Chakan: The Punishment Man – Part 2 – Nic Nancarrow

Air world 2.

This level of the air world has removed the horrible death pits that plagued the first and replaced them with one of the most labyrinthian level designs ever devised (this is a common complaint of the game). The objective of this level is another mace swinging purple demon (though this time garbed in a particularly festive Pharaoh’s head dress), who does not actually appear on screen until you set foot on the platform where the battle takes place. I literally had no idea where I was supposed to go until I reached the end of the level by pure happenstance and Pharaoh Goodtimes appeared right on me and gave me the scary-room-in-the-back-of-a-pornography-store treatment until I died. Finding my way back to him a second time wasn’t easy either as the drab tile set of the level makes everything look the same, imagine being lost in a floating suburbia in the sky where axe-wielding nods to the aliens from War of the Worlds spawn out of nowhere and charge at you. If you haven’t died from geek reference exhaustion yet, you know what I just went through. That said, wandering around aimlessly allowed me to find some potions, which came in handy as there’s no way you can run away from the boss, he is far too gung-ho to be on you.

Water World 2.

Waterfalls and mass graves of skulls are a surprisingly winning combination. After taking in the depressing sights I solved the initially confusing puzzle by breaking some blocks and putting the skeleton umbrella to its awful intended purpose (swinging off hooks in the walls). Once I figured that I got to the next skull storage area and then Tremors happened (if you had to look up Tremors to realise I was talking about giant carnivorous worms then you lose a lot of nerd points, but we can still be friends). These things are brutal and don’t seem to stay in the same place, basically if you miss a swing jump you’re going to take a lot of worm damage before you can get back to a safe place. The boss of this level is 3 of the forever octopi from the previous water level, though placed in pleasantly easy to beat locations. I’ll take this opportunity to mention that these octopi are more Cthulhu heads than anything else, and the more I think about it this game is a pretty descriptive love letter to H.P. Lovecraft. Something in the vein of “Dear Howard, we love you lots. We should dig you up and go for beer some time. We also love the defeat tears of small children and obnoxiously verbose game writers alike. Jk about the digging you up thing, you’re probably dust and worms by now. Hey worms! That gives us an idea…”

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Earth World 2.

There was…a thing, I touched it, I died. Then I hit it with the hammer, it exploded, I died. Then I hit with the hammer again, it exploded and I didn’t die. Also, fuck spiders. This level is another confusing maze that gives you no indication where to go, with the added bonus of weird poisoned gas exploding out of the numerous holes (see: anuses) in the walls. Some of these gas spewing holes are in the cheapest places and since they are also proximity triggered you have no way of knowing which ones are about spray you down and which ones are just going to puke out spiders. I have two older brothers, so I’m more acquainted with being farted on against my will than I’d like to be. Trauma aside this was another “die lots until you blunder into the boss battle, then die some more” situation. However this time there was an extremely cheap way to beat this…dragon…thing? What kind of loser dragon would be hanging out in a pit at the bottom of a spider infested anus cave? Well anyway I managed to chill out on a small ledge and jam ice swords into the face of the moaning, red-headed bully victim of the dragon world.

Fire World 2.

A refreshingly linear layout here, sullied by the constant stream of bats, flying succubus monsters wearing red wizard hats and leap-of-faith falls to off-screen platforms that promise a 1 in 3 chance of searing hot death. Just about every platform you can land on here has a fire trap that you often can’t avoid. So I spent a good while getting knock-back damaged off ledges and into the fire below like a pinball falling into hell. The section after this is another dreadful series of skeleton umbrella swings, wall-mounted fire traps and the obvious death that the combination of these things brings. I had to go to a walkthrough for this one after finding a dead end and doing the Yosemite Sam hop in frustration. Turns out that there’s a false wall you simply have to jump through and fall to the left to find the exit. While there was no boss for this level, the surprise stream of bats that killed me twice before I managed to jump through the false wall was more frustrating than any of the bosses so far. All in all this is going quite well as I near the end of the first set of levels for each world. I’ve only thought about hanging myself with the controller cable 5 times or so.

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Air World 3.

Boss Battle: The Dragonfly King.

Fuck this guy. He’s a giant demon bug with a sword and shield and a stinger on his tail. However he seems to have a bit of a learning disability. By crouching I was able to avoid all of his attacks and then when he was about to fly off I simply stuck the skeleton umbrella in the air and he would invariably fly into it and take damage. I’m now hopelessly in love with the skeleton umbrella and plan to have a brief, yet fulfilling fling with it, after which we will remain close friends and make people uncomfortable at parties by dropping innuendos, then exchanging cheeky grins with each other. One would have to be incredibly good at this game to beat this boss any other way than jerking him around like I just did. He takes a huge amount of hits to kill and engaging him in a normal fashion resulted in simply trading damage until I died. You think you know how to be cheap Chakan? I once took a girl to Mcdonalds on a first date after our initial plans were ruined by the weather (it was her suggestion, she just wanted to get junk food and watch a movie, I had actually planned a far nicer evening but when she explained that she wasn’t that kind of girl I just sort of rolled with it and had a good time anyway. Long story short it didn’t work out and I haven’t seen her in nearly 2 years, which was probably for the best but she kept one of my favourite band hoodies. Sorry Nile).

Water World 3.

Boss Battle: Mantis.

I nearly ran out of time on this level simply trying to find this boss. The level is basically a straight shot with a bunch of warp doors to confuse and annoy, even though there are next to no enemies. After much confusion I arrived at a set of 3 warp doors with small changing icons above them. I simply picked the symbol that looked the most like Cthulhu and was transported to a room with two potions, none of which was the spell to reset the level timer. I figured I’d just go through the door in this room and pick another one before I ran out of time, so at least I would know where the hell I was going for the next run. To my surprise I found a room that looked new and began to swing across the hooks on the wall. It was then that mantis simply appeared from the ceiling like I’d just crashed the worst surprise party ever. With the timer ticking down and no clear strategy in mind I began to simply wail on Mantis until I got a feel for his attack patterns or he killed me. I now feel really bad for deriding the umbrella weapon so much, as Mantis was unable to withstand the awesome fury of my “crouch attack until victory” strategy and simply stayed in the same place dying horribly and making no effort to defend himself. I wonder if I would have made a good bully had I undergone a key growth spurt a few years early.

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Earth World 3.

Boss Battle: Spider Queen.

The hardest part about this was actually getting to this bitch. It’s spiders ahoy and weird alien phallus traps at every turn. I finally got to her area with three hits left. She turned up in a late model Honda and got out with a smug look on her face. She left her four kids in the car with the windows rolled up and proceeded to get jammed between a wall and the heroic pose I had struck with my sword held outward in defiance of her power, and judgement of her awful Southern Cross tattoo. I would not be deterred by her baffling inability to not run directly into my sword, nor the screech of her children swearing at the elderly. She died confused and humiliated. Fuck spiders. I really need to stop trying to kill these bosses in a normal way and go straight for the cheap assault.

Fire World 3:

Boss Battle: Elkenrod.

This marks the farthest I have ever gotten in this game without using the cheat to skip to the second set of levels. Elated as I am, I’m filled with disappointment, for Elkenrod is neither an Eldritch horror Amish farmer, nor unnameable, corn-based terror. Being a 16 bit, scantily clad (I think) sorceress does little to soften the blow. The silver lining here is that she seems to be suffering from the same neurological impairment as the other bosses, though in her case I suspect it relates to party drug abuse as she hopped frantically around me to a beat I couldn’t hear, and nobody could possibly dance to. Her seizure constantly placed her outside the effective range of her tiny sword, but well within the range of mine and she appeared to have a fireball attack which she used once, though it disappeared off screen before it got even close to me. This one I felt bad about, I had clearly brought two pilgrim cutlasses to an underground dance battle. Sorry Elkenrod, your awkward, jittery moves were fresh no doubt, but like so many suburban white-boy Roys, I’m an awful dancer.

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