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FAQ/Strategy Guide by barticle

Version: 1.00 | Updated: 04/06/09

 Kengo Guide - Version 1.00 - 6 April 2009 - written by Barticle at hotmail.com

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                888   d8P   M A S T E R   O F   B U S H I D O 
                888  d8P   -----------------------------------
                888d88K     .d88b.  88888b.   .d88b.   .d88b. 
                8888888b   d8P  Y8b 888 "88b d88P"88b d88""88b
                888  Y88b  88888888 888  888 888  888 888  888
                888   Y88b Y8b.     888  888 Y88b 888 Y88..88P
                888    Y88b "Y8888  888  888  "Y88888  "Y88P" 
                                                  888
    01 INTRODUCTION         08 HOME               888
    02 OVERVIEW             09 STATUS        Y8b. 888
    03 STATISTICS              o Forms        Y8b.88P
       o Combat Stats          o Swords        "Y88P"
       o Ki                 10 SLEEP
       o Hit Points         11 DOJO                 13 DEFEAT DOJO 
       o Fame                  o Lessons            14 VERSUS SCHOOL
       o Days                  o Tests              15 IMPERIAL MATCH
    04 SWORD TYPES          12 TRAINING             16 LAST BATTLE
       o Bokken                o Striking Posts     17 LETTER OF CHALLENGE
       o Katana                o Waterfall          18 MOVES
       o Excellent Swords      o Bamboo Grove       19 STRATEGY
    05 CONTROLS                o Zen Meditation     20 THE NEXT KENGO GAME
    06 PLAYER CHARACTERS       o Helmet Splitting   21 CONTACT
    07 SCHOOLS                 o Illusion           22 THANKS

         "Among flowers, the cherry blossom; among men, the samurai."
                             - Japanese proverb

------< INTRODUCTION >-------------------------------------------- [Section 01]

This is a guide for the PS2 video-game "Kengo: Master of Bushido"*. Since it's
the first in a series of games I'll refer to it as "Kengo I" in this guide.

It's been several years since I played the sequel Kengo II (see Section 20) and
I'd recently been thinking about re-playing it but I saw Kengo I on sale second-
hand for almost no money (one pound, which is about $1.50 currently) so I
decided to check it out.

Since I've just finished writing my first guide for GameFAQs (a specialist guide
for the Mahjong minigame in Yakuza 2 - check it out!) I appear to be in the mood
to write another, so here it is...

In this guide I intend to give a thorough explanation of the various aspects of
the game's single-player campaign, including the different phases of the game
and the six training modes. Consequently this guide contains content SPOILERS,
although since there's not really any story this isn't a big deal.

Please note that I am British so I will be using the correct English spellings
of words like "defence", "armour" and "grey"! Also I have the European edition
of the game so this is the version to which this information applies, although
I suspect that the game content in other territories is similar if not the same.

*The word Kengo (or Kengou) is written using two Japanese characters (as shown
on the title-screen of the game) - ken which means "sword" and "gou" which means
"great", so combined they form the word Kengo which means "master swordsman".
The samurai were also known as the Bushi and do (or dou) means "way" so the name
Bushido is the "Way of the Warrior" or "Way of the Samurai" and is used to refer
to their strict code of honour. Similarly Kendo means "Way of the Sword".

------< OVERVIEW >------------------------------------------------ [Section 02]

Kengo I is a fairly "technical" and realistic beat-'em-up game with a samurai
character learning and using sword-fighting techniques. As such it's often
referred to as the "spiritual successor" to the Bushido Blade games for the PS1,
although the range of characters and weapons available is reduced. (Only swords
are used in Kengo I - see Section 04)

The next three sections of this guide give general information that you need to
know and the bulk of the document will then cover the different phases of the
game in the order they appear: character selection, school selection, set-up,
Lessons, Tests, Training, Defeat Dojo, Versus School, Imperial Matches, the Last
Battle and Letters of Challenge. Finally I'll give a list of the moves available
to learn in the game and some advice on strategy.

------< STATISTICS >---------------------------------------------- [Section 03]

There are nine different numbers and quantities that are important in the game:
the five stats that determine your character's combat ability, the Ki and Hit
Point (health) bars and the Fame and Days counters.

= Combat Stats =

Your character has five different stats which affect various aspects of his
fighting prowess. Each of the five is shown as two numbers with a slash between
them, for example: 780 / 1000. The first number is the current actual value and
the second is the current maximum value.

The maximum value for each stat is raised by training (see Section 12) and the
actual value is increased (up to the limit of the current maximum) by gaining
experience in fights. If you see an "actual" value turn red when increasing it
has hit the maximum limit and any excess points will be lost.

        "In military matters it is not necessarily beneficial to have
           more strength, only to avoid acting aggressively [...]"
                   - from 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu

Your character's five "combat stats" are as follows:-

 Attack Power - As you might've guessed, this governs the power of his attacks.

 Attack Speed - This sets the speed of his attacks. (also obvious!)

      Agility - This one controls his speed of movement around an arena.

      Insight - This stat represents his ability to dodge or parry attacks.

       Spirit - This determines how quickly he gains/loses Ki. (see below)

There is a ceiling imposed on the levels of the maximum stat values such that
their sum cannot exceed 25,000 points.

           "You must appreciate that Spirit can become big or small."
               - from 'A Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi

= Ki =

Your Ki (also spelt Qi) is a nebulous measure of "life-force energy". The manual
describes it as "the fundamental energy flowing through all human beings".

Ki is increased by: scoring a hit, "concentrating" or letting out a battle cry
(see Section 05 below), successfully parrying an opponent's attack or by
"locking swords" with him

Ki is decreased by: making an attack but missing, having your attack blocked or
parried, or blocking an attack made against you.

Since your Ki level affects both the power of your attacks and your ability to
block an incoming strike, its correct use is key (geddit?) to playing well.

= Hit Points =

In common with pretty much every fighting game ever made, the health bars for
your character and your opponent are shown at the top of the screen during a
fight (with yours on the left). All characters seem to have the same amount of
"hit points" (HP) and you have no option to raise your total health.

Both the Ki and HP bars can be turned off from the Options screen.

    "Take care of physical health [...]" - from 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu

= Fame =

The game lists this as a player stat but really it's little more than a win
counter. It starts at zero and increments by one each time you defeat an oppo-
nent, although sometimes you will gain extra Fame points for a special event.

= Days =

Although the passage of time is less significant in this game compared to
Kengo II, the counter on your "home page" shows you how many in-game days have
passed since you started the game.

Each activity in the game, e.g. lessons, tests, training and matches, takes one
day and therefore adds one to the counter.

------< SWORD TYPES >--------------------------------------------- [Section 04]

Most of the time you will be using a wooden practice-sword but in certain events
you will use a real steel sword. You can't choose when to use wood or steel, but
if you own more than one metal sword you can select which to have equipped.

= Bokken =

Whenever you are sparring or fighting against a different school you will use a
wooden sword called a bokken. This causes normal damage which is deducted from
the blue health bar shown at the top of the screen.

The bokken is shaped like a real Japanese sword and made of solid wood. In these
respects it differs from the shinai, the bamboo practice-sword used in Kendo.

= Katana =

The iconic weapon of the samurai is the katana, the elegantly curved sword made
strong by its many layers of carefully forged hardened steel. In the feudal
period in Japan only the samurai were permitted to wear both the katana and the
shorter companion sword, the wakizashi. Only the katana is used in the game.

When fighting with real steel "live-bladed" katana in Kengo I, a successful hit
will sometimes only cause normal damage but sometimes it will also cause a wound
that bleeds. In the latter case the health bar turns from blue to purple and the
message "Danger Level" flashes over the character's name. The mortally wounded
fighter will continue to lose health slowly until the end of the match.

(In Kengo I, if you lose a fight with real swords then you return home and carry
on with the next game day as usual. In the sequel Kengo II the game is a little
less forgiving and a lost fight with live blades causes death and game over!)

                  "I'd have killed you with a real sword."
                     - Kyuzo in the movie Seven Samurai

Your character begins the game with a katana named Mumei. Although I'm sure it's
a very nice sword, it is not classed as an "Excellent Sword"!

= Excellent Swords =

There are eight Excellent* Swords in the game, one belonging to each of the
eight dojo. You will gain your first one when you complete the final test at
your chosen dojo and you'll then have the opportunity to win the other seven by
challenging the different schools.

The Excellent Swords are steel katana so they can cause the additional bleeding
damage described above. Each also has its own Secret Technique which is a slow
but powerful move which can be used when your Ki meter is full (watch for the
flames). Somewhat oddly, if you have an Excellent Sword equipped you can use the
Secret Technique even when you're fighting with a bokken.

           "Superiority is not just a matter of secret techniques."
                  - from 'Hagakure' by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

An (unbroken!) Excellent Sword is required to use the Helmet Splitting training
exercise - see TRAINING below (Section 12).

*You have to assume that the folks at Genki are big fans of Bill & Ted! ;)

------< CONTROLS >------------------------------------------------ [Section 05]

   circle button - [close to opponent] attack (repeat x2 or x3 for combo)
                 - [far from opponent] hold to "concentrate" and raise Ki
                 - [far from opponent] tap to shout and gain Ki quickly
                 - [moving away] attack with lunging stab
                 - [running towards] overhead strike
                 - [moving left or right] sideways horizontal strike

 triangle button - [close to opponent] initiate Secret Technique* if Ki full
                 - [far from opponent] hold or tap to raise Ki (as above)

   square button - [as opponent strikes] tap to "parry" (dodge)
                 - [walking into opponent] cross swords (see below)

    cross button - hold to block
                 - [when attacking] tap to cancel an attack

     L1/L2/R1/R2 - select a combo (see Section 09)

    start button - pause

You can use either the d-pad or the left stick to move your character. All move-
ment is relative to your opponent so, depending on the camera position, pressing
right, left, up or down will cause your character to move towards or away from
the other fighter or to move around him either clockwise or counterclockwise.

If you press and hold the left stick lightly your character will move slowly or
you can press harder to make him run. Double-tapping the stick will make him
take a single quick step in that direction.

           "When you decide to attack, keep calm and dash in quickly."
               - from 'A Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi

If your opponent is close and not attacking, you can move towards him and press
the square button - this will cause the two fighters to lock swords and their Ki
meters will fill quickly until one or other yields and falls back.

*Secret Techniques can only be used when you have an Excellent Sword selected.

------< PLAYER CHARACTERS >--------------------------------------- [Section 06]

The first step in the single-player campaign is to pick your character from the
three offered. One has average stats across the board while the other two have
certain strengths and weaknesses. Although the game's not exactly big on plot,
each has a token back-story too!

  Name: Taketsune Nakayama
 Stats: good all-rounder
   TBS: striving to restore honour to his family's name

  Name: Shozaemon Hyuga
 Stats: bias to faster movement/dodging (with weaker/slower attacks)
   TBS: avenging his father's murder

  Name: Yasutomu Yoshimura
 Stats: bias to stronger/faster attacks (with slower movement/dodging)
   TBS: fleeing a false accusation of murder and trying to make a living

Their starting stats are as follows:-

                | Taketsune Nakayama |  Shozaemon Hyuga  | Yasutomu Yoshimura
  --------------+--------------------+-------------------+--------------------
   Attack Power |     780 / 1000     |     706 /  971    |     841 / 1103
  --------------+--------------------+-------------------+--------------------
   Attack Speed |     780 / 1000     |     738 /  982    |     819 / 1075
  --------------+--------------------+-------------------+--------------------
        Agility |     780 / 1000     |     839 / 1098    |     724 /  973
  --------------+--------------------+-------------------+--------------------
        Insight |     780 / 1000     |     831 / 1077    |     712 /  976
  --------------+--------------------+-------------------+--------------------
         Spirit |     780 / 1000     |     781 / 1001    |     763 /  991

The differences between the three character aren't too significant in the long-
term though; once you start to improve your stats you will quickly make up for
any initial short-falls. However if you have a preference for stronger attacks
or faster movement you can choose accordingly.

------< SCHOOLS >------------------------------------------------- [Section 07]

Having selected your character you next have to choose which of the eight dojo
(martial arts training academies) he will join.

Each dojo teaches a different school of Kenjutsu (the Japanese martial art of
sword-fighting) with a unique style, so your choice of dojo will determine what
types of moves your character learns in the initial phase of the game.

Each of the eight dojo also has two named characters - the Master and their
Disciple - plus a host of unnamed students (abbreviated to "Std" in the game).
You'll meet them all during the course of the game and you'll learn moves from
the other schools when you fight them, so you shouldn't worry too much that
you're missing out when you pick a school.

The eight different dojo are listed below along with their school, a description
(paraphrased from the manual), the name of their Excellent Sword and its Secret
Technique and the two named characters.

            Name: Hirata Dojo (Muja School)
      Philosophy: Seamless combinations and varied forms
 Excellent Sword: Kanemitsu (Flying Swallow Slash)
          Master: Juuro Hirata
        Disciple: Kangoro Morobushi

            Name: Moriya Dojo (Suigetsu School)
      Philosophy: Balance of technique and strength
 Excellent Sword: Muramasa (Wild Top)
          Master: Genpo Moriya
        Disciple: Toranosuke Matsui

            Name: Kasukabe Dojo (Kyoshin School)
      Philosophy: Unconventional techniques and fast combinations
 Excellent Sword: Kunihiro (Reverse Counter Flash)
          Master: Ichiun Kasukabe
        Disciple: Enshiro Tanabe

            Name: Ooishi Dojo (Muni School)
      Philosophy: Weak but fast one-handed attacks
 Excellent Sword: Kanesada (Sword Draw and Parting Mist)
          Master: Gettan Ooishi
        Disciple: Tatsunao Kirigamine

            Name: Tanbara Dojo (Muishinjin School)
      Philosophy: Feints and powerful thrust techniques
 Excellent Sword: Raikuniyuki (Wild Thrust)
          Master: Zesuiken Tanbara
        Disciple: Hideoyasu Takagi

            Name: Udagawa Dojo (Isshin School)
      Philosophy: Balance of technique and strength
 Excellent Sword: Masamune (Storm God)
          Master: Kakuma Udagawa
        Disciple: Kotaro Suzuoki

            Name: Tsubaki Dojo (Kumomushin School)
      Philosophy: Slow but powerful attacks
 Excellent Sword: Sukehiro (Armour Pierce)
          Master: Jiroemon Tsubaki
        Disciple: Seiichiro Shirai

            Name: Kadokura Dojo (Fudo School)
      Philosophy: Powerful strikes and fast combinations
 Excellent Sword: Inouesin-Kai (Blade of Annihilation)
          Master: Shigetoshi Kadokura
        Disciple: Kanenobu Nimura

You'll be given an "Introductory Lesson" at the dojo you choose - thirty seconds
against the Master of the dojo using bokken, giving you a chance to try out the
basic controls.

The lesson to be learnt is: your character's stats aren't very good! Don't worry
though - once you start training your character will improve. A lot!

------< HOME >---------------------------------------------------- [Section 08]

After the Introductory Lesson you're into the game proper and you'll find your
character sitting in his room at the dojo which is how he starts each day.

Your currently available options are listed on the menu at the top right of the
screen. You will always have the Status and Sleep options and others will be
added or removed as you progress through the game.

In some cases the menu options are in a hierarchical/nested structure where you
can highlight an option and press the X button to drop down a level to a sub-
menu or you can press triangle to cancel a choice and jump back up one level.

I'll give these in the format of computer folder paths, so for example to switch
forms you need to access the Status\Form\Edit\Switch option by selecting Status,
then Form, then Edit and finally Switch.

------< STATUS >-------------------------------------------------- [Section 09]

The Status option shows your character's name, his school, his current stats,
his Fame, his currently selected Form (see below), the percentage of total moves
in the game that he has learnt, the currently selected sword and the Secret
Technique for that weapon if it's an Excellent Sword. The number of days elapsed
is also given in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Here's an example of the Status view. In this particular case I'd been experi-
menting with the Training modes and therefore the maximum values for each combat
stat (the second number of the two for each stat) are quite high.

 .----------------------------------------.
 | Yasutomu Yoshimura   Muja-Sch.         |
 | Attack Power : 3216 / 4500             |
 | Attack Speed : 3362 / 4526             |
 | Agility      : 2276 / 3046             |
 | Insight      : 2123 / 2985             |
 | Spirit       : 3292 / 3687             |
 | Fame         : 263                     |
 | Use Form: 1                            |
 | Moves: 57%                             |
 | Sword: Inoueshin-Kai                   |
 | Secret Tech.: Blade of Annihilation    |
 '----------------------------------------'

= Forms =

Your character can have up to four different Forms - numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4 - 
each composed of up to four combos, also referred to as "stances". Each combo
consists of three moves which your character has learnt. You select a Form from
a Status sub-menu before a fight and you can then switch between combos during a
fight using the shoulder buttons (L1, L2, R1 and R2) - if you do this correctly
you will hear a "click". The full list of moves is given in Section 18.

Status\Form\Edit shows your currently selected Form and gives you the following
five options relating to your Forms.

Status\Form\Edit\Practice is misnamed because this is where you actually build
the combos from the moves your character has available. At the start of the game
your character will already have a combo set on Form 1 made up of the move/s you
are given at the beginning. When you start to learn new moves you'll need to
come to this section to put them into combos in order to use them.

       "Those who face the unprepared with preparation are victorious."
                     - from 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu

You can select a Form to edit by pressing left or right and then select a combo
in that Form by pressing up and down. A list on the right of the screen will
show you all the moves available, sorted according to the school from which the
moves were learnt. You can then build up a three-move combo from the list, but
you should note that only certain moves "fit together" and sometimes you won't
yet have unlocked the move/s needed to complete a full three-part combo.

Status\Form\Edit\Switch is used to swap combos either within or between Forms.
If you select an active slot and an empty one then it works like a "cut and
paste" function.

Status\Form\Edit\Duplicate is used to copy a combo into either the same Form or
another one. It's essentially a "copy and paste" function.

Status\Form\Edit\Delete is used to delete a combo.

Finally Status\Form\Edit\Confirm is used to see a demonstration of a combo.

You can then use Status\Form\Select to select which Form your character will be
using. Your choice is shown on the Status screen beneath the stats.

= Swords =

The Status\Sword option is used to select a katana. Before you complete your
dojo you will only have the "normal sword", Mumei, available. After you have won
one or more Excellent Swords you can choose which one to use here.

Even if you are fighting with bokken, you will still be able to use the Secret
Tech for your selected Excellent Sword.

------< SLEEP >--------------------------------------------------- [Section 10]

Selecting the Sleep option lets you save the game. You can only have one save
file per memory card so if you want to keep several games you'll need more than
one memory card - obviously this is much easier if you're playing the game on a
backwards-compatible PS3 where you can create virtual PS2 memory cards at will
(I have ten!) and switch between them quickly by pressing the PS button.

After saving (or not) you are then given the option to either continue the game
or quit out to the main menu.

The next few sections of the guide cover the other menu options in the order
they appear and therefore track the successive phases of the game.

------< DOJO >---------------------------------------------------- [Section 11]

You will need to pass all the lessons and tests at your dojo before you're
allowed out to fight samurai from other schools or take part in the tournament.

Bokken are used in all the tests and lessons at the dojo.

= Lessons =

There are three lessons and a trial. Initially only the first lesson is avail-
able but once you pass it you unlock the next, and so on, although you can also
repeat any lesson you've completed.

In the Striking Lesson you learn to use the circle button to attack. You are
given one minute to land five hits on your opponent. If he blocks an attack then
it doesn't count.

In the Defence Lesson you learn to use the cross button to block incoming
attacks. You need to block ten attacks in one minute. An on-screen counter shows
how many blocks you need to do but bear in mind that if your opponent lands a
hit on you (i.e. you fail to block it) then the counter goes up one! You may
need to raise your Ki in order to be able to block effectively (see Section 03).

In the Parry Lesson you learn to use the square button to "parry" (i.e. dodge)
incoming attacks. You need to successfully complete five parry moves in one
minute to pass the lesson. Obviously for both this lesson and the previous one
you need to stand fairly close to the other student so he can attack you!

Finally in the trial you have to win a proper fight against a student. As you
might expect, you have to reduce his health to zero before he does the same to
you! Like every other fight in the game, there is no time limit.

= Tests =

Once you've passed the trial, the first of the tests is unlocked along with the
first five training options (see next section). As with the lessons, passing one
test unlocks the next one. In every test you have to defeat one opponent, except
for the sixth test where you have to defeat ten people in a row!

In Test 1 you fight a student with high Attack Speed.

In Test 2 you fight a student with high Agility.

In Test 3 you fight a student with high Insight.

In Test 4 you fight a student with high Spirit.

In Test 5 you fight a student with high Attack Power.

In Test 6 you have to fight ten opponents in a row, one at a time, with some of
your health replenished after each fight.

Finally in the Licence Test you fight against your dojo's Disciple character.
When you beat him you earn the dojo's Excellent Sword and the Dojo menu option
is replaced by Defeat Dojo (see Section 13 below). With your new Excellent Sword
equipped you will also be able to access the sixth training mode.

      "I'm sorry we had to test you." - Kambei in the movie Seven Samurai

Once you begin the tests, your character will start to improve after each fight:
gaining stat increases, Fame and occasionally new moves. If you get stuck then
stick at it! With each fight not only will you be gaining experience but as the
stats improve the game should get easier. Remember to set up new combos to use
any new moves you acquire (experimenting with different combinations) and to
undertake training if (or preferably before) one of your stats hits its maximum
limit and turns red.

------< TRAINING >------------------------------------------------ [Section 12]

There are six training exercises which can be used to increase your character's
combat stat maximums. Five of the exercises give increases in one specific stat
(unless you fail!) while the sixth gives a smaller increase in all of them. To
"pass" each exercise you will need to complete a different skill test.

           "Throughout your life advance daily, becoming more skilful
         than yesterday, more skilful than today. This is never-ending."
                   - from 'Hagakure' by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

The first five training modes become accessible after you complete your dojo
trial. Helmet Splitting requires you to have an Excellent Sword selected so you
cannot use it until you've completed the Licence Test.

Each task begins with a short animation which you can skip by pressing the cross
button. Every task also has an introduction page which explains the exercise and
the controls used; it also has a counter showing the number of times that you've
successfully completed the task in the past, with the exception of Bamboo Grove
which shows your high score instead. (I've got 89)

Remember that the training raises the *maximum* levels for the stats. Increases
in the actual levels come from tests and other fights. If an actual stat turns
red it means that it's hit the limit and you'll need to use training to raise
the maximum before it can increase further. Ideally you should keep an eye on
your stats to stop this happening because when a stat increases and turns red
you lose any excess points; instead you should train to keep your maxes up.

                        "The Way is in the training."
              - from 'A Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi

You should also note that there is an upper limit to the limits! The total of
the five combat stats maximums cannot go above 25,000 points. Once you reach
this situation any training increases in one stat will cause an equal and oppo-
site change shared across the others, for example you might get +180 on Agility
and -45 on all of the other four stats. If this takes the maximum figure for a
stat below the current actual level then you will lose actual points.

When you hit the 25,000-point ceiling you will probably decide to stop training,
unless you want to improve one or more stat maxes at the expense of the others.

= Striking Posts =

In this exercise your character increases his Attack Power maximum by attacking
a wooden post with his sword. This is controlled by a quick-time event (QTE)
where you have to press the buttons shown on screen as quickly as possible. You
have thirty seconds to reduce the post's health bar (marked "Tree") to zero by
making the required number of correct presses. Crucially each incorrect button
press reduces the time on the clock by two seconds.

                 "Haven't you seen anyone cut wood before?"
                    - Heihachi in the movie Seven Samurai

At first you're only shown up/down/left/right arrows which correspond to the
d-pad (you can also use the left stick) and then, in future training sessions,
the face buttons (triangle, square, etc) and the shoulder buttons are included.
If you've played games with QTE's before then you should be comfortable with
this but if not you will need to learn to press the face buttons without looking
at the controller.

Tips: Since you have both limited time and a need to make correct inputs, you
will need to make what psychologists call a "speed / accuracy trade-off". If you
go too fast you'll make mistakes but if you're too slow you won't complete the
task (although you will still get some points). As each wrong entry loses you
two seconds you should try not to rush or second-guess the game, and random
button-mashing is certainly no use. You're more likely to complete the task by
taking it slightly slower than by trying to go as fast as possible. It might
also help to rest your fingertips lightly on the buttons so you can feel where
they are (a bit like touch-typing).

           "To wield the long sword well you must wield it calmly."
              - from 'A Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi

= Waterfall =

In this exercise your character increases his Spirit by standing under a mighty,
and probably quite chilly, waterfall. The blue bar shows his Spirit and the bar
with red, orange, yellow and green segments represents his health. Tapping the
circle button causes his Spirit to increase and health to decrease, and vice
versa. If his health drops to zero during the thirty seconds then you fail the
task. The higher you keep the Insight, the more points you get.

Tips: This is quite an easy exercise, so it's no surprise that you get no points
if you fail. That's unlikely though - just press the circle button quickly when
you see two or more colours on the health bar and stop when you get down to the
red one, then leave it until the health regenerates, then repeat. 

= Bamboo Grove =

In this exercise your character increases his Agility by dashing through the
titular grove chopping down bamboo plants with his katana. You have one hundred
seconds to cut down as many as possible. You use the normal combat controls:
pressing circle to attack (and the shoulder buttons to switch between combos).

Tips: I find it useful to use a combo loaded with three horizontal slashing
moves as these can cut several bamboo stalks at once if you're lined up right.
If you only need two strikes then only press the button twice otherwise you'll
waste time making the third useless strike. If you use a combo with a vertical
strike or if you press the button whilst running you can make a vertical cut
down the length of the stalk which can be used to make a gap in a bamboo wall.
Also bear in mind that the next plant you're supposed to go for is highlighted
and your character will stubbornly face towards it.

= Zen Meditation =

In this exercise your character increases his Insight through the Zen Buddhist
practice of "zazen", or sitting meditation. Can you sit on the floor for thirty
seconds without falling asleep? Yeah, me too - especially with a sadist wielding
a big stick behind me! I guess we have to assume that our samurai has been
sitting there for several hours?

 "Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself."
          - Zen poem quoted in 'The Tao of Physics' by Fritjof Capra

Your job is to keep the marker in the central green section of the bar at the
bottom of the screen using either the d-pad or the left stick; the white blur
gives an indication of the marker's speed. If it reaches either end of the bar
then your stick-wielding alarm-clock will give you a rude awakening! You still
pick up some points even if you don't last the full half-minute however.

Tips: This one is pretty straightforward, just be careful not to over-correct
and try to use the minimum force required. I prefer to use the d-pad controls.

= Helmet Splitting =

In this exercise your character increases his Attack Speed* by testing his sword
on a helmet, hence the name! There are two stages to this training. In the first
stage you have to hammer the circle button to fill a red bar until the word
"Concentrate" stops flashing (about 8 seconds). In the second stage a pair of
white lines will appear, one vertical and one horizontal like the axes on a
graph, intersecting over the helmet. A box will form at the intersection and
then red and blue markers will move quickly along the lines - you have to press
the circle button when the markers are inside the box.

You will need to have an Excellent Sword equipped for this one. If you fail the
task you will break this sword and it will be sent away for repairs which takes
seven game days during which time you can't repeat this training, unless you
have another Excellent Sword to equip. (It's also possible to get a partial fail
in which case you get no points but you don't break your blade.)

Tips: If you're a veteran of such vintage games as Track & Field then you should
already have the nervous twitch required to press buttons quickly! The more you
fill the red bar, the larger the box will be in the second stage. It's fairly
easy to get the bar at least three-quarters full which makes the timing task
quite do-able. If you find yourself doing really badly and you have several
Excellent Swords then just equip the one you like least before you start.

*Surely the Helmet Splitting training should increase your Attack Power and the
Striking Posts should improve your Attack Speed, not the other way round?!

= Illusion =

In this exercise your character increases all five of his combat stats maximums
by extinguishing candles with his sword. He stands in the centre of a circle of
eight candles. A red circle appears above the candles and a white marker moves
clockwise around it, gradually getting faster. On each revolution you need to
press the circle button at the exact moment that the marker passes over the
indicated candle (because the view rotates, the target candle will always be the
one at the front of the screen).

      "The word Gen means 'illusion' or 'apparition'. [...] Everything in
        this world is but a marionette show. Thus we use the word Gen."
                   - from 'Hagakure' by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

After eight revolutions your samurai will make a 360-degree sweep with his sword
and any candles you hit will be snuffed out. If you get 1-7 candles then you get
that number of points added to all five stat maximums but if you get all 8 then
you get 20 points on each.

So why's it called Illusion? Well, at a later stage of the game a successful
sweep of all eight candles will take you to a spooky unlit arena where you fight
against a spectral copy of your character! This is a fight with katana so the
bleeding damage rule apply (even though he's some sort of ghost!). The fight
scores you extra points on top of the normal 20 per stat, even if you lose.

Tips: When hitting the eight targets I like to focus on the candle and then
track the marker in the periphery of my vision (a bit like the way you focus on
your hands when juggling). Remember that the marker speeds up during the test.

------< DEFEAT DOJO >--------------------------------------------- [Section 13]

After completing the final test at your school, the Dojo option will be replaced
by Defeat Dojo.

Defeat Dojo lets you challenge the other seven dojo and fight against their
students. All seven dojo are listed, each with a description of their school and
the names of their Master and Disciple. After picking one, you visit their dojo
and fight five students (one at a time) and then the Master, using bokken, with
some health recovery between each student fight and full recovery before the
Master fight. If you defeat the Master then you win the dojo's Excellent Sword
and it's added to your list.

         "The training for killing enemies is by way of many contests."
               - from 'A Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi

As with all fights, you will gain experience and your actual combat stats will
increase. You will also learn new moves from the other schools. Once you have
defeated a dojo it will appear greyed-out on the menu and you will not be able
to select it again.

In some cases (I think it happened twice when I played through the game) the
students will ambush you on the way home from their dojo* to avenge their
Master's defeat. You will fight against three students individually and then the
dojo's Disciple, in an outdoors location, with live blades (and bleed damage).
If you fail to beat them all then you don't get the dojo's Excellent Sword.

Once you have defeated all seven dojo, the Defeat Dojo option is replaced by the
Versus School option (see next section) although every seven days you will
receive an invitation to the Imperial Match instead (see Section 15).

*I assume this constitutes the "street battles" promised on the back of the box!

------< VERSUS SCHOOL >------------------------------------------- [Section 14]

The "Vs. School" option replaces Defeat Dojo* and similarly gives you the chance
to challenge one of the other seven dojo. You will have four fights with stu-
dents before facing the Disciple and finally the Master, all using bokken.

This gives you the opportunity to pick up any moves or Excellent Swords that
you've not yet acquired and also to reclaim any lost swords (see Section 17).

Once a week the Versus School option is replaced by Imperial Match (see below).

*This is one of a couple of occasions when your character gets an accommodation
upgrade - from a six-tatami room to a larger ten-tatami one!

------< IMPERIAL MATCH >------------------------------------------ [Section 15]

Every seven days you will receive an invitation to take part in a tournament
called the Imperial Match* - this is optional, you don't have to accept.

(When you first receive this option it will actually keep appearing on a daily
basis until you select it, but thereafter it will be weekly.)

The contest takes place in a large courtyard arena in what appears to be a Zen
Buddhist sand-garden (bad news for the gardeners!) with a single seated figure
observing (presumably the Emperor?).

At the start of the match you are shown the pairings of the thirty-two fighters
who are participating, including students, Disciples and Masters from the
various dojo plus a few extra characters; you then fight your designated oppo-
nent (usually a student in the first round), with katana. If you win you go
through to the next round and your health is fully replenished.

There are five rounds in total: Round 1 (32 people), Round 2 (16), Round 3 (8),
the Semi-Final (4) and the Final (2). If you win the Final then you gain an
extra twenty Fame points on top of the five you get for beating five opponents.

Winning the final round also takes you to the Last Battle (see next section).

*The "Imperial Match" always makes me think of the fantastic Imperial March
(also known as Vader's Theme) from the Star Wars movies. :)

------< LAST BATTLE >--------------------------------------------- [Section 16]

        "This is the final battle!" - Kambei in the movie Seven Samurai

After winning the Imperial Match you go on to fight against the Master of your
own dojo in a large open space using katana (with bleeding damage as usual).
If you defeat your Master in combat then the game credits roll - you've beaten
the game! 'Grats!

However... you can still continue to play. You return to your dojo and the
message "Inherit Mastership" is displayed - now you are the Master.*

After this happens, you will still get the "Vs. School" option and continue to
receive optional Imperial Match invitations every seven days but you will now
also get a non-optional "Letter of Challenge" every four days (see below).

*That makes me think of Darth Vader too!

------< LETTER OF CHALLENGE >------------------------------------- [Section 17]

If you continue playing after beating your Master in the Last Battle you will
receive a "Letter of Challenge" every four days, usually from one of the other
dojo. You are not given the option to refuse, so you have to fight!

There will only be one fight, using bokken. If the challenge came from a dojo
then you will fight against either the Disciple or the Master and if they win
they will take back the Excellent Sword for their dojo! If this happens you will
have to use the Versus School option to defeat that dojo again if you want to
win back the sword.

Occasionally the challenge will come from one of the extra characters that you
encounter at the Imperial Match. The character Noatsuna Yoshioka is armed with
an oar* and if you defeat him then the oar is added to your sword list. It lacks
a Secret Technique but it is big so it improves your reach. Also as it's made of
wood you can use it in fights where you normally use bokken but you can't use it
in the Helmet Splitting training.

*This could be a reference to the most famous duel of the legendary Japanese
swordsman - Miyamoto Musashi - who defeated (and killed) Sasaki Kojiro using an
improvised bokken fashioned from an oar, although the oar is also recognised as
one of the traditional improvised Okinawan weapons and called an eku.

------< MOVES >--------------------------------------------------- [Section 18]

There are around 74 attacks that you can learn in the game. After you choose a
dojo you are given either one, two or three moves from that school (marked with
asterisks below) and a preset combo. You should then learn the rest of your
school's moves from the other students during the Tests.

When you meet students from the other seven dojo you can learn techs from their
schools too although there appears to be a limit on how many of these you can
learn. I completed the game over the course of a weekend and then played through
again over a week while writing this guide and on both occasions the percentage
of total moves learnt stopped increasing after it hit 60%.

"In single combat we can confuse the enemy by attacking with varied techniques."
                - from 'A Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi

I won't give a list of all the possible combos in this guide, for two reasons.
Firstly the game shows you which of your learnt moves can be built into combos -
see Status\Form\Edit\Practice in Section 09 - and secondly if I'm only working
with 60% of the moves available then it probably wouldn't be a complete list!

You'll notice that once you start learning moves from the other schools you can
"mix and match" and use techs from different schools in a single combo, but only
in the combinations that the game permits.

 .----------------------< Muja School (Hirata Dojo) >-------------------------.
 | Shadow Strk*        Blade of Fury*     Solar Strk       Blade of Doom*     |
 | Multi-Strk          Flying Swallow     Lunging Blade    Mod Flying Swallow |
 | Swd Grd Throwback   2-Handed Thrust    Assault                             |
 '----------------------------------------------------------------------------'

 .--------------------< Suigetsu School (Moriya Dojo) >-----------------------.
 | Direct Blow*        Horizontal Slash   Shadow Blade*    Solar Blade*       |
 | Rev Horiz Slash     Whirlwind          Tornado          Water and Clouds   |
 | Blade of Thunder                                                           |
 '----------------------------------------------------------------------------'

 .--------------------< Kyoshin School (Kasukabe Dojo) >----------------------.
 | Scarlet Leaves*     Crimson Death      Solar Flamingo   Shadow Flamingo    |
 | Roll                Dark Thrust        Shadow Thrust    Dark Payback       |
 '----------------------------------------------------------------------------'

 .----------------------< Muni School (Ooishi Dojo) >-------------------------.
 | 1-Hand Horz Slash*  1-Hand Str Slash   Parting Mist*    1-Handed Up Slash  |
 | Horizontal Slash    Tracking Thrust    Elbow Strike     Devil Wind         |
 | Two Swords          Floating Boat      Heatwave                            |
 '----------------------------------------------------------------------------'

 .--------------------< Muishinjin School (Tanbara Dojo) >--------------------.
 | Body Pierce*        Block and Strike   Rev Down Slash   Multi-Thrust*      |
 | Sacred Gateway      Rolling Thunder    Decapitate       Double Cut         |
 | Armour Pierce                                                              |
 '----------------------------------------------------------------------------'

 .----------------------< Isshin School (Udagawa Dojo) >----------------------.
 | Up Slash*           Down Slash*        Crouched Slash   Thrust*            |
 | Storm God           Storm God (sec)    Chrysalis        Draw & Strike      |
 '----------------------------------------------------------------------------'

 .--------------------< Kumomushin School (Tsubaki Dojo) >--------------------.
 | Rev Down Slash*     Rev Side Slash     Netherword       Helmet Split       |
 | Goblin Smasher      Side Slash         Stabbing Demon   Netherworld's Gift |
 | Direct Blow*        Lightning Bolt*    Goblin Slayer                       |
 '----------------------------------------------------------------------------'

 .----------------------< Fudo School (Kadokura Dojo) >-----------------------.
 | Blade of Unyo*      Blade of Zangan    Rev Down Slash*  Thrusting Blade    |
 | Cut Down            Down Slash*        Biting Steel#                       |
 '----------------------------------------------------------------------------'

I'm a fan of the Muja School's horizontal cuts "Solar Strk" and "Swd Grd Throw-
back" which cover a wide arc and therefore give a better chance of hitting your
opponent; they're also handy in the Bamboo Grove for the same reason. These
moves are especially effective in a combo with Flying Swallow as the finisher.

The Kumomushin School's techs are powerful but slow which makes them harder to
use effectively but at least if you choose this school the Tsubaki Dojo students
you face during the Tests have the same handicap!

*You are given these techs when you first join the dojo.

#Oddly this is part of your initial preloaded combo but you can't add it to a
 custom combo yourself until you've learnt the move during the Tests phase.

------< STRATEGY >------------------------------------------------ [Section 19]

                    "Strategy is the craft of the warrior."
              - from 'A Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi

You always begin a fight with a low level of Ki so take advantage of the time
then to hold or tap circle to charge it up. You should also keep an eye on the
meter during the fight and if it's low run away and, if your opponent gives you
the chance, charge it again. You can also use the "lock swords" move to quickly
fill your Ki meter. A higher Ki will improve both your attack and defence.

As long as your Ki meter isn't too empty, the block function is very effective.
Even in the earlier stages of the game when your character moves very slowly he
can still block quickly so be ready to hold the cross button if you see the
other fighter preparing to strike or, if you prefer, keep the button held down.

   "Invincibility is a matter of defence, vulnerability a matter of attack."
                       - from 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu

Watch out for the "slow twirl" move where the fighter makes a full rotation and
*then* hits you - it's easy to assume that he's missed and to drop your guard.

If your attack is blocked get ready to quickly block a counter-strike.

Your relative orientation to your opponent is very important - you need to be
facing him in order to block or attack so if your last attack combo or his parry
leave you pointing in the wrong direction you should turn to face him quickly.

The same applies to your opponent, so a very effective technique is to wait for
him to commit to an attack combo, dodge quickly to one side of him and then
attack before he has a chance to turn to face you.

  "When opponents present openings, you should penetrate these immediately."
                       - from 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu

If you are moving or making an attack combo, you cannot block so be careful what
you do when your rival is near. Again you can use this to your advantage by
backing away from him, making a full three-move combo and letting him walk into
it! Often the second or third move in a combo is more powerful too. This method
is particularly useful against the maniacal Master Juuro!

If your opponent takes a half second to recover from your attack then hit him
again! You can sometimes land several attacks in a row like this.

   "If you fail to take advantage of your enemies' collapse they may recover."
                - from 'A Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi

The Secret Technique you get from each Excellent Sword is very powerful but the
price you pay for this is the long time it takes to launch it which leaves you
vulnerable to attack (also the completed move empties your Ki meter). You should
normally only use it when your rival is stunned or tied up in an attack combo.

The Disciple and Master characters will sometimes try to use a Secret Technique
against you so you can take advantage of the same issue - you can hit them when
they are "charging" their attack.

One quite cheap (and not very honourable!) tactic to use in a fight with real
swords is to land an attack that causes bleeding damage and then evade - you can
literally run circles around him until he eventually passes out. This even works
if you have a bleeding wound too, but only if you have more health than him!

            "Tire them by flight." - from 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu

When building your custom combos you should try to balance speed with power. You
will notice that sometimes you launch an attack only to have your opponent hit
you first with a faster one. If you have a quick strike equipped (and raise your
Attack Speed stat) you can do the same to him!

             "We must defeat him at the start of his attack [...]"
               - from 'A Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi

I would suggest that you experiment with combinations of new moves as you learn
them. You might also like to consult the other game guide on this site which
recommends some effective combinations, although you will have to learn several
techs from other schools before you can use them.

Finally, keep checking your stats to make sure that your maximums are high
enough for you not to lose out on any points when the actual values increase.
Some of the training exercises may be a bit boring (a bit too realistic in that
respect?) but your character's combat stats will improve hugely from the combin-
ation of effective training and fighting experience.

                        "You must train repetitively."
              - from 'A Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi

------< THE NEXT KENGO GAME >------------------------------------- [Section 20]

If you enjoyed this game then I recommend the 2002 sequel which is known
variously as Kengo II or "Kengo: Legacy of the Blade" or, ditching the Kengo
name altogether here in Europe, "Sword of the Samurai". 

All too often a video-game sequel will just be a lazy rehash of the original but
in this case there was a substantial overhaul with a number of improvements and
additions. Here are some of the features in Kengo II...

o revised combat system with new block and guard-breaking moves

o nine custom Forms plus almost fifty preset Forms to learn

o three Forms selectable during combat (with on-screen indicator)

o over 170 moves to learn including a range of iaijutsu (quick-draw) techniques

o one-hit kills are possible

o seven combat stats plus Fame and "Bad Fame"

o 102 swords to collect which modify your combat stats

o "betting matches" to win Excellent Swords

o various missions to undertake where you fight several bandits or ninja at once

o nocturnal "fight club" using real katana

o losing a katana fight causes death and game over! (hope you saved recently)

o sixteen Kengo (sword masters) to track down, learn from and defeat*

o no Ki bar and no tedious training minigames!

o better action-tracking camera

o sixteen save slots

o custom character design and naming

*Including Miyamoto Musashi armed with his oar, although he's somewhat elusive.

------< CONTACT >------------------------------------------------- [Section 21]

If you have any comments, additions or corrections (or praise?!) relating to
this guide please email barticle at hotmail.com - obviously changing the "at"
to an @ and removing the spaces. It would be helpful if you include the word
"Kengo" in the subject.

------< THANKS >-------------------------------------------------- [Section 22]

I will be happy to give credit and thanks to anyone who makes a contribution to
this guide... if anyone else is still playing this game?!

--
"Kengo: Master of Bushido" Guide
Copyright 2009 James R. Barton
Initial version 1.00 completed 6 April 2009

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.

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use only. This work is subject to copyright. It may not be hosted online or
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without the advance written consent of the author. Any violation would
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The only websites with the author's consent to publish this guide are GameFAQs
(www.gamefaqs.com) and its affiliates (i.e. Gamespot).

If you find this file hosted on any other site I would be grateful if you would
inform me at the email address given at the top. Thanks!

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