SENGOKU / SNK / Arcade
Sengoku is a slow, stiff beat-em-up that seems to mostly get by on simply being really trippy.
The game stars a Japanese guy who apparently stole Michael Jackson's clothes. He starts out in some ruined version of contemporary Earth, which has random Japanese warriors and demons wandering the streets. You walk to the right punching the crap out of anything that appears, but at certain points (totally out of nowhere) you transport up to the Spirit Realm and fight even more grotesque and bizarre demons with your limited kung fu skillz.
Every now and then, while in the Spirit Realm, Mikoru-san rescues a benevolent spirit who joins him on his quest. You can change into these guys for about sixty seconds or so at a time, but then you have to leave them alone for a while to recharge the amount of time they are available to you. These spirits range from a really ineffectual dog to a kabuki warrior.
The game throws some trippy enemies and colorful backgrounds at you, and has a soundtrack comparable to that of Samurai Shodown - a lot of traditional Japanese instruments and chanting. For the most part both of these elements are appealing, but they are more or less all you get. The fighting action moves at a slow pace, and the waves of enemies quickly get repetitive and boring. The main character has a very limited suite of moves, and the characters he can change into are a mixed bag - there are only a few that are truly useful or interesting to fight as. Later entries in the Sengoku series would do better, but this first one is just too dated to get much enjoyment out of anymore.
* Gameplay Video