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Kensei uses a button distribution style, separating them into punch, kick, throw and guard. The system provides the player with a large array of moves and combos, and multi-step throws are available, though both normal and multi-throws can be countered by pressing a button that flashes on the screen. Game speed is rather slow (one of the reasons for it not to become an arcade game), and relies more on timing, strategy and accurate knowledge of attack ranges to land successful combo strings and juggles. Button-mashing is often a bad tactical choice, since the characters remain vulnerable for long times after performing an unsuccessful combo. Jumping is realistic, albeit for some extra height. Sidestepping is allowed but is a much slower move, aside from some characters who integrate special sidesteps in their movesets. The guard button acts rather as a "dodge" button, as the characters' animation shows them avoiding the attacks rather than taking them on their guard. Characters may assume rapidly a counter-offensive position or be "bounced back" to dodge, and the recovery time relies on the player's ability to press the guard button with sufficient time. Low attacks must be guarded by pressing Down + Guard Button, while pressing Up + Guard Button may allow the character to sidestep at the end of a combo. The Arcade game structure of Kensei comprises 10 stages, with the first eight being made up of random opponents. The specific playing character will encounter a sub-boss in the ninth stage while the tenth one will have them facing off against the crime lord Leimeng and the eleventh (and final) one will have the playing character battle against Leimeng's bodyguard Kaiya. Along with the classical Survival, Training, and Time Attack modes, a special mini-game can be activated once all characters have been unlocked: it's a "racing" mode where the player controls a character and makes it run through a circuit, using button mashing to gain speed.
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