In its plane mode, the Cyclone resembles the Tornado 2 in its transformed state, possessing a similar color scheme and overall design. However, unlike the Tornado 2, the Cyclone is instead a monoplane and carries a missile launcher behind the seat and a mini-gun on the front. In its walker mode, the Cyclone loses its rear and wings, but gains two legs, while in cart mode, the Cyclone still lacks its wings, but gains four wheels and its rear splits up to position itself along the sides.
The Cyclone most noticeably has three alternate modes which it can reconfigure its structure into: a plane mode, a walker mode, and a car mode. In plane mode, it becomes a rocket-powered monoplane, allowing for midair transportation at such speeds that it can outfly an explosion engulfing the entirety of Prison Island. In walker mode, it becomes a bipedal mech with an engine on the bottom that allows it to hover for short periods and is more suited for combat. Then, in car mode, it becomes a four-wheeled vehicle which can drive at high speeds and crash through certain objects, notably other vehicles on the road.
The Cyclone has a very modular design, making it possible to equip it with various upgrades. The Bazooka and Laser Blaster greatly amplifies the power of its ammunition and the Booster allows it to hover in midair.
The Cyclone can wear a number of Outfits in the games' multiplayer mode. When worn, they change the Cyclone's appearance to match the Outfit's theme amongst other things. These Outfits include:
Tornado Theme: Unlocked in Sonic Adventure 2 by clearing all Tails's missions, and in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle by clearing all Tails' missions with an "A" Rank. The Cyclone's color scheme is changed to that of the original Tornado in Sonic Adventure. Additionally, the text on its side reads "Tornado" instead of the usual "Tornado III". When wearing it in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, the Cyclone can move faster.
Halloween Theme: A VMU downloadable Outfit on the Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure 2 available from the United States' version of the game's official website starting on October 11, 2001. The Cyclone gets an orange and yellow color scheme and pumpkin icons on it.
Christmas Theme: A VMU downloadable Outfit on the Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure 2 available from the United States' version of the game's official website starting on November 30, 2001. The Cyclone's color scheme is changed to primarily white and red.
Shadow the Hedgehog
The Cyclone later makes an appearance in Shadow the Hedgehog in its plane form. In the game, it can be seen during the opening cutscene of Circus Park before crashing into the park. Here, it appears to be powered by a Chaos Emerald. Although it was never seen again, an object resembling the Cyclone can be seen attached to the spaceship used by Sonic and Shadow later in the game.
In the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Sonic Unleashed, the Cyclone is mentioned. In this game, Brenda asks Sonic what the name of the plane piloted by Tails is called in her questionnaire in Shamar. One of the optional answers is "Cyclone" (which is wrong, with the correct answer being the "Tornado").
Despite being called Cyclone, the mech has the names "P-3a" and "Tornado III" written on it. However, those names may refer to each transformation the mech can take.
Though primarily called Cyclone, in its plane form Tails calls it Tornado.
The Cyclone is faster than the Eggwalker, but is not as powerful.
The Cyclone, in particular the Sonic Adventure 2 version, was alluded to in the Japanese version of Sonic Generations, where Classic Tails asks Modern Tails how the latter was able to add legs to Sonic's Tornado model.