Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
6th Century Japan is not the safest of places. Evil warlocks have stolen your family's prized possessions - the Sword of the Dragon King and the Secret Scrolls. You (Hayato) vow to restore your family's name and rid the land of the warlocks tyranny. A plausible enough reason for a 16-level horizontally scrolling feast of mass-murder.
The action begins on an island off the Japanese mainland far from The final destination: the Warlocks Castle. Hayato, razor-sharp sword in hand, starts his quest in a dark forest, fending off skeletons, fiery skulls and leaping lizards. Enemies are excessively vicious, constantly homing in. draining energy from one of your three lives on contact. Picking up extra swords gives you the ability to cause extreme damage to opponents although a life lost also loses extra weapons. A continue play option is available, but only when sufficient levels have been completed.
On hacking your way to the end of a level, the map screen is displayed from which your route to the castle may be chosen. Hidden away in one of the provinces is a training centre where you may hone your lighting skills (go North to find it).
Further regions feature caverns, temples, palaces and chasm spanning bridges.
Energy for life
Seven large, powerful and evil warlocks are to be found at the end of selected levels, each with their own style of attack and method of bringing about your swift demise. Killing a warlock reveals a Secret Scroll which endows you with an extra ability, giving you a better chance of surviving to face Yonensai, the master warlock.
Although just a derivative of many other 'hack-'n'-slay' games, Kenseiden is so much better than the rest due to the simple but highly playable action and superb presentation. And the use of an energy level for each of Hayato's lives gives you more of a fighting chance. Kenseiden is a fine example of console software which gives computer games a run for their money. An immensely playable game together with quality graphics and presentation which pushes the Sega to new levels of entertainment.
Two Mega Cartridge: £24.95
Graphically extremely good, Kenseidon uses big, colourful, detailed sprites that reak of Japanese origin. Although there is repetition in the backdrops from time to time, the overall quality is high. Enemies are varied) well defined and among the best we've seen on the Sega to date. The warlocks in particular wouldn't look out of place in a coin-op.
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