Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage is, for the most part, about killing people with the most horrific tool possible, fists. There is a subplot about a global apocalypse and worldwide disaster, but really it’s mostly about punching people until they explode like bloated ticks caught under a steamroller.
You play as Kenshiro, asswhooper extreme and practitioner of a martial arts technique that turns a man’s intestines into explosive blood bags. Actually there is some nonsense about hitting pressure points or some such, but when I see a man explode from punching him in the face, explanations take a back seat. To be fair there are a lot of story sequences in Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage, but for most it makes absolutely no sense.
Thankfully the gameplay itself is pretty fun. Combat comes down to alternating between light and strong attacks, while throwing in the occasional grab. There are a few gauges involved that allow Kenshiro to perform special attacks that decimate a wide group of enemies. It is pretty straightforward, with the occasional strong guy thrown into the mix to change things up a bit. The bosses generally boil down to dodging their slow clumsy attacks and retaliating, some have guard gauges that must be emptied before delivering the real pain. An upgrade system is incorporated as well, enabling players to power up and learn new attacks.
There is some added replay value to the title though. Not only do players have the main game to beat with Kenshiro, but as one plays through the game, they unlock other characters to take through the main story line. Additionally, there are a slew of additional story chapters contained in the game’s Dream mode. Unfortunately it can all get boring. The extra characters (with new moves) go a long way to make the combat feel fresh, but always fighting enemy model X in sandy desert town Y dulls the experience.
Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, and Violence. This game can also be found on Xbox 360.