Submission #7924: Tuffcracker's 32X Knuckles' Chaotix "best ending" in 43:25.19

(Link to video)
System Sega 32X Emulator BizHawk 2.8
Game Version JPN/USA Frame Count 156110
ROM Filename Knuckles' Chaotix (32X) (JU) [!].32x Frame Rate 59.922751013550524
Branch best ending Rerecord Count 13985
PowerOn Authors Tuffcracker
Game Knuckles' Chaotix
Submitted by Tuffcracker on 1/1/2023 3:32:54 AM

Submission Comments
This run aims to complete the game as fast as possible while also getting all 6 Chaos Rings for the Good Ending.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 2.8
  • Complete the game as fast as possible
  • Collect all 6 Chaos Rings
  • Optimize for In-Game Time (IGT)

Comments

This run is pretty complex, so I'm going to explain some things about certain game mechanics to the best of my knowledge.
Knuckles' Chaotix is a very unique game, mostly due to the infamous "rubber-band" physics, and the lack of Sonic and Tails in gameplay (aside from a teaser in the good ending). The game has five playable characters: Mighty the Armadillo, Knuckles the Echidna, Espio the Chameleon, Vector the Crocodile, and Charmy the Bee. The primary character is also tethered to a partner, which can include the previous five characters, along with two others: Heavy, and Bomb. For this run, I chose Knuckles for the main character and Espio as the partner.
The way the game works is after completing the introduction level (and the first Special Stage if you collected 50 rings), you are sent to a character select screen. After selecting a main character, you are then taken to the hub world. This hub world has two important things here:
  • A claw machine, with which you have to choose your partner. You can also change your partner with the "Combi Catcher" again if you want to.
  • A roulette, which you have to use to play the many stages the game has to offer.
The game has 5 total "attractions" (they're not called zones, sorry hib) which each have 5 levels, totaling to 25 levels that need to be completed, excluding the introduction level Isolated Island. Levels 1-4 are normal levels, in which you can collect 50 rings, bring them to the signpost, and enter the big ring that shows up. Level 5 is also a normal level, but instead of ending with a signpost, there's a little cutscene of Robotnik showing up, then a boss battle ensues. Once all the attractions have been completed, after making your way back to the roulette, Metal Sonic will show up, and then the final boss will begin.
All of the characters have their own unique traits, which range from different abilities to different weights. Knuckles has the ability to glide and climb, Espio can run up walls and ceilings, Vector can perform an air dash and climb walls, Mighty can wall jump, and Charmy can fly through the levels, making the game a cakewalk to complete. The other two partners, Heavy and Bomb, are not particularly partners you would want. Bomb is... well, a bomb. He explodes whenever he takes damage, and he can even hurt the main character if he enters the bomb hitbox. Heavy is just a giant heavy hunk of junk, and he slows the game down considerably.
If you bring 50 or more rings to the end of a level, you can enter a big ring and start a Special Stage. Special Stages are in most Sonic games, and are used to collect the Chaos Emeralds for a good ending or to unlock Super Sonic (or Hyper Sonic if you're playing Sonic 3 & Knuckles). In Knuckles' Chaotix, you start in a hexagonal 3-dimensional tube, and are tasked with collecting a certain number of blue spheres. In the first Special Stage, you have to collect four, and in the second you have to collect six, and so on. After reaching the first goal with four blue spheres, you are tasked with collecting four more. Your character is also stuck constantly moving forward (like Sonic 3 & Knuckles) and you have to traverse the 3D path while collecting rings and avoiding hazards. If you reach the goal without enough blue spheres, the stage will loop back, and you will be sent back to the beginning of the section you failed with the amount of blue spheres you had before, as well as whatever rings you have left over. If you run out of rings or fall off the stage, the game will kick you out of the special stage, and you will have to collect another 50 rings and try again. Once you turn in four blue spheres the second time, you will be awarded with a Chaos Ring. There are 6 in total, making it six Special Stages that need to be beaten. After collecting them all, once you defeat the final boss, you will get to see the good ending.
The rubber band physics are very... interesting. It's a simple concept:
  • Holding B will make your partner stand in place and scream "HOLD" at you. You can run either left or right away from your partner to build up speed, then let go and go super fast in the other direction.
  • Alternatively, you can come up to your partner, and press and hold B. This will make your character pick up your partner, and by holding a direction (i.e. up and right, or just left) and letting go of B, your character will throw your partner in the appropriate direction. This is useful, as letting go of directional input and holding B after throwing your partner up into the air can allow you to get a lot of height and a ton of speed.
  • There's a certain mechanic to the rubber band physics that I like to call the "leader system." Basically, if you're holding B, your partner will become the leader, and you will go wherever your partner goes, regardless if you try going to the right or going down, etc. If you're holding a directional input while in the air, your main character will become the leader, and your partner will behave the same way. Going completely neutral (not holding B or any d-pad input) will make neither of you the leader, and you will both fly around like crazy, but you won't actually go anywhere. Understanding the way the rubber band physics work is key to abusing it to fly around the levels at insane speeds.
  • If you press A, your partner can be called back to you, which is helpful if your partner gets stuck somewhere. The downside is this action costs 10 rings to use, and this opens up the ability to go into having "negative rings" if you have less than 10 rings on you.
The main glitch that I abuse in the run is what's commonly called a "zip." A zip usually refers to being ejected in a certain direction out of a wall if a player somehow managed to get inside one. You've most likely seen this in other classic Sonic runs, like Sonic 2, or Sonic 3 & Knuckles. You clip into a wall, and hold a direction opposite to where you want to go horizontally. So say, you were inside of a wall and wanted to go left. You would have to hold right since the wall is trying to eject you backwards out of the wall. However, in Knuckles' Chaotix, the zip mechanics are very different. In this game, if you clip into a wall far enough, the game will automatically drag the player up and to the right through the wall. Otherwise the game will know to push you up and left out of the wall and you'll get nowhere. In a speedrun, runners will usually use Knuckles' glide ability to clip into walls, which is done by starting a glide one frame before you would hit a wall, but then letting go of C to cancel the glide, which will make Knuckles stand inside the wall and be shot either up and left out of the wall, or up and right through to the other side. In some cases, this can be a frame perfect, one frame C press, and in some cases you have a little leeway to hold it for longer. This is also commonly done by clipping into the top right corner of a wall, but it also can be done with straight walls and even slopes, although it is much more difficult.
There is also another glitch I do in the run, called the Negative Ring Trick. Basically, if you have negative rings when the score tally shows up (meaning you have time to call back your partner after hitting the signpost to reach negative rings without losing time), the score tally will be skipped, saving a lot of time over having to wait it out. However, this trick only works if you don't get any score from your Secret Bonus, which you get for finding secret monitors, finding the Bonus Game big rings scattered throughout the levels, or for finishing the level with 00 milliseconds on the timer.

Noteworthy Moments:

Stages I collected 50 rings in:

  • Botanic Base 1
  • Botanic Base 3
  • Amazing Arena 1
  • Techno Tower 4
  • Speed Slider 1
These stages were the best candidates for getting 50 rings without having to go too far off the pre-planned path and lose a bunch of time.

Amazing Arena 1 & Speed Slider 1

You may notice that I delayed entering Amazing Arena and Speed Slider for a good amount of the run. This is because I needed the proper level layouts for getting 50 rings. Now what do I mean by that? Knuckles' Chaotix has a sort of "day/night" cycle, with four times of day: Morning, Day, Sunset, and Night. These aren't just palette swaps though. These also change the level object layouts and even change boss difficulty. It also changes Metal Sonic's roulette RNG during the final fight, but that's not important this time around. For this run, I needed the Sunset layout for both AA1 and SS1, as these were the layouts that had the most amount of rings on or around the path I would normally take through the level.

Other comments

I want to thank Hagenburg (the RTA world record holder as of me writing this), rodonic1, and andy120195 for helping me out with routing, suggesting improvements to my route, and suggesting that I submit this run here. I also want to thank Hibnotix, for inspiring me to start making runs of Chaotix!
I am unsure of any major improvements other than some better optimizations in the hub, levels and special stages, different routing throughout the levels, or changing one of the levels in which you get 50 rings. I've also been theorizing that maybe having different characters could end up being faster, like Knuckles for the wall clipping, but instead of Espio, you use Mighty, since he's one of the fastest characters in the game.

Technical Information

Emulator Used:

  • BizHawk 2.8

ROM Checksum

  • SHA1: 0c2fff7bc79ed26507c08ac47464c3af19f7ced7

BIOS Used:

  • 32X M68000 (USA).bin (CRC32: 5C12EAE8)
  • Sega 32X BIOS (1994)(Sega)(Master SH2).bin (CRC32: DD9C46B8)
  • Sega 32X BIOS (1994)(Sega)(Slave SH2).bin (CRC32: BFDA1FE5)

Samsara: Claiming for judging.
Much like your any% submission, this is another great run! Even the stages where you collected rings were over in a flash, Botanic Base 1 in particular being so fluid that I didn't even realize the rings were collected until the score tally started going.
I'm aware that this run is likely still improvable, but what's here now is definitely high quality enough for publication in my opinion. Accepting as a new category!

EZGames69: Processing...
EZGames69: Changing category name to "best ending" not only because that's the name we use for these types of runs, but also that's what RTA calls it.

Last Edited by Tuffcracker 14 days ago
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