The Dark Gaia Phoenix is a mystical avian creature that appears in Sonic Unleashed. Originally a benevolent spirit that guarded the Gaia Temple in Chun-nan, it became corrupted by the power of Dark Gaia. It is the first nighttime boss in the game that Sonic faces in his Werehog form.
The Dark Gaia Phoenix stands out as a very large creature, about ten to twelve meters tall. While he mostly resembles a phoenix, he also possesses some peacock-like traits such as a long, slender neck and long eye-spotted feathers as its tail feathers and on his abdomen and head. In his natural form, he has a beautiful multi-coloured glowing plumage, complete with a golden torso, neck and tail, violet wings with a golden edge, and a green and red head with violet eyes.
After being corrupted by Dark Gaia's energy, the Dark Gaia Phoenix's entire body becomes dark purple and he is constantly surrounded in flames.
Unlike majority of Dark Gaia's minions, the Dark Gaia Phoenix is not originally a fragment of the creature's essence, but an independent creature of his own. Originally, the Dark Gaia Phoenix was a regular phoenix who resided in Chun-nan and had served as the protector of Chun-nan's people and guardian of the local Temple of Gaia for an unprecedented amount of time. It spends most of its time living quietly at the temple, but reveals itself once a year at the Meat Bun Festival.
At the beginning of Sonic Unleashed, however, due to the actions of Dr. Eggman, the Chaos Emeralds were left drained of their power in his attempt to awaken Dark Gaia. This disturbance in the emeralds' power caused the Phoenix to go berserk, and it was soon after tainted by Dark Gaia's energy that had spread across the globe, thus it mutated into the Dark Gaia Phoenix and went on a total rampage.
By the time Sonic the Werehog and Chip arrived at Chun-nan's Temple of Gaia to search for its guardian Zonshen, the Dark Gaia Phoenix had apparently assaulted its old friend. As soon as Sonic and Chip came to Zonshen's aid, however, the Dark Gaia Phoenix attacked them. Despite its continuing persistence, Sonic managed to defeat the great beast and subdue it long enough for him and Chip to restore one of the Chaos Emeralds.
With the restoration of the emerald, the Dark Gaia Phoenix was returned to normal and it regained its senses, and Sonic and Chip understood the reason for the Phoenix's transformation. After accepting some chocolate from Chip, the phoenix soon after returned to the Temple of Gaia to resume its duty as the temple and Chun-nan's guardian.
Powers and abilities Edit
As one of Dark Gaia's Minions, the Dark Gaia Phoenix is shown to possess pyrokinetic abilities. He can envelope himself in an aura of flames that can make Sonic the Werehog catch on fire (and slowly drain his health) if he makes physical contact with the phoenix by either attacking or touching him, just like the Fire Master, and he can send out waves of flames by stomping onto the ground. He also appears to possess great physical strength as seen on the 360/PS3 version, where he can make entire towers crumble by simply flying into them.
The Dark Gaia Phoenix can also use his feathers as weapons; he can send out rows of feathers that will home in on Sonic and track him over long distances. If they hit, they can cause Sonic to catch on fire and knock him down for a moment, and on the 360/PS3 version they can even immobilize him for a short while. This attack cannot be blocked by Sonic the Werehog's guarding abilities. On the 360/PS3 version, he can also shoot a steady barrage of feathers at Sonic. This attack, however, can be blocked by Sonic the Werehog's guarding abilities.
The Dark Gaia Phoenix's greatest weakness, however, is water, which he appears to be highly vulnerable to; if dowsed with water, his flames will go out and he will be so exhausted that he has to land in order to rest and reignite.
On an interesting note, as seen in the battle on the 360/PS3 version, the Dark Gaia Phoenix can apparently fully restore its health and flames each time he is on the verge of defeat. This might be a reference to the actual mythical phoenix which is said to rise from its ashes to be reborn anew. It is only until Sonic manages to throw him into the central pond that he is unable to restore his health and allows Sonic to fully defeat him.
It is unknown what kind of powers the Dark Gaia Phoenix has in his original form.