Monday, 30 December 2013

Champion Kendou (SG-1000)

I don't know much about kendo, though it seems to be a sport that's mysteriously under-represented in videogames. Other than this game, there's a Simple 1500 release on the Playstation, and oddly, a few games on 80s British computers and very little else. I guess other types of fighting are seen to make for more exciting videogames?
Anyway, the game has two main modes of play. The first, and most realistic is a tournament mode featuring teams of five fighting one by one. A pint is scored by getting a clean hit on your opponent, and the first to score twice wins. Their opponent is eliminated, and the first team to lose all five memebers loses the match. I don't know how many rounds are played in this mode all together, but I've been able to get to the fifth team of opponents so far. Though the box art depicts the competitors as men, the in-game sprites are simple and plain enough that you can, should you be so inclined, project any kind of personality onto them. Like if you're some kind of weirdo, you might decide that you're controlling a team of misfit teenage girls, led by a seemingly aloof sempai who seems stuck up but secretly she's really kind and protects younger kids from bullies. If you were some kind of weirdo, of course.
The other mode isn't so good. It's a one-on-one mode in which the two fighters each have health bars, which for some reason are reduced not only by taking attacks, but also by attacking. You can actuallly knock
yourself out by attacking too much.
For some reason, I instantly took a liking to this game. It's simple, but very satisfying to play, and the primitive graphics somehow manage to radiate a lot of atmosphere. One amusing minor detail is that the crowd of spectators seem to be very one-sided in their tastes: They'll cheer when the player's team wins a match, but only offer a stony silence for AI victories.
I definitely recommend this game! If you're one of those collector types, it might be helpful to know that it was released on Sega's My Card format, meaning it's compatible with the Sega Mark III, the first model of the Master System, a few other, more obscure 80s consoles and the Mega Drive Powerbase Convertor.

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