Cheap As Chips: Sonic Chaos (Sega Master System / Game Gear)

Cheap-As-Chips-Sonic-ChaosAs the value of countless retro games go up, we decided it was about time to put emphasis on those releases out there which won't break the bank. Starting today, we're running an all new series of reviews which focus on the best games around that can be had for peanuts - Cheap as Chips!

As an avid fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, it was inevitable that I was going to choose a Sonic game to kick off this series... So I sat down and looked upon the Blue Hog’s past adventures and decided to settle for one of his lesser played, but still cheap to buy titles, Sonic Chaos. (Sonic & Tails in Japan.) This was to be the last of Sonic's Master System outings and still holds up well today as a solid and enjoyable platformer regardless of whether you play it on Console or Handheld.

Initially Released in the EU on the Sega Master System on October 25th 1993, the game was then released on the Sega Game Gear in all territories a month later. It was later spotted amongst the repertoire of un-lockable Game Gear games as part of Sonic Adventure DX on the Nintendo Gamecube, also as a part of Sonic Mega Collection Plus on the PS2, Xbox and PC, then most recently as a Wii Virtual Console Download.

Anyone who has played a Sonic game before will no doubt be able to guess the ins and outs of the storyline here, but I’ll touch down on the basics for those who have yet to have the pleasure. Dr Robotnik is up to his old tricks again and is trying to collect the 6 Chaos Emeralds in order to achieve total world domination. (According to the North American instruction manual, he aims to use the Emeralds to create Nuclear Missiles and lasers..? How very current.)

Naturally it isn’t long before our hero, Sonic the Hedgehog and his two-tailed sidekick Tails the Fox hear about this nefarious plan and naturally, they’re not happy. Robotnik has already managed to get his hands on the all powerful Red Chaos emerald and this has caused an imbalance that has scattered the remaining emeralds across the width and breadth of South Island. (Sound familiar yet?)

And thus begins another adventure across South Island and its many zones in order to reclaim the Chaos Emeralds and Boot out Robotnik for good!

Anyone who has played Sonics previous 8-Bit outings will find this one similar in it’s execution but with a few new twists. This is the first time Tails has been a playable character in an 8-bit Sonic game and he comes with his trademark limited flight abilities. These can be used to access secret areas and to traverse environments that Sonic would find slightly trickier. To counter-act this advantage, players who choose to play as Tails will be unable to collect the Chaos Emeralds and thus, Playing as Tails can be seen as somewhat of a practice mode.

Another addition to the game is the ability to use the “Spin-Dash” move. Something that had been introduced in the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Collecting the emeralds is also slightly different this time around as Sonic Chaos has attempted to remain in step with its 16-bit Counterparts. Upon collecting 100 rings, Sonic will receive his standard extra life, but will also be transported to a special zone, with a Chaos emerald waiting at the end for him. Each Special Zone presents a different challenge to Sonic, ranging from a Jet-Boot course, through to a tunnel maze, but if Sonic is unsuccessful in reaching the emerald, he will be transported to the next act, but without the emerald.


The Game features 6 Stages, each containing 3 acts with the third act being a boss Stage.  These are:

  • Turquoise Hill Zone
  • Gigalopolis Zone
  • Sleeping Egg Zone
  • Mecha Green Hill Zone
  • Aqua Planet Zone
  • Electric Egg Zone

The items contained within the levels are the standard Sonic Item boxes and rings, although the inclusion of Sonics exclusive Item, the jet-boots certainly adds an interesting edge to the game-play. Upon picking up the boot’s, Sonic is able to reach new heights, similar to his Sidekick, Tails, but at a far greater speed.

The Game was received rather well despite having to compete against its 16 bit counter-parts and was even voted Best Sega Game Gear Game of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.

A Game-Gear exclusive sequel to the Game was released, entitled “Sonic and Tails 2” in Japan and “Sonic Triple Trouble” everywhere else.

Picking up a copy of Sonic Chaos won’t set you back much, although it’s notably cheaper to get hold of a complete copy of the Master System version than it is for the Game Gear, but as collectors we all know how tricky it can be sourcing those cardboard boxes in a good condition!

So there we have it, Sonic Chaos. A Solid 8-bit platformer that improves on its predecessors and makes a bold attempt at keeping up with it’s 16-bit brethren. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a platforming fan, particularly if you have a soft spot for the Spiky blue fella.

Buy your copy now!

Link: Find Sonic Chaos (Master System) on eBay

Link: Find Sonic Chaos (Game Gear) on eBay

Last Updated ( 26 April 2014 )  

Stevie Migan

I'm a Sega fan, RetroCollector & Writer with 20+ years of Gaming experience under my belt. Sonic the Hedgehog is a huge part of my life. Almost to the point where I think Sega should actually start sponsoring me... The way to my heart is through Vanilla Coke, Cake & Survival Horror.

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(Link to this comment) MrMegaDrive 2014-04-26 17:30
Great write up!

The Master System and the Megadrive have some great 'pocket money' games, just ordered After Burner 2 for £3.49! Most of my Megadrive games come in at less than £5 [average according to my spreadsheet is £3.30] and with over 120 games (half boxed) they are great systems to collect for... unlike the SNES and NES with their triple figure game prices.

I'm all for cheap thrills! ;-)
-1 (Link to this comment) ninjaalex 2014-04-26 19:12
The only downside to Sonic Chaos: it's too easy. One of the best looking games on the system.
(Link to this comment) GuyFawkesRetro 2014-06-16 08:33
I agree, while it plays well, sounds great and looks superb, i't can be finished in 20 mins or less! it's a shame.
(Link to this comment) Segatarian 2015-11-20 23:21
yep,to easy, sonic 2 on master system was a lot harder.
I did love the fact it had the spindash added, like sonic 2 on megadrve.
i agree with you .

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