Thursday 23 August 2007

Random Review - Chaotix

Regular PC will be back up and running by the weekend, but I've not got much else to do in between times. So hey lets blog about some random game for some reason because I haven't got a review site to do it on instead.

Knuckles Chaotix. There's loads of people against ROMs and as such they never get to play this, or if they do they end up wasting loads of cash on a 32X that isn't guaranteed to work and doesn't really offer anything else of value that hasn't been ported onto better consoles. Don't get it. Okay, get it, but not on a real 32X. Sure you miss out on the joys of a MegaDrive controller, but it's barely playable anyway.

So what's wrong with it? Loads. Chaotix started it's life as Sonic Crackers, a MegaDrive proto that's been surfing the net for years. The concept was that Sonic and Tails would be joined together at all times, having to use each other to progress. Crackers is glitch city but has surprisingly great music. Chaotix was built off Crackers, and Sonic became Mighty yada yada yada details. Sega did the stupid move of making the 32X, a system that boasted the same amount of colours as a SNES and could be fitted on top of a MegaDrive to play 32X games. Sega had already done this with the Mega CD though, so customers were already getting confused. There's even 5 Mega CD 32x games that need both to work. Chaotix became a 32X game, and possibly the only decent original game on the platform.

But enough about the history. Chaotix clearly tries to use as much of the 32X's new features as possible. Particle effects, re-sizing, colours etc. It looks great, although looks like an ordinary MegaDrive game at times. Gameplay is a fixed Crackers, but unfortunately it still uses the whole partner system. Yes you get a lot of characters to choose from and they're all different, but it still feels broken. You're always flying about and the computer player always holds you back in some way and you're left with the impression "Why didn't they just make a true sequel to Sonic 3 & Knuckles?".

The levels are huge, but they're all the same. There's really only 5 levels, each getting a palette change once they're randomly selected. Levels are huge due to the flying about, but huge is a bit boring. It's just basic running and jumping. The switches in the first screenshot only appear in the introductory level. The rest you can complete in seconds with Charmy Bee as he carries the other guy with him and renders the other characters useless. Mighty and Espio are already inferior to Knuckles and Vector, and Heavy and Bomb are useless.

The music's also WORSE than that of Sonic Crackers. The 32X didn't improve on the sound much either so there's no excuse for this.

Possibly the most disappointing part? The special stages. The 32X's 3D capabilities, much like the SNES's aren't too great, but like all Sonic games, the special stages house the most advanced features. The result, a hexagonal tube of hatred. Jumping about with a lack of draw distance, this is probably THE worst special stage in a Sonic game, except for Sonic 3D Blast on the MegaDrive and the Advance series. Better if they'd waited a year or two for the Saturn to roll along so that they could do this properly.

Don't get me wrong though, Chaotix is far from being the worst Sonic game ever. Despite the control system being stupid and it really just being there to market the 32X's abilities it's a solid game and is the last "classic" 2D Sonic platformer. You can see what they're trying to do but it just isn't done.

The conclusion: Don't get this on the 32X. It should have been a Saturn game (Because lets face it, THAT's the console that needed Sonic and friends), it should have dropped the partner system (Which strangely it does as a "punishment" for if you run out of rings and get hit), and it should have been included in Sonic Gems Collection. You may not see this one again, so get the ROM and enjoy. Sure that's illegal, but hey, surely all those purchases to play the cart off your TV must be a crime too. The fans want it on the Wii's Virtual Console, but lets face it, Sega are clearly masking the 32X or else it would have been included in Mega/Gems Collection (and there's half a dozen Sonics to come first). There's also a hack that replaces Mighty with Sonic, if you care.

On another note, Mario Galaxy only gets released 4 days earlier in America than here. Thank god it's not months.

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