ATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATA! Obligatory reference to being already dead.
Let's get this out of the way right now -- Fist of the North Star is absolutely hilarious. Violent, sexist, and beyond ridiculous, this cross between the classic Manga and Koei's long running Dynasty Warriors series manages to be fun simply due to how gratuitously over the top it is. The female character Mamiya, for example, has a special ability. That special ability is to crawl through holes. The ability exists solely so you can look up her skirt and get a cheeky glimpse of her inappropriate thong. That is brilliant. Stupid and shameless, yet so very brilliant.
Everything about the game is loud, absurd and drenched in blood. Kicking a guy in the nuts, watching him fall face down, and then seeing a significant lake of blood spill out from under his corpse for no reason never gets old. Punching people to make them explode? Marvelous. Mowing down fools on a bike? Classy. Absolutely insane special attacks that move at lightning speed and contain huge doses of ATATATATATA? Perfect.
The game plays in a similar fashion to Dynasty Warriors, with a stepped combo system and loads of peons to destroy, supported by larger and tougher enemies. In addition to being far more action packed than Dynasty Warriors, however, North Star also wins for having an expanded amount of controls. Regular attacks, multiple grab moves, and unique character traits make my five minutes spent with this game significantly more varied and outrageous than my entire collection of days spent with Dynasty Warriors 6.
I only got to play as Kenshiro and Mamiya during my playthrough, but both characters controlled very differently. Mamiya was quick, with ranged attacks and some fantastically salacious grab moves, while Ken was a terrifying beast of explosive punchery and brutal power attacks.
Although much of the game is spent trashing the faces of low-level punks, the occasional boss fight can be very tough indeed. They require the breaking of blocks with sustained assaults and savvy timing, not to mention avoiding unblockable moves. My one complaint with the game comes from these unblockable moves, and the fact that player combos can't be manually broken in order to block or dodge, thus making or a few frustrating moment.
Once an enemy has been drained of his significant health, a huge finishing move, complete with flashing anime background, is initiated, joined by QTE segments to keep the violence flowing. These death sequences are pure eye candy, and should keep serial killers satisfied for hours.
It's also worth noting that the game looks terrific, too. Colorful and stylish, with effects and an authenticity that makes it stand out as easily the most visually impressive thing Omega Force has ever developed. The sound is pretty awesome as well, with enemy screaming and kick ass music keeping the action alive. The demo I played had Japanese voices with English subtitles. I shall endeavor to find out if this is an option for the North American release.
Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage made me grin from start to finish. Its unapologetic silliness, not to mention its faithfulness to the Manga, has made for a vastly entertaining and genuinely amusing product. If you don't love this game, you are already dead.
Yes, I made the same reference twice in one article.
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