N Amer - 09/11/2007
E3 2007 Preview
When someone mentions the hack-n-slash genre, two kinds of games come to mind: the beat-‘em-ups of the arcade days (like Streets of Rage and Final Fight, even though not all of those games appeared in arcades) and consecutive button-mashers like Gauntlet Legends.
Kengo: Legend of the 9 is a hack-n-slash game that does not fall into either category. Its gameplay has more to do with timing and reversal moves than with pounding a button until the enemy passes.
One of the most interesting things that Kengo has to offer is its use of environmental kills. We’ve all played games where you can push an enemy into spikes or off a cliff. Kengo is different. Rather than use the obvious ways of taking out an enemy, environmental kills will be moves that are tied to a very specific part of the environment. There will be many of these areas in the game, but don’t expect an arrow to point you in the right direction – environmental kill locales will have to be discovered on your own.
In the environmental kill being demonstrated to the press, a swordsman could be seen pushing an enemy onto a wheel barrel. Once that move has been executed (which is done by throwing an enemy into the object), the game takes over and controls the rest on its own. The swordsman jumped into the air and landed on the enemy’s chest for a painful finishing move.
Another scenario will give players the chance to throw an enemy into a lamp, which will instantly break, and the force of that hit could wind up killing the enemy in one blow. There were several lamps featured in the stage and only one wheel barrel, so it appears that the frequency will vary per type of environmental kill.
If you’d like to know more about the game’s secrets or wish to brag about your own accomplishments, Kengo offers a mode that allows you to upload your character’s success via Xbox Live. Every move you make will be mirrored in this mode, which can be watched by any player that goes online. Majesco compared this feature to the ghost racer modes found in racing games before full online play was possible. But the idea here is not to supplement multiplayer combat, but to instead give players the opportunity to see what others are doing in their single-player quests.
Reviewer: Louis Bedigian
Review Date: 07/16/2007