Originally published in the mid-‘80s, Fist of the North Star is just a successful, post-apocalyptic manga that follows a martial artist named Kenshiro who has the energy to make heads explode with an individual punch. Lost Paradise tells a brand new story in the Fist of the North Star mythos, but borrows known characters and story elements from the origin material and structures the knowledge to play just like the developer’s other game series, Yakuza. In some ways, this weird amalgamation of franchise works, but it’s not without shortcomings.
In a global ravaged by nuclear destruction, Kenshiro is really a master of the Hokuto Shinken design of fighting styles, which is targeted on attacking pressure points on his opponents’ bodies. When done right, this causes them to explode in violent displays. This makes him an extremely powerful person in the apocalyptic world, but he’s a center of gold and cares just about finding his fiancée. He tries to prevent violence as best they can, but sometimes the only path to do that is always to punch people so difficult that their health burst like over-inflated balloons. In that strange paradox, Lost Paradise builds an appealing, melodramatic, and sometimes humorous story. Kenshiro explores a big city full of quests-givers and mini games, beats up sets of thugs, and sometimes requires a car out into the nearby wasteland to locate materials and explore other, smaller towns.
The narrative is made around soap-opera-style twists from severely serious characters who like to keep secrets. People you believe are dead rarely are, and when they wear a mask, you better believe they’re hiding the truth under there. The surprises drive engagement but are doled out at a snail’s pace. Walking from one story revelation to the next always involves getting sidetracked against your will, and a number of annoying missions force you to visit great distances to find out what you need just so you can turn back around and get it.
Between (and during) the story and side missions, you drive around a large open wasteland and fight tens and thousands of bad guys. The clumsy driving suffers from awkward physics, but as a means to diversify the mission structure, I appreciate its presence. You can upgrade your car or truck with new materials, but they mostly offer under whelmingly minor changes.
Creativity isn’t Kenshiro’s strong suit, and it shows in his fighting style. Lots of unlocking able combat upgrades can be found, but few changed the way I approached combat. This makes health and power upgrades the most useful options. Although the upgrade system left me wanting more, I enjoyed the fighting despite the casual difficulty spikes and repetition.
Fist of the North Star is an old property, and that age is reflected in how the planet of Lost Paradise is rendered https://goldenslot.gclub-casino.com/. The main female characters are underdressed, and the male characters are walking, muscle towers who deliver one-liners like, “Villains don’t need graves.” Plus, the violence is glorified in a way that could make the original Mortal Kombat proud. Yes, this really is faithful to the initial manga, but that didn’t keep me from feeling embarrassed about playing it before others.
The melodrama of the main story is fun, but Lost Paradise shines brightest when it doesn’t take itself seriously. You can tackle mini games like one on a baseball field where thugs on motorcycles drive toward you and you knock them back with a giant piece of rebar. Another has you donning a lab coat and playing a rhythm game where you beat up crooks wanting to steal medicine from a clinic. These mini games and side missions (like one where you’ve to track down the “shoulder pad killer”) are a spotlight, and it is definitely a delicacy to see the super serious Kenshiro take part in some bizarre frivolity.
The narrative moves slowly and side missions eagerly pull you far from the main story, whether you would like them to or not, but I was engaged throughout. I wished to see what might happen next and was pleased to beat up crooks to be able to do so. Shortcomings in the pacing and the lack of diversity in the combat pull down the experience, but I liked enough time I spent with Kenshiro. The Fist of the North Star franchise feels dated in lots of ways, but you’d be hard-pressed to locate a better representation of its strange and violent world in a movie game.