Hokuto no Ken: Sekimatsu Kyuseishu Densetsu (aka Fist of the North Star PSX) is, more than anything, the original Hokuto no Ken TV series that you play, minus some cencorship and a few sagas ommited for a continuous story. Fist of the North Star was originally seen in America and the UK as an animated film from Japan with the same title as the game, dubbed in English and given the 'Alternate Ending' by Streamline Pictures. Sadly, the dub was ppr enough that most of teh meaning and backstory of the film was lost, and the recent dub of the TV show by Manga Video of a series now quite dated hardly held up any better. This game is not going to be imported to America by Bandai, so it's appeal will be quite limited in the US. Though it's not as if there's a big US cult following anyhow.
The story is about a man named Kenshiro, master of the Hokuto Shinken (Holy Big Dipper Fist) Kung Fu style, a form of power points so advanced that he can make his opponents explode from the inside out by merely touching them once. The story is set "Sometime in the 1990's" (remember the last chapter of comic was published 1989), in a barren Nuclear Holocaust, not at all unlike the world in Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior). Kenshiro uses his Hokuto Shinken for the forces of good, though he considers hismelf far from a hero, and more often than not he takes on the role of vengance for his loved ones in the chaotic world around him. While the early chapters (and first season) of the TV show coudl be seen as a cheap Mad Max ripoff with Bruce Lee as the star, the story does manage to try to be somewhat intelligent and moralistic, without shoving it down the viewer's collective throat. While the series is aimed at teenage boys, it should also be warned that it's a very violent series with martial arts that (literally) pop heads, so more sensitive viewers or those who can't see past the trees for teh forest may want to just skip it.
This Sony Playstation (PSX) game is very well done, covering the entire 108 episode TV show in only 8 stages very well, with nearly endless cinema scenes, a very clever 3D game system, and voice clips from the show's original cast, including the star Kamiya Akira, and the now deceased Shiozawa Kaneto as his partner for good, The Nanto Suicho Ken (South Dipper Waterfowl Fist) master Rei. Only two main characters, Ryuuga and The Liutenant, are completely absent, though many more are mentioned rather than shown, a forgivable drawback considering the hours upon hours of gameplay. Also of special mention is that the secret Martial Art techniques are here in all their glory, complete with the characters screaming the names of the moves, and Kanji characters appearing at the bottom of the screen.
The soundtrack is rather generic, but not unlike the show's original, and does keep the feeling of a 1970's Kung Fu epic fairly well. The acting is all top notch, just as it was 15 years ago. The graphics are nothign ground breaking, but are still above par for a PSX fighter, and work well enough that their occasional 'fakeness' is forgivable. Not as involved, or quite as dramatic as the TV show, but the lack of cencorship and often laughable 'Filler' episodes makes it just as good overall.
From the game's opening, a 3D and full stereo remake of the 1980's fueled "Ai o Torimodose!!" (Bring Back the Love!) to the serene, and all at once triumphant and mournful finale "Yuria... Towa ni" (Julia... Forever), the game is as good as any 27 volume long comic series to video game transition will ever be. An excellent experience for any fan of the original TV show or comics, but to most others, it would be 'Too much talk, not enough fighting'.
A truly ironic way to think of it, since the series has been held as 'Unintelligent' and 'Repetitive' for the exact opposite reason..
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?