Format reviewed: Sega Master System
Kenseiden is one of those games that tends to elicit different reactions depending on which side of the Atlantic you happen to hail from. In the UK, it’s merely a game that was enjoyed by a number of Master System owners, albeit not the best-remembered one. In the US though, where most gamers didn’t experience the Master System, it’s seen as a knock-off of the NES classic Castlevania – a comparison missed by UK gamers, who started to take notice of Konami’s classic series a little later on.
It’s not an unfair comparison, mind. Like Castlevania, Kenseiden sees you slaying all manner of undead monstrosities, although these are traditional Japanese beasties given that it’s set in feudal Japan. It’s even got that same weird approach to stairs. However, Kenseiden does look reasonably pretty for an Eighties Master System game but isn’t quite as good – it’s bloody hard and not always fair, with some dodgy collision detection making it difficult to deal with the relentless onslaught of enemies. It’s worth a quick go, but if you’re looking for a great Castlevania alternative on Sega’s system, it’s worth taking a look at Master Of Darkness first.