Kill ‘Em All: Remembering General Chaos
Follow Release: 1994
Genre: Strategy
Developer: Game Refuge, Inc
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: Sega Genesis

Kill ‘Em All: Remembering General Chaos

Good: Unique concept, terrific graphics and sound, clever design
Bad: Lack of music, there's almost too much going on at all times for the player to focus
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Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Ever so often, a console gets a terrific game that is original in concept, well executed, properly marketed, and best of all-exclusive to that particular console. General Chaos, released in 1994 for the Sega Genesis console, is one of those games. Its a game that does everything it is supposed to, and does it well. I remember it well, even though I never played it until I got a good deal on it at a thrift store last summer. How do I remember it even though I never played it?

generalChaosAdAs this pamphlet illustrates, the game was very well, and cleverly advertised. Back in the day, it seems as if game companies put more effort in advertising than they do these days. This may just be me waxing nostalgic, but there were truly some innovative and cool ads out there back in the 1990’s. General Chaos was no exception, and it was one of those games that I always wanted to play, but never did, because I was a Nintendo kid. The above statements also properly illustrate how effective quality advertising could be, as I remembered the ads and eventually bought the game nearly 20 years later.

GC helipadSimply put, General Chaos was a squad based, action/strategy game that took place on one screen. Don’t let the single screen fool you, either. There was a LOT going on in those heated battles, almost too much for even a seasoned player to handle. It took me a few weeks to get the hang of this game, and that was including all the other stuff I have to deal with as an adult with a family and a career. I can imagine that this was much less of a problem for our teenage selves, with a considerate more amount of free time to play games. Anyhow, there are 5 classes of soldier for each squad, including gunners, scorchers, chuckers, launchers, and blasters. In addition, there is also a ‘commando’ who you can select if you want to take on the other team with just one man in your squad. You can configure your squad with a few different combinations of the above mentioned fighters. From there, you go on to attack the other team in either single player quick match, 2 player head to head, or a campaign, where you war against the red team for control of a fictional country. In addition, if you owned the Sega Multi-Tap, up to 4 players could get in on the action.

GC urban warfareThe graphics were terrific; colorful and well contrasted. The details of each soldier are very distinguishable from the other, and this also helps differentiate between character classes in combat. There isn’t much flicker or image breakup, and the animations are well presented. I also want to stress how funny this game is. The humor went a long way to accompany the lighthearted, cartoony feel of the game. For example, if two opposing soldiers get too close in mid battle, a dust cloud forms like on the old Warner Bros. cartoons and the game stops for a ‘close combat’ sequence as the two soldiers duke it out to see who stays alive. It was things like this that made for a memorable experience. The in-between rounds were very artfully done, illustrating the situation of how the campaign was proceeding with a map, allowing you to get a good look at the opposing generals and their reactions to how well or poorly you performed.

GC heated battleOne area where the game stumbles is the music. There isn’t much to speak of, with there only being music at the title screen and in between rounds. The SFX were nicely done, but do tend to get repetitive. However, the sound of a punch landing in the groin area of an enemy soldier during close combat never gets old. All in all, the overall lack of music doesn’t ruin this game, but does leave me wondering why they didn’t bother adding some musical flavor to the different battle screens.

GC taking casualtiesThe controls operate on a quasi-point & click interface, where you use the d-pad to move the cursor across the screen to direct your selected troops in combat. This takes some getting used to, due to the frenzied pace of combat. You can expect to get beaten badly for the first few playthroughs before you actually get the hang of things. Fortunately, General Chaos was one of the early examples of games having an in-game tutorial. This is selectable at the title screen, and is very comprehensive in each aspect of the game. So don’t worry if you bought your copy of this game without a box or instructions, because EA has you covered! Like I said, the action is fast and furious, but eventually you get used to it. From there, the game gets even better. I really liked the ‘close combat’ sequences, even if they do seem like they were borrowed from NHL series that was extremely popular on the Genesis. Just keep in mind, there is a LOT going on at any given time.

GC roadblockThere is a lot more to General Chaos than simply wiping out the enemy. During battle, loot will appear in various forms, such as gold bars or safes or money bags. You rack up extra points for whatever you manage to pick up during the course of battle. Also there are destructible vehicles, like halftracks, choppers and structures like watchtowers and outhouses that will also net you extra points after you blow them up. Another neat feature enables you to call a medic if one of your squadmates goes down, you’ll see an NPC medic sprint out onto the battlefield, snatch your wounded soldier and throw him over his shoulder and remove him from harm’s way. This is allowed once or twice for each match, and was a nifty touch. As the battle wears on, obviously there will be casualties. This game was made before gore and blood were the norm for video games, so the violence is more or less cartoony, with fallen comrades turning into little skeletons as they rot on the battlefield. This goes more towards being funny than detracting from the game.

GC railyardUnderneath it all, there’s not too many bad things I can say about this game. Part of me does wish the game was turn based, rather than real-time. That concept was successfully executed in Hogs of War for the PS1 a few years later, and there was no reason why it couldn’t have here. I do wish there was more music, especially during the battles. These complaints/issues aren’t glaring by any stretch of the imagination. Bearing in mind that we don’t often get hours on end to spend with our retro games due to being an adult, this game is great for 2 player action with a friend. If you are looking for a unique Sega experience, pick up a copy of General Chaos. I promise you won’t regret it.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Kill 'Em All: Remembering General Chaos, 9.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

I am a full time Firefighter/EMT living in the United States. In my spare time, I split my time between modern games on my Xbox and the rich universe of the systems we all grew up with.

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