When transformed into Super Tails, Tails' physical traits remain unchanged. However, he does gains a pulsating golden energy shield around himself.
In the Sega Mega Drive-derived games, Super Tails lacked a shield surrounding him. Instead, his orange fur pulsated with a golden color.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
Super Tails first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. The transformation can only be obtained by collecting the seven Super Emeralds as Tails. The player can then activate Tails' Super State by collecting fifty Rings and then press the jump button twice. While Tails 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 Tails is invincible, can move faster, fly further, and jump higher. While transformed, Super Tails also summons four super transformed Flickies which follow him around. These Flickies will home into any nearby target, boss, or enemy, and deal one hit worth of damage, even on Hyudoros. When Super Tails' form wears off, his Flickies fly away.
In gameplay, Super Tails cannot take damage, though he can be blocked from moving for a while when attacked, and he has automatically obtained three yellow Power Cores. His Thunder Shoot has also been upgraded, giving it a far greater range. During the boss battle, the player's Ring count drops by one every second, and when it runs out, Tails and his team revert back to normal which will cost the player a life.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
In the 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Tails can be unlocked as a bonus feature in the gameplay for Tails. On Level Select, the player can change the Max Emeralds setting from 6 to 7 to get all seven Chaos Emeralds. After that, the player can use Super Tails in any of the Zones with Tails after collecting fifty Rings. His appearance is the same as in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
In the 2013 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Tails' super transformation is accessible via Debug Mode by placing the SMonitor and then breaking it. While unnamed, his appearance and abilities are identical to that of the updated Super Tails in the 2013 re-release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
Powers and abilities
Due to having the power of seven Chaos Emeralds, Super Tails accordingly commands ultimate power and has access to unlimited energy. As Super Tails, Tails' innate abilities far surpasses his normal ones. Not only is his strength multiplied many times over, but his speed has been greatly enhanced too, allowing him 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, Tails has gained new abilities, including high-speed run-flight without having to use his twin tails and virtual invulnerability to harm.
All of Super Tails' standard techniques has been greatly enhanced following his transformation; his Thunder Shoot technique for example has been given much greater range and power, enough to shoot down even Metal Overlord's spines. Super Tails can also manipulate chaos energy to a certain degree, like passing it onto Flickies to let them achieve a Super State of their own.
Super Tails can only stay transformed for a short time, as a Super State consumes tremendous amounts of energy. If Tails remains in this form for too long without sustainment, he will revert back to normal. Extensive usage will also put him at risk of disappearing entirely.
Before Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, there are ways to initiate the transformation in previous games, but it is never named or observed in normal gameplay. These methods typically utilize codes or tricks such as the built-in Debug Mode.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
A simplistic form of Super Tails can be achieved in the original console versions of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The easiest way involves placing a monitor in Debug Mode whilst Sonic is in his Super State; breaking it will cause Tails to be invulnerable, surrounded by invincibility stars, and have increased speed (on par, if not faster, than Sonic). This happens due to the fact that the default monitor in Sonic the Hedgehog 2—the 2-player Vs. Mode "Teleporter" monitor—not only switches players' positions, but players' statuses as well. (Shield, Speed-Up, Invincibility, etc.). Another peculiarity with "Super" Tails is that even if Sonic loses all his Rings or Tails has to catch up to Sonic for some reason, Tails continues to be invincible and super fast indefinitely.
Another exploit doesn't involve Debug Mode. First, the player must collect all of the Chaos Emeralds in 1-Player Mode. After doing this, the player will have to find a way to lose their lives or complete the game, and enter the 'Options' menu. After that, if the player highlights 'VS Mode items' and presses the START button, they will enter the 2P level select with all of the collected Emeralds. If Sonic collects fifty Rings and jumps, he will transform into Super Sonic, but with his sprite jumbled (the game's attempt to match regular Sonic's sprite size since he cannot transform in 2P normally). If Super Sonic smashes a teleport box whilst in transformation, the Super State will transfer to Tails. Sonic still appears Super though, and due to the game's engine he will not be able to get invincibility or gain his Super State abilities again until he loses all of his rings. The reason the Super State is attainable in the VS mode is because the number of Chaos Emeralds collected is carried when accessing through the Options menu.
It should be noted that while Sonic will appear to still be in his Super State and will still lose rings, he will not have speed or invincibility and therefore will lose rings when damaged. Oddly enough, he does retain his high-jumping ability.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Tails can also enter the transformation in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 via Debug Mode. If Tails smashes the special Smonitor, he gains invincibility, the ability to crush non-KnucklesSpin Dash-only breakaway objects by walking through them. He also gets a sparkle effect when going beyond his top speed, but gains no glow, no palette changes, and no enhancements.
His sprite will also be jumbled in the game's attempt to match Super Sonic's sprite size (since Tails cannot go super normally) unless you press the Debug Mode button after hitting the S-Monitor, but before he transforms. If Tails clears Launch Base Zone after hitting an S-Monitor at any time during the game, his ending sprite gains Sonic's palette, giving him a golden glow. His Ring counter never drains and clearing an Act will not make him lose his invincibility or stop the Super Sonic music from playing, but going into a Special Stage or Gumball Machine will. Entering a new zone also removes the invincibility and restores the music if a musical silence is called, but he still has the ability to destroy breakaway objects by walking into them.
In Sonic the Hedgehog 2's VS Mode, if "Super Tails" clears an Act and Sonic happens to be using his Super palette, the normally blue background of the signpost will be affected by the palette and will glow yellow. This also applies to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 since, whilst Tails remains unaffected by the palette change, items that normally are will be.
In the 0517 prototype of the cancelled, combined Sonic 3 - Limited Edition, Tails could become Super Tails with the Chaos Emeralds, and doing so shows a distinct lack of Flickies following him; however, using an SMonitor will cause the Flickies to be summoned. Since the build seems to predate the final Sonic & Knuckles, it is possible that Tails was planned to have two separate transformations in development.
The legitimately-obtained Super Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles cannot automatically destroy non-Knuckles barriers, despite this being the case in the glitched Sonic the Hedgehog 3 version.
A representative from Sega has reportedly said that Tails was unable to transform with the Chaos Emeralds and needed the greater power of the Super Emeralds due to his younger age in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
↑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.
↑Sonic Team (May 3, 2002). Sonic Adventure 2. GameCube. Sega. Area/Level: Finalhazard. "Sonic the Hedgehog: Shadow! Continuous use of your super form will cause you to disappear! Get back to the Colony!"
↑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."