Chakan: The Forever Man
|Chakan: The Forever Man|
Sega Mega Drive cover art
|Developer(s)||Extended Play Productions|
|Genre(s)||2D action platformer|
Chakan: The Forever Man is a Sega Mega Drive, Genesis video game published by Sega of America December 8, 1992. The game featured an uncommonly dark premise for the time of its release, which saw the home console market flooded with licensed (often from children's cartoons) platformers.
The game follows the tale of Chakan, a warrior who was so confident in his martial arts (especially his unmatched swordsmanship) and gifted abilities in sorcery and alchemy, that he declared even Death couldn't best him in battle. Of course, Death appeared and challenged Chakan with a proposition. If Chakan could defeat him, he'd be granted eternal life. However, if Chakan was defeated, he'd become Death's eternal servant. In another side-story, Chakan was so feared by the elders of multiple tribes, they dropped their petty differences and amassed to figure out a way to defeat or contain him, and upon overhearing his boasting, summoned the Grim Reaper themselves, informed the Reaper of his boastings, and contracted him to defeat Chakan.
The battle raged on for several days, spells and swords clashed, until the ultimate victor was very clear...Chakan. Because he defeated Death eventually, he was granted his "reward":
|“||You are a tactful swordsman, so I will not renege on our wager. I grant you the kiss of eternal life, but, for your arrogance and pride I will temper my gift with this curse. You will be a mere shell of yourself as I strip you of most of your powers. Each nightfall, evils will be shown to you, and the pain of their victims will be your pain. You will never know rest as you wander this world searching to slay the horrors that haunt your sleeping world. You will suffer grievous wounds, but you will not die, and as eternity rolls on, you will crave my touch. Your face will bear my visage, and your eyes will burn with hellfire. But...let it not be said that I am without mercy. There shall be an end to your curse. If all the beasts of the dark are slain, then you may find rest.||”|
Chakan will live forever until he destroys the four supernatural evils of the terrestrial plane (Spider-Queen, Mantis, Elkenrod, and Dragonfly King) and the elemental plane (Parasite, Tundra Beast, the Last Dragon and the Leader of the Dragonfly Clan).
After he had slain the eight prime evils of Earth, Chakan requested the rest he believed he had earned, to which Death replies: "Let me show you the totality of your curse, Chakan. See the countless stars above, each surrounded by worlds like yours, worlds thick with supernatural evil. They are so many, and so far away, and you are stuck on this mote of dust, waiting to reach them, waiting...forever". So Chakan is left trying to discover a means of reaching the other worlds of the universe, his curse unlifted, a "living" example of how ill-advised it is to make a deal with Death. He, thereby, had to tackle Death one more time to win freedom from his curse.
The player, as Chakan, starts off in a central hub stage, from which he can select one of four elemental-based "planes" of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, each with three levels. The player advances through each level until completion, whereupon Chakan is returned to the hub to choose a new level on either the same or a different plane. Levels within a plane may be completed in any order, but it is recommended to start off by finishing the 1st stage of each to obtain certain tools needed to pass certain stages and certain bosses are weaker against (a grappling hook, a scythe, a hammer, and an axe) The player has infinite lives, but will be forced to return to the hub if he is "killed". At the bottom of the screen, an hourglass indicates how much time the player has to complete all the levels in the plane. If time runs out, the player is returned to the hub and must restart the plane from its first level. Chakan starts out with his characteristic twin swords, but acquires four new weapons in the first stage of each element Chakan can also collect potions in each of the four elements, which he can combine and use to grant himself temporary powers such as enhancing his swords with elemental powers or increasing his jumping ability.
Upon defeating the three levels and the enemy bosses for each plane, Chakan clears the "terrestrial plane" and embarks upon a quest to defeat four "elemental planes of evil," each consisting of another three levels and a boss each for fire, earth, wind and water. These levels are considerably harder than the initial four sets of planes, as they feature far greater incidence of traps and enemies that cause instant death or level restart.
Upon defeating this second set of planes, Chakan is shown stabbing himself with his sword in anticipation of his promised death and the credits begin to roll. After some time, dialogue is exchanged between Chakan and Death as the true curse of Chakan's immortality is revealed, and the player is then made to fight an extremely difficult enemy boss (consisting of an H.R. Giger looking creature on a throne carried by what appear to be dwarfs). The player only gets ONE try; if successful at this task, they receive an ending scene which consists of the hourglass background used in the plot exposition screens but without any text. After a wait of fifteen minutes, a single line of text appears saying "Not the end" and the screen fades out, returning to the title screen. Should the player fail, Chakan is told that "rest will come another day" and the game returns to the title screen.
A Game Gear game by the same name was published by Sega. It features very similar gameplay, but different level layouts and other changes to accommodate the weaker hardware. It does have a title screen synthesized voice: "Chakan, the Forever Man" which the Genesis version did not.
A sequel was planned and developed somewhat by Ed Annunziata's studio AndNow, but no new information about the project has been released since 2001. It was planned to be released for as many current platforms as possible, according to Ed Annunziata himself in an interview with SegaFans during May 2001.
Chakan continues to exist in ongoing comics that do not factor the games events as canon. There is also the live action feature film Chakan The Forever Man: The Movie which although exists in another continuity to both the games and the comics, incorporates events from both.
- RAK Graphics' Chakan Site - Official website for the Chakan comic.