Kenseiden (SMS)

Kenseiden Box Art

Kenseiden

System: SMS

Release Date: November 1988

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Platformer

Up next we have another Sega release with Kenseiden. I was looking at the instruction manual and figured I was about to get into another lame side scroller, but boy was I wrong! I don’t know why I don’t give Sega more credit with their action platformers. Most of them are pretty decent. Here you are Hayato, Samurai Warrior, and you must retrieve your sword and five sacred scrolls as you travel across 16th century Japan.

Hayato is armed with a sword, which you swing with Button 1. Button 2 is used to jump. Pressing down and holding Button 1 activates a defensive pose, which injures enemies that run into you. More samurai techniques are unlocked by defeating the boss warlocks. These include a high jump, an overhead slash, a jumping overhead slash, a crouching attack that hits both the front and rear, and the berserker attack that swings as you run. All of these extra attacks are useful and most are necessary to beat the game.

Each level is typical action platformer fare. Move from the beginning of the level to the exit, defeating enemies as they come on the screen. You have to learn their patterns, or they’ll eat at your health quickly. There are items that can be collected through training levels that will increase your life bar and others that increase your defense against your evil opponents. The training levels are trial and error to learn how to get through an obstacle course without getting hit by arrows, falling into spike pits, or getting hit by ceiling spikes.

Finding the best techniques for killing the bosses can take a few tries, but luckily you can continue as much as you want if you read the manual and input up, up, down, down, Button 2 on the game over screen. Even though I started playing just before 2 AM, I stuck around for the hour and fifteen it took me to beat every level and take down the final boss.

Graphics: 3.0

Sprites are big and animated decently well. Enemies look cool and levels are pleasant to look at.

Sound: 3.0

The music sounded sufficiently Japanese and the sound effect certainly weren’t painful to hear.

Gameplay: 4.0

That’s right, I can’t really think of anything negative to say about the gameplay. It was an incredibly solid playthrough.

Difficulty: 3.0

The game isn’t very hard and the existence of continues makes it so you won’t throw the controller out the window if you die.

Fun Factor: 4.0

I found Kenseiden to be an incredibly enjoyable experience.

Overall Grade: 3.4

Kenseiden earns a B+. Hey, this is a pretty great game, go out of your way to play it.

Kenseiden Video Review on YouTube

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