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Overview

Developed and published by Genki, it is the fourth game in the Kengo series. The game was released in Japan on Sept. 7, 2006 as Kengo Zero. Majesco published the game on Sept. 11, 2007 in the US as Kengo: The Legend of the 9. They then released it in Europe as Kengo Zero on Nov. 16, 2007.

Gameplay

Kengo plays much like a general hack and slash action game. You have two attacks, a vertical and horizontal slice, mapped to the Y and B buttons respectively. Rather than just hacking and slashing towards your enemies, you have the option to lock onto them by pressing either trigger. Your movement isn’t as free when you lock on however, it becomes more of a slower strafing. Each character also has three stances, with each offering up there own set of combos and attack styles.

Your combos generally max out at three hits, but with some rare combos they switch to a separate stance which allows you even more strikes. There are also some combos with strikes that allow you to charge up for even more power. If the combo your doing at the moment isn’t what you were wanting you can break you combo mid hit by pressing the guard button.

You have a traditional health bar which depletes when you are hit but you also have a stamina bar. With each strike or blocked hit it goes down a bit, it even goes down whenever you move around, however if you stand still it recharges and if you stand still whenever it's completely fill your health bar will begin regenerating.  Whenever your stamina is totally gone you are susceptible to instant kills, as are your enemies which gives you some incentive to throw your enemies around to deplete their stamina rather than their health bar, but most enemies only take one or two strikes to bring down.

You have the ability to grab (referred to as a Kumitachi) your enemies and drag them around which depletes their stamina. If you deplete it all the way you can kill them with one hit as stated above. They also have the ability to grab you, but you can break out of it. You can also throw your enemies into certain items around levels and get environment kills. There are many to find, throwing them into a wall with them getting their sword stuck or straight up tossing them off of a bridge. You’ll get more orbs to spend on upgrading your samurai with the more instant kills you get.

Modes

Main Mode: Main Mode contains the meat and potatoes of the game. Here you select which samurai you wish to play as and hack and slash your way through historical locales such as Kyoto and Edo. At the beginning of the game you have only three samurai to choose from. Upon completing a samurai’s story you will unlock another samurai to play as. 

After each level you are scored on how fast you completed the level, how many enemies you killed, etc. and you gain experience points and orbs with which you spend on upgrading your combos and upgrading your health, stamina, attack and defense respectively.

Depending on how you fought, that character will also gain similar attributes. For instance if you fought aggressively and always landed the first hit, your samurai would gain a similar attribute and fight aggressively in the Xbox Live Nationwide Contest and Solo Contest. You are also able to adjust the difficulty level if the game gets too hard.

Mission Mode: In Mission Mode you tackle individual levels from Main Mode. The levels here are the same in appearance only as you go through with new objectives ranging from simply completing a level within a specified time to defeating 1,000 enemies. Like in Main Mode you are graded on how you did afterwards, only here you are graded solely on how long it took you to complete. Depending on your time you are awarded a bronze, silver of gold medal.

Combat Mode: Combat Mode is the local multiplayer mode, you can fight with most characters right off the bat but you can also bring any character you completed Main Mode with into the arena.

Xbox LIVE Nationwide Contest: This is the online mode. After each level in Main Mode you gain experience, orbs and attributes that you use to upgrade that samurai. Once you complete Main Mode, you obtain clear data which allows you to use that samurai here and in Solo Contest..

You don’t actually control your character though. Once you‘ve selected your character and are matched up with another you can sit back and watch the match as two CPUs go at it. Your samurai fights differently depending on the attributes you unlocked while playing as him/her. 

Since there isn’t another person on the other end, you’ll always have a match. The leaderboard has all the character info of anyone who has ever played a match online. However once you get into the upper echelon of players winning can seem very random.

Solo Contest: Solo Contest works in the same way the online multiplayer does, you bring in a character that you completed the game with and “fight” against the CPU, like in the online multiplayer you don’t control your character.

 

Xbox 360 HD Installation

The optional installation requires 3.4 GB of hard drive space.

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