Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage Impressions

Heads explode in our first look at Fist of the North Star.

by

Exploding heads and punching go together like Peabo Bryson and Celine Dion. Fist of the North Star looks to take this classic combination (the former, not the latter) into the realm of video games. This video game adaptation of the comic book focuses on the ridiculous bloodshed and unending swath of enemies that fans might expect, but it's going to see quite a few changes from its original Japanese release to its North American debut. It's too early to know how this will turn out, but fans of wanton violence should pencil this into their appointment calendar.

There are two separate stories in Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage. The first, called Legend, retells the original story from the comic. Dream is the other mode, letting you rush through a unique story made just for this game, and it's the only way you can play with a friend by your side. We saw a level from the Legend mode, though the story was cut out entirely so we could get a good look at the punching, kicking, and other life-ending melee maneuvers.

The bulk of the game plays out like a 3D version of Double Dragon. Your mindless foes are little more than fleshy bags of blood, and you do them the service of ending what are most assuredly miserable lives. There are super moves in addition to the standard punches and kicks. 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. At another time, he conjured flaming pillars from the ground. Clearly, this guy doesn't take guff from anyone. He can even make his enemies' heads explode after performing a thousand-hand punch. Violence is his mother's maiden name.

Kicking grown men in the chest and head can get exhausting after a while. Fortunately, 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.

The version we saw today was still the Japanese build of the game, but the developer promised us that the mindless enemies would be given more thoughtful AI, and the violence would be made even more extreme. Fist of the North Star is due out this fall for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Tune it to GameSpot to see if claims of even more bloodshed came to fruition, and if the game is fun to play.

Discussion

43 comments
fimpact
fimpact

This game is very good, only spoiled by no head to dead on line play.

YouthNAsia
YouthNAsia

theyre never going to review this, arent they?

Paul790195
Paul790195

termadoyle read FallenAngel comment I don't know why you said that you must have not read or seen fist of the north star

goldeneye19
goldeneye19

Played the demo... for about 2 minutes, it absolutely sucked! Predicting a 4.0

shadow551991
shadow551991

i just hope that it holds the memory we have of kenshiro and doesn't ruin the image like what prison break video-game did.

CMakaCreative
CMakaCreative

With this game coming this way, will they ever make a Ninja Scroll game and if they did, will it ever come here? It has tons of blood shed too.

Doomguard3
Doomguard3

Looks like godhand with blood, kinda disappointing really

j1965
j1965

Just like the anime!I cannot wait for nov!

JD_Escobar
JD_Escobar

SO Dynasty warriors with gore...interesting

killarse
killarse

Hmm... nice childhood memory. I was a big fan of the original manga in the 80's.

thecrow999
thecrow999

if you didn't buy this game you're pure stupid

lowkey254
lowkey254

since i already have this, region free PS3, i have no need for a NA version. Besides, if you know the story already then there's no end for English. now i will say this... get this game! it's pure violence and a ton of fun.

rileyasdf
rileyasdf

lol i memba watchin this sh*t wen i was like 9 and that ninja scroll film

NERVE_STRIKES
NERVE_STRIKES

The edition we Americans get will be superior in every way, AMEN!!!

Dragonsingh3000
Dragonsingh3000

cant wait, iv already pre-ordered mine from play.com lol i love fist of the north star wooooo

itchyflop
itchyflop

the manga production was pretty cool i hope this follows the lineage true to its roots!!

hoysoy
hoysoy

gunman880 - Yeah you can cut limbs in the JP ver. for sure but the question is...will there be blood? Recent examples would include Ninja Gaiden 2 Sigma(but they also removed the blood splatters off the NA one) and No More Heroes 2, no blood spraying At All in the JP ver-but in the NA ver-blood fountains everywhere. *sigh this also reminds me about the porno industry in JP-why oh why-so silly.

gunman880
gunman880

@TomMcShea i dont know about ur whole delimb theory of japanese videogames because Metal Gear Solid: Rising is all about cutting enemies up and it is by far the bloodiest metal gear game ever made. So once that hits Japan i think u'll rethink that statement

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

When I first noticed it, I thought of Dynasty Warriors. ~duck!!~ Might be a rental at first, but if it stays to the story it could be a lot of fun. I haven't looked at the Fist of the North Star anime series in years. Have to look it up again.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@Gelugon_baat, He said that American game players crave more violence than their Japanese counterparts. I have no idea if that's really true, but our ESRB guidelines are less strict than theirs. For instance, in Japan, you can't have a game where you de-limb enemies. In America? An arm for an arm, or whatever. As far as the AI is concerned, I have no idea what's going on with that. I always find killing smart enemies is more rewarded than finishing off brain-dead fools.

hxcpride
hxcpride

i collected the comics when i was teenager. now i have the videos. and the game shall be in my collection soon. love kenshiro.

DrGFunk94
DrGFunk94

Apocalypse River City Ransom? Coo.

FallenAngel
FallenAngel

Ok noobs, will you PLEASE stop with the inane 'zomg it looks like Godhand' comments? Do some research...Godhand was inspired by Fist of the North Star hence THAT game is what looks like FOTNS, not the other way around. Thank you.

Link_Destined_1
Link_Destined_1

And I thought this would never come to America. Looks like Kenshiro's manliness may be able to sell well outside Japan.

sneakthief81
sneakthief81

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

FallenAngel
FallenAngel

YES...I absolutely am in love with both the Hokuno No Ken anime and manga, good to see we finally get a game based on the series since the Sega Genesis days...YOU WA SHOCK!! :D

Mariop90
Mariop90

Excellent looking good. Can't What

termadoyle
termadoyle

a next-gen godhand? OMG BRING IT ON!!!

basilisk100
basilisk100

I am orgasmic here. I thought it will never have made it to the United States. The Japs are the best. They klnow a classic like this needs to be shared with everyone and that's what I like about them. I can hardly wait to explore heads and body parts with the touch of my ancient deadly art of Hokuto Shinken.

GatsuBlackSword
GatsuBlackSword

Thank god this is coming to North America. I could not handle if they did not bring another Fist game over here. I will buy this FIRST DAY!

hunter8man
hunter8man

I was so tempted to import this from Japan, but I'm glad I waited.

super_broly
super_broly

have imported this game from japan and i am loving every minute of it only have 3 more trophies to get before i have platinum on it

rbx270j
rbx270j

Exploding heads make the world go 'round.

newhighscore
newhighscore

hoooly crap! i knew nothing of this til now. i was a HUGE fan of the anime back in the day. i still have it on VHS. i am super hyped on this. plz plz plz dont sully this awesome franchise.

Asagea_888
Asagea_888

I didn't think this would even come to North America---now that it is, I'm interested!

ffviiifreak
ffviiifreak

Cannot wait for this game I am a huge Hokuto no Ken fan. I need to see Rei in action SHOOOOOOO!!!!!