Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is the new game based on the manga by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara, which was also the basis for various anime, notably including one of the first releases from Manga Video in the UK back in the early 90’s.
Players take on the role of Kenshiro, the successor to the deadly martial arts style of Hokuto Shinken, who is searching the post apocalyptic wasteland for his love Yuria who is missing. The bulk of the game takes place in the city of Eden after playing through an introductory prologue of sorts.
The real beauty of Fist of the North Star lies in how it is both sombre and inherently ridiculous at the same time, everything is so ridiculously over the top it just works. There’s a main story to play through as Kenshiro tries to find Yuria and meets various other characters along the way, but there’s also a vast amount of side quests, or ‘substories’ as they are called here.
Fans of the anime, or manga, will recognise various characters that feature, some use different martial arts to Kenshiro, whilst others are fellow disciples of Hokuto Shinken.
The combat system is built on standard attacks, charged attacks and secret techniques, which are spectacularly gory finishing moves. Whenever a secret technique is performed the name appears on screen, the best known of these being the iconic ‘Hokuto Hundred Fist Rush’ attacks more commonly known as ‘ATATATAT!’ after the sounds Kenshiro makes performing it.
As you fight the seven star gauge fills allowing Kenshiro to enter burst mode for a limited time allowing for different moves and ones that do more damage.
There are four skill trees allowing you to unlock new moves, get health upgrades, etc, as you play through the game. Another aspect is talismans, these give different buffs, invulerability for a short period, etc, and are used once before needing to be recharged.
Whilst the city of Eden is relatively small, it’s fairly packed with things to, with a variety of minigames to be found along with the myriad side quests. At a certain point you’ll head out into the wasteland in a dune buggy which opens up numerous other options, including other locations, fighting hordes of bad guys in the wasteland, taking part in races and even Fist of the North Star’s own take on baseball.
For those who can remember seeing the anime film and being blown away by how completely bonkers everything was this is a treat.