Genre: Platformer Developer: Sonic Team: Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1 Released: 1995
Oh, the 32X. Speculate all you want, but the 32X was not a bad idea. As always, however, SEGA’s timing was poor on its debut, and so it unfortunately stands out in the minds of gamers as just another official flop (probably one of the bigger ones) on the behalf of the creator of the Blue Blur.
Just how gamers think of Street Fighter and Mega Man when they think of Capcom, and how The Legend of Zelda and Mario spring to mind when Nintendo enters the conversation, SEGA is synonymous with Sonic The Hedgehog.
The Blue Blur has officially been one of SEGA’s greatest cash-cows, and oftentimes I wonder if he’s what carried them through the rougher parts of their existence. But alas, this article is not about Sonic, and that is what makes some gamers upset when they dwell upon this game. This article is about one Knuckles the Echidna, guardian of the sacred Master Emerald, and protector of the Floating Island.
Knuckles Chaotix appears to be set in a strangely alternate universe to the normal Sonic continuity. Sonic The Hedgehog doesn’t make much of an appearance in this game except for a few minor cameos at the beginning and end. Some gamers have speculated that the character Mighty the Armadillo was really Sonic The Hedgehog, and that Amy Rose was going to make an appearance, and both are to an extent true. However, at the last minute they reworked Sonic’s classic sprites from Sonic 1 and 2 into Mighty the Armadillo, and removed any trace of Amy as a playable character from the game.
Your biggest opponent in this game, as he almost always is, is Dr. Robotnik, or to our Japanese fans and recentcomers to Sonic, Dr. Eggman. Dr. Robotnik has built some strange carnival-like fortress called Newtrogic High Zone on a mysterious new island created by the Master Emerald, and has imprisoned Knuckles’ group of guardian friends. Knuckles can free one from the machine at any time, but unfortunately for him, he can only free *one*. The other downside to this is that two of Dr. Robotnik’s supposedly “abandoned” robot workers are also in the machine, and neither one is anything to be proud of. Between Heavy, who runs with all the grace of a brick, and Bomb, who blows up at “the first sign of things looking bleak,” your mission is that much more dangerous. The worst part is, you’re tethered to whoever you’re paired with. If you’ve got someone with decent skills like Espio, you’ll do fine. If you’ve got someone, like Heavy, you’re basically dragging a four-hundred-pound anvil behind you.
Chaos Emeralds in this game were swapped with a sort of ring, and if my memory serves me like it should, I remember them being called Combi Rings. You’ve gotta get five of these through the three-d special stages, which are pseudo-istically like the ones from Sonic 2. The most interesting (and odd) part of the game is that the levels are chosen in random order. You have to complete five stages with five acts each, and each playthrough is unique, never the same as the one before. (Unless you’ve got the slot-machine skills of a casino guru…)
Knuckles Chaotix was a grand experiment into the different ways Sonic could be taken. It has a bit of Mega Man 7 flair to its spriting and coloring, and a lot of the stage design looks like it was inspired by the legendary Sonic CD. Knuckles Chaotix really took the 32X and made something with it.
All-in-all, the first-gen PSX-style graphics, the AMAZING music (DOOR INTO SUMMER!), the cute character design and the solid gameplay made this title one that you DEFINITELY want to own.
Without any shadow of a doubt, pick it up.