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The Enigma That Is Knuckles' Chaotix's Development

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by The Joebro64, Aug 22, 2022.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Half of Chaotix's detractors just want it to be Sonic 3 with different characters, which given virtually all the levels are built with the combi system in mind, means you'd have to redesign every stage... and probably create new art so it's not just endless quarter pipes... and it still probably wouldn't be as good as Sonic 3.

    The other half want "more" Chaotix, i.e. use the combi rings more intelligently and give some of these characters a reason to exist. Which is fair, though I'm not sure how you'd achieve that without again, redesigning every stage. I'm drawing blanks on how you'd ever incorporate Charmy Bee in a sensible way - I can only imagine there are clues in concept art and developer documentation, of which we have very little.


    Vast chunks of this game can be (and have repeatedly been) ignored. Every Techno Tower basement, every Amazing Arena clock room, big chunks of Speed Slider that you run past - the best version of Chaotix I can think of would "do" something with all this noise, but I'll be damned if I know what that plan looks like. I would guess a slower paced game with more puzzle elements, but I'm not sure that's what people want from Sonic (or Knuckles). I'd say character-specific routes, but your partner has to be able to navigate the stage, and again, Charmy could break everything.

    I would probably axe some of the levels in favour of a new "attraction", and Marina Madness really ought to have water. But equally, I'm not sure if the 32X could cope with that. It's a very weird game.
     
  2. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    From what I understand, Chaotix (and the Sega CD version of Sonic CD) is an absolute mess internally, which is probably why there aren't many mods outside that one that replaces Mighty with Sonic.
     
  3. saxman

    saxman

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    I don't know if the intent to add water to Chaotix was ever confirmed or not, but I also imagine this being a technical challenge. I struggled with this with the Sonic Boom Engine. Sadly, I don't remember the technical details of that endeavor, so I can't say exactly how/if it applies to Chaotix. But I remember pretty much having to resign myself to the fact that a 32X build of Sonic 2 as was being built could never have water without facing V-Int issues. If someone reading this remembers anything, let me know.

    I also am guessing a potential reason for not having too many enemies is to keep the sprite count low enough to keep the game stable. The objects are drawn onto the 32X frame buffers, and my somewhat limited experience with the hardware has taught me that it requires some serious skill to optimize the drawing routines to get everything onto the screen every single frame. It's a lot easier to draw everything if the game is established at 30 fps (as is done with the 32X version of Pitfall). It might be possible to have more on screen in Chaotix, but given the hardware was new, maybe they had to lower expectations? I'm just spitballing here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2022
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  4. Linkabel

    Linkabel

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    Kind of going back to the development history of the game.

    Are there by any chance any magazines from around the world that people either know or suspect has something about the game that are not archived or owned by someone?

    I know back then magazines used to make up stuff, but you never know if there's something.
     
  5. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    https://segaretro.org/Chaotix/Magazine_articles

    Knock yourself out. If anything isn't there then https://retrocdn.net/Category:Magazine_scans
     
  6. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    There's unused bubbles and splashing sprites, though whether this was for gameplay or some elaborate introduction isn't known.

    Marina Madness is another weird stage - press buttons on floating ships and then things... "move". I'd be amazed if this was the original intent.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And then you have all these flying fish. I mean maybe they were designed to subvert expectations but you'd think flying enemies on a marina stage would be be based on seagulls or something.
     
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  7. Pobert-Eii

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    Oh boy, I get to ramble about this!

    I've already mentioned it before, but Sonic Clackers has two PCM samples buried in its data. It's of a woman who says "Let's go!" and "Hey!". This wouldn't be too noteworthy, except for one thing...

    Clackers, and by extension Chaotix, has never used any voice samples.

    Where these samples were to be used in Clackers is a mystery. Very little evidence or signs point to it being a BGM sample e.g. drums, and by 1207 the samples were removed from the transition to YM2612 PCM to SH-2 PWM. I speculate it to be possibly a leftover from another project, but I can't figure out where the source might be.

    It's possible the samples were meant to be used in-game as voice lines a la SegaSonic, but no evidence has been found of this and I'm not even sure if the sound driver in Clackers got far enough to play sound effects in-game like this.

    Until these samples are found somewhere in another game, I can't really have a definite conclusion on what they're meant for outside of muddying the already-confusing clusterfuck that is understanding Chaotix's development.

    and on that note, where did "Chaotix" as a name even come from?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2022
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  8. Forte

    Forte

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    Good question. I always assumed that it was used, because Sonic games have a long history with using Chaos word, so Chaotix could be a rad way of writing Chaotic? You know, like Mortal Kombat?

    IIRC, we have 4 different names, associated with Chaotix. The first, being obviously Sonic Crackers.

    But then we have:
    - Sonic Chaotic (from that Sonic & Knuckles guide)
    - Knuckles Ringstar
    - Knuckles Chaotix

    I'm currently at work, so I can't elaborate on it much right now, but we need to check what name came up first. The fact, that the game at one point would star Espio is also worth considering.
     
  9. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

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    -Sonic Studium (Stadium) :p
    Hum...
    Early Sonic 3 pre-Jackson samples?
    LMAO
     
  10. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I think it's a mixture of "Chaotic" and because it's for the 32X, X X X X X X - the manual calls the enemies "Badnix" for example. Heavy and Bomb are "Mechanix" - they're trying to be clever.
     
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  11. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    Yet another similarity between CD and Chaotix -- both their titles reference their system :V

    I love how Archie tried mimic Chaotix's naming convention without understanding it with the Destructix and failed :V
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2022
  12. LockOnTommy11

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    Don’t forget that it’s not actually even called Knuckles’ Chaotix, the game is just called Chaotix. It seems like in Japan they settled for Knuckles being a part of the gang and not overshadowing Espio, but in the west they wanted Knuckles front and centre.

    I used to think Metal Sonic’s name was Metal X, as my brother used to collect Sonic The Comic and used to mention it; years later I found out the comics had Metal Sonic characters called The Metallix or something, and that’s how it morphed to Metal X. I assume this was all related somehow to Knuckles Chaotix but I don’t really remember when they first debuted.
     
  13. saxman

    saxman

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    I disagree with your assertion that Knuckles is merely one of many.

    The game is called whatever they release it and market it as. I understand it only says "Chaotix" in the game and the Japanese release, but to the rest of us, it's still "Knuckles' Chaotix". And that name makes sense, not just because Knuckles was a known character, but also because that's who you start out playing. He's also the first and default character on the selection screen. As far as I can tell, Espio is there in the beginning as nothing more than a plot device.

    To me, if you had to pick a "main" character at all, it would have to be Knuckles.
     
  14. Forte

    Forte

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    So, it went from Sonic Crackers -> Chaotix feat. Espio the Chameleon -> Chaotix feat. Knuckles the Echidna?

    I find it interesting, because of a theory - that Espio might be a reworked, scrapped original Knuckles design, from early Sonic 3 concepts. It seems Espio was considered being prominent character for a bit in 1995 - 1996, even appearing in Sonic The Fighters.
     
  15. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    As far as we know, it was Clackers (I've talked to people familiar with the Japanese language - "Crackers" is 100% a mistranslation, it was intended to be Clackers) / Stadium ("Studium", like "Crackers", is also a mistranslation) -> Chaotix. Then the Western name was initially Knuckles' Ringstar before becoming Knuckles' Chaotix. And before the title screen said "featuring Espio the Chameleon", it said "featuring Knuckles the Echidna" - for whatever reason, they briefly changed the featured character to Espio before reversing course and making it Knuckles again.
     
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  16. LockOnTommy11

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    That’s not what I was saying though. In Japan he’s not the title character, (instead he’s shared with Espio on the title screen) but clearly the game was balanced enough so that it could be one thing in the east (Knuckles in the gang) and another in the west (Knuckles the star) without people really noticing. Knuckles being top of the character select list and the first playable character is a giveaway that he’s a bigger part in both, than say, Charmy or Vector, but in the west the game was renamed to Knuckles Chaotix on the box thus making his inclusion a selling point.

    The game itself however really is just called Chaotix isn’t it? Is the mention of Knuckles in the western title really any different to, say, how western games also changed the plots in the manuals, which are nowadays are considered incorrect and not canon to the international (Japanese) versions?
     
  17. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Espio is the creation of Takumi Miyake, who wasn't involved in Sonic 3 (he was a Sonic CD man). Miyake also happens to be Chaotix's lead artist - he may have even drawn the title screen - doesn't take long to change some text ;)

    (incidentally his name still comes first on the title card)

    Meanwhile Knuckles' creator, Takashi "Thomas" Yuda was probably back in Japan after his stint in the US, working on Victory Goal or something. He wouldn't have had much control over Knuckles' use - the character was a Sega property now, but there wouldn't have been a force inside the development team pushing for Knuckles to take centre stage. I think the demands for that would have come from Sega of America.


    I'd actually be curious to know what Espio's story was:
    [​IMG]
    Espio is last in the character selection screen in our prototypes, and isn't even graced with a temporary icon. He has no special moves (so is arguably the least finished), and everything about him feels like the character was shoehorned in as a replacement for Tails, but not actually replacing Tails (like Mighty replaces Sonic).

    I reckon he either comes from a totally different project Miyake was working on (hence the radically different spinning animations), or was part of a proposal to turn the game into something more unique when the call was made to scrap Sonic and Tails (but before the all clear was given to Knuckles). Perhaps it was still undecided whether Knuckles would even make the cut, given Sega's hesitency on this title - Charmy and Vector not being up to the task of fronting a game for themselves for whatever reason. I've no idea.


    I have a feeling AM2 explained somewhere as to why they put Espio in Sonic the Fighters - I don't think it was some grandiose plan to make the character mainstream, just something to make up the numbers.
     
  18. The KKM

    The KKM

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    The badnix and mechanix etc stuff are all localisation, though.

    Might be related, but if you ever looked at his sprites in detail, his scale is wrong compared to everyone else- he's too big, just slightly so. It honestly reminds me more of the scale of sprites used in Ristar, and I wonder if that's relevant.
     
  19. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I'm half under the impression that Chaotix was... supervised(?) by Sega of America. The 32X and Sonic being products mainly intended for that audience, and the existence of Bill Person as assistant producer, very much a SoA man. I think the US were quite hands-on with how this title was going to be presented, even if the actual work was done by Japanese developers.

    "Chaotix" doesn't seem like the sort of name Japanese developers would naturally gravitate too (unlike "Stadium" or "Ringstar"). Maybe someone more familiar with the language can verify that.
     
  20. saxman

    saxman

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    The intent of the developers was to call it Chaotix, I agree with that. But it's not too different from calling a Mega Drive "Genesis", except they actually put a new logo on the product that calls itself that. I think it can be both things. Chaotix, being a product of Sega, can be Knuckles' Chaotix.

    I suppose I'm really arguing semantics. Hope I'm not coming off nit-picky. I get what you're saying.

    The main point of all of this is really that the naming, best we know, was Sonic Stadium -> Sonic Crackers -> Sonic Crackers 32X (if that counts) -> Sonic Chaotic (if that's a real name...) -> Knuckles Ringstar -> (Knuckles) Chaotix.

    How accurate some of that is of course can be disputed. Sonic Chaotic seems misplaced and, in my opinion, lacks hard evidence apart from an apparent Game Players magazine reference. Although some mentioned an S&K guide? I haven't seen a link. I'll look backward some posts in case I just missed it.

    I also believe Espio probably came about as a replacement for Knuckles before a decision to keep Knuckles was made. It's the only reason I have ever been able to come up with for the "Featuring Espio the Chameleon" text on the title.