The Heavy Gunner is a major antagonist in the video game Sonic Mania and one of the four secondary antagonists (alongside Heavy Shinobi, Heavy Magician and Heavy Rider) of it’s expansion DLC Sonic Mania Plus. He is also a minor character in the Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary comic book published by IDW Publishing. He is one of the Hard-Boiled Heavies; an elite group of robots built by Dr. Eggman who were all empowered by the Phantom Ruby and serve their leader, the Heavy King. He is fought in Studiopolis Zone.
Heavy Gunner was originally an obedient Egg-Robo who served Dr. Eggman. However, after the Heavy King extracts the Phantom Ruby from below the ground, he, along with the rest of the elite Egg-Robos, had the animals stuck inside of them fuse with their AI, with each animal's individual personality reflected in their appearance. Thus, they transformed into the Hard-Boiled Heavies, and took away the Phantom Ruby.
Heavy Gunner is fought as the boss of Studiopolis Zone Act 1, where he chases Sonic in the background in his helicopter accompanied by three Egg-Robos. The Heavy Gunner will shoot three missiles at Sonic periodically during the fight: two red missiles, which deal damage upon touching them, and a blue missile which is the key to defeating the Heavy Gunner. However, when the missiles are hit, the Heavy Gunner flies out of the way to let some of his company be taken out by the missiles until he’s the only one left. Once you land the final hit on him, the Heavy Gunner escapes from his helicopter, leaving it to be blown up and destroyed by the missile.
He is not seen again until the final battle, where he takes on the new form of the Phantom Gunner, where he now fires the same missiles from his boss fight, but the red missiles now explode upon touching the ground, and the blue missiles can be hit back at him just like in the first boss fight. Unfortunately, however, the battle was short-lived and the Phantom Gunner was unable to eliminate Sonic and his friends.
Sonic Mania Plus
Shortly after the events of Sonic Forces, the Phantom Gunner was revealed to have been destroyed after the final battle in Titanic Monarch Zone and his remains had been left on Angel Island. However, with Classic Sonic’s return, the Heavy Magician, who was able to survive being destroyed, steals the Phantom Ruby and gives it to the Phantom King, reviving him and the Phantom Heavies, but reverting them back to their pre-Phantom forms.
Heavy Gunner maintains the same role as he did in Sonic Mania, trying to eliminate Sonic and his friends, only to be destroyed once more after the final battle in Titanic Monarch Zone.
After stumbling upon the Phantom Ruby, the Heavy Gunner was given a makeover, giving him the appearance of a police officer; his design reflects that of a blue and black uniform and a white motorcycle helmet with a red siren on top of it. The Heavy Gunner has a pair of yellow straps that cross over his chest in the shape of an X, with a star-shaped badge in the middle. He possesses a microphone communicator on his helmet, red eyes, white gloves, gray-colored appendages, and blue fore feet. He also has a jetpack which he uses to flee his helicopter.
As the Phantom Gunner, he maintains his original appearance, but the only major difference is the lack of limbs, being replaced by a giant blue jetpack that contains a missile launcher.
Like the rest of his allies, the Heavy Gunner is rebellious and reckless. The Heavy Gunner is specifically described of being a loose cannon and is too erratic for his own good. Because of his destructive behavior, he usually causes unintentional damage to anyone and anything that stands in his way. He also likes to be tormentous, often terrorizing the citizens of Studiopolis Zone from the air in his helicopter.
Despite this behavior, he is elite and still abides to the orders of the Heavy King without hesitation. Just like the others, he wishes to destroy Sonic, whether it be by orders from his creator Eggman or by his own, chaotic nature.
Powers and Abilities
- Flight: Being equipped with a jetpack, the Heavy Gunner has the ability to fly.
- Sharpshooting skills: As seen in his boss fight, the Heavy Gunner is shown to have excellent aim, targeting Sonic and his friends without hesitation.
- Bazooka: The Heavy Gunner’s main weapon of sorts is a green and white rectangular prism-shaped bazooka that can shoot missiles.
- Rocket launcher: As the Phantom Gunner, he swaps out his bazooka for a large rocket launcher on his back that shoots multiple missiles.
- The Heavy Gunner is the only Hard-Boiled Heavy to be fought as an act 1 boss. The rest of the Heavies are fought as Act 2 bosses.
- There are several connections to the Heavy Gunner being the first Hard-Boiled Heavy to be seen:
- The Heavy Gunner is the first Hard-Boiled Heavy to be fought.
- The Heavy Gunner was the most prolific and thus the first one revealed publicly before Sonic Mania released.
- The Heavy Gunner was the only member of the Hard-Boiled Heavies (excluding the Heavy King) to not be shown as a silhouette during the Friends animated sequence.
- The animal inside of Heavy Gunner was a pig as well as a police officer.