When you look at the anime-game market, you can see its pretty much overpopulated with games based on Dragonball Z and Naruto, so it's good to see a company attempt to bring another series to the consoles, especially when the game has been in such a way that it doesn’t scream out 'anime' the moment you see it.
Fist of the North Star is an age-old series from the 80s, known for its extreme level of violence and blood-shed. And it seems that none of it has been lost in this transition as Tecmo takes the reigns to deliver us a fun, but challenging game.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage focuses on Kenshiro, a warrior using the deadly martial art style of Hokuto-Shinken, which allows him to kill his foes through hitting their body's vital-points. We follow his journey though this world as he becomes a saviour to the weak, and fights of more and more deadly foes, which ends with a showdown with his own brother to decide the true successor of their fighting style.
As far as anime games go, this
is probably one of the most faithful adaptations, following the
original story pretty closely. Most of the notable characters are
there, with only one or two only showing up as generic NPCs
(non-player character). The main characters themselves look pretty
close to their original selves, with only a few characters having
any real change in their appearance, the most notable being Mamiya,
tho only playable female, who was given a completely new outfit,
probably to act as fan-service.
Some unique additions to the combat for this game though is that you can pick up items and enemies throughout the stage, while you can damage enemies in a variety of ways already, this helps to expand the range of what you can do, and even seems to help make the game play feel a little fresher.
There game has two main modes of play. There is the Legend mode, which follows the story itself, and 'Dream' mode, which lets you play through an original story made just for the game.
The story itself is really good,
the only disappointment being the length for some characters.
Kenshiro and Raoh, being the main hero and villain get a large
number of stages, which will take you a long time to complete, while
some other characters, especially Toki, only have a handful of
stages. While it is understandable due to smaller parts in the
story, it means these characters generally feel a little
underpowered, as you won't earn many points with them to build up
their stats and expand their abilities.
The game itself looks really good. You can
see a lot of effort has been put into the lead characters, from the details on
their costumes down to their muscles, which seem to have had a lot of work put
into them to emphasise the characters strength. The scenery and generic enemies
look good, but do not seem to have the same degree of work or polish.
style of your character, enemies will
usually end up either being sliced apart, or having some part of their body
bloat up, all before bursting in a bloody mess.
The game itself isn't too hard for the most part; you will get through most stages without any difficulty. The challenge comes from the bosses who, even on the lower difficulties, can dish out a fair bit of damage. With Kenshiro for example, you may hit a bit of a roadblock at first when you reach Jagi, who is a very tough opponent the first time you fight him.
Ken's Rage is a pretty good game.
While the system it uses may be old now, it has been tweaked enough to pull off
a great experience. And with the game ending roughly halfway through the
original story, its leaves the possibility of a sequel wide open!
The game itself contains a fairly large database, giving you info on the locations, characters and factions in the game, along with descriptions of a lot of the special arts the main characters use. All of the data is unlocked over time as you go through each characters story and unlock their own skills.
There is also a fair amount of DLC (downloadable content) out now. There are a number of packs that unlock 'classic' costumes for the characters, to make them look more like they did in the original anime/manga series.
There have also been a few packs that unlock brand new characters and missions. So far, there have been 2 packs, which include early bosses 'Heart' and 'Outlaw'.
The only issue with the DLC at the moment is that a lot of it is quite pricey, with an average of around £4 per pack.