Knuckles' Chaotix (known in-game and in Japan as Chaotix) is a side-scrolling platformer developed and published by Sega for the Sega 32X on April 20, 1995.
A spin-off of the Sonic the Hedgehog series (and the only game in the series to be released on the short-lived Sega Genesis add-on), players control a team of animal heroes (led by Knuckles the Echidna) as they try to save Carnival Island from the evil Dr. Robotnik (and his robot lackey, Metal Sonic).
The game is notable for its "buddy system", in which the player has an A.I. companion (who can also be controlled by a second player) that is tethered to their chosen character using a special "ring force bond". This bond can be used like an elastic band, allowing crafty players to use it to propel themselves in multiple directions.
Whilst Knuckles' Chaotix is similar to previous 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games in terms of working through a 2D platform level with elements of speed, collecting rings along the way, Chaotix introduced a buddy system where two characters are connected at all times by a bond between two special golden rings. This connection can be stretched like an elastic band, and so can be used to propel characters along the levels either horizontally or vertically, and is also used to open doors and complete some small puzzles when one character stands still and 'holds' the ring whilst the other character runs in a direction to stretch the link between them. This system is used for multiplayer cooperative play between two players that operate on the same screen, or can be controlled by the computer within single player.
Players start the game's prologue sequence as Knuckles as he rescues Espio. From there, players choose their main character (controlled by Player 1) and must choose their companion in a "crane game" fashion (including spots for the two "booby trap" characters, Heavy and Bomb).
- Espio the Chameleon - Espio can walk upright on walls and ceilings (by holding down the Jump button while approaching a wall) and can destroy most enemies by charging at them.
- Charmy Bee - The shortest character of the group, Charmy is unable to attack enemies, but can fly indefinitely while being able to carry the other player with him (by holding down a direction and pressing the Jump button in mid-air).
- Vector the Crocodile - The tallest character of the group, Vector can perform a dash attack (by pressing the Jump button in mid-air) and can climb up walls (like Knuckles, only it's required to hold down the Jump button).
- Heavy - Cannot be playable as the main character. Although Heavy is invincible to all attacks (and can destroy enemies by colliding with them), he has low jumping ability and is extremely hard to pull around by other players.
- Bomb - Cannot be playable as the main character. Although lightweight, Bomb explodes (and then regenerates) when it collides with an enemy, causing damage to all nearby objects (both enemies and the other player).
Similar to how characters can be chosen using the 'Combi-Catcher' between stages, the stages themselves are also chosen at random using a similar device. There are up to five 'acts' and each are chosen randomly, rather than completed in turn, with a boss at the end of each stage. When a stage is complete, it cannot be selected anymore. The stages are:
A lush green area of the island within a greenhouse that holds beautiful plants and deadly badniks.
Based on past Sonic levels such as Casino Night, Speed Slider is a speedy rollercoaster-based level with dips and slides and a merry-go-round, and a section within the middle of the stage that dips up and down.
At the start of this stage, the area is grey with full music. You must find the light switch to 'switch on' the stage into a colourful musical stage. This stage is maze-like with many different teleporters and platforms.
A stage based on a cruise, the 'ship' moves up and down the stage, revealing different platforming areas.
A futuristic tower, where you must climb all the way to the very top!
Bonus and Special Stage
By finding large hidden rings, you can access the Bonus Stage if you have 20 rings. The bonus stage is a vertical free falling mini-game where you navigate past blocks to pick up power ups, extra rings, lives and other bonuses, such as the ability to move the 'Combi-Catcher' freely when selecting a character. You lose rings as you float down the bonus stage, which ends when you either touch a 'End' block or run out of rings.
The Special Stage is accessed by a large ring at the end of each stage act if you have 50 rings. Here, you move your character along a hexagon-shaped tube collecting blue spheres whilst avoiding pitfalls, spikebombs and other traps. Similar to the Bonus Stage, your rings are your timer and count down, ending the stage when you run out. By collecting all of the 'Chaos Rings', you can unlock a better ending.