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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.


Karateka DOS The story 1 (CGA)
Karateka DOS Opponent approaching (CGA)
Karateka DOS Next game - revenge is mine! Who's next? (CGA)
Karateka DOS Evil Warlord Akuma and Princess Mariko (CGA)

Promo Images

Karateka Concept Art
Karateka Concept Art
Karateka Screenshot
Karateka Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "Karate Master" -- Original Palm OS title
  • "Karateka Classic" -- Android title
  • "カラテカ" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Group

User Reviews

A classic that demonstrates how well a story can be told with no words. Ray Soderlund (3576) 3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars
Kickin' run to the right karate game Terrence Bosky (5458) unrated
An Unforgettable game. Jim Fun (243) unrated

Critic Reviews

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"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
rcoltrane (1804) added Karateka (DOS) on Apr 03, 2000
Other platforms contributed by Quapil (5475), KnockStump (1004), Kabushi (257695), Martin Smith (79214), Bregalad (969), Terok Nor (32499), Servo (57355) and Unicorn Lynx (181441)
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