|Game Name||Hokuto no Ken: Shinpan no Sōsōsei Kengō Retsuden|
|Original Title||北斗の拳 ～審判の双蒼星 拳豪列伝～|
|Console||Sony PlayStation 2|
|Publisher||Arc System Works|
Hokuto no Ken: Shinpan no Sōsōsei Kengō Retsuden (北斗の拳 ～審判の双蒼星 拳豪列伝～) is a Fighting video game published by Arc System Works released on March 27th, 2007 for the Sony PlayStation 2.
Review by Fikko3107:
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Hokuto no Ken (henceforth shortened by the common acronym “HnK”) is a fighting game by Arc System Works based on the popular manga of the same name, also known as “Fist of the North Star” in the west, by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara.
Gameplay-wise, it is similar to the company’s earlier Guilty Gear games, and the quality of the sprites are comparable. The most distinct differences are the setting, which is based on the manga’s first half, featuring characters up to the defeat of Raoh, including fan-favorites such as Kenshiro, Shin and Rei, as well as unexpected inclusions such as Jagi and Mr. Heart. Another unique difference is the instant kill mechanic, which is similar to Naoto Shirogane’s fate counter in Persona 4 Arena. Each character has the “7 Stars of the Hokuto” below their life gauge which can be depleted via certain command normals and specials, and once it hits zero, a “Star of Death” lights up, meaning he is vulnerable to instant kills. Unlike in Guilty Gear or Blazblue, these instant kill moves are comboable, meaning they are far more practical and viable in competitive gameplay.
Overall, it is a solid fighting game. Though a bit too unbalanced for high-level play, it will appeal to fighting game fans and HnK fans nonetheless. The latter will likely delight in the faithful reproductions of scenes and traits from the manga, such as Shin being able to commit suicide in his home stage or Kenshiro’s pressure point attacks not being able to affect Thouther/Souther.