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Chakan The Forever Man



Sega of America 1992

Sega Genesis


The early 90s was a good time to be a comic book Geek. Right around this time was the height of the comic book specialty store, where like minded nerdy types (like me) could go to dork away without fear of getting wedgies or dumped upsidown in trash cans by bigger guys who played sports and had girlfriends. All of these specialty stores (which are getting hard to find nowadays) created a demand for books, thus many newbie independent artists and publishers had a market for their work that just that didn't exist before.

Apparently this game is based on one such indie comic (although I've never read it myself.) Chakan is a warrior who challenges Death to a duel, and while he defeats Death the side effect is he becomes cursed to live until all supernatural evil is destroyed from the Earth. Kind of reminds me of Solomon Kane actually, Chakan has the puritan wide brimmed hat and double cutlasses, like an undead witch hunter type guy. Anyway the game starts in a central hub which is like Chakan's base of operations, whereupon you choose any of the four levels you wish to attempt.

I say "attempt" because there's a pretty good chance you're not gonna do it on your first try. The stages are very large for a game from this time, filled with many many little platforms and such that take some expert jumping skills to get through. Most of them are multiple screens high and across, however all of them are lined with bottomless pits and such. I mention this because you're more likely to be knocked into a pit than to actually be killed by an enemy (which are of the usual monster-platforming type, giant flying insects, demons that shoot fire at you, devils with spears, etc.) Bite it and you're sent back to the central hub. True you don't actually "die," however you have to start the whole huge level all over again.

You start out with your dual swords that you can do a little auto combo with and swing in any direction to nail stuff above and below you, even while jumping. Upon defeating each (difficult) boss battle you gain new weapons, as well as potions that do various things like renew energy and such throughout the level. Potions can be combined for different effects, although I have no idea how. That is one of the problems with the game; Since nowadays most of the games for classic systems you find come loose/cart only, then anything that isn't explained in game takes some figuring out. I'm sure the potion mixing process was explained in the manual but it would have been nice to have a few pointers onscreen. This wouldn't be so bad except mixing and using potions seems to be the only way to get powerups, and if you can't do that then it severely hampers your game (for instance the boss battles wouldn't be so tough if I could just figure out how to make healing potions.) I suppose that's what the internet is for, still I feel silly looking up a Faq on a Genesis action title. You shouldn't have to do research on a game like this, it should be self explanatory.

Overall the game reminds me of a mix of Strider and Ghosts and Goblins, lots of platform jumping and sword fighting with horrible monsters and such. Some of the jumps are tricky and the enemies get annoying but it's nothing a little dedication can't handle.

Graphics: Very detailed characters with good style. Chakan's attack animations could use a few more frames. The platforms, floor, and background graphics are detailed but get a little repetitious. Enemy characters can get downright frightful. There's a few cool effects going on in some of the levels, like scrolling, stormy clouds and lighting effects.

Sound: Evil sounding midi music in the stages fits the mood well. A weird"buzzing" sound when you swing your sword that is slightly out of place. Chakan's "ouch" noise when he gets hit is pretty scratchy also.

Gameplay: Kill horrible monsters by jumping over a lot of platforms and falling alot. This is pretty fun but the levels are just too big, it can be tough to get all the way through one without "dying." The game would have benefited from a more straightforward approach.

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