| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Beat_em_up; loc=JPN] |
|Tamsoft, developers of the girl slash-em-up "The Oneichanbara," bring us another bloody girl vs hordes of badguys game, "The Senko." "The Senko" babelfishes as "Game Daughter," and the hiragana supertitle, which I've seen romanized as "The Nadeshiko," babelfishes as "Wild Pink."|
Instead of Oneichanbara's zombies, The Senko babe(s) (the game supports two-player co-op, but watch out for friendly fire) are battling seemingly endless waves of robots/armored dudes, and it's an old-fashioned side-scrolling isometric view rather than a free-roaming affair. While the side view recalls classic Capcom 2D beat-em-ups of yore, though, The Senko lets you face any direction, not just right/left, so you can for instance jump-kick from the back to the front of the screen, if you want.
The controls take a little while to figure out. There's standard running around and jump/punch/kicking, but then there's this Reload button, and a crazy Circle button that does different things depending on the situation, but always uses of up one of five shells (you can reload these at any time with the Reload button). While punching, for instance, Circle executes a shoulder barge attack, and while kicking, it does a fast-kick combo. While jumping, Circle does this interesting downward-spiralling red energy attack, and while jump-punching or jump-kicking, Circle adds a swirly blue thingy into your attacks that seems to add an extra hit or two. When standing and not doing anything, pressing Circle just as someone attacks you does a big force green bubble counter-attack. If you really want to get nasty, though, press in on the right analog stick (R3) for a screen-clearing "bomb" type attack centered on your character. This takes health off your own life meter, though.
The controls are rather stiff; you can jump and start attacking and end up jump-kicking backwards, for instance. Punching and kicking don't really link together, so it feels a little slow if you're just sitting there mashing those two buttons, but I think the idea was that you're supposed to be using your Circle button shell attacks as frequently as possible.
The enemies, while shiny, are pretty dumb, and often just stand there holding their big gun or axe, looking at you. Which is just as well, since there's always a ton of them, and they take a good couple beefy combos to take down. Jump attacks sort of float you in the air a bit, so you can chain jump-kick your way all across the screen, leaving electrically-charged steel carnage in your wake.
One particularly annoying thing about the enemies, though, is that they often lurk at the edge of the screen, so you have to attack them without seeing them. This seems to happen more in co-op than in single-player, probably because you clear them out faster in co-op, whereas in single-player they get a chance to converge toward the center of the screen. This same problem happens in Final Fight (see entry 78), so at least they have a classic precedent for it.
The other sort-of annoyance is the shear volume of badguys you have to go through in each level. The very first stage, for instance, takes 15 minutes of solid punching and kicking your way along the top of a not-very long train: the game just stops you every car or so, and sends a bajillion guys in slowly, and each takes, as I said, several flurries of combo attacks to take down. Because there isn't much variation in areas or enemies in a stage, it starts to feel like a bit of a chore getting all the way through. It's fun, but it feels like they stretched it out a little.
After killing baddies, you absorb energy spheres they leave behind, and I think it's these that add up points that you can spend in a shop mode (outside the main story mode, again like Oneichanbara) to power up your character. And then there's a mode of 100 stages, 99 of which are locked from the start. I think these are specific timed missions or something: the first is just a segment of the second story mode stage.
The graphics and sound are unusually nice for a Simple 2000 Series game, with high framerates, sharp character models, shiny skins, and fancy energy effects punctuating the visuals, and some very crisp (loud!) combat sound effects, and well-developed electronic music on the audio side.
It's nice to see a side-scrolling beat-em-up in this day and age. The extreme repetition of content, even for this genre, makes the game feel like a bit of a grind, and the controls are not quite as intuitive as they were in the old Final Fight days, but, you know, it's a start. They could really go somewhere with this style of game.