Karate Champ

aka: Arcade Archives: Karate Champ, Karate Dou
Moby ID: 7793
Arcade Specs
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Description official descriptions

Karate Champ is an action fighting game for one or two players.

In one player version the player has to master some skills at a karate school to be able to compete in a karate tournament for the national title. At the end of each match is a bonus round where the winner can earn extra points by knocking down flying objects that are tossed his way, breaking roof tiles/ice blocks or knocking down a charging bull on the beach!

In Player vs Player (two player) version, players compete against each other at twelve different locations to see who has the best karate skills! To win a match, the player must win two of three rounds by knocking down his opponent with a wide variety of karate moves. A full point or half a point is awarded for knocking the opponent down and the first player to gain a two point lead wins the round. When the 30 seconds time limit for a round ends, the player who has the most points wins. At the end of each match is a bonus round where the winner can earn extra points by knocking down flying objects that are tossed his way, breaking boards or knocking down charging bulls!


  • からてどう - Japanese Arcade title (Hiragana spelling)
  • カラテチャンプ - Japanese spelling
  • 空手道 - Japanese Arcade title (Kanji spelling)
  • 空手道 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 가라데 μ±”ν”„ - Korean spelling (Hangul)

Groups +



Credits (Commodore 64 version)

Adapted by
  • Berkeley Softworks
Design and Illustrations



Average score: 48% (based on 14 ratings)


Average score: 2.7 out of 5 (based on 38 ratings with 2 reviews)

An instant classic!

The Good
I've taken karate classes before, so I love how all the moves used are ACTUAL karate moves. This game utilizes an actual tournament scoring system, and I like that! The main reason I like this game so much is its realism. Other games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat are fun, but only resemble actual fighting garishly, whereas you could conceivably use this game to train actual skills. Outside of this, the graphics are cool, and when you go through the game the first time it's exciting to see the next new background. I love how the referee gets stuck on palm trees and cliffs and such. It's pretty funny!

The Bad
Well the animation could be better, and the action can get pretty choppy. Also, while the music sounds nice, the attacks sound more like cloth ripping than an actual punch smacking into someone's body. Other than that, no real complaints.

The Bottom Line
A quality fighting game, recommended especially for people who practise martial arts.

NES · by Da Pur Insanitee (23) · 2011

A Pioneer: Before all the fighting games there was KARATE CHAMP!

The Good
This game was an original coin operated title, and when it was popular, it was VERY hard to get a chance to play it at the arcades! It was somewhat inovative, and it's 2 player mode made it a natural for challenges between teenage boys feeling the surges of puberty and tetesterone! If you got good at this game, you got a rep! When it ported to the NES, it was an instant hit. It translated to the home screen quite well! The game was surprisingly good at detecting your "combonations" required to perform the various kicks, punches, blocks etc. Basically you had a roundhouse kick, a low kick, a backward kick, and punches that if you made the character go low, the punch was a low punch. If not it would be a high regular punch. You could do a flying kick also, as a surprise attack, but look out! if it didn't work it made you vulnerable to a counter kick/punch! This is a fun game for one player, as the AI is not too bad, and it gets better as you progress. It's real strength is as a two player game, providing hours of fun for everyone. We would hold little tournaments.
Lots of fun.

The Bad
The thing that made it great also made it kind of boring. As games went, it was very limited. Basically you kept fighting and fighting.....the backgrounds would change and you had an all too quick bonus round, consisting of punching either a can, bottle or bull coming at you. I guess due to the better than average (for the time) AI, they never had too much left for extravagant storyline, graphics or depth.

The Bottom Line
It is a fun game to have in a collection. It is still fun to pull out of the drawer and play a few rounds. It is a satisfying game to play. A guilty pleasure in smacking down your opponent. Other than the simulated karate moves, there is no gore or blood, and is OK for players 10 to 100!

NES · by Oblio (97) · 2006


Subject By Date
Orig. rel. June '84(Wikipedia Japan) Andrew Fisher (697) Oct 6, 2022


1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Karate Champ appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Arcade publishers Data East sued System 3, claiming International Karate was a complete rip-off. It also used the same forward kicking (street) karate style.


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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 7793
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Servo.

Wii added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Antstream added by firefang9212. PlayStation 4 added by Sciere. Commodore 64, Apple II added by Martin Smith. Arcade added by Pseudo_Intellectual. iPhone, iPad added by Scaryfun.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Foxhack, Rik Hideto, FatherJack.

Game added November 21, 2002. Last modified January 20, 2024.