaos Control to send the Black Comet into space again. Then he blasts it with the Eclipse Cannon of the Space Colony ARK, destroying it along with the remaining Black Arms residing inside it.
The Black Arms are now assumed to be extinct, with Shadow himself being the last member of their species through blood.
List of Black Arms
Black Doom (ブラックドゥーム) is the evil overlord, hive-mind and parent of the Black Arms, and the only one shown with the ability to speak the human language. He has three eyes, lacks a lower torso, floats above the ground and wears a cloak adorned with metal ornaments. He helped Gerald Robotnik create Shadow the Hedgehog by using his own blood. He has lived for well over two thousand years, and planned to use the human beings as an "energy source"—or in other words, food for his own larvae. He was eventually defeated by Shadow after he transformed into Devil Doom. He has a tentacled entity named Doom's Eye (ドゥームズアイ) that serves as a seeing-eye of sorts for the evil overlord.
These are the members of the alien race that invade earth under Black Doom's command. They will always attack Shadow even if he is attempting to complete one of Black Doom's missions. Members of the Black Arms include the Black Warriors, Black Oaks, and Black Assassins. The following is a list of creatures in the Black Arms.
The Death Leeches (デスリーチ) are described by Black Doom as the Black Arms' larvae, eventually maturing into fully-grown soldiers. They are pulsating dark red blobs with three horns positioned around an eye in the middle of their bodies. They are capable of sticking to walls. They have no endurance, and are always killed with one hit, regardless of the weapon.
The Black Warriors (ブラックウォーリアー) are the most common Black Arms aliens in the game. They are roughly human-sized (just a little bigger than an average GUN soldier) and often carry various Black Arms weapons (lasers, swords, shields, etc.). They can occasionally be found riding Air Saucers. It usually requires two shots from most weapons to kill them.
The Black Oaks (ブラックオーク) are giant Black Arms soldiers. According to Doom's Eye, the Black Oaks are "heralded for their pure strength" (they can easily swat aside cars), and form the backbone of the Black Arms army. They have high endurance, but also are slow moving. They usually carry large swords and occasionally alien rocket launchers and clubs. They take anywhere from two to seven shots to defeat, but certain specimens (usually ones carrying clubs or bazookas) are able to block frontal attacks from projectile weapons with their hands.
The Sand Worms are giant worms. They burrow underground and attack from beneath, using smaller worms that home in on their prey. According to Doom's Eye, the worms find their prey by detecting their target's vital signs. The Sand Worms share many characteristics of the Biolizard, such as their impregnable skin, coloring and texture, methods of attack, and sounds they make as they surface. Like the Oaks, it takes from two to seven hits to destroy them. Despite their large size, the Sand Worms can easily be sucked up by a vacuum weapon, making them easy to defeat when using the Egg Vacuum weapon.
Black Worms are stronger than the Sand Worms, being capable of reacting to any fauna, they found in, from toxic to a natural environment. They have similar defense points of their devolved version, but they come with more powerful "Wide Worm Shooter".
The Death Worm are stronger, golden Black Worms. They appear only on the stages The Last Way and Black Comet. They are stronger and faster than Sand Worms and are harder to kill. Death Worms are invincible to some of the weaker weapons in the game.
The Killer Plant is a giant fire-breathing plant life form that serves the Black Arms. They have no life meters and serve more as obstacles than anything else. Once defeated, it will temporarily shrink into a harmless bud, but will revive again if given enough time.
The Black Wing (ブラックウィング) is a small bat-like creature similar to Black Hawks. They have little endurance and are almost always killed with one hit. They often serve as footstools of sorts for Shadow's Homing Attack.
The Black Hawks (ブラックホーク) are small winged dragons which are much stronger then the Black Wings. They are capable of firing blue energy waves and flying unhindered in space. In some cases, when they are weakened, Shadow can ride on their backs. They take three hits from standard weapons or Homing Attacks to defeat.
Black Volts (ブラックボルト) are Black Hawks that have gold armor plating and are equipped with Worm Shooters. Due to their armor, they have more endurance than normal Black Hawks. Most Black Volts in the game can be ridden, though they are also present as common enemies in Final Haunt and The Last Way.
The Black Assassins (ブラックアサシン) only appear in the stages Black Comet, Final Haunt, and The Last Way. They resemble armored Black Warriors, but they can withstand many more attacks and have the ability to disappear and reappear at will. They are all armed with Refractors, and are often found riding Air Saucers in the Black Comet stage.
The Black Bull (ブラックブル) is a powerful Black Arms creature. It resembles a cross between a giant maggot and a dragon. Due to its large blubbery body which protects it from damage, its only weak spot is its single green eye. It can breathe fire and can produce Black Wings from its mouth. It appears as a boss after the completion of the Lethal Highway and/or Death Ruins stages.
- Like the Blue Falcon, this boss was named after a machine from the F-Zero series; in this instance, Black Shadow's machine, the Black Bull. This is likely because SEGA co-developed F-Zero GX and AX.
Although not technically part of the Black Arms army, the Black Fruit (conjectural name, only referred to as "red fruits" in-game) dot the landscapes conquered by the Black Arms. They have a short stalk, with a large spherical bulb on top. It is mostly red, and translucent, as a slight yellow glow can be seen from within. Spikes grow from the bulb, giving Shadow damage if he touches it. They can easily be destroyed in a single hit, but regenerate if Shadow leaves the area and returns.
Shadow the Hedgehog
Shadow is part Black Arms alien because of his creation from Black Doom's blood. However, he is not a part of their army; rather, he is a secret weapon created for the sole purpose of collecting the Chaos Emeralds, although he did not know this fact himself until the final story in Shadow the Hedgehog. Shadow's efforts have finally put an end to the Black Arms' reign of terror.
Black Arms Weaponry
|Black Sword||Big purple sword. Sometimes accompanied by a shield.|
|Dark Hammer||Large blue hammer-like weapons used by some Black Arm Oaks.|
|Black Shield||Small transparent shield that is very resistant to projectiles. Large stationary shields can be found on the Black Comet, but they are much weaker.|
|Light Shot||Basic plasma machine gun pistol commonly used by Black Warriors.|
|Flash Shot||Rapid-fire, double-barreled plasma guns that are a common sight among Black Arms.|
|Ring Shot||Gun that shoots slow pink energy rings, similar to the shots from the turtle enemies in Sonic Heroes.|
|Splitter||Broad gun that fires fast red energy discs. The shots act like laser shots as they can shoot through multiple enemies and bounce off walls.|
|Worm Shooter||Weapon that locks onto targets, and fires small homing explosive worms at the targets. Used by Black Annelids.|
|Black Barrel||Powerful bazooka-like weapon that fires exploding energy shots. The same technology is used in the Black Cannons. A more powerful variant of this weapon exists, different in color and slightly in shape.|
|Cell Cannon||Powerful stationary alien turret that can be used to destroy things such as gunships. They have a Black Barrel on their tip, and fire the same shots. Once destroyed, they leave a Black Barrel for Shadow to pick up.|
|Refractor||Laser rifle that fires red lasers that bounce off walls. All Black Assassins are armed with this weapon.|
|Heavy Shot||Machine-gun rifle similar to the light shot, but larger, more powerful, and with a different sound effect. Seen in all three levels in the Black Comet.|
|Vacuum Pod||Odd weapon that sucks objects into its muzzle and compresses them into small balls that can be fired at enemies, similar to Sonic's magic hand attack from Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. It can also suck in rings without using up ammo. Enemies use this weapon by sucking shadow in to touch them. Flying enemies can not be sucked in, and neither can enemies too large. While stationary, it can be seen slowly breathing.|
|Organic bombs||Purple explosives used by the Black Arms, the largest of which is the "city annihilator" bomb, which, when a number of them are placed strategically, can destroy an entire city.|
|Satellite Gun||Large energy beams coming down from the sky. Most likely fired from warships or the Black Comet itself. There is also an unlockable weapon by the same name which launches down a laser strike from the sky directly on the targeted enemy, making it more of a remote than a weapon.|
|Biological weaponry||Biological weapons used during Black Doom's assault. Upon entering the bloodstream of a non-Black Arm, cause total paralysis, though the effect is only temporary, as the main characters were infected with it, but managed to break free after a few minutes.|
Black Arms Vehicles
One-man floating discs that can be used to cross hazardous surfaces, such as toxic liquid or lava. Upon analyzing one, E-123 Omega is astounded that it floats without using either fuel or engine components. They can be ridden by Shadow, and are sometimes used by Black Warriors and Black Assassins.
A powerful Black Arms Tank that appears in the Lethal Highway stage and somewhat resembles a stealth bomber. The tank is surrounded by a shield that can withstand many attacks, and is able to summon bombs to destroy the roadway behind it. Destroying it is the Hero mission on Lethal Highway and the best way to defeat it is using a rapid-fire weapon. The most effective weapons are the Shadow Rifle and the Gatling gun which can be obtained behind the five-key door, with the maximum of 40 ammo can easily take out the tank in below 10 seconds. Interestingly, Sonic claims that guns are ineffective against the Black Tank, (despite the fact that it is easily able to be taken down by guns, though he may have talking about when the shield was up).
Large organic-looking battleships. They usually appear in the Black Comet, Final Haunt and The Last Way stages. Gunships are armed with a Black Cannon and can spawn enemies. The best way to attack these ships is to use nearby turrets or the Shadow Rifle.
Black Arms Strongholds
The Black Comet is a massive comet that passes by the Earth every fifty years. It is the home and/or a mode of transportation for the Black Arms. The comet itself appears to be alive or techno-organic in nature, most notably when it was teleported to Earth and seemed to take on a life of its own to dig into the surface. When inside, it is almost like being in the body of a living organism. There are pulsating growths and what appear to be tentacles, organs and throat-like halls and many organic sounds. For example, in the Japanese version of the game, when the tentacles are destroyed, a roar (very similar to the Biolizard's) can be heard. There is a vicious substance in the comet that only death leeches and worms can exist in. Even Black Doom continuously warns Shadow that "that toxic substance is fatal." The tentacle-like projections also appear to exist in the substance.
The last time the comet passed by Earth, Black Doom made a pact with Gerald Robotnik in order to create the Ultimate Life form, Shadow the Hedgehog. Shadow would help Gerald in his research and Black Doom in his quest to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds. Gerald, however, regretted making the deal and designed the Eclipse Cannon to destroy the Black Comet when it returned. Fifty years later, as the Black Comet approached Earth during the start of Shadow the Hedgehog, the aliens began the final phase of their mission to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds and enslave the humans. The Black Comet did not have enough speed to make it to Earth's surface on its own, so Black Doom uses the power of the Chaos Emeralds to teleport the comet to Earth. However, Black Doom's plans were foiled when Shadow teleported it back into space and used the Eclipse Cannon to destroy the Black Comet and all of the Black Arms inside of it.
It is interesting to note that while the Pure Hero level Final Haunt, the Black Comet (predictably) is full of Black Arms, on the Semi-Dark final level Black Comet, it is full of Gun Robots, and there are fewer Black Arms present than in other stages.
Black Doom transported a long complex of temples to the Glyphic Canyon two thousand years prior to the games (notably, from a scientific perspective, all the planets were lined up at zero point two thousand years ago). According to Black Doom, it is the Black Arm's holy ground. These bird-shaped ruins were sealed away and deactivated many years ago. In order to reawaken this temple, one must touch the five large green jewels within in it. "Reawakening" the temple makes it airborne, with the ability to fire large red laser beams. If one destroys the jewels after this, the temples lose their power and fall down to the earth again.
Activating the jewels for Black Doom is the Dark mission for the "Glyphic Canyon" stage, while destroying them is the Hero mission for the "Sky Troops" stage, where Dr. Eggman battles the flying ruins with his Eggman Fleet. The temple is automatically reawakened when Shadow reaches Sky Troops, regardless of whether or not he has personally touched the five jewels, suggesting that the "evil path" through Glyphic Canyon is the canon route, or that the Black Arms activate the jewels themselves if Shadow does not do it for them.
There are also large tornado-like whirlwinds and dust storms in the ruins, that according to Black Doom were set in motion to stop humans from accessing them.
- Shadow the Hedgehog
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Rouge the Bat
- Dr. Eggman
- Amy Rose
- Gerald Robotnik
- All of Humanity
In other media
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the Black Arms and their leader Black Doom played a key part in Shadow's creation fifty years ago, very similar to their video game counterparts. However, while Black Doom wanted to use Shadow as a weapon, Professor Gerald intended for Shadow to become the protector of Mobius. On their return trip to Mobius however, the Black Arms got held back by their war with the Xorda.
In the new reality created by the Super Genesis Wave, the Black Arms attacked the planet, just like in Shadow the Hedgehog, only to be defeated by Shadow. However, a secondary hive-mind named Black Death took over the species after Black Doom's demise. With a super-soldier named Eclipse the Darkling to oppose Shadow, Black Death led the last Black Arms to Shadow's planet in the New Black Comet, only for Team Dark and their G.U.N. allies to destroy their comet.
- Shadow is the only Black Arm left as all of the race was killed when the Black Comet was destroyed using the Eclipse Cannon.
- The Black Arms may have been hinted at as early as Sonic Adventure 2, in an Engrish-y inscription seen on a wall just before Shadow is released by Dr. Eggman. "ASTRONOMERS ARE CONCLUDING THAT MONSTROUSBLACKS". The Black Arms (or at least a similar concept) may have been created but ultimately unused.
- The Black Arms are commonly referred to as "the black creatures," "black aliens," or even "terrorists" by the inhabitants of Earth, though a few characters, including Tails and the President's Secretary, refer to them by name.
- Although they have no actual role in the game, several of the Black Arms appear as collectible cards in Sonic Rivals. The cards are "Black Oak," "Black Warrior," "Black Hawk" and "Black Bull", along with three cards depicting Black Doom's various forms.
- This was the first major alien species in the Sonic games.
- These were the first characters in all of the game continuity that have shown blood. The next would be Dark Gaia as he transforms into Perfect Dark Gaia.
- The Black Arms originally had red blood; in the final version it is green. Before the game's release, the ESRB created the E10+ rating, so realistic blood and excessive swearing was removed in order to avoid a T rating.
- The Black Arms symbol has been shown to be the symbol of them, the game Shadow the Hedgehog, and (in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and the Archie Comics) the symbol of Shadow himself.