Video Game / Sengoku (SNK)
Sengoku (not to be confused with the 4X strategy game of the same name.) is a series of Beat 'em Up created by SNK for the Neo Geo, all of which features the protagonist fighting against the demonic forces of a mystical warlord seeking to invade Earth. It consists of the following games:

  • Sengoku (titled Sengoku Densyo note  in Japan), released in 1991. The player take controls of a Japanese ninja (player 1/Canon name: Claude Yamamoto) and an American cowboy (player 2/Canon name: Jack Stone) roaming a post-apocalyptic city to defeat the forces of an evil warlord who vowed to return after being defeated 400 years previously. The main gimmicks of the games were the player character's ability to transform at will into three other characters (an armoured kitsune, a samurai, and a ninja) and the plane switching sequences - at certain point during the levels, the character would get warped to a surreal and unsettling landspace based on Japanese mythology and fight in there for a while before being beamed back to the mortal realm. It was later ported to the Sega CD and the Super Famicom, the latter by Data East in a noticeably different form.
  • Sengoku 2, released in 1993. The plot has the two protagonists from the first game being called back into action to defeat another time-travelling warlord. The mechanics were changed so that the player characters now always carries a sword, all transformations are available from the start.
  • Sengoku 3 (aka Sengoku Densyo 2001 in Japan), released in 2001. Made by another developer (Noise Factory), the game eschewed the surreal atmosphere and transformation mechanic of its predecessors in favour of featuring multiple playable characters with their own abilities and an intricate combo system. Notably, it was the last game published by the original SNK before its bankruptcy.

A Compilation Re-release titled Sengoku Anthology was released in 2008 for the PC and PS2, exclusively to European territories.

Tropes that appear in the series

  • Americans Are Cowboys: The one American character is specifically stated to be a cowboy.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: The western cover of the first game, pictured above.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: The first game has this as a gameplay mechanic. Button Mash in front of the samurai enemies and the player character will eventually catch their sword and break it.
  • Combo:
    • Notably averted in the first two games. Enemies are pushed back after one hit and most of them take two or three hits to kill.
    • Sengoku 3, on the other hand, features a deep and involved combo system.
  • Defeat Means Playable: Two of the bosses in Sengoku 3 join the protagonists after being beaten.
  • Heroic Dog: One of the summons in the first two games is an armored dog.
  • Kappa: Appear as enemies in the first game.
  • Kitsune: A nine-tailed fox woman is one of the bosses of Sengoku 2.
  • Monumental Damage: The Golden Gate Bridge is ruined in the first game.
  • In-Name-Only: Other than being a Beat 'em Up and the basic premise, Sengoku 3 has nothing to do with the first two games.
  • Reformulated Game: The little-know SFC port of the original by Data East has an overhauled Final Fight-style combat system with throws and canned combos, and changed the transformation system so that the player character simply transform at specific points during the levels instead of being able to do so at will. The level progression is mostly the same, but the sprites and background graphics were redrawn, unlike other Neo Geo to SFC ports.
  • Rule of Cool: The whole series, but in particular, Sengoku 2 has horseback fighting sequences and World War II thrown into the mix. One sub-stage is a fight on top of either a B-14 or a B-29.
  • Shout-Out: One of the ruined shop in the background of the 2nd level in Sengoku is named "Boutique Athena".
  • Spiritual Successor: Sengoku 3 is one to Gaia Crusaders.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The horseback-riding segments in Sengoku 2.
  • World War II: Sengoku 2 has "194X" as one of the time periods you can go to, and one of the near-final bosses is obviously Hitler.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: In the SFC port of the first game, both player characters (named Dan and Bill) could perform a pile-driver.