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Chaotix title.png
Publisher: Sega
System(s): Sega 32X
ROM size: 3 MB
Genre: Action
Number of players: 1-2
Release Date RRP Code Rating
Sega 32X
1995-05[1]  ? 84503
Sega 32X
1995-04-21 ¥7,800 GM-5003
Sega 32X
1995-06 [2]  ? 84503-50
Sega 32X
1995  ? 152090
For the group of characters, see Chaotix (characters) and Team Chaotix.

Chaotix (カオティクス), known as Knuckles' Chaotix on western packaging and Chaotix: Featuring Knuckles the Echidna (カオティクス ~FEATURING ナックルズ ザ エキドゥナ~) on Japanese packaging, is a Sonic the Hedgehog-related game released for the Sega 32X in early 1995. It gives the newly introduced Knuckles the Echidna the starring role, alongside a new group of characters informally known as the "Chaotix", collectively stopping Dr. Eggman and Metal Sonic from exploiting the powers of the Special Rings.

Chaotix had a troubled development history, beginning life as Sonic Crackers for the Sega Mega Drive before being housed on the 32X, an equally troubled piece of video game hardware. Neither Sonic the Hedgehog nor Miles "Tails" Prower appear in the game (bar an ending cameo), with their places filled by Mighty the Armadillo, Vector the Crocodile, Charmy Bee and Espio the Chameleon. Other characters include Bomb the Mechanic and Heavy the Mechanic which act as booby prize characters. There is strong evidence to suggest that both Sonic and Tails were playable at some point, however they were removed from the game for currently unknown reasons.

Chaotix is the only 32X outing for the Sonic universe (although Sonic X-treme was once tipped for a 32X release) and is considered to be a black sheep in the Sonic family. Many of its concepts have not been seen in a Sonic game since, and the game was only officially rereleased once, through GameTap briefly in 2007.


According the game's Japanese manual, a mysterious island rose from the sea shortly after the events of Sonic & Knuckles. Doctor Eggman discovered the island, and found a mysterious small ring inscribed with descriptions of a lost civilization. Additionally, Eggman discovered a Special Ring identical to the ones on the Floating Island. These Special Rings create a mysterious dimensional space filled with the Master Emerald Pillar's energy, which had crystallized and formed six Chaos Rings. Determined to unlock the secrets of the Special Rings and the power to summon the Master Emerald, Eggman built his base, the Newtrogic High Zone, on the island. Before long, Eggman had succeeded in crystallizing energy into his own artificial Dark Rings, which he used to power his new robot army. Mighty the Armadillo, Espio the Chameleon, Vector the Crocodile, and Charmy Bee also arrived at the island, and ended up being captured by Eggman and Metal Sonic, and placed in Eggman's Combi Catcher machine. Knuckles, curious about the strange island, goes there as well, and manages to rescue Espio. The two then go on to thwart Eggman's plans.

The story provided by the Western manual, however, is completely different. In it, Knuckles guards Carnival Island, a large hi-tech amusement park. Dr. Robotnik goes there to steal the power emerald that powers the whole island so he can use it to power his evil devices. Dr. Robotnik traps Vector the Crocodile, Charmy Bee, and Mighty the Armadillo, who were visiting the island, in the Combi Confiner (a machine Robotnik built that freezes them in time) and is about to do the same to Espio the Chameleon until Knuckles chases him away. Knuckles then discovers that he can rescue one friend at a time using ring power, which holds the two partners together like a rubber band. All the characters (plus Heavy the Robot and Bomb) then work together to save Carnival Island from Robotnik.


Mighty and Knuckles attempting to make a stand against Dr. Robotnik.

The primary objective of the game remains unchanged from previous Sonic titles; the player must finish each level (called "attractions" in this game) in under ten minutes and defeat Dr. Eggman's Badniks along the way. Rings still constitute the player's life energy and can be collected to enter special stages. Extra lives are unobtainable in the game (due to the fact that you don't really have "Lives" to begin with) — once the player is damaged when he has no rings and his partner is absent (if you have no rings, getting hit will temporarily cause you to lose your partner, but he will return eventually) or if you use 'recall' to reduce your ring counter to negative 99 rings or lower, you will automatically be taken back to the world lobby (or back to the title screen, if you are in Isolated Island) and be given a chance to leave/save or to choose a different partner and/or try to choose another attraction to play.

The main game is divided into five attractions, each one consisting of five different levels. The stages are set in different times of day (morning, day, evening, night), which is determined by how long you stay in the previous stage (if there was no change, then next time there will definitely be a change). The time of day effects enemy placements and boss difficulty. At the end of level 5, the player confronts Dr. Eggman in one of his contraptions.

Chaos Emeralds are completely absent from this game, and in their place are Chaos Rings which function identically to the Emeralds. Collecting the rings is similar to that of Sonic 1. Pick up at least 50 rings and make it the the giant ring at the end of the act (except if you're playing the fifth act.) In the Special Stage, you must run through a long 3D obstacle course and collect a certain number of Blue Spheres. Completing a stage will award you a Chaos Ring, and collecting all six, unfortunately, does nothing but change the background in the credits.

The most fundamental change in Knuckles' Chaotix is the special ring force bond between characters. In earlier Sonic games, two-player mode would consist either of a traditional split screen race or a joint single player effort with Tails as a secondary character. In the latter case, this meant that Tails could move off screen and get lost for a few seconds until he returned to Sonic.

In Chaotix, however, both players are at all times connected on one single screen while neither player acts as the dominant force to move the game forward. Besides the staple of traditional Sonic moves, like the Spin Jump, Roll and Spin Dash, and the new character-exclusive abilities this means some new tricks can be executed with the elastic force of the ring bond. For example, player 1 can hold his position while player 2 (or the AI, if in single-player mode) runs forward and stretches the bond to gain maximum speed. In mid-air the bond can be used to generate an upward momentum. Additionally, players can toss each other toward platforms or use the 'recall' button to reunite (at a cost of ten rings, even going into a negative count if necessary).

Consequently, damage is a bit more complicated. If an AI character is hit, only one ring is lost; if a human player's character is hit, behavior depends on whether or not he has picked up a Combine Ring (blue ring monitor). If the player has a Combine Ring, the lost rings will come out as one big ring, giving him ten seconds to get that ring and reclaim all your rings before it breaks apart. If he doesn't have it, then he loses all his rings.

Espio and Bomb taking a jog through Techno Tower.

Each character has their own unique abilities, speeds, weights, stopping speed, jump height and throwing strength. Knuckles the Echidna still has his gliding and climbing abilities from Sonic & Knuckles, Espio the Chameleon can walk on walls, Mighty the Armadillo can wall jump, Vector the Crocodile can dash through the air and climb walls, and last but certainly not least, Charmy Bee is not only the fastest, but also has an overpowered flying ability. Only fully playable through the Level Select, or as a partner, the fake prize characters Bomb the Mechanic and Heavy the Mechanic only serve to slow down the player. Bomb violently explodes whenever he gets hit, which can actually cause damage to the player, and Heavy is by far the slowest, which can slow levels like Speed Slider down to a crawl.

Due to the game's length, Chaotix was given a battery-backup save feature which allows the player to save their progress either manually (by going past the exit sign) or automatically (your progress is immediately saved after you beat an act/special stage).

On a side note, all of the badniks and almost all of the bosses in the game use gray, power sapped rings to function rather than animals. However, the rings cannot be collected like regular rings, as they dissolve not long after falling out of their badnik/boss machine. This concept was later used for Tails Adventures' and Sonic Advance 3's robots, but the rings appear to be fine when released and can be collected like any other ring.


Chaotix saw one of the most expansive item repertoires in Sonic history, as well as the most one-game items in the series' history.

  • Super Ring - Gives 10 rings instantly.
  • Combine Ring - Fuses the player's rings together as they are collected until he is hit. Upon taking damage, the player will release one ring equivalent to all rings lost. If the ring is not collected in a short time, it explodes into individual rings.
  • Shield - Supplies the player with a barrier, protecting him from one hit without ring loss.
  • Invincible - Makes the player and partner invincible for 20 seconds.
  • Power Sneakers - Increases the player and partner's speed for 20 seconds.
  • Swap - Transforms the player into the partner, and the partner into the player, for 20 seconds.
  • Change - Transforms the partner into the player shown on the monitor for 20 seconds. The item is best used in a two-player game, and the player who does NOT want to transform must open the monitor.
  • Grow - Doubles the player in size, thus increasing his weight eightfold and jump height fourfold, for 20 seconds.
  • Shrink - Halves the player in size, thus decreasing his weight eightfold and jump height fourfold, for 20 seconds.
  • Claw - Bonus Stage exclusive item. Makes the claw game in Newtronic High Zone move on the player's command, disables the timer and allows the player to pick a character without it changing.
  • 5 Levels - Bonus Stage exclusive item. Makes the level randomizer in Newtronic High Zone move MUCH slower, and picks the level instantly when Spindashed into.


Ring bonus at end of level: 100 points for each ring held

Time bonus at end of level:

  • Game clock reads 0'29'99 or less = 50,000
  • Game clock reads 0'30'00 to 0'44'99 = 10,000
  • Game clock reads 0'45'00 to 0'59'99 = 5,000
  • Game clock reads 1'00'00 to 1'29'99 = 4,000
  • Game clock reads 1'30'00 to 1'59'99 = 3,000
  • Game clock reads 2'00'00 to 2'59'99 = 2,000
  • Game clock reads 3'00'00 to 3'59'99 = 1,000
  • Game clock reads 4'00'00 to 4'59'99 = 500
  • Game clock reads 5'00'00 or more = 0

Secret bonus at the end of a level: 10,000 points for taking a hidden alternate route, winning a Bonus Stage exclusive item or by entering the Special Stage

Enemies - 100 points per enemy destroyed

Bosses - 10,000 points per boss fight destroyed



The history of Chaotix stretches back to Sonic Crackers, in which it was Sonic and Tails connected together attempting to traverse through stages. Originally put forward as a proof of concept, Crackers was given the green light for a 32X release, being developed in conjunction with the system itself. It was not, however, released as a launch title, nor even mentioned in the gaming press until late 1994.

Sonic and Tails were both scrapped (although fragments of their data still exist), with Sonic becoming Mighty and Tails being removed from the game entirely (or rather, becoming the infamous "Wechnia", a glitch-ridden character not accessible through normal play). A number of prototypes have been released onto the internet, the earlier ones giving "Wechnia" a Tails-like flying move. Some (such as 1227) refer to the game as Knuckles' Ring Star. Evidence from these prototypes also suggest Espio was set to be seen as the main character in western regions.

Amy Rose was also discovered in the game's code by ICEknight, not as a playable character, but as part of a sound test cameo (later re-implemented by Esrael). There are also strong connections with Sonic the Hedgehog CD, with many of Chaotix's staff having worked on that game.


Due to the unpopularity of the 32X, Chaotix sold far fewer units in comparison to many of the Mega Drive Sonic games. The 32X hardware has also put it at a disadvantage when it comes to official emulation - it has yet to be brought to any newer systems and so has become one of the more obscure Sonic games.

With the exception of comics and nods to this game's existence, Mighty (Edit - Mighty is available as a playable character in Sonic Mania Encore DLC also known as Sonic Mania Plus), Heavy and Bomb have not been seen in any Sonic game since (minus a brief cameo that the former was given in Sonic Generations). Espio was included in Sonic the Fighters, but Vector and Charmy were not seen in a video game until 2004's Sonic Heroes, where alongside Espio they formed Team Chaotix (and all three have had cameos since). The concept of a player controlling two characters was recycled for Sonic Advance 3, although the physics behind the ring connection has not been repeated.

In Sonic Generations, a remix of Door Into Summer, the theme of Isolated Island, plays in the Collection Room in the HD versions, while a different remix can be unlocked in the 3DS version by completing StreetPass missions. In addition, when the Ring Time skill is activated in the HD versions, a remix of Tube Panic, the Special Stage theme plays.

Sonic Mania makes a number of references to Chaotix and even imports a few elements. The Combine Ring power-up was brought back as the "Hyper Ring" with a slightly different function, the Carry Badnik appears in the second Act of Press Garden Zone, and a number of sound effects have been imported, primarily in Studiopolis Zone. The secret ending achieved by playing as Knuckles with "& Knuckles" turned on is accompanied by a remix of This Horizon. Sonic Mania Plus finally brings back Mighty as a playable character, as he has not been seen since Chaotix.


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Main article: Chaotix manuals

Production credits

Source: In-game credits


Physical scans

Sega 32X
83 Sonic Retro Average
Based on 4 reviews
Publication Score Source
Computer & Video Games (UK) 75 №163, p64/65/66
Sega Power (UK) 86 №68, p30/31/32/33
Sega Pro (UK) 84 #46 Pg 60/61/62/63
Sonic the Comic (UK) 88 №54, p10/11
32X, US
Chaotix 32x us cart.jpg
Chaotix 32X US manual.pdf
32X, EU
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Chaotix 32x eu cart.jpg
Chaotix 32X EU manual.pdf
32X, JP
Chaotix 32x jp back cover.jpgChaotix-box-jap.jpg
Chaotix 32X JP Cart Back.jpgChaotix 32x jp cart.jpg
Chaotix 32X JP manual.pdf
32X, BR
Chaotix 32x br cover.jpg
Chaotix 32x br cart.jpg
Chaotix 32X BR manual.pdf

External Links


Chaotix title.png

Main page

Promotional material
Magazine articles

Hidden content
Region coding
Hacking guide

Sonic games for the following systems
Sega Mega Drive

Sega Mega-CD
Sega 32X
 1991  Sonic the Hedgehog | Sonic Eraser     1992  Sonic the Hedgehog 2     1993  Sonic the Hedgehog CD | Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine | Sonic Spinball     1994  Sonic the Hedgehog 3 | Sonic & Knuckles     1995  Chaotix | Sonic Classics     1996  Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island