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Chakan: Did Critics Love the Forever Man Back in 1993?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on October 15, 2014   |   Episode 108 (Show Archive)  


Chakan (Sega Genesis)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

We continue our month-long journey through spooky 8- and 16-bit games with Chakan, who many know as The Forever Man. Here's a character who actually wants to die, but that's easier said than done. With its dark atmosphere and intriguing story, this had winner written all over it. But did critics agree? We dug through old issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Mega Play, Mean Machines, GamePro and Mega for the answers.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the reviews. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. For more details and answers to common questions, we encourage you to read the Review Crew FAQ. There you'll find information on review guidelines, how we convert scores, magazine covers and more.)

[ Company: Sega | Console: Genesis ]

MEGA PLAY (February 1993)
90% out of 100%

"Here is a unique theme and story where you actually try to die. You may run out of time and have to redo a level but there is no worry of continues. The [sic] are many different sections to complete and it can be very challenging. Its dark graphics and sound create a new look that is a refreshing change of pace." -Howard Grossman

84% out of 100%

"Chakan isn't the busiest game in the world, and things can get a bit repetitive, but the advantage this game has is atmosphere, and lots of it. The scenery is very eerie and foreboding and the creatures that inhabit this strange world are all very different and nicely drawn. Chakan is not a classic, it's nothing really new, but what it does, it does with style and slickness." -Andy Dyer

(The Essential Sega Guide)
84% out of 100%

"What distinguishes Castle of Illusion from other games of the type (and there are many) are the sumptuous graphics, with lovely depth of colour and parallax perspective, as well as the beautiful music. Such attention to detail makes this still worth a look, despite its mounting years, though I have to say that it's best suited to youngsters as the level of challenge is pretty tame." -Jaz

8 out of 10

"Chakan is an awesome title with a lot to offer in the way of technique. Much more could be added, but that leaves room for sequel anyway. If you enjoy jump-slash-attack action titles, Chakan is perfect. The various weapons and spells give you plenty of options to fool around with while you try to meet evil head on!" -Sushi X

GAMEPRO (April 1993)
3.5 out of 5

"Chakan: The Forever Man is the netherworld's version of the Energizer bunny. The overall concept of this game, along with its fairly simple game play and unlimited continues, make it a low-level challenge for experienced gamers. You've seen this game before ... or maybe that was in another life." -Scary Larry

67% out of 100%

"Now let me get this straight. In this game you play a warrior priest who's got to get himself killed? Chakan, The Forever Man is certainly one strange cookie. This might have been a great game a few years ago but things have moved on. What had the potential to be a thrilling supernatural platform game comes across as lukewarm. Not bad but not brilliant." -Mat

6 out of 10

"Chakan has an eery [sic] mood and unique look that wasn't particularly awe-inspiring, but nevertheless did add to the mood of the play. The action does require that a certain sense of technique develop in how you interact with the enemy environment that must be overcome, but it wasn't anything that I really got into." -Steve Harris

56% out of 100%

"What's this game about this, lads? Fighting death and being sentenced to an eternity of pain and suffering. Just the kind of thing you want to play when you're feeling depressed! Chakan's plot is as depressive as its gameplay. While the graphics and sound are very nice, the game itself is totally boring! Sorry Sega, but your death-bashing hero does absolutely nowt [sic] for me -- except send me to sleep!" -Paul
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 74% - Before we start analyzing the scores, I would first like to address the Mean Machines Sega review. No, I did not screw up, that is exactly how it appeared in the magazine. It seems that somebody fell asleep on the job and accidentally used the Castle of Illusion text instead of Chakan. It's unclear whether their score was intended for Chakan or Castle of Illusion, so it is not factored into the above score.

Speaking of which, critics were all over the place when it came to Chakan. While magazines like Mega Play and Mega enjoyed unique theme, Sega Force and EGM's Steve Harris found the whole thing incredibly disappointing. They complained that the gameplay was too basic and it lacked any innovation. The story was intriguing, but that alone couldn't keep the 2D action game afloat. The average is a middling 74%. Still, the premise has a lot of potential and I would love to see Sega resurrect this character. It's a shame they never will.

ON THE NEXT REVIEW CREW: Just ahead of the brand new Poltergeist game for PS Vita, the Review Crew will tackle the original unwelcomed guest -- Haunting starring Polterguy. This curious Genesis game comes to us from Electronic Arts, and it's one of the only times the company dabbled in traditional horror. Is there a reason EA was scared away from the genre, or is this a forgotten gem? Find out on Friday's episode of Review Crew. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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