Kensei: Sacred Fist is your by-the-numbers 3D-Fighter. Clearly inspired by Tekken, visually, it actually borrows the basics from Virtua Fighter and Dead or Alive, featuring one Punch Button, one Kick Button, one Grab Button(Unlike DoA and VF, Punch+Kick is NOT Grab, it's a separate button) and a Guard button. Like every 3D fighter worth it's salt, you have a sidestep, however, there's no crouching or jumping, except for a few moves. However, there's a key difference between this game and the previous three I mentioned... Kensei never had an Arcade release, nor was it meant to. Kensei is a very slow game, characters move slowly, and react slowly to your commands. It takes a while to get used to, and it never quite manages to feel natural.
The game has a roster of 22 characters... however, there are only 10 base styles, the remaining 12 characters use a slightly(and by slightly I mean 2 or 3 moves) modified moveset from those 10 styles. For what it's worth, all 22 characters, visually, are very different, and the 10 different movesets are nicely fleshed out, some even feature stances! As for how they look.... it's a mixed bag., some moves look really, really good, but others look awkward at best. The ninjas in particular have awful animations and movesets, and there's three of them.
Regardless, the characters look very good, very detailed. A shame most of them are very odd, and the ones that look good, are rip offs. You have Yugo, a Kazuya(Tekken) wannabe, Heinz, a mixture of Hwoarang(Tekken) and Jacky(Virtua Fighter), Cindy's alt and manerisms are reminicent of Anna(Tekken), then there's Billy and Jelly, two characters, one with a parrot head and the other one a penguin head, who share a slot, not unlike Roger/Alex(Tekken). Originality is not the game's strongest suit. Oh! I almost forgot, there's a Steven Seagul stand-in and the ill-named David Human, a wrestler, and probably, the first male character to have a bouncy chest. The backgrounds are a bit too simple, but there are a few standouts, like the street alley(which, incidentally, looks a lot like Paul's stage in Tekken 3).
Voice acting in this game is best left forgotten. While it doesn't reach the cheesyness of Virtua Fighter, it's not good either. Some characters speak in english and others in japanese. The music is serviceable, it's so low-key you rarely even notice it while you play.
The game... is not worth it. It's too slow and unresponsive, and lacks any type of originality, but, I feel that they could have fixed all that with a sequel. Kensei feels like a decent foundation for a greater game. Tweak the movesets, diversify the characters, make them more original, make the controls more responsive.... Sadly, a sequel never happened and we are left with this...
It's a 4 out of 10.