Master System cover art
|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Platform(s)||Master System, Game Gear|
Sonic Chaos[a] is a platform game developed by Aspect and published by Sega. The game was released for the Master System in October 1993, and for the Game Gear the following month. The Game Gear version was re-released in 2003 as a hidden game in Sonic Adventure DX for the GameCube and Windows and as an included game in Sonic Mega Collection Plus on the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC. In 2009, the Master System version was released on the Virtual Console.
Sonic Chaos was the first 8-bit Sonic title to feature Tails as a playable character, and also the first in the series to allow the player to manually control his flight. A sequel, titled Sonic Triple Trouble, was released in 1994.
The plot begins with the theft of a chaos emerald from South Island by Dr. Robotnik. Since the peace and integrity of the island depend upon the presence and unity of all six emeralds, the theft causes earthquakes and turmoil. Sonic and Tails learn from Flicky the Bluebird that the emeralds have been taken from the island's North Cave. They then see the evil Dr. Robotnik flying away with the red chaos emerald. He plans to use it to build nuclear weapons and laser cannons. This leads to an imbalance in the emeralds, and causes the remaining ones to fly into a parallel universe. In order to prevent South Island from eventually collapsing into the ocean, Sonic and Tails set out to reclaim the emeralds, and restore balance to the universe, by getting the emeralds back from the parallel world.
Overall, the gameplay is similar to previous 8-bit Sonic games, though the game allowed players to engage for the first time as either Sonic or Tails. For the first time in the 8-bit series, the player may perform the Spin Dash introduced in the 16-bit version of Sonic 2. By holding up and pressing buttons, Sonic can perform the Super Peel-out introduced in Sonic CD, while Tails is able to fly, allowing players to control his flight for the first time. While playing as Sonic, players can collect rocket boots which allow him to fly through the air for a short time. He is also able to enter Special Stages. Tails is slower than Sonic and can't enter Special Stages or use rocket boots, but he starts the game with more lives and continues.
Unlike previous 8-bit Sonic games, the Chaos Emeralds are mostly located in Special Stages available while playing as Sonic. In order to enter a Special Stage, Sonic needs to collect 100 Rings in one act (the player also will be awarded an extra life for collecting 100 Rings). Successfully completing the Special Stage allows Sonic to collect a Chaos Emerald. Failing to complete the Special Stage will put Sonic to the next act, without the Emerald. Robotnik himself holds the sixth Chaos Emerald, and the player needs to beat him in order to win it back. The objective is the same for both characters, with the same ending; effectively making Tails an "Easy" mode.
The are six principal Zones to complete: Turquoise Hill, Gigalopolis (Gigapolis in Game Gear), Sleeping Egg, Mecha Green Hill, Aqua Planet, and Electric Egg.
Sonic Chaos's stages were largely based on those of the Master System's Sonic the Hedgehog 2. However, Aspect's growing experience allowed Sonic and Tails to move twice as quickly as they had in Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
In retrospect, in 2009, Ken Balough, Sega's associate brand manager, said that Sonic Chaos was "put in a bit of a situation" since a player seeing the 8-bit graphics after experiencing 16-bit graphics would make Sonic Chaos seem "a bit rough" to them. Balough added "visually and speedwise, it was just not as impressive as its Genesis brethren."
Reception and legacy
The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly scored the Game Gear version 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. Sonic Chaos was awarded Best Game Gear Game of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly. Darren Calvert of NintendoLife gave the Virtual Console release of the Master System version a 4 out of 10, criticizing its lack of difficulty, short length, and uninspired level design.
A fan-made remake of Sonic Chaos was announced in 2018, and a demo was released in August 2018. It features 16-bit graphics, as well as new game mechanics and boss fights. VG247 described the project as "incredibly well produced" and wrote it could "pass for the next project from Sega after Sonic Mania."
- "[セガハード大百科] ゲームギア対応ソフトウェア（セガ発売）". Sega. Archived from the original on June 1, 2012. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
- Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos PAL Instruction Manual. Sega. 1993. p. 8-10.
- "Sonic Chaos: Special Stage :: WiiWare Walkthrough". KidzWorld. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
- "Sonic Chaos". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 52. November 1993. p. 148.
- Gamespot Staff. "Sonic the Hedgehog Q&A." GameSpot. September 8, 2009. Retrieved on November 29, 2009.
- "Review Crew: Sonic Chaos". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 54. Sendai Publishing. January 1994. p. 52.
- "Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide". 1994.
- Calvert, Darren (February 2, 2009). "Review: Sonic Chaos (SMS)". Nintendolife. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- Donaldson, Alex (August 28, 2018). "The Sonic community just released a slew of amazing fangame demos". VG247. Retrieved August 29, 2018.