When transformed into Super Knuckles, Knuckles' physical traits remain unchanged. Instead, he gains a pulsating golden energy shield around himself.
In the Sega Mega Drive-based games, Super Knuckles' fur pulsed in a bright magenta color and he possessed a magenta colored aura. However, he lacked any form of a shield.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
Super Knuckles first appeared in Sonic & Knuckles and its extension Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. The transformation can only be obtained by collecting the seven Chaos Emeralds as Knuckles. The player can then activate Knuckles' Super State by collecting fifty Rings and then press the jump button twice. While Knuckles is transformed, the player's Ring count drops by one Ring every second. When the Ring count hits zero or when the Act Boss is defeated, the transformation runs out.
In gameplay, Super Knuckles cannot take damage and he has automatically obtained three red Power Cores. Unique to Super Knuckles, his Volcanic Dunk attack has been changed, enabling him to throw fireballs in front of him over a long range to attack targets. During the boss battle, the player's Ring count drops by one every second, and when it runs out, Knuckles and his team revert back to normal which will cost the player a life.
Super Knuckles' abilities are the same as in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. Like before, the player's Ring count drops by one for every second Super Knuckles is active. When it reaches zero, Knuckles reverts back to normal.
Powers and abilities
Due to having the power of the seven Chaos Emeralds, Super Knuckles accordingly commands ultimate power and has access to unlimited energy. As Super Knuckles, Knuckles' innate abilities far surpasses his normal ones. His trademark strength has been enhanced to the point where he can smash a ship from the Eggman Fleet with a single strike and throw punches so powerful that he creates fireballs which explode upon impact. Knuckles also becomes fast enough to keep up with even Super Sonic who can move at the speed of light and presumably beyond. His reflexes are also improved, allowing him to keep up with his increased movements. Like the traditional Super State, Knuckles has gained new abilities, including high-speed run-flight and virtual invulnerability to harm.
All of Super Knuckles' standard techniques has been greatly enhanced following his transformation; his Volcanic Dunk technique has been upgraded to the point where he can shoot a barrage of explosive fireballs at his foes, and Glide and Climb techniques can be executed on a much faster rate.
Super Knuckles can only stay transformed for a short time, as a Super State consumes tremendous amounts of energy and requires Rings to be sustained. If Knuckles remains in this form for too long without sustainment, he will revert back to normal.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Knuckles' Super State was dubbed "Hyper Knuckles." This was because he was set up to battle Super Sonic, and the writers wanted to avoid the monotony of two supers against each other. However, this form would be referred to as "Super Knuckles" later on.
Knuckles' first known transformation was when he went head-to-head with Super Sonic in a battle for the Chaos Emeralds. Knuckles later turned into Hyper Knuckles again to battle Master Mogul alongside Super Sonic and Turbo Tails. Knuckles later obtained his super form again to fight Hunter on Angel Island, this time using the power of the Master Emerald.
"Man, he's tough!"
—Super Knuckles getting fazed by Metal Overlord's nigh-invulnerability.
↑BioWare (26 September 2008). Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. Nintendo DS. Sega. "Codex: Many, including Sonic, Knuckles, and Shadow, and others, can even use the power of the seven Chaos Emeralds to transform into Super versions of themselves!"
↑BioWare (September 26, 2008). Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. Nintendo DS. Sega. "Codex: Each Emerald can float on its own power, but anyone who combines all seven of the Chaos Emeralds can command ultimate power."
↑Sonic Team, Sonic Team USA (27 February 2004). Sonic Battle. Gameboy Advance. Sega. Area: Emerald Beach (Shadow's Episode). "Sonic the Hedgehog: I've heard that he who collects 7 "Chaos Emeralds" will be granted unlimited energy."
↑Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (2014). In-game description of the "Super Sonic" trophy: "The Chaos Emeralds are said to hold enough power to control the whole world. It's that power that turns Sonic into Super Sonic. He turns a glorious golden color and can fly at nearly the speed of light. In his Final Smash, this high-speed flight damages anyone who gets in its way and can even launch them!"
↑Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (PlayStation 3) United States instruction manual, pg. 4.
↑The in-game files of the PC-version for Tails and Knuckles during the final battle are named in such a way („sk” and „st”, respectively, compare Super Sonic's files named „ss”). Cream also refers to all members of the team as using super transformation: "Everyone! Watch your Ring count! You won't be able to use super transformation if you lose all your Rings."