Knuckles' ChaotixIt was 1995, and the gaming industry was changing immensely. Gone were the days of 2D sidescrolling games, and in were vibrant, 3D games. To keep up with the everlasting console wars, SEGA released not one, but two 3D-processing consoles, known as the ill-fated Sega Saturn, and the disaster known as the Sega 32X, an add-on peripheral for the outdated Genesis console. The 32X, despite being a 32-bit add-on, could barely handle 3D-textured environments, unlike what SEGA claimed. This caused many developers to create 2D games for the 32X instead, but some gave the weak 3D engine a try. The end results were horrible looking, hexagonal pieces of cow manure. But, hey, there's more to a system than graphics, right? Of course! Games are the main factor. Sadly, the 32X, for the most part, failed in that category. Many of the games were mere rehashes of past Genesis titles, however the rehashes only upgraded them to the quality of their SNES/Arcade counterparts. Also, the original games for the add-on lacked an abundance of quality. However, there were some decent games for the 32X, namely the unpopular Chaotix.
Chaotix, a 2D title developed by Sega of Japan, was a spin-off to the well-known (yet fading) Sonic the Hedgehog series. It was originally intended to debut on the Genesis as "Sonic 4", but the idea was scrapped early in development. Chaotix starred Knuckles the Echidna, who made his debut in Sonic 3. Sega of Japan knew Knuckles had become very popular in the Sonic fanbase, and they felt fans would appreciate a game starring him. Chaotix also introduced three new characters, known as Espio the Chameleon (who was originally the main character), Vector the Crocodile, and Charmy Bee. Mighty the Armadillo also made a reappearance as a playable character since his first appearance in SegaSonic the Hedgehog, an arcade game. Also Appeared the duo of Heavy and Bomb. Also known as the "Two characters in Chaotix no one gives a shit about." In terms of gameplay, Chaotix was nothing short of innovative. Odd, but innovative. The player was to pick two characters to play as, who were strangely attached by a rubber band-esque link, with one ring on each side for the chosen characters to hold. By using this band, the characters could use a variety of techniques. One character could stand in place while the other stretched out the link which caused a great increase in speed. Also, thanks to the link, a character could throw his teammate at enemies, which proved very effective. Techniques such as these were necessities in gameplay. As for the levels, each stage was extensive and detailed, as well as unique. Although the 32X could not process 3D very well (as aforementioned), it could superbly produce brilliant 2D graphics. The stages had tons of pathways and sections to explore, leaving various ways to complete them. Also making a return from the previous Sonic games were Special Stages, which could be reached by hurling yourself into a large ring. These sets of stages were completely in 3D, which sadly looked bland and unimpressive.
While Chaotix was a fun game in itself, it was almost completely overlooked in the gaming world, as it was developed for a system that failed almost immediately after its release. Despite this fact, Chaotix remains the most unique Sonic game due to its pure innovation.
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