From Sonic Retro
The Insta-Shield, known as the Double Spin Attack (W回転アタック) in Japan and the Twin Spin Attack in Sonic Generations, is a special move first used by Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Jumping then pressing the jump button again while in midair generates a brief flash that extends Sonic's attack radius and renders him temporarily invincible. This attack is useful for attacking bosses slightly out of range and spiked enemies, like Orbinauts. No character but Sonic is able to use this technique.
The move reappeared in all three games in the Sonic Advance series, though it is called the Spin Attack in Sonic Advance, the Double Spin Attack in Sonic Advance 2 and the Wind Attack in Sonic Advance 3. In Sonic Advance 3, Sonic must have Knuckles as a partner to perform the move.
It is not used in any 3D games, due to the fact the "jump, then press jump again while in midair" move was changed to the Jump Dash, or if enemies/items are nearby, the Homing Attack. Sonic Generations brings the move back as an equippable skill for Classic Sonic that is unlocked by collecting all of the Red Star Rings in Sky Sanctuary Act 1, costing 30 Skill Points to equip.
In the classic Sonic games, if Sonic jumps from a roll, he'll be unable to change his jump direction and speed. Using the move, however, makes him regain control of the jump. This also happens with Super Sonic, despite the fact that the move itself doesn't actually trigger while Super.
In Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and Sonic Mania, performing the same button sequence while protected by a shield, or transformed into Super Sonic or Hyper Sonic, will cause Sonic to perform other maneuvers.
- With a Fire Shield, Sonic briefly turns into a fireball and flies across the screen at high speed.
- With a Water Shield, Sonic bounces in its bubble.
- With a Lightning Shield, Sonic performs an additional jump (with sparks flying from the shield, though these do nothing).
- While Hyper Sonic, it causes all badniks on screen to be destroyed. Sonic is also propelled forwards much as he would be with a Fire Shield, but much faster and able to be directed with the D-pad. (Also, if dashing to the left or right, Hyper Sonic can glitch through certain kinds of small walls.)
- With a standard shield (Mania only) or if invincible, nothing will occur.
In the comics
In the two-part Sonic the Comic story "Enter Knuckles", Sonic explains that he creates the Insta-Shield by vibrating the air around him so quickly that it creates a static effect. In the Archie comic Sonic 3 special, Sonic only uses the move once, and does not know how he managed to do so. Much later, he remembers and perfects the technique.