Nebulas originally looked like small green creatures hiding inside a black, egg-shaped metal shell that they control by seemingly clutching a pair of control levers. It is unclear what these creatures fully look like, but they do have two eyes, orange arms and white gloves. Their shell had a hole on the bottom where a small cannon was equipped and a yellow propeller on top.
In Sonic Lost World and several subsequent games, the Nebulas' designs were slightly altered. Their metal shell became green and the creature hiding inside became black with cyan eyes. Due their size, the Nebulas' arms were also positioned outside their protective shell where they held control sticks in their hands.
In Sonic Forces, the Nebulas received a more modernized and militaristic design. These Nebulas were designed to resemble white-gray eggs with red-eyed back faces on their fronts, a wide propeller on their tops, and a small cannon on their bottoms.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
First appearing in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, these Badniks are featured in Sky Chase Zone, where the player controls Sonic with his Tornado that is piloted by Tails (and vice versa). In this game, the Nebulas are always hovering in one place, but will start to move up and above the player as they come close, and move down as the player passes them. If the player get below them, the Nebulas start dropping spiked balls on the player.
The Nebulas appear in different formations as the player progresses through the Zone. The first Nebula the player meets is flying alone, but the rest attack in groups of three to seven. The most general formation they use are three in row and near end of the zone.
In Sonic Lost World, Nebulas float around in groups and chains, but they do not fire spike balls from their cannons. During the game, all of Dr. Eggman's Badniks, including the Nebulas, got hijacked by the Deadly Six.
In Tropical Coast Zone 3, Frozen FactoryZone Act 3 and Lava Mountain Zone 2, the Nebulas can be found hovering in one place, most of where the player can use them to reach Grind Rails or cross over volatile minecarts. However, in Trophical Coast Zone ?, Nebulas hover upwards while leaving small air hole for the player to pass through, and in Hidden World Zone 2, they suddenly appear from clouds in groups which the player has to avoid.
Sonic Jump Fever
In Sonic Jump Fever, Nebulas are featured in Blue Sky Zone as one of the Zone's enemies. When they appear, they attack by dropping spike balls between intervals and then eventually slam themselves downwards, both which will cause the player to fall below the screen if touched.
In Sonic Runners, Nebulas are one of the most common enemies in the power type characters' stages. Like in Sonic Lost World, they do not fire spike balls from their cannons and instead appear either separately or in groups.
Nebula in Sonic Runners come in three types. Aside from the regular types, there are golden Nebulas that give three hundred extra points each when destroyed, and black ones called Super Nebulas that only Color Powers and power type characters can destroy. Any type of Nebula contains Animals inside them.
Nebulas make an appearance in Sonic Forces. This time around, they were completely redesigned to have modernized, militaristic designs. In this game, they appear in multiple stages.
In gameplay, Nebulas either appear on their own or in groups, where they hover in midair in stationary positions. Overall, they are weak enemies that are taken out with just one attack. They are also arranged in midair so they player can skip across them using the Homing Attack/Wire Attack.
Powers and abilities
Nebula hovers in place waiting for the player to approach. When Tornado comes close to it, the Nebula flies upwards a little and drops small, flashing spiked balls from a shoot on its underside. These Badniks can be found on different formats, that are mostly two or three on rows. Aside from these, Nebula Badniks are relatively harmless, although they frequently appear in groups.
In Sonic Mania, a Nebula model called the Cactula appears in Mirage Saloon Zone Act 1. These variants have all of the regular Nebula's abilities, but can also disguise themselves as cactuses in the Zone.
In the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway, the Nebulas were standard flying units in Dr. Robotnik's Badnik army. During the comic's run, Nebula Badniks demonstrated the ability to aim their projectiles at their target rather than simply dropping them. Robotnik used the Nebulas for countless attacks on various Zone until his downfall from an electromagnetic pulse which disabled all his Nebulas, although they would be revived over time.