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Knuckles Chaotix 20th Anniversary


TheOcelot

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----------------------------- Thought I'd re-post this topic due to the wipe ------------------------------------


Knuckles Chaotix 20th Anniversary

knuckles_chaotix_title_screen_by_natakir


Knuckles Chaotix was released in North America in March 1995, Europe in May 1995 and in Japan on 21 April under the name of “Chaotix”.

A very pretty looking game thanks to the 32-bit capability of 32x system which the game was released on. The level aesthetics, unique gimmicks and unorthodox bosses reminds me a lot of a Mega-Drive/Genesis game; Dynamite Headdy. Chaotix is a game which tries very hard to distance itself from the previous Genesis titles.

So where did it all start?

Sonic Stadium? Pffffft, more like, Sonic Crackers :P

Sonic_crackers.pnglarge.jpg


After Sonic & Knuckles had been released, SEGA had already begun working on proof-of concept about a new Sonic game for the Mega-Drive. Known both as Sonic Crackers and Sonic Stadium (hence my terrible joke).

This was to be a 2d game featuring Sonic and Tails in new 2d environments and hub worlds. However, unlike the numerical games, Crackers incorporated a new unique "rubber-band" co-op gameplay style, where the player effectively controls two characters; Sonic and Tails who are tethered by a rubber-band.

The idea being you could propel both characters around the zones at incredible speed by holding one character whilst pulling the other as far back as the rubber-band allows, and then releasing the character, thus creating the rubber-band effect and moving at lightning speed! There are quite a few Crackers prototypes which can be downloaded and played (via Fusions etc). Whilst they are extremely incomplete, it does provide a fascinating insight into the game which could well have been the true "Sonic 4" sequel to 3&Knuckles.

However, SEGA decided to move the game to the 32x which was designed to extend the life of the Genesis until the Saturn was released. The 32x was a disastrous add-on which lacked popularity and bombed due to being too expensive and a lack of sales. A total of 40 games were released on the system. The full list of which can be seen in the below spoiler tag:


After Burner Complete (1995)


BC Racers (1995)
Blackthorne (1995)
Brutal Unleashed: Above the Claw (1995)
Corpse Killer (1994)*
Cosmic Carnage (1995)
Darxide (1995)
Doom (1994)
Fahrenheit (1995)*
FIFA Soccer '96 (1995)
Golf Magazine: 36 Great Holes Starring Fred Couples (1995)
Knuckles' Chaotix (1995)
Kolibri (1995)
Metal Head (1995)
Mortal Kombat II (1995)
Motocross Championship (1995)
NBA Jam Tournament Edition (1995)
NFL Quarterback Club (1995)
Night Trap (1994)*
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (1995)
Primal Rage (1995)
RBI Baseball '95 (1995)
Sangokushi IV (1995)
Slam City with Scottie Pippen (1995)*
Space Harrier (1994)
Spider-Man: Web of Fire (1996)
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy Starship Bridge Simulator (1995)
Star Wars Arcade (1994)
Stellar Assault (1995)
Supreme Warrior (1995)*
Surgical Strike (199x)*
T-Mek (1995)
Tempo (1995)
Toughman Contest (1995)
Virtua Fighter (1995)
Virtua Racing Deluxe (1994)
World Series Baseball Starring Deion Sanders (1995)
WWF RAW (1995)
WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game (1995)
Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 (1995)




Instead of the game featuring Sonic and Tails, both characters were removed to be replaced by Knuckles, Mighty and new characters, Vector, Espio, Charmy Bee, Heavy and Bomb all with their unique abilities.

Mighty isn't really a Chaotix. He's more of a stand in for Sonic who was original intended to be in Chaotix along with Tails. Hacking has unearthed proof that Sonic was removed and Mighty (who originally appeared in SEGASonic Arcade) took his place and was given pretty much identical sprites.

Evidence of Tails was also found in the form of a broken Echidna-type character nicknamed "Wechnia" which has Tails assets including his flying ability. Fun fact; Taxman used Tails swimming sprite from Chaotix when he added the fox to Sonic CD 2011.

Chaotix's gameplay is a very stop and start (careful platforming and maddening speed) kind of nature. The two player rubber band co-op gimmick makes Chaotix feel very different from the Genesis titles. I found the progression a little frustrating the first time I played it, but once I got used to the rubber-band physics it became easier to get through the levels more quickly.

The Story:

According to the game's Japanese manual, a mysterious island rose from the sea shortly after the events of Sonic & Knuckles. Eggman discovered the island, and found a mysterious ring inscribed with descriptions of the Chaos Rings, ancient Rings infused with Chaos Emerald energy. In order to find these Rings, Eggman built his base, the Newtrogic High Zone, on the island. Mighty the Armadillo, Espio the Chameleon, Vector the Crocodile, and Charmy Bee also arrived at the island, and ended up being captured by Eggman and Metal Sonic, and placed in Eggman's Combi Catcher machine. Knuckles, curious about the strange island, goes there as well, and manages to rescue Espio. The two then go on to stop Eggman from getting the Chaos Rings.

The story provided by the Western manual, however, is completely different. In it, Knuckles guards Carnival Island, a large hi-tech amusement park. Dr. Robotnik goes there to steal the power emerald that powers the whole island so he can use it to power his evil devices. Dr. Robotnik traps Vector the Crocodile, Charmy Bee, and Mighty the Armadillo, who were visiting the island, in the Combi Confiner (a machine Robotnik built that freezes them in time) and is about to do the same to Espio the Chameleon until Knuckles chases him away. Knuckles then discovers that he can rescue one friend at a time using ring power, which holds the two partners together like a rubber band. All the characters (plus Heavy the Robot and Bomb the Bomb) then work together to save Carnival Island from Robotnik.



There are effectively 25 acts in the game (not counting the final boss, and Isolated Island tutorial stage) which you access from the main hub world; Newtrogic High:

Chaotix_Newtrogic_Outside.PNG

From there you select the characters you wish to play with and which level to play via a kind of roulette system.

combicatcher.pngmqdefault.jpg

You then have five zones to choose from; Amazing Arena, Botanic Base, Marina Madness, Speed Slider, and Techno Tower. Each with five acts, with an Eggman boss at the end of the fifth act.

Amazing Arena: The complex Labryinth like maze. Botantic Base a beautiful green paradise. Marina Madness, a stage based around boats, harbors, but there's no water. Speed Slider which is all about insane speed and Techo Tower a funky looking stage where you race to the top.

The level design can often be confusing and there are no specific landmarks which stand out (like in the Genesis games) and thus it all seems to blend. There's nothing particularly memorable.

Sonic Team really tried hard to make this game a unique experience. Most of the team behind Sonic CD worked on Chaotix.

It's just a shame this game was made on the ill-fated 32x, as it likely would have been more popular had it been a Saturn title. Apart from being released on Microsoft Windows (via GameTap) this game has never been re-released. SEGA tried to include Chaotix in the Sonic Mega Collection, but this never came to be due to problems porting the game. I've only ever played it via emulation.

SEGA made use of the 32x's superior hardware by incorporating 3d designs into the 2d stages.

Before you touch the act ending sign-post: Chaotix-Eggman.png After you touch it: Chaotix-Clear.png

The bosses have very detailed designs and the boss fights are at best, okay. Not hard, although it's tricky to avoid getting hit due some bizarre gimmicks. This is mainly because you're trying to control two characters which makes it slightly harder to time your attacks. You can so easily end up throwing your partner at the boss, only to then - yourself - be propelled straight into the line of fire. You also get a brief cutscene before each Eggman boss.

Very unusual for a Sonic game is that Amazing Arena (acts 1 to 5) has a kind of mini-boss which pops up halfway through each stage. You can't hit it. You just need to avoid it's attacks for about 30 seconds and then it goes away.

The penultimate boss fight against Metal Sonic in Neutrogic High is such a bizarre concept. You just hope to get lucky by selecting the box marked with an 'x' each time when you have to play a roulette game.

Metal Sonic Kai is the easiest final boss I have ever played in a Sonic game. It is a blatant rip-off of the Sonic 3&K Death Egg giant robot. I.e you destroy the hands/arms and then attack Kai's body. I do like the 3d design of the boss and the arena's background.

ChaotixPenBoss.pngMSKaiFight.png

 

The bonus stage is pretty cool. Although I don't like the fact that your ring total slowly counts down. The problem with this is that by the time you have collected some more rings, overall your rings total would have hardly increased.

 

bonusstage_shot1.pngknuckles_chaotix_32x_bonus_stage.jpg

 

I also don't like the fact you don't have lives in this game, and that there are no extra lives awarded for getting 100/200 rings and no extra life item boxes. To be fair though you will hardly ever die. It has a very easy difficulty.

I like the item boxes you can pick up, such as the boxes that make your character temporarily smaller or larger. It looks really cool. I also think the box which briefly gives you control of the your AI partner, and the box that can temporarily switch your AI partner to a different character is a fun idea.

Knuckles_Chaotix_Shrink.gif                       Knuckles_Chaotix_Grow.gif                       Knuckles_Chaotix_Swap.gif                        Knuckles_Chaotix_Change.gif                        Knuckles_Chaotix_Combi-Ring.gif

The little character animations that you see when the characters have stood still for a while, like Knuckles crouching down-twiddling his rubber band ring and Vector dancing, lol. I also like Knuckles climbing animation, because it makes him look slightly more like an Echidna.

Special stages:

I gotta say that I absolutely love the 3d Hexagonal maze design. It's really interesting platforming. It's nice that they brought back the Blue Sphere's from 3&K. I also like that you can move up the walls of the stage which then becomes the floor (from your perspective) as you move. It's quite disorientating, but fun once you get used to it.

specialstage1_shot2.pngChaotix_specialstage.png

To be fair the special stage does kind of overstay it's welcome, as it can go on for ages. I like very much how your ring total from the level is carried into the special stage, giving you incentive to explore the levels thoroughly to get as many rings as you can. Your rings counting down in the special stage gives you something to think about, but it's fair.

If you mange to collect all six Chaos Rings in the special stages you get the Good Ending, and if you don't you get the bad ending. Both are rather underwhelming.

chaog-8.pngchaobad-4.png

It's ironic that there are no death pits in the levels, like in Sonic CD (with the exception of Metallic Madness Zone 3) which is nice, but the special stages are filled with instant fail death pits.

Oh and as for replaying the special stages again from the see-through wireframe perspective after you have obtained all six chaos rings? Well, your reward for beating them is, err............500,000 points. There are no super forms.

The game has some nice music, such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaykX3Cie3E,

and


You can get Amy to appear in the Sound Test menu.

Chaotix_Amy.png

I've always found Knuckles Chaotix to be a very interesting game. Has a weird story and level hub structure, and doesn't have great replay value, but a decent Sonic game all the same. It's a very experimental game full of interesting ideas. Some well implemented and some not so well designed.

This short
review of Chaotix is worth watching.

So.........over to you guys. What do you think of Chaotix?
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By no means a classic, but I always had a soft spot for this game.  It's weird, quirky, bizarre and just downright silly for a Sonic game.  And I like it because of that.  The color scheme and level design always threw me for a loop because it was just so out-there.  The controls took some getting used to and the connected ring thing was an interesting concept, but probably not the best idea in the world.  Still a fun experience overall for me.

 

I always thought the final boss was more like the Apocalypse fight in X-Men vs. Street Fighter to be honest.  And I always loved the Bad Ending music, "Destructive Power".  Too bad it's such a short track that loops, because it's pretty badass sounding.

 

I really need to get a working 32x again to give this game another run.  And if not for this game, we wouldn't have this comedy gem (NSFW language):

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12N5WfIgm6I

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I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't have even heard of Chaotix if it wasn't for Egoraptor's parody on it.

 

I played it a few years ago through emulation and recently replayed it again and I've got to say, it's really fun game.

 

Though it's nowhere close to the classic trilogy or CD but it's a good game in its own right.

 

The levels while a bit on the unmemorable side had really wacky visuals though Amazing Arena's color palette was way too bright. I liked the rubber ring mechanic since you can gain, ridiculous amounts of speed that puts the other classic Sonic games to shame. I'm not even joking!

 

The music is really nice too, with favorites like Isolated Island, the Special Stage theme, Marina Madness and Speed Slider.

 

The Special Stages is an interesting concept on the Blue Spheres Special Stage but as Ocelot said, they go a bit too long for its own good.

 

The bosses are alright though I did enjoy the bossfight with Metal.

 

Overall, Knuckles Chaotix is a pretty good game to play though I wouldn't call it the best in the series. People should try it out if they haven't before!

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I've never played Chaotix before, but from what I seen, it's pretty fun. Y'know... I've got some free time now, so I think I could actually try it now! :D

 

EDIT:

Just played about five (or somewhere around it) levels and I gotta say - It really is fun. Such a shame that it's so underrated and forgotten!

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I honestly like the game myself. The only dislike I have is that Sonic isn't playable nor is Tails... despite knowing that they were playable at some point in time. :P I still have yet to collect all the chaos rings though... I'm lucky that my girlfriend got me a complete copy of the game a few years back, since I've noticed that the game is quite expensive now. (I'm actually looking at the game now, since it's on my computer desk for some reason. xD) The music is awesome too!

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As my username would suggest, I have a deep love for this game and Knuckles himself. If anyone gets the chance to play it I highly recommend you do. Im a proud owner of an unboxed PAL version of the game and a fully sealed US version too, as well as my 32X. 

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Might try and get the stuff together and play the proper way sometime in April.

 

I've already commemorated the anniversary on Bumbleking by changing my avatar and sig to celebrate for two months. Good thing it wasn't on here or I'd have hardly made use of it by now!

 

So yeah, I do love playing me some Chaotix from time to time. I always see it more of a puzzle platformer, which is refreshing compared to the usual 2D Sonic style I'm not so keen on (aside from notable exceptions like Sonic 2). Plus it's fun flinging yourself about the place and the special stages are some of the most fun in the Sonic series too.

 

This is something I didn't say pre-wipe though; nowadays it feels sort of...disingenuous to call Chaotix a Knuckles game. From what we now know of the history of the game, Knuckles was thrown into the game a while after the big guns had been moved to work on NiGHTS, and it was likely a fairly late decision to try and grab more recognition from his name alone. And it really rings true when you compare it to other character spinoffs. Tails Adventure feels like Tails' story when you look at all the elements integrated into the game (it pulled from Tails' demonstrated technical ability and expanded on it). Shadow the Hedgehog was definitely something only Shadow could do story-wise. Chaotix...if you cut out the manual bit, it would not have Knuckles' stamp anywhere on it. And it's even more apparent by the view of it from the guys in charge; aside from the fact it's only called Chaotix in Japan, the only time it ever really gets pulled up for reference is talking about other characters, never Knuckles, because it's not really considered his story. 

 

...But hey, happy 20th!

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I tried playing Knuckles Chaotix years ago on an emulator and I just could not get into it. Now I wish I could replay it just for the novelty, but I want to play it properly. No I'm not buying a crappy 32x, I want Sega to release this game as part of a collection or something. I'm surprised they haven't done this yet actually! Is there are a particular reason why they haven't?

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This is something I didn't say pre-wipe though; nowadays it feels sort of...disingenuous to call Chaotix a Knuckles game. From what we now know of the history of the game, Knuckles was thrown into the game a while after the big guns had been moved to work on NiGHTS, and it was likely a fairly late decision to try and grab more recognition from his name alone.

 

Adding Knuckles to Chaotix made sense in terms of recognition of the Sonic brand. Obviously "Sonic Chaotix" would have made a damn sight more sense. Outside of Japan, SEGA probably thought the game would struggle to sell due to no one knowing what a Chaotix was and the unique co-op gameplay.

 

It seems strange - kind of lazy perhaps - to remove Sonic and then just replace him with Mighty, a character which has pretty much identical sprites. Below is Sonic's sprites from Sonic Crackers compared to Mighty's in Chaotix:

 

 

Sonickmightysheet.png

 

 

Why even remove Sonic and Tails in the first place? A title name of "Chaotix featuring Sonic the Hedgehog" would have made more sense.

 

In quite a few of the early Chaotix prototypes the US version of the game actually had the title screen as Chaotix "Featuring Espio the Chameleon" instead of  "featuring Knuckles", which is interesting. It could be that Espio was originally going to be the star (and not Knuckles) after Sonic was removed.

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Knuckles was big at that point. Like, REALLY big, saving him for S+K instead of Sonic 3 itself almost seemed like a clever marketing scheme because thousands scooped it up in excitement after months yearning to finally play as this cool new character. I guess they wanted to really test the drawing power of the character market wise, similar to how Sally was getting a lot of merchandising at this point. This was sorta the point any one was ecstatic over a new Sonic character (oh how times have changed :P). A game about five of them and one is the star? A jackpot in the making.

 

Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine seemed an even odder one. They pretty much downgraded Puyo Puyo's cutscenes just so they wouldn't have to include Sonic in any form (Kirby's Ghost Trap/Avalanche shows easily he could have been implemented). I mean I know PINGAS Robotnik is sorta popular, but really?

 

 

 

 

 

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Adding Knuckles to Chaotix made sense in terms of recognition of the Sonic brand. Obviously "Sonic Chaotix" would have made a damn sight more sense. Outside of Japan, SEGA probably thought the game would struggle to sell due to no one knowing what a Chaotix was and the unique co-op gameplay.

 

It seems strange - kind of lazy perhaps - to remove Sonic and then just replace him with Mighty, a character which has pretty much identical sprites. Below is Sonic's sprites from Sonic Crackers compared to Mighty's in Chaotix:

 

 

Sonickmightysheet.png

 

 

Why even remove Sonic and Tails in the first place? A title name of "Chaotix featuring Sonic the Hedgehog" would have made more sense.

 

In quite a few of the early Chaotix prototypes the US version of the game actually had the title screen as Chaotix "Featuring Espio the Chameleon" instead of  "featuring Knuckles", which is interesting. It could be that Espio was originally going to be the star (and not Knuckles) after Sonic was removed.

 

The change of Sonic to Mighty was probably because they were intentionally trying to make it extremely different, while still in line with the Sonic branch, and when the decision was made to excise Sonic from the game Kusonoki happened to be there to bring over his SegaSonic Arcade work. Then the two Sonic Team top guys (Oshima/Hoshino) made the rest of the notable Chaotix and Espio was the headliner before they left and it was then left to the remaining team, after which Knuckles was thrown in to capitalise on his status as a prominent new star (can't say if that was an SoA or SoJ decision). Hoshino outright said that Knuckles being the star was a decision made after he left the project, and his favourite of the characters being Espio at the time suggests to me that he was supposed to be the fleshed out star of the group on top of the prototype evidence (which would explain why Espio alone appeared in Sonic the Fighters).

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Happy 20th "Knuckles Chaotix": Honestly, this deserves a remastered version than "Sonic 3 & Knuckles". You can play S3&K on many platforms, but not this game. The only platforms you can play this game on was "SEGA 32X" and "GameTap" (formerly).

 

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  • 1 month later...

Well, I was going to make a lone stand about celebrating the anniversary today with my own shout outs to it.

 

But apparently I got spied on and everyone took my goddamn claxons, even SEGA.

 

Ah, well, it's April 21st here now. Happy anniversary to the game, and to the gaming debut of my fave reptiles (and bee)!

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I have an immense amount of 2006-2009 nostalgia for this game, actually. Back when I had a cruddy computer and all I did was make games in Multimedia Fusion (with only the ability to go on the internet every other weekend), I used to play my Genesis emulator religiously, and I remember trying Chaotix for the first time (not long after ogling the really, really strange Sonic Crackers thing..).

 

At the time, I adored everything about it. And to be honest, if it wasn't for the gameplay being some hot poop (or the palette being so dang eye-straining at times), I still would. Chaotix had this really strange feel to it, but I really appreciated the effort and design put into the characters, environments, bosses and most of all... the music. Oh my gooood, Chaotix's soundtrack.

 

I can't say I hold as much love for it as the other Genesis-era Sonic games by any means, but I do gotta say that I really enjoy it for what it is... even if I would enjoy it more if it didn't play like butt. As if a slippery mis-attempt to replicate the S1-3K/CD gameplay didn't already do it in, that ring binding mechanic made it a decent bit worse. That's not to say I would've ditched the ring-bind concept, but it's execution led to some pretty dodgy level design that could've been a lot better.

 

But yeah, I have a soft spot for the game, and honestly just for how good the visuals/music/characters are, I wish it was still considered canonical to the Sonic series and got a bit more attention. I always loved the idea that the Chaotix all met within that story, and originally were with Knuckles before disbanding. Imagining their interactions together is the best; plus, it gives Knuckles more characters to have close relations with.

 

Can't say I'd actively want Taxman or Stealth to remake it though.

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I don't have much positive to say about it - never played it, not particularly interested to either. 

 

but

 

Door Into Summer is a great song. So it's got that going for it.

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I fully believe that Sonic 5 should contain three core elements. It should be made by Taxman and Stealth, have Sonic 3's polished gameplay engine and take all its artistic cues from Sonic CD and Chaotix.

 

It'll never happen, but the point still stands. Chaotix had some gorgeously surreal art design. Such a shame that the gameplay was such hot garbage. Ah well.

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