The Sega spotlight moves from Sonic to Knuckles as the plucky echidna stars in his own game for the 32X. But the light burns out fast for the eager rodent. Despite some new tricks and characters, that ol' Sonic magic is sorely lacking.
In Chaotix, Knuckles teams up with four new friends as they try to stop Dr. Robotnik from ruining Carnival Island's opening-day event. "Team up" is really the operative phrase here: Throughout the action, Knuckles is tied to another character, thanks to a magical rubber band with rings.
One of the elements that makes the Sonic games so enjoyable is the depth of the intricate levels and the many hidden surprises. Although Chaotix is a Sonic clone, you play through five of the most unoriginal levels ever seen by hedgehog or human.
True, the levels are fairly large, but they're too simply laid out with too few enemies and hidden secrets. Playing the other characters in the game does distill the monotony, but the new characters offer little in the way of thrilling moves.
Aside from the vibrant use of colors -- the most seen for the 32X to date -- the graphics display little innovation. The 32X does sport some scaling, but instead of mind-blowing state-of-the-art effects, you get huge chunks of pixilated colors. And, despite the many colors, the graphics lack the crisp animation of past Sonic adventures.
The tunes that wail from this game are Genesis quality, with no 32X audio apparent. There's simply nothing new to hear.
Break Free From the Chains
Chaotix's biggest problem is its choppy controls. Another operative word comes to mind -- annoying -- because being handcuffed to another player makes gameplay very difficult.
Sound frustrating? Trying to avoid unwanted power-ups is an even bigger hassle. You may jump over them, but your tagalong partner usually lands or swings right on 'em.
Sonic, We Need You
Passing up this title is probably the best move of Sonic's career. After Sonic & Knuckles on the Genesis, one would expect big- and better things. Chaotix tries to deliver but doesn't get bigger or better...it just gets more chaotic.
- Grab your partner and throw him in the air to reach high spots.
- You can pass through some walls in the levels to find hidden power-ups.
- Use Charmy's flying abilities to buzz past some of the harder spots.
- Collect as many rings as possible. If you're lost, seeing new rings is a good indication that you haven't been to that part of the stage yet
- The more rings you have in the Special stage, the more time you have to concentrate on getting the required number of blue spheres.