Kengo Zero? Kengo No Clue, More Like

Originally Published: 21 February 2008

Have you ever played a game that you just don’t understand.

In the slightest.

At all.

I’ve got a couple of games rental lists online, and I’ve basically stuck the entire 360 catalogue (and a few Wii ones as well) on them, sifted out the sports titles, and then let luck (and the postman) deliver games through my door.

I’ve pretty much been able to understand every game up to now. You don’t get instructions, but usually you’re given some kind of tutorial and all becomes clear. Then there are some that are not exactly rocket science (Cars, for example, which I played while everyone else was on Burnout. How hardcore am I?). And then one comes along which is just, well, plain ol’ weird.

Kengo Zero hit the doormat the other day. I knew it was coming, and had read various reviews ranging from “dreadful” to “crap”. I must admit, they’re pretty spot on. It seems that the Japanese have an unhealthy fascination with people wearing wooden shoes and dressing gowns whilst waving great big swords around. Maybe the British games industry is missing a trick and we need a load of fairly similar games about the English Civil War.

Anyway, the game comes with no explanations whatsoever. The stories of the various characters are weird – they just seem to be roaming Japan when they stumble across various fights, then end up on a boat (where they have a fight), then fight a man with a glowing face.

The piece de resistance came last night, however, when I was scanning the achievements. There is one called “Five Man Contest” where you have to win the Five Man Contest. Beat five opponents and the 25 Gamerscore is yours. I thought I’d give it a crack, expecting it to take a while as the AI goes from mouth-breather to Stephen Hawking (but obviously with someone else using the joypad) seemingly at random.
So I started the contest and came out, sword swinging. I thought “hey, I’m doing ok here” as my first opponent fell… and then I realised something… it was actually playing itself. I wasn’t controlling a thing. At no point anywhere in the contest set-up did the game imply I wouldn’t be playing, and yet there I was… not playing. Not playing but 25 points better off.

Aside from the “Press Start” achievement in The Simpsons, the easiest achievement ever!

Now if only I could find a way for the rest of the game to play itself…