Video Game / Knuckles' Chaotix
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.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Suggested to be the case since Word of God says that the Chaotix were re-imagined for Sonic Heroes, not re-appearing. Also referenced in Sonic Generations, which has Mighty's last appearance at 1993. Which is strange when you realize that two of this game's songs are in that game. However, Sonic Mania incorporates elements from this game as part of its homage to the Genesis era Sonic games, such as the 32x's enhanced color palette and the Combi Ring power up.
  • Canon Immigrant: Espio, who may have been originally supposed to be the main character made his debut here before making appearances in other media. Mighty the Armadillo is a Canon Emigrant, having first appeared in SegaSonic the Hedgehog.
    • 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. Then any other rings collected are turned into points.
    • There is a cap the other way as well. You can get as low as -99 rings. Anything below that and you are sent back to the attractions screen. You lose rings by calling your partner. You are sent back to the attractions screen if hit while alone and with anything under 0 rings.
    • Also, you can only take 200 rings into a Special Stage. Anything above that is simply lost.
  • 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-main line Sonic game with one.
  • 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.
  • Dummied Out: Tails. Also, sprites of him in the Tornado, and Super Sonic have been found within the ROM.
    • 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 fairly large discrepancies between the English and Japanese plots, they all have the same problem—Dr. Eggman is using the Island and the Chaos Rings 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 of getting 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.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: 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.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: At the end, Robotnik and Metal Sonic are defeated and fly off together into the background... and a gigantic snarling red demonic version of Metal Sonic suddenly rises into the screen and proceeds to try to smash and blast you into paste. Fans and comic creators alike are torn on whether or not this is supposed to be Metal Sonic himself, since the game isn't clear.
  • 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...
    • Easter Egg: ...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.
  • 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...
  • Missing Secret: The screenshot shown in the manual depicting the island as a peaceful paradise is nowhere to be found in the game.
  • The Moles: Heavy the Robot and Bomb are implied to be this.
  • Nerf: The spindash 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 punny 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, and it shows. The level design is very barren and haphazard and quite repetitive, with enemies being sporadic, and there are also some bugs that can be encountered. The teamwork mechanic is also very wonky and unrefined.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Another Sonic tradition is turned on it's 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.
  • 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 designed 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.
  • 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, the Robot Mosquito and remodeled versions of the 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.