Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Went Wrong? - Knuckles Chaotix

If there is one game I wish The Angry Video Game Nerd would rip apart, it is Knuckles Chaotix. A genuinely bad game that should never have been made.

Released on the 32x in the mid 90's, it was Sega's answer to the Super FX games Nintendo was cranking out. Chaotix was pretty much a tech demo to show off what the system could do: realtime sprite scaling, increased RAM capacity, and maybe some of that BLAST PROCESSING we'd heard so much about.

The game features a strange mechanic in the sonic world. You play as one character tethered to another by a band of ring energy. Essentially rubber band physics. You're supposed to bounce and snap across each level.

Actually, it's more like ascend each level, which leads to the first problem with the game. The level design. No matter which zone you're in, every level is exactly the same. You start at the bottom, and work your way up to the top.


(Not my video. I link to it to show you the gameplay.)



Second problem: the rubber band mechanic is unused. The developers had this interesting new game mechanic, but didn't have a clue what to do with it. Sure, you use it to reach platforms and open doors you otherwise wouldn't be able to, but otherwise it serves no real function.


Third problem is the music. It's terrible. Here, let me show you the BEST song in the game, which happens to be level zero:



Now imagine the entire soundtrack is just like this. Stuck on those high notes with the same vocabulary, barely any melody or variety, just like the levels they accompany. It sounds like Sega took the sound chip from the Game Gear and stuck it in the 32x! The Genesis had better quality than this!


Fourth problem: where are the enemies?! I went through the ENTIRE GAME and only died once, and that was on the final boss. Through all the levels, I hardly ever saw an enemy. There's nothing in your way from the bottom of the level to the top.


What went wrong?

It looks like it was thrown together in a rush to show off the 32x's capabilities. There might've been a couple good ideas at the core, but there is nothing in here that's well-executed or fun.

Knuckles Chaotix is a rushed mess. The only remotely good thing about this game is the characters it introduced. I like Vector the crocodile's design, and I'm glad Sega took him and the other best characters and saved them for a return in Sonic Heroes.

Other than that, Chaotix is a boring, repetitive waste.

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