Anyone who counts themselves as an anime fan should recognize Fist of the North Star the second they see it. The beefed up manly looking protagonist and the disturbing results of his finishing moves are unique among the media. Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage tries to take the tried and true world from the manga of Fist of the North Star and turn it into a game that all true fans of the series will enjoy. I got a chance to sit down with the producer of this game so he could show me how it played and answer some questions I had.
Gameplay was just as you’d expect if you know anything about the series, a 3D beat ‘em up. The visual style worked well to match that of the source material even though it didn’t go for your typical cell shaded anime-inspired game look. Ken walked around and beat the crap out of everyone that stood in his way. Tougher enemies required you to bring down an armor indicator before starting to work on their health bar. It seemed quite simple to pull off a number of Ken’s signature moves. The source material was obvious the second the producer finished off an enemy and his head bulged out until it exploded into a bloody mess.
There are two main ways to play Fist of the North Star, legendary mode and dream mode. Legendary mode has you working through the already established story from the manga while dream mode gives you all knew stories written by the developers. When I asked how they made sure that dream mode’s story was faithful to the source material they told me that the original creator of the manga had signed off on the story.
Legendary mode will have 5 playable characters each with their own story and gameplay mechanics. Ken’s story is around 10-12 hours long while the other lesser characters have stories that are around 6-8 hours each. Each character has their own signature moves and by playing the game and gaining experience called “karma” you can unlock up to 9 total signature moves.
Dream Mode has 8 playable characters, with no mention of how long each story is for that mode. The producer said that they were planning a number of DLC packs including new characters and a costume for Ken that more matches his original from the manga. I was shown the game on PS3 but it will also release simultaneously on 360 but no solid release date has been announced.