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Fist of the North Star | Ken's Rage | review | game | Lollipop

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage

(Tecmo Koei for PS3)
By Mike Delano

Far be it from me to disparage a game that seeks to resurrect the golden age of arcade-style brawlers, back when barrels and faces were punched ad infinitum for hours and health was replenished by way of street meat. Taking control of Kenshiro as he fights his way through droves of post-apocalyptic thugs in this mostly faithful adaptation of the iconic Fist of the North Star anime, Ken's Rage can conjure up fond memories of seedy, smoke-filled downtown arcades and the rugged, unpolished veneer of the games that inhabited them (which were nonetheless irresistible). More often, though, it falls prey to that all-too-common fun-killer: Overcomplicated gameplay. Something as simple as your heavy attack is an animation that takes a few seconds to play out, not to mention your epic special moves, so the combat comes off as herky-jerky rather than fluid. And instead of introducing the game's many mechanics gradually, within the first few minutes, it sends your head spinning with a deluge of rules and regulations along with an endless number of special meters you need to monitor. The charm of the anime isn't lost amidst all of these unfortunate quirks (wreaking general havoc is brash fun for awhile), but this game too often inspires rage on the wrong side of the screen.


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