Our next official character discussion topic covers the Sonic verse's global security organization, G.U.N.
An interesting addition to the series that gives some color to what Sonic fights to protect and Eggman fights to destroy. The military force, introduced in SA2 as the Guardians of the United Nation (later called the Guardian Units of Nations in Shadow the Hedgehog), where they serve as antagonists for both Hero and Dark side stories (actually pretty clever from a gameplay perspective), employing their own Chaos Drive powered robots in the game's stages where we would usually see small animal powered badniks. They also play a major role in the story of SA2, as they are responsible for the deaths of Gerald and Maria Robotnik aboard the Space Colony ARK as well as sealing Shadow beneath Prison Island. After Eggman frees Shadow they pursue both the villains and Sonic, who is scapegoated for Shadow's acts of terrorism and briefly imprisoned himself during the events of the game. Rouge's mission throughout SA2 is to determine the truth behind G.U.N.'s cover up of the ARK incident, here working on behalf of the President of the (yet unnamed) United Federation. Basically Knuckles is the only character who doesn't have a significant encounter with the military in his slightly more independent storyline- which always made me feel like something was missing for Knuckles, like he was supposed to have a Prison Island stage too that wasn't included.
The characters are mostly ambivalent towards G.U.N. however- Sonic doesn't care about who tries to arrest him since he disregards all rules and authorities to begin with, Tails and Amy are only interested in helping Sonic, while Shadow views all of the planet's population as a homogenous enemy to be annihilated rather than distinguishing G.U.N. in particular. Eggman and Rouge are the only characters who ever express specific opinions about the organization. Eggman regards them with contempt for what they did to his grandfather, though in the game we see him more focused on the present than the past. I find it notable that he feels it necessary to completely destroy Prison Island when stealing G.U.N.'s Chaos Emeralds, when all the plan really called for was to distract them long enough for Rouge to grab the gems and make a quick get away. Rouge herself is chillingly business like about massacring the G.U.N. operatives on Prison Island (there was, at the absolutely minimum, the pilot of the FLYING DOG mech that got caught in the explosion; realistically there would have been hundreds of other casualties).
Speaking of G.U.N. operatives, we never see any individual members of the organization, only the three pilots of the Spider Troop F-6t BIG FOOT, Scorpion Troop B-3x HOT SHOT, and R-1/A FLYING DOG. The facelessness of the organization added to their mystery and ominous character. Whether they were good or evil was unclear, though they are mostly presented as being corrupt. This ambiguity made G.U.N. easy to demonize, but was also intriguing.
G.U.N. made its second appearance in Shadow the Hedgehog, where they act as one of the enemy factions alongside Eggman's robots and the Black Arms. Here G.U.N. soldiers are included beside their robot force. This game also introduces the Mantis Platoon HD1 HEAVY DOG and the ARK Defense Unit LZ 12R BLUE FALCON bosses as well as the G.U.N. Commander's Diablon. While we get to witness first hand the military's infamous raid on the ARK here, we also see the present day Guardians in a comparatively heroic light, as they struggle to protect the Earth from Black Doom's forces. Some have complained that this more detailed depiction of G.U.N. and its motivations took away from the organization's mystique in SA2, though I'm not as critical of the decision.
G.U.N.'s last major role was in Next Gen, where Team Dark is now shown to be allied with the organization; Shadow carries out missions for them and becomes entangled Mephiles' schemes as a result. G.U.N. itself doesn't have a very visible role in the game but it says a lot about how far Shadow has come that he's willing to work for them now.
Other games in the series don't feature G.U.N. much; their robots return as enemies in Sonic Rush and the organization plays a minor role in Sonic Chronicles, besides a few other mentions here and there. It would be cool if we had another game where Eggman is playable and his stages are infested with G.U.N. robots or got a story where Shadow's membership is given greater focus. I'd like it if they came back with a bigger role in a future instalment and we got to see more kinds of military hardware like the BIG FOOT and the HOT SHOT.
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