November 5, 2010

Review – Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage​

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 6:53 pm

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage​
In many ways the Eighties were a simpler time, when a man could wander the post nuclear apocalyptic landscape secure in the knowledge that the good glowed with blue auras while the sinister shined red, and acupressure specific fist attacks created a reality where if someone screamed “WATTA!” after hitting you, well, you were probably already dead. At least that’s what Fist of the North Star taught me, my first taste coming via the anime that joined Akira and Fighting Seizure Robots in painting my earliest imaginings of what an incredibly cool place Japan must be.

While many years of studious effort to understand the culture that produced such offerings since then has yielded successful addictions, there are still many things about Japan I fail to understand.

Koei is one of those things, a company that I am aware makes videogames every year, but which I have never had much luck in grasping the sensibilities of. In many ways, Fist of the North Star strikes me as an attempt to rectify that situation, applying the Dynasty Warrior trope to a manga series rather than whatever a Dynasty Warriors game is typically about.

It all seems to revolve around the Japanese word “Musou,” which gets poorly translated here as something akin to “The Only One,” or “Without Equal.” My understanding of Koei’s use of the term is a series of games where waves upon waves of enemies come to kick your ass and in turn have their own kicked.

Given the subject matter of Fist of the North Star and Kenshiro’s lonely quest across the wasteland, this all seems like a workable arrangement. And the results are not entirely unsuccessful given the amount of fun I’ve gotten from the release, but there are limits and obligatory missteps, nagging bits of bad-habit design lingering from the past like phantoms in the code; stubborn, unbending, unchanging code.


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