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Title image from the game
Game No. 214
Voting 7.62 points, 26 votes
Developer Jordan Mechner, Robert Cook, Gene Portwood, Lauren Elliott
Company Brøderbund Software
Publisher Ariolasoft
Musician Francis Mechner
Release 1985
Platform C64, Plus/4, Apple II, Amstrad CPC, PC, Atari 7800, Atari 800/XL/XE, Atari ST, NES, Gameboy
Genre Sport, karate game
Gamemode Single player
Operation Icon Port2.pngJoystick, Keyboard
Media Diskette, Datassette
Language Language:english
Information Follower Prince of Persia

Description[edit | edit source]

In 1984 the today well-known Jordan Mechner wrote the karate game Karateka, which became a success due to its realistic fighting animations and was therefore converted for numerous home computer systems and consoles. In 1985 the C64 version was published. The game title Karateka stems from the Japanese language and describes a fighter (Japanese: Budōka) who carries out the Japanese martial art karate - so short karate fighter. The game has a simple build-up: You walk from left to right and fight. When you do not play, a demo is shown. A small disadvantage is the permanant reloading of parts of the game.

The course of the game can be explained in a simplified way as follows: After an introductory sequence and a start animation you get as lonely, well-trained Karateka onto the island which is ruled by the evil warlord Akuma to free the princess Mariko who is locked in the deep, dark dungeon of the palace.

This is in such fighting games or action adventure of course combined with some perils and obstacles, especially a rather high number of differently trained karate fighters of the warlord Akuma stand in your way. Towards the end of the game you also face Akuma and his fighting eagle. Finally, when all enemies are defeated, there is a nicely animated final sequence and a final text. Seen this way, "Karateka" - as also the follower "Prince of Persia" - is an interactive story with a given plot.

A well-practiced player can play the game to the end within 20 minutes.

Here the introduction story:
"You've just scaled a treacherous cliff to reach the fortress of Akuma, the evil warlord who burned your village and kidnapped your bride-to-be.
Now you stand before a massive gate. The first of many powerful Palace Guards blocks your way.
Beyond looms Akuma's Palace, where Princess Mariko languishes.
Only you can save her from Akuma's cruel clutches.
Remain calm, and focus your will on your goal.
That is the way of the Karateka."

Design[edit | edit source]

Start screen at the cliff - now always keep walking to the right and fight!
Start animation with guard (left), Akuma and fighting eagle (middle), princess Mariko (right)

Simply kept but adequate looking Japanese background and palast graphics where the fights take place. The screen switches horizontally from left to right or correspondingly backwards. This is also the only moving direction through the game, from the beach to the dungeon - always walk to the right and fight. The fighting movements are a bit slow due to the realisticly animated fighting movements. The characters are a bit grainy.

For a short rest between the fights, there are musically accompanied, animated intermediate sequences every now and then. During the fights you can only hear fighting noises and no permanent background music. Before and after the fights there is a short, suspenseful music seuqence.

Hints[edit | edit source]

  • The Karateka has a certain number of power points. If the hero has lost all his (red) power points (lower left) the game is over.
  • The power points regenerate automatically if you do not fight or are not attacked.


The first active fight
  • RUN/STOP : pause on / off
  • J : activate joystick port#2
  • K : activate keyboard
  • F1 : restart / back to title screen
in fighting mode
  • Q : punch high
  • A : punch middle
  • Z : punch low
  • W : kick high
  • S : kick middle
  • X : kick low
  • > : walk forward (to the right)
  • < : walk backward (to the left)
  • Space : switch between fighting mode / walking mode
in walking mode
  • > : walk forward (to the right)
  • < : stop
  • B : bow

Solution[edit | edit source]

  • Different doors have to be kicked in.
  • Although there is no time limit in the game, the enemies need to be fought fast, as they also regenerate (blue power points at the lower right).

Cheats[edit | edit source]

  • The version by "Remember" offers next to the manuel also different cheat modes.

Voting[edit | edit source]

Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
7.62 points at 26 votes (rank 224).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 10 15th November 2011 - "Highlight" - 10421 downs
Lemon64 7,5 15th November 2011 - 90 votes
Kultboy.com 9,00 15th November 2011 - 7 votes
ZZap64 80% Issue 11/85

Reviews[edit | edit source]

H.T.W: "A sensational game at that time due to the very good animation of the fighters and the start, end and intermediate sequences. Unfortunately the whole things is played a bit sticky and there are not many surprises. To simply fight your way from left to right to the next enemey is not everyone's thing. Due to the atmospheric appearance and the film feeling, however, it stands out from mediocrity.".

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]


Cover - Tape (Ariolasoft)

Highscore[edit | edit source]

Unfortunately there is no highscore possible in this game.

Links[edit | edit source]

WP-W11.png Wikipedia: Karateka_(video_game)