The Moto Bug is a recurring enemy robot that appears throughout the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. This robot is one of Dr. Eggman's earliest Badnik models, having first appeared in the original game on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.
Moto Bugs usually resemble ladybirds, albeit ones that cannot fly. They are ground-based robots that run on a single wheel and have an exhaust pipe on either side of their bodies. While they sport a pair of clawed forearms, Moto Bugs lack any real offensive capability and typically can only attack by charging into their targets, though there have been examples of Moto Bugs being modified with additional weaponry.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Making their debut in the very first Sonic game, Moto Bugs (called Motora in Japan) are encountered in the Green Hill Zone. They travel across the ground fairly slowly, moving in one direction unless they reach a wall or a platform's edge. They have no weapons or defensive capability and can be easily destroyed either by Sonic's spin-jump or his Super Spin Attack.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-Bit)
Moto Bugs return in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Master System and Game Gear. They are unnamed in the UK/US instruction manual for the game, though the Japanese manual refers to them by the name New Motora, indicating that they have been upgraded since their debut. This version of the Moto Bug has twin claws on each forearm and a new colour scheme, sporting a blue and white shell and an orange head.
Encountered in the Under Ground Zone, Moto Bugs behave slightly differently this time around. When Sonic is in its sights, the Moto Bug will pick up speed as it attempts to ram into him. Beyond this, Moto Bugs are still just as weak as before and can be defeated with any attack.
Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble
An unnamed Badnik that looks identical to the Moto Bug appears in the Sunset Park Zone in Sonic Triple Trouble. They ride around in small minecart-like vehicles called Spin Coasters and move back and forth across the terrain at moderate speed. The player can only be hurt by this enemy by running into it and can destroy it with a spin-jump. With the Moto Bug destroyed, the player can then make use of its Spin Coaster.
Sonic 3D Blast
In Sonic 3D, an unnamed insectoid Badnik resembling a Moto Bug appears in the Volcano Valley Zone. There are some aesthetic differences to the standard Moto Bug, such as the more organic features of its face and the spikes adorning its shell.
This Badnik meanders about the terrain slowly in a patrol pattern until Sonic approaches, at which point it will increase speed and close in on the player. Though its shell is covered in spikes, these do not hurt Sonic and he can still jump on this enemy to defeat it or otherwise use his rolling or spin-dash attacks.
Sonic Advance 3
A new variant of the Moto Bug (known as Akotento in Japan) appears in Sonic Advance 3 on the Game Boy Advance. This variant bares a closer resemblance to the ladybird insect, sporting black spots on its red shell. It behaves in an identical manner to the original Moto Bug, moving back and forth and making no offensive moves.
A blue version of the Akatento also appears which behaves a little differently. When it reaches a platform edge, it will jump up into the air and hover in place briefly. Beyond that, it is no different than the red variant and can be easily destroyed with any attack from the player.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I
Moto Bugs are among the various classic Badnik models that Dr. Eggman has renewed and upgraded in Sonic 4. Appearing in Splash Hill Zone, the Moto Bug's appearance has been modernized with visible seams and a white highlight along the edge of its shell. Though supposedly an upgrade of its original incarnation, the Moto Bug behaves no differently than before, moving side to side and performing no offensive action.
Making its first appearance in a truly 3D Sonic game, the Moto Bug has been modified to a certain degree. Its shell sports six black spots, making it more closely resemble a ladybird, it has cyan-blue optics and smaller forearms.
In Sonic Colours, Moto Bugs can be encountered in the Starlight Carnival stages. Unlike previous appearances, they can move at high speeds that rival Sonic. In certain sections, Moto Bugs will pursue Sonic as he runs across the rainbow-coloured roads of the Starlight Carnival. However, they are still easy to defeat as Sonic can Quick-Step into them to cause them to crash.
Moto Bugs return in Sonic Generations, retaining their visual design from Colours. Appearing in Green Hill, they have returned to their common behavioural pattern of moving steadily across the land, although they will attempt to charge Sonic when they spot him. They are still easily defeated by any attack.
Sonic Lost World
Returning in Sonic Lost World, Moto Bugs have reverted to their more cartoonish appearance from earlier games, though with coloured irises and spots on their shells. They appear in multiple zones in the game, usually in groups, moving about slowly in a triangular patrol pattern. As before, they are easily defeated by any of Sonic's attacks.
In this throwback to the 16-bit era games, Moto Bugs retain their appearance and behaviour from Sonic 1. They are encountered in Green Hill Zone, moving back and forth across terrain. In some instances, Moto Bugs can roll across crumbling cliff edges (which only crumble when the player sets foot on them) and fall when they collapse.
In Sonic Forces, Dr. Eggman has redesigned most of his robots with a more militarized aesthetic. The Moto Bug appears more spherical, sporting a grey-black shell, red optics and no forelimbs. Appearing primarily in Green Hill and other Classic Sonic stages, Moto Bugs still move from side to side, though they will rev up and charge the player at increased speed when the player approaches. Apart from this, Moto Bugs are still weak and easily defeated with any attack.
Sonic the Comic
In the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions, the Moto Bugs are a part of Dr. Robotnik's Badnik army. Depending on the artist, the Moto Bug's design has been altered slightly various times. They are among the first generation of Badniks Robotnik produced and have threatened the people of Mobius since the earliest days of Robotnik's reign of terror.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the Moto Bugs, here spelled "Motobugs", were among the first generation of Badniks produced by Dr. Robotnik, though they were eventually rendered obsolete by more advanced robots and got decommissioned. Those Motobugs that survived were left behind in various outposts until Mammoth Mogul instated them as workers in his casino.
Following the events of Worlds Collide, the Motobugs' history became nearly identical to that of their game counterparts.
Moto Bugs have made regular appearances in IDW Publishing's Sonic the Hedgehog comic series. For the most part, their design, behaviour and capabilities are the same as previous appearances. However, the Eggman Empire has also produced giant versions of Moto Bugs that are equipped with Gatling gun turrets in place where the Moto Bug's antennae would normally be. These turrets are normally operated by lesser Badniks such as Egg Pawns.
In the Sonic Boom televisions series, the Moto Bugs, spelled as "Motobugs", are a mass-produced robot model created by Dr. Eggman. They serve both as Eggman's sentries and foot soldiers which the doctor uses for his frequent attacks on Team Sonic and Seaside Island. However, they are not very powerful and are easily destroyed in intense combat.
While largely the same as their video game counterparts, the Motobugs in Sonic Boom have occasionally been modified with weaponry. In some episodes, they have carried different weapon pods on their backs such as lasers and rockets.