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  • Hokuto no Ken / Black Belt (Sega, ’86)

    Posted on June 16th, 2010 keving 3 comments

    Many retro-fans know that the Sega Master System release Black Belt is a heavily revamped version of a Sega Mark III action game based on the Hokuto no Ken anime/manga property. A smaller minority would also know that both games were programmed by Yuji Naka, part of his rather prolific Sega 8-bit years (Girl’s Garden, Penguin Land, Great Baseball, the SMS port of Spy vs. Spy, OutRun, Space Harrier and Phantasy Star).

    Only a very tiny subset of that group, I’m sure, knows that the soundtrack for these two titles was handled by Katsuhiro Hayashi, a name I last mentioned a couple weeks back when I discussed High School! Kimengumi. You can pick up his distinctive drums throughout. Both music sets are nice, but if forced into a corner on the issue, I would take Black Belt’s songs, which sound more Hokuto-y than Hokuto’s own music.

    Here’s a video of Hokuto in action. This version had a secret warp where if you can defeat a boss without getting hit, you can execute a high jump at the start of the following stage to go right to the boss again.

    And now for Black Belt. Note how the bosses run on largely the same patterns, despite the completely revamped graphics.


    3 responses to “Hokuto no Ken / Black Belt (Sega, ’86)” RSS icon

    • Nice find on that first video! I wasn’t aware that you could fly your way through each stage or that there was a way to defeat Toki without trading blows. I played all the Hokuto no Ken games on 8-bit platforms (all four Famicom ones and that rare PC-88 adventure game by Enix) and I still think this is the best one. It’s kinda of a shame that its sequel (Last Battle on the Genesis) was kinda rubbish by comparison, even though some of the people from Sonic Team worked on that game too (but not Yuji Naka).

    • Two things caught my eye. The first is the amazing amount of parallax scrolling in the game (at least Hakuto no Ken–Black Belt footage was a bit too grainy to tell). I think Choplifter had quite a bit, too…much more than what you’d find on the NES. The second thing is that people still explode in Black Belt, which just makes me smile.

    • As long as the game plays well, I don’t mind that it’s not identical to Sonic 1-3. Also, they’ve weorkd on what I think was one of the biggest problems with the Advance series (aside from level design), which is Sonic’s walking speed and animations. Now instead of having a lame strolling animation, he looks like he’s hustling to get to max speed ASAP (a la the original Sonic games).This is the first game that Dimps has developed that I feel confident in. The level layout resembles the old Genesis stages I loved so much. I can’t wait to play through the game, then go back and compete for the best times on the leaderboards.

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