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Knuckles’ Chaotix Review

As we all know by now, the 32X was a short-lived, cartridge add-on that locks into the Mega Drive’s cartridge port and boosts the machines graphical power into the realms of the polygon. The console died a quick death but if there’s ever any reason to own one then this is it.

Knuckles’ Chaotix is not your average Sonic game. One would even be tempted to say that it is not even a real Sonic game but because it relates directly to Sonic side-characters it has to be included in the cannon. Knuckles’ Chaotix is the Shadow the Hedgehog of its’ day. The difference being this game is actually good; very good.

Chaotix sees Knuckles and his friends Espio, Vector, Charmy and Mighty as they go about trying to stop Dr. Robotnik from capturing the Chaos Rings (rings fused with Chaos energy). The game is set after Sonic & Knuckles and sees Dr. Robotnik discovering an island which he then uses to set up camp in order to take control of the Chaos Rings to cause more havoc.

What sells Chaotix is its’ unique control system. Character controls are very similar to past Sonic games with the exception of different secondary abilities which are usually activated by pressing C again in mid-air. The difference is the fact that 2 characters are bound by a ring at all times. Each character holds a ring which connects the 2 via an elastic, energy bond. This bond can be used to fling characters in any direction to gain even more speed; a novel idea if there ever was one. The problem with this is the fact it’s quite a departure from what Sonic fans expect. A tutorial has to be played before embarking on the main game in order to learn the new control scheme. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll soon be off on a grand adventure.

Chaotix doesn’t have the standard ‘2 acts and then a boss’ structure that previous Sonic games have had. The game has 5 zones with 5 acts each (the final act includes a boss as well) which are played in a random order. Acts are selected by stopping a roulette based game before departing to the next zone.

Gameplay is immensely entertaining; even more so in 2 player co-op. The rubber-band type controls make for some interesting jumps and collisions but once mastered will see you going at the most thrilling speed a 16 bit Sonic game has seen.

Throughout the game you will encounter 2 types of special stage. One is accessed mid-level by jumping through a large ring after obtaining 20 rings. This is a free-falling stage in which you hit boxes of items on your way down to earn extra points and rings. The 2nd special stage is accessed at the end of the level after obtaining 50 rings. This special stage is a 3D structure which you can move around without falling off walls or ceilings. In order to complete it you must obtain a certain amount of blue spheres to then gain a Chaos Ring. Obtaining all 6 Chaos Rings will then give you the best ending possible in the game. This special stage is a particularly mind-bending one and needs some strategy-based thinking in order to complete the harder stages.

The graphics are superb and really showcase what the 32X can do. The sprites are massive and really well animated. Stages are hugely detailed with some amazing colour palettes that change through the game’s passage of time. However, the 3D special stage is the real treat as it is fully rendered in 3D. This is (at the time) what all 32X owners wanted to see.

Otherwise, there’s not really a lot I can say that’s bad about Chaotix. The control scheme is a bit of a headache at first and if it wasn’t for this it would get a perfect score, but it is still an amazing game that will continuously have you revisiting it. This is the game that the 32X was made for. It’s just a shame that it shines out brighter than almost every other game on the console.


Written by Sonic Yoda on 10/3/08

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