Saturday, 21 May 2011

Knuckles' Chaotix (32X)

I'm really sorry you had to see this.

Level 2 already? When they said 'welcome to the next level' on the title screen they weren't joking. I wonder what a 'Newtrogic High Zone' is. Or what the hell that barcode is about.

Seems Sonicy enough so far. There's a spiky creature with attitude wearing shoes and gloves, and weird shaped trees in the background. Actually I think they've taken weird trees to the next level too, because those are some pretty damn weird trees.

We found Robotnik doing something with this machine, but he ran off. Now something else's going on and this cutscene is so boring that even Knuckles wants it over with. He's just sitting there, spinning his ring around on his finger. Why's he carrying a ring around anyway?

Oh shit, giant evil low res robot Sonic, run!

Uh, why are were connected by elastic rope now. Actually it's just the rings they're holding that are connected.

Drop the rings you idiots! It's okay, you've got ten more in stock.

Here's a fantastic example of a puzzle that makes use of the elastic rope. You see you first manoeuvre the sidekick onto a switch, then you have to press the hold button and walk Knuckles onto the other switch. What does this have to do with elastic rope you're wondering? Well you see, the rope makes it harder to reach the other switch, so Knuckles has to really work to stretch it out and it takes longer! Wait a minute, that's no help at all! And this isn't even a puzzle, it's just a damn waste of time.


Hey it's the switch 'puzzle' again. For the twenty thousandth time. C'mon Knuckles, keep pulling against that elastic rope, you'll make it to the switch eventually. Also, I might have dozed off for a bit and missed them, but I don't think I've seen any enemies on this entire level so far.

Okay, new plan, I'm just going to carry the sidekick for the rest of the damn level. Because I'm sick of him slowing me down.

The downside of this elastic rope feature is, well, everything! It's incredibly annoying. I can't believe that they tested this idea, decided that it was in fact a fantastic idea, and then built a whole game around it.

I found getting up to these areas harder than they needed to be at first. I could get the sidekick up there, then poor Knuckles would be hanging underneath. Then I remembered Knuckles can climb walls. Duh!

Sometimes climbing doesn't work out though. I've gotta bounce him up there the hard way.

Bonus level time! This is alright, I just run around the track collecting stuff and trying not to fall off into oblivion.

It's far better than regular gameplay just because I don't have to drag my sidekick behind me on a rope. Also I find it a little less painful to look at.

Next level, and we get to choose our character. There's no Sonic or Tails here, though I can pick a bee or a crocodile.

AGH MY EYES! I can't even see... anything. What the hell was the artist thinking?

A random level selector, and it seems to be taking me to level 1.

The same barcode twice? Shameful. I bet it doesn't actually have anything to do with the game, they just stole it off a tin of spaghetti or something.

Man, are these graphics getting worse as I go? Shockingly, even when playing as a crocodile with a robot sidekick, this game is still just as bad. But hey at least this level has a handful of enemies on it.

I'm sorry, I can't play this anymore. This is really no fun at all.


  1. Really? Knuckles Chaotix is the most popular 32x game. The artwork is pretty eye-abusive but they actually do alot with the magic elastic concept if you get past the first act (which is mostly a tutorial). Also, did you actually play the first part of the tutorial, or did you skip it by accident/on purpose? Because getting through those parts that for you one character dangled on is the first thing they teach you, and once you figure out how it works, most everyone I've talked to about it thought it was pretty fun, especially once they get to the levels where they start bouncing you around and you have to do stuff like anchor knuckles on a wall while the other bounces off springs, building up a kind of arcing momentum that, when released at the right time, swings you both around and up over a ledge.

    Like I said, it actually gets pretty interesting. When it came out it was the first accurate physics puzzler I had seen, and though I knew alot of people who didn't like it as much as the original sonic series, I've never met, or even seen anyone who played it who didn't like it at all, and didn't find it the least bit interesting.

    1. You know, I can actually believe you that it's one of the most popular games for the system. But the 32x didn't have a great line up of games and there were only like 5 platformers released for it, so it doesn't exactly have much competition.

      I did skip the tutorial because I generally like to figure things out for myself, but I just tried playing it again to refresh my memory and to be entirely honest... I did like it a bit more this time. Those annoying floor switches seemed to fade away after the first stage, and every now and again it felt like an actual Sonic game. Until that idiot I was tied to managed to mess up my jump, or pull me to a stop, or get caught on a ledge etc. It was rare that I appreciated having him around, especially when I was getting frustrated in one of the mazelike levels struggling to find the right path, and my tolerance for annoyances was running low.

      But yeah, I admit I didn't give the game a proper chance back then, and my first impressions were wrong. So I'm officially changing my opinion of Knuckles' Chaotix to 'meh, it's alright'.

  2. I managed to very slightly improve the impression made by an 18 year old game on the legendary Ray Hardgrit.

    Whoa... I feel powerful.

    If you ever find yourself exceptionally bored and/or pissed off by your recent game library, take some time and use the level skip code (I'm...reasonably sure there is one, while it may be a game genie/action replay thing, I'm almost positive I remember using one many years ago)to skip the first half of the game and check out the last couple of acts. Once you get past the part where they feel obligated to hold your hand through the puzzles introducing the new mechanic, they quickly start doing some really cool things with it. Chaotix actually has a pretty cool, and unique experience (not duplicated for me till the Portal games) where you'll play it as a normal sonic game for a while then reach a delicious bonus out of reach, a murderous concentration of enemies, or a seemingly impassable section with confusingly pointless accelerators/bouncers/etc, then you remember the new mechanic, your mind ticks for a second, then you try a quick experiment thinking "nah, couldnt possibly be, games are never that involved", and the game turns your characters into a furiously spinning/bouncing nun-chuck of murder, or a gracefully flying super bouncer, perfectly depositing you exactly where you wanted to go, or ever better giving you the momentum/power to do things you never thought possible.

    Its sublime, really, until the portal games came out I had really never seen a game duplicate the effect. Though I didn't finish it, because like all sonic games there is no save and once you get to the extreme end the game stops providing for you and you have to use the mechanic to specific effect. If you dont time things perfectly, your swan-like grace evaporates and the mechanic becomes a hindrance like you experienced at first.

    So in summary I heartily recommend the 2nd and 3rd quarter of the game, but the first and last I could leave completely.

    1. Sonic 3 had save games.

    2. Actually, Knuckles Chaotix allows you to save your progress.
      It is tricky to learn how to control your caracters, but once you get it you may like it!
      What about that "Sonic Crackers"? It was a Knuckles Chaotix like game for Genesis never released. I don't know if it is fan-made, or a prototype for KC......

  3. Oh, and something I forgot, those maze-like levels you mentioned? If you know the mechanic well enough, and get decent at the timing and the rebound and bouncing effects that you can manage with it, there is...*ALMOST* no such thing as a dead end.

    There are definitely parts that I was not able to recover from and required some backtracking or a strategic suicide to advance from, but it seems most of the mazes are designed within the idea that if you use the tether to great enough effect (and occasionally manifest the necessary luck) you can turn nearly any path into a successful level. I know some people who are extremely good at chaotix, and playing with one of them recently he made it evident to me that pretty much any space that doesnt have an enclosing ceiling is a place you can find the end from without having to backtrack more than the distance to the last spring/accelerator

  4. It's worth pointing out that this game was designed to be played cooperatively with a friend. I've never played it solo, but I used to play it with my friend and it was very fun. It's especially amusing that when you pick up your friend's character, none of their buttons work and you can essentially hold them hostage until they physically smack the controller out of your hands. Useful for when your friend is getting on your nerves or you just want to mess with them.


Semi-Random Game Box