I agree with everything you said. I had multiple kids in Regents Geometry miss a perfect part 1 because of #24. I don't formally teach SAS~ although we discuss it in the context of certain problems (e.g., why a triangle created by drawing a midsegment is similar to the original triangle). The proof was also a bit on the unique side, although most all students we saw today managed to get at least 2 points on it and more Regents Geometry students than I expected saw 4 and 5 points on it. However, Honors students were losing points so for sure it was on the hard side.
As far as the equation of the circle goes, the issue is that in the original formula for the construction of the Regents exam, 23-28% of the credits must be awarded to the coordinate geometry standards. The problem is that there are only 13 standards to choose from, and 4 of those standards involve the equation of the circle. So, if 23-28% of the credits must be awarded for those standards, that's about 22-24 points of the test, or 11 to 12 2-point questions. Right then and there, you must hit at least 2 standards involving the equation of a circle (of course, this assumes that all coordinate geometry is being tested in the form of two point questions, which it was on this particular exam). Nevertheless, even with the construction of the exam being what it is, 4 multiple-choice questions on the equation of the circle is still overkill, especially when one question gives the graph and asks for the equation and one question gives the equation and asks for the graph.