- Anti-Climax Boss: The Final Boss. He may be big and intimidating, but he is just way too easy for a final boss—the only danger in this boss is getting smacked during the second phase, which is still not much of a problem, and otherwise he just floats around and launches attacks that are ridiculously easy to dodge, while you pummel him to pieces by either spin attacking him or throwing your buddy at him.
- Awesome Art: The game really took advantage of sprite scaling and 3D effects of the 32X, resulting in a Genesis style Sonic game with substantially souped up art. The special stages and one of the bosses are even done using real-time 3D!
- Awesome Music: It's not exactly a Sonic game, per se, but it delivers on the trend with flying colors.
- Broken Base: The game's art, or more specifically, the color palette. Some believe the game's absolutely gargantuan number of colors are beautiful, while others think it's garish and ugly. The other 32X enhancements, like the better sprite quality and extra animation frames, are much less controversial.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Metal Sonic Kai's final boss form is probably one of the most famous aspects of the game, to the point that the form, slightly tweaked, made a return appearance in Sonic Mania Plus.
- You can forgo jumping or even rolling into enemies and just run on them while holding your partner as a sort-of human shield. It's kind of a predecessor to boost gameplay, actually.
- Playing as Charmy turns the game into a complete joke — he can fly anywhere and has no cooldown period for his dash, which makes exploration and rushing through the levels very easy.
- Goddamned Boss: The robotic Robotnik miniboss at Amazing Arena is the only boss in the whole game that requires you to shoot your partner at a target, which here is moving erratically along the top of the screen. How much HP it has depends on the current time of day in the zone and you're rewarded on how quickly you defeat it. Some players have enough trouble fighting this thing that they tend to avoid the paths that lead to it.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: This would not be the last time where teamwork would be a major part of Sonic gameplay, nor would it be the last game where Metal Sonic (apparently) pulls a One-Winged Angel (not to mention it is vaguely similar-looking to his Metal Overlord form) — and to top it off, the Chaotix were brought back for that game!
- This also wouldn't be the last time a game would have mechanics revolving around one character grabbing up and carrying another character to use as a tool.
- It's Easy, So It Sucks!: A big complaint about the game is its lack of any real challenge (bits of Fake Difficulty notwithstanding). Dying just sends you back to the level select, because there's no extra lives. And even that's unlikely, since you have a partner that basically acts as a hit point to go along with the ring and shield power-ups, and the level designs are so devoid of enemies and obstacles that you can just breeze through them with reckless abandon. The boss fights, including the final one, are a complete joke, too.
- Nightmare Fuel: The final boss is creepy as heck, with his blood-red paint job and vicious-looking fangs. Especially in the bad ending, where we get to see him hovering over a burning city.
- Padding: The game has many levels that rely on Copy-and-Paste Environments that were clearly thrown in to stretch out the game's length to five acts per level (Techno Tower in particular is really bad about this). The level gimmick in Amazing Arena where you have to replay an act all over again if you didn't turn on the lights before reaching the goal is especially egregious.
- Scrappy Mechanic:
- The tether mechanic makes many platforming sections a pain in the balls. Oh, you landed on that ledge and your partner didn't? Too bad, he'll pull you down and you have to try again.
- The game uses a slingshot mechanic as a substitute for the Spin Dash, which is very underpowered here. You hold the B button to keep your partner in place, run to the opposite side you want to go to stretch the cord, release the d-pad, and then release B. It is a needlessly complex mechanic to introduce when we've already had a simple Down+Jump boost move for several games, to the point the target audience, children, can have trouble performing the motions.
- Signature Scene: Metal Sonic Kai, in their monstrous form, razing the city in the bad ending of the game.
- So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus of the game is that, while cosmetically lush and having potential in its array of characters and gimmicks, it is let down by bland level design and clunky physics.
- That One Level:
- Amazing Arena isn't particularly hard on its own, but it has an irritating gimmick that forces you to search through the level to turn the lights on — and if you don't activate it, the clear goal will say you didn't complete the level, and you have to play it all over again. There's also a miniboss that can be a pain if you can't accurately throw your partner up at him.
- The last two Special Stages are very irritating, since they introduce some very sloppy level design and nasty Fake Difficulty (such as introducing a very high ledge in the fifth one that you have to do a perfectly timed jump to cross). And it's very hard to grab all the blue spheres without looping around in them, so if you didn't bring enough rings to extend your time, you're in for a world of pain.
- Underused Game Mechanic: The In-Universe Game Clock does have effects on enemies and the level design, but they're all small, subtle things like doors changing position or some of the bosses moving differently.
YMMV / Knuckles' Chaotix