Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage (known in Japan as Hokuto Musou) is a third-person action brawler developed by Omega Force and published by Tecmo Koei for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on November 2, 2010.
Based on the anime and manga series Fist of the North Star, Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage is a large-scale brawler in the same vein as KOEI's Musou series.
Players take control of a number of heroes and villains from the series, fighting through hordes of enemies in either Legend Mode (storylines faithful to the original franchise's story), Dream Mode (original storylines featuring more playable characters), and Challenge Mode (which pits players against a continuous stream of opponents).
Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage is a beat'em up that pits the player character against hordes of enemies.
Every character has a health gauge, a spirit gauge and a focus gauge. The health bar is shown as a green bar and if that bar is empty, it'll be game over.
There are two buttons for attacking, normal attack and strong attack. The normal attack is used to create a chain of combos whilst the Strong Attack is used to follow up on a normal attack. So this can be experimented on by doing (Normal, Strong) (Normal, Normal, Strong) and by doing so, different types of attacks can be made. If timed, it’s possible to also link the combos together. For example, Kenshiro can do (Normal, Strong) which acts as a launcher, this can then be followed up with another combo; it's just like juggling an opponent in a fighting game.
Each character can throw and there are three types of throwing. Normal Throw, Strong Throw or Running Throw (some characters can perform this one). The Running Throw is prefect for crowd control.
Taunting is good as a mechanic (and not just to mock the thugs) as upon using it, any surrounding lower thugs would jump in a circle in front of the character ready to attack but also making it super-useful to use combos or Signature Moves. However using it a lot would make some enemies much strong shown as yellow sparks.
Meridian Shock is a good way to stun the opponents which is shown as electrical charges surrounding them. Once they're in that state, their defense is lowered causing additional attacks to be stronger. Also it's a good way to stop them in their tracks and throw them. Different upgrades can perform status ailments once in Meridian Shock like for example Poison which drains the opponent's life. The more consecutive attacks are performed, the more likely they will be shocked. Some combos like using any of the Nanto guys will be shocked once entering their own special mode. For the ranged fighters like Mamiya or Jagi, their weapons can also shock them.
There is a kill counter shown at the bottom left hand corner of the screen and it only shows up once the kill has been made.
This is the player's health bar. As the player's health drops health from being attacked, the players clothes are torn off. It can be recovered by picking up health items.
The Spirit gauge gets filled as enemies get beaten shown as a orange/yellow bar. Once filled, it adds 1 bar meaning that a Signature Move can be used. Items can also be used to boost this gauge.
Signature Moves can use between 1-3 bars depending on which move is being used. It is also best to use these if the character is in danger as it also grants invincibility as no opponent can touch the character. Up to four Signature Moves can be equipped via the D-Pad to quickly switch moves. Signature Moves can be bought by paying for them with Skill Points.
The Focus Gauge shown on the left of the gauges in the form of a semi-circle also gets filled up like the Spirit Gauge but it is used differently. However, that gauge can also be dropped if attacked repeatedly like when enemy performs a signature move on the character and if burned by a flamethrower. It can be filled up to three bars and can be quickly built up by: smacking thugs into walls or objects getting a "Smash Bonus" and receiving bonuses for certain missions.
The Spirit Aura uses the Focus Gauge once it is activated. An aura will shine on the character and if there are any enemies surrounding that character, they will be temporarily stunned. Upon activation, it grants a boost of strength as well as different versions of the moves itself. Once activated, it consumes any bars left and it is converted into time so the more bars are filled the more time can be added in this mode.
The Hyper Signature move can only be used during activation of the Spirit Aura, it grants access to some extra Signature Moves, designed to instantly kill the opponent(s). The more bars are filled, the more wider the attack can be i.e. Level 1 is used to attack 1 opponent, whilst Level 2 and 3 reaches out as an Area of Attack.
Upon defeating enemies (or objects), karma points shown as blue orbs are automatically collected which is the equivalent of experience points. The default is 150 and after reaching 150, the character receives skill points which are used to spend on points in the Meridian Chart. Some upgrades can be used to use to their advantage as upon leveling up, attributes can be increased in game either on health, defense or power.
Once a stage is complete a battle results page shows up on the screen displaying stats after completing a stage and shows a grade for how good the player completed the level. It shows the following:
Skill points obtained
By performing well in the stages, additional skill points are obtainable by completing bonuses
- Battle - This is the total number of skill points obtained in the stage.
- Scenario Bonus - Bonus skill points are given for leveling up the character or finding bottles that level the player up.
- Critical Hit Bonus - If the correct signature move hits the boss, the player gets an additional 35 skill points.
- Harbinger of Death Bonus - If all the scenario stages are complete, this bonus is rewarded which is worth 45 points.
This section grades the player based on how well they did on each section.
- Mission Bonus - As represented by the 7 stars, this shows how many missions have been completed.
- Damage Taken - Makes a record on how damaged the play got during the stage (Collecting health items does not affect the grade).
- Kill Count - This shows how many enemies the player has killed and the kill counter is always shown during the game.
- Signature Move Kills - Shows how many times a signature move has been performed in the game.
The following characters are playable in the game:
These characters appear in the game:
Modes of Play
There are two basic modes of play in Ken's Rage including a gallery mode and a tutorial mode. They are:
In Legend Mode, the player fights through storylines based on events from the first story arc of the manga. At first, only Kenshiro is available, but as the player progresses, more characters become unlocked for play.
Bosses in Legend Mode have their own unique stages set for them. The camera also changes so that it looks at where the boss is located. Boss character's are different with normal enemies as their gauge is a the bottom of the screen and are segmented into sections, depending on the boss, once a section is depleted, the boss would automatically push the character back and would either go into their aura, call out enemies or in some cases, both.
Once the boss's health is completely drained, a finisher can be performed. This consists of pressing a combination of button prompts on the screen on a time limit. Once succeeded, the Signature move is performed and the boss is defeated. There is also an extended version of the button prompts if the Harbinger of Death is activated which consists of pressing 8 buttons in a row but must be done 8 times.
- Chapter 1 - A Cry from the Heart
- Chapter 2 - A Fated Reunion
- Chapter 3 - The Stench of Death
- Chapter 4 - Blood Feud
- Chapter 5 - The Star that Beckons Chaos
- Chapter 6 - Into the Darkness
- Chapter 7 - Reunited in Blood
- Chapter 8 - Final Sacrifice
- Chapter 9 - Rampage of the Nanto
- Chapter 10 - The Nanto Emperor
- Chapter 11 - The Empire Crumbles
- Chapter 12 - Tears of the Wolf
- Chapter 13 - A Guiding Light
- Chapter 14 - Farewell, Brother
- Chapter 1 - A Giant Awakens
- Chapter 2 - The Path of Destiny
- Chapter 3 - The Sacred Vow
- Chapter 1 - The Lost Hokuto Brother
- Chapter 2 - The Neverending Struggle
- Chapter 3 - The Rise of Hokuto
- Chapter 4 - A Promise Unkept
- Chapter 5 - The Last Stand of Nanto
- Chapter 6 - Farewell, Brother
- Chapter 1 - The Nanto Wanderer
- Chapter 2 - Bite of the Fang
- Chapter 3 - Genius Unmasked
- Chapter 4 - A Legend Born Anew
- Chapter 5 - Staring Down the Beast
- Chapter 6 - In Search of Justice
- Chapter 7 - Into the Flames of Hell
- Chapter 1 - The Fang Offensive
- Chapter 2 - Lost to Madness
- Chapter 3 - Through the Gates of Hell
- Chapter 4 - A Death Fortold
- Chapter 5 - Juda's Last Gleaming
An original storyline set in the Fist of the North Star universe. The player must complete Kenshiro's first Legend Mode stage in order for Dream Mode to become available. This differs from Legend Mode as this mode is the equivalent of "what if" situations in the manga, as if they were dreaming about what would've happened. More characters are playable in this mode where each character will have their own unique ending. Free Mode give the option to play other character's chapters.
- Chapter 1 - Another Chance
- Chapter 2 - A New Legacy
- Chapter 3 - For the People
- Chapter 4 - The Ultimate Successor
- Chapter 1 - A Silent Prayer
- Chapter 2 - A Savior is Born
- Chapter 3 - Fallen from Grace
- Chapter 4 - Unyielding Resolve
- Chapter 1 - Partners in Crime
- Chapter 2 - A Storm Approaches
- Chapter 3 - In the Thick of It
- Chapter 4 - Fever Pitch
- Chapter 5 - Vengeance at Last
- Chapter 1 - A New Destiny
- Chapter 2 - Guided by the North Star
- Chapter 3 - North and South Collide
- Chapter 4 - A New Legend Begins
- Chapter 1 - All for Love
- Chapter 2 - A Thirst for Power
- Chapter 3 - That Which Cannot Be Stolen
- Chapter 4 - To Win but to Lose
- Chapter 5 - A Soul Laid Bare
- Chapter 1 - Ensnared by Destiny
- Chapter 2 - The Caged Bird
- Chapter 3 - Bitter Rivalry
- Chapter 4 - On the Wings of Love
- Chapter 1 - Onward to Conquest
- Chapter 2 - Heart of Ice, Fists of Steel
- Chapter 3 - Bathed in Benevolent Light
- Chapter 4 - Victory at Last
- Chapter 5 - The Power of Love
- Chapter 1 - Twin Stars of Compassion
- Chapter 2 - Trial by Fire
- Chapter 3 - To Salvation
Note: Mr Heart and Outlaw are playable in Dream Mode but do not have their own separate chapters.
Acts as the game's survival mode of the game. The player has to fight a continuous string of enemies.
The Hokuto Four -The challenge is to fight against the Four Hokuto Brothers in order: Jagi, Toki, Raoh and Kenshiro!
The Nanto Five - The challenge is to fight against the Nanto Roku Seiken warriors in order: Shin. Rei, Yuda, Shuu and Souther!
These two challenges are on a Time Trial and once completed, the time is recorded and uploaded to the leaderboards.
- Five Villian Brawl - This challenge is about fighting against the enemies of Hokuto No Ken: Zeed, Boss Fang, Heart, Uighur and Amiba. Their minions will he giving a hand as well so it's about taking out the minions as well as the bosses.
- Foodstuff Free-for-all - In the age where food is scarce, sources have been confirmed that food has been found! Both Fudo and Heart have teamed up to challenge against the other bosses who also want to claim the food for themselves. They consist of Uighur, Boss Fang and Jagi! It's all about defeating the opponents and grabbing that food before they do!
- Wasteland Town Rescue - This level is about King's Army who is rampaging the town killing all villagers and escorting the villagers to safety while at the same time dealing with the army!
- The Great Treasure Offensive - The challenge starts in Jagi's town and whilst he has gone somewhere, he's left treasure around the area. This level can be used to help boost the fighters as the objective is to get 1000 kills in 40 minutes and plus there's treasure to be grabbed in the form of skill points. However, his thousands of minions will make it challenge and once 40 minutes is reached, Jagi will lock all the treasure if it hasn't been collected!
- Four Hero Rumble - The challenge is to fight against Ryuuga, Fudo, Juuza and Toki, who has been restored to full strength. They do not hold back as for some fighters, their troops will come in as well making the fight much harder!
- Bad Science - This challenge starts off in Amiba's experimentation lab and the objective is to help out with the minions and escape with them that have been dotted around the map and finish Amiba off!
- Ultimate Brawl - Escape from Hell - This challenge is similar to "King's Army" challenge but this time it's with Souther and his troops.
- Ultimate Brawl - Certain Death - Calling this one Certain Death is no joke! In a 2-on-1 tag team fight. Each boss fight consist of pairing up the warriors and fighting them both. The tag teams are brutal such as Shin/Toki who switch out every now and again and Mamiya/Jagi, who will shoot from afar whilst beating up the other enemies.
- Ultimate Brawl - Hokuto vs Nanto - This battle between Hokuto and Nanto will be settled! There are two options the player must make. Either it's with Hokuto or it's with Nanto. Whichever one is chosen, expect the final battle to be a truly challenging one!
This mode teaches what each button does and how to use each fighter type (Hokuto Type, Nanto Type and Special). There are only 3 characters that can be chosen: Kenshiro, Rei and Mamiya. Only 1 stage can be played and the tutorial stops.
As the game gets into progression, features can get unlocked which are renders of the characters, music from the game and movie cutscenes from each part of the story mode as well as the Dream Mode endings, opening title and ending credits. It also displays total time played and a list of how many kills in 3 of the martial arts:
- Hokuto Shinken
- Hokuto Ujoken
- Nanto Seiken
All the info in the world of Hokuto No Ken can also be found in this menu where it displays all the information of the characters that are seen or referenced to as well as the martial arts style to each character and the signature moves that the characters have.
This is where the Skill Points can be used to purchase upgrades for the characters, There are three areas where the Skill Points can be used.
Must be equipped to use them.
|Aerial Defense||Damage increase on enemies in the air.|
|Commitment||Cannot be knocked back but defense is lowered.|
|Accuracy||Projectile attacks are more stronger.|
|Impact||Power in Signature Moves are increased.|
|Efficiency||The time to charge attacks is shortened|
|Ferocity||Grants the ability to damage enemies whilst they block.|
|Flexibility||The time it takes to block is shortened.|
|Awareness||Grants the ability to block attacks coming from behind.|
|Inner Eye||Increases the chance to parry successfully.|
|Ironclad||Can block against guard crushing attacks.|
Item and Leveling Skills
|Recovery||Recovery items are much more powerful to use e.g. picking up bread for example heals 3000 points instead of 1000.|
|Divinity||Karma points to level up drops from 150 to 120.|
|Vitality||Once enough karma points are collected to level up, maximum health is permanently increased.|
|Potency||Once enough karma points are collected to level up, power is permanently increased.|
|Resolve||Once enough karma points are collected to level up, defense is permanently increased.|
Low-Health Auto Activation Skills
|Tenacity||Once health gets really low, Defense is automatically increased (shown in the form of an shield icon).|
|Rage||Once health gets really low, Power is automatically increased (shown in the form of a fist icon).|
|Meditation||Slowly regenerates health once the character is motionless but the defense is lowered.|
|Concentration||Sprit Gauge fills up faster.|
|Deep Focus||Focus Gauge fills up faster.|
|Dedication||Spirit Gauge fills up at a slow pace but it is constantly doing so.|
Meridian/Spirit Shock Skills
|Extension||The time those enemies are in Meridian/Spirit Shock increases.|
|Poison||Once the enemy is in Meridian/Spirit Shock, their health will slowly drop.|
|Incapacitate||Once the enemy is in Meridian/Spirit Shock, they will be unable to move or use Signature Moves.|
|Debilitate||Once the enemy is in Meridian/Spirit Shock, enemies cannot block.|
|Weaken||Once the enemy is in Meridian/Spirit Shock, the character's damage increases.|
|Stun||Increases the chance to get enemies in Meridian/Spirit Shock quicker.|
|Ujoken Wisdom||Any defeated enemy will be affected by Hokuto Ujoken (This is the equivalent of when Toki defeats enemies). But only one type of Wisdom can be equipped.|
|Hokuto Wisdom||Any defeated enemy will be affected by Hokuto (This is the equivalent of enemies exploding). But only one type of Wisdom can be equipped.|
|Nanto Wisdom||Any defeated enemy will be affected by Nanto (This is the equivalent of enemies being slashed apart). But only one type of Wisdom can be equipped.|
Automatically take effect upon upgrading.
|Aggression||Attack power increases.|
|Fortitude||Defense power increases.|
|Stamina||Maximum health increases.|
|Zeal||Adds a bar to maximum Spirit Gauge (Can be upgraded up to 8 bars).|
|Mastery||Adds a bar to the maximum Focus Gauge (Can be upgraded up to 3 bars).|
|Learn Move||This upgrades the combos itself to be stronger or can add multiple hits to the chain.|
|Chain Jump||Can cancel combos with a jump|
|Chain Special||Can cancel combos to the dodge button.|
|Chain Throw||Can cancel combos with a throw.|
|Lightning Strike||Can cancel combos if the Strong Attack is held whilst in the middle of a combo.|
Changes made to the Western Release
After Hokuto Musou was released, there was another release that came out in the form of Ken's Rage. Instead of being just the English version of the game, there were also game changes that were made to Ken's Rage:
- From the Meridian Chart, the Lightning Strike and all the Chain moves, (Chain Special, Chain Throw and Chain Jump) were automatically useable instead of buying them.
- Extra violence and blood was added
- After activating the Spirit Aura, the recovery time was faster.
- The promo songs that were used for Hokuto Musou were omitted from the credits.
- Few moves have been sped up.
A 2-disc soundtrack was also released which consisted of songs from the game.
- Main Theme
- Destroyed World
- Cruel Situation
- Lead Time
- Before Killing
- Silent Town
- Unbearable Pain
- Go One's Way
- Accepted Fate
- Lurking Shadow
- Moral Defect
- Wall of Hate
- Signs of Ruin
- Heartless Man
- Hurry On
- The Assassins
- Power Worship
- A Death Warrant
- Cheap Thrill
- Cliff of Hatred
- Mystery Door
- Spreading Pain
- Power to Endure
- Time of Promise
- J & A
- In the Calm
- Core of Grief
- Heavy Thrill
- Time of Fate
- Knock Out
- Get Over Sorrow
- The Seven Scars
- Ai wo Torimodose!!
Collector's Edition (JPN only)
Prior to the release of the game, they also released a collector's edition of the game called the "Treasure Box". It contained the following.
- The game
- Code for Kenshiro to turn into the manga outfit
- Talking alarm clock
- Soundtrack taken from the game
- Visual Story Book
- Business card holder