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Review Crew
Knuckles' Chaotix: Did Critics Love this Sonic Spin-Off in 1995?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 11, 2014   |   Episode 80 (Show Archive)  

   

Knuckles' Chaotix (Sega 32X)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

After seeing the overwhelming success of Sonic the Hedgehog, you can't blame Sega for attempting a spin-off on their fledgling 32X. Instead of making yet another Sonic and Tails adventure, Sega brought Knuckles' Chaotix to the questionable add-on. Did critics fall in love with Knuckles' unique gameplay, or did they hate being tethered to another awful character? We dig through old issues of Die Hard Game Fan, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Mean Machines Sega, Game Players and GamePro for the answers.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Knuckles' Chaotix
[ Company: Sega | Console: Sega 32X ]

DIE HARD GAME FAN (May 1995)
98% out of 100%

"I'm utterly speechless - the highest power in platformers is a 32X game?? In my opinion, the Sonic series has been on a downhill roll ever since the fantastic Sonic 2 and this cart-o'power destroys it in terms of overall quality and joy! Scary scrolls numbering in double-digits, extremely cool tethered gameplay and some of the best music ever heard in a video game (On 32X!) adds up to the title I'm buying a 32X for just to play." -Nick Rox

MEAN MACHINES SEGA #32
84% out of 100%

"Whilst Chaotix looks every bit the 32bit game, with loads of sprite expansion and night and day effects, something seems to be missing from the gameplay. I spent ages ambling through each of the levels, waiting for things to hot up [sic], but they never did. Surely it wouldn't have taken that much to lob a handful of extra Badniks into the mix? Because without them, this is just not half the game it could have been." -Paul

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #70
7.0 out of 10

"Look at all the pretty colors. Yikes! Who's the madman that let the colors run rampant on this game. It's a visual overload! Anyway, Knuckles Chaotix tosses some new themes to the tired Sonic genre. In fact, you won't find Sonic anywhere. If that isn't a shock, I don't know what is. Having a second character tagging along doing all sorts of scaling and zooming can get tiresome, but it does add some spice. For the 32X owners, this may be one for you to get." -Dano

GAME PLAYERS (June 1995)
41% out of 100%

"As the 32X library continues to grow at a sluggish pace, it's difficult to accept a game such as Knuckles Chaotix without a great deal of disappointment. Unfortunately, the game makes precious little use of the power of the 32X and it makes me think perhaps the 32X might be better applied to fresh gaming ideas. In fact, other than a few color-enhanced backgrounds, you're gonna wonder why this isn't a Genesis title." -Patrick Baggatta

NEXT GENERATION #6
2 out of 5

"Like the villain in a B-horror movie who dies a thousand deaths but keeps coming back for one more, the side-scrolling platform game just keeps living. The much too colorful backgrounds, unimpressive attempts at showing off, and tiring gameplay leave Knuckles as a great game -- five years ago."

GAMEPRO (June 1995)
2 out of 5

"The Sega spotlight moves from Sonic to Knuckles as the plucky echidna stars in his own game for the 32X. Passing up this title is probably the best move of Sonic's career. After Sonic & Knuckles on the Genesis, one would expect bigger and better things. Chaotix tries to deliver but doesn't get bigger or better ... it just gets more chaotic."
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 67% - Depending on who you listened to, Knuckles' Chaotix was either the greatest platformer ever made or a colossal waste of time. All three Die Hard Game Fan editors gave the 32X game high scores, with their lower score coming in at 97%. Even Nick Roxx seems shocked: "The highest power in platformers is a 32X game??"

Most other critics disagreed, including a few who downright hated the experience. Next Generation and GamePro gave the platformer a 2 out of 5, a decidedly harsh score for both magazines. Next Gen compared the game to a bad B-horror movie, while GamePro suggested Sonic was wise to sit this game out. They both agreed that Knuckles' Chaotix feels like a game stuck in the past on a system that is supposed to propel gamers into the future.

Even with Die Hard Game Fan's insanely high scores, Knuckles' Chaotix only squeaks by with a 67%. This is significantly lower than any of the Sonic games we've covered so far. The original game averaged an impressive 90%, while Sonic the Hedgehog 2 did even better with 93%. Hell, even Sonic CD averaged an 87%. Up until this point, Knuckles Chaotix was the worst received game set in the Sonic universe.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG ARCHIVE: Want to see how this Sonic the Hedgehog game stacks up against the rest? Below you will find every Sonic game currently in the Review Crew archive. Read the original reviews and see if you agree with the old school critics.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
What Did Critics Say Back in 1993?
Sega Genesis 93%
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Genesis 92%
Sonic the Hedgehog
What Did Critics Say Back in 1991?
Sega Genesis 90%
Sonic CD
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Sega CD 87%
Sonic Spinball
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Genesis 76%
Knuckles' Chaotix
What Did Critics Say Back in 1995?
Sega 32X 67%

ON WEDNESDAY'S EPISODE: In case you haven't noticed, it's a week full of Sonic the Hedgehog spin-offs. Wednesday brings yet another game set in the Sonic universe, only this time it's not a 2D platformer. Get your flipper fingers ready, because the Review Crew will be tackling Sonic Spinball this Wendesday. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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