Fist of the North Star
Fist of the North Star
Last Battle

Sega/Shin Force 
| Sega Genesis Review

Sega/Shin Force > Systems > Sega Genesis > Reviews

Shin Force ~ Genesis ~
Fist of the North Star / Last Battle
Geoffrey Duke
4 Megabit
Import / Domestic
July 1, 1989
Aug. 14, 1989
Sep. 1990
Beat 'em up
6 Button
     > Fist of the North Star (Japanese title: Shin Seikimatsu Kyuseishu Densetsu Hokuto no Ken) revolves around a superhuman martial arts expert named Kenshiro who literally makes people's heads explode. Of course, he's not the only superhuman in this world and many enemies stand between him and his destiny. Fist of the North Star is based on the anime/Manga series of the same name and retains the same atmosphere. It's set in a post apocalyptic world where peace is a very rare thing. The game is basically a 2D side scrolling beat 'em up with tons of boss encounters and random enemies inbetween. The main appeal of this game is its brutal difficulty. Bosses can kill you very quickly. You also only get one life, which makes this game very challenging.

     > Ken can power up his power bar while fighting normal enemies and eventually become even stronger with faster and more powerful attacks. He can punch many times in a row really fast in a single attack, which is great. You need to use this move to finish some bosses, which can be tricky because they hit hard. There's an overworld map where Ken can choose his next destination. It pays to explore different locations because you gain power ups. This makes the game a bit more like an RPG.

     > Last Battle was one of six Sega Genesis launch titles in America, but don't waste your time with the U.S. or EU versions of this game. The exploding heads and exploding bodies were cut, not to mention the English translation butchers the story (the little story that there is anyway). Sega didn't retain the Fist of the North Star license, so much was lost in translation. Sega weren't known for cutting violence from games, but for some reason the gore was cut. No matter. We can play the original version instead. You don't need to understand the story to play the game, and it doesn't take long to become familiar with the gameplay.

     > The graphics are mediocre for the Genesis. The only thing that really saves this game is the art style. The art looks very 80's. The game resembles the anime/Manga it's based on. It's grim and gritty while being colorful at the same time (albeit lacking color here). I'm avoiding the term cartoony because that wouldn't be a fair way to describe it. Enemies don't seem fully animated. They are like statues moving a few frames at a time, which is really strange. Maybe that adds to the game's charm for a retro gamer. Even for an early Genesis game, the graphics aren't great (especially when compared to games like Golden Axe).
     > What people may like or dislike about this game is if you miss an attack you can be hit/countered quickly. The bosses can really punish mistakes if you miss your attacks. You can punch or kick projectiles as well like axes being thrown at you, and jump kick. My only real complaint here is lack of moves. Ken is limited to punch and kick, jump kick or punch, and duck.
     > Nothing special here, other than there's different music for different locations. You know when you are fighting bosses and entering a dungeon because the music changes tempo to something more distinctive.
     > I would only recommend this game to fans of the anime/Manga because they will know what the hell is going on. You might find some enjoyable gameplay here. There are tons of challenging boss fights. You really need to be fast and land your attacks at the right time in the right way, lest you meet an early grave. If you are looking for a challenge, then this game will really test your skills.
Bottom Line
     > Fist of the North Star is only worth playing if you are a fan of the anime/Manga and if you enjoy fighting challenging bosses. Everyone else should steer clear.
Overall: 7.0 | Graphics: 6.5 | Control: 7.5 | Sound: 7.0 | Fun: 7.0
~ Geoffrey Duke ~


Japan | Box /Cover Art

American | Box /Cover Art

European | Box /Cover Art

[ << BACK ][ TOP /\ ][ FORWARD >> ]