So basically, this is the byproduct of the union between Mad Max and Dragonball Z.
It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where strength is the measure of prestige. Kenshiro is skilled in the deadly martial arts which can instantly kill an opponent by striking the most sensitive pressure points in the head and torso.
I did feel that a lot of plot-points were removed in order to succinctly condense the game’s story into 13 chapters. Of course, by doing this, the game’s plot condensed in such a way as to become bare-bone. A game that deals with the Fist of the North Star should at least have 15 chapters.
I was definitely humored by Kenshiro’s witty comebacks and one-liners, as though the ’80s aesthetic continues to integrated within this game.
The greatest part of the character development has to do with Kenshiro’s companionship with Jagre. It did not start off pleasant between Kenshiro and the hot-headed captain of the Eden guards, but it starts developing naturally. Of course, I was hoping that there would be more development with the other fighting characters.
One of the major themes that works very well with this video game and the series it is based off on is the idea of cope. It would make sense that in a post-apocalyptic world where life outside of a few settlements have become destroyed and turned into a seemingly never-ending wasteland, that people would find some source of happiness to keep themselves alive. This is of course why Eden not only provides an abundance of necessities like food, water, shelter, and economic opportunity, but also a casino and a coliseum.
I remember playing Ken’s Rage on the PlayStation 3. The game-play and the storyline were similar, with noticeable exceptions. One being that you play as Kenshiro but also the other characters instrumental to the plot, and since it was published as a Koei game, there were plenty of voice actors from the Dynasty Warriors franchise in that game.
I was disappointed that a major difference was that unlike Ken’s Rage, the characters Rei and Mamiya do not figure as much in this story as they did in the Koei version. Of course, I would have to assume that this Sega game is more in keeping with the original plot, since Koei games tend to simplify fictional and historical events in order to fit the game-play into a single stage. Although a major improvement has to do with the game-play, I did feel underwhelmed by the bare-bone plot in this game.
The concept of cope in Lost Paradise really makes me think about Walt Disney and his creation of Mickey Mouse during the Great Depression. Watching Mickey outwit Pegleg Pete and engage in many adventures provided enough hope for people all over the world. A way this happened was because Mickey was able to bend the rules of reality within an animated format and come out victorious. Of course, this only happens in animation and game design and not in real life, but the narrative and the archetypes can share commonality with real life.
In Lost Paradise‘s case, the narrative is a hopeless future, and the archetype of Kenshiro is that of the stoic chosen one.
It would make sense how this could relate to Kenshiro and the people of Eden, since they start viewing him as a personification of justice in the face of villainy and greed. It can even be argued that Kenshiro also provides hope to real-life people dealing with the global pandemic and the possibility of World War III breaking out. Just as Mickey Mouse was to the Great Depression, Kenshiro could be to the modern world a personification of hope. It would make any gamer look at Kenshiro, a man who had been scarred, betrayed, misunderstood, left for dead, nearly fought to the death, and nearly sacrifice himself for his love; and relate his triumphs in a post-nuclear-strike world to their own daily triumphs. They would say “If Kenshiro can stare down those odds and come out victorious, then so can I.” Just as Mickey Mouse can bend the rules of reality, Kenshiro could also–provided he finds the right pressure point.
There really is nothing else to say about a barren wasteland, with only a few hot-spots scattered throughout. It does compensate by customizing your vehicle in terms of going over rough terrain or you just want extra speed.
The lock-on system was unreliable, since it was easy to stray from any locked-on enemy. It was also difficult to use the lifting move, since I would always inadvertently kick. There were also move improvements that came with the level-ups that I did not notice when fighting.
As expected of a game featuring martial arts, expect a lot of rapid button-mashing. This is definitely the cornerstone behind such characters, though where it does falter is the Hospital minigame. Apparently, I had to pay more attention to Kenshiro himself rather than the buttons on the screen in order to push the buttons at the right time.
I was quite amused playing as the bartender and doing all sorts of actions with my controller. Whether it would be shaking it in order to shake the drink, or using the palm of my hand to rotate the joystick to mix a drink, this type of side-quest expects a lot of controller activity. It is proof that the Wiimote’s legacy was not for naught, for motion-responsive controllers continue to become relevant to gaming and it definitely shows in this side-quest.
The game definitely captured the ’80’s-era manga art-style within a game engine.
I mentioned before about the differences between the voice-acting in this game and in the Koei version, and I will say that it was an improvement for the most part. I did get the feeling that Ken’s voice was not forced, Bat actually exhumed the pompous twerpery, and all the other characters felt more natural in comparison to the Koei title. The major difference being Uighur’s voice-actor, which definitely sounded forced. At least in the Koei title, I could imagine Huang Zhong as a towering warden ruling a notorious prison; whereas here he has the forced deepening voice one would expect of a professional wrestling impersonation.
I do like the hard rock soundtrack that matches the theme of the post-apocalyptic world.
I was also grateful that Sega managed to include that song from the trailer to this game in the car’s radio. I had been wondering what that song was called, and only in the game–not even just the credits–do I learn that it is called “Receive You” by a band named North Star. It definitely fit within the game, since it does have that glam metal aesthetic to it.
Does It Tie Up Well?
I still had a lot of questions to ask. Not only that, but the movements definitely felt clunky, which can degrade the other good components of this game. Of course, the themes in this game are something to think about, whereas there is nothing much else to ask, except wait for another Fist of the North Star game to be released that is more expansive.
This is definitely something you would find in the deserts outside Eden and immediately bring to the Junk Store owner to repair it. This game definitely lives up to its splendor. It was as relevant to the ’80s as it is relevant now.
Recommend This To…
- Anyone interested in a post-apocalypse game, since in spite of its limitations, it can open a world of fascination.
- “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage.” Koei Tecmo. 2010.
- “Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise.” Sega. 2018.
- Gabler, Neal. “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination.” Alfred A. Knopf. 2006.