Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Sonic Chaos (Master System review)

Developer: Aspect
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1993

Sonic Chaos is a PAL exclusive platformer that was also released on the Sega Game Gear in 1993.

Your mission is to foil Dr. Robotnik's world domination plans, and locate the six missing Chaos Emeralds to protect South Island from sinking. There's six Zones (with three Acts each), and you can play as either Sonic (has a stationary dash) or Tails (can fly short distances). The gameplay gets off to a bad start, as the slowdown is so prevalent during Sonic's jumps that the frame-rate dips and button presses can be ignored! The level design doesn't improve matters, as each stage is short and most can be beaten in 30 seconds. They really don't take much skill either, as there's hardly any enemies or obstacles. Mecha Green Hill Zone might sound appealing to long-time fans, but instead it looks like a badly designed variation of a Sonic CD (1993, Mega CD) 'Future' level. Underwater stages have never been particularly well-loved, but Aqua Planet Zone really takes the biscuit with its painfully slow gameplay. Sleeping Egg Zone's attachable springs to reach higher platforms are a great idea but they're underutilized, making them more of a brief gimmick than an integral part of the action. Electric Egg is the only Zone that stands out, and it's generally fun choosing your route as you speed through pipes. The Special Stages also provide some enjoyment, and I like how each has a unique play mechanic to help you search for Chaos Emeralds. While Tails does provide some replayability, he's weirdly unable to access these Special Stages. The bosses are a real low-point and the fact that some can be beaten by repeatedly bouncing off their heads (without touching the ground) is a joke.

Sonic Chaos feels completely heartless, devoid of charm and personality, while lacking in finesse due to its stale level design. It's also appalling short and is perhaps the easiest Sonic platformer ever created, meaning there's barely any satisfaction once you've actually beaten the game.

Random trivia: The lack of care even extends to the credits, where Tails Prower's surname is incorrectly listed as Power!

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