Sengoku (戦国伝承, Sengoku Denshō ) is a side scrolling beat-'em-up game produced by SNK. It is the first game of the Sengoku series and was released in arcades on February 12, 1991. The game was ported to the Neo Geo, Mega CD, and SNES consoles. This title was also included in the compilation piece: SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1.
The story given by SNK is as follows:
"400 years ago, a powerful warlord with plans to conquer the world set forth on his evil mission by attacking entire towns and villages and terrorizing them beyond belief. Anyone who stood in his path of destruction was met by such brutal attacks that death was their only escape. Then two Samurai warriors joined forces to stop the wicked warlord. After many fierce battles they finally defeated him. But before he died he uttered his final words.... 'I shall return in 400 years and this time I will return with another madman and we will rule the world!'
400 years have passed and the prophecy has come true. Only You and another warrior of great strength and skill can stand up to the returned warlord and save the world. Good Luck! We're counting on you!"
The game follows standard elements of the genre: different types of enemies (most of which make references to Japanese mythology) come from off-screen and the player must use their attacks to fend them off. The controls are also rather simple with a pretty straight forward combat system with one button for attacks and one for jumping. The player palettes include a black haired man (player 1) and a blond cowboy (player 2).
What made this game unique was the extra implements added to the gaming genre. While the game is composed of five lengthy levels, players will be teleported at random times to an alternate dimension that resembles ancient Japan. There, players will face alternate enemies or bosses to save the victimized souls of the townsfolk. Saving them grants the player extra power ups, such as the ability to unleash waves of energy or a more powerful weapon.
Power ups in the game come from defeated foes and levitate upwards, often enforcing the use of the jump button. Initially, the player fights with his punches or kicks, but power-ups grant the use of a sword, a holy sword, twin swords, or the power to transform into an ancient warrior that can be accessed with the C button. The three transformations are:
- Samurai - wields a long katana; more powerful than normal state
- Fox - rolls into enemies; agile but has weak defense
- Ninja - specializes in projectiles and jumps