Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Karateka (Apple II)

Today's game is... Karateka, by legendary Prince of Persia developer Jordan Mechner. I've seen the game mentioned a lot, but I know next to nothing about it. So I thought I should probably check it out.

Apparently the evil warlord Akuma has kidnapped the princess and taken her to his castle, and I've gotta go sort it out. Damn, I thought Mario basically invented video game princess rescue, but this guy was already doing it a year earlier.

Sure Mario introduced rescuing damsels in distress (and jumping) three years earlier in Donkey Kong, but he wasn't rescuing a princess in that. So there.

I imagine there weren't many cutscenes in games back in 1984, definitely not ones with semi-fluid rotoscoped graphics.

I think it looks fairly impressive considering there are only 4 colours on screen.

Also now I can't help seeing faces all over the fortress. That top floor has a hat and a beard.

Okay, started a new game, now I just need to figure out the contr... oh.


Okay, I've figured out how to walk to the right and kick people, and things are working out a lot better for me now. The game seems to be a simple fight 'em up against blue people in hats (with scrolling graphics!) and I have to take down this opponent before I can proceed.

Still only 4 colours on screen by the way.

I have punches too, but they're not working out as well. I'm not sure what the difference is, but I'm guessing that kicks are slower and have a longer range. It seems like the kick button is the way to go for this fight though.

I can't seem to block, but if I back away a bit and avoid getting hit for a few seconds my health seems to regenerate. Could this actually be the first game with regenerating health, ever?

I'm still trying to figure out the rest of my controls. It seems that I've got a fighting stance, and a running stance, and trying to fight while in running mode makes him bow. Probably something I should have done before the fight, but whatever. I'll bow to the next guy.

And then a wipe into the next cutscene. Very cinematic.

I wonder if evil warlord Akuma's the man or the bird on his shoulder. Either way, he ain't happy that a single unarmed man has managed to invade his fortress and beat up the least capable of his guards. This shit is on now, and the troops are sent out to stop me.

So should I just wait here for him or... what?


I got bored waiting and decided to meet him half way. This guy's breaking out all kinds of low kicks and high kicks on me... I must learn these amazing techniques for myself if I hope to stand a chance.

There we go! Wait, that wasn't a high kick, that was just a regular punch. Well whatever, it did the job. The enemy collapses at my feet, my health is restored, and I'm free to continue to the next...

...whuh? ANOTHER one? And this guy's got a health bar so big it's pushing mine off the screen. Okay then, I'll take this guy out, then stroll up to the exit.


They just kept coming! Each with more health than the last! I tried making a run for it instead, and ran straight into this guy's fist. I had full health and he one shot killed me. The End. Game over.

But okay, fair enough, lesson learned. Next time I'm having a jog and I see an enemy I'll be sure to switch back to the fighting stance before getting too close.

Team orange wins again motherfucker. I've mastered the art of pressing up and sometimes down while I attack to trigger devastating high and low kicks. I have no idea when I should do this or how it helps, but I'm doing it anyway.


Damn, I was so close to making it through the gate. Okay then, one last enemy to take down. I can do this.

Okay maybe I can't do this. I can't tell if these guys are getting better or I'm getting worse, but it's going to take a small miracle for me to win this fight now.


Don't worry princess, I'm coming!

I'm still impressed with how much this art gets across with so little.

Excellent, a change of scenery and I've even got a couple of my triangles back.

Crap, don't tell me they're going to keep pouring in on this level too? I'm going to have to get my ass across to the gate quickly.

Victory pose.

These guys aren't so tough. They're going to have to send out something a lot more threatening if they hope to keep that princess locked up for much longer.

Shit, a bird out of nowhere! I was still jogging so it's an instant kill. Game over. The end.

Damn you Akuma/Akuma's bird!

To be honest I still don't know how to play this properly, I was mostly button mashing my way to victory, so I can't tell if it's actually any good. I'm pretty certain I don't want to play it again (so no gold star for this one), but considering it's a 1984 home computer game made by one guy, I'm not unimpressed.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha great review! It was amazing for its time - I spent many hours on it! Its more of the same till the end. Bird is tricky. And (spoiler alert) if you don't run to the princess, she kicks you in the delicates and you die!


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