Review by Chunkey Simmons
Simple mistakes can ruin a game. Come in and see why!
After Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Game Gear was released, the Sega Genesis game came out, with a bit of changes. Since the two games were so different from each other feature wise, it was time to implement another Sonic game for the Game Gear. This is where a whole new game comes in; Sonic Chaos. Hence the name, there must be Chaos emeralds once again. But finally, a game with spindash, tails, and some new Sega Genesis features. Did everything run smoothly? Lets find out for ourselves.
You all know the storyline by now. It's the usual Chaos emeralds missing, and Sonic must collect them all and defeat Dr. Robotnik. In this release, the storyline has not changed at all. Fortunately, that's a good thing. It's how Sonic started out, lets keep it that way for a while.
When turning on the game, you will notice that the title screen has the same background music as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Game Gear. Not too much variety there. In this game, the player can pick between Sonic, or his new friend Tails, which was introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Game Gear. Knuckles had not existed yet, so he is not anywhere in the game. This is the first game, where Tails can fly. In Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Genesis, he could not fly, so from the start this game is trying something different. Even with all of these changes and add-ons that Sega put in, it's not saying much at all. The game itself is too easy. Unlike most of the Sonic games, the levels are very very straight forward. Most of the time, the player can perform a spindash and already complete about a third of the level. It's too easy, and the game will pass by very easily. Free guys can be gained extremely easily too, so it's as if dieing is not the end of the world. Since I have so many lives, I tend not to be careful, since it takes stupidity to die, and because of the overall boredom I'm having playing the game. The game offers everything the previous two Game Gear releases did, but that's not saying much, since the level layouts are crippled, it ruins the game. Not every level has a simple layout, but some are very ridiculous.
With some changes, the game could have been very nice. The boss selection in the game seems to be a lot better then in the previous two games, simply because they're clever, harder, and simply more fun to kill. That part is always fun. Like in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Game Gear, the loops that sonic must go around are absolutely pointless. It's nice to see Sega trying to make the game look like the Sega Genesis releases, but give the Game Gear a break. It can only handle so much. The loops don't give Sonic any speed at all, and like in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Game Gear, the controls are locked when Sonic is going around the loop. One good thing I can say about the game is that there are actually special stages. these stages each consist of getting to the end before the time runs out. the end has a Chaos emerald waiting for you. Here's the problem however, the special stages require 100 rings to activate. So if I wanted to go into a special stage, I would have to look around the entire stage for 100 rings, and when I do, it brings me to the special stage without my permission! What if I don't` want to go? What if I was trying to beat the game the fastest I could? Though in this game, getting 100 rings cannot happen on accident. They barely leave enough rings for you to activate a special stage, so finding these rings means no easy. Then it gets ruined by getting hit by an enemy. Then all the rings go bye bye. They tried to fix this in Sonic Triple trouble and Sonic Blast by only having Sonic lose some rings when making contact by enemies, but in those games, you don't need 100 rings to activate special stages!
The music also has to be clarified. It's not very good. It's not bad music at all, but it does not fit with any of the stages. I know the Game Gear is limited an all of that, but it's far capable of producing something a lot better then what was assigned for Sonic Chaos. The sound too. The sound is only average, with not much appeal at all. The sound isn't terrible, but it's nothing special. I say that because it sounds far from appealing, but it's sound. It's not something that can be explained directly.
The controls are pretty good. I am usually able to jump where I make an attempt to jump to, and they are very responsive. I don't see the point of the upper spindash feature, which requires pressing up on the control pad and the jump button. It doesn't make you invulnerable to enemies like a regular spindash does, and it was never included in the Sega Genesis Sonic games; not any of them had it. I guess it makes you go a little faster, but who cares? Chances are you will loose the rings you were collecting. If you need room to look around, you are able to hit the up or down button on the control pad and look up or down, depending on what button you press. This was not implemented in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Game Gear, and that game really needed it. That is another great feature about Sonic Chaos, but not very many levels required to look up or down. Looking far ahead however was needed in the game.
The graphics are very good as well. They were successful at making the game look and feel like Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Both Sonic and Tails look like each other, which is very nice to see. Plus, the bosses look extremely cool. for the Game Gear, the graphics are excellent.
Overall, the game could have been absolutely awesome, but the level layouts really ruined it for me. They are too straight forward and simple, and it brings up my boredom to a high. Remember the point of video games; they are a nice way of killing time and having fun. They re supposed to be entertaining. It's a laugh in the face when a game does not do such a thing. Unfortunately, I do not recommend this game. If you want to try it anyway, you may, and you might even like it, but it didn't do for me for simple reasons. To be fair, the game is playable, and is a Sonic game to have features. It did start a few things, such as being the first Game Gear game to have special stages, and it was the first Sonic game to have Tails be able to fly for a certain amount of time. The level layouts however ruined it for me. Simple mistakes can ruin a video game because this simple mistake could have been a big part of the game, and to mess it up would be fatal to the entire game, and the gamer. That should sum every detail about the game.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos (US, 11/23/93)
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