SummaryNot bad, but way too hard!
The GoodThe atmosphere is really good. The graphics are plain, but create a creepy mood and, together with the well-fitting music, give you the feeling that it's you alone against the hordes of evil.
The controls work well. The hero's movement is relatively realistic (a bit like a character from Castlevania), the different attacks are easy to execute, intuitive and there isn't that much platform jumping required - which is a good thing, because Kenseiden wasn't designed for that.
There are many different places to visit (all over Honsho), and there is not strict order. You may skip a few levels, but then you might miss a boss fight - and the new sword technique you get after defeating him.
Yes, there are several techniques apart from simple slashing, and they are all really useful. In fact, skipping some bosses and going directly to Edo might be even harder that actually visiting all stages.
The BadThe story is rather simple, but okay for a platformer like this: You are the good guy and have to kill the bad guy in order to save the world. I didn't expect any fancy character development or plot twists.
But the game is waaay too hard! There a few extra lives and no password system at all. The stages are not impossible, but the slow moving speed of your character and the endlessly spawning enemies make it harder that necessary. Spawning enemies aren't always bad, but do they really have to come back so quickly? You move two back pixels and *boom* a dozen ghosts and zombie monkeys pop up to rip out your oesophagus. And the bosses. This is where the game gets really, really tough. The first one is a flying skull which will set the ground on fire. He's very hard to dodge. The second one (my second one, since there's no strict order) is a giant who can only be hit at a certain, very hard to reach spot. The other bosses aren't any better. There is an item which doubles your health and I couldn't beat half of the bosses without it. The final boss is even wore, since he has several forms. Of course. The boss before him is, for some reason, rather easy. Or maybe I just felt that way because he is hard, not insanely hard.
The Bottom LineKenseiden is a very solid platformer, but if you check it out, prepare to be frustrated.