TSS REVIEW: Sonic Chaos / Sonic & Tails

Like the Mega Drive, this third instalment in the Master System/Game Gear series has totally renewed graphics and offers the ability to play as either Sonic or (at last) Tails as you attempt to foil Eggman’s plans. Robotnik has gone on another ‘take over the world’ bender, and has created a new fortress: the Electric Egg Zone.

As he’s gone and captured all of the little animals again (he just doesn’t know when to quit, does he?), it’s your job to get to Eggman’s base and foil his twisted plan. To the surprise of nobody, you again have to collect the Chaos Emeralds, as Robotnik can’t seem to be bothered to gather them himself. So – collect the Emeralds, destroy Eggman’s robots and slap the fat boy about a bit. The later levels don’t make this task easy though…


Platform: Master System, Game Gear | Developer: SEGA Japan
EU Release: 25 Oct 1993 | US Release: 23 Nov 1993 (GG) | JP Release: 19 Nov 1993 (GG)

A breath of fresh air, as we venture into Sega’s third Sonic game on the Master System and Game Gear. You may have already noticed that the graphics have been overhauled – although to be quite honest, the Sonic 1 and 2 style Sonic graphics looked a lot better than this. In Sonic Chaos, you have new moves at your disposal to help you stop Eggman, like the Super Peel-Out (from Sonic CD) available to Sonic. Which is just as well, because there are new enemies and dangers to worry about as you travel from the green plains of Turquoise Hill to Robotnik’s base, the Electric Egg.

There are more bosses now – Eggman has sent out some faithful robots to take care of Sonic and Tails at the end of each Zone instead of putting his own ass in danger. The robots aren’t particularly frightening (not as much as Robotnik, chortle), but they still hurt if you touch them. The first level boss is a pushover, but things go a bit mental with the later bosses, such as the guardian in Aqua Planet.


You must collect the precious gems known as Chaos Emeralds. But getting the Emeralds this time around is a bit easier than simply searching the level for them. Sonic must collect 100 rings and he will automatically enter the Special Stage, in which he has to reach a certain goal in order to gain a Chaos Emerald. Unfortunately, for some reason Tails cannot enter the Special Stage – he just gains an extra life when you get 100 rings. He also starts off with three continues. We didn’t want Tails as a handicap…

There are new items to be had, as well as new moves for Sonic and Tails – including specially-designed rocket boots for Sonic to boost off in mid air, so he can collect high-placed items. Another feature is the Spring item, which bounces you up in the air (no surprise), and back down again. You also have Sonic’s Super Peel-Out standing dash to give you a burst of speed, and Tails’ flying ability.


Yes, now you can play as Sonic’s best friend, Tails. He doesn’t have the same opportunities as Sonic; he can’t use Rocket Boots or play for a Chaos Emerald. Instead, he gets lives. Lots and lots of lives. And he flies. Which is a bonus.  Not a lot much else you can do with Tails. But if you missed playing as him in Sonic 2, then you get the chance to now. The levels are no different, you just get to higher ground with him. Still cool though.

This game feels like a breath of fresh air compared to Sonic 2, if only because of the fact that you can play as Tails. Yay! This adds a whole new element of gameplay – will you play as Sonic and blast it through the levels, or play as Tails and fly about searching every bit of ground for goodies? Although it is easier than Sonic 2, it also feels less strenuous to play.


However, in this day and age a 2-Player mode may have sufficed as well for longevity. As you play this game you quickly discover that there’s not much to play for – even though this was also true in past Sonic games,  you still felt like going back for more. With Sonic Chaos this isn’t the case. This does give you more than enough gameplay to last a while, so you get your money’s worth still, just look out for that lastability factor.


Screenshots: Master System Version

Screenshots: Game Gear Version

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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.