Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


sengoku1.jpg (89558 bytes)There's a core aspect of beat-em-ups, and if that doesn't work, the game doesn't work. That's punching, and in the case of Sengoku, it doesn't work. Actually, for the most part, it's useless. The other parts of Sengoku are brilliant, unique (maybe even a little gimmicky), and interesting.

This two-player beat-em-up should be far more than it is. The idea of multiple dimensions, players being sucked into them, and changing into other life forms is fantastic. It would have been a great way to add a unique spin on the genre had the game been successful and other companies follow. Sengoku didn't play well enough for that to happen.

For the most part, without a weapon, players are hopeless. Punches connect when they want to, not when they should. Combos are pointless since enemies fall back with each hit, and the next blows don't connect.

When they're armed though, the game does work. Changing into different forms (done on the fly, while still under attack), gaining new swords, and wiping out hordes of enemies shows a creative spark the rest of the game doesn't live up to. Blades tear through flesh every time. It's like there were two different sets of programmers at work here.

The entire experience becomes disjointed, feeling incomplete and frustrating. Foes come in numerous forms, limiting the repetition, and this early generation graphical showcase proves the hardware can handle any scaling necessary. It's very flashy and extravagant, and for a while, that's enough to pull you away from any frustrations.

Then a new stage starts, the next music track (either rock or atmospheric Japanese chanting) hits, and you can barely punch something. It's the perfect example of the old "roller coaster" term, moving up into the realm of decent weapons combat, right back down into hand-to-hand. That's when Sengoku flies off the track, taking players patience and time with it.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 10, 2005 01:09 AM