Karateka Classic Review

June 15, 2013

If you were a gamer with an Apple II in the mid-’80s, there are a couple of names most likely to stir classic echoes someplace deep in your heart, names like Choplifter, Construction hat Mack, Ultima, and (most appropriate to this testimonial) Karateka. The first-ever game by Prince of Persia developer Jordan Mechner, Karateka finally reappeared as a rhythm-based remake in late 2012, however now Mechner’s providing old-school Karateka fans what they truly desire: the unvarnished initial, adjusted for iOS and fitted with tweaks designed to tug at our sense of fond memories (while likewise making the game less discouraging).

One of the first games to make use of cutscenes and motion-captured animation, Karateka was a marvel in 1984, although it’s reasonably simplistic today. As a nameless karate master, your job is to conserve the princess Mariko from the clutches of the evil warlord Akuma. This you’ll achieve by running with his fortress and beating down his henchmen in prolonged, individualized fights. You can punch and kick in three directions (up, down, and directly ahead) utilizing comfy, plainly marked onscreen buttons, and your opponents grow considerably harder the further you go. Standard things, truly.

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Still, Karateka holds up surprisingly well. Its characters are still fluidly animated, pummeling enemies is still enjoyable (and features the exact same rewarding crunch/pop seems when fists and feet connect), and surviving Akuma’s castle and its occasional traps is still an obstacle. There are a couple of defects that just were not apparent 29 years back– since all attacks do about the same quantity of damages, for example, there’s almost no practical reason to ever before use any of them other than for the front kick, which has the longest reach– but these are small.

Karateka Classic likewise features a couple of cool additions not in the initial, while death in 1984 meant having to begin the game over, you can now just rewind to your last success by swiping left across the display. Additionally, nostalgic fans can change the game’s appearance to better fit their memories, with the option to see the game in monochromatic green or amber, and even with horizontal scanlines that mimic an old CRT screen. Clearly, this won’t hold the exact same appeal for somebody new to the game, but the chance to try an important-but-obscure piece of games history for $0.99 is nothing to sneeze at.

The bottom line. Karateka Classic is an exceptional port of an excellent (if old) battling game, and is a great means to revive old memories or to just see what all the hassle is about.