Genesis

General Chaos: About the game and why you should play it

Let’s start with being honest here. We’re more than a little disappointed that the recent Kickstarter campaign created by Game Refuge has not met its goal.

The passionate development team, led by video game veteran Brian Colin, are setting out in an attempt to update the classic SEGA Genesis title to modern devices. Their goal was set at $125,000 with the team promising for a full blown sequel to the first General Chaos title. Along with its new subtitle, Sons of Chaos, the game is set to include new modes, updated graphics and refined control schemes, making use of mouse and touch screen input devices.

So why was the amount not met? We feel that one reason as to why this promising campaign did not reach its goal was due to how unknown the original title is to the typical modern gamer. The first and only title in the series was released exclusively on the SEGA Genesis back in 1994 and while fondly remembered to those who played it, it’s safe to say that it hasn’t been the hot topic of conversation for quite some time.

Rather than dwelling on things, we hope to help change that. What is the original General Chaos? What does it entail, and why does the sequel deserve a second chance? Find out below!

General Chaos: About the Game

General Chaos for the SEGA Genesis tells the frenzied tale between two war generals, Chaos and Havoc. In the campaign mode, players take the role of Chaos, controlling several different factions of his lunatic army and battling all out in a ferocious attempt to wipe out Havoc’s troops.

Battlegrounds can be chosen via a dynamic map, which is seen pinned to the the wall of General Chaos and Havoc’s headquarters. At both ends of the map is each armies capital city. Attacking and defending these is an extremely important factor of the game, as the ultimate goal for each general is to take control of their opponents safe zone. Each general takes it in turns to select the next battleground, going backwards and forwards between the two until a capital city is taken. This gives players a fair amount of choice, as the route they take and the amount of areas that they capture is left entirely up to them. The more of them the better, though!

 

Alongside campaign mode is both co-operative and competitive multi-player. This is where the fun really begins. Although a mandatory feature in most modern titles, multi-player gaming was only just becoming the norm in the living rooms of the early nineties. The fact a home console game supported two players was exciting enough, let alone four. Add to that a mode where you could work together as a team through co-operative play… now that was something special!

Using the SEGA Genesis multi-player adapter (or, multi-tap), General Chaos supports up to four local players as they battle it out on the side of either General Chaos or General Havoc. If you can put your squabbling aside for two seconds, there’s also a co-operative mode too! Working together and taking control of a single unit, players act as one and share strategies among each other to smash their enemies into next week.

General Chaos - Title Screen
I could never tell if the soldier on the title screen was either very angry or had a bad case of the flu.

It is also worth noting the way in which players take control of their combatants. Rather than having direct control, soldiers are ordered around the map using an on-screen cursor. The selected soldier can be toggled by using one button on the control pad, while another sends them to the location of the cursor, of which is moved around using the directional buttons. The final button sends the selected unit into attack mode, with them shooting, burning or blowing up their enemies.

The control system is a little clunky and has quite a steep learning curve, considering the amount of action taking place on screen at one time. Still, it certainly does the job. For those who would rather take direct control of their army, there is always the commando unit. This deadly duo is an option designed for more advanced players, with full control given over each soldier. This does however come at a price. With only two members total in the unit rather than the usual five, players will have to work hard and keep on their toes if they wish to be crowned victorious.

So it’s simple, really. Destroy your opponents in bloody and brutal battles, claim their precious land for your own, control your enemies capital cities and ultimately, take over the world. If that’s not a good concept for a multi-player action game, I don’t know what is.

General Chaos: What made it unique

General Chaos has plenty going for it that makes it stand out from other Genesis games of the era.

General Chaos - Training Ground
Bootcamp serves as a quick introduction to the gameplay and character classes.

The genre of game itself (tactical arcade strategy) is certainly something that has never been common on SEGA’s 16-bit hardware. The quick battles, of which need little time to set up, helped differentiate it from more longer winded RTS multi-player titles released around the same time. The heavy focus on multi-player and the multi-tap support also help create unique experiences with your friends. This type of four player co-operative and competitive gameplay could not be had with many other games on the system and it is certainly something General Chaos does well.

The class system is no doubt one of the games strongest features, with five player classes to choose from. While it did not originate from General Chaos, this type of player character system has grown increasingly popular over the years and is now used in the majority of competitive titles. This is especially true of multi-player shooters, with one of the most popular in recent years being Valve software’s very own, Team Fortress.

Find below a list of the character classes included in the game and a brief description of each;

  • Gunner:
    A well rounded character, the Gunner focusses on attack and helps keep enemies at bay with a high rate of fire. The downside to this is that his machine gun has a nasty habit of jamming, so you will not want to leave one of these guys out in the open!
  • Launcher:
    The powerhouse of the team. Launchers are best when attacking from afar, firing slow moving (but very powerful) projectiles. They may end up attacking from the sidelines, but when played right, you will not regret including them in your team.
  • Chucker:
    Low attack damage, high firing range. The Chucker is all about tossing grenades and other explosives into the fray, which is very handy for taking out multiple enemies at once.
  • Scorcher:
    No doubt my favourite class in the game, the Scorcher has a short firing range but can deal a heap of damage. Armed with a blazing hot flame thrower, this character class can be very dangerous if fought up close. Watch out for water though, as falling in temporarily disables the weapons flames and leaves players firing bubbles instead!
  • Blaster:
    Similar to the Chucker, the Blaster throws explosive TNT at their enemies. While much more powerful than the standard grenade, the Blaster is weak and has an extremely slow rate of fire when compared to his team mates. While they can be a very useful asset in battle, you will want to keep these little guys protected with an escort or alternatively, firmly planted behind some cover.

There are tonnes of unique battlegrounds too, all very colourful and fitting perfectly into the General’s war-ridden world.

General Chaos: Why you should play it

While it does have a relatively steep learning curve, General Chaos is built upon the players skill in controlling their team and cornering their opponents. Only those who think fast and learn to manage their team effectively will become victorious. The enemy AI found in single player mode is certainly no pushover, either. There will no doubt be plenty of occasions were victory is within reach, only for a villainous scorcher to come charging in and take out the remainder of your teams hit points. It has a certain addictiveness however that, before they know it, players will undoubtedly be picking up their control pad for a second round.

General Chaos - Team Select
This colourful band of misfits you see here makes up all five of the character classes found in General Chaos!

This title also features class based gameplay in its purest form! While there are no hats or sandviches, all of the basics of what helped make some recent titles incredibly popular are all included. While team members cannot be assigned manually, the decent selection of pre-set crews helps mix things up on the battlefield and encourages players to jump in and try out different classes. Learning what each class does and adapting to their strengths / weaknesses is what makes General Chaos a very rewarding experience and it is certainly not something SEGA fans will want to miss out on.

The game looks pretty, too. While the menu graphics and backgrounds do leave a bit to be desired, the sprite animations are full of character and the explosions are plentiful. Stage artwork is full of colour and the characters themselves are painted with many distinct looks and characteristics, such as or the Scorcher’s stylish shades or the Launchers little bounce animation as he fires rockets towards his opponents.

If you are after a retro 16-bit title to play with your friends, then look no further than General Chaos. This is the perfect game to play with your mates as the competitive and co-operative modes are just a tonne of fun. Blasting friends heads off with one of the Chucker’s deadly grenades or smashing them in the face during a one on one fist fight just never gets old. This is definitely a great way to experience the frantic gameplay and since everyone is sat together playing on the same television set, you receive that instant feedback of frustration, a result you just cannot achieve with online play.

General Chaos: Conclusion

General Chaos is an excellent title that deserves to be played and spoken of more often. If you have a group of friends who aren’t afraid of jumping into some retro SEGA gaming goodness, then this is certainly not a title you will want to pass up.

It would be extremely cool to see the game receive a re-release on more up-to-date hardware, perhaps as a digital download title on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and the Nintendo eShop. The addition of network play would certainly be a nice feature ,and it would no doubt help with getting the title back into the spotlight.

Although it is disappointing that the proposed sequel did not end up successfully funded on Kickstarter, we can’t help but be excited that there is still a possibility that this game will return. The developers deserve a second chance, and the sequel will no doubt iron out the kinks of the first title, making it even more fun to play with friends.

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