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Japanese Mayhem- Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage Review (X360/PS3)

Never have my retinas been shaken so badly nor have I been so confused and boyish impressed by a demo in my time as a gamer. It is possible that I’m giving the impression that this is the best game I have ever played ;frankly it’s a bit of a turd being equally wacky and generic which seems to be a trend in Japanese games thrust into the Western market (Azura’s Wrath and Catherine both come to mind in mindboggling weirdness). The game itself falls into a Street of Rage esque genre where you beat up random muscular thugs to move onto a larger, but no less muscular, boss character. Rinse and repeat.

Ken’s Rage follows the lead character, Kenshiro, in a post apocalyptic world after a nuclear holocaust where the cast of Mad Max and the rejects of every Jackie Chan movie have now taken over, feeding off the weak. Apparently cloning played a huge part in this as the world is populated with carbon copies of everyone; either that or masks and Mohawks are in huge fashion in the future. Kenshiro decides that he doesn’t like this very much and proceeds to help the world against the assorted bad guys using Hokuto Shinken, a special fighting style cum assassination technique that he has mastered over his three brothers. One whom died and then came back to life. With a mask on. And uses shotguns and bazookas against his enemies that aren’t lethal. The anime and comics that the game is based on, are supposed to be just as wacky but have a huge following and, from what I have heard, make a whole lot more sense than the game does.

Friends become enemies become friends over the course of a single mission within gameplay ,with the cutscenes being reminiscent of Soul Calibur with pictures of the main characters moving the narrative forward. The English acting is ridiculously stilted and , even though there is an option to play the game in Japanese,  mostly senseless. The graphics are pretty atrocious with it looking like an early game on either the PS3 or the Xbox 360, with the same levels being recycled for each characters mission. Character models are marginally better with muscles and large breasts, as standard for anime coming out of Japan, looking, well, as they should do. The less said about the soundtrack the better, with pretty basic guitar rock that plays on a constant loop becoming irritating rather than atmosphere setting.

Positives are in rather short supply. There is a huge amount of characters to play through in both the main campaign and the Dream mode, which changes the anime’s main story depending on the hero or villain you choose. Each character has a set of special moves that are ridiculously entertaining to use and feel powerful when used against the many minions you face. All have different fighting styles that can be upgraded through the game though the likely hood of you getting through the entirety of the game is very small. The length of the entire experience becomes less of a problem when joined with another player on the same console.

This Is Pretty Much The Game Throughout

Simply put, its not worth the money. The graphics are naff, the gameplay is only mildly entertaining and the ‘storyline’ is nonsensical at best. If the story interests you pick up the comics or watch the anime!

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