The Fist of the North Star started out as a manga that was released in 1983 and run until 1988. In 1984 Fuji TV and Animax took the acclaim manga and turned it into an long running Anime. After 109 episodes, and a couple of movies, the series came to a halt with little to no entrances in the series, but at E3 2010 it was announced that a Fist of the North Star video games was being released. Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage is a beat-em up adventure being produced and released by Tecmo. This video game adaptation of the comic book focuses on the ridiculous bloodshed and unending swath of enemies that fans might expect.
The game is broken down into two sections. The first, Legend Mode, retells the brutal and action filled story of the manga, but Dream mode, the only mode that allows multiplayer, allows you to travel down a new story created specifically for this game.
Mindless enemies charges at in wave, serving little more purpose then mobile punching bags, and are finished off with a set of standard punches and kicks. The moves, which when charged up, look like a blur of punches and kicks very reminiscent of this, and many others, anime. At one point, the hero Kenshiro picked up a dude by his neck, punched him a few times in the face, and then punted him 10 feet away only to top that by conjuring flaming pillars up from the ground. And in a true Fist of the North Star fashion Kenshiro can even make his enemies’ heads explode after performing a thousand-hand punch. Violence is his mother’s maiden name.
To accompany the endless bouts of kick and punches from getting stale, there are vehicles to ferry you around when your legs are tired. We saw Kenshiro ride on top of a horse and motorcycle, knocking down foes on his way to his next location.
While the game plays out like a 3D version of the classic Double Dragon, a series that I have openly voted on need returning, the level designs borrow heavily from the Dynasty Warrior franchise, forcing the player to walk past wooden pillars, simple walls and obviously timed openings to progress. Although the level design may be lacking the visuals do look superb with each character looking crisp and unique (a trait often fudged over in the anime) while still holding the classic anime and manga look. Fist of the North Star is due out this fall for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.