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FEATURING KNUCKLES THE ECHIDNA
WELCOME TO THE NEXT LEVEL
IN SUPER 32X WORLD


— Tagline

Knuckles' Chaotix (カオティクス Kaotikusu?, lit. "Chaotix"), also known as simply Chaotix, is a spin-off platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It was developed and published by Sega for the Sega 32X, making it the only Sonic game to ever be released on that system. It was released in March 1995 in North America, April 1995 in Japan, and saw a European release in June of the same year.

In Knuckles' Chaotix, Knuckles and the "Chaotix Crew" team up in Newtrogic High Zone to stop Dr. Robotnik from conquering Sonic's world by using an ancient energy source.

Story

Spoiler warning: Plot, ending details or any kind of information follow.

The title screen of Knuckles' Chaotix.

Some months after the incident that caused the Floating Island to grace the surface of the ocean, an upheaval occurs in the southern sea, resulting in a mysterious island created by tectonic movement caused by the Master Emerald Pillar's energy to appear. Moreover, the island's appearance rapidly changes constantly due to the Pillar's power, transforming it from a mere rock into a green paradise.[6]

Curious about the island's nature, Knuckles the Echidna, the guardian of the Master Emerald, ponders if the island has vestiges of an ancient civilization that was wiped away in an instant by a "power stone" in the distant past. Suspecting that something must be amplifying the power of the Master Emerald Pillar, and with a sense of responsibility as a guardian, Knuckles heads to the island.[6]

Meanwhile, Dr. Robotnik has already discovered the island. There, he finds a small Ring inscribed with ancient texts, from which he learns that the island was once part of a lost civilization. He later finds a larger Ring that looks like the ones on the Floating Island, which was used by the legendary civilization before it disappeared. With this, he discovers that the Ring can guide him to a "power stone", which he believes to be the Master Emerald. However, this stone has already been moved to the Floating Island by the gods. Not too long after, Robotnik learns that the mysterious space created by the special Ring's power is filled with "Pillar" energy that has been turned into six objects called "Chaos Rings". The doctor then figures out that, if he manages to find out the secrets of the special Ring, not only will he be able to discover the secrets of the Rings used by Sonic's gang, but he will also be able to summon the Master Emerald. Robotnik thus begins converting the island into a resort he dubs Newtrogic High Zone, which serves as his research fortress.[6]

When Knuckles arrives in Newtrogic High Zone, he discovers that he is too late; Robotnik has managed to crystalize the Chaos Rings' power into artificial rings named "Dark Rings". The doctor has also developed a "Ring Power" that can generate a space-time connection between the Rings. With his ambitions being steadily realized, Robotnik proudly gloats that nothing will stop him from conquering the world.[6]

Wasting no time, Knuckles ventures to the nearby Isolated Island where he finds Espio the Chameleon, who is being trapped in the Combi Catcher by Dr. Robotnik. As Knuckles frees Espio, Robotnik escapes thanks to Metal Sonic, who flies away with him. Afterward, the two heroes head toward Newtrogic High Zone in search of the doctor. Along the way, they meet Vector, Charmy, Mighty, Heavy and Bomb, who have come to the island for their own reasons and join them on their adventure. The group travels through the various locations of Newtrogic High Zone, defeating Robotnik's contraptions while hunting for the Chaos Rings.

Eventually, the heroes encounter Metal Sonic, whom they defeat. After that, Robotnik seizes a giant Dark Ring and leaves with Metal Sonic. Soon after, Knuckles and his crew face Metal Sonic Kai, which they defeat. From there, the ending of the game will depend on the player's progress:

  • If the player has not managed to collect all six Chaos Rings, the unobtained Chaos Rings will be rotating around a Dark Ring before breaking down. Then, a laughing Robotnik will be briefly shown. The credits will then roll in a burning city with Metal Sonic Kai hovering ominously over it.
  • If the player has managed to gather the six Chaos Rings, the Chaos Rings will rotate around a white text saying "COOOOL". The credits will then roll in a background showing the following characters, from left to right, in front of Sonic and Tails in the Tornado: Vector, Knuckles, Espio, Mighty, and Charmy.

Characters

Image Character Biography
Knuckles 12.png Knuckles the Echidna Knuckles is the guardian of the island and the Emerald Pillar it conceals. When Dr. Robotnik invades the island, it's up to the Echidna to set things right.[7]

Guardian of the Master Emerald "Pillar" on the legendary Floating Island. He feels more than a little responsible for the recent commotion.[8]

Espio-the-Cameleon-Knuckles-Chaotix-Art.png Espio the Chameleon This colorful chameleon values his freedom above all else, and after he was freed from Dr. Robotnik's Combi Machine, he decided he must stop the evil Doctor at all costs. He has a hot temper and an intense drive in everything he does, and sometimes his friend Charmy Bee has to remined him of his manners. Espio is quick and strong, and his whirling attack is just the thing you need to get out of a tight spot.[9]

A single-minded individual with a very strong sense of justice. He is interested in the legendary civilization and decides to visit the island to investigate its relationship with the floating island. For this reason, he is actually envious of Knuckles.[8]

Mighty chaotix.png Mighty the Armadillo Might is just that. He's strong, smart, and confident, and he can't stand weakness in anything. He's one of Knuckles' good friends, and is determined to help save the island from Robotnik[10]

A traveler who feels that his purpose in life is journeying around the world. When in a tight spot, he can turn on a dime and show off his amazing abilities, but he doesn't like to be rough and is a calm person. He happens to arrive on this island and gets caught up in the commotion...[11]

Vector 3.png Vector the Crocodile This cool croc loves the rush of running when he isn't jammin' with his friends, doing fancy footwork to the tunes on his headset, or investigating the local food courts.[7]

He is boundlessly cheerful and quite an optimist. However, he actually has a stronger sense of camaraderie than anyone else, and has the strength and kindness to face up to any challenge. He believes in the existence of God, and came to this island after hearing the news about an island of miracles.[11]

Charmy 1.png Charmy Bee Surprisingly sophisticated for his 16 years, Charmy came to the island in search of new types of flowers, and found a ton of trouble. But he handles things in his usual quick, cool and charming way.[10]

He was the first insect to cross the speed of sound, so he is very proud and can't keep quiet when he is denied. He is also very moody and mature in his words and actions. He is a self-proclaimed "fastest insect in the world" who flew to a new island in search of new flowers.[12]

Oie transparent.png Heavy the Robot Heavy works as Robotnik's chief mechanic. He's just as his name says - heavy - and he's slow.[9]
Bomb-sprite.png Bomb Bomb works as Robotnik's other mechanic. He's not very quick or strong, and he blows up when things start looking bleak.[9]
Dr-Eggman-Knuckles-Chaotix.png Dr. Robotnik He is still the same infamous genius scientist. This time, he has his eyes on an ancient special ring on the island of a lost civilization, and plans to get his hands on the Master Emerald, which he says can be summoned by it. His goal, of course, is to become the ruler of the world.[12]
Metal-Sonic-Chaotix.png Metal Sonic A Sonic-shaped robot created by Dr. Robotnik. The main and sub CPUs were recovered from the body that was destroyed in a previous confrontation with Sonic. It was replaced by a spare fuselage, which was reborn with Dark Ring power. The newly installed Plasner allows him to perform a plasma pulse attack from his chest.[13]

Gameplay

Mighty and Heavy in Amazing Arena Level 3.

Knuckles' Chaotix is a 2D side-scrolling platform with gameplay similar to that of previous Sonic games. The main mode of the game, Scenario Mode, is split into five main stages, each of which are split into five Levels, with the fifth one ending with a boss fight. Just like in past Sonic games, the goal of the Levels is to beat each of them in less than ten minutes. Knuckles' Chaotix features seven playable characters: Knuckles, Vector, Mighty, Charmy, Espio, Heavy, and Bomb. Each of these character possesses their own unique abilities in gameplay; Knuckles is able to glide and climb on walls; Mighty is the fastest runner in the game and can use the Wall Jump; Espio can walk upright on walls and ceilings and destroy unguarded enemies by running headlong into them at full speed; Vector can perform mid-air dashes and climb on walls; and Charmy can dash through the air without any limits. Notably, Heavy and Bomb cannot be selected from the character select screen, as they are instead always picked up as partners through the Combi Catcher. Neither of the two robots can attack conventionally; Heavy is heavy and slow, but is indestructible and can destroy enemies and monitors by simply walking against them. Conversely; and Bomb is tiny and quick, but explodes when he is hit.

Unlike other Sonic games, the player does not have an established order for the stages; instead, they will be taken to the World Entrance, where they can see the stages they will travel to next. They are able to choose a partner to play with through the Combi Catcher. Later, they will enter a room with a giant Bumper which, when hit, will stop a selector. The stage the player will play will depend on what area was highlighted by that selector. The first four Levels of a stage end by spinning a Goal Plate at the end of them. The fifth Levels, on the other hand, end automatically upon defeating the boss.

The main feature of Knuckles' Chaotix is the Ring Power, which links both of the playable characters in a Level at all times through Bound Rings, while neither playable character acts as the dominant force to move the game forward. This allows for some new tricks to be executed with the elastic force of the Ring Power. For example, one player can stay put while the other player runs forward, stretching the bond and abusing its elasticity to gain maximum speed. In the air, the bond can even be used to generate an upward momentum. Additionally, players can toss each other toward platforms or use the call-button to reunite, at a cost of ten Rings. Should the player use the call-button so that the Ring counter becomes negative 99 or below, the player is immediately sent back to Newtronic High Zone. Also, if the player takes damage while they have no Rings, they will lose their partner. If the characters take damage while they do not have any protection or their partner, they will be immediately sent back to the World Entrance.

Scoring system

Controls

Button formation Movement
KC knuckles icon.png
Knuckles
KC vector icon.png
Vector
KC mighty icon.png
Mighty
KC espio icon.png
Espio
KC charmy icon.png
Charmy
KC heavy icon.png
Heavy
KC bomb icon.png
Bomb
Controlpadds.png left/right Move
Controlpadds.png up Look up
Controlpadds.png down Look down/Crouch N/A
Controlpadds.png left/right + Controlpadds.png down Super Spin
C Button (Sega Genesis).svg Spin Attack Axel Spin Fly Jump
Controlpadds.png down + C Button (Sega Genesis).svg > release Controlpadds.png Spin Dash N/A
Controlpadds.png left/right + C Button (Sega Genesis).svg N/A Dash N/A
C Button (Sega Genesis).svg > hold C Button (Sega Genesis).svg Glide N/A
C Button (Sega Genesis).svg x2 N/A Power Boost N/A
Controlpadds.png up/down while on wall Climb
Hold C Button (Sega Genesis).svg while on wall > release C Button (Sega Genesis).svg N/A Kick off walls N/A
Hold C Button (Sega Genesis).svg while on wall + Controlpadds.png up > C Button (Sega Genesis).svg Jump up walls
Hold Controlpadds.png up + hold C Button (Sega Genesis).svg (midair) N/A Hover N/A
Hold C Button (Sega Genesis).svg while on wall + Controlpadds.png up N/A Run up walls N/A
Hold C Button (Sega Genesis).svg while on ceiling + Controlpadds.png left/right Run along ceilings
A Button (Sega Genesis).svg Call partner (costs ten Rings)
Hold C Button (Sega Genesis).svg while over partner > release C Button (Sega Genesis).svg Throw partner
Hold Controlpadds.png down + release Controlpadds.png down Snap Up
(1P mode)
Hold B Button (Sega Genesis).svg + Controlpadds.png left/right > release B Button (Sega Genesis).svg Forward/Reverse Snap
(1P mode)

Objects

Items

Gimmicks and obstacles

Characters

Playable characters

Non-playable characters

Enemies

Bosses

Stages

Attractions

  • Isolated Island: A special isolated area played before the main game to get players acquainted with the game's unique special maneuvers.
  • Botanic Base: The island's most natural attraction is this giant greenhouse, filled with oddly geometric trees and a jungle of hostile flora.
  • Speed Slider: A roller coaster reminiscent of Casino Night Zone and Carnival Night Zone, Speed Slider is the fastest attraction in Knuckles' Chaotix. The level moves all the way to a confrontation with Dr. Robotnik on his carousel.
  • Amazing Arena: At the start of this stage, the player is in the dark, but once the light switch is hit, Amazing Arena turns bright and colorful. If the player fails to locate this switch, the stage starts all over again.
  • Techno Tower: A futuristic-styled tower that the player must climb. In Level 5, the player can hop on a drill machine that burrows through solid walls.
  • Marina Madness: A cruise-themed attraction with a curious absence of water. The player must jump from ship to ship to complete this Level while dodging flying fish and sailing stingrays.
  • World Entrance: Between each stage, the player visits the World Entrance. Here, one can choose to end the game, select a new partner, and/or choose a new stage. It is also home to the final boss battles.

Bonus Stage

The Bonus Stage can be accessed by collecting twenty or more Rings and jumping through one of the Giant Rings found hidden throughout a Level. In the stage, the character free-falls down a long spiral of Rings, power-ups, blocks and exits while the player's Rings gradually count down to zero. The stage ends when the Ring count reaches zero or when the character hits an exit. Possible bonuses include a slow-down at the attraction roulette screen or a free pick from the Combi Catcher.

Special Stages

Special Stage in Knuckles' Chaotix

In the Special Stages, the player moves their character through a hexagonal, fully rendered 3D course to collect a specified set of blue spheres. Rings are collected as seconds and when the count reaches zero or the player falls from the course, the stage ends. When successfully completed, the player is awarded one of six Chaos Rings. Contrary to earlier games in the series, collecting all Chaos Rings does not award the player with special powers.

Special Stages can only be accessed through a single Giant Ring at the ending of each level, but the player must have collected at least fifty Rings for it to appear, similar to the original Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog CD. After a player wins all six Chaos Rings, the Special Stages start over in a wire-frame mode. This mode also gives the player 50,000 points for completing the stage.

Development

Pre-releases

  • Sonic Crackers
  • Prototype 0111
  • Prototype 0119
  • Prototype 0202
  • Prototype 0208
  • Prototype 0209
  • Prototype 0210
  • Prototype 0213
  • Prototype 0214
  • Prototype 0216
  • Prototype 1207
  • Prototype 1227
  • Prototype 1229

Reception

 Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
1Up.com B[14]
AllGame 2/5 stars[15]
Computer and Video Games 75%[5]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 7.5/10[16]
Famitsu 25/40[17]
GameFan 97.66%[18]
GamePro 2.625/5[19]
IGN 6/10[20]
Mean Machines Sega 84%[4]
Sega Power 86%[21]
Sega Saturn Magazine (UK) 5.75/10[2]
Game Players 41%[22]
Next Generation 2/5 stars[23]

Knuckles' Chaotix received mixed to somewhat positive reviews from critics, but was a commercial failure due largely to its limited availability via the Sega 32X, which itself was an unsuccessful system. These factors caused Knuckles' Chaotix to become one of the most obscure Sonic games in the franchise's history, although it was the best-selling title released on the 32X platform.

While it was praised for its graphics and music, many criticized the game's bland level design and low difficulty, and believed Knuckles' Chaotix did not push the hardware's power to the top. It was one of the last "classic" 2D-sidescrolling platformers in the franchise before the series moved into 3D with the release of Sonic Adventure in 1998.

Next Generation felt the bond mechanic was tiring and not truly innovative,[23] finding it frustrating and choppy and calling it Knuckles' Chaotix's biggest flaw. The reviewer also found that the bond complicated gameplay and compared it to being handcuffed.[19] In 2008, GamesRadar wrote that Knuckles' Chaotix was the best game for the 32X and was underrated,[24][25] though it still considered the game a "wasted opportunity".[26]

On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the game a 25 out of 40.[17] 1Up.com praised the new dimension of gameplay over the Mega Drive Sonic the Hedgehog games by having a second character, but criticized how this also slowed down gameplay.[14] Travis Fahs of IGN offered similar sentiments; admiring the attempts to "breathe life into a series that was running out of steam"[20] and the fixing of the lopsided multiplayer aspect of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and 3, wherein Tails would often get lost off-screen. On the other hand, he disliked the clunky "rubber band" physics of the game's buddy system and the lack of variation between Levels of each stage.[20]

Adaptations

The cover of Archie Knuckles Chaotix.

Archie Comics published an adaptation of this game in Archie Knuckles Chaotix. It was only loosely based on the game, however, featuring a new plot integrating the Archie-original characters and replacing Chaos Rings with Power Gems. It featured the first appearances of every Chaotix member from the game, including Heavy and Bomb, whose designs were completely redone for the comic.

Trivia

Amy in the Sound Test of Knuckles' Chaotix.

  • Sonic's sprites from the Sonic Crackers prototype, an early version of Knuckles' Chaotix, were the basis of Mighty's sprites in the final game.
  • This game was originally planned to be included in Sonic Gems Collection, but was cut due to the difficult nature of emulating the 32X software.
    • To date, Knuckles' Chaotix is the only pre-Dreamcast Sonic platformer to not see a rerelease.
  • This is the only game that uses the partial Ring system and the second to use centiseconds for the time display. The first was Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
  • Sonic and Tails have a cameo appearance in the good ending, but Sonic's legs are miscoloured and match his arms.
  • Knuckles' chest mark is colored yellow in the game. This appears on the Main Menu and during Levels, but in the box art his chest mark is correctly colored white.
  • The sound effects from this game were taken directly from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
  • If the player is idle for too long, Metal Sonic will appear and use his Plasma Pulse Attack on the player. If the player starts moving when Metal Sonic appears, he will chase the player until they stop moving and then proceed to use his Plasma Pulse Attack. The concept of something happening if the player is idle for a certain amount of time is similar to Sonic the Hedgehog CD, but the player won't lose a life or get a Game Over in Knuckles' Chaotix.
  • The stage on the box art for the American and European version is Speed Slider.
  • A remix of the Isolated Island song "Door into Summer" can be heard in the Collection Room in Sonic Generations.
    • Also, for a brief time while activating the Ring Time Skill, a remix of Tube Panic (Special Stage) can be heard while playing as Classic Sonic.
  • Unlike Espio, who would appear as a playable character in Sonic the Fighters a year later, Vector and Charmy would not be seen again until Sonic Heroes in 2003. Mighty would not see a return until the release of Sonic Mania's Encore DLC in 2018 - over two decades after the release of Knuckles' Chaotix.
    • In an interview for Sonic Heroes, Takashi Iizuka stated that Vector, Espio, and Charmy had been "reimagined" and re-introduced as new characters in that game, ignoring their depictions in Knuckles' Chaotix.[27]
  • Not counting the World Entrance, all of the stage names in the game are alliterations.

References

  1. ソフトウェア - スーパー32X専用カートリッジ(セガ発売) (Japanese). Sega. Archived from the original on 19 March 2013. Retrieved on 23 December 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Mega Gear Dog Race: カオティクス" (in Japanese). Sega Saturn Magazine: 129. April 1995. Archived from the original.
  3. Storm, E. (April 1995). Preview: Knuckles' Chaotix. GameFan. pp. 59–64. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 23 February 2022.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Cover Story: Chaotix". Mean Machines Sega (32): 14–18. June 1995. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 22 February 2022.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Merret, Steve (June 1995). "Review: Chaotix". Computer and Video Games (163): 64–66. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 23 February 2022.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Chaotix (Sega 32X) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 4-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Knuckles' Chaotix (Sega 32X) United States instruction booklet, pg. 7.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Chaotix (Sega 32X) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 6.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Knuckles' Chaotix (Sega 32X) United States instruction booklet, pg. 9.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Knuckles' Chaotix (Sega 32X) United States instruction booklet, pg. 8.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Chaotix (Sega 32X) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 7.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Chaotix (Sega 32X) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 8.
  13. Chaotix (Sega 32X) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 43.
  14. 14.0 14.1 1UP Staff . Knuckles Chaotix review. 1Up.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved on 22 February 2022.
  15. Weiss, Brett Alan . Knuckles' Chaotix. AllGame. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved on 22 February 2022.
  16. Semrad, Ed (May 1995). "Review Crew: Knuckles: Chaotix". Electronic Gaming Monthly (70): 34. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 22 February 2022.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "New Games Cross Review: カオティクス". Weekly Famicom Tsūshin (332): 31. 28 April 1995.
  18. "Viewpoint: Chaotix". GameFan: 16, 66–68. May 1995. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 22 February 2022.
  19. 19.0 19.1 McDermott, LeeAnne (June 1995). "ProReview: Knuckles' Chaotix". GamePro (81): 62. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 22 February 2022.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Fahs, Travis (26 March 2008). Knuckles Chaotix Review. IGN. Retrieved on 22 February 2022.
  21. Wallace, Danny (July 1995). "Chaotix". Sega Power (Future Publishing) (68): 30-33. Archived from the original.
  22. Baggatta, Patrick (June 1995). "Knuckles' Chaotix". Game Players (72): 42, 43. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 22 February 2022.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Rating 32X: Knuckles Chaotix". Next Generation (Imagine Media) (6): 104. June 1995. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 22 February 2022.
  24. Reparaz, Mikel (23 February 2008). The 10 worst consoles ever. GamesRadar+. Retrieved on 19 January 2019.
  25. Rudden, Dave (14 August 2014). 25 reasons we love the Sega Genesis, 25 years later. GamesRadar+. Retrieved on 19 January 2019.
  26. Roberts, David (20 August 2014). 11 games that embody the spirit of the '90s. GamesRadar+. Retrieved on 19 January 2019.
  27. Afterthoughts: SONIC HEROES - A candid chat with Sonic Team's lord of the rings. Electronic Gaming Monthly (3 February 2004). Archived from the original on 30 March 2004.
Knuckles' Chaotix

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