Video Game Reviews Sengoku Arcade

“Sengoku” was the first of a series of 2D side-scrolling beat ’em ups in the early 1990s. During the time, arcades were still plentiful. It was during the time in which arcades were Meccas for those that love video games. Also, it was during the time in which video games were still underground. It was pretty much an underground culture for the most part about a decade before it would inevitably become a mainstream culture.

Beat ’em ups were very common at the local video arcades. SNK and Capcom capitalized on the popularity of beat ’em up games. SNK would distribute its Neo-Geo game machines where there would be up to four games installed. You simply need to pick one of the games to play. This is how I had become familiarized with Sengoku. This was one of the games that had gotten me interested in beat ’em ups. I found the concept of Sengoku quite interesting.

Plotline: B-

In a sense, the plotline focuses on the Sengoku period which is known as the “Age of Warring States.” For some reason, ghosts from the Sengoku era end up coming back from the dead and start wreaking havoc on the world. While there is an interesting plotline, the game does not focus on story development.

Again, the games in the past did not focus on story development. Plus, most people do not play a beat ’em up game for the sake of a good story. They play these games to simply beat up enemies.

Characters: C-

Players can control two generic characters with no-depth to them. In the case of Sengoku, player one assumes control of some modern-day ninja/samurai while player two assumes control of a Western cowboy. When I look at the Western cowboy, he looks like one of the members of the Village People.

For some unknown reason, the two of them team up. It looks like the two of them belong in some cult sci-fi horror flick from the eighties.

Graphics: B-

Looking at the graphics now, I could see that the graphics are not really all that. They look extremely primitive. However, the game sprites do not look bulky as compared to other beat ’em up games in the early 1990s. Overall, the graphics look good. In regards to the cowboy, he looks either like a male stripper, one of the Village People, or both.

Game Play: B

The game play of Sengoku is rather interesting. You can play by yourself or have a friend play with you. You go around killing enemies that releases globes that are different colors. Each colored globe has a different ability. One glove lets you use a sword, another lets you use two swords, one lets you use a special sword, or another one lets you shoot out fireballs. Certain globes allow you to change into something different. The change feature is pretty important as it makes things interesting.

At times, the game play can be quirky and cheesy. There is one stage in which you are fighting on top of an actual stampede of horses. Overall, I enjoyed the game play of Sengoku. This is one of the most original beat ’em up games I had ever come across.

Overall: B

Despite its age and appearance, Sengoku is a decent side-scrolling beat ’em up title. It is one game that brings back memories. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find the game. But, you can download the ROM file if you have an arcade emulator. For video game fans, this is one old game to check out. Hopefully SNK will have a remake of the game sometime in the near future.