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Fist of the North Star – Fight Night
26 May 2023 @ 7:30 PM - 11:00 PM
Fist of the North Star (北斗の拳, Hokuto no Ken) is a 2D competitive fighting game produced by Sega and developed by Arc System Works, based on the manga series of the same name. It was originally released in 2005 as a coin-operated arcade game for the Atomiswave hardware. A PlayStation 2 port, retitled Hokuto no Ken: Shinpan no Sōsōsei Kengō Retsuden (北斗の拳 ～審判の双蒼星 拳豪列伝～, roughly translated as Fist of the North Star: The Twin Blue Stars of Judgment – History of the Fist Masters), was released exclusively in Japan in March 2007. This version features a bonus DVD including an exclusive training mode (“Starter’s Guide”) and a documentary covering history of previous Hokuto no Ken titles for home consoles. The arcade version was officially distributed by Sega in North America, while the PS2 port was released only in Japan. In 2020, a homebrew conversion was released for the Dreamcast.
While in both terms of gameplay and visual style, the game is similar to the Guilty Gear series (which was also made by Arc System Works), some aspects of the mechanics are slightly different.
Seven Stars of the Hokuto
Below each character’s lifebar is a gauge with seven “stars” in the shape of the Big Dipper. Special moves, supers, and some command normals can remove varying numbers of stars. Once empty, a final “Death Star” or “shichousei” will light up and the other player can perform a special “Fatal KO” attack that can instantly defeat them, regardless of their lifebar (similar to the Instant Kill attacks in Guilty Gear). The biggest difference is these moves may be easily comboed into, making them far more practical than their Guilty Gear counterparts. Players regain two stars at the start of each round, and one star any time an opponent unsuccessfully attempts to Fatal KO. After being Fatal KO’d, if the match is not over, that player starts the following round with all seven stars replenished.
Boost is one of the many meters in the game, displayed above the Aura meter in the game’s HUD. The bar is divided into three sections or stocks. Using a boost (with the Boost/Special button) allows a player to cancel a move after it hits (similar to Roman Cancels in Guilty Gear), and also shoots the character forward. The player can also Boost when not doing a move, in order to jet across the screen quickly. Boosts are frequently used to perform combos that otherwise would not be possible.
Used to perform super moves and Guard Cancels (similar to alpha counters.) The gauge can hold two stocks. The first stock fills the gauge up with blue; the second stock fills the gauge up with gold. When at least one stock is ready, text reading “GOD FIST BLOW” appears next to the gauge. If the player’s opponent has lost all his stars, it will read “DEADLY FIST BLOW.”