Video Game / Knuckles' Chaotix

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It's Knuckles in his own game!

Knuckles' Chaotix (simply known as Chaotix in Japan) is an action-platform game in the popular Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, released for the Sega 32X in 1995, and the only Sonic game to appear on that system.

There are two completely different storylines depending on the instruction manual.

In western versions: Knuckles the Echidna is the guardian of Carnival Island, a high-tech amusement resort, but Dr. Robotnik has designs on the island's Emerald Pillar, which houses the Power Emerald that supplies the island's electricity. Robotnik has trapped four of Knuckles' friends in the Combi Confiner, so it's up to Knuckles to save the day before the grand opening, reuniting the Chaotix Crew with the real ring power of teamwork.

In the Japanese version: Dr. Eggman discovers a mysterious island containing artifacts known as Chaos Rings - magic rings infused with Chaos Emerald energy - and built his base (dubbed the Newtrogic High Zone) there. Mighty the Armadillo, Espio the Chameleon, Charmy Bee, and Vector the Crocodile all arrived at around the same time for their own reasons, but were captured by Eggman and placed in his "Combi Catcher" machine to avoid interfering with his plans. Knuckles, curious about the island, ventures there as well to find out more about the Chaos Rings and their connection to the Floating Island.

The game is played with two characters, joined together by an elastic ring (with the cord shown as a trail of sparkles). Before each stage, you use the Combi Catcher to randomly select your partner, and then select a stage (also at random; how fast the stage select indicator moves depends on what day cycle you're currently on), progressing through it in normal Sonic fashion, defeating Dr. Robotnik's robots and reaching the giant ring at the end of the stage. A great deal of cooperation is required to make it through the game, as you have to make use of the properties of the elastic rings you and your partner hold in order to zoom and slingshot your way past obstacles.

Tropes used in Knuckles' Chaotix:

  • 1-Up: One of the very rare instances in the series which a Sonic game does not use 1-ups or continues. If your character gets hit without a partner, you'll just get sent back to the hub level.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Knuckles gets to headline his own game here, with a few new friends tagging along.
  • Alliterative Name: The levels: Botanic Base, Speed Slider, Amazing Arena, Marina Madness and Techno Tower.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The entire game except for the Isolated Island levels is set on one.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If your partner gets stuck, you can use the "Call" button to summon him back to you, at the price of ten rings. Curiously, the game allows you to even go into negative rings if you abuse this (but sends you back to the hub if you reach -99 rings). Amusingly, the game will actually subtract points from your score if you clear a level with negative rings.
    • If your partner gets hit by an enemy and you have rings, he'll only lose one ring so that you don't unfairly lose all of your rings. Your partner also doubles as an extra hit point, since getting hit will just cause you to lose him for a few seconds and then return.
    • The Combine Ring monitor allows all of your rings to be combined into one ring that falls out if you get hit, and you have a few seconds to grab it and get all of your rings back.
  • Background Boss: The second phase of the final boss.
  • Bottomless Pits: Averted during the normal stages. Since there are almost always two characters on the field at one time, stages are deliberately designed to keep this from happening. The Special Stages, however, are prone to this.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Partners can be used for this purpose, as they only lose one ring when hit instead of all of them (unless your partner is Bomb, who explodes when hit, causing you to lose all of your rings if you're within its blast radius). Your partner also doubles as an extra hit point, since getting hit will just cause you to lose him for a few seconds and then return.
  • The Bus Came Back/Canon Foreigner: Vector was supposed to have first appeared in the Sound Test from Sonic 1, as part of Sonic's band. While the idea was discarded, he got to make a cameo in the very first Sonic manga in 1991. As for Charmy Bee, he first appeared in another Sonic manga at around 1992.
  • Cap:
    • The game has a cap of 255 rings instead of 999. Any rings collected afterwards are turned into points.
    • There is a cap the other way as well. Calling your partner too much can give you negative rings, and the lower cap for this is -99 rings. Anything below that and you are sent back to the attractions screen.
    • Also, you can only take 200 rings into a Special Stage. Anything above that is simply lost. Likely because rings are used as the timer for the special stages, and being able to take more than 200 in would make them too easy.
  • Captain Ersatz: Mighty the Armadillo is literally just an edited Sonic sprite. Which makes the appearance of Sonic in the ending pretty strange.
  • Circus of Fear: The "Speed Slider" level. It's more like a cheery roller coaster, but Creepy Circus Music plays during the merry-go-round boss battle.
  • Color Contrast: Avoided; the game really tried hard to show off the 32,000+ colors of the 32x, and the result is a garish game with all the colors of the rainbow spread out and cranked up to neon brightness, although it does fit in with the carnival theme.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: In both the Archie comic (as a 48-page special) and Sonic the Comic (as a six-part serial).
    • And the characters became regulars for a long while, in comparison to the many years before their next appearance.
  • Credits Medley: The only non-mainline Sonic game with one.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Each zone has 5 acts instead of the usual 2 or 3 and they're rather lacking in setpieces, interesting gadgets, and hazards to play around with, so it often becomes clear each zone follows a rigid and rather repetitive level design template.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In the off chance that you get hit without having rings or a partner handy, the only penalty is just getting sent back to the level select. There's no lives system, so there's no Game Over at all.
  • Demoted to Extra: Sonic himself does not appear at all in the main game, being replaced by Mighty; he and Tails only get a cameo in the game's good ending. According to a former Sega staffer, Sega of Japan felt the 32X and the game would be a flop because of the bonding mechanism, and were afraid that having Sonic as the game's star would hurt the series' brand image, so they made Knuckles the main character instead of cancelling the game altogether.
  • Downer Ending: The game's "Bad Ending" is perhaps one of the darkest moments in the the series. Eggman uses the master Chaos Ring to repair Metal Sonic, who proceeds to destroy the island and set it ablaze.
  • Dub Induced Plothole: Despite being renamed Carnival Island in the US and the plot being centered on rescuing it before opening day, the hub and introduction to each level still refers to the world as Newtrogic High Zone, and the day and night cycle changes go on for as long as you play and impose no time limit for the player to beat the game. In addition, the whole deal with Knuckles being the guardian of Carnival Island contradicts his role as the Angel Island guardian in the other games. The Chaos Rings are also unexplained in the Western story.
  • Dummied Out: Tails was meant to appear in the game, and is semi-playable in a few early builds of the gamenote , but selecting him crashes the game in the final version. Also, sprites of him in the Tornado as well as Super Sonic have been found within the ROM.
    • Sonic was going to be in the game as well, before being replaced with Mighty.
    • Heavy and Bomb were meant to be normally selectable as primary playable characters, under the names "Heavy the Mechanic" and "Bomb the Mechanic" (they are also labelled "Robotnik's Mechanix" in the manual). This can be re-enabled with a cheat device.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In this game, Vector, Espio, and Charmy weren't part of a detective team (the title Chaotix doesn't actually refer to them as a group, but is a punny title for the game) and are described as having different personalities than how they're reimagined as in Sonic Heroes.
  • Easter Egg: Amy in the Sound Test menu.
  • Eternal Engine: The "Techno Tower" level.
  • Excuse Plot: While there are large discrepancies between the English and Japanese plots, they both have the same problem — the Doctor is invading the island using Ring Power for an evil purpose, and it's up to Knuckles and company to stop him!
  • Flight: Instead of Spin Dashing, Charmy does this to get around. It is a complete and utter Game-Breaker, since unlike Tails he has no "cooldown" period.
    • However, Charmy can't jump in the traditional sense, so he takes a bit to get used to. But yes. If you want a ridiculously easy game experience, wait until you get to Techno Tower, which can be done in less than a minute with Charmy.
  • Fake Difficulty: Between the wonkiness of the teamwork mechanic and the braindead A.I. of your partners, trying to keep control of your characters is one of the few challenges the game offers.
  • Game Mod: A romhack exists that replaces Mighty the Armadillo with Sonic.
  • Gimmick Level: The game is rather lacking in gimmicks to give each stage their own identity, but Amazing Arena is a fairly interesting one. It begins with the lights turned off, creepy music playing, and a radar pointing out the location of a clock. If you go out of your way to avoid the clock and then clear the level, it counts as a failure. This zone also contains a mini-boss fight at a certain path of each act.
  • Golden Ending: Accessible only if you've collected all of the Chaos Rings. If you miss one, you get the bad ending where Robotnik's giant robot destroys the island.
    • No Ending/A Winner Is You: The good ending is just the title screen with Sonic and Tails in the background. Even the bad ending is better.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Isolated Island stages, which are played through before reaching the Newtrogic High Zone for the first time. Oddly for a Sonic game, they are devoid of enemies.
  • Hub Level: The Newtrogic High Zone where each character appears after exiting a stage. The next stage played is selected off of a roulette style game.
  • Idle Animation: Every character has one...and if you leave them idle for a minute, Metal Sonic shows up and shoots at you.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game has a Day and Night system that changes as you enter and leave each level. This mechanic does affect certain properties of the levels, such as doors changing position or getting locked, bosses changing attack patterns, and the mini-boss on Amazing Arena being able to take more or less hits.
  • Joke Character: Heavy the Robot and Bomb. Heavy is extremely slow and heavy, and Bomb will blow up on the player if he takes a hit.
  • Jungle Japes: Botanic Base, which is also the most natural setting in the game.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: Upon taking a hit at zero rings, you will first lose your partner for a while instead of dying.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Heavy the Robot is completely indestructible. In fact, he can open monitors and destroy enemies just by walking into them. You could pretty much pick him up and run around with reckless abandon while holding him in front of you, barely suffering any damage. Taken into better effect if you break a monitor that's showing him, or — more permanently — select him as your player character through the debug menu.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: For a Sonic-based platformer of its time. To be specific, Sonic the Hedgehog had only two main characters. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had threenote , and Sonic 3 & Knuckles had four charactersnote . Sonic the Hedgehog CD had threenote . Knuckles' Chaotix has sixnote .
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The ending scene music, Tribute. The scene it plays along (which just shows how many Chaos Rings you have) runs no longer than fifteen seconds at best, but the track is a minute long. Really a shame, too, as it's a very nice track and would have been very appropiate... had there been an actual ending...
  • Mighty Glacier: Heavy the Robot is incredibly slow, but he's invincible, and can destroy monitors and enemies just by walking into them.
  • Missing Secret: The screenshot shown in the manual depicting the island as a peaceful paradise is nowhere to be found in the game.
  • The Mole: Heavy and Bomb are implied to be Eggman's spies, intentionally being hard to use to slow down the Chaotix.
  • Nerf: The Spin Dash move is available for everyone except Charmy, Heavy, and Bomb, but it's heavily watered down to encourage the player to use the teamwork mechanic to gain speed.
  • Noob Cave: The "Isolated Island" level. There are no enemies or traps, and it's basically you and your partner running wild until you reach the goal.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Despite what their later appearances would lead you to believe, the title of Chaotix is a Pun-Based Title and does not refer to Vector, Espio, and Charmy as a team like in later games. They all have their own separate agendas in this game and are only banding together to fight off Robotnik.
  • Obvious Beta: The game was rushed for release so the 32X could have a Sonic game at launch, and it shows. The teamwork mechanic is wonky and unrefined, with the A.I. being extremely stupid, failing to make jumps and running into enemies constantly.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Another Sonic tradition is turned on its head in this game. Besides the abundance of shields and rings, your own partner counts as an extra hit point for you if you get hit and neither of them have rings. Your partner will take the fall for you (literally, they fall off screen), but will quickly return to you in several seconds.
  • One-Winged Angel: The final boss is a gigantic snarling red demonic version of Metal Sonic.
  • Poison Mushroom: The Shrink monitor, which makes its user very tiny and heavily impedes their jump.
  • Power Up Letdown: The Grow monitor. While it lets you jump higher, it makes you a very easy target for enemies and the cramped level design can make it harder to move around with it.
  • Pun-Based Title:
    • The second part of the title is meant to be a play on the word "Chaotics", hence why it's possessively called Knuckles' Chaotix — it's referring to the frantic escapades of Knuckles and the gang, not the Chaotix as a team like they became years later. The X is also a play on the fact that it's released on the 32X.
    • The game's earliest known prototype is called Sonic Crackers. It's likely a "R" and "L" mixup, as the clacker toy fits the game's main mechanic neatly. The internal data also identifies the game as Sonic Studium, likely intended to be Sonic Stadium.
  • Scenery Porn: Fittingly enough for a game that takes place in a big amusement park, it has easily the most colorful levels in the classic games, if not the franchise as a whole.
  • Scoring Points: While the game doesn't provide a high score table, it has incentives towards score runs. Collecting rings while already having 255 awards the player with bonus points, as does beating the wireframe versions of the special stages after earning all the Chaos Rings.
  • Spiritual Successor: The game serves as a Sega 32X equivalent of the Sega CD's Sonic CD. The game's levels, songs, and general style have a similar feeling to Sonic CD. A couple graphics and sounds from that game are also reused here. On the subject of reused Badniks, Mosqui (Robot Mosquito) and remodeled versions of Pata Bata (Robot Butterfly) from Palmtree Panic appear in Speed Slider as Needlenose and Hoverby Mk II. Also, both games feature Metal Sonic as The Dragon, and here he even takes over Sonic's place for the Idle Animation Easter Egg. Even the same jump sound effect is used in both games, a filtered version of the ones heard in the main Genesis games.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: If you fail to collect all the Chaos Rings before defeating the Final Boss, then you'll be treated to the big demonic version of Metal Sonic hovering over a city wreathed in fire while creepy techno music plays. It comes out of nowhere and makes no sense in the context of the game.
  • Surprise Creepy: The above-mentioned Sudden Downer Ending is darker than anything else in the game, or anything in a Sonic game for that matter, since it ends with the implication of a genocide of apocalyptic proportions if not The End of the World as We Know It.
    • The final boss itself, having the most threatening character design seen in a classic Sonic game.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • The Chaos Rings are a stand-in for the Chaos Emeralds in the Special Stages, and while they don't grant super forms, they serve a similar purpose — allowing you to see the best ending. The Japanese manual even mentions that the Chaos Rings got their power directly from the Chaos Emeralds' energy. The English manual also mentions a Power Emerald, but it never appears in-game.
    • Mighty plays rather similarly to Sonic, even being the fastest character in the game. Which is unsurprising, given that early in development, Sonic was used in his stead. When the decision to remove him from the game was made, Sonic was re-skinned into Mighty.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss:
    • At Marina Madness, Eggman has a crystal-shaped barrier surrounding his whole ship, but after a while he reduces it to orbiting shards instead.
    • Instead of personally fighting the heroes, Metal Sonic acts as a battery to the former level select machine that now deploys hazards on them. It just happens that one of the machine's functions is to self-destruct.
  • Teamwork Puzzle Game: The whole elastic-ring thing.
  • Tornado Move: Espio.
  • Unfortunate Names: One of the people who took part of this project is Bill Person.
  • Video Game Lives: The game has no lives system and no checkpoints. Getting hit at zero rings and with no partner will kick you back to the entrance level, but the chances of anything except a boss killing anyone are next to zero. The game is that easy.
  • Video Game Tutorial: The game's cord mechanics are fairly complex, so the game tries its best to show you the ropes. It begins with a short prologue that introduces the cord concept and then follows with a long tutorial where you must follow the CPU's instructions. Chances are you will skip it, though, so the game then sets you on a zone without any enemies or hazards. Furthermore, the game has a Training Mode with 5 more of the same Isolated Island tutorial levels.
  • Wall Jump: Mighty and Espio.
  • Xtremely Kool Letterz: The title Chaotix, an odd play on the word Chaotics and the fact that the game is a Sega 32X exclusive title. The name ended up becoming the name of the Chaotix team (featuring three of the characters in the game, Espio, Vector, and Charmy) in Sonic Heroes years later.

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