🐳 New! Moby v2023.09.22 Release


aka: Karate Master, Karateka Classic
Apple II Specs [ all ]
See Also
Buy on Apple II
Buy on Atari 7800
$10.00 used, $25.00 new at eBay
Buy on Commodore 64
Buy on DOS
[ All Stores/Prices ]
(prices updated 9/22 7:51 AM )

Description official descriptions

The evil Akuma has destroyed the protagonist's homeland, killed many of his friends and kidnapped the princess Mariko. Fortunately, the hero is skilled in martial arts, so his inevitable quest to reach Akuma's palace and rescue Mariko has a chance of success.

Karateka is viewed from the side and features a succession of increasingly difficult opponents. Three types of punches and kicks are available to both the player character and his foes, differentiated by their height (low, medium, and high). The protagonist has a health bar, which refills itself gradually when he stands still.


  • カラテカ - Japanese spelling

Groups +



Credits (Apple II version)

Additional graphics and animation



Average score: 75% (based on 11 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 124 ratings with 5 reviews)

Unforgettable game with pioneering graphics

The Good
This is the first game I can remember playing that actually had lifelike animation. Jordan Mechner gave us a glimpse of what computer animation could be like in this groundbreaking game.

The game places the player in the role of a hero on a quest to save his beloved. Though somewhat cliché, this game successfully made the player feel part of the story as he maneuvered his way deep into the enemy's mountain fortress.

The controls were easy to use and effectively made us of the Apple joystick's two buttons and 8 directions of movement.

Though the Apple II's sound capabilities were unquestionably weak, this game effectively used them to generate surprisingly decent sound effects and music. And finally, the game's conclusion was heroic and satisfying.

The Bad
The only failing of this game was the hardware it was developed for. The Apple II had bizarre colors and weak sound facilities. But this game utilized them to the fullest.

The Bottom Line
A great action/adventure game showcasing pioneering animation techniques and technology.

Apple II · by Frecklefoot (189) · 2007

Kickin' run to the right karate game

The Good
This game is part of that wonderful genre I call the run to the right game. As you run to the right, you will meet and battle various guards, a sinister bird, and the bad dude himself.

Cool music and cut scenes for such an early game. Also, liked the ability to run/walk and bow.

The Bad
If you aren't prepared, you can be killed with a single blow.

Also, remember that you have to be a gentleman to the ladies.

The Bottom Line
Very fun kung-fu game with realistic fighting. Not much of a story, but challenging gameplay. Later fights feel like duels.

DOS · by Terrence Bosky (5375) · 2001

An Unforgettable game.

The Good
There is a lot of action, the movements are very flexible.

This game is a classic, I like the story, concept, and animations.

The sounds are very good for a 1986 game.

The Bad
Poor graphics, unappealing game play.

The Bottom Line
Definitely a game to buy.

The fighting in the game is very slow, so if you are expecting an old fashioned Street Fighter, I'm sorry.

This game is a good game overall.

DOS · by Jim Fun (207) · 2001

[ View all 5 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Hercules Incolor support Pix (1172) Apr 11th, 2023



"Akuma'", the name of the evil warlord in Karateka (and many other games featuring a Japanese bad guy), is a Japanese word that roughly means 'devil'.

Akuma Castle

The Akuma Castle that appears at the beginning, seems to be inspired by the "Himeji Castle" that really exists in Japan, near Kyoto. Search on Google or Altavista Image Search for "Himeji Castle" and you'll find pictures of the real castle.

Android and iOS versions

The Android and iOS versions runs on the Apple II GS emulator ActiveGS.

Apple II version

The Apple II version of Karateka came on one single-sided floppy disk. However, by booting Karateka up on the opposite side (Side Two) - the game would still load, but now the game was upside down. A visual gag on the part of someone at Brøderbund most likely.

Atari 7800 version

For the Atari 7800 version of Karateka, the end label on the cartridge was unusual in that it featured square corners instead of the usual rounded corners. This was one of the only (if not the only) games to do so.


It is possible to fall off the edge of the cliff in the first scene if you back into it.


The game's engine would be later used in Prince of Persia.

Text files

Most of Karateka on the PC is made of editable text files. You can modify the game by changing the coordinates in the language files.


"Karateka" means a practitioner of karate.

Hidden Text

The Atari 7800 version contains a hidden message at hexadecimal address 0x079D, which reads "MOMMY AND ME ARE ONE". This refers to a 1985 study on subliminal messages by Lloyd Silverman and Joel Weinberger, in which a near-identical phrase was supposedly found to have a positive effect on subjects' self-motivation.


  • Happy Computer
    • Issue 02/1986 - #10 Best Game in 1985 (Readers' Vote)

Information als contributed by Coltrane, James1, Macintrash, Maw, Michael Palomino, Ray Soderlund and Servo

Related Games

Released 1985 on Sinclair QL, 1986 on Atari ST, 1987 on Amiga
International Karate 2000
Released 1999 on Game Boy Color
World Karate Championship
Released 1986 on Atari ST, 1986 on PC Booter, 1989 on DOS...
Chop N' Drop
Released 1988 on Amiga, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance...
Kuro Obi Karate
Released 2020 on Android
Master of Orion
Released 1993 on DOS, 1995 on Macintosh
Kung-Fu Master
Released 1985 on Commodore 64, NES, 1987 on Atari 2600...
Master Karateka
Released 1989 on Game Boy
Internet Board Games
Released 1997 on Windows

Identifiers +


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by rcoltrane.

Commodore 64 added by Quapil. Apple II added by KnockStump. ZX Spectrum, Atari 8-bit, iPad, Palm OS, iPhone, Android added by Kabushi. Amstrad CPC, Atari ST added by Martin Smith. NES added by Bregalad. MSX added by Terok Nor. Atari 7800 added by Servo. PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Kabushi, Martin Smith, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Rik Hideto, Harmony♡.

Game added April 3rd, 2000. Last modified September 3rd, 2023.