Fighting game by Arc System Works of "Guilty Gear" (see entry 108) fame, based on the Hokuto No Ken ("Fist of the North Star") anime. Not a whole lot of substance, just standard arcade, training, and survival modes (I dunno if the timeline list "History" mode really counts as a mode) and the dozen or so fighters can't be called an expansive roster by any means (and only one female character? dang). But the 2D high-resolution graphics are very nice, and the fighting system is well done, with lots of counters and boosts and things, and double-jumps, air-dashes, and other things that will be quite familiar to Guilty Gear players.
The small feature list can be chalked up to this being an arcade port, I suppose. The base game is very sound, and quite fun, with varied characters, some of whom have surprising moves, like the waddle-charge mode of the gigantic Mr. Heart, a character whose massive girth is reminiscent of Earthquake from Samurai Shodown II (see entry 1051), or the rampaging motorcyle super move of Mamiya.
Oh, I will say though that the sound effects aren't so hot. They're mostly okay, but not up to par with the impressive visuals. The music is the grating ass-rock that Guilty Gear fans will be familiar with, but what really annoys me is this sort of rubber rebound sound that is used for, like, everything. It's loud, really cartoonish-sounding, and just doesn't fit with anything that's going on.
The aforementioned "rubber rebound sound" plays when one of your seven "fatal stars"--or whatever the one single-character FAQ on GameFAQs called them--gets extinguished by a hard attack, such as a super hit or the HP+HK attack. Lose all of them and you're vulnerable to the opponent's instant-kill move. Some characters seem more adept than others at stripping away the opponent's instant-kill defense; I found myself knocking stars off the enemies much more with Mamiya than with most of the other characters, for instance.
P/HP/K/HK/Boost buttons. Most supers double qcf or qcb + button--P or K for single-charge supers, HP or HK for double-charge supers--but most characters aside from Kenshiro only have multiple single-charge supers.
HP+HK knockdown move that strips one of the seven "deadly star" pips off the opponent; when all stars have been lost, opponent is vulnerable to the fatal move, which may be something like qcf+HP+HK. Supers also knock off a star; star stripping is accompanied by an annoying rubber bouncy sound. :p
A "dust"-style launching attack, for which I forget the input. :P Up on the stick to follow for an air combo. Dashes and air dashes.
Couldn't beat that darn boss until I found that he's oddly vulnerable to crouching light kicks; they tend to knock him out of whatever he's trying to do, and you can get in a chain of them, then hit him with crouching heavy kick, popping him up into the air, and jump yourself and do an air combo once you've knocked him back into the corner (and probably before that if you're actually good at combos, unlike me!). Repeat and he's more or less dead.
Pretty much every character seems to be able to do something like this; for Toki it's punches instead of kicks; Thouther may have to do a flying special move to get in the air combo, and Mamiya as well, although I didn't find the move that would do it for her.
But HnK seems to be made to be broken; if you watch tournaments of the elite Japanese players, rounds are basically a matter of who gets a hit into a combo first, because their combos are just about all infinites. ; )
So I guess I don't have much more to do in this game, unless I just wanted to find more ways to break the AI, which I don't particularly. Some notes though:
- LP+HP is the "dust"-style launcher - The five buttons and Start seem to be what works on Character Select, and three or four of those generated different character colors for Kenshiro, although all were pretty similar except for HP (or Triangle?), which turned him blond in a red outfit. - "Thouther" is pronounced "Sow-zah" in the game.