The Crabmeat is a first-generation Badnik created by Dr. Eggman. This mechanical crustacean first appeared in the original Sonic the Hedgehog game on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, but has made numerous reappearances since.
The Crabmeat, as the name implies, is modelled after a crab. While real crabs are capable of thriving in water or on land, the Crabmeat robot is strictly land-based. They walk about clumsily on six spindly legs (the modern redesign only has four legs) and are usually of a red colouration. Their arms sport large pincers which they use to grab or punch enemies close-up, but these pincers also conceal projectile weaponry for attacking distant targets. In earlier games, the Crabmeat's pincers fired glowing energy pulses that travelled in a short arcing pattern, but the more modern variant is capable of launching missiles.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Crabmeats appeared in the Green Hill and Spring Yard Zones in the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog and in the Green Hill and Jungle Zones of the 8-bit version. In both versions, they slowly amble from side to side within a short area, stopping briefly to fire energy blasts from their claws. It takes a moment for them to charge up these energy blasts, during which they are completely helpless. They can be defeated easily by a Sonic Spin Attack or Spin Jump.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit)
Crabmeats 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 Taraban, which is a variation on the Japanese word "Tarabagani" (タラバガニ), meaning "king crab". It also looks slightly different, with one side of its body being red, the centre being silver and the other side coloured blue.
While under a different name, the Taraban's behaviour is identical to its Crabmeat predecessor. It scuttles from side to side on six legs (albeit slightly faster), stopping to charge up its energy blasters and firing two arcing energy blasts. It is still easily dispatched with either a spin attack or jump.
Crabmeats make their next appearance in Sonic Advance, this time under the name GamiGami. While the name has changed, little else has as these Badniks still scuttle about sideways and drop energy projectiles from their claws. There are some minor physical alterations with this variant: it moves on four legs rather than six, its pincers are larger and it has eyelids which are constantly frowning, making it appear more aggressive. The GamiGami appears in Neo Green Hill Zone and can be destroyed by any attack from any of the playable characters.
Sonic Rush Adventure
An unnamed crab enemy (possibly Crabmeat) appears in Sonic Rush Adventure on the Nintendo DS. Unlike the previous entries, this enemy does not launch energy projectiles; instead it scuttles about with its claws raised in the air, ready to pinch Sonic if he dares to try and jump on it. Attacking this enemy from above will result in Sonic taking damage, but it can otherwise be defeated by a Spin Dash or Speed Boost.
Appearing in Sonic Colours on the Nintendo Wii, the Crabmeat has been significantly redesigned. Its body appears more saucer-shaped, it has glowing blue optics, it walks on four legs and possesses much larger claws on its arms.
Encountered in Aquarium Park, Crabmeats will remain in one spot and attack Sonic from a distance by launching homing missiles from their pincers. These missiles are quite accurate and produce a fairly large explosion upon impact.
Crabmeats appear in the Green Hill and Planet Wisp stages of Sonic Generations and retain their modernized design from Sonic Colours. In the Classic Sonic acts, Crabmeats move slowly from side to side; when Sonic approaches, they spin on the spot before launching missiles from their claws. Since the first act of each stage recreates the gameplay style of the Mega Drive-era games, the Crabmeat's projectiles only travel in an arcing pattern. If a Crabmeat manages to hit Sonic, it will fall over while laughing. Sonic will recover before the Crabmeat stops laughing, giving the player an opportunity to attack.
In the Modern Sonic acts, Crabmeats are typically found on long pathways which Sonic can just Boost through, ploughing through whatever enemies are in his path without them having a chance to attack. If the player moves at regular speed, the Crabmeats will attack by launching homing missiles.
Sonic Lost World
In Sonic Lost World, Crabmeats have been given a more cartoonish design, sporting large googly eyes and less mechanical details. There are two particular variants of Crabmeat in this game, one red and one orange.
The red Crabmeat behaves very similarly to how it has done in previous games, scuttling sideways and firing energy bolts when Sonic is within range. Unlike in previous games, Sonic cannot defeat the Crabmeat with just any attack; he must attack with either the Spin Dash or the Flying Kick. The Spin Dash will destroy the Crabmeat outright while it takes two Flying Kicks to defeat it, one to knock it off-balance and the second to destroy it. If Sonic tries to use a Homing Attack against it, the Crabmeat will counter-attack by punching him.
The orange Crabmeat behaves more like the Colours/Generations variant. Appearing in Frozen Factory Act 2, it can be found on pathways that Sonic must roll over while in a giant snowball. The Crabmeat will attack by launching missiles at Sonic, which will immediately destroy the snowball and cost Sonic a life unless he collected all the Rings from the previous Star Post.
Crabmeats retain their same appearance and behaviour from Sonic 1 on the Genesis, appearing in Green Hill Zone. They scuttle sideways and stop briefly to charge and fire their energy blasters. However, some Crabmeats can also be found riding on floating platforms. These enemies stay still and just continuously fire energy balls upon anything beneath them.
Sonic the Comic
In the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions, the Crabmeats are a part of Dr. Robotnik's Badnik army and some of the oldest models in service. They appear in a few of the early issues during the comic's run.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the Crabmeats were one of the Classic Badniks-the first generation of badniks produced by Dr. Robotnik. One Crabmeat unit in particular served as Robotnik's first loyal lackey for some time during the comics' early run. Eventually though, the Crabmeats were rendered obsolete by more advanced robots and got decommissioned.