Sonic Chaos, also known as Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos and Sonic & Tails (ソニック＆テイルス Sonikku to Teirusu??) in Japan, is a platforming game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series released for the Sega Master System and Game Gear in 1993. Developed by Aspect and published by Sega, the game was the last platform-based Sonic title for the Master System in Europe.
Sharing many gameplay elements from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit), the game features new movesets for the playable characters, new power-ups and different mechanics. Sonic Chaos is notable for being the first 8-bit Sonic title to feature Tails as a playable character and also the first in the Sonic series where the player can use his flight ability.
Sonic Chaos notably features three different storylines. In addition to the western storylines being rewritten from the Japanese, both the western Game Gear and Master System's storylines follow different directions rather than borrowing from each other.
The storyline takes place on South Island, the resting place of the Chaos Emeralds. While Sonic and Miles "Tails" Prower were gone on an adventure, Dr. Eggman managed to procure one of the Chaos Emeralds. As a result, the rest of the Emeralds scattered around the island. Without the Emeralds' power, South Island began sinking into the sea. Hearing rumors of Eggman's plot, Sonic and Tails returned to South Island, only to find it in chaos. With no time to lose, the duo rushed off to stop Eggman's plan and save the island by regaining the Emeralds.
In the western releases, the story had its premise simplified. Following his twisted ideas for conquering the world, Dr. Robotnik stole the red Chaos Emerald to create nuclear bombs and laser weapons. As a result, the rest of the Emeralds lost their balance and flew into a parallel universe. Without the Emeralds' power, South Island began sinking into the ocean. Sonic and Tails thus set off to stop Dr. Robotnik and restore balance to the universe by getting the Emeralds back.
In the Master System's storyline, one year has passed since the six Chaos Emeralds were restored to South Island. With the Emeralds being kept in the island's North Cave, peace reigned over South Island, while Sonic and Tails kept themselves busy with loud practice runs. One day however, a terrible explosion rocked the island. As the Animals investigated, Flicky the Bluebird discovered the Chaos Emeralds were gone, their absence having created an imbalance that leaked chaos into the world. To make matters worse, South Island would sink into the ocean if the Emeralds were not returned. As if on cue, Robotnik arrived in his Egg Mobile with the red Chaos Emerald, announcing that he would conquer the world once he got the remaining Emeralds. Sonic and Tails thus set off to get the Emeralds first and save the world.
Sonic Chaos is a 2D side-scrolling platforming game with similar gameplay to the previous 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog games. The player can choose between Sonic the Hedgehog or Miles "Tails" Prower to play as. With Sonic, the player gets three lives and no Continues from the start, while Tails grants the player five lives and three Continues. By comparison, Tails moves slower than Sonic however. The main goal is to reach the end of each Act of a Zone (a level in the game) within a time limit.
The characters can use the basic Spin Jump and Super Spin Attack maneuvers, along with the Super Spin Dash introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. From Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Sonic has also been given the Strike Dash to dash off at maximum speed. Tails has similarly been given a separate ability called Airman Tails which lets him fly in mid-air for a short time.
Rings are found in every Zone. Like in other Sonic games, collecting Rings protects the player from taking damage. Receiving a harmful hit will make the player drop all their Rings, though some can be recollected before they disappear. Getting hit a second time without any Rings causes the player lose a try and make them restart the Act. A character will also lose a try if they spend too long underwater without replenishing their air supply, fall into a bottomless pit, or run out of time. If a character loses a try when the number of Continues remaining is zero, the game will end. For Sonic, collecting 100 Rings transports the player into a Special Stage. For Tails, who cannot enter the Special Stages, he instead gains an extra life after collecting 100 Rings. Also, each Ring grants points at the end-of-Act tally for each character.
Like many other Sonic games, Sonic Chaos features Video Monitors that contain power-ups, such as Super Rings (grants ten extra Rings), Speed Shoes (increase acceleration briefly), Invincibles (grants temporary invulnerability) and Extra Lives. Exclusive power-ups to Sonic are the Rocket Shoes which lets Sonic fly in midair for a short time. For Tails, any Video Monitors with Rocket Shoes in his Acts are replaced with Super Rings.
Each Zone in Sonic Chaos is short with a linear design and few alternate routes, making progressing through the game rather simple. Zones contain structures like shuttle loops, corkscrew loops and transport tubes, along with a few gimmicks. Generally, Springs are hidden in the ground for the player's surprise and the new Pogo Springs can be activated from metallic boxes. The latter gimmick lets the player bounce around on a mobile Spring for higher elevation.
Aside from the game's main goal, the player can collect the six Chaos Emeralds for Sonic. The first five Emeralds can be collected from the Special Stages while the sixth is obtained automatically after the game's final boss. Collecting all six unlocks the game's cinematic good ending. When playing as Tails, the player gets the good ending either way.
|left and right||Walking/Running|
|right/left + down||Super Spin Attack|
|down + /||Super Spin Dash|
|up + /||Strike Dash (Sonic only)|
|up + /||Airman Tails (Tails only)|
|Start button||Pauses the game.|
- Video monitors
- Giant Rings (Special Stages only)
- Chaos Emeralds (Special Stages only)
Gimmicks and obstacles
- Springs (red and yellow)
- Pogo Springs
- Air Bubbles
- Conveyor Belts
- Bonus Plates
Bonus Plate rewards
Like in previous games, Bonus Plates appear at the end of the first and second Act of each Zone. When passing them, the player's speed (which is seemingly based on an Act's completion time) is tallied in kilometers per hour. The highest possible speed is 999 km/h. Having three of the same numbers in the measurement (for example 555 km/h) grants an extra life. Also upon being passed, the Bonus Plates will spin and give awards based on the image they show. The rewards are:
- Master Robots
Sonic Chaos contains a total of six Zones, each split into three Acts. After clearing the first two Acts, the player encounters the Zone's boss in the third, shorter Act. Defeating the boss allows the player to progress onto the next Zone. The Zones in their order are:
- Turquoise Hill Zone
- Gigalopolis Zone
- Sleeping Egg Zone
- Mecha Green Hill Zone
- Aqua Planet Zone
- Electric Egg Zone
The Special Stages in Sonic Chaos are unique amongst the Sonic the Hedgehog games due to how each Special Stage has its own level design where the player has to either fly through the sky, navigate pipe mazes, scale platforms, or speedrun. In general, the player has to cross each Special Stage's obstacle course within sixty seconds to earn its Chaos Emerald. The Special Stage ends when the player runs out of time, fall off the screen, or get the Chaos Emerald (which also earns a Continue). The player will then be sent to the next Act in the Zone. If the player already has the Chaos Emeralds, collecting 100 Rings will no longer warp Sonic to the Special Stage and will instead reward him with an extra life.
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||8.25/10|
Sonic Chaos received generally positive reviews during its release. GamePro praised the game's graphics and gameplay, stating that while the game was "not as tough as some of the other Sonic adventures, it's still a cart that fans of the hogmeister are gonna wanna roll with." Sega Magazine also praised the Master System version of the game for its polished graphics and playability while stating that it was "very entertaining, this had us coming back for more even when we'd finished it." The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game an 8.25 out of 10, commenting that it retains all the elements that made the 16-bit Sonic games fun. They also praised the graphics and the ability to play as Tails. Mean Machines Sega gave a mediocre score of 71%, praising the graphics and gameplay, but conlcudes the review by stating that it was "a very weak Sonic game that combines lack of originality with complete absence of challenge."
Over the years, the game received more mixed reviews. Lucas M. Thomas of IGN gave the Virtual Console re-release score a 6 out of 10, noting that the game "isn't total retread of territory covered before in earlier Sonic titles -- but it's pretty close." Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer gave a score a 7 out of 10 for the Virtual Console re-release, stating "perhaps the strongest argument in favour of Sonic Chaos is that it's a relatively unseen entry in a franchise where most of the attention was directed at the Megadrive titles. For Sonic fans who know most of the games inside out, this one will probably still seem quite fresh." Darren Calvert of Nintendo Life critized the game for being uninspired and lacking of discernable challenge, saying that "hardcore Sonic fans might get a kick out of this lesser known incarnation, but for most there will be no reason to bother with this."
In 1994, Sonic Chaos was awarded "Best Sega Game Gear Game of 1993" by Electronic Gaming Monthly.
After the release, Sonic Chaos was re-released for the Game Gear by distributor company Majesco in the United States. Because of this, the game is one of the first Sonic titles to be re-rated "E for everyone" by the newly established Entertainment Software Rating Board. Years later, the Game Gear version was featured as unlockable content in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut. To unlock the game, the player has to collect either a total of 60 Emblems or completing 60 missions with all the playable characters. The game was also included in Sonic Mega Collection Plus in 2004.
Sonic Chaos and the Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball were featured in Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos & Spinball, a plug and play console released in 2005 by Techno Source. Sonic Chaos is also one of the Game Gear titles to be featured on Coleco's plug and play console "PlayPal Plug & Play" which was released in 2006. The Master System version of Sonic Chaos would not be re-released until 2009 for the Wii.
Master System and Game Gear differences
- The resolution was lowered with little regard for the overall viewing area - for instance, a Ring that flies straight into the air upon taking damage will hit the "out of bounds" area at the top of the screen, resulting in it disappearing.
- Compared to the previous entries, this game takes slightly more advantage of the Game Gear's increased color range - for instance, the unique peach and brown checkered soil of Turquoise Hill was changed to the series' now-familiar orange and yellow pattern, and the green skyline with pink streaks (likely indicating foggy pollution) of Mecha Green Hill was changed to a pink hue with green streaks.
- The title screen and character select screens were changed, as well as the Zone title card fonts.
- Between the console and handheld versions, some music tracks were mildly rearranged. This is probably most noticeable when listening to the Turquoise Hill, Sleeping Egg and Aqua Planet themes back-to-back, but in the case of Gigalopolis Zone the theme was entirely rewritten.
- The track that plays when claiming a Chaos Emerald was removed, but music was added to the Power Sneakers power-up (which was oddly missing, with no tempo effect). The intro was also given an original piece rather than the Electric Egg theme.
- The bosses appear to be a bit redrawn to make up for the smaller viewing area, being stretched a bit taller.
- There are layout changes in the Act 3 of most (if not all) Zones.
- The Bead Worm Boss may no longer shoot a spiked ball upon defeat in the Game Gear version.
- The Tree Crawler Boss is no longer over a pit of spikes, instead fighting over flat ground.
- The first four Master Robot bosses take eight hits to defeat in the Master System version. In the Game Gear version, the first and third bosses take five hits, the second boss takes three hits, and the fourth boss takes ten hits. The fifth boss also takes fifteen hits to defeat in the Game Gear version rather than eleven.
- After the final boss is cleared and Robotnik escapes, the usual victory animation and theme plays rather than the screen simply fading to white.
- Sonic originally rolled during the bad ending in the Master System version; in the Game Gear version, Sonic is instead walking then trips as he begins to run after Robotnik.
- In the Master System version, Tails' name is written as "Miles Power" instead of "Miles Prower" during the credits' cast. The Game Gear version corrects this mistake.
- The Game Gear release had regional differences of its own - the Japanese version changed the font yet again, as well as the title screen and replaced the Robotnik name with Eggman in the cast roll. On the other hand, it retained Gigalopolis Zone's name - other releases changed it to Gigapolis Zone.
- Game Gear: As the "Press Start" text appears on the title screen, press up, up, down, down, right, left, right, left and START.
- Master System: As the "Press Start" text appears on the title screen, press up, up, down, down, right, left, right, left, and .
- Game Gear: As the "Press Start" text appears on the title screen, press down, down, up, up, left, right, left, right, , and START.
- Master System: As the "Press Start" text appears on the title screen, press down, down, up, up, left, right, left, right, and .
In the Sound Test, a small easter egg is included in both the Game Gear´and Master System version of the game. By moving down, quarter circle and right, and then press /, Sonic will fire a fireball, similar to the Hadoken from Street Fighter games.
Bonus Plate tricks
In the Master System version, there are ways to achieve the Bonus Plate rewards from each Zone depending on the amount of Rings the player has. The following means can be use in Turquoise Hill Zone, Sleeping Egg Zone and Aqua Planet Zone:
- Super Ring: Finish the Act with any number of Rings ending in 9 (9, 19, 29, etc.)
- Continue: Finish the Act with 15, 30, 40, or 60 Rings.
- Backwards plate: Finish the Act with 16, 28, 32, 44, or 58 rings.
- 1-UP: Finish the Act with 55, 65, 77, 88, 95, 97, or 99 rings.
- Super Ring: Finish the Act with a multiple of 10 Rings (10, 20, 30, etc.)
- Continue: Finish the Act with 00, 24, 48, or 72 Rings.
- Backwards plate: Finish the Act with 18, 36, 45, 81, or 89 Rings.
- 1-UP: Finish the Act with 11, 33, 77, 87, 94, 96, or 98 Rings.
- Game design: M.Shima, Ray, Tadashi Ihoroi ("5OOZO")
- Art: 7LY.BigKing, Gen Adachi ("GEN♥"), Noburin, East
- Sound: Kojiro Mikusa ("Mix"), Masayuki Nagao ("Nagao N.Gee")
- Program: Koko, Hiro 777, Toshiyan, Tomoyan
- Thanks to: Hitmen, Katsuhiro Hasegawa ("The Hase"), Kensan, Gadai, Mikarin, LLG, James Spahn ("J.S"), K.Dash, Hasuwo, Yokoyamasan, Tomozou Endo ("Tomozo"), and You.
- This was the first game in the series to actually show how fast the player was moving through Zones with a Km/h Speedometer sign post at the end of each act. Only two other Sonic games have adopted this: Sonic Labyrinth and Sonic Unleashed.
- The background music for Mecha Green Hill Zone is a remix of the Green Hills Zone music in the previous 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which was also remixed into the main theme of Sonic the Hedgehog CD: "Sonic - You Can Do Anything". Similarly, this game's final boss theme is an arrangement of the previous game's boss theme in the Game Gear version, which was remixed as Metallic Madness.
- When accessing the Sound Test feature in the game, "BGM#09BH" is a track that was never played through the entire game. Interestingly, it was later used in Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble as the BGM of Sunset Park Act 3.
- The title and life lost tunes from the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are reused in a higher pitch.
- ↑ Sonic & Tails (Sega Game Gear) Japanese instruction manual, p. 4-5.
- ↑ Sonic Chaos (Sega Game Gear) United States instruction manual pg 4.
- ↑ Sonic Chaos (Sega Master System) Australian instruction manual, p. 2.
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos. GameRankings. Retrieved on 27 January 2016.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Review Crew: Sonic Chaos. EGM Media, LLC. January 1994. 52.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Whitehead, Dan (4 December 2009). Virtual Console Roundup • Page 4. Eurogamer.net. Retrieved on 27 January 2016.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Thomas, Lucas M.. Sonic Chaos Review. IGN. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved on 27 January 2016.
- ↑ Game Gear ProReview: Sonic Chaos. International Data Group. November 1993. 40-41.
- ↑ Sonic Chaos. January 1994. 126.
- ↑ Master System Review: Sonic Chaos. Emap. January 1994. 98-99.
- ↑ Calvert, Darren (3 Febuary 2009). Review: Sonic Chaos (SMS). Nintendo Life. Retrieved on 27 January 2016.
- ↑ Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1994.
- Sonic & Tails at official minisite of Virtual Console re-release (Japanese)
- Sonic Chaos at official minisite of Virtual Console re-release
- Sonic & Tails at The GHZ
- Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos at MobyGames
- Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos at GameFAQs
- Sonic Chaos (Game Gear) at SMS Power!
- Sonic Chaos (Master System) at SMS Power!