Hokuto no Ken: Violence Gekiga Adventure is navigated almost entirely through menus, with the exception of battles, which are made up of limited action sequences. There are some scenes in the game, and a good amount of dialogue; these can be advanced with.
When exploring, options in the menu (located to the side of the screen showing Kenshiro and Bat's location) are labeled with numbers. These numbers represent the corresponding number on the keyboard, making for easy selection. Sometimes, the options will be followed by more options, depending on the context. The nine basic options are as follows:
|いどう||Move (to another location)||This option is followed by a compass that indicates four directions (north, west, east, and south). The screen shown changes after performing this action.|
|みる||Look||This option is usually, but not always, followed by more options which allow you to choose what you wish to look at. Looking at things can give insight as to what in the environment is important, as Bat will usually comment afterward.|
|うごかす||Move (something)||This option allows you to directly interact with the environment, especially helpful in finding hidden clues.|
|たたかう||Strike||When an enemy is present, you can attempt to speak to them, but in the end, this is the only option that matters. This launches the battle phase of the game, detailed further below.|
|もちもの||Check your items||This option allows you to take a look into your inventory, tracking your progress through the game so far and potentially making use of something that has been picked up earlier.|
|あける||Open||This option is only used for doors, making it one of the less important in the game.|
|とる||Take||This option is most often followed by multiple other options, allowing you to pick up something from the environment that may come in handy later.|
|はなす||Speak||If another character is present, good or evil, you can use this option to hear what they have to say.|
|きく||Ask||This option is usually followed by others, allowing you to gather information regarding certain topics from other characters in the game.|
|はいる||Enter||This option allows you to enter into a new area, depending on the location. The option to move to another location is used much more often than this one, but this option does play a part in some key story events.|
Battles are entered when an enemy is stricken, and have three components to them: pressure points, timing, and dodging. The available pressure points on an enemy are represented by dots all over their body. It is your job, through investigation, to figure out which pressure points lead to the death of that enemy. If you select the wrong pressure points, you have to start the battle over. You can select these pressure points using two or three fists (depending on how many pressure points must be hit) which you can navigate over the enemy using the directional keys (, , , ) before using to strike.
While seeking out the enemy's pressure points, you must also dodge their attacks (represented by fists that follow yours) and hit the pressure points before time runs out (represented by the meter between the enemy and Kenshiro). Failure to do so will also result in a do-over. However, if you manage to handle all three components successfully, Kenshiro will perform a Hokuto Shinken technique that causes the enemy to explode from the inside, killing them and allowing him to continue.