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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 PC-98 The hero arrives!..
Karateka Amstrad CPC Introduction Story (in French)...
Karateka Apple II Title Screen 2
Karateka PC-98 Nice broderbund Japan logo!

Promo Images

Karateka Screenshot
Karateka Screenshot
Karateka Screenshot
Karateka Concept Art

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

Unforgettable game with pioneering graphics Apple II Frecklefoot (201)
Do you hear the grasshopper at your feet? Commodore 64 Terrence Bosky (5458)
A classic that demonstrates how well a story can be told with no words. DOS Ray Soderlund (3576)
Kickin' run to the right karate game DOS Terrence Bosky (5458)
An Unforgettable game. DOS Jim Fun (243)

Critic Reviews

Home Computing Weekly Commodore 64 Sep 17, 1985 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Techtite Apple II 2000 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Commodore 64 Nov, 1985 38 out of 40 95
The Video Game Critic Atari 8-bit Mar 08, 2003 A- 91
Your Commodore Commodore 64 Dec, 1985 32 out of 40 80
Commodore User Commodore 64 Nov, 1985 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
All Game Guide Atari 7800 1999 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars 40
The Atari Times Atari 7800 Mar 31, 2014 25 out of 100 25
The Video Game Critic Atari 7800 Jul 28, 1999 F 0
Happy Computer Apple II Mar, 1985 Unscored Unscored


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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
Contributed to by Quapil (5475), KnockStump (1004), Kabushi (257603), Martin Smith (78738), Bregalad (969), Terok Nor (32358), Servo (57355), Unicorn Lynx (181445) and rcoltrane (1803)
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