Power Cores take the form of solid orbs that have some form of transparent casing around them. They come in three different colors: blue, yellow and red.
Powers and traits
The Power Cores serve as a form of energizing core for Badniks. However, they can also be harnessed by other robots and organic beings. When absorbed by those with an affinity for them, the Power Cores can amplify the physical attributes of the being in question, resulting in stronger attacks and abilities.
In gameplay, Power Cores are used to upgrade the skills of the player's playable characters. The color of each Power Core indicate which playable character on the player's team that will level up with it. The blue Power Cores level up the team's Speed Type member, the yellow Power Cores level up the Fly Type member, and the red Power Cores level up the Power Type member. The maximum of Power Cores a playable character can level up with is three. Whenever a playable character obtains a Power Core, they will say "Level up!" Regardless of which character collects it, it will go to its assigned character (e.g. if a Speed Type character collects a red Power Core, it will be given to the Power Type character).
There are a multitude of ways for the player to obtain Power Cores:
Opening Floating Item Boxes and certain Item Boxes containing the Power Core power-up. While Item Boxes usually give one Power Core each, some Item Boxes and Floating Item Boxes (particular those in some 2P Play modes) may give two or three Power Cores each instead.
For every fifth enemy the player destroys, a random Power Core that is not of the formation leader's type will be dropped by the destroyed enemy. However, enemies like the Egg Hammer, Heavy-Egg Hammer, and the E-2000R will always drop one random Power that does not match the formation leader's type when destroyed.
From Check Points or completing Bobsled/Trolley sections successfully. In these instances, depending on which character is the leader, the appropriate Power Core will be given to that leader.
The Power Cores abilities are not permanent and will reset with each new stage the player plays through. Also, if the player loses a try during a stage, the playable characters' Power Core levels will all be reset as well.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs, the Power Cores are objects used by the Eggman Empire. Described as concentrated forms of energy used by various Eggman Empire machinery, they can amplify a user's physical abilities when properly harnessed, namely the user's speed, strength, and flight abilities. In addition, a new type of Power Core, dubbed the Tricore, was invented by Dr. Starline.