More info on Kenju emerges

Beta testing on Sammy's upcoming Atomiswave arcade game begins in Tokyo, revealing details on the cel-shaded Japanese fighter.

TOKYO--An ongoing Tokyo beta test of Kenju has revealed new information on Sammy's new Atomiswave arcade game. Similar to Capcom's Street Fighter EX and Justice Academy series, Kenju is a 3D fighting game with a 2D fighting game system. Unlike the other games, Kenju uses different rendering styles for its background and characters. While the arcade game's backgrounds are rendered in traditional 3D, its characters are cel-shaded, giving them an anime-style look. Although Kenju translates into English as "Fist of the Beasts," the characters do not transform into animals, as in the Bloody Roar series.

Kenju is played with the standard combination of joystick and four buttons, where two buttons are for punches and two are for kicks of different strengths. Kenju's game system is similar to most 2D fighting games--the player fights against the opponent and executes special attacks using the joystick. The game implements a number of modern 2D subsystems, such as chain combos, guard canceling, wake-up recovery, super attacks, and parrying. In addition to the usual life meter and power meter found in most fighting games, Kenju has a third meter called the pressure meter, which allows the player to thrust the opponent into the air for a damaging aerial combo when the meter is full.

However, Kenju doesn't exactly look like a typical 3D game with a 2D fighting system, where the screen is often seen zooming in and out as the player adjusts the distances and uses long-range attacks. Since there don't seem to be any projectiles or other long-range attacks in Kenju, players will have to fight in close quarters, similar to how they fight in Sega’s Virtua Fighter series and other standard 3D fighting games.

Eight of the 12 characters in Kenju are playable during the beta test; another four characters won't be available until the final game. Each character has a normal and an alternate costume design. For example, heroine Nanoha defaults to a ninja costume, but her alternate costume is a school uniform. The other seven characters include the main character, Eiji, who has spiky hair and has an alternate school uniform; deRake, a tall, long-haired man who spins around in most of his attacks; Hanuman, a huge beast warrior; Gale, a boxer who sports a coat and shades; Guarde, a Mexican-style wrestler with various throw moves; Shi-Foa, a scantily clad lady; and Rina & Mina, twins with different moves who can tag-team in the middle of the battle.

The development team still has some work to do, as the beta version of Kenju has some graphical glitches and game balance issues. Sammy has not yet announced a release date for the game.

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