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Yet another entrant in Techtite's list of Top 50 Multimedia Classics, this was made by game designer Jordan "Prince of Persia" Mechner. Unlike most 2D scrollers that came after it, the storyline was gripping, and kept you playing right until the heroic finale, regardless of AI that was quite dated in 1984 (even kicking the mere legs of opponents will lead in eventual knockouts, of nearly all villains). Amusing moments include battles with the villain's pet bird, who attacks you from the air, leading to a whole different battle approach. After defeating the final villain, run to your beloved, for astonishingly excellent victory music (even on my Apple //e!), and a cheerful epilogue. One amusing added touch: if you jovially approach your beloved in battle mode, she will jovially, and promptly, kick your butt! Little details like this make this one of the most classic of classic action games, of all time.
Atari 8-bitThe Video Game Critic
The keyboard control could be more responsive - your fighter lags behind your commands somewhat. The fights require patience and skill, and can be lengthy because fighters recover health as time passes. While Karateka is basically just a series of one-on-one battles, there a few surprises thrown in, such as Akuma's attacking hawk. And the ending(s) are truly classic. All in all, Karateka is a stellar achievement that stands as a showcase game for the Atari 8-bit system.
Atari 7800The Atari Times
Okay, so the game is nothing at all like Karateka on any other system. Also, the game has ugly colours and poor animation. As well, it controls with all the finesse of Resident Evil with a busted controller and has added invincibility to the worst enemy in the game. In its defense, it comes in a somewhat attractive box. If you stick with this one long enough to get the timing right on the controls, it is mildly enjoyable to play once in a very long while. However, that's hardly high praise for a game that is supposed to be based after a revolutionary computer game loved by millions. This sort of half effort really hurt the 7800. I mean, having a good, deep action game on the system would have been good for them. Having a terrible port of a very popular computer game just made things worse.
Atari 7800The Video Game Critic
Karateka was once a very popular, one-player karate game back in the early 80's. Kids in my high school used to play it on the Apple II, and the graphics used to astound me. Your warrior has to defeat a series of ninjas before facing the boss and saving the girl. In addition to the kung-fu action, sharp, realistic graphics were a big part of the game's appeal. In this version, the graphics aren't bad, but the animation is jerky as hell and the control is utterly poor. The controller is not responsive at all. Your fighter may or may not react to a button or joystick push you made three seconds before. Karateka was originally designed for keyboard control, and it shows. This implementation of joystick control is ill-conceived and completely counter-intuitive. For example, in order to punch right you need to press the joystick left. Just be glad that I've gone through this torture so you don't have to.