ACA NEOGEO SENGOKU

Welcome! As with most (if not all) ACA NEOGEO games, this game is a port of the original Sengoku beat ‘em up arcade game released in 1991. Like other ACA NEOGEO games, there are three game modes (Original, Hi Score, and Caravan), each of which grant you three achievements for hitting various scores, and three more achievements for miscellaneous tasks that involve uploading/posting your high score. I will address Original mode first, but since game settings can be changed to make Original mode extremely easy, I won’t say much beyond what settings you’ll want to choose. The meat of my guide will be focused on your Caravan/Hi Score runs since this is where you will actually need to make an effort without the benefit of customizable options.

The total time this game will require of you is variable. If you are extremely efficient and precise, it may be possible to grab all 12 achievements/1000GS in under an hour. With the strategy I will provide you, I think 1-2 hours is the most reasonable estimate of how long a full completion will take. But if you struggle with beat ‘em ups, have bad luck with spawns and timing, and/or just can’t quite get the hang of the game, it may end up taking longer than that.

First off, let’s talk buttons and moves. There isn’t much to say here, and this is all explained right off the bat in Original mode, but since you don’t get the same intro for Caravan and Hi Score, I’ll include it here for your reference.

cn_A – Jump

cn_X – Attack

cn_Y – Transform

You can perform jumping attacks (though there is only one spot where I recommend this) by, as you may have guessed, jumping, and then attacking. Transformation requires you to collect different warriors, which you will gain when defeating certain enemies in the cloud stage. These include the Wolf, Samurai, and Ninja. Each one can be used for 60 seconds total. Press cn_Y to bring up a bubble over your character’s head, use left and right to scroll through your available warriors, and press cn_X to choose one, or press cn_Y again to cancel the transformation. While transformed, you can transform back to your normal state the same way and your remaining time in that form will be preserved. Each warrior has their own strengths and weaknesses, and I will address each of them at the times when it’s appropriate to use them. I only plan to explain as much as necessary for the purpose of obtaining your achievements. They have strengths and weaknesses beyond these explanations, but since that’s outside the scope of hunting down your achievements, I won’t be going into that level of detail.

Next, orbs:

Red – gives you a single katana. The weakest weapon, but still worth it. If you have two different weapon orbs on screen and you can pick one, you should give red orbs the lowest priority.

Blue – gives you double katanas. Very similar to the single katana.But two of them.

Purple/pink (can’t quite tell what color it is) – gives you a broadsword. Somewhat slower than the other two weapons, but the most powerful of the three. Give this the top priority if you have to pick which orb to go after.

Yellow – Gives you magic projectiles. Somewhat helpful, but not a massive game changer. These never appear when there are enemies around, so it’s never a risk to grab them. Might as well go for it.

Green – Collect 10 of these to restore one health bar. NEVER take a risk to grab these. Enemies do so much damage so quickly, and you have to grab so many of these to get just one health bar back, it’s never worth the risk if you have to go near an enemy to grab one. If there are no enemies on screen, by all means, grab them, but only if you’re free to do so without any risk.

One last thing to note: keep moving. There’s no official time limit, but if you stand in one spot for too long after clearing out enemies, rolling spiked barrels will start coming across the screen, which are very hard to dodge. There’s really no reason to stick around once a screen is cleared out either, so just make sure to keep it moving.

These will be the easiest achievements of the game and will give you a chance to get used to the mechanics. The first thing to do once you load up Original mode (scroll to English Version ORIGINAL MODE [or Japanese Version if you want] and hit start [hitting cn_A won’t work, which took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out]). Before starting your first game, hit the cn_back button to bring up the game’s options. Choose Game Settings. Set/confirm the following options:

Number of Players: 99

Continue: No Limit (should be the default setting)

Difficulty: Easy/Normal (Easy if you want to get your achievements for this mode as quick as possible, Normal [or even Hard] if you want to double-dip by getting in some practice for Hi Score and Caravan modes)

Bonus: Second Bonus

Bonus Rate: 120,000 / 70,000

Go to Button Settings if you want to remap any buttons, but it’s not necessary. You don’t have the option to change the buttons in Hi Score or Caravan mode, so I suggest just getting used to them now. The default buttons will be:

cn_A – Jump

cn_X – Attack

cn_Y – Transform

cn_LB – Add Credit

cn_start – Game pause

cn_back – Options menu

Once these settings are in place, hit cn_LB to drop in a credit, press start, and commence your grind to 150k. After a few levels, you should have easily unlocked:

Score 50,000 points

The score won 50,000 points.

Score 50,000 points
1 guideOffline Game ModeSingle Player

Score 100,000 points

The score won 100,000 points.

Score 100,000 points
1 guideOffline Game ModeSingle Player

Score 150,000 points

The score won 150,000 points.

Score 150,000 points
1 guideOffline Game ModeSingle Player

Once you’ve hit 150k, reset your game, put your settings back to the default, and start up another game. The reason for doing this is that if you’ve done as I recommended above and set your lives to 99, it will take FOREVER to die enough times to actually end the game and get the prompt to upload your scores. So start a new game, get through half of the first level or so (just get enough points to get on the high score board), let yourself die completely, don’t continue, and you will get the option to upload your score. Doing this will give you the following achievements:

Mark high score

High score has been updated.

Mark high score
Offline Game ModeSingle Player

Record score

The score has been posted to the online rankings.

Record score
Online Game ModeSingle Player

Now head back to the title screen, and load up either Caravan or Hi Score mode.

One thing to note is that, ironically, your score at any given time doesn’t really matter all that much for Hi Score mode. There’s no way to hit 60k without finishing the first level, and there’s no way to finish the first level without hitting 60k, so your goal for Hi Score mode is really just to finish the first level. You’ll need to follow the same exact strategy for Caravan mode. Since the approaches are the same, I will note the different point total achievements at the relevant spots, but keep in mind that you cannot earn the Hi Score and Caravan achievements on the same playthrough. Your score CAN vary slightly in a few areas by preventing certain enemies from spawning or letting other enemies run away without killing them, so you may hit the relevant point totals slightly later than where I have them noted if you choose to do this, but it will not have a significant impact. The spots where I've noted certain unlocks assume you are taking out all enemies that are worth points and allowing the maximum number to spawn in the one area where you have control over that. I will not be going into a level of detail that tells you how to take out each individual enemy, so if I have not specified what to do, assume that the strategy is to stand still at the edge of the screen, mash cn_X, and wait for the enemy to come to you. Do not move until they are dead. For Hi Score players, the first game over you get, you will be given the option to upload your high score.  Choose Yes to unlock:

HI SCORE Player

The score has been posted to the online rankings in the "HI SCORE MODE".

HI SCORE Player
Online Game ModeSingle Player

Start

You’ll start out with four claw ninja enemies. Stick to the left side of the screen to kill all four enemies, do not move in at all. The reason for this is that one of them will spawn a weapon orb, and you will want to grab it before advancing at all, because the second the screen advances once the enemies are dead, you will move on to the next area. Sticking to the left side of the screen is the only way to ensure you can grab the orb before moving on.

First Cloud Section

Stick to the strategy of staying in one spot and spamming the attack button. You will come across two groups of enemies with spears at one point. They are worth no points, and they move in a straight line, so you can stick to the bottom of the screen and they will go away without incident. If you feel feisty, you can kill them fairly easily, and each group will spawn one green orb. Not worth the risk in my opinion. At the end of the cloud section, you will encounter a giant floating skill which will spawn four ninja enemies if you let it. Letting the enemies spawn and killing them is worth more points, so do that. Note: If you’re not still at full health by the end of this section, strongly consider restarting and trying again. If you’ve lost an entire life, DEFINITELY start over.

Second Street Section

When you encounter archers, you can mostly ignore them if you’re on the right side of the screen, but they ARE worth points, so do as you see fit. If you killed the spawning enemies instead of taking out the skull right away in the previous section and killed the archers on this screen, you should hit 10k points at the conclusion of the section with the archers, giving Caravan players:

CARAVAN MODE 10,000 points

CARAVAN MODE 10,000 points.

CARAVAN MODE 10,000 points
Offline Game ModeSingle Player

The yellow orb will help you take out the batch of ninjas coming up immediately after, but don’t stress over it. One of the guides on the site here recommends grabbing it at the last second so that you can have it available against the staff enemy, but the timing is nearly impossible to pull that off, you’d only have it for the very beginning of the fight if you did pull it off, and with my strategy, you don’t need it anyway. It is very easy to finish the staff enemy without taking ANY damage. As he is running toward you, move all the way to the left side of the screen (you’re doing this for the same reason we hugged the left side of the screen at the very beginning). The staff enemy will approach you, hit the ground with his staff just before he reaches you, and then he will jump at you. This is what he does EVERY time. When his staff hits the ground, jump, he will jump after he lifts his staff again, and that’s when you kick him in the air. He has no jumping attacks, and your jumping attack will knock him far enough back to allow you to repeat this process three more times to defeat him. DO NOT MOVE FORWARD AT ANY POINT. When he dies, he will spawn a weapon orb. You must grab it. If you move on to the next cloud section without a weapon, you will be lucky to even survive the section, let alone make it to your target score. A sword is a MUST for the next section. 

Second Cloud Section

A blue samurai will come forward to fight you. If you took my advice and only moved onto this section with a sword, you should defeat him by spamming attack and not moving as always, and when he dies, you will receive the wolf. Caravan players will not be using the wolf, Hi Score players will not be using it until the boss. Move forward, and a red and a blue samurai will come forward. The blue one will run away almost immediately, defeat the red one the same way as the list one, which will give Hi Score players:

HI SCORE MODE 15,000 points

HI SCORE MODE 15,000 points.

HI SCORE MODE 15,000 points
Offline Game ModeSingle Player

Once he’s been beaten, the red samurai will drop a weapon orb, which you should ignore. You should have enough time left on your sword to finish off the third samurai enemy, and jumping for the weapon orb leaves you in a vulnerable spot for that third samurai. Beating this third samurai will give you your second warrior you can transform into, the samurai. While you’re fighting the third samurai, two other blue samurai will enter the screen on the opposite side, but keep your attention on the one you started fighting. The other two will run away after taking a few swipes at you, so attacking them should not be prioritized. If the timing is right, they will take their swipes WHILE you’re receiving your samurai transformation, and they will run off without incident, allowing you to completely ignore them. To finish off this section, another group of red spear enemies will enter from the right, and a single blue spear enemy will enter from the left. Attack the reds if you want, but they’ll do the same thing as the previous red spear enemies and run off, and unlike the previous ones, they don’t drop a green orb if you do beat them. No upside to attacking them. The blue spear enemy attacks the same way, but he does not run off, and you DO need to beat him (which is easy to do).

Third Street Section

You’ll drop down, face three white ninjas, and a new enemy, a ring of blue ninjas that will circle you. Once they’ve been beaten, you’ll be a bit over 20k, which gives Caravan players:

CARAVAN MODE 20,000 points

CARAVAN MODE 20,000 points.

CARAVAN MODE 20,000 points
Offline Game ModeSingle Player

Once you’ve beaten the blue ninjas, don’t move, transform into the samurai essentially just to give yourself a weapon, and move forward for a samurai enemy to spawn. Once he’s beaten, transform back to your normal state, and finish the area as normal.

Third Cloud Section

Once you’ve teleported up, you’ll be facing two purple versions of our buddy with the staff from a few sections back. Unfortunately these guys are not as easy to beat, and you’ll have to do a bit of chasing. Catch them in the corners and attack them four times each to defeat them. These guys run back and forth, and they also have a projectile attack. Not much of a secret here, just attack them in the corners. Once one of them is defeated (not sure which one), the spirit of a woman (or maybe some kind of angel?) will appear and give you a health boost, which is the one silver lining of these enemies. Moving on, white ninjas will start spawning one after another. You’ll have to move around a bit to keep yourself from getting surrounded, but other than that, treat them the way you normally would. Sometime in the middle of this gauntlet of white ninjas, we will be bidding farewell to our Caravan players, as we will be unlocking:

CARAVAN MODE 30,000 points

CARAVAN MODE 30,000 points.

CARAVAN MODE 30,000 points
Offline Game ModeSingle Player

HI SCORE MODE 30,000 points

HI SCORE MODE 30,000 points.

HI SCORE MODE 30,000 points
Offline Game ModeSingle Player

Once you are through the white ninjas, four pillars with ninjas in orange standing on them will rise in the background. They’re a bit trickier than other ninjas, but, overall, the same strategy applies.  Transform into the samurai for peace of mind if you like. A weapon orb will spawn at some point while fighting them. If you are in the samurai state, this will add a projectile to your attack as if you had grabbed a yellow orb. If you transform back to your normal state before it runs out, you will have the sword you would normally have from grabbing the orb. Deal with the samurai enemy who enters the battlefield. As with past samurai enemies, you need a sword. If you were fighting the ninjas in your normal state and missed the weapon orb, transform into your samurai now. Once he’s beaten, you’ll receive your final warrior for level 1, the ninja. Move forward to warp to the next and final section of this level.

Boss Fight

Pull up your transformation menu, scroll to the wolf, and let the boss’ introduction play out. We’ll be doing as much damage as we can in this state before the minute runs out, because the wolf is fast, and his short stature makes most of the boss’ attacks miss. The boss’ first state has him jumping around the screen. He has two attacks: he will slash with his arm blades (these go right over your head as the wolf), and a fire… barrel… projectile thing. A flame will appear in front of the boss for a few seconds before he launches this attack, so if you see it, get out of the way. Other than that, do your best to predict his landing spots, meet him there, and slash away with your claws. He will sometimes disappear, and a log will appear in his place and fall to the ground, Naruto Substitution jutsu-style. I wasn’t able to identify any significance to this happening. Once you’ve done enough damage, he will disappear, and a vest will start floating into the sky. At a certain height, the boss will appear again in the vest’s place in his second form.

In this form, he throws projectiles (look like knives or shuriken of some kind), moves faster, and I believe he has another move similar to his fire barrel thing from his first form. Sometimes the knives/shuriken went over the wolf’s head, sometimes they hit. It was inconsistent for me, but I just figured every miss was a freebie, so whatever. Keep after him for as much time as you have left with your wolf. If you can’t finish him before your time runs out (and you probably can’t), move on to the ninja next. Think of the ninja as basically being a faster version of your regular form, and that’s about all he’s bringing to the table. Hopefully that will be enough to chase down the boss and hit him a few more times to finish him. Once you take down the boss and collect the 40k points he’s worth, you should be well past the 60k mark, giving you:

HI SCORE MODE 60,000 points

HI SCORE MODE 60,000 points.

HI SCORE MODE 60,000 points
2 guidesOffline Game ModeSingle Player

With that, you should be at 12/12 achievements for 1000GS, and you can put this game behind you forever!

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